Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Went Around Is Coming Around.

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I've seen so many pleas since this election to just let it go. Accept the way it is. Give Donald Trump a chance. We need to come together. Can't you just move on?

Well, actually, no, I can't. Do these very same people who are asking this of me now not remember all the times they called Obama names like Obummer and Bobo and Michelle, Moochelle? Do they not remember telling me and others that Obama was a Muslim, not even an American (first among them, their own president-elect), hell-bent to destroy America? Do they not remember all their vile posts on Facebook - Obama as an African witch doctor, Michelle as a chimpanzee?

Did they never think that eventually their viciousness might come around to bite them? They have their president now and whatever happens is on them. I think he will be a disaster. I think he is an egomaniac who cares for no one but himself. I think he is a bombthrower who will happily uproot every tradition our democracy has cherished for over two hundred years. I think he is a sexist who debases women. Kellyanne Conway may think she's won but he's debased her too. I think he is a racist. But I don't think these are the attitudes that drive him. Honestly, I don't think he respects anyone who isn't as rich and powerful as he is himself, regardless of gender or ethnic background. I think he sees people like those in his new cabinet as the elites above, living in America's penthouses, so to speak, and the rest of us as peons.

I think he would sell out this whole country for his own self-aggrandizement and maybe he already has.

I don't believe he has a moral core. That part of his soul is just air blowing in a wasteland.

Well, the election is over and he will be President and I don't think any of us really knows what will happen next, not even his true believers.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it. It doesn't mean I have to shut up about it. It doesn't mean I won't rub it in if I can. It doesn't mean I won't call him names, like the Obama haters did. Don the Con is my favorite right now but that may change.

And I'm not usually that way. I didn't care for Bush but I didn't try to de-legitimize him or undermine him even when I vehemently disagreed with his policies (although his election too was not on the up-and-up and he lost the popular vote.) Still, I did accept him as the president. I didn't called him names. I wasn't nasty about a good woman like Laura Bush or the Bush twins. I had a line of criticism below which I would not fall.

After going through eight years of Obama Derangement Syndrome and seeing all the poisonous things said about Hillary during the campaign, that line has disappeared. I will go as low as I think I need to go.

As terrified for my country as I am of Trump, I am equally horrified by the Republicans who finally have all the naked power they always wanted. Almost no one really wants them to repeal Obamacare. Only 18 percent of Americans do. The medical community has begged them not to do it. The insurance industry has begged them not to do it. They haven't a clue what to do about replacing the ACA but they are so driven by their hate-lust that they can't help themselves.

I thought holding a Supreme Court seat open for a year was beyond the pale but this is what Republicans do when they can. There's no thought for the country's welfare but only their own. And McConnell dares to tell us the American people won't tolerate the Dems refusing to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. Are you freaking kidding me, Mr Hypocrisy?

The very first night of their new term, they tried to do away with the Ethics Committee. How blatant is that? They were forced to retreat but does anyone doubt they'll keep trying when we're not watching so closely. Now when head of the Ethics Counsel for the executive branch declares that Trump's resolution of his conflict of interest problem is not acceptable, they call HIM to a panel to explain himself. The oh-so-pure Mr. Chaffetz, who would hound Hillary unto infinity over Benghazi, is upset with the Counsel instead of the soon-to-be president with so many conflicts of interest no one can even begin to keep track, especially since he reneged on revealing his taxes, after he promised he would.

For myself, as a Democrat, I want my party to fight Trump and the Republicans every step of the way, I want the repeal of, and replacement of, to be a 100% Republican effort. Don't help them with anything.

Everyone always acts as if the Democrats are the nice party. We'll always fall in line. We'll help anyway we can if it will be good for the people. We'll accept the people's judgment (except Trump wasn't the people's judgement was he?) We won't throw around phrases like Libtards and Dumbocrats.

Karma can be a bitch and I'm tired of being the nice one.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A President Elected By Russia

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All the reporters and pundits make sure, when they are telling us about the Russian hacking, to insist that there's no proof that it impacted the election. They rush to assure us that despite Russia's influence, the election is a done deal and Trump will be our new president. Even politicians on the left echo the same. "We're not trying to de-legitimize the election, heaven forbid!"

Bullshit! They are all lying. Of course, Russia's actions impacted the election! Only Trump's most besotted fanatics believe it didn't impact the election.

 Day after day, Hillary had to face stolen emails dumped into the campaign. Day after day, Trump harped on the WikiLeaks revelations that weren't so revelatory. They were mostly just the mundane, everyday, sometimes petty and spiteful e-mails of a typical campaign. My guess is that the RNC's own communications would have been much juicier. But to Trump, they were like manna from heaven, a constant flow of information to mischaracterize Hillary the Crooked.

And then, there were the fake news stories, also, we now know, planted by the Russians. She was practically on death's door; she sold weapons to ISIS, blah, blah, blah - it was a stream of sludge and muck on the internet and the front pages of the National Enquirer.

Prior to this election, I would have thought there wasn't 10 percent of the American people who could drink enough conservative koolaid to believe this kind of totally unbelievable nonsense but it's funny what hate can do. There was a huge group of people who hated Hillary so much, they were willing to believe anything negative about her.

Including Putin himself, who blamed her for saying, back in 2011 when she was Secretary of State, that his own election was "rigged", an assessment with which every poll watcher agreed, along with tens of thousands of protesting Russians. (You can imagine what happened to them.)

According to our intelligence services, Putin set out with malice aforethought, first just to cast doubt on the election process and then, Hillary herself, if she became president. Later, he came to believe that he actually could make a real difference in helping Trump get elected....and he did. Afterwards, the Russian command shared high fives and cheers for contributing to getting their man in the White House.

So, why are our information-sharers lying to us? Because they are terrified of what would happen if it was recommended that the election results actually be overturned because of Russia's interference. Can you imagine the chaos and violence that would follow as crazed Trump supporters took to the streets. They'd be like babies having their candy taken away. It would very likely tear the system apart.

But the pundits and pols know that good old liberals, they'll swallow their bitter medicine in the name of peace and citizenship, just as we did back in 2000. Like kids giving into the schoolyard bully, we just shrugged our shoulders and let the process go forward, unfair as it was. "Oh, let them have their way because they'll cause so much trouble if we don't". And the right learned a lesson from that: if you push us hard enough, we'll cave.

And they are counting on us to do the same thing now in the face of a president elected by one of our worst enemies. And Trump, naturally, insists none of this is true, despite the overwhelming evidence offered by all the intelligence agencies, not his good buddy, good pal, Vlad. And we don't know why Trump is so enthralled with Putin. Maybe if we'd seen his taxes, we'd know. Maybe if we knew how much he owed Russian bankers and Russian businesses, we'd be able to understand the appeal. Maybe it's simply hero worship on Trump's part. Maybe it's a quid pro quo - "you help me get elected and I'll drop the sanctions against you".

Well, I'm sick of liberal pussyfooting. I'm sick of always being the good guy and letting the assholes have their way because they'll throw themselves on the floor and hold their breath until they turn blue otherwise. This is many degrees of seriousness beyond 2000. That was vicious politics. This is letting an enemy foreign power pick our president for us. It is unacceptable.

So, I'll say it. This election was not legitimate. It should be overturned. We should start all over.

Let the chips fall where they may.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Women, You Screwed Up Big League This Time

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Don't you find it ironic that Hillary made a comment about half of Donald Trump's followers being deplorable and oh, the outrage! It became a hashtag. It became a logo on teeshirts. Trump fans took up the label proudly. They liked being deplorables, following their deplorable savior.

But Trump called women fat pigs, and slobs and dogs. He denigrated them for their body size. He engaged in "locker room talk" about how because he was a celebrity, he could do anything to them, even grab them by their pussies. And the reaction was sort of ho-hum. "Hey," his son, Eric, said, "he's an alpha male and that's what they do".

Amazingly, even lots of women bought that scenario and now we are where we are, facing the loss of Roe V Wade, and women getting free birth control (although the R's say they are opposed to abortion so how does that make sense?) and poor women losing the services of Planned Parenthood from which many of them get their main healthcare. And I expect equal pay will go by the wayside. Not to mention all the programs that help both women and their men - minimum wage increase, over-time pay. If fact, it looks like Trump's new Secretary of Labor will go much further than that in diminishing worker's rights.

And sex education will probably return to abstinence only and the girls who get pregnant as a result will find cuts in programs, like food stamps, that help them support those babies.

Jesus, Women, were you not paying any freaking attention at all?

I worked in the first women's program in my county. I wore a beeper 24 hours a day and took women to safe houses. Nine times out of ten when I called to check up on them, they'd gone home....back to the man who given the black eyes and broken bones they'd been sporting when I saw them last.

And the women who voted for Trump remind of those women. He's their man, through thick and thin. No matter what harm he does to them, they come crawling back for more. He can beat them, cheat on them and molest their children but they still look at him with adoring eyes. They can justify his most abhorrent actions.

"Oh," some of my Trump-voting friends told me, "you take him too seriously?"

"Really?" I asked, "how do I know what parts to take seriously and which parts not to?"

Do you think he really means to nominate the kinds of Supreme Court justices he promised to nominate? We know he already has one pick right off the bat and he may get two or three more. If the SC tilts that far to the right, do you think that means the end of Roe v Wade?

Do you think he was serious when he nominated a joke for a Secretary of Energy? Do you think he was serious when he nominated an anti-labor Secretary of Labor? Do you think he was serious when he nominated a Secretary of Education who hates public education? Do you think he was serious when he nominated a Head of EPA who detests the EPA? Do you think he was serious when he nominated a Secretary of State who is one of Putin's pals? Do you think he was serious when he nominated a conspiracy theorist as his National Security Adviser? Do you think he was serious when he nominated a Health and Human Services head who wants to repeal Obamacare and privatize medicare and medicaid?

Can you tell me which of these were "serious" and which weren't?

He's nominated two women in important roles. Nikki Haley for the U.N. but since he now says, he wants to defund the UN, this could be a short term position. And Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education, a multi-billionaire who donated millions to his campaign. The rest of the women I can think of are former Fox News bobbleheads. Oh, except for Kellyanne Conway, of course. She legitimately got her importance through performance. She may have had to sell her soul to the devil to do it but it worked.

So, Women, you are always your own worst enemy. You never present a united front. Some of you are always sycophants who collude with the men against your own sex.

And this time you did it big league.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

What Do Trees Have To Do With Christmas?

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What do trees have to do with Christmas? What does Jesus have to do with Christmas?  What does Santa have to do with Christmas?  What do presents have to do with Christmas?

The answer is: they are all part of this joyous conglomeration of rituals we celebrate as Christmas. The holiday does not belong to any one religion. It is free for everyone who wants to join in its spirit of love.

If Christ is the reason for your season, that's wonderful. Pray for your loved ones' happiness. Put up a manger scene. Go to church. But be pleased for anyone else who gets pleasure from this holiday even if their ways are not your ways. We don't all have to do it the same.

When my son was in elementary school, there was one little Jewish girl in his class (maybe the whole school). Yes, she got the holiday off. What would expect her to do? Go to school by herself? And yes, her family had a Christmas tree and she came back to school excited to tell about the presents she received.

So Ms. Christian, she may not have believed the same as you but she still entered into the loving spirit of the season. Hurray for her family.

It doesn't matter how people greet you. You're taking exactly the wrong thing from what Christmas is supposed to represent if you get offended by someone telling you Happy Holidays. Just be grateful someone cared enough to give you a wish for happiness at all. You people who complain about Happy Holidays remind me of that old saying - "he'd bitch if they hung him with a new rope."

If God is real, who do you think he will judge most harshly - the person who takes a moment to wish another Season's Greetings or the person who snarls at them in return?

So, please, let's just all appreciate Christmas in whatever way is most meaningful for us and let others do the same.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Republicans Don't Believe In Democracy Anymore

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Somewhere along the line, Republicans got so caught up in their own sense of self-righteousness that they quit believing in democracy and began, instead, to believe that America belonged to them by divine right.

I think it began with Bill Clinton. Republicans were so incensed that Americans would choose someone they considered white trash from Arkansas (the very same kinds of people, ironically enough, who now make up a large part of their base) that they began to try to destroy him from Day One. The Clinton's weren't Washingtonian elites and therefore, weren't fit to live in the White House.

So Republicans obstructed and investigated and prevaricated. The list of -gates they came up with was endless - Whitewatergate and Travelgate and RoseLawFirmgate and CattleFuturesgate and, well, there were so many, I can't remember them all. And the media was complicit. They didn't like the Clintons either. The New York Times was one of the prime purveyors of breathless accusations about Whitewater, all of which proved to be nothing.

In case, you've forgotten, we had fake news back then too. Groups like Judicial Watch started the whole thing in the early days. Men like David Bosse (now part of Donald Trump's cabinet) made their careers on scurrilous allegations against the Clintons (Hillary Killed Vince Foster! The Clintons Are Involved In Drug Dealing Out Of Mena, Arkansas!) There was a whole cottage industry devoted to making life miserable (and costly) for the Clintons and their friends. Was there a "vast right-wing conspiracy"? You bet your ass there was!

And then along came Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg and her son, Jonah, and poor Monica Lewinsky. And they finally had a real thing. Granted, it was a small thing - far from constituting a high crime or misdemeanor but it was enough. So they hired a special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, with the mission to hang Clinton out to dry and that they did. It wasn't even enough to impeach him, they put every lascivious detail on the internet to further humiliate the president. Because, they so strongly believed in the "public's right to know". Uh huh.

I expect it was David Bosse who was able to get back in touch with the Clinton women to bring them to the Trump/Hillary debate since he'd been their mentor and payee during the glory years of the Clinton scandals. Once you've accused someone of murder and drug dealing, can rape be far behind?

In the meantime, just for fun, they shut down the government. That was the first time but it wouldn't be the last because everything is fair in love, war and politics, don't you know?

That whole "disagreement ends at the water's edge" philosophy American politicians used to honor went by the wayside early on. They accused Clinton of "wag the dog" when he tried to bomb Osama bin Laden (you remember bin Laden, don't you?)  The right-wing media and Republican representatives were on cable news and radio calling him out constantly. Any respect they once had for the office of the presidency was gone.

So, then we had the election of 2000, in which Al Gore won the popular vote. The Republicans who now preach to Democrats to "suck it up, Buttercup" and accept Donald Trump as our president, weren't quite so accepting themselves in 2000. When the results seemed in doubt, they immediately hired every lawyer on their side who knew election and constitutional law. They fought their case all the way to the Supreme Court until that august body decided George Bush should be declared the winner. After which, in the spirit of a united country, Al Gore gave a gracious concession speech.

So, then we had 8 years of Bush and the Republicans were deficit hawks no more. They positively reveled in spending money. Dick Cheney said deficits didn't matter so they fought two wars without paying for them and they passed a new entitlement, Medicare Part D, without paying for it. And they handed out tax breaks like there was no tomorrow. And 2 + 2 still equaling 4, the deficit soared but they didn't care....until, that is, Barack Obama became president, of course, when they all became super-hawks again.

They treated Obama every bit as badly as they had Clinton, promising on the day he was inaugurated that they would stonewall everything he tried to do and then proceeded to do exactly that for 8 years. They again shut down the government. They threatened to default on our nation's bills (earning us a lowered credit rating). They walked us up to fiscal cliffs. They refused to confirm his nominees. They set new records for using the filibuster. Their contempt dripped from their voices as they called him weak and feckless. Gee, they said, wouldn't it be great to have a strong leader like Vladimir Putin? They wrote letters to our friends (Israel) and enemies (Iran) deliberately undermining their own president.

I'm sure they would have impeached him too had he given them even the slightest grounds but he didn't. He has been honest and faithful and gracious and rational through his eight years as president, as have Michelle and his daughters.

That didn't prevent them from calling him a Muslim. It didn't prevent them from declaring that he isn't an American. It didn't prevent them from yelling out "liar!" at the State of the Union address. And that's the mild stuff. If you want to hear the rest, listen to Rush or Sean or Breitbart or InfoWars. If you want to see vile renderings of the First Family, mosey around on Facebook sometime.

And in the last 8 years, they have become more overt and more bold. In the states, they've engaged in voter suppression of all kinds - demanding often difficult to obtain photo i.d., closing polling places where Democrats (read: African-Americans) are the majority so that people have to stand in long lines to exercise their franchise, taking away early voting hours. In Florida, they refused to let people hold their place in line so they could go to the bathroom.

When the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, the Republicans refused to update it. They opening laughed about the new regulations they would put in place since they were now free to do so.

And on a separate track, the Supreme Court (this was once again David Bosse's group) gave us Citizens United which declared that corporations were people and money was free speech.

In various states, Republicans have enacted undemocratic legislation to benefit themselves. In Michigan, many towns are ruled by Town Managers appointed by the government to supercede duly elected representatives. They pass bills by voice vote with the Speaker declaring the winner though it is far from obvious that their side had the votes to prevail. Republicans have had sessions on holidays or in the dead of night to work their will. They don't allow Democrat minorities to call witnesses or even sometimes to attend hearings. In Ohio, the Republicans put abortion restrictions in their budget, something that had never been done before and couldn't be repealed.

Kansas tried to remove power from its judiciary when they didn't approve what the governor wanted. In Indiana, when the citizens elected a Democratic Secretary of Education, the Republican legislation simply took away the power of that office.

The latest and most extreme example that the Republicans have given up on democracy in favor of "to the victors go the spoils" is North Carolina. The voters in that state had nerve enough to elect a Democratic governor to replace the sleazy, corrupt Pat McCrory. First, McCrory fought tooth and nail to try to declare the results invalid, alleging voter fraud and demanding recounts. (So much for "suck it up, buttercup")  He finally had to give up but in the most blatant power grab in modern times, the Republicans introduced bills a) requiring Senate confirmation of the new governor's appointees (something that had never been required before), b) cutting the number of employees who report to the governor from 1,500 to only 300, c) giving themselves more power on the Board of Elections which sets the rules for balloting in North Carolina. (Republicans will be in charge on election years; Democrats will be in charge on non-election years. Clever, huh?)

So now, we come to Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million. But yet, those paragons of propriety, the Republicans, caution us not to buck the system but to be good Americans and give him a chance.

I can tell you one thing - in light of what I've watched from the Republicans for the last 30 years, I'm fucking sick and tired of being a gracious loser.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Thank You For Nothing

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I am so freaking sick and tired of hearing gutless Democrats and milk toast media people blaming Hillary for her own defeat.

One of the statements I often hear Republicans make, particularly Kellyanne Conway, political spinner par excellence, a statement that is then echoed by pundits and pols, is that Hillary didn't have a message. She just didn't reach those white disaffected unemployed workers in Middle America. She should have stuck more with "it's the economy, stupid".

Really? Were all of you so busy talking about her emails that you didn't have time to listen to her speeches or read her policy papers? Was there not enough pizazz in her talks about what she intended to do as president to deserve as much coverage as Don the Con, Mr Shoot-From-The-Hip Showman?

Because I did pay attention and I knew exactly what her message was. She wanted to make college more affordable for young people. She wanted to strengthen and expand Medicare and Medicaid. She wanted to raise the minimum wage. She wanted tighten restrictions on the way the rich protect their money. She wanted to make equal pay for equal work the standard for women. She wanted to make sure Roe v Wade remained in effect. She wanted to keep but improve Obamacare. She wanted to make gay rights even more inclusive. She wanted to pass comprehensive immigration reform while also embracing the DACA Dreamers and their families. She wanted to empower alternative energy sources in order to minimize climate change and create the job of the future. All those positions sound pretty positive to me....for all Americans, including the white working class.

I could go on but what difference, at this point, does it make?

I've heard some analysts say those white Americans who feel victimized by the global economy didn't think she related to them enough. She stood with gays and Black Lives Matter too much. She embraced identity politics too much.

But, if that's the case, what would you have had her do? We are all Americans - black, white, brown, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, male, female, transgender. Would you have have admired her more if she'd faced the reality of division in America by tossing everyone but white Christians overboard as Donald Trump did? Is that the honorable way to find political success? Did you really want a president who picked a "chosen people" and let everyone else go by the wayside?

A friend of mine told me, "face it, Vic, she wasn't a good candidate. People just didn't like her?"

But evidently 2.7 million more Americans liked Hillary than liked Donald Trump.

No, the problem was the insurmountable obstacles that were placed in her path. The media that practically canonized Bernie Sanders while giving Hillary nothing but grief. The media that ignored her actual positions while they harped day after endless day on e-mails. The media enthralled with the man who perfected the inflammatory tweet, the man who would say anything and reporters following after him like panting dogs, hanging on his every disgusting word. Waiting for the next dump of Hillary's e-mails to see if there was anything juicy and scandalous in them. (There wasn't). Doing Russia's dirty work for it.

The problem was a hostile foreign nation mucking around in our election with, we now know, the precise intent of handing our presidency to Putin's buddy, Don. Hacking the Democrats e-mails and giving them over to Wikileaks to spew into the middle of the campaign. Putting out fake news stories about payments to ISIS and suspicious deaths and child pornography rings run out of a pizza joint.

We have also discovered recently that the Obama administration gave briefings to Congress regarding Russia's nefarious actions but the Republicans (those Benghazi-investigating maniacs) met the situation with a big "ho hum".

The problem was a hostile F.B.I. director willing to step right in the middle of an election with a bombshell announcement that more of Hillary's e-mails had been found, possibly requiring further investigation. Nine days before the election with a further announcement seven days later - "oops, sorry, nothing there after all". So, of course the question is: if they could check them so quickly, why didn't they? Before the first statement?

But one thing they were right about - the people who hate Hillary hate her with a virulently purple passion. That's why they'll gladly latch onto the most ridiculous conspiracy theories and run with them. That's why they willingly believe that she's a murderous traitor. That's why fake news landed right in their wheel house.

And now they've stuck us with a man who may be the worst president in our history. An arrogant man with no intellectual curiosity, who acknowledges no rules or traditions, whose business practices are the very illustration of conflict of interest.

Thank you, Republicans. Thank you, Media. Thank you, Republicans. Thank you, Trump voters.

Thank you for nothing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Yes, Little Girl, You Should Be Mad

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My grandmother had an abortion in the 20's and almost bled to death.

My mother, who worked for the Department of Defense, took a class with military elites. She got the highest grade in the class but the honchos called her in and said she would certainly understand that they couldn't admit that a female civilian outscored their officers. When the press release came out, they gave a general credit for the highest score.

In my teenage years, us girls knew where to go for an abortion. A friend's mother did it with a knitting needle.

I worked as interim Personnel Manager for six months when my boss quit. Everything went smoothly so I asked the Plant Manager if I could have the job permanently (it paid exactly twice as much as I made) but he said, "oh, no, our people would never accept a woman in that position."

I could go on.....and on....and on.

Since the election, I've received faux sympathy from right-wing Facebook friends who advised me to get a coloring book and some crayons to take to my "safe place". They've asked me if I wanted cheese with my "whine". They've offered to send tissues to dry my tears.

But they have it wrong. I'm not sad, I'm angry.

It seems to me as if God or fate or whoever you want to blame said directly to us women - "you think you've made such progress toward equality. Well, I'm going to show you just how far you haven't come. I'm going to find the most accomplished woman I can, a woman who has spent her whole life in public service, a woman who works her butt off, a woman who is is exceedingly bright. She will campaign on loving one another and bringing people together.

To run against her, I will find a completely inexperienced man, a blowhard, a man whose never done anything that wouldn't benefit himself, a liar, a corrupt man who cheats everyone he comes in contact with. A man whose campaign pushes hatred and division.

Could ever a competition be more stark than this one? But hide and watch, bitches, and see who wins, proving that the best woman isn't as good as the worst man. And to add insult to injury, it will be your "sisters" (ha!ha!) who will pound the final nail in her coffin.

So, yes, Little Girl, you should be mad at all of us who betrayed you. Maybe by the time you grow up, things will have changed but don't bet on it. We seem to be going backwards rather than forward.