Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Much Does Your Boss Buy When He Pays You?

                                            

I  have been thinking a lot about athletes lately. Well, not just athletes, employees in general. (You have a great deal of time to think when you're hooked to an intravenous tube for six days).

In my 50 years of working, I've been a bartender, a punch press operator, a solderer, a secretary, an executive assistant, an insurance underwriter and many more. I will admit that over that time, I developed a somewhat contentious relationship to management. It always seemed to me that, in general, the head offices had all the power and didn't hesitate to use it to unfair advantage, not all of them, but most of them.

So, the question is: how much of you does your employer buy when they pay you to work for them? If we are going to have a hard and fast rule, then it should be the same for everyone. If your boss essentially owns you from the time you clock in (rhetorically speaking) until you punch out, then that's the rule If they say, you can't take a knee during the national anthem, there you go. If they sayyou must provide contraceptive products to customers (against your conscience), then so be it. If they say you must marry gay people, you marry them. Refusal to play by management rules is automatically grounds for dismissal.

Forget all that stuff about free speech and civil rights. It doesn't exist when you're on the clock. 

And politicians should keep their noses out of these issues and not take sides either way, putting an unfair thumb on the scales.

Okay,  Done deal. Seems rather draconian and undemocratic to me but the rules are the rules.

What about on your own time? If your boss loves Donald Trump but you wear a prominent "Impeach Trump" button when you're off the job, can he forbid you to wear it? What about talking at work? I was once employed in factory where we were trying unionize and some people were terminated for discussing it on the assembly line. (Only the pro-union people, not those who were opposed).

What brought this up, of course, is NFL players (most of whom are black) taking a knee during the National Anthem. Something that had absolutely nothing to do with patriotism or the military but tried to highlight injustices in the black community. It offended many football fans (most of whom are white) and they boycotted the games. Trump initially brought up this controversy and he revives it whenever it starts to flag as a way to keep his base stirred up.

Naturally, being all about the bottom line, the NFL caved and decided to ban taking a knee during the anthem.

A friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook saying, "he died for my freedom, the least I can do is stand for the anthem" seemingly unaware of the irony of that word freedom in that sentence. He died for their freedom too, the freedom to protest injustice where they see it.

I wonder why this offends people so much? The players harm no one. They don't slow down the game; they don't stop work It affects no one in any impactful way but it make many Americans livid because they conflate it with patriotism. And these are rich black spoiled babies. They should be grateful, not protesting. Who do they think they are? In the immortal words of Laura Ingraham, "shut up and dribble" (or punt or whatever the comparable football term is). Maybe, as the president says, they shouldn't even be allowed to live in this country.

I've always hated the way we unconsciously say owners as if these rich white men own not only the sport but the players themselves.

But then American have almost always submissively accepted the concept that the boss who pays you, owns you while you're on his clock and even sometimes when you're not.








Sunday, May 13, 2018

It's Official - I'm a Hater

                                                   

I went 72 years without being a hater. My motto was "to each his own". That's not to say I wasn't critical in my writing of things I disapproved of. I could be sarcastic and snarky. But I never hated, not Ronald Reagan or George W Bush, though they were two of my least favorites. I never doubted their patriotism even when I vociferously fought against some of their policies.

When my candidate lost an election, I shrugged it off and said, "life goes on, there will always be another election."

But that attitude has collapsed in the face of Donald Trump and now I am a full-fledged hater. In fact, I'm not sure hate is strong enough. I despise this president and detest his administration for its lies and its cheating and its cruelty. I loathe the Republican party for the sycophantic and gutless ways it is letting Trump get away with what he's doing without resistance. I despair over all the ways I see my country being dragged down to a level I never remember before.

I have so often read that hate comes from fear. The right-wing fear Muslims, African Americans, gays, Latinos, women who speak up. Their fears result in tyrannical and vicious laws - Muslim bans, taking immigrant children away from their parents, refusing to allow gay families to adopt the babies who need them. Legislation that denies kids sex education, denies women contraception, denies them abortion, then want to deny them the subsidies that help them raise those very children.

Fear is what has inspired me to hate too. I don't deny it. I'm terrified of what Trump is doing to this country. All our principles - from the Rule of Law to Due Process (Lock her up!) are in danger. All the agencies we once trusted - from the Justice Department to the F.B.I. - are being undermined and condemned as "deep state" traitors. Our free press is being attacked as fake news.

At this point, I am honestly not sure that our democracy can survive Donald Trump and his Swampy cronies.

I am stunned that so many of my fellow Americans don't see it. They hear him call people demeaning names and they laugh. They chant "lock her up" without charges, indictments or convictions. Just their hate is evidently enough for them....and more and more I hate them back for their blindness and their ignorance. And it seems, the more Christian they claim to be, the more they jump on the bandwagon.

I know this is not a good road to go down. Mutual hate leads to no place positive. But I don't know what to do about it. As long as they are in charge, I think I will be a hater.






Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dishonest Doctor - Dishonest Patient

                                              

Really, if we'd been paying attention, wouldn't the situation with Dr. Harold Bornstein have told us everything we needed to know about Donald Trump right up front?

I thought Bornstein was a total fruit loop the first time I ever heard him speak. I never believed for one minute that he came up with the exaggerated claims about Trump's superior health on his own. I don't consider him a legitimate doctor and I don't consider Trump a legitimate patient. Now Bornstein admits that Trump dictated his own report. The good doctor explains it away by saying it was "black humor". Seriously, lying to the American people about their president's health is supposed to be funny? It should be criminal on both their parts.

Forget all the other scandals that are going on in the Trump administration. Let's just consider what this relatively small incident (in the wider scheme of things) reveals about Donald Trump.

1) Lying. We learned from the git-go that Trump has absolutely no compunction about lying if he feels its in his best interest. All this time later, he has proven it over and over again. We just seem to accept that we can't trust him now....about anything.

2) No respect for his office. I can't think of any other president we've ever had who would brush off their own medical examination as a big joke. (In fact, I can't imagine how anyone would have Bornstein as their doctor for decades.  wonder how many times he's treated Big Don for a sexually transmitted disease?)  It shows us that Trump has nothing but contempt for the gravity and dignity of being president.

3) No ethics. At the very least, it is unethical to fake a medical report.

4)  No loyalty. Presumably, Dr Bornstein was willing to go along with Trump's deceit because he wanted to move into the White House as the President's Physician. But after their many years of association, Bornstein made a fatal mistake- he let it out that Trump took Alopecia for hair loss. And questioning the vain Trump's swoop of orange hair, just could not be borne. So Bornstein ended up under the bus, (where the President's Physican, Admiral Ronny Jackson, ended up as well along with so many others in the administration).

5) Preference for bully tactics rather than the Rule of Law. There is a legal process for obtaining the president's medical records. Instead, according to Bornstein, the president's body guard, an attorney and another man he didn't know swooped in in what was more a raid than a transfer of records. They also demanded Bornstein take a picture of Trump off his wall. This all sounds a little hinky because Bornstein never reported it. He said he was frightened and intimidated. Still, it is in keeping with how we know Trump behaves.

So, the whole Bornstein episode sums up Donald Trump in a nut shell...if only we'd taken it seriously






Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Boo Fucking Hoo


                                       

Here's the difference between liberals and conservatives: liberals just can't get over having a conscience. When conservatives say vicious things, try to call them on it and they just double down. And they call us snowflakes if we complain about unfairness or hatefulness. We need to retreat to our safe place with our coloring books, don't you know?
Then along comes the White House Correspondent's Dinner and we discover anew that they can dish it out but they sure the hell can't take it. Conservatives are indignant, they're feelings are wounded, wounded, I say!. And what do liberals do? Why we rush to apologize. We were too nasty to poor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Even Mika got in on it - she doesn't like seeing a MOTHER criticized so harshly. Well, cry me a freaking river about Dear Sarah, who gets up and flat out lies to us every time she has a briefing. She's high on the food chain of the White House. Are we now saying she is beyond reproach because she's a female? Come on, Ladies, let's toughen up, shall we, or maybe we really don't deserve those jobs after all. You can't have it both ways.
Meanwhile, as Michelle Wolf was pouring it on (did they really not know the type of humor she specialized in before they booked her?), Trump himself was in Michigan doing what he does best - trashing the media, trashing the Democrats, trashing immigrants, trashing Muslims, trashing Mueller, trashing anyone who is not a fan. He's the president of the United States - the most vile, ugly, filthy-mouthed president we've ever had and WE are mea culpaing all over the place about Michelle Wolf. Are you serious?
Did Michelle Wolf say the former president wasn't even an American as Trump claimed? Did she say he wasn't a Christian but a Muslim as the right claimed? Did she chant "lock her up" about an opponent?
I thought it was a set-up from the git-go. Trump knew what he was going to do. Skip the dinner. Send a couple of surrogates who would probably get roasted, then claim the high ground. Oh, those liberals are so awful.
And we fell for it like we always do.
Who should really be apologizing here. I say - "go, Michelle"!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Too Much A Christian for the House?

                                                

“As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle. May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”

                                                              --------------------------

It is believed that this statement on the floor of the House is what caused Speaker Paul Ryan to terminate Father Patrick Conroy from his position of House Chaplain, a job he'd held since 2001. Ryan had warned the priest - "Padre, you becoming too political".

And surely, we all can agree that this outrageous prayer by the Father is in opposition to everything Christianity teaches. That's sarcasm in case you don't recognize it. It is, in fact, exactly what Jesus taught but not so much what American evangelicals believe these days.

So, Ryan fired the Chaplain, something that has never been done before in America's history and not only does he fire him, but he did so without consulting the rest of the House or giving any particular reason for why Conroy had to go. It is truly bizarro times we live in.

I suspect it had to do with those conservatives I mentioned. I think they were sick of a Jesuit priest being their spiritual leader. They want one of their own in that position.

"A little more fire and brimstone and judgment, please."

Even conservative Catholics probably believe a Jesuit is too socially compassionate for them.

One of the representatives said he wanted the next Chaplain to be a family man, with a wife and children. So much for considering another Catholic.

And Ryan, as always, caved before their demands. It was one more cowardly act he could perform on his way out the door. Why not? His "legacy" is already hopelessly compromised.

I'm not standing up for Father Conroy for religious reasons. I don't even think Congress should have chaplains. I think our representatives are fully capable of seeking their own spiritual guidance without the taxpayers paying for it. But if chaplains there must be, they should serve on a rotating basis with all religions and denominations represented. Yes, even Muslims, gasp!

It is just one more sign of the hyper-partisanship that has taken over our country when a Chaplain is fired for no reason except politics.







     

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

                                        

I am no James Comey fan by any means. I believe his horrendous judgment in reporting the re-opening of the Clinton investigation right before the 2016 election (an investigation that turned out to be nothing) significantly impacted that election and foisted Donald Trump off on America. (Of course, he had help from both the Russians and misogyny.) He should have followed Department of Justice protocol and not inserted himself in the campaign. Or if he felt duty-bound to report that Hillary was under investigation, it would have only been fair to report the same about Donald Trump. But he put his finger on the scale and here we are.

Having said all that, I think he is aware that his actions were momentous for his country in a very negative way and I do truly think he is horrified and fearful of the behavior of the man he helped put in the White House.

Comey had worked with other presidents and while I'm sure he disapproved of some of their actions, they weren't egregious. Not like Trump, whom he has watched cross every ethical and moral boundary, who scorns the Rule of Law, who has tried to destroy our most respected institutions, like the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts. Trump shouts loudly via Twitter whom he thinks should be prosecuted and jailed with no evidence whatsoever, ignoring due process.  This includes his political opponents. He acts more like the Dictator of a Banana Republican than a president of the United States. None of this is normal.

Comey has testified before Congress and Robert Mueller's investigation. He has written a book - A Higher Loyalty - and set out on a book tour to try to explain his interactions with the Trump administration. Is he seeking to undo some of the damage he has caused? Probably, but it is too little, too late.

Nevertheless, I believe Comey is head and shoulders above Trump in the honesty and sincerity departments so I see him as a another soldier in the foxhole in the war against Trump. Neither of us believes in impeachment, at least for now. Comey thinks the American people should get the opportunity to correct their mistakes via the do-over of an election. I'm a little less sure that the country will survive two more years of Trump but I'm equally afraid of Mike Pence's (who was our governor in Indiana so I know him firsthand) quietly devious Christianity. He wouldn't make waves like Trump but his policies would be equally as abhorrent.

Comey and I, along with many others, are trying to raise the alarm about Trump. For the time being, at least, that makes us friends.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Who Would You Choose As Your Suspect?

                                       

Just for fun, let's say you're a detective. You investigating some serious crimes that have been committed. You have two suspects. Naturally, as part of your investigation, you have extensive background and criminal history checks done to give you some insight into who the perpetrator is most likely to be.

Guy One is about a clean as anyone can get. He married his college sweetheart and there has never been a breath of scandal to indicate that either one has ever cheated on the other. Guy One appears to be a loving, hands-on father to his children. He has a low-key and self-deprecating sense of humor.

So far as we've ever heard, his financial background is exemplary. He pays his bills. He's never filed bankruptcy. He has no conflicts in his business life. We know all this because he released his tax returns.

Guy One has never been sued so far as we know - not by creditors, employees, old girlfriends or anyone else.

He is judicious in his decision-making, perhaps a little too much so.

Guy One provided a stable work environment for his employees and most of them stuck with him. When they did leave, it wasn't because of bad blood. None of his staff has ever been indicted for any crime.

Although he may curse in private, in public, he is always conscious that he serves as a role model and talks in such a way that parents don't have to be embarrassed to have their children hear him.

He has never been charged, indicted or convicted of any crime.

He is respectful, even of his opponents.


Okay, now we come to Guy Two. He has five children from three marriages. He cheated on all his wives . He's been accused of having affairs with adult film stars and Playboy Bunnies shortly after his wife gave birth. Now he is also accused of paying those women off to keep their mouths shut.

He's been sued over 3,000 times - by creditors and employees and students in his university and investors. He often wins because he uses threats by his attorneys and bullying  and money to outlast his litigants.

His sense of humor is cruel. He engages in childish name-calling. He enjoys demeaning people he doesn't like...and even people he does like. No one walks away from him with their self-respect intact. His offices are chaotic and confusing. His rate of turnover is huge and most often the people who leave feel diminished by their service to him. Several of his business associates have been charged with crimes. Some of them have pleaded guilty.

His finances an intertwined mess. He uses his office to enrich his business. He's been accused of working with the mob and taking money from Russian oligarchs and other dictators and their banks. He's filed bankruptcy multiple times. We would know more if he released his taxes as he promised he would

He makes spur of the moment decisions that are not well-thought-out and often ago against the advice of his advisers, even though he himself has very little experience. What he does have is an ego the size of Russia. He likes strongmen better than advocates for democracy. He changes his mind on important issues from one day to the next.

He is a pathological liar. He says whatever he wants to say with no regard for the truth. His language is vile. He talks about "shithole countries" and grabbng women by the pussy and "son-of-a-bitches" and "fuckers".


Okay, so here are our two generic suspects. Just based on this background, would be be biased in favor of one being the lawbreaker than the other? Of course, you would, any rational person would.

But you notice I used the term rational because the right-wing of this country looks at this research and believe the exact opposite. It is the squeaky clean Guy One who belongs behind bars for having pulled off the most outrageous plot of all times and evidently luring thousands of people, hell, tens of thousands of people that would to have been involved in on it with him.

It is Guy Two - the liar, the cheater, con man, who the conservatives see as their hero and anyone who doesn't agree is a traitor.

It is a topsy-turvy world we live in.