Monday, July 31, 2017

Was This Your Vision of a Great America?

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I often wondered when I heard Trump supporters talk about "taking their country back" or "making America great again" what they had in mind. They must have had a vision of an America they hoped to see. What did that vision look like? Was it the 1950's only with everyone carrying guns? Is what we have now it?  Did they hate their own government so much, they just wanted to blow it up and replace the old order with chaos? Are they satisfied that Donald Trump has given them what they wanted?

Did they really believe his extravagant promises? Did they truly believe that we would build a giant wall on our southern border that Mexico would pay for? Or that he would repeal and replace Obamacare on Day One....or maybe just repeal....or maybe just replace. Did they believe a Muslim ban would pass constitutional muster? Did they really believe he'd be a better friend to African Americans and Latinos and women and LBGT Americans than Hillary or did they secretly think that was a promise he never meant to keep? Did they really believe we'd actually win so much we'd get tired of winning?

There is nothing about Trump that is a surprise. He's always been who he is. We knew he was a pathological liar beginning way back with the birther theory before he ever announced his candidacy for president. He would say anything to undermine an opponent, such as that Hillary and Obama were responsible for ISIS, that Ted Cruz' father was part of the Kennedy assassination. Do Trump supporters not mind having a president who can't be trusted to tell them the truth?

We've always known Trump is vicious. Politics ain't beanbag, as they say but Trump's specialty is hitting below the belt. Saying, "who would vote for a face like that?" about Carly Fiorina. Little Marco - Low Energy Jeb - Crooked Hillary.

And his meanness has continued in his White House. He appears to enjoy humiliating his staff. He seems to get his kicks from sapping every bit of pride and dignity from the people around him - Jeff Sessions, Reince Preibus, Sean Spicer. A typical example of Trump's venality - Sean Spicer went on the trip to the Vatican. He is a devout Catholic and it was the dream of his life to meet the Pope but Trump forbid him from that meeting.

Then he hired a new Communications Director is a cruel little Mini-Me. I personally think it was all a set up. Scaramouche was set to go to the Ex-Im Bank. Trump wanted Spicer and Preibus out but didn't want to wield the ax himself. So The Mooch says, "put me in, Coach, I'll do it for you. Gimme' 10 days." Mission Accomplished and Scaramouche is off to the Ex-Im Bank as originally scheduled. Yes, Trump is turning me into a conspiracy theorist.

Do Trump supporters like this kind of president with no respect for anyone but his family and himself?

Not only are Trump and the Mooch nasty but they are both coarse and crude and classless. Donald told us how he liked to grab women by the pussy because, don't you know, they'll let you do anything if you're a celebrity. Scaramouche told us that he wasn't trying to "suck his own cock." I'm not prudish about cussing. My husband was a Vietnam veteran and he definitely cursed, as I do myself but both of us when it was tolerable and when it wasn't.

Is this what you want from your White House? Really?

Did you like the ideas that your president would betray our allies and defend our enemies? Oh, that Saudi Arabia, such a great nation. And we love us some tin pot dictators who kill their own people at the drop of a hat. Of course, no one can compare to our good buddy, good pal, Vlad, with whom Trump is so enamored tht even a Republican congress felt the need to restrict his ability to pull back Russian sanctions.

Do you really want a president who has screwed over practically everyone he's come in contact with from contractors to investors to employees, to student and now to taxpayers because he had more power and money than they did? Is this what constitutes being a strong leader, a macho man, in your world? Stick it them before they can stick it to you?

So, Trump supporters, when you daydreamed about how wonderful it was gong to be if he was our president, is this what you had in mind?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Putin and Trumpies....So Happy Together

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Good Lord, Trump supporters, how deep into denial do you have to be to wave off what has become a mountain of evidence in the Russia investigation as a hoax or a witch hunt?

We've known for months that several of Trump's associates seemed to have an unholy affinity for meeting with Russians even before the election. We also know that they all lied about it on their various forms and interviews, including Jared Kushner and Jeff Sessions and Paul Manafort and others..

We know that the only change the Trumpies insisted on in the Republican platform was to ease up on language taking Russia to task for their hostile actions in the Crimea and Ukraine.

We know that Trump has never fully seemed to accept the conclusion by our intelligence agencies that Russia made an all-out effort to screw up our elections in his favor. He seems to trust their guys more than our guys.

We know that Michael Flynn was on the payroll of the pro-Putin Ukrainian forces and possibly Russia itself but he didn't admit it or register as a foreign agent until much later. We know that President Obama warned Trump against naming Flynn as National Security Director but he did it anyway.

We know that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was so concerned, she went to the White House to warn them that Michael Flynn could be compromised and a potential victim of Russian blackmail. They ignored her and Flynn continued to sit in on highly classified meetings, including a phone call with Putin.

We know that when the administration finally was driven to firing Flynn, they made up a sob story about how he'd allowed poor innocent Mike Pence to go on television and tell a lie. But that WAS the lie. Mike Pence was the head of Trump's transition team and knew all of this.

We know that Jared Kushner has had to revise his security clearance application at least three times as more meetings with Russians came to light, including one with a sanctioned Russian bank and one to discuss the possibility of a back channel with Russia, using RUSSIAN facilities, presumably to bypass America's own intelligence services.

We now know that, in a scene reminiscent of the Keystone Kops, Donald Trump, Jr. received emails from Russian entities wanting a meeting and promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. "I love it," said dear old naive Don. He first told us that it was him, Jared, Paul Manafort, a Russian attorney and a translator. Mostly, he said, it was a bust because it was a discussion of Russian to American adoptions, not the actual collusion he was hoping for. "And that's everything," Don Jr told Hannity.

But we know it wasn't. Turns out there was also an ex-KGB agent and Russian/American "fixer", a total of 8 people in all and yes, they were concerned with adoption as it related to the Magnitsky Act, one of Putin's most hated sanctions.

We know Trump fired James Comey in an effort to shut down the Russian investigation. (We know this because he admitted it....on television).

We know that Trump invited the Russian ambassador and foreign minister into the Oval Office where a Russian photographer was allowed to take photos but NO American media was let in. We saw Trump yucking it up with the Russians. We know he told them Comey was a "nut job" and firing him had relieved some of the pressure on him.

We know that Trump blabbed some truly top secret information to the Russians...information we had gotten from Israeli intelligence.

We know that at the G20 summit, the meeting between Putin and Trump that was scheduled for half an hour lasted two hours. How much Trump actually "pressed" Putin on whether Russia interfered in our elections, we don't know, but it appears that they both decided to forgive and forget.

We know they also had another intimate meeting while at a dinner at the G20, with only a Russian translator to hear them (no American translator so Trump was at the Russians mercy, a position no smart American president would ever let himself be put in). This meeting lasted a little over an hour. We didn't know about this additional get-together until much later because the White House never announced it until they were forced to and we still don't know what Trump and Putin discussed.

We know that the Senate voted 97-2 to increase sanctions on Russia but the Trump administration is fighting it tooth and nail and it is now bogged down in the House.

Meanwhile, the Trump true believers continue to laugh all this off. Polls show that they like and admire Vladimir Putin. It matters not to them that his people poison, strangle, shoot, knife and throw their opponents off buildings. Or kidnap them and let them die in prison. Or murder journalists who are critical of the regime. Or lock up protesters.

What it shows is that they don't value our democracy. They don't believe in the checks and balances and system of justice that has made America great. They just want their own way by any means it takes to get it. I can see where they and their president would feel a sense of kinship with the Russian dictator.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Deplorables

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The Deplorables - someone signed me up to this group (click on the link if you want to see in more detail what they are about.) I think one of my conservative friends did it for a prank because they knew how disgusted I would be. And, yep, disgusted is a good word. So is sickened, shocked and horrified. They are Donald Trump supporters, of course - of the "he can do no wrong because he was chosen by god to be our president" variety.

They revel in being Deplorables. They vie with one another to see who can post the most vicious, vilest memes. Someone peeing in Hillary Clinton's mouth. Obama getting screwed in the butt.  A picture of Michelle supposedly trying to cover her penis. (You know she's really a man, don't you?) Naturally, they don't call them Obama and Hillary but Ovomit and Oblowjob and Obummer and Shrillary and Killary. POS, for Piece of Shit, works for both of them.

They think grossness is hilarious. You wonder if they are all 13-year-olds. Their humor isn't even sophisticated enough to be sophomoric. Among all of them there isn't a drop of subtlety or grace.

They bought into the Obama isn't really an American but a Kenyan Muslim traitor, hook line and sinker. Even when Trump himself finally gave up on the Birther theory, they kept believing because they saw that twinkle in his eye that said he didn't really mean it.

They are obsessed with the Clintons and the Obamas. The Deplorables trade in hate. They think the C's and the O's are traitors who should be locked up in Guantanamo for life. Or no, maybe burning them at the stake would be better. Their kids too. Most of them also hate immigrants and Muslims and minorities and gays and refugees and poor people. I doubt if they could even define mercy.

There is no sense trying to have a discussion with them. They know what they know and that's all they want to know. If you ask them to explain something, they ignore you. If you don't already believe what they believe, you're probably too stupid to understand anyway because you're just a moronic libtard.

My biggest question about The Deplorables is who are they and where have they been all my life? I'm 70. I've lived all around the country and worked all kinds of jobs - factory, bartender, office, salesperson. I never met people like this. Oh, there was the occasional asshole but even they weren't consistently this coarse and crude. Was it the internet that allowed them to "come out" as who they really are? Are they teachers and preachers and cooks and car salesmen? Are they parents and grandparents? Scary thought.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ugh! Bernie!

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I don't like Bernie Sanders. I didn't like him yesterday. I don't like him today and I doubt if I'll like him any better tomorrow. I don't like Mrs. Bernie either. And if there are Sanders kids, I probably wouldn't like them if I knew them either.

Bernie may not have been the biggest reason Hillary isn't president today but he was the first. (She ran into a perfect storm of Bernie, Trump, Putin, WikiLeaks,  Jim Comey and sexism - a combined force it would have been impossible for any mortal human to overcome).

Bernie was the original Dog in the Manger. He wasn't a Democrat, has never been a Democrat but he latched himself onto the Democratic party to the detriment of their real candidate, and like a leech, sucked out enough of the party's life force to make a real difference. I don't think he believed for one minute that he would ever be president of the United States (though his faithful followers did). But he parleyed his crusty old purist persona into tons of attention. The media loved him. He was such a character and he helped them bring down, Hillary down, an effort they never seemed to tire of even after three decades.

Bernie and Trump were the traveling road show, each backing up whatever the other one said. "Hillary is owned lock, stock and barrel by the big banks," said Donald. "Just so," echoed Bernie. Of course, since then all those big bankers have gone to work for the Trump administration.

"Emails!" screamed Trump. "Emails!" screamed the holier-than-thou Mr. Sanders. Trump even made a negative ad against Hillary using Bernie quotes. On the other hand, he rarely laid a glove on Sanders because he knew Bernie was no threat to him.

And Bernie kept it up, even when it was obvious he'd lost the nomination. Rather than folding his tent right then and joining forces with the rest of the Democrats, he forged on to Philadelphia. Of course, he eventually endorsed her but it was too late by then. The Bernie Bots despised her and many voted for third party candidates rather than for her.

There is plenty of blame to go around for why Hillary lost. Mostly, we seem to have gotten around to blaming her. She was too quiet; she was too loud. She smiled to much; she didn't smile enough. She didn't campaign in the right states. She didn't appeal enough to the working class. People didn't know what she stood for (I did. I knew exactly what she stood for - a minimum wage increase, improving Obamacare, climate change, more help for women and children, equal pay for equal work, help for college kids with student loans....) Why didn't a lot of other people know? Because the media and her opponents focused on emails morning, noon and night.

I was bitter then and I'm bitter now about the man who jumped into the race in an effort to brush aside the "little woman". I'm even more bitter that so many Americans fell for it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Door

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It is strange how a thing that lays around ignored for so long can suddenly make such a huge difference in your life but that is the case of The Door. It turned out to be a secret treasure.

I assume it was meant to be a storm door for the front of the house. John had bought a stack of gorgeous wood to build a new front. He had the plans in his head and when he came to Indiana and had a little time, he'd work on it. That didn't happen very often though so it mostly just stayed a stack of wood.

When he died, someone who bought some of his tools bought the wood as well.

John and LeAnn came to visit from Iowa last month. LeAnn and I mostly talked but, bless John's heart, he worked his tail off fixing things that needed fixing around here. Coming back from breakfast, he made the observation that my back storm door was looking pretty battered.

"Yeah," I said, "there used to be a storm door in the garage but I don't know if it's still there."

His handyman's eyes glinted at the thought of a more challenging project than installing support bars in the tub and balancing the float in the toilet so it would flush properly. As soon as we got home, he grabbed the garage key. The door was still there, still in it's packaging.

"John special-ordered this door in 2003," John told me.

I had figured it was just your basic white storm door but it wasn't. It was one of those kind that is all glass, trimmed in cinnamon to match the trim on the house.

John worked all day until he completed the job. When we opened the inside door to look out, something sort of magical happened. Yes, it was the same old view I'd been seeing out my back door for years - no mountain peaks, no rivers, no forests. Just an average street in an average small town but opening the vista to the size of the door gave it an entirely different feel. I could see the trees and the hill running down to Charlie Creek and my own back rolling hill with Mom and John's garden at the top.

I decided I would put bird feeders outside the door. Mom and I fed the birds for years but we gave up because the voracious Cemetery Squirrels stole every seed within 15 minutes of filling the feeders. I went to EBay and ordered two bird feeders, both GUARANTEED to be squirrel proof! Fingers crossed that at least one of them works.

Blythe helped set them up and I now have regular seeds and sunflower seeds and suet and thistle seed. I have two hummingbird feeders. She brought two lawn chairs around with a little table so there is now a kind of sitting nook out there for reading and drinking coffee and watching birds.

Mostly though, I just watch from my kitchen chair. I can watch t.v. and glance up to see who is out there.

Not only do I love it but so do all my animals. They have to squeeze together to all have their looking space and they do. I come into the kitchen to see, lined up, a black and white cat butt, a cream cat butt, a gray cat butt and a blonde Pekingese butt, all in a row, heads turning to see  who has come to visit.

I had a blue jay and a chickadee and sparrows and a hummingbird the first day the feeders were up (so far no squirrels!).

So that door sat out there, useless, for 14 years and now it has given the residents of this house a new view of the world. It's a pretty world, a sharing world, a green and blooming world.

One of the guests at my recent tea party said, "I think that door is John's last gift to you."

I'm not quite so sentimental and romantic as that but just in case she's right...."thanks, John."

(Thank you also to John Murphy who brought it out of the garage and into the light.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Wish List

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I read an article the other day that said Democrats don't have any plans of their own, all they do is bitch about Republican plans. Well, of course, that isn't entirely true. Hillary had plenty of policy plans but they got drowned out by endless discussion about e-mails.

But that's all beside the point now and I know that I've been so distraught about Trump that I am guilty of writing mostly about him for the last few months rather than what I'd like to see for America.

So, here's my wish list.

1) We have fought and wrangled and protested and debated so much about Obamacare, that I wish we'd just repeal and replace it with with Medicare for all. Rather than the endlessly complex components that go into creating the ACA, let's just make it simple. Figure out how much we all have to pay (based on income) to give every single America the ability to walk into a hospital or doctor's office and get the care they need. We know it is possible because a bunch of other progressive countries have had universal healthcare for years. Let's eliminate the middle man, which is the insurance companies. They've been the stumbling block forever.

2) Let's raise the cap on Social Security contributions and make it solvent as far as the eye can see. If you're one of those lucky people who've made a gazillion dollars thanks to being a part of the American Dream, more power to you. Now pay up.

3) I have always wondered why wages are considered more taxworthy than other types of income. Tax my neighbor down at the rich end of the block the same on his capital gains as you do me on the hours recorded on my time card. The rich create jobs by investing and building. I create jobs by consuming.

4) And speaking of consuming, let's raise the minimum wage to a rate high enough to support a family with at least some modicum of dignity. By doing so, we'd take millions off of food stamps and that would make higher-ups, who so resent having to help pay for "moochers" very happy.

5) Let's get that infrastructure thing going that both Hillary and Trump talked about during the campaign. And I mean, let's us do it. What I don't mean is for Saudi Arabia to pay Erik Prince billions to do it. We are America. Can we not afford to build our own goddam roads?

6) Let's make student loans, if not free, at least, interest-free. And while we're at it, let's do the same for vocational training. Not everyone is meant to get a 4-year degree but we'll always need plumbers and electricians and builders and mechanics.

7) But before we decide what our kids on going to do post secondary education, let's make sure they have a thorough grounding in the basics and that every child attends a school, a PUBLIC school, that is safe and sturdy and has all the resources and teachers it needs to do its job.

8) Let's encourage workers to join unions again. In every negotiation between management and labor, both parties should have representatives that have their best interest at heart. \\

9) Let's start valuing our earth again. We probably can't do away with fracking and drilling and mining in the next 10 years but that should be our goal - to turn to resources that treat land and the air and the water more gently....and to train our people for these jobs of the future rather than telling them they can still be coal miners. Do they really want their children to be coal miners if there is a cleaner healthier option?

10) Let's get out of Afghanistan. Have we made a difference in 16 years? Will we make a difference if we stay another 16 years?  What does the end game look like?

11) Far as I'm concerned, the same goes for Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen - let them all duke it out as best they can. We can't fix the whole world.

12) Let's have commonsense immigration reform. Yes, we need defined borders and we need to know who is coming across them. Yes, we need to vet all those people. But tearing families part who've done us no harm or leaving families stranded at an airport because they have a Muslim name - that's not the America I know and love.

13) Yes, let's pursue every alternative for limiting climate change.

14) The hardest one of all: let's stop hating each other. I have not a clue about how to make that happen.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fighting A Losing Battle

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I guess, like Hillary, I am now part of the Resistance but I don't feel very triumphant about it. I don't have any bullets or bombs, only words, and they seem like pitiful weapons against what is currently going on in my country, the sliding backward that I'm watching happen before my very eyes.

I used to believe we were the best, certainly not perfect, but the best in so many areas. We were brave and bold and creative. We invented things and then invented ways to make those things faster and more efficient and cheaper. We built things - beautiful buildings and bridges and highway systems. In order to do this, we took in people from all over the world - scientists and architects and physicians and physicists and added their expertise to our own. We forged ahead to discover technological miracles. It was the American Way.

We have never been as kind and gentle as we sometimes like to believe, Every advance in civil rights had to be fought for with protests and police dogs and billy clubs, with arrests and even murders, but in the end, the right way always won. Before it was over, women could vote and Black people could drink at the same fountains and attend the same schools and gay people could marry the partners they loved.

We believed in science and education and we believed in using those things to help our country and the world. We were always the first to arrive with aid after any disaster. We showed up with food during famines and medicines during pandemics and weapons during genocides. We took in the refugees those catastrophes left behind. We were the world's generous-hearted Uncle Sam.

We were usually ahead of every modern curve - we pioneered workers' rights and environmental progress and medical cures and advanced education even for non-elites.

No more. We are regressing in every one of those areas. Our infrastructure is crumbling even though our rich are richer than they've ever been before. We are closing the door to immigration, even deporting, not just criminals but settled, productive residents. Trump's budget drastically cuts research into cures for diseases. We are moving away from public education into for-profit schools, from which politicians get huge donations. The E.P.A's funding is being slashed in Trump's proposed budget. As I write this, the Republicans are getting ready to vote on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with something that barely qualifies as healthcare. (Guess who gets the biggest contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical companies?) Red states are passing ever harsher restrictions against voting and ever harsher restrictions against abortion and other areas of women's healthcare. The Republican Congress just passed legislation allowing employers to forego paying overtime. They passed legislation that allows companies to no longer keep track of employees who get hurt on the job. They are considering repealing the Endangered Species Act. They are considering privatizing our national parks in favor of drilling and mining. There may be an executive order today making discrimination legal based on religious grounds.

So, I'll resist in my own small way but I find it heartbreaking that all this was evidently what my fellow Americans wanted. It was totally predictable. The Republicans, now that we have given them complete control, are doing what Republicans always do. They've never tried to keep their anti-progressive views a secret. The best the Democrats can do is fight a futile rearguard action to lessen the awfulness a little.

So half me yells, "fight!" and the other half sighs and says, "fuck it."

As I watch us retract into a more fearful, smaller, sadder, selfish country.