Wednesday, January 25, 2017

This Way Be Monsters

                                     Image result for women's march

One of the criticisms I've heard about the women's marches is the inability of many to articulate exactly what it is they are protesting.

That's because for most of us, there is not a single over-riding issue that drives us. Rather it is an amorphous atmosphere of concern and fear that includes so many disagreements with the Trump administration that is difficult to narrow it down to a couple of clear-cut matters. It is sort of like dealing with a snowstorm. You can't see every individual snowflake, you just know you're in a dangerous blizzard.

Yes, it is reproductive rights and women's health but beyond that it is the general view of women as second-class citizens that this administration seems to hold. They dismiss Planned Parenthood as if that organization hadn't helped millions of us obtain vital health care over the years. They put only two women in top slots in the cabinet (one being the wife of the Senate Majority Leader). There are a few others in lower positions, mostly ex-members of Fox. And, of course. the inimitable Omarosa, a choice so laughable you have to wonder if Trump picked her purposefully to show us our standing in the scheme of things.

On Trump's very first day in the Oval Office, he signed a ban on federal money going to international groups that perform or provide information on abortions which shows his priority. The picture of him signing this order regarding women's health, surrounded by men only, went viral. It said very clearly - "we will control your behavior."  

According to their plans, the administration is planning eliminate all 25 of the Department of Justice's Violence Against Women grant programs.

Repealing Obamacare will hurt women in many different ways. They would go back to paying more for insurance simply for being female. It would put an end to free contraception. Unless the Republicans manage to maintain it without the funding that comes from the individual mandate, the pre-existing portion of the law would disappear.

He has promised a Supreme Court Justice who would vote to overturn Roe v Wade.

And all this simply applies to generic women. There are special stresses for African-American women and Muslim women and Latina women and gay women. Will the DACA Dreamers be deported back to Mexico despite being promised safety if they played by the rules and revealed themselves? Will their families be deported? What particular discriminations will Muslim women face in this new Trump era? For black women, is the hope of criminal justice reform gone? Will it be even more likely that their sons will be "profiled" as criminals? Are the marriages of gay women safe? Are their adoptions safe? Will their civil rights protections be eliminated in the name of "religious freedom"?

And what about the economy? Trump promised to drain the swamp but his cabinet choices are the swampiest of the swamp dwellers. He excoriated Hillary for giving speeches to Goldman Sachs. Now he has six of their ex-employees in his inner circle. More millionaires and billionaires than any cabinet ever, most of whom detest the very agencies they've been hired to lead, and don't have a clue how "the other half (well, actually, other 90%) live.

One of Trump's very first moves was to make home mortgages more expensive. Was this what he meant by "defending the workers"? His plan for the infrastructure is not the typical funding we've seen in the past (the one the Dems tried to get passed for 8 years but were stonewalled by the Republicans). Rather, it is specially designed as multi-million dollar breaks for the companies involved.

Trump tells half of every story. He crows about taking on the corporations and forcing them to bring their jobs to the United States. ("Buy American, Hire American" is his motto, he says, but so far he hasn't taken his own his advice. His own products are still made overseas and he bought foreign steel for his own hotels. And he applied to hire foreign workers for Mar a Lago and his resort in California.) Do as I say and not as I do? But for every action, there is a equal and opposite reaction. Does he think no company or country will retaliate in a tit for tat payback? What if China put a 35% surcharge on the products we buy from them? Would they continue to buy our grain as they do now? Would a trade war really make us more prosperous?

The environment looks to be a huge loser in the Trump administration. Climate change has been purged from the EPA's website. The new president announced plans to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Pipeline (though it is rumored he has an investment in the firm that is building it). His buddies are licking their lips over opening our mountains and waters and national parks to oil and chemical and mining companies. Who do we think will benefit from this? Will it be us or will it be the bigwigs in these corporations? The Keystone Pipeline ships tar sand oil for sale to China, not to America. Will wildlife have a prayer against cattle interests?

One of Trump's first actions was to institute a federal hiring freeze, even at the V.A., although it is already understaffed. Who do you think will bear the brunt of the loss of these jobs? Do you really believe it will be the upper echelon? No, I assume it will be the janitors and the clerks and the electricians and the painters and the laundresses.  Is this what he means by creating more jobs for those who've been left behind.

The administration has also moved to diminish the influence of the media. They are going to allow the press pool to stay in the White House but Trump will choose who gets to be there (in the past, it was the White House Correspondent's Assn.)  In his first press conference, he refused to take a question from CNN, declaring them "fake news". Four of the first seven questions went to Rupert Murdoch writers. In fact, it is anyone who doesn't parrot his opinions who he considers fake news...when it is actually he and his staff who deal in "alternative facts". The new president appears to be a pathological liar and Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway defend him vigorously regardless of what how untruthful he is.

Whether we like all of them or not, whether we always agree with them or not, a free media is a foundation stone of democracy. No president should be able to shape the media to suit himself and dictate to us what is truth. Has Trump been taking media-managing lessons from Vladimir Putin?

The administration has placed gag orders on several agencies - no communication with the public in the form of press releases, emails, tweets, policy papers. I expect this will change when he gets his own people in place who know what it is allowable to say. When that will be, we don't know. He's been slow off the mark in naming people for his team because he's too busy railing about inauguration numbers and millions of illegals voting for Hillary (else he'd have won the popular vote, dontcha know?)

I didn't mean for this post to be so long and I haven't even talked about foreign policy and his sometimes lunatic pronouncements in that area. I only meant to hit the high points but this is what happens when you lay out your concerns about Trump....there are so many they all run into one another and they finally coalesce into an all-encompassing dread of what the future holds for your country. He is the president. He can force us to go down this road with him....but some of us will be kicking and screaming all the way.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Went Around Is Coming Around.

                              Image result for karma

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

                                               Image result for trump and putin

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

                                                                   Image result for battered women 

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.