Friday, October 27, 2017
I feel pretty beaten up these days in both body and spirit. I am about ready to concede that there is nothing we can do about a president and a party, the Republicans, who contaminate everything they touch except to sit back and watch it happen. Maybe that's the best way....to just let them do whatever they want and see where it takes us. Then, if everything go bad, as I believe it will, they will own it. Maybe that will bring some commonsense back to our political process. I'm not optimistic though, at least in the short term.
Lots of people are literally going around with their hair on fire trying to warn us. Not just Democrats but respected Republican senators, aides to other Republican presidents, those presidents themselves, retired generals and previous heads of agencies. Conservative Republican journalists. Directors of non-profits like medical groups. coalitions of scientists. Leaders of other countries who used to be our most important allies. When a cross-section of people like that say you are a danger to your country, it is probably true.
But we are in the grip of Trump-mania. To the people who support him, he could't tell enough lies or break enough promises or race-bait enough or make enough demeaning statements or involve himself with enough self-serving conflicts of interest to matter. If it turns out that he colluded with the Russians or obstructed justice, they will either deny it or they simply won't care. They not only wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Trump but they have them Gorilla-glued to their faces.
I hope this fever breaks before it is too late for my country.
Trump and his sycophants have brought a new spirit of meanness to America like nothing I've ever seen in my 71 years. If you don't believe me, go find The Deplorables on Facebook. They are not only vicious and vile but they glory in their filth. They believe Antifa is going to start a revolution on November 4th and they can't wait. They are locked and loaded and ready to see the streets run red with the blood of liberals.
Trump demeans everyone he comes in contact with. One by one, they all give up the honor and respect it took them a lifetime to earn by their craven submission to this president - Priebus, Spicer, Sessions, Ryan, McConnell. The latest to topple, making a particularly loud crash because he fell from such a great height is John Kelly. He did the very thing he accused others of doing - turning dead soldiers into political pawns. A once-powerful CEO, Rex Tillerson, has become a neutered shadow of his former self. Ditto McMaster. Only Mattis still has some dignity left but he is teetering on the brink.
Senators Corker and Flake told the truth before they bailed but the rest of the Republicans play poodle puppy to Trump's Great Dane. They evidently see kissing the presidents butt as a worthwhile sacrifice for a tax plan. Most of them don't even know what's in it but that's okay, they can go home and brag about getting something done and maybe, keep their jobs. "Please, Mr Bannon, I'll be good if only you won't primary me." God, they make me sick.
I have read about all the changes Trump and the R's have made so far in terms of anti-regulations and executive orders and there in not one - not one! - that isn't negative for working people! They've loosened restrictions the banks that practically bankrupted us before. They now allow mines and chemical companies to put their hazardous wastes in creeks and streams. They want to raise the fees to get into national parks. Hell, they want to privatize national parks to let energy companies in. They have changed the overtime rules so fewer people can claim overtime. Companies no longer have to keep records on how many safety violations they've had. They loosened the reins on approving hazardous chemicals. I don't even begin to have room enough to list them all. If you are interested in knowing the full record, it's easy to find on Google.
I no longer watch Trump on television. I can't stand to watch him or hear him. I think this is the most corrupt administration the United States has ever seen at least in my lifetime. Having said that, I guess I'm calling a retreat, for me, at least. I'll still write my puny words but beyond that, I feel helpless. More power to those of you who are young enough and well enough to carry on the Resistance. I wish you well but I'll be home plinking around on my computer.
Friday, October 20, 2017
I honestly used to think I was a moderate Democrat. I hardly ever voted a straight ticket. Some of my best friends were Republicans.
But since I've been on Facebook and read many of the conservative sites and debate with some of the commenters, I now realize that I am a fascist, communists, socialist, American-hating, treasonous libtard.
This is in spite of that fact that this is how I feel about some the issues that trigger them:
Guns - I have loaded guns in my house. I support the Second Amendment. I have never wanted to confiscate everyone's guns and I don't know anyone else who does either. Having said that, I support certain commonsense gun laws in the hope they might lessen the carnage in America's streets. Background checks for every gun sale. Ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines. Try to keep the mentally ill and perpetrators of violent crime from purchasing guns. Things like that. I see these as compromises, a middle ground, a moderate position if you will.
Free Speech - I believe that universities should be forums for every kind of thought (even high schools, for that matter). I think by the time you are college age, you should be able to listen quietly to every kind of opinion, even those you passionately disagree with. If you think you are not tough enough to listen to Milo Yiannopolous, then skip that particular convocation. Ditto, if Whoopi Goldberg makes you see red. It seems to be mostly more liberal-oriented colleges that get in trouble for booking controversial speakers. On the other hand, I wonder how many "free-thinkers" Liberty University makes available to their students?
Abortion - I am not for abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy and none of my friends are either. I think the Supreme Court got it about right in distinguishing between trimesters. Anything goes the first three months; society has a right to question your reason the second three months and there must be significant problems the final three months.
I always ask: if your house was on fire and you had a fertilized egg in a petri dish in the frig and a 2-year-old asleep in its' crib, would you even have to give a moment's thought as to which one to save. If you say, you would, I'll say you're lying. A zygote is not the same as a baby.
Hunting . I have nothing against hunting. My own stipulation would be that we monitor it enough to maintain an ecological balance. I don't even care if you don't mean to use it as food.. I assume there are many hungry mouths in the wild. A coyote mother feeding her cubs is more righteous than a hunter who wants to hang a head on his wall. Oops, I think that was a liberal thing to say.
Flags/Anthem - I've got nothing against the flag or the anthem but I don't think either a song or a piece of cloth represent America. It is our principles and values that represent our country. Protest is as American as apple pie, even when you disagree with it.
Religion - Christianity doesn't make me cry and neither does Islam although, in general, I think organized religion of all kinds has done more harm than good, especially radical religion. And I do believe conservative Christianity has gotten more and more radical.
Constitution/Patriotism - Really, you think the Constitution and Patriotism make me cry? So in other words, no one who disagree with the right can possibly be patriotic? Is that really what you think. Because if it is, you're a lunatic.
I think I am willing to compromise on all these issues. It is the right that won't do that. NO gun laws. NO abortion. NO gay marriage. NO taking a knee (what about the free speech you claim to revere?) NO disagreement with the president on any issue whatsoever. No disagreement with fundamentalist Christianity whatsoever. So it seems to me that it is the right that are the snowflakes since they are so rigidly locked into their beliefs and they don't allow anyone to deviate by such as an inch or they are designated a libtard.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto. Our wee wizard behind the curtain seems to have picked up our entire country and transported it to Oz.
Here are some of the things that have disappeared during the Trump administration. Science. Truth. Empathy. Compromise. Equality for African Americans. Equality for Muslims. Equality for gays and transgenders. Equality for women. Equality for Hispanics (especially if they are Puerto Rican). Civility. Peace. Concern for the environment. The integrity of American elections. The First Amendment. Competence in government. Healthcare. Good free public education. Regulations in food, medicine, labor that made life safer and better for working Americans.
Our president represents all the OZ characters - he lacks the brains of the Straw Man, the Heart of the Tin Man and the Courage of the Cowardly Lion. Corruption is rampant with cabinet and family members darting about on chartered jets hither, thither and yon while Trump himself bankrupts the secret service while making money for his resorts. Cabinet members built private $25,000 telephone booths in their office and make members of their staff go to the roof to put up a flag and take it down when they arrive and leave. Would you call those examples of the swamp?
They want to privatize Indian reservations and national parks. They took away the regulation that prevents coal mines from shoving their hazardous tailings into creeks and rivers. Even his own party members worry that he has us on a path to world war III. The estimate is that if we ever got into a war with North Korea, 1,000,000 people would die on the first day! Your president (I don't claim him as mine) cheated his way into the White House with help from Russia and he still loves him some Putin.
What a sad place we have come to. Someone tell me it's all a nightmare.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, a Catholic priest, Harvey Weinstein.
The latest case of a serial harasser is Harvey Weinstein and we're getting all twisted up about politics as we do about everything, even though politics has nothing to do with it. The right accuses the left and the media of not covering the story although it has been all over the print media and cable stations, including MSNBC, usually considered the most liberal network by conservatives.
Same thing with dear old Bill O'Reilly. The left said Fox and the right protected him and made excuses for him. In the end, both men lost their jobs.
Do you notice anything about these men? They are black and white, Democrat and Republican, religious and non-religious. What is it that they have in common? It's power.
There are a certain percentage of men who, given enough power, will harass and abuse women (and maybe children). I have no idea what that percentage is but is is significant. They are predators and they know how to make their stealthy way through the jungle of their professions though blackmail and intimidation.
Why don't the women tell sooner? Are you kidding me? Do you know what it feels like to be completely powerless before a powerful man who holds your future in his hands, especially when you are young and he's been through this same movie 1,000 time and knows all the right things to say and do? Want a career as an actress, better play ball with old Harv.
Do you know what kind of shit a woman gets who tells on an important man? She's accused of lying. She's called names like slut and tramp. She wanted it, don't you know? Do you know how much courage it took to be the first one to accuse Beloved Old Bill Cosby? Or a freaking president? Or a billionaire real estate developer? Or a cable news star? Or the moral arbiter of your church?
Why didn't other people tell if they knew what was going on? If you're going to call a rich, famous man a predator, you'd better make damn sure you have the goods on him. You can't simply go to the other honchos or the prosecutor and say, "I've heard rumors." They'd laugh you out the door.
Some people tell on themselves and we still don't want to listen. Trump told us in front of God and everybody that he was a serial assaulter but the very women who are now raising hell about Harvey Weinstein's victims not telling, chose to disbelieve Trump's own words as just boastful locker room talk. We knew and we elected him president so forgive me if I can excuse the women who think it is safer to shut the fuck up when they are dealing with a powerful man.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
This is usually a political blog but I have to take a break from Trump et al for a while. America in 2017 is just too depressing for constant consumption. I'm backing off on watching so much news and spending so much time on Facebook. When I was working, I had Sirius radio in my car and it was always on NASCAR or news programs. I cancelled it when I retired since I'm not in the car that much.
I listened to AM and FM for a while but yuck, their song choices are mostly awful and the reception fades in and out.
So finally I dug out some of my old CDs, some of which I haven't listened to for years. The first one I made because it brought back such good memories of my youth and included Beer Barrel Polka and Twelfth Street Rag.
As soon as I heard the rinky tink piano of Twelfth Street Rag, it took me back to the Logansport Eagles in the 50's when Big Tiny Little and his band played. My family was a dancing family...all of them (they were also a gambling family and a drinking family). We'd go down to the Eagles on a Saturday night and there would usually be 20 or so of us - parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends. Everybody would dance with everybody. Mom's with boyfriends and uncles with us little girls. My two cousins and I were preteens then and that's where we learned to dance - dances like the Jitterbug and the Charleston. My Grammie always told us girls, "don't get hooked up with a man who won't dance."
That CD went on to play Elvis. He was us girls' first experience with having a crush on a movie star. (Before him, there was Kookie in 77 Sunset Strip but that wasn't quite so serious). We three saw Love Me Tender together at the Logansport State Theater. Besides the money for our ticket, the folks always gave us an extra 15 cents - a nickel for a Coke, a nickel for a bag of popcorn and a nickel for a candy bar. Sometimes, they popped for a chocolate soda at the Blue Front Drug Store afterwards.
The older generations in my family had it rough. During the depression my widowed grandmother got a job as a housekeeper but the lady of the house wouldn't let her bring her children so she gave over my two aunts (who were in the neighborhood of 10 or 11 years old) to a Catholic hospital. They worked in return for room and board and a small stipend. My Uncle Jim was about 6. They hid him in their bedroom and sneaked part of their food back to him.
Meanwhile my Dad, who was a teenager, took a train to Detroit and got a job in a steel mill. The men on the line were supposed to get bathroom breaks but when Dad asked the foreman for someone to take his place, the man poked him in the back with the cattle prod he carried and said, "piss in your pants, you son-of-a-bitch, there are 25,000 men waiting for your job". And Dad said there really were lines of men outside just hoping someone would collapse or get fired or simply walk away and leave an opening for them.
You know what though, I remember my whole family as being jolly. They'd play poker all night or roll back the rug and dance. There were often feuds going on. My Grandma's maiden name was Nussbaum and she said her family feuded too but they were so nibby about what was going on with the others, that someone would finally say, "I wonder what the Nussbaum schmact," which meant I wonder what the Nussbaum's are up to and their curiosity would drive them to resolve their difference.
There was no welfare back then and Grammie's iron-clad rule was that family's took care of their own. She kept a "kitty" in the pantry and everyone was supposed to donate whatever they could and when anyone found themselves "in a crack" as she called it, they were welcome to take some money out. Anyone who came into the family stayed - ex-husbands and wives, ex-fiances. Grammie incorporated them into the group. The more members the stronger was the unit, she thought.
They were gamblers in another way too. None of them ever stayed very long in one spot or in one job. They sold insurance or worked in machine shops or on the railroad or owned bars. They were always ready to leave what they had behind to head to California or Arizona or Florida to see what was going on there.
Hard lives or not, I don't remember that our fathers and uncles and brothers being part of the Angry White Man Syndrome like we have today. They didn't expect much from government. They pretty much took responsibility for themselves. If the steel mills closed in East Chicago, they went somewhere else and found another job.
The right-wing calls people like me snowflakes because we have compassion for others but I think it is them that are so delicate, they whine at the slightest sign of hardship. I get sick of hearing them. That's why I'm listening to The Twelfth Street Rag instead of talk radio.