Monday, September 24, 2018

Those Insufferable Old Bastards

Image result for senate judiciary committee Kavanaugh cartoons



I remember watching the Anita Hill hearings as the old white male senators, two of them the same as today, demeaned her and diminished her. Remember "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty"? They accused her and abused her. It was obvious they didn't have a clue and didn't want a clue. They were content living in their privileged male dominated world with women as wives and secretaries and waitresses, not to be trusted with the truth.

That was in 1991 and here we are again, all these decades later, and nothing has changed, not even the people.

Of course, the next year was the Year of Woman. We thought we'd made progress toward becoming a more equal society.

But by now, we know the more things change the more they stay the same. The white male patriarchy will never give up its authority willingly.

America has always had a pecking order of importance. From the very beginning, it was white elite males, then black men, then women. African-American men got the right to vote via the 15th Amendment in 1870 - not that it did them much good as they were often denied the ability to exercise their franchise.

Women were not deemed worthy to vote until 1919, almost 50 years later! And that was after marching and protesting and being beaten and being jailed and being denigrated.

Presidential politics followed the same path. Forty-three white male presidents, then one black man Many of us truly saw Barack Obama's election as a sign of hope and change but what it actually did (especially when he was followedby Donald Trump) was give the racists among us permission to come out of the closet and take off their masks.

The level of virulent hatred against Obama was shocking, even though he was a good president who'd done exactly nothing to deserve it. Michelle was treated with the same nastiness despite the grace and beauty she brought to being our First Lady.

My conservative debaters tell me he was the worst president ever but they can never explain what he did to make them feel that way. But, oddly, they knew it before he ever took office, before they knew what he would do. I can see no other explanation but racism, pure and simple.

In the following presidential election, we had our first female candidate of one of the major parties and oh, my, God, the only thing that could be worse than a black man is a woman! Hillary was immediately vilified. She was every awfulness you could imagine wrapped up in one. She was a thief, a lesbian, a murderess, a traitor. With no evidence whatsoever, the right wing was convinced that at the least, she should be "locked up" but burning at the stake would be even better.

Now the old white elites are kicking it into gear again. Brett Kavanaugh is their perfect candidate. Product of affluence, arrogance and the entitlement mentality. Schooled in ivy league educational institutions that encourage men like him to believe they are the best of the best and should be able to have it all, whether that includes women or a place on the Supreme Court. It is owed to them as a kind of divine right.

Republicans and the President himself question why it took Doctor Ford so long to tell her story but all you have to do is look at the way Anita Hill was humiliated to know why women don't speak up. And now we are going to watch the old bastards destroy Doctor Ford as well. Why didn't she come forward sooner, indeed?

I was the victim of an attempted rape when I was 15. I was told afterwards that if I got their friend in trouble, the boys in high school would make sure no one ever spoke to me again. I would be shunned as a pariah, maybe I would even be attacked physically. I was terrified and didn't open my mouth for years, until long after we'd moved from that town.

When I was the Women's Outreach Director, women felt comfortable telling me their stories because they didn't think I'd judge them. I was stunned by how prevalent sexual assault, domestic violence and incest were. Most women then felt absolutely helpless to do anything about it. Police, prosecutors, judges were all men and most of them believed crimes against women belonged in a lesser category. Many of the women ended up recanting because with no support in the legal system, they believed it was the safest action they could take.

So, these old men, who seem not to have a drop of empathy in their souls think she must be doing it for money or glory or politics. They can't believe women would put themselves through this torture for love of country, not wanting a man they see as having no honor getting a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

They don't understand it because of course, they would never have the integrity to do it. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

It's Our Democracy, Stupid



Image result for dictator trump images












Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign was famous for its motto: “it’s the economy, Stupid.”

In 2018, the operative mantra should be: “it’s our democracy, Stupid.” The economy is beside the point. Not that the economy is ever irrelevant but compared to the far more important question regarding whether we will let our democracy slip through our fingers after two and a half centuries, it should be by far the lesser of our concerns.

Instead, of thinking about the stock market or unemployment, our passions should be dedicated to preserving the Rule of Law, Due Process, Equal Justice, Freedom of the Press, our system of Checks and Balances and Civil Rights for all Americans.

All those elemental principles of the United States of America are in grave danger thanks to the venal narcissist we elected to the White House in conjunction with a cowardly Republican Congress that refuses to accept its responsibility for being a co-equal branch of government.

What are some of the most common words used about this administration? Unprecedented, not-normal, never done before, unheard of. We don’t have laws against much of what he does because no president ever did them before.

No, previous president ever called our FBI and Justice Department liars and thugs and a cancer on our society. No previous president ever defied our intelligence agencies in favor of his own alternate universe of unreality. No previous president ever showed such contempt for our allies and consideration for our enemies. No previous president demeaned and derided his own staff, including his attorney general. No previous president called women fat pigs and crazed dogs.

No previous president ever invited Russian representatives to the Oval Office and blatantly shared intelligence with them (intelligence we had received from the Israelis). No previous president ever ordered his intelligence agencies to give up classified information on an on-going investigation (into himself) . Just this week we learned that he has declassified information on the Russian probe and FISA court.

Even Richard Nixon bowed to the Rule of Law in the end. He didn’t say, as Trump has, that he could pardon himself, defy the courts, stop any investigation, deny a subpoena....

What has Trump accomplished except to up-end the accepted order of things? He pulled us out of the Paris Accords, an agreement every country but ours had signed onto to counter climate change. There is no alternative plan to take its place because Trump would rather listen to right-wing conspiracy theorists than scientists. He pulled us out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement with no alternative plan to take its place, an agreement most of the major nations of the world worked on for years. He’s bolixed up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which made the U.S., Canada and Mexico more prosperous for decades with nothing to take its place. He ended our cooperation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership with no comprehensive plan to take its place. He turned our immigration policies into inhumane brutality with no reform except caging children and demonizing people fleeing from violence as rapists and murderers. He’s arbitrarily ordered citizens from entire countries banned as if they were all terrorists. He doesn’t trust any men but white men and no women at all. He’s denied free trade and inserted tariffs into our economy, risking the jobs of farmers and auto workers as well as other manufacturing that depends on parts made of steel and aluminum.

He’s made us a laughingstock to the citizens of other nations by electing him but we can live through that. What the nation can’t endure is watching our democracy disappear into the feckless, reckless maw of an autocrat.






Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Castration Complex and Negative Choices

                                                    Image result for castration meme

Our news cycles move so fast these days that it is almost impossible to write a compact blog about one subject without missing tons of equally important issues. So this one is just a series of thoughts about what is going on in our world.

* I honestly always believed men feared castration more than death itself but now I have watched Republican male politicians and male Trump followers willingly neuter themselves for his sake. They have become Eunuchs For Trump. Very strange phenomena.

* My favorite Democratic prospects for 2020 so far are Kamala Harris and Cory Booker but even more than them, I'm excited about Michael Avenatti. I think we need someone as willing to go for the throat in the political arena as Trump himself. The difference being that Avenatti is about 100 times smarter than Trump.

* Today, as I write this, it is the 17th anniversary of 911. Since then, we've had some relatively minor cases of terrorism in comparison to the massive scale of 911 and we've had several attempted cases that were stopped before the terrorists accomplished their mission. Why is that, do you suppose? Well, I believe it is because the dedicated men and women of our intelligence agencies and FBI have worked diligently to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S. Yes, these would be the same people your president excoriates every day as lying Nazi thugs and traitors.

* It was so satisfying to watch Barack Obama and remember with fondness when we used to have a president that was judicious, intelligent, gracious, truthful, unifying and articulate compared to the president we have now, who is none of those things.

 * As Hurricane Florence roars toward the Southeast coast of the U.S., we've got to wonder if the Trump administration is anymore prepared to deal with the aftermath than it was in Puerto Rico. Hope the White House is stocking up on paper towels.

* Once again, my former church is taking a beating on the issue of child molestation and its attendant dishonest cover ups. It is not natural for human beings to be celibate. Even a promise to God cannot for long defy human nature.

* All our choices seem to be bad ones. Brett Kavanaugh, for instance. Should he be confirmed? No. No Judge who was found to have lied in previous confirmation hearings should be put on the Supreme Court. But are we under any illusions that the next one nominated would be any better?

Trump. Should he be impeached. There is certainly more than enough evidence that he not worthy to be president but then we'd end up with Pence, who, as a radically right religionist, would be every bit as bad in his own way.

Only answer to all this - vote, vote, vote! Blue!!!.





Friday, September 7, 2018

Reader Alert - Rant

                                                                 

Reader Alert - Rant - if you don't like that kind of thing, you might want to click off now.


Someone on another blog told me they admired me because I didn't have pity parties for myself but that isn't strictly true. Sometimes, I feel sorry for myself and that is the case right now.

I have had my checking account at First Merchant's Bank since long before they were First Merchant's. I never was one of their most affluent customers but for the most part, I think I was solid and played by the rules.

That all changed when I got sick and had to retire. My new financial strategy turned out to be of the "borrow off Peter to pay Paul" variety. That became even more so when I got Salmonella and thought I might be dying. I was so sick I couldn't summon the energy to care about anything.

I overdrew my checking account and that turns out to be a vicious cycle. When your social security check comes in, the bank takes their overdraft fees first which leaves you even less money to pay your bills. It is rather like borrowing from one of the check-cashing places. You borrow, have to pay them back, aren't left with enough to pay your bills and have to borrow again at extremely high interest rates. (I've never actually gotten money from one of them).

I never whined or complained about any of this. I usually just take my lumps when I deserve them. I certainly understand that banks can't allow customers to be overdrawn every month and that there is a price to pay for that. They have their rules after all.

But then my cousin sent me $1,000 to get my finances caught up. It was to get current with the bank and pay some things I needed to pay. I was so grateful and relieved - back in the black!

The clerk took my check, entered it in their system, then came back and told me they've have to put a seven working day hold on it because my account was overdrawn although much of the money was to go to become NOT overdrawn.

First, there is no such thing as a 7 working day hold because no matter when you deposit, you will run into a weekend which makes it 9 days. In my case, with the Labor Day holiday, it turned out to be 13 days.

"You're telling me in this era of modern day electronic communications, when Amazon can tell me if my payment went through in 30 seconds, it takes you 13 days to process a check? What, are you still using the Pony Express?"

She shrugged and said, "those are our rules?"

I asked, "and will you be charging me overdraft fees for every day that you have my check on hold?"

She shrugged. "Those are our rules."

I waited. By the time, my check was deposited, I still had $329 left out of my $1,000 but I was current with the bank.

I went down to First Merchants and asked to speak to a manager but none were available. I spoke to the same clerk that had taken my check. She said she was the "Acting Manager" when no managers were there.

"Do you have any authority?"

"I'm the Acting Manager. I'm sure I can help you."

"And you want to do this right here at the counter instead of taking me into a private room?" (The bank was pretty busy). She shrugged.

"Okay, then," I said and launched into my story (which, of course she already knew) but the rest of the curious customers didn't. I didn't bother to keep my voice down.

"I think if you put an asterisk beside my check, you should have also put a hold on overdraft fees and then forgive them when the check clears."

She shrugged, "those are our rules."

"And in my opinion, your rules are simply a scam to get undeserved money out of your customers."

She shrugged and said, "I'll talk to my manager when she gets back and someone will respond.

(This wasn't the whole conversation but you get the gist.)

Nothing I could do at that point except leave.

A couple of hours later, the manager called.

"I'm calling to inform you there is nothing we can do to rescind your overdraft fees," she said shortly, "is there anything else I can do to help you"

"Anything else? You haven't done anything to help me yet."

My cousin was also furious from his end of this transaction. He called his bank.  His check cleared his bank on August 23. First Merchant's didn't credit my account until September 4 while the fees continued to add up.

I think it is legalized thievery and it stinks.

So, there - I feel sorry for myself. If you read this, you can decide for yourself if I'm a whiner or if I have a valid point.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

But I Loooooove Him!

                                                            

We used to have women come into the jail with broken bones and black eyes to leave money in their batterer's commissary account. If you questioned them about it, they said, "but I looove him." He could have busted her nose or thrown her children down the stairs but still, she loved him. I've said it before but I believe it even more strongly as time passes - Trump groupies are like victims of Domestic Violence. Nothing can change their love of that man.

During the course of my career, I went to many Domestic Violence conferences in which we were advised to be patient, to be non-judgmental, to continue to help even if it was the fifth time you'd tken her to a shelter.

I never did understand the pathology of loving someone who mistreats you over and over. In time, my patience, non-judgmentalism, willingness to help burned completely out (especially when children were involved) and I gave up my position as Women's Advocate.

When they broke the inviolate rule of revealing the location of the safe house, calling him to come get her, so anxious to get back to him so that I had to take her farther away each time she called me. When she felt no remorse about asking me to risk my own life, fleeing to safety and wondering if a man with a sawed off shotgun was following me. They may be soybean farmers, lobstermen, nail makers or Harley Davidson employees at risk of losing their incomes thanks to Trump's trade war idiocy but they looooove him.

They can be women who shrug off being called fat pigs and liars and crazed dogs. They laugh when Trump says that they'll tolerate anything from a celebrity, including being grabbed by the pussy - ha!ha! They still proudly wear their Women for Trump teeshirts.

They can be black Uncle Tom ministers who kiss the butt of a president who has not one African American working in the West Wing of his White House.

They think climate change is a farce and the Russian probe is a witch hunt because he says so despite a mountain of evidence that has accumulated to prove otherwise in both cases
.. They believe he is draining the swamp even though more of his staff and supporters have left his employ or been charged or convicted of ethics violations than any other president.

If he does it, it must be good - breaking up families and locking children in baby prisons. Hey, that's cool because we know all Muslims are terrorists and all Mexicans are rapists and murderers and all Haitians have AIDS and all Africans come from shithole nations.

Meanwhile, he adores Nazis, dictators and White Nationalists. Real Americans are white

They cheer at his lies and his cruelty and his corruption and his many conflicts of interest.

Our battered women would call the police to rescue them in the desperation of the moment, then swear that the officers  coerced them to say he'd beaten her when she'd really fallen down the stairs. When reminded that lying to the authorities was perjury, she'd take the  blame herself in an attempt to get the prosecutor to withdraw the charges against him.

I think Trump supporters would do the same....because they looooove him.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Examples of Strength and Weakness

                                                   

John McCain has died. He was the last of his breed. Brave, honorable, outspoken, unbiased about his friends. Although I often didn't agree with him politically, I admired him immensely. I don't have to agree with my leaders to honor them. All I expect from my political representatives is integrity. It is in short supply these days.

Most of the vicious criticism of John McCain I've heard has come from conservative Republicans. They've called him a traitor and a collaborator, despite being tortured in Vietnam for five years. He could have left because he was the son of an admiral but he refused to go without his men. He suffered beatings, broken bones, starvation, isolation. But, yet, the right wing can find no mercy in their hearts even in his death. A few weeks ago, Trump refused to say his name though the Defense Bill he was signing was named for McCain. What a petty, weak little man your president is compared to McCain.

When did the Republicans get so mean? They didn't used to be decades ago. They were just a slightly different version of us - a little more hawkish, a little more frugal, but we cared about the same things. Nixon signed the EPA into law. George the Elder signed the Americans With Disabilities Act. Both the Bushes were pro immigration reform. Reagan signed a gun control bill. We all cared about American children getting a good start in life and having enough to eat. We all wanted our representatives to set aside politics and work together to solve the county's problems.

These were the Republicans I knew when I was young.

And then they changed. They became the party of winning at all costs. They became the party of the smear. They became the party that put politics ahead of patriotism. They impeached Bill Clinton because "character counts" but their behavior of today proves that was a hypocrite's lie. They swift-boated John Kerry, a man who spent his life serving his country. It was sad and ugly to watch. They have always had a scorched earth policy toward Hillary, accusing her of the most lunatic conspiracy theories, from being responsible for myriad murders to being a lesbian to operating a children porn ring in a pizza parlor to embezzling million of dollars through the Clinton Foundation, a social service charity with an A rating. The viciousness of the way they treated the Obamas was despicable - Obama as a witch doctor, Michelle as a bull dog. Michelle accused of being a transvestite. Obama was accused of being a non-American Muslim (and, of course, these malicious theories were helped along by the self-righteous Mr Trump).

The Republicans have become the party of not giving a damn if babies are taken from their mothers and locked up in cages. They are the party of giving gigantic tax breaks to the rich while defunding programs for the poor (although they totally disregard the deficit these days. They are the party of white nationalists and Nazis and wanting to pitch anyone who isn't white out of "their" country. They are the party of calling teens who are devastated by a school shooting, skinhead lesbians and professional actors and no-nothing children. They are the party of censorship wanting The View taken off the air because it offends them.

And, my goodness, it doesn't take much to offend them. Obama wearing a tan suit and Michelle wearing a sleeveless dress is like a knife through their self-pitying hearts. They are professional victims. Even their Christian base, supposedly the religion of peace and kindness and Jesus, has turned cruel. Instead of 40 pieces of silver, they sold their souls for a couple of Supreme Court justices.

If meanness is weakness, the right wing is one of the weakest groups of people we've ever had in America.




Saturday, August 18, 2018

Of Such Things Are Dictatorships Created

                                           

Here's what I don't understand about rabid Trump supporters - they have done a 180 on their views about government and politics since Trump took over from Obama. It's as if they are not even the same people they were before the election.

Honestly, you can go back and read my blogs for years and except for some minor changes of mind, my views have remained the same - from Kennedy on - no matter who was in the White House. I hated the Vietnam War and I hated the Iraq War. I've been on the side of civil liberties, whether for minorities, women or gays. I've been pro-choice since I was a teenager and its anti-women stance on so many issues is the main reason I left the Catholic Church long ago. I lean toward helping the vulnerable and I never minded paying taxes to do it. I think government needs to be regulated because when it's not, the power people have all the power and working people and the poor get screwed, i.e. Betsy DeVos' yacht which she sails under the flag of a foreign country to avoid American taxes even as she makes it more difficult for lower and middle-class American kids to receive a genuine college education without an intolerable burden of debt. Yes, I'm for conferring citizenship on DACA kids and people who have lived here for a long time, worked hard and have no criminal background, especially those who joined the military to fight for their country. Trump believes not standing for the national anthem is a dishonor to our vets. I say kicking out vets who've served is a dishonor to our country. The environment has always been one of my issues. Now Trump is considering allowing states to make their own rules about coal emissions, as if pollutants respect state lines. Keep that coal dust and pollution in West Virginia, please! The Trump administration's entire attitude is: "fuck science".

I have friends with whom I debate politics and I've been stunned by their ability to turn on a dime. They would have been horrified (at least, faux-horrified) if Obama and done and said the things Trump has done and said.

Now, they believe, in fact, that the president (this particular president at least), is above the law. He can deny clearances without the due process that is in place for that procedure. He can fire any investigator investigating him. He is incapable of obstructing justice. He cannot be indicted. He can pardon anyone without explanation. He can issue executive orders, some against the express wishes of Congress. Would the right have agreed with all these stances when Obama was president? Hell, no, they wouldn't! Trump thinks Omarosa should be arrested though he cannot articulate a crime she committed. He can express his opinion about any court proceeding without regard to how it might affect the outcome. He can call the press the "enemy of the people". He can engage in trying to effect the profit and loss of private business (such as threatening to raise postal rates on Amazon because Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which has been critical of him. The right no longer believe the deficit is a problem. Spend away, Trump! They evidently no longer believe in "limited government" the way they used to say they did either. Being pro-states right is a thing of the past for them. Trump and Trump alone shall decide if coastal drilling should be allowed off all our coastlines (except Florida, of course).

That's if how Trump rolls. All decisions are his. His advisors are just so many puppets whom he ignores if their advice doesn't suit him. Trump against our entire intelligence community. Why we must believe Trump, naturally.

He has undermined every institution of our democracy - the FBI, the CIA, the entire Justice system, all our intelligence specialists, the EPA, the Center for Disease control, our entire environmental system, the free press, even the military although they don't seem to recognize it. One by one, the people we used to trust most are toppling. The Trump cult seems to hate America, except for Trump himself. They are convinced the Deep State is trying to take him down when, actually, he is trying to take our democratic government down. They say he will make America great again but they never say when that wonderful time was when America was great and when it quit being great.

Most of their attitudes revolve around hate - hate for minorities (which is what primarily dominates their views on immigration), hate for liberals, even moderates. You must be in ALL THE WAY! You must parrot every word Trump says or you are unworthy to be an American in their eyes.

Of such stuff are dictatorships made. Trump is overseeing the dismantling of our way of life and governance. Is hatred of the "other" enough excuse to give away your country?



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Climate Change Is NOT a Hoax!




     


In 1970, Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act – that was back when even Republicans were environmentalists. In 1970, we also celebrated the first Earth Day. I remember how serious people took Earth Day then.

In 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring and that book served as a kind of catalyst in waking people up to both the preciousness and the precariousness of our earth if we didn’t begin to take better care of it. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and rural folks, labor and management. After all, we were all dependent on the health of our planet. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage if the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

I would never have believed back then, when we were so committed, that by Earth Day, 2017, a large part of America would have turned against science, mocking the findings of our scientific researchers as “fake news”. I could not have conceived in 1970 that my country would have elected a government determined to undo all the good we’ve done since 1970.

How and why did this happen? We had great successes. Rivers no longer caught on fire. Forests were no longer dying of acid rain. “Smog days” no longer kept children and the elderly from going outside. We banned DDT and the endangered American Eagle began to flourish again. Our vehicles are 99 percent cleaner than they were in 1970. We cut chlorofluorocarbon emissions and the ozone layer is beginning to heal itself.

Now, our government is slashing EPA funding and staff. They are making the country safe for energy companies to drill, frack and mine with impunity. They rescinded the regulation forbidding coal and oil companies to deposit their waste in our waterways. They decided it is fine and dandy to gas wolves in their dens and bears while they are hibernating. They are likely to do away with the Endangered Species act. They would like to open most of our federal lands and even our national parks to privatization for the enrichment of wealthy corporations.

The Trump administration pooh-poohs climate change though 90 percent plus of all the world’s scientists agree it is happening. After 8 long years of working, the world joined together to negotiate the Paris Agreement,  This is an agreement within the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.  It was opened for signatures on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.  The agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016.

Now, our country, which has always been a leader in helping solve the intractable problems that plague our planet, is considering whether to pull out of the Paris Agreement and letting the rest of the world go ahead without us. And China, which has been chomping at the bit to become the world’s leading nation, is primed to take our place as the mover and shaker on climate change.

On Earth Day 2017, the world held Protests for Science but it looks as though America is going to passively accept the damage that will be done in the next four (or God forbid, eight) years. And the environment isn’t something on which you can suddenly reverse course if your change your mind. We can change policies on the economy, immigration, education. Even wars end eventually but the environment is forever once it reaches a certain point.

By 2018, the Western U.S., especially California, is burning. That state is  currently experiencing its largest wildfire ever. Half the world is suffering from drought and the highest temperatures since we’ve been keeping records. Hurricanes are becoming ever more vicious. Flooding is taking a huge toll across America.

We all depend on the earth to survive but if we don’t protect the earth, it won’t be able to protect us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Your President is a Pathological Liar, Don't You Care?

                                       


Fact Checking Trump

Another rally, another bunch of lies about everything from the economy to the 2016 election to the Mueller investigation. Trump even repeats his lies when he surely knows they are wrong. For instance, when he says that no Republican presidential candidate won Wisconsin since Dwight Eisenhower when actually Wisconsin voted for or Nixon three times and Ronald Reagan twice.  These are provable facts and if Trump misspoke accidentally the first time, he certainly knew the truth after that.

Trump lied about the size of his Inaugural crowd and he even lied about the weather on that day! He lies about how more women voted for him than Hillary. Actually 54 percent of women voters voted for Hillary to 41 percent for Trump.

He lies non-stop about the economy, claiming that he faced a disastrous economy and supervised a monumental 'turn-around". Nope, sorry, Trump. America is in its 10th year of recovery. It was Obama who faced the worst recession since the Great Depression and turned it around, halving the unemployment rate and more than doubling the stock market in his eight years in office.

He says the last quarter growth of 4.1 percent was the best in decades but Obama  surpassed it four times, once coming in at over five percent.

He lied about the "special money losing" deal Amazon supposedly gets from the Post Office. In truth federal regulators review this contract each year and have concluded it is profitable for the post office. What Trump really doesn't like is that Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, also owns the Washington Post that has often been critical of Donald.

He says his meetings with Kim Jung Un and Vladimir Putin were huge successes. He said we don't have to worry about North Korea any more but in fact, recent satellite imagery has shown that North Korea is still expanding its nuclear capability. We don't know about Trump and Putin because we (including his own advisors) have no clue what they agreed to in their private meeting.

He lies about the free press, calling it "fake news" and "the enemy of the people". In Tampa, his fanatical followers booed and cursed and all but attacked Jim Acosta of CNN in a deplorable exhibition of viciousness. I wonder how long it will be before the Trump mob actually hurts someone?

He lies about federal law enforcement, Due Process being the lifeblood of our system, he claims life-long soldiers and public servants are Nazis and traitors and betrayers. He used to call Mueller's investigators "13 angry Democrats" but I notice now we're up to 17 angry Democrats. This is flatly not true. Almost all the leaders of the probe are Republicans....appointed by Trump.

He lies when he declares that the Mueller investigation began with the Steele Dossier when the truth is it began with George Papadapoulous before we'd ever heard of the Dossier.

He and his people lied about whether they had any contacts with Russians (four of them have since pleaded guilty.) He lied when he wrote a false narrative about the Trump Tower meeting with his son, son-in-law, Paul Manafort and four officials from the Kremlin.

I could go on and on but what good would it do? The Trump cult either doesn't believe he lies or they don't care that he does. He can say a thing one day and they all parrot his deception. When he says the exact opposite the next day, they turn as one and repeat that lie. They remind me of Groundhog Day. Bill's Clinton's theme song was "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow". The Trumpies are the opposite. They never think about yesterday or tomorrow. Whatever Trump says today is all that counts.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Straight Blue

                                             
This wouldn't have been a title of a blog I'd have written ten years ago because although I've always leaned toward the Democrats, I rarely voted a straight ticket.

And I'll admit to a certain amount of conflict with the Dems. I am not a Progressive. I've never been able to stand Bernie Sanders. I think he's as much the reason Hillary lost the presidency as Russia or WikiLeaks or Jim Comey.

I'm more a middle-of-the-roader but I do think the D's made a mistake by leaving the same old tired politicians in power for so long and not giving enough space for their younger ones to grow. I do think the energy is on the more liberal side of the party.

Having said that, I believe that we should promote whoever is the best fit for their district - conservative Democrats in conservative districts and lefty Democrats in lefty districts. I want to win, however, we have to do it.They can fight policies out among themselves when they are in control again.

Yes, I will forgive Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heide Heidkamp if they vote for Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. What difference does it make? Trump is going to get one of his picks and they are almost interchangeable so why risk a Senate seat in a losing cause?


In the next few years, I would like to see the DACA kids get a chance for citizenship. I would like to see veterans who fought for their country to stop being deported. I would like to see a humane immigration policy. I would like to see a more selective "Muslim ban" instead of one that judges all members of a particular religion the same. I would, ideally, like to see Medicare for all. I would like to see the minimum wage increased to a living wage. I would like to see us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to see fewer tax breaks for rich people and corporations and more for the middle class or at least to demand the corporations share their cuts with their employees, rather than stock buy backs and investor dividends. I would like us to go back to free trade. I would like to see us re-join the Paris Accords, the TransPacific Partership, the Iran Agreement, NAFTA. I would like to see us acknowledge our allies in NATO and the G7 as our friends and not our foes. I would like to quit playing kissy-face with the Russians and North Koreans.

I might get some of these things from Democrats; I won't get any of them from Republicans. The current Republicans aren't the R's I once knew. They cower in their corners in the face of Donald Trump's tweets. They have turned all their previous principles upside down. Deficit hawks - ha! Free-traders - ha! America - the leader of the free world - ha!

Their hypocrisy in the way they treated Obama versus the way they toady to Trump is awesomely awful.

So, I will vote for Democrats from the top to the bottom of the ballot. I will vote for them no matter their basic political philosophies - conservative, moderate, liberal or progressive, old or young, black or white, male or female, straight or gay.

I will be voting a straight Democratic ticket until our politics returns to normal and Republicans decide they are patriots rather than partisans.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

It's Looking More and More Like Treason

                                                 

If I had even the slightest morsel of doubt that perhaps I was over-reacting about Donald Trump and just maybe he and his followers weren't as bad as I thought, his performance in Helsinki and their response wiped out that sliver of doubt. I'm 72 and while I think other presidents have sometimes shown misjudgment (the Iraq War being a prime example) none of them has ever disgraced and demeaned our country like this one. None of them has ever purposely thrown our allies under the bus. (My own personal feeling about the reason for his animus toward Therese May and Angela Merkel is that he has absolute contempt for women and assumes all females are weak by definition).

Putin bounced and strutted to the stage in Helsinki like a cocky rooster who'd just screwed a hen. He grinned from ear to ear. He looked like a happy, contented man.

Meanwhile. America's own president was submissive and groveling, agreeing with everything Putin said, like thinking that his idea to send our investigators to Russia to work with Putin's KGB interrogators to "figure out" who hacked our election. This is a suggestion so far beyond the pale that it is almost impossible to believe an American leader could think that way. This while every single intelligence agency we have believe it is an incontrovertible fact that Russia is the culprit.

That Mueller just indicted 12 KGB agents in the hacking probe three days before and that Trump was briefed about it before the meeting, makes it infinitely worse.

And why did Trump insist on meeting Putin alone, without even note takers? Why did he not even want his advisors to know what went on? Did he not realize that the U.S. would then be reduced to obtaining the information from the Russians. Best case scenario, it would be a "he said, he said" so that no one could dispute what Putin said with any authority. But it wasn't a "he said, he said", it was a "both agreed" situation and Trump himself hasn't released even a summary of what was talked about to his people.

And Jesus God, now Trump has invited Putin to the White House before the midterm elections! How freaking stupid are we?

And yet, I've been arguing on Facebook with Trump cult members who are totally behind Trump. What makes me the angriest is the false moral equivalency they try to draw between America and Russia.

"Well, we're not so great either," they claim. According to them, our entire government is a hotbed of deep state corruption including Democrats, Republicans, intelligence agencies, the FBI, the Justice Department and of course, the fake media, who are acting to bring down their adored Trump.

This is all bullshit of the highest order. We don't imprison or kill our political opponents (despite what the Trump nuts say about Hillary).  We don't imprison or kill journalists. We don't beat up citizens who disagree with the government or put them in labor camps. We don't go to other countries and poison people with chemical weapons. We don't invade other countries and claim them for our own.

The right seems to like America less and less as the Trump administration goes on. He has successfully convinced a large swath of us to turn against our own nation. In the war of Trump (and Russia) against the U.S., they are on Trump's side. They despise the Democrats why more than they despise Putin.

Trump leads his fanatics around by the nose with a web of pathological lying. Putin leads Trump around by the nose with a web of pathological lying. Like attracts like.

I hate saying this but it begins to look more and more like treason to me.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Put My Mind At Ease, Conservatives

                                                 

I'm really asking these questions respectfully to try to learn why I'm so nervous and you're not. Do you have answers that I don't have? If you do, please share them.

I've been anxious about Russia from the very beginning. Put all those questions about collusion and obstruction aside. For the sake of argument, I'll accept your claim that it is all baseless.

But why did several Republican senators spend the Fourth of July in Moscow meeting with their Russians counterparts with no Democrats, no press, no official agenda or transcript of what was discussed. Does that make you even a little bit uneasy? What do you think it was all about? 

And, reportedly when Trump meets with Putin in July, he wants a one on one meeting - again with no press and no schedule of what they will discuss. We will be dependent on Moscow to tell us what went on as we have been every time the two leaders have met. Why is that do you suppose?  I'd sort of like to be informed, wouldn't you?

The Republicans changed exactly one thing on their platform - a statement to go lighter on Russia regarding its attack on Ukraine.

Since the election, our government has acceded to everything Putin had on his wish list. There is a huge divide between America and its allies. It appears Trump is ready to pull us out of NATO, the alliance that has kept mostly peace in the world since the end of World War II. Is that a good thing, do you think? Do you really believe Putin and Kim Jung Un are better and more reliable friends to us than Germany, France, England and Canada?

Putin wants to divide us from our traditional allies in every way. Trump cooperatively withdrew America from the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Human Rights Commission, The Iran Agreements. The negotiations on NAFTA have broken down. All these have been replaced with...nothing. And yet, with not nearly the safeguards to ensure compliance as the Iran Agreement, Trump assures us we can rest easy because North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.

Trump thinks Russia should be allowed back in the G7 although he was rejected for taking Crimea and attacking Ukraine and that hasn't changed. Trump is talking about letting bygones and simply allowing Russia to keep Crimea.

He called to congratulate Putin even though everyone knows his "election" was a sham. Putin is a dictator, not an elected leader.

Trump didn't want to impose sanctions on Russian and refused until Congress forced his hand. Even then, he waited a year.

Please assure me, Conservatives, that you honestly see nothing to be alarmed about in all of this...and please explain why you feel that way.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

....Or Maybe Both

                                                

I have watched my country teeter on the abyss for several years. Of course, Trump couldn't do it alone. It took the Republicans to pave the way of destroying our democracy for him to bring it to this point. It began when they impeached Clinton for partisan reasons. It went on when they stated their goal of obstructing Obama on everything he tried to do including government shutdowns, threats to default on our debt, threats to push us over a fiscal cliff, sequesters. We were almost ready for Trump by the time Mitch McConnell refused to give Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing and instead held up the confirmation process for a year. It continued when they spent years and millions of dollars to try to undermine Hillary (which they successfully did although they found zip in the end) and now they are in a hurry to complete the Mueller investigation - go figure). .

So then we get Trump with a little help from his friends and even not-so-much his friends - James Comey and Vladimir Putin. In the time since, the Republicans have changed their minds on everything they always said they believed in. The national debt is soaring. Forget free trade - now they love tariffs. Any attempt to cooperate on a comprehensive immigration bill is dead on arrival.In fact, any attempt to cooperate with the other side on anything is extinct.

And it has been the same with evangelical Christians. Jesus? Who's that? Remember how they once said "character counts"?  Forget that nonsense, that was only when it was the other guy. Now they love them some amoral, vile, filthy-mouthed cheater. Both the lilly-livered Republicans and the hypocritical Christians have been conned and they probably know it. I believe they have willingly traded integrity for power.

That power will have been immensely consolidated if Trump gets to choose a Supreme Court justice and I don't see how the Dems can stop him. Ironically, this justice will probably end up voting on issues that arise from the Russian investigation and do you think Trump isn't intensely aware of that? (Pardons anyone?) How about that not confirming a justice during election years. Oh, no, now we discover that only applies to presidential election years. The people's voices don't count in mid-term elections.

There are lots of things that disturb me deeply about Trump. How he is withdrawing us from our previous leadership positin in the world, for instance (which is to Russia and China's benefit). How he takes us out of negotiated agreements with no replacement plan whatsoever - the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Human Rights Commission, the Iran Agreement. Possibly NAFTA will be next. He just leaves them hanging out there with no solution in sight.  His penchant for a trade war which he says can be easily won though history tells us that not only aren't they easy to win, they can't be won at all. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson moves part of its work over seas, GM lays off, Our soybean farms are losing money. A nail factory in Missouri shuts down an assembly line for lack of parts...and on and on. And the Trump Cult eats it up. This is their idea of Making America Great Again. I despise the cruelty of our Zero Tolerance immigration policy and well, just the viciousness and deceit of this administration generally. I stress about the environmental rollbacks that will send us back to acid rain and polluted air and dirty water and despoiling national parks and shrinking national monuments. I hate his corruption, nepotism and the way he uses the White House as a gravy train that pours money directly into the Trump coffers. For example, he shouldn't even have anything to do with Trump International Hotel as there is a regulation that government property isn't to be leased to government officials. Trump brushes off these nit-picky little rules as if they don't apply to him and he must be right.

But one thing worries me more than all the others. New Congresspeople and presidents can be voted in. Executive orders can be overturned. Laws can change. Even Supreme Court rulings can be overruled in time (that is probably about to happen with Roe V Wade and gay marriage).

No, it is virtually turning us over to the Russians that I'm most afraid of. Republicans used to hate Russia too but that is another thing they've changed their minds about. They dismiss the Mueller investigation - and in fact, do everything they can to trash Mueller, Rosenstein and Wray - none of them angry Democrats. Republicans all and appointed by Trump himself. They demand unconstitutional access into evidence from an on-going investigation. They threaten to impeach Rosenstein if he doesn't comply with their ridiculous orders.

From the beginning, it was pretty clear that Trump was in bed with Russia. So many in his campaign met with Russian officials and lied about it. They changed the Republican platform to please Putin. Michael Flynn was tweeting a Russian oligarch during Trump's Inaugural Address. Many high-up Russians got tickets to the inauguration as well as the private dinners held afterwards. Trump's son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with Russians in Trump tower to get dirt on Hillary, then lied about what they discussed (with Trump himself writing the false narrative). The Russians visit the Oval Office after Trump is elected and he tells them that he fired Comey and now the Russian problem is off his mind. Incidentally, he also divulges classified information we'd received from Israel. And Russian press only at this meeting only, no Americans. Jared Kushner talks to Russian about setting up a back channel with Russia in their embassy so our intelligence can't listen in.

Mueller has so far gotten 20 indictments, 5 guilty pleas, a former Trump campaign manager in jail but the Republicans pooh-pooh it all. They impugn the honesty and honor of the very foundations of our democracy- the Department of Justice, the legal system, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies.

Trump has to be be pushed to enforce the sanctions Congress imposed almost unanimously on Russia (back when Republicans still had a shred of loyalty to their country).

He meets with Putin privately - no Americans. We always have to find out about interactions between the U.S. and Russia through their media. We get the transcripts of their calls from Russia - even Fox isn't told!

Trump turns on our allies and wants to let Russia back into the G7. He is probably going to pull us out of NATO. He actually offers better trade deals to countries (i.e. France) if they leave the European union. These are all things Putin wants badly.

So why is Trump engaging in this treasonous behavior? I can only think of two reasons: 1) Russia is blackmailing him. This could very well be. Back when American banks refused to lend him any money because he was such a deadbeat businessman, Russian banks came to his rescue so they probably know a lot about his various financial deals and entanglements. Or 2) he has been promised a gigantic pay-off when he's done being president.

Pick your poison.








Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sickening to Watch

                                              

I liked Barack Obama. I thought he was an excellent president. Did I agree with him 100 percent of the time? No. Did I ever criticize him? Yes and you can go back into my blogs and see for yourself if you doubt me. Did I accept every word he said as the gospel on par with the Sermon on the Mount? Of course not. I have my heroes but I don't worship any of them (no, not even Hillary Clinton).


But this is how Trump's supporters see him - as just one step away from a God. They believe the most fantastical things if he tells them it is so. I had two people on Facebook just today tell me, they still believe Obama was a Kenyan-born Muslim. They still say "lock her up" without a smidgen of evidence against her of any criminal wrong-doing - and its not like the Republicans weren't searching every nook and cranny trying to find anything they could hang their hats on.

Yet, they totally dismiss the Mueller Investigation as a witch hunt despite reams of evidence, 20 indictments, five guilty pleas and a jailed former campaign manager. They shrug it all off as meaning nothing.

Trump can lie and lie and all you have to do to know it is watch his limited press availabilities on the White House lawn (he doesn't do real press conferences). He says one thing one day and the exact opposite the next and then watch his fans shift in a great wave to whatever he said most recently, never doubting his ever-changing statements.

This is the very definition of a cult - unquestioning loyalty and obedience. Trump says he envies Kim Jung Un because his people stand and wave when they see him. Ah, wouldn't it be nice to be a dictator?

Because Donald loves him some autocrats. The worst they treat their people, the better he likes them - Kim, Putin, Duterte, Xi. They're tough, don't you know. Meanwhile, our allies for the last 70 years are two-faced weaklings. Piss on Britain, France, Canada, Germany, the E.U., NATO. In the words of a Trump administration official, our new national motto is: "we're America, Bitch."

And our latest inhumane Trump policy to be ashamed of - snatching immigrant children out of the arms of their parents and putting them in detention centers, the latest of which will be a tent city in the 100 degree southern Texas heat. It was bad enough when Arpaio did it to adults but children?

Meanwhile, Republicans won't take him on. They are too frightened of his tweets. They might lose their cushy jobs if they criticize him! Anyway, they sold their souls for a Supreme Court Justice long ago. And evidently, the evangelicals can overlook a policy that would have made Jesus cry because they evidently want power more than salvation.

And then Trump bald-faced lies about his new policy, saying that it is the Democrats who initiated it, which it absolutely false.

But all he had to do it say for for it to become true to his brainwashed followers.

Trump is a cruel, corrupt person. You only had to watch the debates and see what fun he had demeaning his opponents to understand that we've seen it even more every day of presidency. Oddly, this is what the Trumpies love most about him. He mean and racist and anti-woman and he gives them permission to be the same. They know longer have to be "politically correct". They can say nigger if they want to....and many of them do.

It is really sickening to watch what has happened to our country under Trump and his robots..




Friday, June 8, 2018

Trump's Walls

                                                    

Donald Trump campaigned on the idea of a "big, beautiful wall". It was supposed to be a wall between Mexico and the U.S. That wall may or may not ever happen but he definitely has been engaged in wall building ever since he moved into the White House.

Unfortunately, the walls he's been so busily constructing are between different groups of Americans. He's built walls between whites and African-Americans, between whites and Latinos, between whites and Muslims, between men and women, between gays and straights, between conservatives and liberals. We are now divided into our own tribal groups and the obstacles between us are so high and so thick that we can't see through or around them.

Trump rules by fear and he, his followers believe, is the only one who can save us.

This president has divided us from our most trusted agencies of government - the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the Intelligence agencies. None of them can be relied upon to do the right thing anymore. They are all part of the nonsensical deep state. The administration trashes Robert Mueller, James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, all of whom have spent their lives in honored public service. All the judges who signed off on FISA court warrants are are guilty of deceit. John McCain was a traitor but it doesn't matter because he is almost dead anyway.

The Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt" although it has so far resulted in the indictments of 20 people and guilty pleas from five more for collusion/obstruction/or coordination with Russia.

Trump has divided us from our friends. He is at the G7 Summit in Canada as I write this. We are riven from our most staunch allies - Britain, France, Germany, Canada. Meanwhile, he believes Russia should be allowed back into the G7 (that used to be the G8) although Russia was ejected for invading Crimea and that hasn't changed). He also has worked a deal with China to save their giant telecommunications company though they were sanctioned for engaging in espionage against us. What is that all about?

Trump has deliberately built a wall between Americans and their most admired sports heroes even though he knows good and well that taking a knee never had anything to do with the national anthem or honoring our flag and soldiers.

On the other hand, Donald Trump has torn down some walls too. The once-unscalable wall between truth and lies is all but gone. So is the wall between corruption and the Rule of Law. Anything goes in Trump World and you only have to look at Head of the EPA, ScottPruitt, with his dozen ethics investigations, for the perfect example.

I have watched the gutless Republicans and my conservative friends disappear down the rabbit hole of conspiracy, following their president. It started with Obama not being an American and it has gone on from there. No matter what he says, they buy into it even though most of it is sheer lunacy. Obama was an American Christian. There is no witch hunt. There is no "deep state".

I have no idea how this will end but I don't think it will be in a good way for our democracy.




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. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Trump's "Worker-Friendly" De-regulations????



          


I am always asking my conservative friends (and believe it or not, I do have some) what that Donald Trump has done in the way of de-regulation they think is good for the working class. I say, "tell me five, hell, tell me three". He's signed hundreds, thousands even, so you'd think it would be easy to find three that are positive for the middle class. Not one person has ever answered me, not one. If you have some nominees, I'd be glad to hear them.

Here, I'll make it easy on you. You don't even have to do any research, just pick the ones you like.

- changing the law so that investment bankers no longer have to consider their clients as their first priority, but instead their shareholders. (Fiduciary Rule)

- making it easier for employers not to have to play overtime.

- allowing energy companies to release their coal and gas residue into streams and rivers.

- allowing energy companies to drill on every bit of the coastline of America, well, except for Florida where Mar-a-Lago is located.

- reducing the size of our two most recent national monuments (with many more under consideration for having land taken for mining and drilling.

- cutting back on the number of work safety inspectors.

- cutting back on the number of food safety inspectors.

- gutting almost every environmental program, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Powes act. Loosening the Clean and Efficient Auto standards.

- pushing legislation to allow employers to take employees' tip to distribute them as they please, including keeping them.

- loosening the rules on the big banks that almost bankrupted the country in 2008.

- relaxing the rules on what notoriously high interest rates payday lenders can charge (this was an Obama rule that had not yet gone into effect).

- allowing bears and wolves to be poisoned in their dens

- allowing hunters to bring back trophy elephants (this was dropped once but it is back under consideration.

- extending state flexibility on what is considered an "essential health benefit".

-ending Net Neutrality

- Rescinding Guidance Rules on arbitration on college campus assault.

- Rescinding Guidance Rules on Transgender issues.

- Re-interpreting rules on "Accidental Take" for Migratory Birds.

There are a few of them. There are many, many more if you want to look them up for yourself and tell me which ones you think are "worker friendly".

I'll write another blog about the answers  I get....but don't hold your breath.






Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Funeral Home? Are You Kidding? In a Black Neighborhood? Are You Kidding?

                                                     

My husband was not a perfect man by any stretch but one thing he definitely wasn't was racist. He learned that when he was a combat veteran in Vietnam. He said when you were in a jungle with people trying to kill you, the men who had your back, as you had theirs, were brothers, not colors.

When we first moved to Springfield, Illinois, the only place we could find to rent was a small, shabby, cockroach-ridden apartment. It was awful so of course, when we had a opportunity to rent an abandoned funeral home in a black neighborhood, we jumped at the chance. It was an interesting place to live to say the least.

The funeral home had been foreclosed and the previous owner had fled, leaving all the tools of his trade behind. In the basement, the embalming table sat under a single unshaded light bulb. There was a moat and a hose leading to a drain for the blood to run out, along with several large bottles of Ozmatone. There were trays of make up and nail polish and curling irons. In what used to be the coal room, were a bunch of robes and other types of clothing that I guess bodies were wearing when they came in. A wicker body basket sat in one corner. Most people shivered when they saw it, those who would go down. It was far from the spick-and-span, white tiled mortuary most of us think of.

On the main floor, all the chairs for funerals were pink and purple wicker. There was a raised floor for the casket to sit and an organ off to the side. John could ride his pedal car in huge circles. We had friends in two different bands then and we let them practice in this room so after we came, it was filled with instruments and mike stand and coils of wire. The place was loud with rock and roll several nights a week. I guess those were our hippy days though we both worked and were clean-cut types....and we didn't do any drugs.

The second floor contained 3 apartments, one of which we lived in. The third floor had two larger apartments. We roamed through them all. We would have loaned them out to friends but few people wanted to stay there....even for free rent.

We were probably the only white people for six blocks in either direction but it didn't bother us and all our neighbors were welcoming. It wasn't a ghetto but a tidy, well-taken-care of lower-middle class neighborhood.  When John (he was a toddler then) and I would walk the three blocks to the little store, the old ladies would come and talk to us and usually send him on his way with a cupcake or cookies.

Jim used to drink with the guys in the bar down on the corner. It was a rough place (there was no sense calling the police if a fight broke out because they would not go there after dark) but they treated him the same as everyone else. They applauded his skill in shooting craps.

That was in 1970. Later, America was proud to think it had become a post-racial society but of course, it wasn't true. The most virulent bigotry had simply gone underground, as evidenced by the vicious way so many treated our first black president, making up ridiculous conspiracy theories so they could justify hating him, one of the worst being our current president.

I really think the latent racism came on strong with the killing of Trayvon Martin and escalated from there. Most conservatives, including Donald Trump, did not even want to try to understand where the "take a knee" or "black lives matter" movements came from.

I truly do not know where we go from here.