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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

America' 'Liddle" President.


It's hard to know what to write about on any given day during the Trump administration. There's so much chaos and confusion (some of it would be comedic if it weren't so serious). You finally pick a subject and complete your first paragraph when you're alerted that some new, even bigger thing has happened.

Like the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today. And it's not that I have any great affection for Rex Tillerson or that I don't think presidents shouldn't get to choose their own staff - it is his nasty, petty, gutless way of doing it. Trump actually wanted to be even more slimy by calling the SOS when he was in Africa but I guess he was talked out of it by John Kelly so he called just after Tillerson arrived back home (Trump, of course, was winging his way across the country on Air Force One). That is about the same as Trump did with James Comey. He fired him when he was in California and was pissed because the F.B.I. let him ride back to Washington on a government plane. For a man who made his fame and fortune saying, "you're fired!", he prefers the cowardly way of "termination by tweet" in real life instead doing it face-to-face.

This is what I despise most about Trump although I loathe many things about him - his lying, his policies, his greed, his corruption - but it is his penchant for humiliation that really stokes my fire of dislike. I hated it during the campaign when he found demeaning little nicknames for his opponents. I hated it when he targeted Hillary with Crooked Hillary and then his abject fans obediently and gleefully shouted, "lock her up!" Now we're getting to see it all again in triple time because he's back on the campaign trail.

This is not the behavior of a president with any grace whatsoever, but, of course, it has continued into his administration. Hardly a member of his staff or politicians on either side of the aisle have escaped his scathing mockery. Yet most of them have swallowed the indignities to which he subjects them without complaint. When you're in this position, do you eventually build up a tolerance to being abused, sort of like battered wives, or is there some underground site most of us don't know about in which the Trump administration put an ad - "only masochists need apply"?

Trump is my idea of a real thug, not those black kids in pants pulled down to their knees singing rap in the ghetto. Yes, they can be violent and mean but they have no real power over most of us. Trump has power and he wields it with brute force. It's power that affects millions.

And I think he enjoys it. If he'd been at Abu Ghraib, he'd have been the first in line with the leash and the feces, speaking of which, America is probably on target to get back into the torture business with the new head of the C.I.A., who essentially ran the torture program under George W. Bush. Trump will probably want to be there when they waterboard the first prisoner.

I don't know that he enjoys embarrassing his wife but he certainly doesn't seem to do anything to try to avoid it. Poor Melania, I bet he wrote such an iron-clad pre-nuptial agreement to benefit himself that she'd probably lose custody of Barron if she opens her mouth or tries to leave. Not that I think he wants the kid, who he treats like a complete non-entity, but he'd fight her just out of vindictiveness.

He uses DACA kids as political pawns, not really giving a damn what happens to the Dreamers. He pays lip service to kids who have experience a massacre in their school, then backs down completely in favor of the N.R.A. agenda.  Come on, Dianne Feinstein, didn't you know that's how it would end?

Trump is just pure mean and that's the way it is. And what's even worse is that his fawning followers love it about him. The more hateful he is, the more they cheer him on. They see him as strong when he's really small-minded and weak. What does this say about them?