photo

photo
photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Dream. 9/20/20

 We lost a national treasure when the light dimmed and quietly went out in the sharp, intelligent eyes of Justice Ginsburg. In an extraordinarily dangerous time, her passing made our path just a little darker and our loads just a little heavier. 

She always told the truth and always championed those without a voice. Depending on where you were on a variety of hot-button issues, you either adored her or abhorred her, but there was never a lukewarm response to the Notorious RBG. 

RBG passed away two days ago.

I did not sleep that night. I tried, but I just couldn't. Sadness, trepidation, the accelerated overall anger, worry and disgust of the last four years of a nation deep in the throes of a DJT presidency and global pandemic, all overwhelmed me and I just couldn't do it. I was exhausted with grief, but could not settle into blessed unconsciousness. 

Last night I slept, and had an odd and random but starkly lucid and detailed dream. One of those dreams where you are sure you've been at it all night but it was probably only a few minutes. One of those dreams where you wake up and think, "Wait. It wasn't finished" and you get up, pee, and go back to sleep even though it's already time to get up...and the dream unpauses and continues. 

I don't know if my dream had one thing to do with the death of RBG or anything other than a subconscious desire to turn back time. Normally, this is a bad idea, since a huge chunk in the center of my life was the stuff of nightmares. Only the first 14 years and these last 25 years have been worth a damn, other than the birth of my elder two children. I'll happily claim and keep those. And part of these last 25 years have been overshadowed by the deadly health issues my husband (finally got a good one and that's the one who gets smited? That's some Grade A bullshit right there.)

But the dream was insistent enough that I messaged my brother to see what happened to the house in the dream and powerful enough that it brought back a lot of memories and history and pesky enough that it's 5:45pm and it's still right in the front of my brain. 

So, while other people much more eloquent and much closer to the Force of Nature that was Ruth Bader Ginsburg are writing beautiful eulogies to her, you get to hear about my dream.

Because for some reason, my anger has been a little less volatile today; my despair a little softer. I have no idea why. Regardless, here you go.

Important background. From the time I was two till the time I was twelve, we lived in a little rent house on a shady street in the blue collar town I was born in. It was an older house, probably built in the 30's or 40's, with a front porch and big trees in the front yard. There was a living room that flowed into a dining room that flowed into the kitchen. Two bedrooms and one bathroom were off to one side, entered from the dining room. Most of the dining room was taken up by my mom's spinet piano and a standing bird cage with a parakeet in it.

There was a one car garage and a tiny back yard with a big stockade fence along the back lot line. This fence was lined with hollyhocks that came up every year. The north side of the house was lousy with lily of the valley. The other side of the fence was the yard of a huge old tudor-style house whose lot took up fully half of the city block, with the eight other smaller homes and their tiny yards clinging to it like a litter of puppies.

Our town is the original home of companies like SC Johnson, JI Case, InSinkErAtor, and Western Publishing, as well as Hamilton Beach. Lots of factories and lots of wealthy factory owner families. 

The Wustums had two daughters who both got married around the same time- each to another wealthy family's sons. Mom and dad Wustum told their daughters that they would build each of them a home as their wedding gift. One chose a gracious white columned Southern style home and the other a rambing tudor home. They were across the street from each other. This was back in the 20's, so by the time we were renting our tiny house, both couples were at or near retirement age. 

All of us kids had been told (by older kids in the neighborhood) that Old Man Cushman in the tudor house was a mean old man who yelled at kids who dared go into his yard and made trouble for them with their parents. By then, the house was well-covered up in vines and the yard was a mature jungled wilderness. Off to one side, he had beehives. It was a dark and forbidding hulk.

When I was 4 years old, I discovered a hole in the fence in between the hollyhocks just big enough for me to squeeze through. I'd been watching Old Man Cushman tend his garden and he had a big fat aged Labrador Retriever who followed him around. 

I liked dogs. 

I did not have a dog.

I wanted to pet Old Man Cushman's dog.

Old Man Cushman was (I knew) very wealthy, but I never saw him in anything other than one of those one piece worksuits mechanics wear. His was tan. 

He glowered at me from under bushy eyebrows and over grizzled whiskers and asked what I wanted.

"I want to pet your dog."

I petted the dog and then asked what he was doing. 

That was the beginning of many afternoons at the Cushman's. 

His yard was sectioned off in three main areas. There was an area for all of his many types of rose bushes, an area of lawn, of course, and my favorite...in the back under the trees and up to the fence, were about 20 different varieties of violets from all over the world.  Hanging from the tree nearest the house was Spanish moss that he brought inside every winter. 

I'd help (as much as a child helps) him in the garden, and then we'd go inside, where Mrs. Cushman (also very wealthy, remember) would be wearing her plain serviceable house dress and apron and would always have lemonade and some sort of fresh-baked cookies. 

In retrospect (actually it just hit me this morning) I can't help but wonder what the fuck my mom was doing during the times her 4 year old daughter disappeared from a tiny back yard??? I do know eventually, she made an official visit to be sure I wasn't being a pest, but really, mom? 

The house. Oh, the house. I loved the house. There was a formal living room and dining room, a butler's pantry that led through to the huge kitchen, a sweeping staircase that went upstairs to the master bedroom and connecting bathroom and three other bedrooms and a shared bathroom. Almost half of the second floor was a big open area that had been used as a play room, project room, movie room. In the attic were huge bundles of cedar shingles. When they'd built the house, Mr. Cushman had bought enough shingles to repair or replace the roof three times.

The Cushmans had traveled extensively and the house was filled with things from all over the world. If it was too rainy to garden, I'd help Mrs. Cushman dust all the accumulated bric a brac. 

Considering his fierce reputation, no one trick or treated at the Cushman's, even though they were always ready with name brand candy and Mr. Cushman dressed up as a mad scientist and put a spiked collar on the old Labrador. I always did, much to the horror of the rest of the neighborhood kids. They'd warn me not to- say he was a terrible crazy man who would probably yank me inside and kill me. I just rolled my eyes, skipped up to the cobwebbed and scary music adorned porch and ring the doorbell, then skip on back with my pillowcase full of candy. 

Eventually, my parents bought a house and we moved away. Mr. Cushman died and the Widow Cushman married the founder of SC Johnson and moved to his big house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) out on Wind Point on Lake Michigan. Both Mrs. Cushman's sister and brother in law passed away and their big white house was turned into an elegant funeral home. 

The big old tudor quickly passed from one family to another, with the price dropping each time. When my (first) husband and I were looking for houses, we went through the old Cushman Place. It was a wreck. The yard was a mess and there were no rosebushes left. The violets had been overrun by other weeds and been strangled out. The interior had not been kept up and neither had the roof; there were water stains on the ceilings and walls. 

The realtor said, "I have to tell you that no one stays here long because they say it's haunted." I just smiled and said, "It's OK. I know him." Then I looked at my husband and said, "It'll be fine as long as you're nice to me." Needless to say, he did not allow me to buy the house.

It was finally sold as a commercial building and was used as a law office for a while and then a beauty salon...things that did not require anyone to be there after dark. 

OK. All caught up. Now to my dream.

Ward and I had moved back to my hometown and had bought the old Cushman Place. It was still a wreck, but I was ready to bring it back to its old glory and grace. 

We had friends visiting us and I was giving them a tour, telling them the history of the house and the people who had built it. 

I can see it. Every detail, every leaded window and marble mantle. The mint green kitchen and forest green butler's pantry. Smell the cedar shakes in the attic even though they've long been replaced with standard shingles. Bring back the violets and hang out the Spanish Moss. Dust the mirrored and jeweled elephants from India and smell the fresh cookies out of the industrial-sized oven and eat them with my feet swinging off of the plastic-padded silver chair pushed up to the formica table. 

That was over half a century ago. 

And I can still feel the kindness and gentleness, the quiet manners of the Cushmans, who were the kind of people who couldn't stand pretention, or self-promotion, or the flaunting of excess in any form, and as I'm typing this I'm thinking maybe that's what that memory was for. 

To remind and reassure me that people like that still exist. Justice Ginsburg was one. With her tiny frame and plainly-styled hair, she would wear things that were classic, and understated, and perfect, just like she was. She spoke the truth quietly and without drama, but in a way that meant business, with serious intelligence and passion. 

The brash harpy who inhabits the Oval Office is not real. Nothing about him, his family, or his belief system has lasting value. He's a storm to be weathered, and then he'll be gone. Nothing more. 

It's hard while we are in the middle of the insanity of America today to see it, but our nation is still full of compassion, and intelligence, and steady justice.  

The storm will pass, and take with it the dregs of what too many thought was strength and power, but is really cowardly cruelty and empty pride. 

It's going to get worse before it gets better, and we will always have to be on guard for the safety of those around us. We need to push back against the darkness, and darkness has a way of creating a great ugliness when it's challenged. 

We need to keep pushing, not out of hatred for what is now with us, but with a never-ending determination to get to the other side.

*Photo of the old Cushman Place, now a beauty parlor. Thank you, Mr. Cushman. I love you.





Sunday, July 5, 2020

Hindsight is 20/20...

Yeah, I know. Lots of people are saying what we *should* have done here in the US to keep Covid-19 under control. It's an easy, armchair quarterback sort of thing.

But I'ma do it anyway.

There are two things that we did wrong if we wanted buy-in from the Average American.

Number One: Lie. Oh, we'd *like* to think that telling Joe Public the truth is the best way to proceed with something this serious, but I'm here to tell you, from deep in the right nostril of Trump Country, that that is a woefully hilarious idea. Because here's the thing.

You cannot tell Joe and Karen Public USA to do Jack Shit "to help others". Cannot. Because deep in his/her heart of hearts, they really don't care. Why do you think SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED COLD DEAD HANDS rules here when it clearly should have been disarmed, patted on the head, and delivered to the nearest mental hospital after the VERY FIRST SCHOOL SHOOTING?

They don't care what happens to other people. This is why all the comments that all boil down to, "I don't care if you want to wear a mask, but you can't tell me what to do. If you are in the high risk group, *you* should stay home. I'm not living my life in fear. You do you and I'll do me, boo. Your fear is not my problem." Sure, anyone with a heart the size of A VIRUS understands that's some straight-up selfish as hell bullshit right there, but this is America, and that's a celebration of freedom, doncha know.

So the number one thing we needed to do is lie our asses off. "Everyone needs to wear a mask to protect THEMSELVES. <<< This, they understand. This is a cause they can get behind. If it had been framed like that, every 2nd Amendmenter would have a mask pouch on their holster. I guarandamntee it. "Protecting yourselves" is literally why we have more goddamn guns in this nation than people. "Wear a mask. Wear it everywhere- to the grocery store, Walmart, church, you never know where that terrorist virus is hiding!!!"

Number Two: And this is one that amazes me, considering we have a Very Stable Genius in the Oval Office. At the first whiff of a *possible* pandemic, DJT should have hit the brakes on every Chinese and Mexican factory that manufactures MAGA hats and switched them over to making MAGA MASKS. HOLY SHIT, DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH FUCKING MONEY HE COULD HAVE MADE OFF OF THIS THING??? Sure, still blame the Chinese, or the young people, or the libtards for the pandemic, but THOSE MAGA MASKS WOULD HAVE FLOWN OFF THE SHELVES, MAN.

I thought he was some sort of financial guru with a "Very. Big. Ah-brain", for fuck's sake.

That's it.

Those two things done the first week of March would have had us open and running again on May 1. Trump supporters would be happily wearing their MAGA masks straight thru to election day, even if they didn't need to anymore because FUCK YOUR FEELINGS, LIBTARDS.

But we didn't. Instead, we have "leadership" that just in the last few days said, "No, I'm not against masks. If people want to wear them that's fine. I have one I wore the other day. It was dark black" (as opposed to pastel black) "and I didn't look bad in it. I kind of looked like the Lone Ranger." Setting aside that the mask the Lone Ranger wears is OVER HIS EYES, that was the most pro-mask statement ever uttered in this whole thing.

And, we have a population that *despises* anything that smacks of "the greater good", running like scalded hogs at the idea of anything that "socialist". You flat cannot appeal to this mindset by saying, "You wear a mask to protect me and I'll wear a mask to protect you", because they don't give a shit about you. Really. They don't. Not because they are terrible people (altho, I've lost *a lot* of goodwill towards my fellow American since March), but because it's not in their upbringing or wiring to do so.

In America, everyone takes care of themselves FULL STOP. Work hard, grab your bootstraps by the short hairs and haul yourself up that ladder. Don't ask for a helping hand, because if I help you, you will never be independent. It's actually harmful to you if I help you. OF COURSE THAT'S FUCKED UP. But that's America.

And because of that, we will NEVER do anything "to help others" unless there's a reward for doing so, and "avoiding a deadly pandemic" is not good enough.

What do they think we are? A nation of suckers?


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Rest of the World Wonders if America Has Had Enough, Yet...

Why is America struggling like a pissed-off snapping turtle on its back biting at its own feet with this pandemic? The rest of the world is watching in horror at what we are *doing to ourselves*, ya'll. It's actually pretty easy to answer if you look at the way our society is set up *on purpose*. We have NO universal health care. Health care is still considered something you only deserve if you can afford it, and/or something intrinsically tied to your employment (which literally kills 80% of entrepreneurship in this nation, but that's another discussion). So, there is NOTHING in place to care for everyone at a national level. Nothing. We have damn few workers' rights, meaning that if our boss says, "Come to work in the middle of a pandemic and I *might* provide a little bit of PPE" you have to go to work, because we have no... ...universal basic income. No safety net that will catch us if we are out of work for any reason.  Other countries are spending WAY LESS per capita and taking care of small businesses AND workers who are staying home by paying them up to $2,000 a MONTH, not a one-time check for $1200 that some didn't even get plus some PPP bullshit loans that went to mostly huge companies. WE SPENT MORE AND GOT LESS FOR THAT SHIT, YA'LL. So, what's the deal? The deal is, every other nation has the mindset that we all take care of each other and everyone is better off. They already have, built into their psyche, a belief in community and when they vote, they vote FOR this stuff, knowing that it will benefit everyone, EVEN THEM. It's not "government overreach controlling everything" like Turtleface McConnell said this morning about a police reform bill that he promises "will go nowhere in the Senate". The people decide what is important to their entire society to thrive- health care for everyone, strong social safety nets, public education thru college...and then they DIRECT THEIR GOVERNMENT to do these things...and if they don't, they get voted out and someone who will do it gets voted in. It's not "sheeple giving up all their rights" bullshit. The bullshit is people in THIS country who are so damn selfish and STUPID about "individual liberties" that they REFUSE to save themselves and their loved ones during a damn PANDEMIC because "the government can't make me do anything I don't want to." Our ridiculous fantasy about "rugged individuality" has been killing us almost since day One of our nation. That's why. Americans have such a twisted and perverted idea of "freedom" that we have been poorer, less healthy, and die sooner than people almost anywhere else for DECADES NOW. That's by design, ya'll. It's the only way American capitalism can survive, by keeping most of us working hand to mouth with no savings and no time off to THINK ABOUT WHAT IT IS DOING TO MOST OF US. We have been sold a bill of goods that we believed, and a pandemic has opened that shiny package up to reveal the rotting stench of the truth. The truth is, "hard work, elbow grease and bootstraps" don't mean shit. If it did, every American out there working 3 jobs to get by and still not have a cent in savings SHOULD be rich. The truth is, we will not survive this "little blip in our history" unless we make drastic changes to how we feel about each other and how this nation is run. Because lissen here, ya'll. The economy was NOT great "until this pandemic thing". MOST of us could not survive 3 months without income, including businesses big and small. THAT'S NOT GREAT. An economy that shatters after less than a month was NEVER strong. The same people who are telling us the pandemic is over and the economy is going to come roaring back by the end of the year are *not* looking out for the average American. They. Are. Lying. Too many people still believe them. More and more are not. More and more are realizing that they've been lied to about everything, and they are pissed. It's about damn time. The protests we are seeing now are not going away. Even in super-regressive areas like East Texas, the protests are not going away, and they are expanding to other actions, other ways to effect the changes we need if we are to survive. Ironically, Covid-19 *may* be the only thing that saves us. As a nation, the *people* are exploding over *everything* that's fucked up here...and it's a LOT, on all levels. Once we realize that it's ALL RELATED, things can start happening in the right direction. It's all related. Racism, poverty, income inequality, access to education and health care, social safety nets, the enduring and never-ending exhaustion most of us feel every damn day. So. Will a pandemic and a public uprising turn this shit around? Or will we die upside down in the sun, mad as hell and chewing off our own feet?

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Our Nation is on Fire During a Pandemic

I'll just get this out of the way. Donald Trump is not the cause of Covid-19.

Covid-19 falls into the category of "shit just happens" and also "every so often, a germ comes along to remind humans that they are basically meat-sacks that walk upright and have car keys but are really no different than any other meat-sack organism on Earth".

So, it was going to happen no matter who was POTUS. Because germs don't give a fuck what your politics are or what country you live in or what title is engraved on your desk plate. He could have 100% made what's happening in the US because of Covid-19 100% better than it is, but he's not a leader, or a scientist, or a thinker. He's basically much more meat-sacky than the rest of us meat-sacks. For instance, he needs to wear a damn mask. It's not hard and it does two things: It provides a  *modicum* of protection against the virus, and, more importantly, it reminds us to not touch our faces and is a reminder to us and those around us to personal-distance.

But, he's not wearing a mask. Neither are a lot of the Red State governors, making wearing a mask to protect against a pandemic "a political statement". So, this country is already divided between people who take a global pandemic seriously...and those who don't. They don't think we need to do anything differently and are all kinds of pissed-off about business closures and limitations and any sort of inconvenience at all. So, there's that.

Now, we have the *latest* death of a black man literally under the knee of a white cop. On film. The entire world has now watched George Floyd die over and over again. That's caused protests all over the nation. Funny thing about that, though. These protests are peaceful until dark. Then, a different crowd shows up and the violence begins.

City after city is realizing that it's *not* the black population who are setting things on fire and breaking windows. It's white guys who are armed. They are not local to the places they are destroying and they are targeting the very places those neighborhoods need to survive: Grocery stores, pharmacies, small businesses, public buildings...

The White House and its minions want you to believe these are "Antifa", but that's bullshit. I live in the South. I live in Texas (the state that threatens to secede every few years). I live in an area where there are FIVE chapters of the KKK within 50 miles of me. I know that because they *publicly advertise* for members.

These assholes, these White Supremacists, this is their moment. This is what they've been waiting for.

Think about it.

I mean, they've always been here. But public sensibility made them hide under their white sheets and in their enclaves in the forest for decades.

Then, a black man was elected president of the United States.

For eight years, that chapped their asses like nothing else. Obama was a burr under their saddles that festered and burned.

Then...President Trump. The man who made racist comments *on the day he announced his candidacy* and who has never stopped soft-pedaling his response to anything these assholes did or said. Nazis in Charlottesville? Very fine people. He announced that he would be the "law and order" president and unless you live under a rock, you know what that means.

Trump validated their feelers and gave them permission to come out into the open.

All the "Open (insert state name here)" protests? Where brave patriotic Americans gather with their favorite AR's dressed in camo and their Confederate Flag underpants? That's them. Behind all those rallies are White Supremacist groups itching for a "Revolution" where they can "take back" their country once and for all from...well. You know. They actually saw a global pandemic as an opportunity to initiate a civil war...and their president egged them on. He's either evil incarnate or dumb as a sack of wet mice. I honestly don't know which it is from day to day.

Both Trump and the White Supremacists are labeling anyone wearing a mask as a "libtard snowflake" and now the president has re-tweeted a video saying "the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat", literally targeting anyone wearing a mask to avoid getting sick. What a windfall for the White Supremacists and their desire to actually and for real stomp out the liberals.

When George Floyd died, these groups hit the jackpot.

All they had to do (they thought) was to show up in *every* mid to large sized city where there were protests, wait till dark, and then...light 'er up, Bubba! Luckily, most cities are already onto this grand plan. Our president is desperately trying to tag this violence on Antifa, but there is NOT ONE GOOD REASON Antifa would set neighborhood businesses on fire. Antifa is literally "anti-fascist". Police departments where bad cops are protected? Yes. Homes of the cops who kill citizens? Of course.

But, Antifa would not destroy essential businesses in a black neighborhood. You'd have to hate black people to do that. Get it, now?

Communities of color are being hit the hardest by Covid-19. They tend to be essential workers and may or may not have access to PPE or the support of their employers to get and use any. They are the most likely to be laid off or fired because of the pandemic. They have less access to health care than a lot of other Americans.

The protests we are seeing from these communities and their allies are a result of...everything. Everything. Because nothing changes for them. Systemically, nothing changes. Every time there's a horrific, impossible to ignore death there's an immediate outpouring of concern and revulsion, but nothing really changes.

Please stop to think about this:

Covid-19 has uncovered everything that is wrong with our nation from the fact that healthcare should never be tied to a job you can lose to the fact that if families and businesses cannot withstand a disruption of 60 or 90 days without going bankrupt WE DO NOT HAVE A STRONG ECONOMY.

*Heathcare should never be tied to a job you can lose*

*If families and businesses cannot withstand a disruption of 60 or 90 days without going bankrupt, WE DO NOT HAVE A STRONG ECONOMY.

Any time there is social disruption, two things happen.

There will be groups that rise up to destroy the fabric of society for their own personal gain and agenda, like the White Supremacists are doing now, with a president who is either knowingly or unwittingly encouraging them to do so. *Their goal is to gain or maintain control of the system to the detrement of others in the same system*.

There will be groups that demand change to the institutions and culture that leaves *any* of us vulnerable. People that believe this nation will never be truly great until no one is homeless, no one is hungry, no one is afraid of interactions with police, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Where people don't die of preventable things 100% because they don't have the money to fix them.

Until we are all free and equal, none of us are free and equal.

If my success depends on the subjugation of someone else, that is not success.

OK. What can each of us do?

-If you are able, protest. Be safe. Be aware of those around you. Get the hell out of Dodge before dark when the fucking White Supremacists start their shit.

-If you know any White Spremacists, don't humor them and don't coddle them. They aren't "just products of their time or culture". They learned how to use a cell phone, they can stop being racist. They need to know that what they believe is NOT OK. Never was. Never will be. It's not a matter of "freedom of speech" or "everyone is entitled to their own opinion". If your opinion is that other people are lesser than you are, your opinion is wrong. Period.

-Pay attention to your local and state officials. Let them know that if their policies are inappropriate, they will be voted out of office. If your police department has an abysmal record of abuses, call them out. When enough people *who are not their targets* make it known that their actions are NOT OK, especially if your PD depends on donations to survive, they will change. Tell your elected officials that you support laws and policies that make it easier for everyone to live and be healthy, not harder and then

-VOTE. Yeah, I know. Do it anyway, for those whose platforms you agree with.

-Speak up. I'm an older white woman. The danger to me from speaking up if I see something wrong is negligible to none. Don't walk by. Don't turn away. Whether it's a checker profiling someone at the checkout (asking for ID from a black person when none was required of the 3 white people before them) to police over-stepping their authority in their contact with a POC...watch. Be obviously watching the interaction. Don't be rude. But don't back down.

That last one should be your every day default attitude, since 99% of us can only shape and control our own immediate community.

"Holy cow, that would be exhausting to be so on edge and observant every day every time I'm out in public."

How do you think our black and brown fellow humans feel?

Our nation is on fire during a pandemic.

Which America will rise from the ashes and will you be proud of the role you played?












Sunday, May 17, 2020

Welp, America Had a Good Run...

I last posted here on March 20th, 58 days ago.

The death toll in the US from Covid-19 was 259. Two hundred fifty nine.

Right now? 58 days later?

Death toll in the US from Covid-19 is 90,330. Ninety thousand three hundred thirty.

Fucking hell. 


I'm done with the You Tube videos "proving" that the virus is a hoax, or if it's not a hoax it's a liberal plot to install commie socialism in this country and make us all slaves by chipping us with a fake vaccine and turn on the 5G towers and make us all zombies.

I'm done with complete mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers hollering that no one is dying; that it's all a Deep State Illuminati exercise to see how far they can get us to go. There are no bodies, no exhausted medical workers, this is all to see how acquiescent we will be. Today we are supposed to stay home and wear masks. Tomorrow maybe bunny ears. The next day? Load up on the rail cars to the showers, ya'll.

I'm done with whiny little crybabies refusing to wear masks and stay home because it's 'infringing on their freedoms' who have spent a decade calling those of us who want people to have health care and education "snowflakes".

I'm done with a "president" who stands up and says, "With or without a vaccine, America is BACK!" as Americans continue to die every single day. We're not "back", you insipid dolt, we are DYING. You can't "order" meat packing plants to stay open without making sure the workers are safe. Those cows and chickens won't gut themselves, Brainiac. You can't spitball bullshit "ideas" for dealing with a pandemic when you don't have a minute of medical training, especially on camera talking to a scared populous who is *depending on you for direction*. 

And I'm totally done with hearing, "Well...America needs to get back to WORK. This stay at home thing will ruin the economy!" and have real adult humans speculating on an *acceptable* death rate.

I get it. I get that people are out of work and out of money and losing their businesses that they've spent a lifetime building. I get it and *I understand it*. 

Because here's the thing.

That shit is completely by design. It's end stage capitalism BY DESIGN.

Back to the whole "liberal agenda" thing.

Once upon a time, America went thru a Great Depression. The president who got us out of that mess was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After it was over, with the horrors of that time fresh in his mind, FDR penned a "Second Bill of Rights", directing that unless America instilled those particular things, we would be wide open for another Great Depression. Those things were-
-the Right to a safe workplace that pays a living wage
-the Right to have access to health care, even if you can't afford it
-the Right to shelter. Homelessness is a neverending cycle.
-the Right to be free from business monopolies and unfair competition; things that kill small business
-the Right to a free and quality education
-the Right to social security, so if you get sick or are out of work, you will be OK financially

These things are what he felt were NEEDED if we were going to survive another huge upheaval in our nation...like a worldwide pandemic, for instance.

If we had done those things, we would be in a *much* better place than we are now; financially, physically, mentally. Individuals would have been protected from employment disruption and small businesses would have been strong and thriving, and have government (taxpayer) support in times of need. 

Liberals have been pushing for those things now for 76 years, and for 76 years Americans have been brainwashed by "conservatives" to believe those things are unaffordable, impractical, and downright unAmerican. 

Now, here we are.

We don't have any of those things we needed to have to weather this storm.

And the conservative base is giving the hairy eyeball to anything that smacks of "the liberal agenda", even a small thing like wearing masks in public to slow the spread of the virus (remember...259 dead 58 days ago and over 90,000 today) is sneered at and rejected as "government overreach". Holy hell, ya'll. The virus doesn't give two shits about your exaggerated belief in knowledge of our Constitution. 

It's not a "liberal plot to take advantage of the pandemic to make us all slaves".

Look around, for fuck's sake.

Our government is owned by corporations and special interests- these are the 1% conservatives. The people who are not "doctor or lawyer rich", but people who each hold more wealth than the rest of your entire state's population combined. That's why the majority of the last big tax law bill's benefits went to them and their corporations and not the rest of us or small businesses. Thank the 1% conservatives for that.

Our unions have been stripped of most of their powers and the EPA has been gutted, making workplaces more dangerous than ever. Thank the 1% conservatives for that.

Our minimum wage has not gone up since 2009. That's 11 years, ya'll. Meanwhile the cost of *everything* has doubled or tripled. Americans work longer hours for less pay than anyone else in the first world nations. Thank the 1% conservatives for that.

Americans are not lazy.
Amerians would not just sit at home on their asses without the fear of starvation and homelessness making them go to work.
Americans would not "run to the doctor every day" if health care was free.
1% conservatives want you to think that.

Look. Around.

What's happening in this global pandemic?

What will happen when (not if) our economy crashes, because it will, whether we stay home trying not to die or if we brave death and go back to work. Our economy is toast.

Because we don't have what FDR TOLD US WE NEEDED to avoid what is happening now, the other side of this looks like this:

-massive unemployment and tens of millions without the means to feed or house themselves and their families
-every single small business gone, dead and gone from the tanking of the economy

In the ruins of this nation, those of us who are left, will be forced to work for the places still standing- Walmart, Target, Exxon, etc. 

The end game of capitalism is for all the marbles to be in the hands of a very few, with the rest of us working for them for just enough to keep us from starving to death, but not enough to challenge them.

And we'll be able to thank the 1% conservatives for that.








I'd like to say it's not too late, that we could still change the ending. 

But I'm looking at a nation that cried together, no matter their individual politics, after 9/11 killed 3,000 Americans. As of today, we have lost 90,000 Americans (forty six 9/11s) in under two months, and fully a third of us are literally taking up arms and threatening the rest of us for trying to staunch the flow of death and denying it's even happening.

If we make it through this and come out the other side into anything remotely resembling a hopeful future for 99% of us, it will have to be with an entirely different economic model; one we should have had three quarters of a century ago.

Our window of opportunity is closing fast. Do we have the stomach to stand up to ignorance and greed? The pandemic pushed the capitalism end game to a more abrupt and stark finish than was probably expected, but it also thrust us into a unique position of freedom.

Our economy is fucked, our employment is disappearing, and we're facing literal death unless we do something immense and immediate to help ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our local businesses. What else could we possibly lose?

1% conservatives have spent several decades grooming their base into a squirrely, suspicious, armed mass who hold that they alone are the only patriots, and the rest of us are commie pinkos who Hate America. Will we *allow* them to endanger the rest of us? Because that's what it's come to.

Do we have the balls to do what FDR directed us to do 76 years ago?





 










Friday, March 20, 2020

Dangerous Times

Oh, sure. There's that global pandemic going around. And that's something everyone needs to take very seriously. Stay the fuck at home if you can. Stay the fuck at home if it's inconvenient. If you have to go out, pretend you're on a Mad Max mission: Carry your hand sanitizer and use it before you leave your car and after you get back into it. Do what you need to do as far as shopping and shit (staying as far from other people as you can without actually lobbing your debit card at the cashier from the end of the conveyer belt), and get the fuck home. Then...stay the fuck home.

Let's not lose sight of something, though.

There are *way* too many people saying, "Now is not the time for politics. We need to all get behind the president so we can help our country through this pandemic!" which is a nice thing to say, but invariably, it's followed with, "The president is doing all he can to help the nation and has been doing everything possible" which is pure, unadulterated, grade A, unicorn-glitter-covered bullshit.

Pure, unadulterated, grade A, unicorn-glitter-covered bullshit.

Fact: Our president inherited an actual Pandemic Response department at the CDC and he fired them, saying, "I'm a businessman. They are just sitting around and wasting money. If we need them, we can call them back."

Fact: Our President's own administration did a pandemic simulation that played out eerily like what we are now seeing in real life. He did nothing.

Fact: Our President knew in *December* that this was going on and was advised to start making plans to protect the American people. He did nothing.

Fact: When Covid-19 began disrupting China, and people in the medical community started ringing the alarm bells about it, he dismissed them as being liberals trying to make him look bad and that this was going to be the "new liberal witch hunt hoax".

Fact: When it started spreading, our President still downplayed the danger, claiming it was "just a cold" and the liberals were trying to make him look bad. He said America had "only 15 cases and by next week there will be zero."

Fact: He refused tests that WHO offered to the US, delaying any widespread testing here.

Fact: Even after it was clear Covid-19 was, indeed, here in the US and spreading quickly, he continued to downplay the danger, saying, "We have it completely under control".

These are facts. Everyone in the nation watched them play out and they are forever saved on footage and in tweets from the President himself.

But now, now, our President stands up before god and everyone, insisting that he was the first one to call it a pandemic, that he knew what was going on months ago, and that he knows more about disease processes than anyone and "even the doctors are amazed at how much I know".

As of today, right now, there are over 19,000 *known* cases of Covid-19 and almost 250 deaths.* Three days ago there were 2,500 cases and less than 50 deaths. I say *known*, because we are still not testing in any sensible manner. I just this minute watched the President of the United States say he didn't think it was necessary to install any federal guidelines to stop the spread of this virus; he's leaving it up to the states to deal with and many states are leaving it up to local authorities to deal with.

That's horseshit. It's not going to do fuck-all to control this.

Back to the "We need to put aside politics and get behind the President" attitude and why it's so dangerous.

*Our President has proven over and over again that he cannot inspire anything but fear and hatred.

*Our President has proven over and over again that he is bullheadedly ignorant and trusts "his gut" over actual experts in...anything.

*Our President cannot get up in front of a microphone (or on Twitter) without blaming someone else for his own shortcomings, mis-steps and actual fuck ups, pointing fingers at the media, the liberals, Obama, etc...instead of taking responsibility like an adult human being.

*People around our President take up valuable air time praising our President's behavior so we all know that *it's not his fault shit is hitting the fan when it's his shit and he turned on the fan* We need them to tell us what's going on and what we need to do and we need them to spend more time contradicting the ridiculous things he says and less time kissing his ass. Call. Him. On. His. Shit. Because this is serious and people are dying because of his bullshit fantasy take on reality.

That we have a President whose tender feelings are considered more important than the actual lives of American people is horrifying.

We should not 'get behind' such a man. None of us. Not one. He has shown us what he is made of, and it is nothing but hot air, ego, and self-preservation.

Today, a reporter asked him, "Americans are afraid. What do you say to the American people who are afraid?" and our President said, "I say that's a nasty question and you are a terrible reporter."

What the actual fuck.

This is not a leader. I don't care what your politics are, any actual leader would have said something uplifting and courageous and reassuring. Our President took a valid question that people *needed* to hear the answer to, regarded it as a personal attack, and lashed out at the man who asked it.

The best thing our President could do at this point, and the only thing that would help the American people, would be to say, "I was wrong at the beginning of this. I did not understand how serious this was and I apologize. From this moment forward, I am letting the people who are the experts be the face and voice of this crisis that all Americans are facing", hand the podium over to them, and walk away. That is what he needs to do and that is the only thing that would make me respect him even a tiny bit.

I will do everything in my power to help people around me, people who work for me, people in my neighborhood, city, state and country no matter what their politics. If you need something, I will do my best to help you. That's a promise, and it's the only promise any of us should be making.

"Getting behind" this shameful excuse of a leader should be the last thing we should do.

Donald J. Trump has spent his entire life "looking out for Number One" and not caring one bit about the emotional and economic carnage he leaves behind.

We do not have time to indulge in the head-patting and ass-kissing this geriatric toddler needs to make sure he doesn't have a mental meltdown. We do not have time to accept his adult version of a literal temper tantrum anytime someone dares to question what he says. We do not have time.

Take care of your families. Check on your neighbors. Keep in touch with your co-workers.

But, do not let anyone get away with re-writing the timeline of these events.
Do not let anyone try to make Donald J. Trump a hero in all of this.

That's the danger.

Donald J. Trump literally ran on "I'm the only one who knows how to fix this" and his supporters have believed him for almost four years, and continue to believe him after four years of his entirely fucking up everything he touches, four years of him cozying up to dictators and alienating our allies, four years of him lining his pockets at our expense.

Our President did not cause this virus. But his ham-fisted handling of the first months of this has endangered millions of Americans and completely decimated our economy.

Make damn sure everyone remembers that in November.

*In the 3 hours since I started writing this, we have over 500 more cases in the US, and our death toll is at 259.







Friday, June 28, 2019

Let Capitalism Take Care of It

Whoa. *Checks blog to be sure I'm in the right place* Nope. It's the right place.

Wait. So, the socialist is telling us to let capitalism take care of something? What sort of topsy-turvy world are we now living in?

I mean, first of all, have you looked around lately?

Secondly, yes. There is a place capitalism would absolutely help us get to where we need to be and that place is health care in the US.

We're on that downward trajectory towards another presidential election and we all know what that means: There are 1,576 Democratic candidates who all say they can
a) Beat DJT
b) Get actual shit done that actual citizens need to live actual comfortable lives that are not merely "quietly desperate lives filled with worry and fear but also with an iPhone and a decent car so that means we're OK".
c) Beat DJT

One of the top issues is health care.

Now, that's silly, because "On Day One" of the Trump presidency, he repealed Obamacare and instituted the most greatest health care that's ever been seen in the history of the universe. Everyone is healthy now, everything is free, and no one even dies anymore. If you start falling, a little fairy wearing a MAGA hat magically appears, catches you, and gives you a nice cup of covefe.

Hahahahahahahaha. Just kidding. He didn't do shit.

Obama wanted to include a "public option" in the ACA (what most of us refer to as Obamacare. Like most of us will forever refer to the concentration camps on the border as TrumpCamps but that's another blog) which meant that if you were paying into Medicare out of your paychecks, you could sign up for Medicare even before the age of 65. Or, you could keep your work-sponsored or private insurance. That's the "option" part of Public Option. Your choice. Option.

The American people responded by hollering like stuck hogs and stampeding off over the horizon, screaming 'SOCIALISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US!'

So, here we are. Trump has managed to change just enough in Obamacare to screw it up and hurt people, but we have yet to see the promised "Republican beautiful health care plan that will cover everyone and be so affordable and we just won't believe it!" Let's all get our Surprised Faces out.

Therefore, health care is a big issue for the Dems who want to be POTUS.

And here's where I disagree with one of my favorite people, Bernie Sanders. Bernie has come out in front of god and everyone saying he wants to *abolish* the private health care system and force everyone onto Medicare for All, as have several others of the ginormous field of contenders.

Really?

Really really?

Oh. Em. Gee. You cannot do that. Cannot.

Not just that this will literally HAND the election to DJT on a silver platter (covered in hamberders) because he will be absolutely able to fan the flames of fear of lack of individual freedoms, but that this fanning will be justified. You cannot just suddenly eliminate our current system of health care and here's why.

First, see above about causing at least 1/3 of Americans (those who still support this president against all facts, odds, and sensibilities) to run screaming into the hills, shooting over their shoulders, and yelling that we ain't takin' their right to die as free men and wimmen away from them, dang it.

Second, the private insurance sector isn't just some amorphous thing with a few super-rich dudes sitting at the controls (channeling my inner Wizard of Oz here). Thousands and tens of thousands of actual middle class American citizens get up every day and to go work to feed their families at...private insurance companies. You can't just suddenly put them out of work.

Third, and most important because it (finally) ties in the title of this piece, if you do the Public Option- open up Medicare to those paying into it regardless of age and let their dependents also access it, and let everyone who is uninsured onto Medicaid without jumping thru hoops and ridiculous wait times, the capitalist system will literally sort it out for us, and here's how.

Say we have a public option. The guy who keeps his work-based insurance keeps paying into Medicare/Medicaid *and* his part of his premiums at work. His paycheck deductions have gone up maybe 3% so not a lot, but some. Over time, he sees his co-workers who are on Medicare
-get the same or better care as he does
-get to take home the money he's still spending on his premiums. And co-pays. And deductibles.

Unless he's a lunatic, he's going to be on Medicare before long. And that will be a long enough shake-down period that people now working in the private sector can transition to the public sector as their jobs transfer over.

See? No one has to "take" anything from anyone.

The beauty of the Free Market will work it out for us.