photo by Sheri Dixon

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Now, that's silly, because "On Day One" of the Trump presidency, he repealed Obamacare and instituted the most greatest health care that's ever been seen in the history of the universe.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?

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.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Today's Public Service Announcement

To our federal employees who have been told to stay home without pay till Trumpty Dumpty gets his wall:

I'm so sorry. This is very unfair and you get to suffer for the maniacal selfishness of the ignoramus in the White House. If you need anything, I will try to help you. Thank you for your service to our nation.

To our federal employees who have been told they have to show up and work without pay:

Tell that Orange Shitgibbon to fuck right off.

Seriously. The majority of America has your back completely if you decide to just stay home.

There is no way any of us expect you to work without pay. He wants to "play hardball"? Pitch that flaming bag of shit right back into his lap, ya'll.

Air traffic controllers? Oh, well. Thank you, President Trump for shutting down the airports.

Border Patrol? Guess that "emergency on the border" isn't that big if you are expected to work for free. Vete a la chingata, pendejo.

Members of the Secret Service who are expected to show up without pay? Yeah. Just don't. See how bombastic that chickenshit draft-dodger is when you're not there.

I mean, I get it.

Sometimes people work without pay. If there's a natural disaster, for instance. But this is not that.

You are being asked to work without pay because the world's biggest whiny baby wants a wall that every single expert says will not work and is a bad idea.

This is not about border security and "democrats wanting open borders".

This is about SENSIBLE and EFFECTIVE border security...which a wall is not in either case.

The last time someone in power made this big a dick move, Job had a pretty bad time of it.

Let's be perfectly clear: Donald J. Trump doesn't give a rat's ass about you and your family. He never has and he never will. Don't feel bad. He doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone but himself.

Your fellow Americans do not want you to work without pay.

Thank you for your dedication and your service, but sometimes a bully needs to be called on his shit.

You can end this infantile power play and be actual American heroes by just staying home.

Thank you for your dedication and your service.


The Majority of Americans

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Let's Do Talk About Entitlements, Shall We?

So, our Conservative friends say we need this wall. It's vital to America's security and future and therefore we (the American taxpayers) have to pony up the dollars to pay for it.

Here is not the place to hash over all that "Mexico will pay for it!" bullshit, because anyone with three meager brain cells to knock together *always* knew that Mr. Art of the Deal who's been bankrupt 5 times and stiffs everyone he comes into contact with could not make a sovereign foreign nation pay for the damn thing. Anyone who believed that for a split second is dumb as a sack of wet mice and that's no lie.

Back to reality.

So, we need a wall.

We need a wall despite there already being 600+ miles of physical barriers all along the places that a physical barrier is possible in the world of having to work with physics and geography.

We need a wall despite the number of border crossings from the South has dropped every year for the last decade-plus, and most of our "illegals" FLY HERE with green cards and just overstay their visas.

We need to pony up billons of taxpayer dollars despite there being a fund specifically for border security and last year they used less than 10% of that fund.

ALL THAT's what I (a mere elderly socialist) do not, in my obviously fluffy-headed femaleness, do not understand:

Why should I have to pay for this damn wall?

I don't live on the border. The people who live on the border, many of them ranchers, put up fences all day long. It's part of being a rancher. You need fences. Why should the American taxpayer pay for YOUR FENCE along one side of YOUR property? You're the one who moved down along the border. You knew where your land was. Your land/your responsibility, bubba.

Why should *I* have to pay for *your* CHOICE to live on the border?  I mean, there's tons of empty land out there. Why didn't you ranch in Wyoming or Kansas?

Ah. Wait for it. Here it comes. I can sense the conservative brains all locking on to this with the acuity of melting tar.

But this is for national security! It's necessary for the future and safety of our citizens!

Outstanding. I'm delighted you feel so strongly about the future and safety of our citizens.

So, you're exuberantly for universal health care? Taxpayer-funded health care that would either take the place of or strongly augment private insurance like every other nation in the world provides its citizens would go a long ways to ensure the future and safety of all Americans.

And, you'll stand shoulder to shoulder with me for publicly-funded higher education? Taxpayer-funded higher education for anyone who wants it and scholastically qualifies for it like many other nations in the world provide their citizens would go a long ways to ensure the future and safety of all Americans.

Wait. What? You *don't* want those things because they smack of socialism and you don't want YOUR tax money funding someone else's health problems and/or education? People should take responsibility for their own lives and choices?


Build your own fucking wall. Why should you move to or remain on the border and expect the rest of us to pay for your choices?

Entitled Snowflakes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Which Way Will the Wind Blow?

In 2016, the young, new voters who'd only remembered Obama as POTUS were shell-shocked at what we got in spite of voting and in spite of Hillary winning the popular vote by over 3 million. They couldn't believe that such an unjust result could come out of what they'd been taught is "the best system on Earth!" Some vowed to never vote again. Then they watched as things got worse. In all ways and all arenas of their lives. And they got angry.
The young people I know are absolutely voting today or have already done so- young people who are pissed off by this shitshow in DC that is ruining their future every day in every way. They are a force motivated by a terrific sense of justice and desire to make this nation work for everyone in it, not just those who can afford to start at a level most of us never reach.
They rightfully believe that this nation can afford to give everyone healthcare, a good education, a *living* wage, and a strong social safety net, because only those things will result in healthy economic growth. Only true equality for all will benefit everyone from the top to the bottom. Only a tightly-regulated capitalism can be acceptable. To open the "free market to do its magic" as this administration is doing is only magic if you are already at the very top. The top 1% do great. The very bottom 10% die. They die. That's not a euphemism. They die of sickness and hunger and exposure. They. Die. Those in between are kept in a state of indentured servitude...till they die, never grasping the gold ring that they are told is "just around the corner- if you only want it badly enough and work hard enough". Unbridled capitalism is not compatible with a compassionate society. Period.
Will these young people outnumber the old farts who have swallowed Trump's litany of fear and hatred? Old white people who believe that "if Democrats win we will lose this great economy (that doesn't exist), have open borders (that no one wants), and have rampant crime (as opposed to Nazis in the street?)"
Because Trump's "miracles" are all smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors. A shell game for the simple-minded. The business I manage is *not* doing better- it's doing worse under Trump's economy than it did under Obama...even right after he took office and we were in the middle of a damn recession.
My employees are *not* "keeping more of their paychecks", from the highest salaried doctor to the lowest kennel help. Not one penny more.
The "manufacturer spending through the roof!" that he crows about is manufacturers stockpiling raw materials before the tariffs kick in. It's not sustainable or healthy.
Old white people who believe with all their hearts that we can't afford healthcare, even though opening up Social Security to everyone who is paying into it would be far cheaper than any private plan. They believe that a "caravan" of refugees *on foot*, 1,000 miles from the US border is a threat and want a wall built along a border *that is impossible because of a river and mountains and property rights*. They think things that are ridiculous but scary are good expenses, but programs that mean they, their family, their neighbors don't *die* of preventable things are not "sensible". The old white people are motivated by fear and a misguided hatred of anything that smacks to them of "socialism". They are voting in force to "save America". Which will win the soul of America?
Determination to become a more progressive, compassionate, and ultimately richer society?
Or fear, hatred, and a staunch determination to haul this nation backwards to a utopia for white people that never really existed outside TV shows and Norman Rockwell paintings?
That, my friends, is the nail-biter for tonight.
I believe in the passion of young people, but know the bullheadedness of old people. We shall see.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

I'm So Done With the Fucking Monsters

Q: How can *women* tell daughters "It's just how boys/men are"? A: It's not approval of the culture. It's a warning not to cross it or you'll get hurt worse or killed.
*They are protecting them, based on their own experiences. And their mothers' and grandmothers'...growing up and living in a world of fucking monsters.
This whole Brett Kavanaugh thing is disgusting. Watching a grown-ass man during his *job interview* totally lose his cool, start ranting, blaming a political party *specifically* when the job he's interviewing for is supposed to be non-partisan, whine, turn all sorts of red, spew his "credentials", and ultimately cry was disgusting. Dr. Ford before him sat resolute, yet with tremors in her voice. She admitted she was scared to death. She didn't call him or his friend names or otherwise denigrate them. She was clear and concise and sincere. She spoke from her heart and unless you are a fucking monster, your heart broke listening to her. Kavanaugh did not even take ten seconds to acknowledge her pain before launching into how much he *deserves* this job and dammit, some chick he doesn't even remember is not going to take it from him. He blamed the Democratic party and the Clintons specifically for this "smear campaign" and actually threatened revenge for this embarrassing inconvenience. Then Lindsey Graham piled on in an unhinged and childish tantrum; red-faced and yelling in what is supposed to be a serious step in the search for a new Supreme Court Justice. If you think either of these men were in any way reasonable or justified in their horrid and totally unprofessional behavior, you are a fucking monster. In case there is any question, I believe Dr. Ford. In case there is any question, I think Brett Kavanaugh is a whiny, entitled, rich boy who has been called on his shit and he's melting down about it like a toddler whose ice cream just fell to the ground. This is not Supreme Court Material and anyone who thinks it a fucking monster. "But what if she's lying? Shouldn't he be able to defend himself? What precedent is this setting for the future? So a woman just has to accuse, and a guy just has to take it?" Even if she's lying (she's not), his reaction and the reaction of the entire GOP Good Ol' Boys' Club was not only inappropriate, it was basically screaming "GUILTY AS HELL" and anyone who has ever raised kids knows this. Even if he's as thick as a brick mentally (and I guess he is), his response and the response of every GOP senator in there should have been, "We are profoundly sorry you were so traumatized. We believe you have mis-remembered the players here, but we will do everything we can to make sure the culture that allowed that sort of behavior becomes dusty history on our watch." But they didn't. They heard her testimony and they were fucking monsters. On national TV. In front of their daughters and grand-daughters, wives and mothers, co-workers and constituents. In front of God and everybody. And they felt they were justified to do so. That's not leadership or maturity. Of course, Donald "Pussy Grabber in Chief" Trump piped up, too; valiantly defending the honor of...Kavanaugh, and questioning the testimony of Dr. Ford. But we already know *he* is a fucking monster. This little fiasco has neatly divided our nation even more than it already was. Team A: Good Ol' Boys who are all abluster about how this has "ruined a great guy" and who are horrified that maybe they, too, will be called on their shit. Team B: Men who think Kavanaugh is an asshole. Team C: Women who are now "afraid" for their sons because "some girl" could ruin his lily-white reputation "for no good reason". Team D: Women who think Kavanaugh is an asshole. Team E: Women who have been assaulted sometime in their life and the last few days have brought it all back to the surface; jagged and raw. We're the ones who are horrified at Teams A and C and have spent the last 24 hours or so with migraines, nausea, and nightmares. Also, we think Kavanaugh is an asshole. "Why would anyone wait so long to tell anyone?" -You were young and stupid and yes, you got drunk and alone with a boy when you knew better. Here's the thing you don't realize till you are older: No matter how drunk or hormonal you and/or he was, the very second you got scared and said, "Wait. Stop" HE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED. THE FACT THAT HE DIDN'T MAKES HIM A FUCKING MONSTER. But what do you hear if you tell someone? "What were you wearing?" "Why were you drinking?" "Why did you go with him by yourself?" "He was drinking and got carried away" "Boys have raging hormones" "You led him on" *You hear that it's your fault. It was your fault he was a fucking monster and you got what you deserved. -He held some sort of power over you or was an authority figure- a boss or teacher or pastor or relative or even your husband. He may or may not have said, "If you tell anyone, I will kill you", "If you tell anyone I will fire you", "If you tell anyone, no one will believe you". If he threatened any of those things, and even if he didn't, HE WAS A FUCKING MONSTER. But what do you hear if you tell someone? "Why didn't you just quit?" "Why didn't you report him?" "What were you wearing?" "You must've led him on" "You need to obey your husband" "It's impossible to be raped by your husband" "He's such a great guy; surely you're mistaken about what happened" "How can you say he did that? He's your (fill in the blank with any male relative)" *You hear that it's your fault. It was your fault he was a fucking monster and you got what you deserved. But here's the thing. By the time humans are about three years old, we know that to hurt another human is wrong. To willfully hurt another human who is begging you to stop is to be a fucking monster. That's true 100% of the time. Perhaps the most vexing to those of us in teams B, D, or E are the women who seem to *not* believe their daughters and who say "What were you wearing?" "Why were you drinking?" "Why did you go with him by yourself?" "He was drinking and got carried away" "Boys have raging hormones" "You led him on" and most importantly..."Boys will be boys and that's just how men are". Boys will be boys and that's just how men are. You know what that is at its core? That's a woman who has been assaulted at some point telling her daughter not to make waves; you can't fight this. It's not that she doesn't believe her. She believes her 100%. But either she told someone when it happened to her and she wasn't believed, or she's never told anyone and is just resigned to the barbarism of this aspect of our culture. "Leave it be. Don't make waves. Be more careful from now on. Be happy you are still alive. If you make waves, not only will it be awful all over again, but he may hurt you again. Worse. He may kill you this time." One out of three American women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. On the one hand, 85% of women know their attacker- the "strange man climbing through the window or attacking while the woman is jogging" is not the norm by a long shot. On the other hand, only 10% of men brought up on rape charges are convicted, meaning 9 times out of 10, if you come forward and go through the additional agony and stress of legal action, your attacker walks free...and now he's pissed at you, bringing us to... ...75% of women who are murdered, are murdered by a sexual partner. "Why would anyone wait so long to tell someone?" I dunno, perhaps the *fact* that you probably know him, and may even have to continue to see him in your day to day life, added to the *fact* that there's a 9 out of 10 chance that he will *not* be convicted, topped off with the *fact* that if he gets really pissed off, he may very well kill you for embarrassing him and "ruining his life", may be enough effective cultural deterrents to maintain the misogynistic status quo.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” 

Margaret Atwood 

"Aren't you just a bunch of liberal women over-reacting? This is the United States, not some shit-hole country. Women are doing *great* here!"

Ummm...not really. For the first time, in 2018 the US was placed on the "10 Most Dangerous Countries for Women" list by the Thomassen Reuters Foundation. Here's the entire list-
1. India
2. Afghanistan
3. Syria
4. Somalia
5. Saudi Arabia
6. Pakistan
7. Democratic Republic of Congo
8. Yemen
9. Nigeria
10. United States
That's not exactly a list of nations I want to be part of. So what can we do?
We start with making sure our *sons* (no matter their age) and the men in our lives (no matter their age) understand what is acceptable behavior. That means standing up to them and not taking their shit anymore. That's a scary prospect for some of us in all situations and a scary prospect for all of us in some situations. As *women*, we *have* to have each other's back in this endeavor. We have to.
Then, we send a loud and clear message to our elected officials that the Good Ol' Boys' Club is closed. We are burning that treehouse straight to the ground. We can do that in November and again in 2020.
Yes, there will be huge pushback from men who are fucking monsters and women who are afraid. 
Yes, it's going to get worse before it gets better; this shit always does. The powerful never give anything without a fight and I mean a literal fight. 
But I can see the other side, now. And it's worth it.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Arundhati Roy 
For those who are all "Founding Fathers' Intent" and who reject anything that sounds suspiciously foreign (like the above author's name), here's one from Founding Father John Adams' wife...back when women and children were considered property and not human:

“...remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
Abigail Adams 

I believe Dr. Ford.

I believe Brett Kavanaugh does not have the temperament to sit on the Supreme Court.

I believe the days of the fucking monsters being in charge are almost over.

I believe in us.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

He Started it...But I'm Ending It

The mantis in the guinea pig barn is dead. That's a fact.

All has been peaceful in the guinea pig barn.

Day before yesterday, I needed something off of the screened porch, so I opened the door from the dining room and went out there. As I closed the door behind me, I noticed THE MANTIS ON THE DOORKNOB. I grabbed what I needed, and when the mantis flew up onto the door window, I ducked into the house.

Yesterday morning, I again needed something from the porch.

I looked carefully through the window, inspecting every surface in sight. No mantis.

I opened the door mantis on the knob. Before I went back into the house, I checked the entire surface of the door...nothing.

With a sigh of relief, I went into the house, closing the door behind me, glanced up and saw THE MANTIS ON THE INSIDE OF THE DOOR.

The little bastard had been on the porch-side of the door and when I opened the door, he'd SLID AROUND THE GAP WHERE THE HINGES ARE AND GAINED ENTRY TO MY HOME.

Mantis: "Heh, heh, heh. Now what are you gonna do, puny human?"

Me: *picks up fly swatter and terminates mantis*

This is War. No Prisoners.

PS- the wolf spiders in the bathroom have never done me this way. They're civilized bugs.

Asshole Mantids.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

He Started It...Part Two

When we went into the barn this morning, we were greeted with a pitiful sight.

Lying in the middle of the floor, upside down, little boxing gloves in the air, was the dead mantis. It looked...odd and dry, but it's, yanno...a bug.

Gomez picked it up and tossed it outside.

The end.

At work, one of my co-workers posted a photo of many mantids on a hand on my Facebook and said, "His friends are gathering and coming to get you." Another co-worker saw the photo (the one who had fed my farm Monday morning, it so happened) looked aghast and said, "Oh, fuck no. Let me tell you what happened to me at Sheri's place!"

I was not Rabid Mantid's first victim.

She had been feeding the guinea pigs and had gotten to the same spot I'd been attacked, except she had seen no mantis. Suddenly, he appeared ON THE FRONT OF HER GLASSES, his tiny but fierce front feet waving menacingly. She flung her glasses off, rendering her pretty much blind, so she couldn't see if the mantis had gone with them. Cussing up a storm, she frantically pulled at her hair to be sure he wasn't lodged there.

She didn't see him again, but finished up the chores with alacrity.

So he was a repeat offender as far as aggressive behavior. I was happy he was dead.

Tonight, I was feeding the guinea pigs and got to...that same spot in the barn. I looked down and THERE WAS THE MANTIS PERCHED ON THE TOP OF THE CAGE, WAVING HIS TINY BUT FIERCE FRONT FEET AT ME.

What the hell?

In a flash, it all became clear. He'd spent all night constructing the faux mantis corpse out of stray bits of bedding and hay to lull me into a false sense of security.

Luckily, Gomez came into the barn just then, saw me frozen in terror, followed my horrified gaze, and was able to snatch the little asshole up while it was plotting my imminent demise.

I'd like to say he killed it, but his default is to catch and release, so out the door he tossed it.

If you don't hear from me again, you will know.

The mantis prevailed.