Answer The Question

“Excuse me, Representative, do you believe it is appropriate for a president, ANY president to withhold foreign aid in exchange for dirt on a political opponent?”

If you have watched any news clip or program or seen anything on line, you are sure to have seen men and women in the halls and streets of Washington, zigging and zagging with their heads down, pretending to be on their phones or simply stone faced. Each one dodging the cameras and reporters refusing to answer this or any question in regard to the illegal activities of the administration. It’s as if they answer the question honestly, or rather, correctly, and say it is not appropriate they may face the Trump-Tweet-Storm and if they answer in support of his actions, they are admitting to their constituents they are willing to break the law.

The few that are speaking, the talking-heads like Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA) won’t answer the question either. Instead they say everything else.

    • There was no quid pro quo.
    • He did nothing wrong.
    • Who is the whistleblower, they need to come forward.
    • Crowd strike and the 2016 democratic server.
    • VP Joe Biden and the removal of the Ukrainian prosecutor.
    • They were talking about rooting out corruption.

I can’t wait for the public hearings begin. I hope there are dozens of witnesses that republicans call that support the law above the party. I hope that people become more informed about the process, the law and the facts. I wish that truth will prevail over partisan politics.

Response to Yad Vashem @yadvashem Twitter response to @AOC calling US boarder “concentration camps”

Wow. This hurts me to the core. I am the child of a German immigrant. She was born in what is now Poland in 1935. She wanted so to become part of the League of German Girls, the branch of the Hitler youth for girls, when she was a child, but was too young to join. You had to be 10 years old, and everyone did. She, like many, especially children, we’re enamored by her leader, by patriotism and nationalism. Even as her own family was torn apart, her siblings in different homes, her father taken prisoner by Polish soilders, she was proud to be German. It wasn’t until she was in her teens that she learned of the horrors that were carried out in the name of her country.

She moved here with her husband, my father, in the 60’s, eventually settling in a suburban neighborhood that had a dense Jewish population. As I was growing up a decade later, I didn’t advertise I was German, I was embarrassed and knew it was an open wound for many in my community. It was one of those things you didn’t speak about in polite conversation. Fortunately most in the community were one generation removed from the direct experience (my mother had me at a relatively late age, whereas most other parents were about ten years younger).

We grew up knowing it was not our fault. It was not my mother’s fault. It was not our grandparents fault. But somewhere, at some point, Germans allowed it to happen.

It wasn’t like on Monday everything was normal and on Friday 6 million Jewish people were dead.

No. History has shown us, it has never happened like that.

Hitler did not have a grand design of cheap war time labor. He had a grand design of targeted genocide. Brushing aside the brutality of history by claiming the concentration camps were created with the intention of cheap labor is spitting on each and every grave.

There may have been people that were sentenced to hard labor that were not Jewish, but the camps were not built for them, they were a handy alternative for dissidents, criminals and people that just pissed off Hitler and his SS boys.

What is happening in this country, at our southern boarder, no, it is not on par with 6 million Jewish people murdered by Hitler. It is on course to be worse. Why?

Because we can see. We can see each and every atrocity carried out. We can see every family ripped apart. We can see what OUR war on drugs has done to their homes in Central America and why they are fleeing for their lives. We can see children without their mother or father. We can see children in cages sleeping on floors. We can see courts with no inturpreturs or attorneys. We can see people’s rights being taken away because they were not born here, regardless of how long they have lived here. We can see.

We can hear. We can hear the vitriol coming from the mouth of trump. We can hear the hate speach chanted at his rallies. We can hear people in stores yelling at people to go back to their country. We can hear the KKK marching in our streets again. We can hear.

Having the Holocaust Center stating “the camps helped” is so beyond disturbing. This is the type of political dog and pony show that is reserved for the bullshit and pandering, not the sacred memory of millions.

There are few left that were actually alive to experience the horror of 1939-1945 in any aspect. So for that, we are now left with records, written history, photos, interviews, memories of stories told. It is up to us, right here, right now, as to whether or not we are willing to allow such a monstrosity of history, or even a shadow of a resemblance of it, be repeated. Do you want your children, your grandchildren to have to answer these questions in 50 years?

Web

Isn’t there a point of going too far?

I just read that a leader in the Women’s March is calling for a boycott of #Starbucks because of an affiliation with the #ADL.  Really?  Talk about a disconnect.  The Women’s March.  What does it mean to you?  I marched that day just over a year ago.  The day after trump was sworn into the office of President of the United States.  It shouldn’t have been that way, but it was.  To me that march was about everything awful and repulsive people were becoming here, how it was becoming ok to act out all of that hate.  It was about inclusiveness.

Last week, two black men were not only kicked out of a Starbucks, but arrested, for the simple act of pointing out a baristas’ racism.  Let me repeat, one person was a jackass to another person.  Stop.  Before you go off on me, start typing your comments, screaming I have no place to belittle the experience of being discriminated against, I’m not black and could never know.  No, I don’t know what it’s like to wake up every morning as a black man.  I empathize with the fact that every morning waking up as a black male, there is a chance they could die because of their skin color.  I don’t think there is another demographic that lives with that specific fear in this country.  There is no denying this country hasn’t become ‘every man is equal’, where everyone is judged for their character and not their appearance.  Now, you can be angry and stop reading, or you could take a breath and follow my (sometimes strange) logic.

We saw how immediate and successful social media boycotts were regarding NRA affiliation.  The swells of reactions, posts, podcasts and coverage to the latest event. This is the atmosphere that is around us in the wake of instantaneous information.  At the rate these boycotts are called for, all companies would eventually be on one list or another.  Remember the Chick-Fil-A outrage, that the owners did not support LBGT rights?  Do you also remember once the boycott was in full swing the lines to get that chicken sandwich wrapped around the buildings (a backfire boycott).  Or the employees and managers of Chick-Fil-A that were / supported the LBGT community spoke out in defense of the very company thats COO opposed same-sex marriage because it was a good place to work.  I do have to say here, SERIOUSLY guys, they aren’t known only for their chicken, anti-cow cows and lemonade, everyone KNOWS they are closed on Sunday, because the owners are religious (devout Southern Baptists).  There is a large grocery store chain in Texas (before they were purchased), Randall’s / TomThumb that did not carry alcohol, of any type.  The owners were Mormon.  If they didn’t sell alcohol I’m not thinking it’s too hard to imagine of their LBGT views.  As far as I know there hasn’t been a boycott.

So, we have a national company.  The Vice President, Bob, hates puppies.  One weekend, Bob attends an anti-puppy fundraiser that’s covered by the news.   Who cares?  Should Bob, who attended as Bob the individual, be fired from the company because pro-puppy advocates threaten to boycott unless he (Bob) is fired?  Now what if Bob the VP runs over puppies in the company van?  Is that now the company’s fault for the action of one employee?  Will the reaction of the company be enough?  What is the “right” reaction; training, firing, donations?   Now say that same company hosts and donates to that same anti-puppy fundraiser covered by the news.  In the second scenario, is it more acceptable because it’s not just Bob but the company that supports anti-puppy organizations?

Does that company get publicly ‘punished’ in all situations?

This brings me back to the bathroom blockade.  Starbucks is an international company, a successful company.  They are diverse, customer oriented and focused.  Even in their mission statement has ‘a culture of warmth & belonging, where everyone is welcome’.  They have been underfire regularly for many reasons (makes you wonder how they still make money).  Cups, gay rights, gun rights plus a slew of fake controversy (not supporting military, foreign investments).  There are more than 26,000 shops across the globe with more than 250,000 employees.  This is why I ‘minimized’ the encounter that it was one person being a jackass to another.  Now if the company did nothing, or worse, supported the actions and behavior of that one person, I would flip out with the rest of them.  However, she was fired.  She was fired, the CEO apologized and on May 29th more than half of the employees in the company (170,000+) will have racial-bias education.  Why still boycott them?

boy·cott (boi′kŏt′) tr.v. boy·cott·ed, boy·cott·ing, boy·cotts

To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, dealing with, or participating in as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion: boycott a business; boycott merchants; boycott buses; boycott an election.

It shouldn’t have happen and if you want to just be pissed at them just because, go for it.  But still protesting a specific event with demands that the company has met or is acting in good faith, what is the protest really for?  The local protest (well, and viral) in front of the store was the catalyst for the company wide positive reaction and the initial reason that managers employment was terminated.  It was successful, very successful.  Now the step forward should be education, working on the root cause.  Energy focused on the error, the past, is wasted.

So what does all of this have to do with the Women’s March?  First, I take offense to the fact that a single person is being labeled as a “Women’s March Leader” and making blanket decisions and statements for the millions of people coming together for largest single day movement ever.  This single person, Tamika Mallory, under the moniker of co-president of the Women’s March, is calling for re-boycotting Starbucks.  The crazy ass chain of connection is the reason I had to write this.  Ready?

  • Two black men enter a Starbucks to meet someone.  While waiting, one asked to use the bathroom.
  • The manager refused to allow him stating it was for paying customers only.  During this time, a white male was allowed to use the bathroom.  He had not purchased anything.
  • He confronted the manager.  She had no response or reason for the action, demanding he leave and calling the police.
  • The video goes viral.  People boycott the location where it happened.  Others called for a boycott on line.
  • Starbucks acted: fired the manager, COO apologized for the employee’s behavior, the company announces racial-bias education classes.
  • Starbucks enlists organizations to assist and participate in this education.  Some are Eric Holder, Sherrily Ifill (President NAACP) and Jonathan Greenblat (CEO ADL).
  • Tamika Mallory calls for a boycott of Starbucks (again) because of it’s affiliation to the ADL (Anti Defimation League).
  • At one time the ADL CEO criticized her support of Louis Farrakhan.  Tamika Mallory supports Louis Farrakhan.
  • Farrakhan has indicated anti-semitism, anti-white, homophobic, Scientology involvement.

So, what did or does the Women’s March and the Women’s March movement mean to you?  For me, it’s more than marching in the streets, clever signs and pink pussy hats.  It’s about inclusion, education and change.  It means standing up for each other.  It means power and persistence.  It means responsibility.  With numbers that power is great and the responsibility greater.  Having so much influence on a national and international commerce by calling for a boycott is amazing.  Flogging that influence isn’t constructive and can even be corrosive.  Calling for a boycott for every non PC event, action or inclusion only takes away from the influence and dilutes the power.  So before jumping on the bandwagon for a boycott, just remember puppies.

We’re All Mad Here

The title is from Carrolls’ ‘Alice In Wonderland’ but it rings true each and every day.  We are not perfect people, everyone has a flaw or many.

Almost 49% of kids 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness, over 30% drop out of school, 70% of kids in the justice system have some type of mental illness.  Adults, 1 in 5 experience a mental health illness in a given year (NAMI.org).  In a given year.  That includes the mom on your block that went through post-partum depression, or the kid across the street that has ADD, or you after you had a major transistion in your life and was feeling a little anxious, or couldn’t sleep.  1 in 25 adults live with a serious mental illness.  Meaning it is ongoing like schizophrenia, PTSD or autism.  With these numbers, chances are you or someone you know will fall into one or more of these categories.

The issue?  Aside from the obvious lack of care, coverage, availability and ability to seek help is the stigma.

stig-ma, noun; a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person.

When someone is having a crisis in this arena, and actually seek help, the wall that is placed in front of them is impenetrable.  First, you are dealing with the fact that you can’t fix you.  You are having to ask someone to help you.  You feel foolish because your problems are small and unimportant in comparison to the rest of the world.  Second is dealing with your insurance and finding a doctor.  By law there are minimum standards across the country called ‘Parity Laws’.  Of course there are exceptions and there are health plans that do not need to follow parity laws.  Once you figure out who your insurance will allow you to see, how often, and many times a higher deductible than regular doctor visits, you need an appointment.  Just like any specialty doctor, getting an appointment with a psychiatrist is defeating in itself.  Many don’t take new patients, most you have to wait three months to get that first appointment.  So, in a crisis, limited choices of doctors, expensive and you have to wait three months, and you better not tell ANYONE.  Because of the stigma.

We have this need to categorize everyone and everything, it just can be.  Yesterday in Florida was tragic, horrific and completely unnecessary.  The media just continued on their need to answer why and who.  Many times the why is never fully discovered because the assailant took their own life or suicide by cop.  We have the occasional time when the perpetrator survives.  Yet regardless of any of that, the initial reports, speculations and interviews will put the mass murderers into one of two categories because it makes them feel better.  They are either terrorists or mentally ill.  This needs to stop.  Sometimes why is never answered.  You can buy 1000 pounds of fertilizer or 10 rifles in this country easier than you can buy a decongestant.  That is your why.

Every time a shooting occurs and it happens to be a white person, it’s the easy answer to say, “They had a history of mental illness”.  What history, what illness?  Did they have ADD?  Anxiety?  Or are you just going to throw that out there so ALL mental illnesses can be put under this violent umbrella?

This is why you don’t tell your friends.  This is why you don’t say anything at work.  This is why people don’t seek help.  This is why suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teens.

The issue with these shootings isn’t the illness, or that we don’t have adequate care or services, or that it’s like a rat maze to get help.  It’s the guns, plain and simple.  Don’t get me wrong, the mental health system in this country needs some serious revamping, it needs to be ok to have a mental illness, it needs to be seen as an illness and not just feelings and hearing voices.  There is brain chemistry going on that is physically not working correctly.  We have veterans from two non-stop wars that are coming home with some serious trauma, physically and mentally.  Instead of just giving them an oxy for their pain and send them on their way, each and every one of them need to have easy and simple access to the help they need.

Mental illness is not an American thing.  We don’t have all of the mad people in this country.  All countries have people that suffer from this illness.  So why don’t they have 17 kids dead today, or 600 wounded in their tourist hot spot, or 18 other school shootings that have already happened this year?  Guns and healthcare.

The second amendment was truly written to allow states to raise an army of untrained citizens to protect that state from a hostile government.  That is what a militia is.  In Texas, two militia were formed in the 1800’s and remain to this day, the National Guard and the Texas Rangers.  To have a gun to protect is one thing, having your own military style stock pile is another.  Every law enforcement organization, combat unit and guard are trained, tested and their guns liscenced.  There is no possible situation that I can imagine that would justify having a rapid fire weapon as a civilian.  There is no reason you can’t register the guns you purchase, that you must get a background check or that you must wait seven days.  No one wants to ‘take your guns’ but we do want to feel safe in our homes, schools and public places.  Your gun rights end when my safety, security and happiness ends.

So I came at this from two sides.  Journalism needs to stop categorizing these acts and just report the actual facts.  Just because someone suffered from depression is not necessarily the reason they decided to pick up a gun and kill his classmates and teachers.  It’s counterproductive in addressing mental illness and will keep the next person from asking for help.  The real issue is access to the guns.  Common sense legislation needs to be passed, the NRA needs to stay off the hill and out of politicians pockets.  After all, only about 5% of gun owners are affiliated with the NRA, which is a rather small portion of the population considering only about 33% of Americans even own a gun.

In Circles

Distraction.  It’s a technique used in multiple applications: animal training, dealing with children, pick pocketing, magic, advertising.  In politics it is even easier to use.  The curtain is dropped, the wool securely over the eyes.  How has this become so easy with a government led by the people, how have we become so easily distracted?

You could blame it on the media, but that is a vicious circle of a feedback relationship.  Money, sure, but we the people allowed our representatives vote on and pass citizens United.  Lobbyists, well anyone can be a lobbyist, just the ones that have the most time and money are more likely to get a meeting.  The number of sources, the number of devices, the lack of time, the lack of interest, the overload of information, so many causes, so many issues, so little empathy, so much passion.  So what to do.

I don’t have an answer, I struggle every day.  Hell, every morning I wake up these days, my first thought is “who did he piss off now, what did the assholes do today?”.  There is almost nothing that surprises me now (i’m still shocked about trumps comments on Monday), I almost anticipate waking up to a missile launch from North Korea.

Bottom line, we already know this guy is a lying, hot headed, ignorant, bigoted, misogynistic, well you know the description list.  We also know the Russian collusion case is only getting more and more evidence and most likely has enough to throw his ass in a Siberian jail.  We know he has pissed off the world.  What should we focus on then?

Doing whatever we can, every day, with any tool you have to remove him from office.  Aside from brinkmanship with North Korea, trying to dissolve NATO, insulting our immediate neighbours, praising dictators, this man has NO business having ANY power because he does NOT represent this country.  A racist in the Whitehouse is not a sentence we should have to say.

Call you senator, regardless if they are an ass (i.e. mine is Ted Cruz), call your representatives, call your governor, call your mayor, call the Whitehouse.  Make these six calls EVERY DAY AND DEMAND HE BE REMOVED NOW FOR MENTAL INCOMPETENCE!

CALL

EVERY DAY

NOW

THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO THAT CAN MAKE AN IMPACT!!!!

This Can’t Be Real & Why Is It Still Happening

I am stunned.  I can’t believe this is the world I live in.  What has this country let happen and continue to happen, inflaming every situation and relationship.

I am far from a patriotic, flag waving, country centered American, I’m just one of many who happened to be born here, citizen of the world.  What is transpiring in the United States is in no way American, patriotic, protective, honorable or humane.

THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY!  THIS IS NOT AMERICAN!  THIS IS NOT PATRIOTIC!  THIS IS NOT HONORABLE!  THIS IS NOT HUMANE!

What will it take to even just remove this man from the Presidency.  I don’t care what your political affiliation is, any person that condones in ANY WAY hate, hate groups, violence and supremacy has no business in charge of this or any country.

I have questioned the legitimacy of this administration the moment it was confirmed that the election was interfered with.  At that moment, all executive and cabinet decisions and actions should have been frozen, regardless of who the interference appears to benefit.  I won’t bullshit, if Hilary or Bernie were in the oval, I probably would not have had it in my mind.  It actually would have just been a continuation of the never ending 30,000 email crap that’s been going on, along with Benghazi, uranium and hell, even Monica.  However, neither would not be condoning racism, white supremacy, neo-nazi groups.  Neither wouldn’t have insulted every ally we have.  They wouldn’t have exited the Paris accord.  They wouldn’t be having a pissing contest with North Korea.  They would have released her taxes.  They wouldn’t be knowingly and intentionally lying.  Daily.

Hillary & Bernie would not be standing in front of the press, yelling at them and anyone listening that it wasn’t the neo-nazis’ fault, but those aggressive, bat-wheelding alt-left protesters (who were there WITHOUT a permit).

For a year now, this country has had to shake its collective head, hope other countries know our outdated election system is in need of an overhaul, that the few do DO NOT represent the many and apologize for how the new “commander” in chief is behaving on the world stage.  However, all of his gaffs, inexperience, rudeness, bullish attitude are all repairable and recoverable once his term is up, but this.  No.

This country, if it does not act appropriately to these actions, actions cumulatively on a path littered with destruction to this apex of arrogance and hate, will destroy itself.  This country is rapidly on a self-destructive course with a mad-man at the helm.  For some reason, those that have the ability to remove this egotistical destroyer of all, have yet to do so, and with each day, the country loses more and more.  Soon, there will be no country, well at least the country that anyone knows.  It will become unfamiliar, foreign, cold, unwelcoming.  What you woke up to today, the beauty of the sky, the opportunities in front of you, the quaint or quirky neighborhood you live it, it will all change.  You won’t wake up to that anymore.

You go ahead and start to compose your own 1984 world, what it will be like for you and better yet, what it will be like for your children.  I’m almost 50.  I have no kids.  I could easily shrug my shoulders and just mind my own business, go about my day.  I’ve lived most of my life, I’ve actually made it longer than I thought, so ‘yeah me!’.  I can’t do that.  I can’t watch as this complete insanity not only continues, but is allowed to run off leash. People are the casualties from the daily barrage of words and actions from this crazy man.  Pick any topic, it has or will be shortly, impacted and chances are almost 100% in a negative way.

This must end.  Even if it means all of us going into the damn white house and carrying his ass out of there.

There’s a sucker with a 10¢ ring

Perspective is everything. Not sure about the top 10, but political position aside, it is idealistic to think we “control” what are representatives do at a national level as a general statement, and that is because of money and the distribution of it.We have allowed it to slowly favor the upper crust, with the middle of the road guy to pay for supporting the masses. From citizens United to a non competitive market for pharmaceuticals, the balance has tipped more and more to one side with a smaller and smaller collection.  

It is a strategic way for fiscal conservatives / republicans to maintain representation in states with liberal major cities (Texas, Arizona, etc). Reminding that small portion of Americans (getting smaller and smaller) that their hard earned money shouldn’t go to government programs, they’re not responsible for the mom with five kids on welfare, my family comes first.  

This is true, this group of Americans are shouldering an unfair percentage of the burden. Because those at the top, the 2 million making over 200k each, the 6 people that make 6 billion combined, are putting on a show. There’s a sucker born every minute, as the saying goes, and they’ve counted in that.  

The top doesn’t want to let a penny go and have made many assurances that they won’t, they tell their voters across the board, ‘you won’t be taxed’ from top to bottom. To do this the “show” is to cut all of these “welfare” programs, the programs they say that aren’t necessary, or why should I pay for them to have this – I worked so my kids could have it, it’s a luxury, if they want it they can pay for it themselves. This is great, voters think, I take care of mine, you take care of yours.  

What the ring master doesn’t tell them is, for all that OTHER pesky stuff, like military, bank bailouts, salaries, programs that appear to benefit them, what the fail to say is all of THAT, gets paid for by them. They are the ones still getting taxed. Not to say all others get off Scott free, everyone will pay more in taxes and penalties. It’s just that middle group, the ones that were sold the 10¢ ring, they get spanked.  

That upper crust never gets touched. The next group of earners, they put in some, but are still part of that elite group that has a low tax rate, takes advantage of tax shelters and off shore accounts. The middle class (100-200k) they are stuck in the crap tax bracket, the ones trying to start/maintain small businesses.  The rest, they just see a chunk of their paycheck is gone no matter how hard they work.  That money could have bought school supplies, paid for after school programs so mom and dad CAN work, it could have bought milk and diapers instead of having to choose.  You tell the “middle class” that they should decide how to spend their money, where to put profits towards of their small startup, and then the worst part.  You convince not only the voters but even you start to believe the lie, that this “middle class” is the average American family.  Once that is burned in your brain, you can sell the crap out of it to the majority of America, those under that 100k threshold with the bulk of those at or just above the poverty line.  Convince them they are the middle class, that the taxes they pay are going to the lazy, the illegals, the freeloaders.  What you don’t say is most of the taxes that don’t end up in military spending are actually going back to their communities, be it SNAP, housing assistance, the arts, health care.  The exact programs that are needed but you will take away because you convince them of lower taxes, those giant government programs are what is eating up that paycheck and “social” spending can be decided at the local level.  Taxes won’t be lowered, if anything more of that paycheck will be taxed.  Spending isn’t being cut, it’s just being reallocated and other than a smaller paycheck, the actual everyday American now won’t see ANY benefit in their daily lives.

Dear Senators (and I’m looking at you Mitch),

‪The #ACA which took 2 years and everyone’s participation works for the majority (u know, us making under 30-50k) too bad yours is not exactly the same as before, you poor federal employee with a net worth on average of 1 million. Your 75 yr old ass and 32 yrs polluting the Senate are ending, you have NO right to be making health care decisions for young women, children in poverty, adults with and on disabilities or anyone for that matter that is not in your immediate family. Which if you so much as have a cough, you would be first in line at the ER, whisked to a private, mahogany paneled, personal chef, 1:1 nursing with a living room room.
The republicans on the hill are the obstructionist. The ACA works and just needs to be built upon, but you people are so invested in destroying ANYTHING Obama touched. You did for eight years. You jerkoffs had 7 years to come up with a comprehensive bill. 7 years. Instead you take 13 white male senators with an average age of 60 years old with 5 past forced retirement age in most companies and go hide in a room to come up with crap that ensure YOU get your federal health care back to what it was before the ACA and more tax breaks for all you wonderful idiots that make more than 200k.
This is not about you. This us not about republicans. This is about Americans and their future. Just because your future is short and your 3 spoiled kids and their rotten crotch fruit have daddy’s money and don’t have to worry, that’s only about 1.5% of the ENTIRE population.
Get off your Republican high horse, take what the ACA has (while assuring the insurance companies of little to no volatility), create real working groups with even numbers of dems and rep. Each group can focus on one aspect of the bill and get it done. 13 old white men will not determine our future.
Oh and by the way, don’t be chicken shits and face your constituents, every last one if you. If you really believed in what you were doing is for the people, you jackasses wouldn’t be afraid to meet with us, take a call, actually write a letter (not those stupid form letters that are cranked out). Not only has Congress had the LOWEST approval rating in modern history, but also the most inaccessible.
You work for us, remember?

Liar, Liar . . . but that’s ok

When I was little, my imaginary friend was Casper the ghost.  Most of the time, blaming him for some minor thing in the house was just passed over, which didn’t happen much because we were terrified of our dad.  We tended to keep to ourselves and not make waves.  Sometime when I was 4 or 5, we were ‘holding’ a piano for a friend while they moved.  It was fun to play with the piano, trying to make music or pretending to be performing in a great hall.  So when if found a new thing to play,  I was all over it, but it wasn’t music.  I had found a little metal rod and tried to play the keys with this little rod.  It didn’t move the keys, but it put a really cool, perfectly round, half circle chip on the edge of the ivory key.  Wow, that was neat, would it do it again?  It did.  On every single key, some twice.

When mom saw the piano, she pretty much knew, but did the whole parent thing.  Who did this?  I stood there and blamed my sister.  Nope, that didn’t fly.  Well, my brother could take the fall, he would have thought of it anyway.  Boy, did he get in trouble . . . until mom figured out it wasn’t him.  She stood me in front of the piano again, asked who did it.  Well, since she still hasn’t figured it out (my little 5 year old mind reasoned) I’d blame Casper.  Needless to say, that sealed my fate.  I have no recollection of what happened after that, but I was busted.

That was my lesson on lying.  My lesson on ‘fessing up.  My lesson on being accountable.  I may be an optimist and idealistic, but I would like to think everyone had that moment at one point or another while growing up.  I know that some, after getting away with said lie, felt empowered to try again.  We grow older and learn that a lie is not a lie, that they are not all the same.  Some are beneficial, some self-serving, some small, some devastating.

So, unlike George Washington, we have all lied, and will most likely do it again.  But when does a lie become bad?  When does it stop being small?  At what point do you recant and come out with the truth?  When, as an observer, do you call bullshit?

In U.S. politics, the word doesn’t exist, lie.  Somehow, no one in U.S. politics ever gets busted for lying, even if they are caught it is just put aside.  They are all initially treated like a white lie, like the lie you tell someone about their food.  You tell them it tastes good, even though it is so vile you wouldn’t give it to your worst enemy, but telling the truth serves no purpose other than hurting their feelings and potentially stopping them from cooking again.  Unless they are poisoning people, then the nice little white lie doesn’t make the earth implode.

We have become so complacent with the word vomit that spouts out of the mouths of politicians, we only become outraged if the act itself is discovered, not the lie.  The only thing in recent memory where the lie apparently was worse than the act was Bill Clinton.  The fact is, the man cheated on his wife.  Not a crime, hell, really shouldn’t have been the huge public circus that it became.  If you cheated on your partner and all of a sudden your job demanded you publicly address the accusation, most people would lie and try to distance themselves from it in hopes that your marriage (relationship) wouldn’t be effected.  There have been plenty of bigger things lied about in government than a blow job, and most of the time . . . NOTHING HAPPENS.

The problem with that is most of those lies effect policy.  They impact voting.  They take us to war.  They make the government less reputable.  They insult their voters.  When we lie as children, it’s the lie we get in trouble for, not for breaking the glass.  When you take responsibility, it’s not all rainbows and fluff, but the punishment is dialed down.  Why are we allowing these ‘public servants’ to not only do a really shitty job, but lie with a straight face and become indignant when we don’t buy it.

There need to be repercussions for lying.  They need to be called out.  The media needs to push back on lies, especially blatant misrepresentation of the facts.  These people need to face perjury charges, they need to be removed from committees or even office, they need to answer to the public that they lied and why, what are they going to do to rectify the situation.

Trump and his unending blabber of erroneous lies is not funny.  They are not trump being trump, just saying what he thinks.  No, he is impacting policy, opinion, our government.  He needs to stop being handled with kid gloves and forced to answer for any lie he has or will tell.  Opinion is one thing, but accusing Obama of wire tapping then sending your page boy out to say it wasn’t a lie, it was a generalization is not acceptable.  When he mis-states facts and numbers, he needs to be confronted with the actual numbers and demand that he state his source.  Claiming during the campaign that the unemployment rate was 25, 30, even 45% (total fabrication).  There can’t be allowance of pick and choose statistics just because they are unfavorable to the narrative.  If he cannot back it up, he must publicly recant / correct the statement.

I would love to see a week of the press coming together and agreeing to call the White House out on one item, and don’t let them speak about anything except one topic until either they show tangible proof or admit it was a lie.  Just pick one.  Hammer it home.  Don’t let them off.  Every day, hour, press conference.  Every interview, every tweet, every statement drill in the fact that the White House is lying.  Call it what it is and don’t let it be anything less (alternative facts, really?).  Don’t let the sources be, ‘I heard it from people’ or ‘we read the numbers in a report’.  Could you imagine Spicer trying to avoid answering a question that the entire press corps kept asking him?  Forcing Kelly Ann Conway to answer questions with a yes or no, not her bizarre blather that makes no sense and leaves her not answering anything.

Every time they are allowed to lie, and not confronted one to one, they are like the kid that got away with it the the first time.  ‘Well, it worked before and nothing happened, I can do that again’.  We need to shove it right back in their face, collectively, the moment it happens and not let it go.  I’m tired of it, aren’t you?

The Greatest Health Care?

I keep hearing the talking heads in Washington bitch about the ACA and how the increased premiums are hitting the middle class.  That the increase is in the thousands with astronomical deductibles.  I know I’m broke, but I was mystified at ‘who is this middle class’?

Let’s start with some basic assumptions about this group.  Income is per adult, so you can apply this generalization to a family or a single person.  So, this ‘person’ is paying a rent or mortgage.  They have a car with a note on it.  There is a basic cell phone, average bills, food and even insurance.  This ‘middle class’ is defined as a one person household making $47,520, and a two person household at $97,200.  Take home each month would be around $2400.  Take a look at what you lay out each month and work with that number, $2,400.  Rent – $1,000, Car $250, Cell $50, Utilities $100, Gas $100, Food $350, Insurance $300.  This alone comes to $2,150.  There is $250 left for incidentals, emergencies, savings, car maintenance and anything else that might pop up.  For me, an emergency room visit is $250 the first time, goes to $500 there after (unless I’m admitted).  Imagine now if you have a kid or two as a single parent.  Even with dual income as ‘middle class’, it’s not like there is an extra $2,400 lying around, they have double the expenses except rent.

We have heard about the income gap and how a very few control most of the money.  There are about 320 million people living in the U.S. with about 150 million actually earning a paycheck.  66% of the wage earners, or 100 million earn less than $40,000.  This is NOT the middle class.  This is the group that got insurance under the ACA that didn’t have insurance before.  This is the group that will be most impacted if the ACA is repealed.

The majority of the group that everyone is talking about, the group that had their premiums shoot through the roof, the group that is complaining how bad the ACA is, it’s about 33 million that make between $45,000 to $100,000 (remember, each wage earner). I’m not judging, but when a republican representative has the gall to say that instead of buying the latest phone people should invest in their health, I look at this group and how they budget their money.  It’s $3,000 for rent, it’s a $499 car payment, it’s Starbucks every morning.  Asking that 66% to sacrifice so they can buy healthcare while the 33% is being inconvenienced is asinine.  Also, keep this in mind, those making less than $40,000, have little to no insurance offered by employers (not full-time, not given the hours).  The higher the income, the more likely insurance comes with the job.  There is a certain population that is either self-employed or small business owners in that wedge between $45,000 to $200,000.  They are being hit and hit hard, but this is the exception.

This is the infuriating part.  Of the 150 million wage earners, 2.5 million make over $200,000 . . . and of that group 72 people earned over 6 BILLION in one year (2009).  These are the people making the decisions, creating a new health care bill that will be better than the ACA, the greatest healthcare ever.

Either they are completely in the dark and have no idea what is going on in America, or (more likely) they REALLY don’t want to share their toys.  Between republicans flat-out hate for Obama and anything he implemented  and the upper crust’s utter fear of having to pay for anything that does not benefit them, Americans are about to be slaughtered.  And they don’t realize it.

We know that “The Best” is just a turd covered in fake gold leaf to make it shiny.  Always keep in mind who is the middle class and who they think is the middle class – it is not the same.

Wow, 6 fucking billion.