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?

My Skinny Jeans – Shit Women Do

We all have ‘that pair’ in our closet, our skinny jeans. We will never, ever throw them away. They represent different things to each of us, one day I will, I once was. Everything that lives around that pair of skinny jeans, however, is a different story. A woman’s closet is a mini store in and of itself. First, you have your seasons and depending on your climate will determine the severity of your seasonal fluxuation (someone in Chicago will have a heavier winter collection than someone in Miami). Now, within those seasons, there are formal, business/work, casual, comfy, p.j., and junk clothes. Formal is going to be your LBD, anything with sequins, shines, glittery, floor length, etc. Business attire is self explanatory. The difference between casual and comfy is casual can be worn in public, comfy not so much. The junk clothes, that’s the clothes we use to clean out the garage in, heavy yard work, paint, destructive things. Now, everyone knows the next one. We have at least two sizes in most of the above. There is no real designation between them unless there is a significant size reduction. Most of the time it just depends on how you feel that day. Bloated and lazy, it’s time for those baggy pants or that peasant skirt with the drawstring waist. Feeling awesome and hot, time for those jeggins with the back slit top. When we loose those 7 pounds though, buddy, SHOPPING SPREE! Even if there is shit in our closet that fits, it’s time for new goodies. Every so often, we purge. We go through, piece by piece. The first to go are usually the fashion disasters, left overs from the neon 80’s or the grunge 90’s. Next, the ones we know we will never, and I mean never fit into again (except for those skinny jeans). The next casualty, with our new found sveltness, the two-ton Tessy pants, well, at least a couple. You keep a couple of nice ones that you really like, just in case, and hide them in the back of the closet. After four bags of donations, your closet is still bulging at the door, your searching for hangers, you have no drawer space, the skinny jeans still have their coveted spot on the top shelf.  Yet even with a proverbial mall in that closet, you wear a uniform or the standard ‘work outfit’ to work, come home and put on your favorite pair of sweats and a grubby t-shirt that you have worn since 1998 almost 98% of the time. Classic.

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.

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?

Hoarding

Why are we so compelled to hang on to stuff?  Every time I clean, purge, move I really try to get rid of stuff but somehow, I still end up with more crap that I don’t need.  Especially as we become more digital and mobile, shouldn’t there be less?  I remember in the early 90’s I worked for a consulting firm and one of the projects was a paperwork reduction project.  It generated more paperwork than it was designed to save.

All my photos are digital, all my CD’s are in my iTunes library, I don’t buy DVD’s because everything is on my Roku, I download books mostly (I say mostly because I’m a bit addicted to books and won’t pass up an opportunity to peruse the local bookstore!).  Yet my shelves are full, closets packed.  I donate clothes, sell nick-knacks, give away toys, re-gift gifts, and just toss stuff.  I think my stuff just multiplies while I’m sleeping!

There is a sense of satisfaction when you see negative space, and you have room and empty hangers.  Yet then, when you get that gift card, or that third check in one month, or that thingy-ma-ging just jumps out at you in the store, it happens.  It’s just one thing, I have room for it, it will be perfect in that spot!  If I get this, I’ll get rid of that.  Yeah, it never works that way.  Even if you move into a smaller space, all that crap goes with you.  I guess there’s just the difference between too much crap and ‘holy crap, this place needs to be condemned!’.  So, look around your place . . . do you really need that?