Category Archives: Political

A Week in Trump USA Part 1…

My high school choir Director, a brilliant artist and loving man, posted this on his Facebook page yesterday:

“Those who study authoritarian regimes suggest keeping a list of abnormal events after a demagogue is elected, as a way to remind yourself that this isn’t normal and to keep from being overwhelmed into acceptance by the onslaught of attacks on our rights.
Here is a list below. We are 4 days in. As one author says, “when you see all of this in one list, it is easy to get overwhelmed, at first– it is also easy to see a pattern and to finally, finally recognize that none of this is normal, nor is it ok.”

  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
  •  On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
  • On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
  • On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
  • On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
  • On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
  • On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
  • On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
  • On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
  • On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
  • On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
  • On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is of the 2009 inauguration of 44th President Barack Obama, and is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
  • On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
  • On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
  • On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
  • On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
  • On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
  • On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.”

Thank you to Mr. Taylor for the information.

In further news, after various government agencies were asked to stop reporting scientific information about the environment numerous alternative twitter feeds for these agencies popped up. I never imagined the National Parks Service would lead the revolution but ladies and gentlemen it certainly has. Follow these alternative feeds for publications about science that the Trump administration cannot stem:

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Finally, are you looking for something to do to improve your mind? How about a little light reading courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act? Take a gander on over to the FOIA.Gov site and read through how to make a FOIA request. Since the Trump Administration has put a gag order into place I suggest we help these agencies out.

FOIA requests can cost some research time and reprinting costs however, you may request a waiver of fees. “Under the FOIA, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.”

I would argue that requesting the release of scientific information gathered by our government on the status of our environmental health during a time when the Executive branch has restricted the release of any information falls quite clearing under the requirements for fee waivers.

 

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The eve of change…

I can feel it in my bones, a sense of expectation that refuses to listen to me when I remind it that change doesn’t occur over night, a thrill along my spine despite the mess and the gargantuan job before us, a rise in my spirit.

Tomorrow, I no longer belong to a country that only elects rich white men.

Tomorrow, my President will not make me cringe when he speaks or tempt me to compare the cover of Time Magazine with the cover of Mad Magazine.

Tomorrow, my President will not be doing comedians jobs for them, they will have to work harder when poking fun at our nation’s leader, well, except for his ears.

I can hardly wait.

________________

Check out a child’s eye view of the inauguration: www.sharemyinauguration.com.

14 hours…

I became a political creature in my first presidential election, which was 1996, and was a Clinton year. When Bush was elected in 2000, I began to think the system may be broken, and I began to work with those who would fight to protect it. In 2004 I poll watched for FairVote, spending 14 hours in the cold insuring each challenged voter got to cast a provisional ballot, only to see no one count their votes. I assisted attorney’s in suing on behalf of disenfranchised voters in various states in the hopes that some one would be made accountable for the incomprehensible voter suppression and interference I saw around my country. (Such as people printing INS t-shirts and hanging around outside heavily latino polling places.)

Still, the system failed and l began to believe it might not ever work. How could anyone get the apathetic America to get off their couches and vote?

Then Hillary ran for office, and I thought, maybe, just maybe I could be excited about a campaign again. After all, Hill was a great candidate, and the first serious female contender for the presidential candidate. I was sad when she didn’t get the candidacy, though I supported Obama as soon as he did. (As only amnesia would have made me support a republican after the past eight years, that and my family being held hostage by vote influencing thugs.)

Yesterday I spent 14 hours in a polling place with other dems and pubs, insuring every voter who entered was allowed to cast a vote, or sent to the right place, or given a provisional ballot. There weren’t any voters challenged, no one tried to suppress the vote, and I saw some amazing things. They restored my faith in our political system. Though I still feared an inevitable letdown when voting machines would fail or lines would be too long to allow people to cast their votes.

I saw women, many of them, coming in with all their children in tow, preparing to brave long lines with multiple kids to cast their votes. (Luckily we didn’t have any lines and we have a volunteer who made hundreds of origami cranes to hand out to the kids.) I saw young voters, newly 18 with registration cards in hand, coming to make a choice for the first time. I saw grandmothers and grandfathers casting their vote for the first time, bringing their children and grandchildren, all recently registered, to cast a vote and make a statement. They all asked intelligent questions about the ballot initiatives, requested sample ballots, and spent 20 minutes to half an hour reading over each ballot choice before casting their vote.

I saw a pregnant woman deliver her mail in ballot on the way to delivering her baby.

I saw a voter who had failed to sign the pollbook in the morning on his way to work come all the way back from Fort Collins to put his signature down so his vote would be counted. (Luckily one of the election judges knew him and way able to call and tell him he had missed that crucial step.)

My election judges worked hard. They asked me and the republican poll watcher what our interpretations of the voting rules were, talked over disagreements, called for help when they needed it, and worked together to get our voters a ballot. They called the county clerk for over half of the voters whose registrations were missing from the poll books. The voters waited patiently for resolution, happy to sit for an hour while we sat on hold, just wanting to cast their vote.

When I came home, after a grueling but wonderful day, to discover that the system had actually worked, that there weren’t any suspicious reasons for a huge disparity in the exit polls and the elected candidate, I started to tear up. When I realized Obama won, I cried with disbelief and hope, and when I saw how much he won, how many people he inspired to vote, I cried with joy. Barack Obama has organized the American community and reminded us how it is supposed to work. We aren’t supposed to leave voting to the few, we are supposed to speak with millions of voices, from all areas of our nation’s demographics. We are a nation of the people, all the people.

He was not my first choice for president, but he is the best choice. This man can heal us, he can make us remember who we are, and he can bring out the beautiful in our America. I do not believe any other candidate could have done what he has done. I am proud to call him my president.

Can’t be quiet.

I tried. I spent two days slightly less than two days reading other blogs, commenting a little, and not writing in mine. I tried, but I can’t stop writing now, when so much is going on!!

For example, Sarah Palin referring to herself as a representative for Joe Six-Pack. I wonder if she means this Joe Six-Pack, a beer reporter in Philidelphia, or this one, apparently the author of a “manly” transgendered website? (Who knew? I love Google searches, he was 7 links down!)

I know, I know,  she probably meant John Q. Public, a generic name used in America to denote the “common man.” Unfortunately, Ms. Palin didn’t choose to use a phrase commonly associated with a reasonable common member of society, she choose a phrase that is usually used in a derogatory manner to refer to a lesser member of the common man, such as someone who spends all their time/energy/money investing in the aforementioned six pack.

William Safire of the NY Times wrote on the birth and life of Everyman, now known as Joe Six-Pack, when Bill Clinton used the phrase in the late 90’s (not to describe himself.)

The average Joe appeared as Joe Blow (1867), Joe Doakes (1926), Joe College (1932), G.I. Joe (1943) and, in Britain, Joe Bloggs (1969). Though Joe Zilch (1925, probably a play on zero) and Joe Schmo (1950, rhyming with hometown Kokomo) are derisive, Joe Cool (1949) gets respect.

A six-pack (which still takes a hyphen, but not for long) is a half-dozen bottles or cans, often of beer, packaged to be purchased as a unit. Beer is traditionally Everyman’s alcoholic beverage, slurped up noisily or chug-a-lugged breathlessly by those who sneer at effete elitists with ”Champagne tastes.” Hence, the affinity of the plebeian Joe with the symbol of beer purchased in quantity, the six-pack, a word coined in 1952″

Well that’s what I want in Vice presidential office, a person who numbers herself among Americans who pony up to the couch with a six pack of brew to sneer at the effete elitists in society. (Although frankly, my problem with Safire’s article is his assumption that said Six-Packers could define effete or for that matter, plebeian.)

The Urban Dictionary defines poor Joe even less kindly, calling him the “Average American moron, IQ 60, drinking beer, watching baseball and CNN, and believing everything his President says.

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines Joe as “A lower-middle-class male. For example, I don’t think opera will appeal to Joe Six-pack; he’d prefer a rock concert. This disparaging term, first recorded in 1977, conjures up the image of a man in undershirt and construction helmet who will down all of a six-pack (six cans or bottles of beer sold in a package) in an evening.”

Not the best curriculum vitae for leading the country, especially if Ms. Palin expects us to spend our hard earned taxes on her beer habit.

What I want to know is this; when did our country begin to be seen as a land filled with beer swilling under achievers? I am insulted. Most Americans work damn hard, and I don’t think describing the majority of them as shiftless beer swillers is flattering. The middle class people I know are working hard, often two jobs a piece, to send their kids to school, pay their bills, get a decent house, and make their kids lives better than their were when they were growing up.

Geez Sarah, it’s bad enough the rest of the world thinks we are tools, with our deplorable foreign policy and our ineloquent President, do you have to portray us as low functioning alcoholics too?

There’s no place like home…

Maybe she wanted to be able to click her heels three times and disappear if she failed miserably, or maybe it’s the girly version of the power tie, either way, Palin may have stolen these shoes right off the set of Wizard of Oz.

Ruby Slippers
Ruby Slippers

Granted, they may be dyed crocodile skin (most likely from a crocodile shot down by Palin as she flew overhead on her way to a gubernatorial meeting) instead of red glitter, but the sparkle from her shoes brought some new spice to the VP debate.

Of course, the shoes were the only sparkling aspect of the debate. As the daughter of writers and the granddaughter of an English teacher my ears burned in shame as they heard Palin butcher the English language over and over again. (We’re talking basic grammar here folks. She can has primer?)

Let’s not even talk about her clear unwillingness to answer any question posed. If she had chosen to answer, her syntax and grammar errors would have made her answers unintelligible anyway.

As a woman who campaigned her ass off to get Hillary (blessedly eloquent woman that she is) into office, Palin’s verbal stumbling makes me want to bang my head down on the table and cry.

Reasons not to vote McCain #72…

He is a part of the target audience for the Jitterbug!!!

You know, the phones made especially for seniors who are confused and befuddled by regular cell phones! The Jitterbug has customer support that will even put your phone numbers into your contact list for you AND make your outgoing calls!!

I know, I know, I am making fun of the elderly. Bad Scylla, no soul for you!!

Look, I am comfortable making an issue of (and poking fun at) his age. It is not age-ism to worry about a presidential candidate who is old enough to die in office, during his first term, it is simply common sense. The average life expectancy for white males is 75.7 and the three top causes of death are cancer, heart diesease and stroke. McCain has had cancer four times, most recently in 2002. If his odds of surviving a full term at the White House were a bet in Vegas, I wouldn’t place my money against the house!