healthcare, politicians, politics, rants

The Party of Family Values, my ass!

Last night, I read a New York Times article about how the Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to block the Abortion Law in Texas. The Biden administration is planning to challenge the law, giving the Supreme Court Justices the opportunity to take another look at it.

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of people commenting about the article. Quite a few comments came from conservative white men, many of whom wanted to know why women didn’t simply “abstain” from having sex. I had to have a laugh at that. In my experience, it’s usually not the women who are wanting sex the most. I mean, yes, there are lots of women who enjoy having sex, but I think men are the ones who are mostly driven to have it.

As we all know, when a woman gets pregnant, she’s usually pregnant for nine months. A man, on the other hand, can do his part in creating babies with a woman, then do the same thing with another woman the next day… and the day after that… and the day after that…

So why are we so focused on women when it comes to stopping abortion? Why aren’t we more focused on the men?

No… I don’t support forced vasectomies, just as I don’t think women should either be denied or forced to have abortions (and when I was a social worker, I did have a minor client who was forced to have an abortion she didn’t want). But I do think a lot of men need to be shaken up a little bit and reminded that if they’re so against abortion, there are things that they can do to stop them. For one thing, they can stop having sex for fun. Do you think that’s extreme? It’s what the men often tell women when this issue comes up. So many of them seem to think pregnancy should be punishment for what they deem as immoral, “slutty”, behavior. They don’t seem to think of the aftermath of what happens to the poor child who could be born into that situation.

A lot of men want to blame women for “getting themselves pregnant”. But no woman gets pregnant by herself. I’ve never seen a man’s name on a medical bill for a pregnant woman’s care, though. And I’ve never head of a biological man having to be on bed rest during a pregnancy. And when the baby is born, the man often has an easier time of going back to work. There’s no healing involved… no breastmilk coming in… no postpartum health issues.

Anyway, I managed to restrain myself from commenting too much on that particular piece, although I did comment that sometimes abortions are medically indicated. I added that at no time is it anyone’s business when someone else chooses to have one. A lot of women were adding their thoughts, and one guy was taking them on, one by one. He asked me what medical conditions might require a woman to have an abortion.

Seriously, guy? My response was that I wasn’t wasting my Friday night to teach this dude about obstetrics and gynecology. Instead, I directed him to the excellent video by Mama Doctor Jones that I’ve already shared in this blog more than once. She very clearly spells out why this new law, Senate Bill 8, is very bad news. Here’s the video again for those who missed it.

As Mama Doctor Jones pointed out, people who are pregnant are always at a higher risk than people who aren’t.

But, in short terms, someone who is pregnant and happens to have any kind of chronic disease, like diabetes, or lupus, or cancer, or someone who has mental health or addiction issues, or someone who can barely support themselves… those are all people who might benefit from having the choice to have an abortion. And there are other situations that may make someone consider terminating a pregnancy. At no time is it anyone else’s business.

I finally navigated away from the infuriating comments from the men on that thread and went to sleep. Then this morning, I woke up to this headline from the Washington Post— “Republicans fault Buttigieg for time off with newborns. Democrats say he’s showing the need for paid parental leave.“. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, became parents of two newborns in August. They spent over a year trying to adopt the babies, often coming close to success, only to have their hopes dashed. They finally got their wish, and now the couple is rightly taking parental leave.

Republicans, who often refer to themselves as The Party of Family Values, apparently don’t think it’s cool that Buttigieg is taking time to bond with his new babies. Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, actually mocked Buttigieg for taking paternity leave, saying

“Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child. Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went…”

So… basically, the Republican Party is all for family values, as long as they’re “traditional”. All of these Republican men are so against abortion, but then they mock two dedicated parents for taking time off to nurture their new families? Republicans want to force women to give birth, but they object to allowing new parents time to actually care for their babies? That doesn’t seem very “family friendly” to me.

Many Republicans probably just don’t like the idea of homosexuals raising families. That’s a real shame, since most of my homosexual friends and relatives are some of the finest people I know and are wonderful parents. They certainly understand the importance of a loving and supportive family. Too many of them have been cast out of their families simply due to who they choose to love.

Now… I’m not saying that all Republicans are homophobes. I’m sure there are plenty of people who identify as conservative, but aren’t actually homophobic. The trouble is, too few of them are in public office. The United States is unusual among developed nations for not recognizing the need for parents–both male and female– to be able to take family leave. Slowly, things are changing. Bill told me this morning that even the Army is allowing new dads to take leave. I’m sure the positive effects of that policy will become apparent in the future.

President Biden is trying to introduce new policies that will make the United States a more family friendly place. Maybe if we had more policies that made having babies and raising children easier, there would be fewer abortions. Just a thought.

Republicans want women to have babies no matter what, but they don’t support allowing parents to actually take care of those babies. So what does that mean? The baby goes to a child care facility while the parent goes right back to work? Aren’t these the same people bitching about socialism and government overreach? Okay, so maybe the child care facility is privately owned and run… and super expensive! Wouldn’t it be better if we allowed the parents of babies to actually take care of their babies when they’re super young?

Recently, Buttigieg has been more present on the job. He recently commented about his new role on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:

“It’s been wonderful,” Buttigieg said during that appearance. “It’s everything people tell you to expect and more. I think the biggest thing that has surprised me is just how much joy there is, even sometimes in the hard parts. Don’t get me wrong — it’s the most demanding thing I think I’ve ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on, but it’s just amazing.”

He sounds like a good dad to me. A good, and present, dad makes for a healthier family.

Even Fox News gives new parents six weeks of leave– which is not enough, in my opinion. But, in March of this year, “Fox & Friends” co-host Todd Piro took six weeks of paternity leave after his daughter’s birth. Piro was grateful for the time to spend with his new baby girl.

“I cannot thank Fox enough for providing all fathers who work here with such a generous paternity leave,” Piro wrote in an op-ed in April. “This experience has changed me in a profound way and in ways I won’t fully comprehend until my daughter is older. But for now — that smile coming from the crib each morning, immediately followed by morning snuggles — is what I will cherish the most.”

And other Fox hosts have also praised having the chance to take leave. When his third child was born in April 2021, Fox News host Jesse Watters admitted that he now supports paid paternity leave.

“Now I am pro-paternity. I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse, but now, you know, I wish I could take six weeks,” Watters said.

But Republicans are still bitching about Pete Buttigieg’s “gall” at taking parental leave. They’re criticizing his leadership potential and making personal insults instead of working with him to make policies that actually benefit American families. They’re trying to force women who aren’t ready to have babies to stay pregnant, while denying them any assistance that would help them have healthy babies and actually raise those babies into well-adjusted and well-prepared adults.

Meanwhile, Democrats are lauding the idea of parental leave, as well as leave that would allow people to care for their sick and aging parents. Bill and I are in the “sandwich generation”– that stage of life in which we might have been really squeezed if we’d had children. So far, we aren’t affected the way many of our peers are– I have friends who are caring for their children, as well as their elderly parents. It really puts a strain on middle aged people and, frankly, makes them vulnerable to chronic diseases themselves.

I don’t think Republicans actually are the The Party of Family Values. I think they are The Party of Greed, Sexism, and Racism, and trying to control women’s bodies. There’s much more to living than working and making money. The conservative men, many of whom are drunk on their own toxic masculinity, ought to step aside and think about this for a minute. They say they’re against abortions because it’s an assault on the “sanctity of life”. They say adoption is a better choice. But Pete and Chasten Buttigieg have adopted two babies, and now they’re getting their chops busted by Republicans who mock them for wanting to have a family…

I guess “family values” for Republicans only apply to traditional couples. What a shame. I think Pete and Chasten Buttigieg are going to be fabulous parents. I wish them well, and I’m glad they took some time to adapt to their new life roles. All Americans should have that opportunity. Republicans should embrace the idea, especially if they’re serious about wanting to curtail abortions. Stop the slut shaming and moralizing and actually make some policies that would make the prospect of having children more workable and feasible.

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politicians, politics, Trump

Trump is gearing up for another go at being POTUS… I can’t stand it.

The above photo is a screenshot that is enough to inspire nightmares. On another note, I doubt Trump ever had a physique like that one. He’s the Eric Cartman of world leaders.

Last night, as I struggled to fall asleep, I read an article about how Donald Trump is chomping at the bit to run for president again. The idea of another four years with him running the White House is enough to give me anxiety induced indigestion. I really hate the idea of it. But I am not surprised he’s gearing up for another run, since he’s a malignant narcissist who can’t lose with dignity. And he doesn’t seem to know when the party is over and it’s time for him to go home.

I know there are still many people in the United States who would dearly love to see Trump run and win again. Lots of people I grew up with– many of whom are, pardon the expression, total rednecks– feel like Trump is the one president who didn’t ignore them and spoke up for their needs. What they don’t seem to understand, though, is that Donald Trump actually disdains people who are just “plain folks”. They seem to think Trump would invite them over to his house for a well done steak covered with ketchup and watch football and pitch horseshoes with them, or something. That’s not the case at all.

Donald Trump disdains people he thinks of as “losers”, and that would certainly include people who aren’t wealthy, well-connected, or very good looking. At the same time, he’s threatened by people who are winners. He would rather those people work to elevate him, rather than congratulate them on their own successes and encourage them to keep succeeding. Unless, of course, he can somehow parlay their successes into something he can use for himself and his agenda.

Some time ago, I remember seeing a cartoon posted on social media depicting Trump sitting at an old fashioned soda counter next to a small child. In the drawing, Trump looks “fit” and muscular, and leans over to a boy wearing a pro-Trump t-shirt. The caption was, “Don’t worry kid, we’re coming back.” It depicted Trump as this old fashioned, all American, God fearing, heroic, great guy, who loves children, families, and the American way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is, Donald Trump is just a con man with racist and “rapey” proclivities. He’s always been that way, and he will always be that way. He’s a narcissist, and they don’t change, nor do they do anything that isn’t strictly for them, and their agenda. That’s what makes him a disastrous failure as a “leader”. Moreover, I don’t see Trump getting that close to anyone who hasn’t made his dick hard. He is reportedly a germaphobe, and I strongly doubt he has much affection for children, even ones who wear pro-Trump t-shirts. He especially has disgraceful attitudes toward girls.

Recently, I read that Donald Trump is being asked not to publicly declare his candidacy for the presidential run in 2024. This is because people are afraid he will upset the midterm elections. Many voters are still reeling from the shit Trump did when he was in office, and I think Republicans are hoping they can somehow sway those people to vote red again after another year with Biden at the helm. A lot of people don’t like Joe Biden, and I think Republicans are hoping for more time to show that Biden isn’t a good president. But Trump is probably not going to listen to the powers that be in the Republican party. Why? Because he’s a narcissist, and narcissists don’t listen to other people. They do what they want, other people and their needs be damned.

Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George, gets it.

I also think that many Republicans secretly realize that they have created a monster in Donald Trump. He will not stop interfering in politics, now that he’s gotten a taste of the power that comes from being president. It will probably take his death to stop him. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who apparently is also eyeing a bid for the White House, used to champion Trump, and Trump championed him. But now, Trump sees DeSantis as a threat, and is trying to psych him out of a presidential run by calling him a loser. Frankly, I would absolutely hate to have DeSantis as president, either… but I do think this situation is an example as to why people should never have trusted Trump. He has no honor and no loyalty, and he does not care about anyone but himself. Trump doesn’t support his supporters. He thinks of them as chumps.

In fact, Mike Pence’s former coronavirus advisor, Olivia Troye, made a video last year slamming Trump. In that video, she noted that he was much more concerned about being re-elected than preventing deaths from the pandemic. According to Troye, Trump said:

“…maybe this Covid thing is a good thing… I don’t like shaking hands with people. I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people…”

Of course, Trump and Pence both claimed that Troye was just a “disgruntled former staffer” who wanted to say bad things about Trump. But what about the time Trump referred to America’s military war dead and injured as “losers and suckers”? This from a man who didn’t do his part in Vietnam, due to “bone spurs”… and yet, many people in the military still think Trump is “da man”. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I have up close and personal knowledge of how many people in the military become indoctrinated to the cause and their leadership, especially when the leader is a Republican.

I read another article about Melania Trump’s former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who is now throwing the Trumps under the bus in a new tell-all book. I haven’t decided if I will read her book, since I hate to give money to someone who fully supported the Trump regime and is now very much a hypocrite. I may decide to read the book, simply because it may have some truth in it worth revealing. Like it or not, Grisham was privy to a lot of “tea” during her stint in the White House. And she has publicly said, “I am terrified of him running for president in 2024…” Grisham says that it would be all about revenge if Trump were to run. Grisham further states that she believes if he won, Trump would push “some very draconian policies” shaped by his base.

In other words, he would not have to worry about re-election, so we could all look forward to Trump becoming completely unhinged, and feeling totally emboldened to act like a crazed monkey throwing shit at the masses. It would be a disaster. Human rights and any policy devoted to decency, cooperation, and democracy would go down the shitter. I would expect a lot of people to become disabled and/or die, too, because of more gun violence, disease caused by public health and health system failures, and irresponsible health choices associated with poorer safety and wellness. Trump is not, for instance, a leader who encourages people to take care of themselves and other people. He encourages people to be selfish, irresponsible assholes, like him.

But people love junk food, and lots of people love Trump, because he is the political equivalent of junk food. He’s a “hamberder and fries” to the “grilled turbot and steamed vegetables” of more liberal candidates. Which isn’t to say that I would want the “tofu and bean sprouts” of an extremely left wing candidate, either. I support moderates, and candidates who have everyone’s best interests at heart. I support leaders who care about other people, not just half-cocked, drunken uncle types, who only care about fat wallets and their own sexual gratification.

Trump supporters see Trump as being for their brand of “freedom”, which is all about their individual liberties– except for when it comes to private health decisions made by pregnant women. They don’t want the government dictating how they spend their money, what they wear on their faces, or if they get a vaccine to protect themselves and their communities against a deadly novel virus. They want to ignore all of the dangers of today and live their lives as if it was still 1955, and women were barefoot and pregnant, people of color “knew their places” in society, and conservative white men were on top of things. It really is nauseating if you think about it for long and you have any sense of decency.

A screenshot from the insurrection on January 6. If Trump comes back, I expect more of the same.

I read this morning that some of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 are starting to get their punishments for trying to overthrow the government. One story was about a guy from San Antonio who got sentenced for 45 days in jail for traveling to DC, being part of the mob, and spending twelve minutes in the Capitol building. The guy hadn’t actually engaged in violence or vandalism, but the judge noted that he’d made a conscious choice not to respect the results of the 2020 election. These folks were cheered on by Donald Trump. He encouraged them to riot in his name. I only hope that some of the people who were involved in the January 6th rioting get a clue and cast their votes differently in 2024. I don’t think the United States can survive another Trump presidency.

I truly do get being conservative. I understand wanting to vote Republican. But PLEASE– let’s find someone to run who is not a complete sociopath. Let’s find someone with a conscience who cares, on some level, about other people. It’s true that most politicians are a bit narcissistic, but Donald Trump is narcissistic on an epic scale. We can, and should, do much better than voting him in again. It’s time for all decent people to pull their heads out of their own asses, open their eyes, and see beyond the bullshit. Vote for people, not parties.

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complaints, politics, rants, stupid people, tragedies, work

You should worry about yourself…

Apologies in advance for this disjointed rant. I have a lot on my mind, and it’s coming out in heaves today. I hate to say it, but I’m beginning to think that a lot of people who identify with conservative values are actual morons without consciences or souls. It’s probably because, as usual, I’ve spent too much time looking at the news.

A few days ago, I noticed that my former college professor answered a question on Facebook about whether or not she would accept a ticket to see Bill Cosby perform. She answered “no”. Just as I was about to click off the page, I noticed that my cousin responded. This cousin shares a Facebook account with his wife, so I’m not sure which person actually wrote the comment. Friends, I was a bit sickened by it. He or she wrote that Bill Cosby is “past his prime”, but was good in concert back in the day. And Cosby had engaged in some “negativity” some time back, but is otherwise a good entertainer.

I was pretty flabbergasted. So I commented, “You’re referring to dozens of cases of drugging and raping women as ‘negativity’?” I didn’t add this, but I should have also written, “And Cosby ADMITTED to doing this, too. He’s out of prison on a ‘technicality’.”

I can hardly believe I’m related to this guy. Well… actually, I guess I can believe it. I remember overhearing him tell a nasty story to another cousin when I was six years old. He and the other cousin, also male, were several years older than I was. Still, they made it seem like a funny story, so I repeated it to two younger cousins and got in trouble with my aunt, who gave me a tongue lashing I haven’t forgotten. Later, she apologized to me, explaining that her kids were very young and “didn’t know what to do with that”. Um… neither did I! I was six years old! And I had overheard a story being told by my cousin, who apparently thinks Bill Cosby’s habit of drugging and raping women is plain “negativity”! And he’s also a proud Trump supporter, who blithely ignores Trump’s disgusting record of treating other people like shit and, like Cosby, abusing women for his own vile gratification.

This morning, I read an article in The Atlantic from March 2021 about how a lot of relationships haven’t survived the Trump era. I’m sad to say, it’s true in my case, too. There are family members I used to love seeing with whom I no longer have contact. It’s not necessarily my doing, either. A lot of them have cut off contact with me because I think Donald Trump is a poisonous man. Somehow, they fail to see that Trump is a liar, thief, and a cheat, while they bitch and moan about people “abusing” unemployment insurance and welfare benefits. I’ve got news for them. Trump doesn’t pay his fair share. He hires cronies to screw over honest businesspeople while he harasses and molests women. Read Micheal Cohen’s book, Disloyal. Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who spent time in prison due to his business with the former POTUS, writes about how he would strong arm and screw over businesspeople on Trump’s behalf.

Meanwhile, your garden variety Republican is under the delusion that people who are getting unemployment insurance and welfare benefits just stay on those programs forever. Newsflash– they DON’T. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF– also known as “welfare”) is just that– TEMPORARY. And that has been the law since 1997! Granted, state leaders are allowed latitude in how they run TANF, but the program was designed to strongly encourage recipients to look for work or engage in training to prepare them for work. Recipients have to show proof that they are job hunting or getting training in order to receive temporary benefits. And that money is generally not enough to live on for long.

I ran across the above post this morning because another friend had answered the question. My friend answered “no”, he doesn’t know anyone who hasn’t taken a job due to unemployment insurance. He lives in Virginia, where payments are notoriously low. Just under his response was a rant from some guy who said he “knows people” who aren’t working because it will interfere with their housing allowance or “food stamps” (SNAP) eligibility. And then he wrote that there should be “time limits” on aid. I had to respond. As I pointed out, “welfare” does have time limits imposed– it was five years or 60 months (federal guidelines) or less (depending on the state), last time I checked. But so does unemployment insurance. When Bill retired from the Army in 2014, he got unemployment for a month. The money he got was based on what he’d paid into the system, and he had to show that he was applying for jobs. When he got a job offer, he had to return a payment he received, which wasn’t really much money.

I’ve read a lot of comments from conservatives who have bought into the “welfare queen” myth, thanks to a 1970s era story perpetuated by former President Ronald Reagan and like minded folks. They spread a tale about people who took advantage of social safety nets, which caused some people to believe in a stereotype about poor people being lazy and bilking the system. It seems to me that the whole “welfare queen” story was news because it’s not that common. Are there people who game the system? Yes, of course. I ran into a couple of them during my brief time as a social worker. But I doubt most people enjoy using benefits like SNAP cards, especially when busybodies are judging them for what’s in their grocery store buggy and watching how they pay for such items. Also, SNAP cards can’t be used for just anything at the store. Seems to me, most people would rather have the cash to buy things they want and need. Yes, some people are truly lazy, but I don’t think it’s as common as some people claim. Moreover, it’s actually expensive to be poor.

I get wanting to see people working and paying their own way. I understand that it’s distressing to be going to work every day when someone appears to be living off of the system. But what I want to ask these folks is, why is it any of your business? Do you know these so-called welfare cheats and unemployment abusers personally? Are you aware of their story? Do you have knowledge of their characters, or have any idea about their family situations? My guess is that you don’t– because why would you be “friends” with someone you think is a lazy cheat? If you were friends with them, maybe you’d understand more about why it appears that they’re “getting over”. Maybe you’d realize that, in fact, most of them aren’t getting over. Anyone who has ever worked has paid into “the system”, which exists so that people have somewhere to turn when they fall on hard times. The assistance we offer in the United States isn’t really that much, either.

Let me ask you this. If you had a family and were receiving benefits, would you really want to take a job at McDonald’s just so you could be earning your own money? Stop and think about it for a minute. Yes, you’re making your own money, which might be paid to you in debit cards that you have to pay a fee to access. But let’s say the money you make is less than what you’d get from welfare. How long can you afford to work for minimum wage? And why the fuck would you? In that situation, doesn’t it make more sense to get trained for work that pays better, or to search for a job with a higher hourly rate? What if you have children? What do you do with the children when you’re working at McDonald’s, which many people think should strictly be a minimum wage job? Do you pay a babysitter to watch the kids while you work at McDonald’s? How can a person get ahead that way?

I’ve often heard people complaining about folks who drive “nice” cars or have “expensive” cell phones, but turn up at food banks. The people want to know why the nice car driver or cell phone user doesn’t sell their “luxury items” so he or she can buy food. What if the car or the phone was paid for during better times? Why would someone sell their means of transportation or communication, if it’s been paid for? Isn’t it easier to find work if one has transportation or access to WiFi? Especially if the car also serves as shelter? Now, I get that owning a car or a cell phone requires money, and if someone is between jobs for a really long time, selling the car or the phone might make sense. But you probably don’t know that person’s story. Their need for food at a food bank may be very temporary. Why does it matter to you, anyway? You don’t know that person’s story, or the obstacles he or she is facing. You should know your own story, though, and you should worry about yourself.

And finally… yesterday, I read a couple of disturbing news stories about how Republicans are turning COVID “vaccine hesitancy” into outright hostility. Of all of the bullshit I’ve read about conservative “thinking”, I think this has got to be the most ridiculous, tragic, and demented. Why in the holy fuck are COVID vaccines being politicized? My God– this virus has killed millions of people WORLDWIDE! It’s not a fucking political issue! It’s a public health issue! And in areas where people are being vaccinated, the rates of COVID infections are decreasing. The fact that so many Republicans are spewing this bullshit about how vaccines are part of a socialist agenda is just unconscionable. It just isn’t true! But, according to The Washington Post, some Republicans are spewing lots of grade A tough guy bullshit. From the article I linked:

The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump, on a par with assertions that the last election was stolen and the assault on the U.S. Capitol was overblown.

Appearing at CPAC, lawmakers like Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) took aim at Biden’s push for “door-to-door” vaccine outreach, framing efforts to boost inoculations as a creeping menace from big government.

“We’re here to tell government, we don’t want your benefits, we don’t want your welfare, don’t come knocking on my door with your Fauci ouchie,” Boebert said, referring to Biden’s top medical adviser, Anthony S. Fauci, her voice rising as she paced the stage and shook her finger. “You leave us the hell alone!”

However, I do take comfort in seeing that Mitt Romney, a man I dreaded seeing run for president, has said that we need to stop politicizing the COVID vaccines. It’s nice to know that not all Republicans are like Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebart. From The New York Times:

“We don’t control conservative media figures so far as I know — at least I don’t,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, said in an interview on Wednesday. “That being said, I think it’s an enormous error for anyone to suggest that we shouldn’t be taking vaccines. Look, the politicization of vaccination is an outrage and frankly moronic.

Yes, it’s moronic! I completely agree, Mitt. Things will not get back to any semblance of “normal” until we get COVID-19 better under control. This is why so many people were out of work in the first fucking place! This is why we’re having a problem with inflation, as supply and demand for certain products was interrupted because people couldn’t work. Why? Because of the deadly virus! However, during our unique COVID-19 crisis, people had the time to stop and think about how completely insane the American system is. Now, some of them are demanding some changes. I say, good on them! We should be demanding work that pays enough for people support themselves. We should be demanding access to benefits that makes living healthier and happier for everyone. People should NOT be going into onerous debt because they went to college or had the misfortune of getting sick or hurt. We shouldn’t have multi-billionaires paying workers minimum wage for demeaning work while they make plans to blast off into space as tourists. It’s sheer lunacy, and yes, it’s MORONIC!

I love Amazon… but you gotta admit, the working conditions are insane and, frankly, cruel. Why do we accept this?

Through it all, many Republicans decry abortion. They say that people who have abortions have no regard for the “sanctity of life”. But they don’t want to do anything to help people who have unintended pregnancies. They don’t want employers to have to provide birth control access in health insurance policies. Their answer is to tell people not to have sex, which we all know is a policy that doesn’t work for most (it DID work for me, but my situation isn’t the norm). Tell me… why would you want to bring an innocent baby into a world where he or she can look forward to low pay, high cost of living, onerous debts, shitty employers who treat their workers like robots, deadly viruses that people don’t want to work together to arrest, and old white men in charge who literally don’t give a damn about anything but money and “pussy”? I tell you what. I don’t think the world looks so great right now. We’ve got natural disasters out the wazoo, worldwide– here in Germany, over 50 people have lost their lives because of flooding attributed to global warming, something else conservatives don’t want to talk about or fix.

So yes… I think you should worry about yourselves. Conservatives have made it plain that in today’s world, it’s every person for themselves. They don’t care about you and yours. They sure don’t seem to want to lend a hand toward making the world better for everyone. And, as much as I always wanted to have children of my own, I’m grateful that my particular line of ancestry is going to die with me. It seems to me that many conservatives are interested in money and power, and they haven’t realized that we’re all connected. What good does money do you if there’s nothing to buy because people aren’t working? What good does money do if you can’t find someone to help you clean up after a flood because so many people have died of COVID-19 and the workers who exist are already engaged?

We need to worry about ourselves and have more forbearance toward others– but we also need to realize that we’re all in this together and we could all stand a bit more humanity. So instead of judging the person you think is “getting over”, why not pay attention to your own situation and do your part to make things better? And whatever you do, don’t make excuses for creepy predators and cheats like Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. It makes you look like an asshole.

August is wise beyond her years.

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celebrities, obits, politics, racism

Rush Limbaugh is finally dead… shit makes the flowers grow.

A few months ago, my husband lost a “friend” over his “hatred” for Rush Limbaugh. I put quotes around the words “friend” and “hatred”, because I’m being facetious. Anyone who knows Bill knows that he doesn’t hate anyone. He doesn’t even hate his ex wife, who probably deserves his hatred more than anyone on the planet. The point is, my husband isn’t a hater. But he never liked Rush Limbaugh. Neither did I.

Last night, we found out that Rush finally kicked the bucket at age 70. He’d been suffering from lung cancer, having announced his illness in February 2020.

Back in October 2020, Bill was labeled a hater by a former friend because he had noticed that the very organ that had allowed Rush Limbaugh to spread hatred and bigotry toward large groups of marginalized people was also going to be the death of him. Bill had posted his thoughts about Rush’s illness on his Facebook timeline, and some of his friends went freakin’ nuts. One even accused him of being a “bad person” for stating this:

I know what I’m about to say is the result of unskilled thinking, but this appears to be an example of Karmic Justice. The organ used to spew years of hate, vitriol, and self-centeredness will be his undoing.

We weren’t rejoicing in Rush’s illness in October, and we’re not rejoicing in his death now. I don’t generally celebrate when people die, even people I think of as highly contemptible, and worthy of disdain or even outright hatred. I think Rush Limbaugh qualifies as someone who, in life, was highly contemptible. And while I’m not particularly happy that he’s dead, I am relieved that he won’t be spreading his toxic negativity, ignorance, and bigotry anymore. He won’t be saying or writing hurtful things to or about people who aren’t like him and don’t share his opinions.

In the aftermath of Rush’s death, we’ve also seen yet another falsely attributed quote arise from the dead. If you’ve been on Facebook lately, you’ve probably seen people sharing this meme.

According to The Atlantic, Mark Twain NEVER SAID THIS.

I know a lot of people like to share these kinds of cute and clever memes, and many people don’t actually care who said it. I care, though, because I like to give credit where credit is due, and I don’t like false attributions. So where did this quote come from? According to the article from The Atlantic I linked above, no one important actually said or wrote it in that precise manner. Alex Eichler, the person who wrote the article for The Atlantic, writes:

Matt Blum at Wired has the fact-check: the quotation actually comes from Clarence Darrow, the lawyer of Scopes Trial fame. Here’s a fuller version of the quote, which appears in Darrow’s 1932 work The Story of My Life:

All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

Clarence Darrow

I know some people are glad Rush is gone. Some are actually jubilant about it. And I would never tell them they don’t have the right to feel whatever it is they feel. I’m not in a group that Rush openly mocked, unless you want to call me a liberal. I’m not actually that liberal, but I don’t like the way the Republican party has gone in recent years. I think their embrace of both evangelical Christians and Donald Trump is confusing and wrong. And Republicans often say regrettable, heartless things to people who are in trouble and need help.

Case in point. Yesterday, I read about former Colorado City, Texas mayor Tim Boyd, who basically went off on his constituents for begging the government for help. Texas, as you probably know, is in serious trouble right now, thanks to a terrible winter storm that has disrupted the power grid. People are suffering because of power outages. Some people are even dying! They’re either freezing to death, or poisoning themselves with carbon monoxide by doing things like running their cars in closed garages or using barbecue grills indoors to generate heat. But Mr. Boyd, proud Texan conservative he is, had this to say in a poorly written and now deleted Facebook post:

Typical Republican ASSHOLE!

And then he continued with this:

To be clear, I don’t agree with issuing death threats or even so-called “cancel culture”, but what the hell reaction does Tim Boyd expect? He was an elected official and it was his JOB to help his constituents and show some fucking compassion!

I’ll bet Tim Boyd is sad that Rush is dead. I’ll bet Boyd was a Limbaugh fan. I don’t know for certain that he was, but what he posted is the same kind of hateful, mean-spirited shit that Rush Limbaugh was spewing for YEARS on the airwaves. And ignorant, compassion challenged people who are deeply saddened that the raucous voice of their belief system has died don’t seem to understand that Rush hurt a lot of people with his snarky, hateful rhetoric.

This has been a very difficult year for so many people– from the deaths and illnesses caused by the pandemic, to the many natural disasters, to the massive job losses, and complete upending of of normal life for everyone. It’s really sucked on many levels. And so, when an elected official like Tim Boyd mocks and lectures people for their valid complaints, it stings a bit. Rush Limbaugh was of the same ilk, and people like Tim Boyd looked up to him. He had no compunction about saying awful things to and about anyone, especially people who have historically suffered and been marginalized by privileged people.

Seriously…

Let me remind Rush’s supporters of a few things. Rush Limbaugh mocked Michael J. Fox for having Parkinson’s Disease and accused him of exaggerating his symptoms. Rush Limbaugh called women “sluts”, and referred to Barack Obama as the “magic negro”. And he wouldn’t have thought much of me, either…

Bwahahaha… maybe he wouldn’t have thought of me as “overeducated”. But I don’t think that Rush was a very good judge of intelligence.

Anyway… I’m not glad Rush is dead. I don’t care enough about him to rejoice in his death. Besides, everybody has to die sometime. It was simply his time to go. I’m not going to celebrate his death. But I’m also not going to shame or blame anyone who is glad to see him gone. I figure they have their reasons, and many of those reasons, while perhaps hypocritical, are understandable. We all have our own karma to tend.

Bye now.. enjoy the next life..

In other news, our heating went out last night. It’s not as bad here as it is in Texas, but I am a bit chilled. Hopefully, the landlord will have it fixed soon, so my hands, feet, and nose won’t be so cold. And Bill has to go away for three weeks next Saturday. Hopefully, he won’t bring any COVID-19 viruses back with him. Otherwise, people might be cheering about my death.

So long, Rush… You served a purpose and now your work is done. And, as Folk Uke reminds us, even shit has a purpose.

“You’re not good for nothin’…”
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modern problems, politicians, politics, Trump

Impeachment trial #2…

There are many advantages to living in Europe. One of the biggest advantages is that I can watch things affecting the United States from afar. A lot of what I’ve seen regarding the past few years has been pretty heartbreaking. Like, right now, I’m listening to a video of a woman who spoke to CNN about how she “escaped” QAnon when Joe Biden was inaugurated.

This lady was “devastated” when Biden was inaugurated… but now knows she fell into a conspiracy theory.

South Carolina mom, Ashley Vanderbilt, explains that she was raised to do as everyone else said and did. She was told she was a Republican when she was growing up, so she’s always voted “red” without a second thought. I know how she feels. I grew up similarly. My whole family was Republican and I grew up in a Republican community. I didn’t care about politics, so I didn’t follow the news much. It wasn’t until I was older and left the United States that I started changing my political views.

I suspect that Ashley Vanderbilt is a perfectly nice person who was complacent about who was leading the country. But now that Trump is out of office and Biden’s inauguration hasn’t immediately led to a dystopian socialist nightmare, she realizes she was duped. She says she feels “foolish”. I’d say she’s one of the lucky ones. So many people are still mired in Trump foolishness, and they don’t understand that QAnon is a bunch of bullshit. And they see the attack on the Capitol last month as perfectly fine… it’s akin to the Boston Tea Party to them.

I haven’t been following the impeachment trial religiously. It’s hard to do that when you’re six hours ahead. I did, however, watch a video this morning that was shown to Congress as the second impeachment trial against Trump commenced. I don’t understand how any sane, rational person can support what happened. It’s just horrific.

This is just insane.

The sad thing is, many lawmakers will ignore this footage. They will vote against convicting Trump because they don’t want to break away from Republican Party lines. What exactly does Trump have to do before people realize how incredibly toxic he is? How do otherwise decent people excuse this? If you manage to watch this video, you will see and hear people calling police officers “faggots” as they repeatedly say, “Fuck you!” to them and use American flags to break the glass windows of the Capitol building. You will see Ashli Babbitt trying to penetrate the Capitol through a broken window and get shot for her efforts. Is this the kind of future we want? If Trump is excused– and he probably WILL be– we will send a message that a lame duck president can pull this kind of shit and get away with it.

It depresses me that we have so many people in leadership positions who literally don’t care about anything more than their “job security” as politicians. It’s sad to me that Donald Trump can have two bumbling attorneys represent him– two lawyers that Trump is said to be deeply unhappy with, by the way— and they can do a mediocre job of making their points and still win. Why? Because nothing said or shown to some of the people charged with protecting the country is going to sway them from “protecting” Donald Trump for the sake of the hijacked Republican Party (which is nothing like my father’s Republican Party was). I find it deeply disturbing and very sad that he probably won’t be held accountable.

There is a chance I’m wrong. I hope I am wrong. It’s hard to let myself think positively, even though Biden won last year when I didn’t know for sure that he would. You’d think that more people in the United States would see how bad Trump is. But no… I think a lot of them are like Ashley Vanderbilt. Perfectly nice, but uneducated, uninformed, and uninterested… and voting red because that’s what everyone in their families and communities does. If you don’t go with the crowd, they will turn on you.

This isn’t to say that this kind of thing isn’t also a problem on the blue side, either. I’ve seen it and ranted about it more than once. We talk a lot about freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but when it comes down to it, there’s great pressure not to say or think the “wrong” thing. And precious few of us are listening to anyone, anyway.

Sometimes, I wonder if the many people who have died over the past year are the lucky ones. They no longer have to think about this, or worry about what will come in the future. Even the heady news of new COVID-19 vaccines has been more sobering lately, as new mutations of the virus resist the vaccine. I’m wondering what the future holds, and if it’s even worth hanging around for it. Germany is probably going to stay locked down until March 1… and I won’t be the least bit surprised if the lockdown continues through the spring. And even when things open again, will I even care about going out or doing anything? Is this living?

Well… I’m sure more news will come out about the impeachment trial. I do hope it will be successful. Trump’s successor is bound to be more refined and cunning. You can bet he or she is waiting in the wings. We have to do something to set a precedent against his kind being allowed back into power. And we have to focus on making the world a place we want to stay in.

I do find a glimmer of hope when I hear people like Ashley Vanderbilt speak, though. She managed to find her way out of the rabbit hole and join us in reality. There must be more people like her. I sure hope there are.

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