Giving My Girl A Voice

A short post with writings from my 10 year old about Trump and this new world we live in.

I want to spend most of today crafting and cooking. I need a break from the endless news cycle I’ve been sucked in to. But, I wanted to post these two pieces of writing my daughter drafted last month. She is 10 years old and in fifth grade. You may be able to ascertain from her writing that she has read several dystopian novels and seen their movies. Perhaps that will make her better prepared to take on the possible tumultuous future that awaits her? Here they are in her words (with some very minor spelling, grammar, structural corrections by me).

But first, let's thank Senator Mitch McConnell for providing our movement a new slogan and rallying cry last night on the Senate floor when he silenced the great Senator Elizabeth Warren: "Nevertheless, she persisted!"

Trump is president. Protests are starting, fires are burning, bombs are blowing, havoc is rising. Life is fading, depression is coming, friends are parting, tears are falling. What should we do? Help, run, save? Should we stand tall over Trump or cower below him? We can’t be his slaves, we can’t fear him! We need Hope!!!


(after the Portland Women’s March)

Today we walked 1.3 miles just to make our voices heard, just to make our point stand. We got soaked, our feet hurt, but we kept on going. Everyone should have equal rights, African American, men, women, children. No matter what color or what gender, we all talk, walk, see, hear, and feel like each other. Women can be stronger, faster, and smarter than men. We can’t let Donald make us feel weak. We can do it, Yes We Can!

Blogging is Hard!

My struggle to figure this all out. Including my fears, commitment issues, and lack of self-confidence.

Confession time. I…do…not…know…wth…I…am…doing! Just to lay it all out on the table. Up until I started this blog, there were almost no blogs that I read regularly or followed. Sure, I might read one because somebody linked to it on FB or I stumbled across it while searching Google. Especially big ones like Huff Po that are almost impossible not to read or my favorite online writer Jim Wright whose blog Stonekettle Station  is just fabulous (and whose FB posts are almost better!). But other than that, I really didn’t know much about blogging. Including logistics, structures, etiquette, the expected quid-pro-quo with other bloggers, etc. etc.

I started this blog because I felt like I needed an outlet, I enjoy writing, and because several people had suggested to me that blogging might be perfect for me (my passion when talking about politics apparently sounded very bloggish?). All of that may be true, but it doesn’t make me actually any good at it. I’m terrified that I’m screwing this up and won’t get any better. I don’t understand most of the terminology, the tech keeps confusing me which makes everything take at least twice as long, and I still don’t feel like I even have a real “voice”. I am usually pretty witty but I don’t feel like that is coming across in my writing and I’m striving (in vain) to figure out my “niche” in the blogosphere.

I guess I’m putting this all out there as an apology and a confession. I am terribly self-conscious, critical, and battle mightily with confidence. I want this to work and I want to reach people, but the fear that prevented me from starting this for so long is creeping back: I’m not going to be good at this and nobody cares what I have to say. I hope that those things are not real or that they can be changed but it’s yet to be seen. I am going to keep at this, keep reading up on it, try to be smarter about researching it, and really work at it.

Most things in life that I’ve found to be difficult, quickly became things I no longer tried to do. Things that scared me or brought into question my abilities were summarily dismissed as “not in my wheel house” or “not worth my time”. Perfectionism has held me back from attempting or finishing more things in life than I can count. Unattainable self-imposed standards have prevented everything from a college degree to picking up a new hobby. I also struggle with finding balance, and can quickly become almost obsessed with something, finding it difficult to pull myself away to take care of other responsibilities, or even just relax. I want to change all that now. Being *almost* in my 40’s means a long history of self-defeating habits and pessimistic self-talk  (mingled with mental health issues) to overcome. But for now at least, I’m determined to keep trying!

This blog will never be perfection and perhaps I never really will reach an audience or connect with anyone, but for the moment at least I have the will to keep plugging away at it. I’ll keep learning, reading, and writing. My concern about this country and it’s politics is not something that will fade and hopefully neither will my resolve to reach people. I implore you, anyone who comes across this, to please keep checking back! It may be a bit chaotic for a while, but hopefully I’ll figure it out.

For anyone else who struggles with self-confidence or commitment, I hope you may garner something useful from my admission and pledge. I’m going to try and hang in there and I hope you can do the same with whatever scares you!

So…..Angry!

Did Trump’s apparent lack of both careful deliberation and a hierarchical system for approval lead to a terrible decision on Yemen?

So, ya’ll heard about the (arguably) disastrous raid in Yemen right? The one in which one commando and several civilians including children were killed, 3 other commandos were injured, and one of our multi million dollar aircrafts needed to be blown up. Right, so there’s more to this story and it’s making me insane.

Now, not every decision about combat ops are going to be great ones for any president and there’s always a chance of things going wrong and people getting injured or killed. It’s happened to even the best, most conscientious of leaders. But, that is not necessarily what happened here. And to top it off, the administration is lying about aspects in order to shift blame from them to Obama. Well, I’m calling bullshit and am super pissed that it’s not getting more coverage.

In this one action and their response to the outcome, the administration has demonstrated much to us, if only we are paying attention. The decision to go ahead with the raid was made by Trump at dinner, not in the Situation Room or any other room in the White House that is used for official business. There seems to be multiple conflicting stories about how much deliberation there was leading up to the decision, who may or may not have weighed in on the decision, and just generally if it was handled properly or with enough care.

While the military discussed various options for actions in Yemen, the 44th president felt such action “represented a significant escalation of US involvement in Yemen,” as one senior government official under Obama said. – By Dan Merica, Ryan Browne and Jeff Zeleny, CNN

One big thing to consider here is that although this plan obviously made it’s way through a long chain and was initiated by Central Command (because that’s what they do, come up with military plans and submit them for approval), it was not simply a “routine” mission. One of the issues here that should have been weighed heavily by Trump and his team was the fact that it meant an escalation of our presence in Yemen, from one more about air raids and support, to actual boots on the ground. That’s usually the kind of thing that deserves much consideration from the highest levels, beyond DOD. Continue reading “So…..Angry!”

FOMO ?

Dealing with information overload and fear of missing something in today’s frenzied political news cycle.

My therapist handed me an index card at the end of our session today with those letters written on it: FOMO. I couldn’t recalling seeing those letters together like that before but stared dumbly for a moment trying to figure it out and hoping I looked like I knew exactly what it meant. Alas, I didn’t and had to admit I was stumped.

Fear Of Missing Out. That’s what those letters mean. She was giving it to me to keep handy in plain sight to remind myself that I cannot possibly know everything. There is literally no way I can keep up on every single news story being pumped out each day, read every article I think will be helpful, comment on every single facebook post I have something to say about, take some (perceived contributing) action every day, keep current on this new blog, finish reading books I have, AND also be with my family, keep my house semi-clean, cook meals for said family, keep my home running smoothly, and have recreational time. All without going completely insane! It just cannot be done!

I need those kinds of reminders often but even with them I struggle mightily with feelings of inadequacy, thoughts that I’m not doing “enough”, and internal struggles to hold it all together. I don’t think that’s ever been more present than at this point in time. I am constantly in crisis mode lately even while trying my hardest to think of this fight as a “marathon” not a “sprint”. There’s apparently a real revolutionary living inside me that craves to be let loose on the world! But, I must try to “hold my feelings lightly” as my most awesome therapist is wont to say. It’s ok to have these feelings and to just let them be. I don’t have to act on or ruminate about them. I just have to accept that they are there and continue forward.

I’m assuming that I am not alone in this boat. I know many people right now are struggling with the desire to “do something”, “do more”, or affect change while also trying to juggle their “real” lives. I just wanted to share my experience and tell all you ladies, and hopefully gents too, that you are not alone. I think if we all keep thinking long-term, seeing this as a marathon, and get and stayed organized with other like-minded people, we can beat this and not lose our minds. We must think of this as a time of change, not simply a moment of action. Being too complacent or hands-off in our approach to government and civic issues is one thing that got us where we are right now. Whatever we are doing now will have to continue on in the future, albeit at a hopefully less fevered intensity. I look forward to meeting new people, discovering what skills I might be able to contribute to the cause, and showing the ignorant bullies of this nation that they cannot so easily take our democracy or our sanity!

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to step away from the computer and craft till my hearts content ❤

America: Home of the Rich, Land of Big Business

America tumbles into plutocracy. One cabinet member at a time.

Well folks it’s official: Exxon Mobil is our new Secretary of State. Yaaaay (I hope the sarcasm in my voice comes through). Of course there’s been almost no chance of nominees not making it through simply because the dems just don’t have the numbers to stop anything. But I sure had been hoping that a few might not make it simply on principle. That at least all the democrats and a few of the republicans would just have to say no way, this is crazy! But alas, not only did every republican vote for Tillerson, so did a few democrats, one independent, and one dem didn’t vote at all. So despite it being the most contentious vote on a Secretary of State in over 50 years he is still getting the position. I’m beyond disappointed in our government right now and it just keeps getting worse by the day.

Case in point: just hours after Tillerson was confirmed, House republicans rolled out a resolution to “repeal Securities and Exchange Commission’s extraction rule. This corporate giveaway to Exxon-Mobil makes it easier for oil companies to secretly funnel money to foreign governments.” – Elizabeth Warren. Check out Senator Warren’s blistering commentary from the senate floor.

It’s also yet to be seen if Mr. Tillerson will do anything to help dissidents from Russia who are being targeted. This story on the Rachel Maddow show (2/2/17) was about one such man who had already been poisoned in a (suspected) assassination attack in Russia several years ago and nearly died. He had been living in the US when this attack took place and our State Department stepped in to help bring him back to the states for medical care and to be with his family. Well, this poor guy has been poisoned again in Russia! Rachel is justifiably concerned about what our current State Department might do or not do. I tried to find info on the Secretary of State’s website about this and found nothing. There are no current press releases, or any other kind of communication that might contain anything about this story. I hope this poor guy who has been fighting against a corrupt and dictatorial regime in his home country makes it through.

 

Hypocrisy at its Worst

The democrats are starting to flex their remaining muscles a bit only to be accused of obstructionism…..by the same people who stole a SCOTUS seat!

Oh for fucks sake! You have got to be kidding me with this high and mighty bullshit! Hypocrisy abounds among republicans  right now, saying such things as “I think this is a completely unprecedented level of obstruction”(from the above article). No, no it’s not! And you know why?? Because YOU guys set that “unprecedented level” so high over the last 8 years, we’d need a full 8 years to match it! When you set out from basically the beginning with a planned strategy of obstruct everything and concluded those 8 years with a stolen Supreme Court pick, you lose the right to ever accuse others of an “unprecedented level of obstruction”! Ever!

The refusal to even hold hearings on Obama’s SCOTUS pick was actually unprecedented. It was your job to do that, yet you refused, even when handed a moderate many of you had praised in the past.  Obama won both his elections fair and square with over 52% of the vote, and 365 electors in 2008 (the runner up only had about 45% and 173 electors), and 51% of votes with 332 electors in 2012 (runner up had 47% of votes and 206 electors). So, I think it should have been crystal clear that the American public wanted President Obama and in turn wanted him to do his job of filling vacant SCOTUS seats. That was his right as a democratically elected president and it was your JOB to debate and vote on his picks. You didn’t.

But now you feel like your democratic colleagues are being somehow unreasonable? Nooooope! The American people did NOT want this man in charge and he certainly doesn’t have a mandate or get a pass on anything. Let’s not forget his election results. Trump lost the popular vote roughly 46% to 48%, and only won the electors 304 to 227. AND, it really only came down to 107,00 or so people across 3 states that tipped the Electoral College to Trump! That was only about .09% of total votes! So basically Trump lost if you count only the popular vote (which is how it should be, but that topic is for another time), and won by less than 1 total percent of votes when it comes to the Electoral College.

You don’t get to obstruct a president the majority of Americans wanted in power for 8 years then claim obstructionism against your guy who a majority of Americans didn’t want in office! Fuck you and your hypocrisy! I hope the democrats say no to everything and anyone Trump puts up! Even though we cannot completely stop most things on our own, I’m certainly encouraging my reps to vote no and hold up votes when possible. Payback is a bitch. It may not be completely effective yet, but watch out during midterm elections!

The Sky is Falling

What if Chicken Little was right and the sky really WAS falling?

That was actually one of the names I considered for this blog. The thought being that the fabled story of Chicken Little and his hysterical belief that the sky is falling could have been totally different. What if the sky actually was falling?? It would seem if that’s the case then the hysteria would be pretty justifiable. And the sense of urgency to warn people wouldn’t be considered unreasonable, but would seem altogether rational and necessary.

Ultimately I decided on a different name but I still like the metaphor (I know, that’s not exactly what I mean, but gimme a break, ok?). The concept hasn’t really left the front of my mind though. I wasn’t even planning on writing anything else today, as I’m trying not to inundate anybody who has been kind enough to follow me and I have shit to do in life other than scream into my computer through my fingers. But today’s news once again has left me stunned and feeling like The Sky Is Falling!

I’m not going to go into the specifics except to say this is about the executive order banning immigration and refugees from certain countries, temporarily. What has me freaking out isn’t how terrible the order is, how poorly implemented it was, or the obvious play to his base this is. All of those are issues and terrible in their own right. What I’m concerned about is Trumps reaction to the acting Attorney General of the United States refusing to defend the order in court. Sally Yates had been the Deputy Attorney General under Obama but stayed on at Trumps request to fill the top vacancy until a nominee could be confirmed.

Yates put out a statement basically saying that she is not convinced of the legality or the justness of the order and would not defend it in court. Well our Tweeter-in-Chief did not like that and quickly fired her. He threw some other United States attorney into the position as a place-holder for the racist Jeff Sessions who they are hoping to confirm shortly.

My fear is that we are headed down a road with no checks and balances, removal of autonomy of departments that are not meant to be political in nature, an abandonment of the rule of law, a destruction of the free press, and a total breakdown of the governmental system we’ve lived with in this country for over 200 years. A system we set up based on the US Constitution that sooo many people claim to love and uphold! Yes, I know I sound like Chicken Little, but can you really tell me this isn’t all going through your mind, at least a bit?  It’s just one thing after another. Gagging our EPA, Parks Dept, NASA, etc., telling State Deptartment employees  to “get with the program” or “go” when they filed a completely legal and supposedly “safe” Dissent Cable to voice their concern and disagreement with the ban, the continual antagonism toward and corrosion of public trust in the media, and on and on. Seemingly it will be endless since this is the sort of shit we’ve seen from Trump and his cronies since the beginning of the campaign WAY back in 2015! Oh, and the lies, lies, lies!!

The thing that is causing me the most anxiety though is the republicans in congress and throughout the state governments. Because of their seeming soullessness, greed, and/or stupidity I feel like we have NO power to stop any of this! No matter if every single democrat that holds office in the US or within state governments opposes every single action taken by this administration, no matter if every single democrat or anti-Trump citizen protested every single day, we could not stop all this from happening. We have NO real power anymore to stop the take-over of our government by this fascist plutocracy or kleptocracy or whatever ‘ocracy it’ll end up being! Our last hope was the law and it appears as if they are starting their chipping away at that as well.

If we had at least some actual patriotic, compassionate, and benevolent republicans in power I would feel safe in the knowledge that they would help us put a stop to this before it gets out of control. But I don’t believe that’s the case. It is certainly NOT what we’ve seen so far. Nothing they have said or done over the last 8+ years have led me to believe that will be a possibility. And that is where my fear lies. In the elected representatives that will not have our backs and the millions of people Trump and Tea Partiers have been able to brainwash, gaslight, and dumb-down over time. I don’t think anybody is coming to our salvation. We’re on a sinking ship and the GOP controls the life rafts. If they refuse to deploy them we’re all going down and there will be no rescue.

A Good Article About the EO in Question (Not too technical or biased, just good general info)