#TakeAKnee Protest

I say one thing:

No employer, outside of owners of sports teams, demands the national anthem be played before they begin work. Outside of my Navy days I have never had the national anthem played before I plunged into my “Today” pile.

Articles like this one from Redstate.com about the [perceived] death of the #TakeAKnee movement make me angry. It starts with the press promoting the idea that this is about the flag and respect, and the anthem and respect, and standing and respect. And the Redstaters eat it up and the Bluestaters shrug and move on to the next civil rights violation. When it has nothing to do with respect of the flag, but respect of a people. That’s why media won’t touch it. It’s a civil rights issue.

About respect. I always thought kneeling was respectful. What if the players decided to turn their back to the flag, would that have been fine, or an even worse offense? Would people have made the same judgement: it’s about the flag? The news media is largely at fault for their part in misleading from the true meaning of the TakeAKnee protest to a false one about the anthem, standing, sitting.

 

 

And the NFL is going to back down from the Almighty Naked Emperor, and demand players stand. I’m ashamed of the corporation that stands down at the threat of “bad ratings” about an issue that is not the issue. These owners of the players. Players I might point out are generally Black. Black men being owned by rich white men none of them ever sees up there in the Big House.

The players are free men and they are free to protest. And where better to be seen by millions of people. The devastation Kaepernick must feel. The anger and frustration. I feel it, so I imagine he does too, especially with the law suit.

No where in the constitution is there anything about standing for the anthem. There are no rules, outside of the military rules of a salute, and if a civilian to remove hats, stand, etc. It’s a military thing and was started as a patriotic whim in 1918 during WWI, which turned into publicity for baseball. And we all know how that works. It has no real basis to be played before a sporting event. Personally I think it’s silly. Must I prove my loyalty only at sporting events by standing when the anthem is played? What about the other events I attend: concerts, movies, camping, family reunions.

Any redneck, backwoods knuckle dragger wants to wave the Nazi flag and hang the Confederate flag in a prominent place in his house, like, say, the front room picture window, is free to do so. No one bats an eye. After 200 years, no one seems to notice. And yet it offends intelligent people everywhere. You cannot honor each flag in equal, would that not indicate a lack of loyalty to another? Obviously these people are not loyal Americans. Some rednecks are proud war vets you say?

There are many Black veterans as well. And after they fought for YOUR freedom, and helped free Jews from prison camps, they came back to segregated water fountains, buses, neighborhoods, unemployment, poor education, etc. Black men who fought and were injured, and I’m betting not paid but 1/3 the pay of any White soldier. There’s some research to be done here. Odd that the Black war vets do not hang Confederate or Nazi flags in their homes. They hang American flags.

 

 

The Resistance

I have been working with resistance groups for only a few months.  I have learned so much in that short time, met some wonderful, amazing people, and found a sense of purpose.

The drag of this is it looks like the Resistance may not be needed before long, what with Trump being investigated for Obstruction of Justice.  Impeachment papers are being filed, and the White House executives are lawyering up.  I can see this going pretty deep into Trump’s staff: Pence, Bannon, Kuschner, Ivanka, and all the rest of the degenerates and unqualified bozos.  And I celebrate to see this happening.

Even if this all goes down, the Resistance will need to work to repair the damage done in these short six months of Trump’s tyranny.  To that end, it is going to take a lot of work to get people to vote.  Time for the Independents to grow in number and create a strong third party.  We need to ensure that it will be impossible in the future that no single party gains control of the House, Senate and Presidency at one time.  We need to eliminate Gerrymandering, and that will not be easy with a Republican Congress.  We need to eliminate Lobbyists. They’re just glorified beggars, aren’t they?  Disgusting humans.

To make that happen, however, we need to inform people of the importance of voting and when voting, how to do so.  We need to teach our children and immigrants the importance of voting for all elected positions.  Including the School Board.  If more people actually became aware of what their school boards are doing, perhaps we can save education from the greasy talons of Betsy DeVos.

We are the people, remember?  We are the people who create this country and hold onto the values on which it was founded.  That means taking back control of our government at all levels. That means education.  It means hard work.  It needs your time and effort. This is a hard thing to do, for people have families, work (sometimes at two or more jobs).  People have cars that break down.  They get ill, lose jobs, lose insurance, and in the end, lose hope.  It would be good for people to have hope again.

I hope this blog will help educate people on how the government works, where your tax money goes, and the danger of Gerrymandering.  Here is an excellent explanation of Gerrymandering and why it is dangerous.  I didn’t know how bad this was until recently. Gerrymandering lines should be erased–permanently–if we don’t want a single party system.

 

The Growing Poor in America

Our GNP has been growing.  Inflation has been rising since the 70s and cost of living has increased.  Yet wages have stagnated.

wages

Most wage increases over the last 20 years have been less than helpful in keeping up a Middle Class.  You can see by the above chart, the lowest incomes have actually decreased in the last 15 years!  Inflation has continued.  No wonder we no longer have a Middle Class.  I’d say Middle Class has dropped into the following categories: Poverty-Stricken, Poor, Middle Poor, and Barely Squeaking By.

Wages
In 1970, minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Today, it’s $7.25 an hour. That’s a 353% increase over that period of time, which seems like a fair amount… until you actually start looking at how prices have increased.

What about average wages? I couldn’t find a document that laid out full details on average wages per year, but this document from the Census Bureau, laying out some average wage information, shows that average household income has roughly kept pace with consumer prices.

Consumer Prices
In January 1970, the Consumer Price Index was 37.8. In January 2011, it was 220.223. That’s a 482% increase over the period we’re looking at.

In other words, for every dollar increase in the minimum wage since 1970, the price of an average item has gone up $1.36. Even adjusting for inflation, a dollar today buys less than it once did for low income earners.

So, for a person freshly out of school, the initial income outlook is worsethan a fresh graduate in 1970, but after some career advancement, their salaries end up being comparable given inflation.

Education
In 1970, a year of tuition at a public university cost $1,207. In the most recent year of data available, 2007, a year of tuition at a public university cost $11,034. That represents an annual average increase of 6.2%, which, if you applied it to the 2007 price, gives you an estimated 2010 cost of a year of education as being $13,216. That’s a 994% increase in the cost of a four year degree.

So, let’s say you’re earning minimum wage and trying to make it through college.

In 1970, you could work 755 hours at a minimum wage job over the course of a year to earn enough to pay for a year of schooling at a public institution – about 14 hours per week.

In 2010, you would have to work 1,823 hours at a minimum wage job over the course of a year to earn enough money to pay for a year of schooling at a public institution – about 35 hours per week.

Source: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/a-dose-of-financial-reality/

 

Most people I know are in the Just Barely Squeaking ranks.  They own houses with large mortgages, have car payments, and credit card debt in excess of $10,000, lots of that is student loan debt.  Adult household members work at jobs they probably hate, and don’t pay near enough.  Jobs they have taken mainly for the insurance benefits, which have decreased steadily over the past 15 years.  Ever since the Reagan Era “Trickle Down” theory.

We pay more for homes, cars, and groceries than ever before, and are (for the most part) no better off than their Middle Class upbringing.  Why?

Technology.  It’s expensive.  Lot’s of techies make lots of money, but it doesn’t trickle down very far.  Maybe it trickles to their housekeeper, gardener, grocer.  (All of whom make 1/4 of what the Techie does.)  Technology, that god I heard about ever since I can remember.  That thing that would give workers more leisure time.  That thing that has replaced people with computers and robots.  Remember the old Secretarial Pools?  Large documents would be typed up by a bevy of women with each one typing a section over and over.  It took more people to do the typing because at that time Xeroxing was new, time consuming, messy, and expensive.  Now one person can type entire documents. Granted this didn’t happen over night, but computers have eliminated millions of jobs.

Health Care.  It’s expensive.  Insurance costs for such care is beyond believable when you see hospitals charge $1,000 for Tylenol.  Doctors charge over $300 per 15 minute visit. Luckily most of us can still see a doc for under $50 co-pays, but not all of us.  God forbid you have a serious health problem like cancer, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Progressive MS or ALS.

Housing.  It’s expensive.  Greedy people have driven up the cost of homes to unprecedented heights.  New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles; all the major cities are virtually unaffordable for the Barely Squeaking.  In my city the cheapest homes you can buy are $500,000 fixers, for which you need another $200,000 to make repairs or alterations.

Gentrification of Poor Areas.  Rich Man buys apartment building occupied by 20 families each making less than $30,000 per year.  Rich Man evicts all 20 families.  He spends millions to rehab and improve his investment.  Who can blame him? So he puts in expensive carpet, wood floors, guts the bathrooms and kitchens and adds stainless steel appliances, granite counters, fancy pedestal sinks, and low-flush toilets and showers. The evicted families were paying less than $1500 per month for their 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment.  The newly finished building now houses only 10 units, minimum 2 bed/2 bath over 1500 square feet of living space (as opposed to the original 700 sf 2 bed/1 baths).  There is now underground parking, and a concierge.  The units are now to be sold as condos, starting at $750,000.

Improving the poor areas, right?  No.  It’s just relocating the poor by force.  Those 20 families now struggle to find a new apartment that they can afford. Usually they find something farther from their jobs.  Making it more difficult for them to keep those jobs. Likely a job will be lost simply because they can’t make it to the second job on time riding the bus.  Bus service is slow, cabs or Uber are expensive, cars even more so.

Many people with such low income work two part time jobs.  Neither of which will provide health insurance coverage if the worker puts in less than 30 hours.  So mom and dad work two minimum wage jobs without health insurance.  Their only health care provided by ERs across the nation, thousands of which have been systematically closed down by the Board of Directors of hospitals, because the ER is not cost-efficient.  Why? Because 90% of those in an ER have no insurance and no means to pay for their visit. ERs are required to treat a person, regardless of their ability to pay.  It’s no wonder they aren’t cost effective.

That says a lot when discussing a National Healthcare Insurance.  ERs would no longer be crowded with people with ear infections and colds, and could return to the intended use for accident victims.  Thereby decreasing costs simply by eliminating those without means from incurring debt they cannot pay.  It’s not Socialism, at least not in the bad sense of the word, it’s common sense with some compassion tossed in.

Do rich people really think I want to be borderline poor?  What is this lingering hate toward the poor (and the homeless)?  It’s been with us thousands of years, ever since “income” became a necessary part of life.  The poor in this country will continue to fall further behind and end up on Welfare (another GOP-hated social assistance).  The number of homeless will continue to increase.

Don’t those in power and/or with money care at all about us down here on the bottom row of the pyramid?  We built the fucking pyramid, we should not have to be buried by it.

OMG

Been working on finding somewhere to house my son.  We can no longer live with him and his addictions.  I feel like a traitor making phone calls to find him somewhere else to live.  What kind of monster have I become?  Our hearts are breaking today and I am unable to stop crying.  Today he is telling me he hasn’t been drinking, or it hasn’t been much.  Totally different story from just a few days ago where he admitted to drinking/using.  He clings to his mental illness like a shield against anything he can’t deal with.  And right now he can’t deal with anything.

I found most shelters are full, most cannot adequately support someone with problems like mental illness and addiction.  I think I called 20 places, but didn’t really find out anything I didn’t know before.  I did find a few places that sounded like they might be able to help, but I can’t really get any info.  Son would have to call and/or apply in person.  Something I don’t think he’s willing to do.  Not to mention I’d have to give him my phone. Do I give him my phone?  Or would he just call and beg to come home?

I called to see about getting him on Section 8 housing.  Nope.  The program is not taking new applicants.  According to their website, it hasn’t since 2012!  So financial assistance for housing is out.  Permanently, apparently.  I was quoted with the cost for detox: $5000. I can’t get him in sober housing until he’s clean.  I can’t get him to detox

Why is there no public rehab? Why don’t we help the helpless? Just as with all societies we are biased against the mentally ill and addicts.  Just like LGBTQ are finally being accepted, but we had to work for that.  We had to change the rules when we become aware enough to know that such behavior is inhumane.  It took 200 years for the whites in this country to realize the value of making men equal.  It took thousands before we grew as a nation to recognize how wrong the Straight world was wrong.  We can change. We can give people dignity despite their circumstances.  We can treat all people, well, like people.

What is wrong with this country?   I know what’s wrong with it now: we’re lead by an imbecile, but he’s only making things worse.  Not defending him, but he has not been involved in any of these governmental programs. Until now.

I just saw Elizabeth Warren talking about the Trump budget.  She only mentioned one item: cutting $11 Billion from education.  Art programs-gone.  Music-gone.  They’ve even taken away funding for Phys Ed.  No teacher training, no new teachers, no more books no more computers.  So we will continue to have a completely ignorant population.  I pay taxes to ensure proper education!  It’s tax fraud for them not to use that money appropriately!

Can you imagine what cuts will be made to public programs like Welfare, Social Security, etc.  All programs my tax money pays for!  Or is supposed to.

Impeach the fucker all ready.  We will deal with Pence later.

 

 

 

I’m Getting Angry, Then Sad

I am angry, sad, confused, and just plain put out.  Common sense has disappeared from Congress.  Our protests gain a lot of press time and piss off Dump and Pres. Bannon, and yet, they seem to be ineffectual.  How do you keep up the heat?  I have only been actively involved a short time, and yet I already feel utterly defeated.

Here is a link to an article about how senators have voted on each Dump cabinet pick.  This list did not make me happy.

 

Sure, we should hang in there, wait until 2018 with the mid-term votes.  But both my reps seem to vote (mostly) how I want.  But I can’t vote for other states’ reps.  I can’t make the people in Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. see it my way.

We can keep up the heat on declaring Dump incompetent due to mental illness, but we’re still stuck with all the other swamp creatures!  How do we clean up that mess?

Yes, I know, one step at a time.  But patience and persistence are not going to be enough.  I can’t sit here and hope the people in Blue States start calling their senators.

I feel like Dorothy, caught in a black & white tornado, and suddenly dumped (pun intended) in the middle of a bright orange swamp!

 

 

Random Rants

I’m convinced the Tecfidera I started taking for my MS six months ago was causing these sudden weird mood swings.  They are like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.  It happened so fast, Jeckel and Hyde-like, from talking pleasantly and something went off in my head.  I became angry with Husband.  He could see coming, a small (relatively) meltdown.  By the time we got home we were arguing–sort of. When we got home I went in and took a long shower and a long hard cry while Husband ignored me.  I went from pleasant day to suicidal in under an hour!  That cannot be normal, but I cannot find anywhere on the internet anyone mentioning almost anything about this kind of side effect.  I saw one question on a community board but no one had responded to it.  I know when I tell the doc that I stopped taking it and why she’ll come up with an excuse that it can’t be the med.  Or will she be reasonable and listen to me.  Rare or not, while I’m not really done testing my theory, but the last time I took a pill was Thursday, I’ve been feeling better every day since, I feel more normal and balanced.  Cheerful even.

I got frightened a previous time it happened and quickly went to my shrink.  He has seen me for about 6 months now.  I’ve always come in smiling and doing fine.  In fact last time we met we talked about lowering my dosage,  This time, I come in upset and crying and he just looks at me.  Nothing to say except to recommend counseling. Then he says, “I will refill your prescriptions.” and jotted something in my chart.  Clearly he is not the doctor I need.  I was so spoiled by my last doctor.  He was young and sweet and caring and actually talked to me.  He spent sometimes 30 minutes with me on a bad day.  This new guy, I’m in and out in less than 10 minutes.  He’s made his $500 an hour in ten minutes.  Imagine how many patients he can see in a day.  Cynical?  Yes.  But very true. Counting this one, I’ve seen four docs like this.   Perhaps it’s because II chose one of the least expensive health insurance options, I get the least “good” doctors?

happyBut it is what it is.  I know.  People hate the phrase.  I don’t.  I find it very much an Easter philosophy.  Like something Confucius might have sad.  I heard it first from my boss at the time.  IT was when my marriage was crumbling.  It really resonated, and I adopted it.  I don’t say it constantly, so.don’t hate me.

I posted the other day about diet and trying to change mine.  I’m addicted.  There.  I said it.  In some literature my Husband’s liver doctor gave us, studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than heroin.  I believe it.  I have been working on staying away from sugar.  But we had an apple pie last night.  Of course I had a piece (two actually, I didn’t eat much dinner).  And, of course, last night was halloween, so we have mini chocolate bars left.  I’m absolutely spineless when things like that are around.  I love to get the last piece, too.  What’s that about?

For those of you who read this far, I add the following photos.  A tiny mystery.  I have this plant growing in the yard.  It’s basically a weed, I guess.  I’ve been trying to identify it all day online.  I’ve seen a couple photos online, but not information about it.  My dogs love to eat it.  More than grass.  They haven’t gotten sick yet, so I know it’s not poisonous.  Plus I think animals are instinctive about that.and know which plants are safe to eat.  Husband says I’m wrong and shouldn’t let them eat the stuff.  So if anybody can tell me what this is and that it’s safe for animals, I’d appreciate it.

DSC03508
The seeds.
DSC03505
Growing bud. They open up more as the stem grows.

DSC03506When I told my shrink I regularly take 2 hour naps.  Pretty much daily.  He said a nap was 15 minutes.  Since I was a teen, if I took a nap, it was always more than an hour (barring sickness).  I’m trying to take fewer naps, can’t seem to take shorter ones.  If Husband wakes me after an hour or less, I am groggy and sometimes it’s so bad I have to go back to bed.

Hope you are all having a marvelous weekend!  I send you thoughts of happiness, peace and contentment.  And now I’m going to do yoga instead of napping.   We’ll see how that goes, I doubled my pain and anti-spasm pills this moring, the pain was too bad.  I’m hoping going back to yoga will help.

I had the last (small) piece of pie for breakfast.  I figure, at least there’s fruit in it.  I’ve only had three mini candy bars (so far).

The Ex Is Pregnant

She just told Son last night she was pregnant.  His Ex. She shouldn’t.  She had bad morning sickness for three months, and then spent the last six on bed rest because it was discovered she had something wrong with her uterus.

Here’s the worst-case scenario Son believes will unfold (and I have no reason to doubt this possibility):

Loses her $12/hr job – because she doesn’t work for someone who needs to provide benefits like sick leave.

Loses apartment – Possible, but they currently rent the back house of Ex’s boyfriend’s mom.

Apply for food stamps, WIC and other assistance programs – Which now require more paperwork, and provide less money for the recipient.

Can no longer afford to keep Grandson living with her – She will send GS to move back in with us.

Obviously, not a good scenario, but as I note, that would be the worst-case.  Hope springs eternal, and maybe somehow things will work out.  However, Son feels he is now burdened with ‘fixing’ any psychological damage to GS.  He feels pressure to make a success of his business.  He’s distracted by his grandma’s precarious health.  He’s in pain, both physical and psychological.  He’s feeling the pressure of wanting to be on his own, but unable to afford it.  He’s barely started paying us rent, and since he’s still growing his business, most of his money goes right back in for supplies.  It’s a lot of work too, running his little business.  He answers questions on Facebook all day, fills orders, looks for deals on his supplies, and constantly has to battle other vendors for his slice of the little pie.  Other people will steal sales right out from under him.  His site could be shut down at any time by FB if someone decides to play dirty.  It’d only be a couple days, but that could mean $100s of lost sales.  I hate to even suggest he find something else to do.

I understand his pressure.  I don’t understand why he has taken his Ex’s pregnancy as a sign that his world will come to an end.  He knows we’ve always supported him (in every way), and always will.  I know we helped create his monsters, but he won’t let us help destroy them.  We’ve allowed him to get this dependent.  Now it’s time to change things.  Since I have good psych coverage, he will come with me to counseling.  He can complain about everything, and someone with the proper training will help him change his life.  I just hope it doesn’t take years!

I’ve started looking at apartments in Spain again.