This Little Group

The Free Thinkers and Peace Builders group I started with a friend has grown quickly. We have 85 members and have only been around 3 months! I thought having this many members would mean good turnouts for the meets I create, with lots of good exchange of ideas.

Alas, I have been disappointed. I know, people join online groups all the time and never attend a single meet. I’ve done that. You get busy and can’t make yoga. Or didn’t write anything to present to the writers group on Monday. I had thought this group was made up of slightly more determined individuals. If we want to make change, talking to each other is key! If we are not determined, why are we bothering?

If you are not committed to making change, how can change ever come? Do people expect things to change simply because they want them to? I know we have leaders out there. Those determined to expose Trump for the racist bumpkin he is. People trying to change the US justice system. They don’t seem to get the media coverage they deserve. Those in power do not really want anything to change. They own the media. All of it, and no one seems to care. Except me.

CNN and the thousands of “independent” news outlets are too busy spending two weeks discussing a hurricane. For 24 hours a day, every day.  For two weeks! And if there is no storm or crisis they still only show you the same 5 stories all day long. It would appear that today’s media does not realize there are more than one story a day.  CNN doesn’t seem to realize what a parody of news it has become. In the US we have CNN or Fox. That explains a lot doesn’t it?

Today’s Newsroom Meeting:

“Ok boys, go out and get those stories.” The “reporters” all look at each other. “What’s the boss mean, “go out”? I pick up all my stories off of Facebook and other social media. I don’t have to “go out” anywhere and talk to people live and in person. I’ve got important shit to do.” So the “reporters” set their interns the task of bringing stories to them off the internet. There are only five reporters, and five interns, therefore, we get only five stories. Not a one with verifiable sources. Are we just lazy? Is it just because my family loves to watch CNN day and night and I get incensed that the story, and clips and interviews that I saw at 9AM are the exact same I see at 9PM.

Today I feel disappointed. I know what I’m trying to do isn’t easy and not everyone can devote the same amount of time and effort. But I can’t do this alone! Have those who have joined my group done so for no apparent reason? Do they care about what I am trying here? My friend who started this group with me has since abandoned the cause. I feel ready to do the same. My WP site costs me money. My Meetup page costs me money. Not much but it’s money that I would otherwise spend on useful things like food. I’d like to think what little I pay out would pay off in a good solid group of people.

Today I am disappointed in my fellows. I sent a notice for a meeting. The topic doesn’t really matter as long as we discuss the important stuff. But only ONE person showed up for the last meet and only ONE has signed on to attend this one. I don’t know if I should bother. You can’t hitch your star to someone else’s wagon.

Same question I ponder daily: Should I give up or keep going?

Racism in America

Do we need to write something under Qualifications for President to specify that candidates should have deep convictions of right and wrong, show a level of morality a step above the rest of us. A candidate must be a person of integrity, honesty, humanity, and humility. In case you hadn’t realized 45 has none of those qualifications. He proved this in wide screen technicolor today.

I have been appalled by Trump, 45, whatever you might want to call him. My preference is Hesnotmypresident Trump. With all the talk about White Privilege, nothing shows it more strongly than our #45. Everything he is and stands for exposes White Privilege at it’s worst. This is the mongrel my country elected. Morals be damned. Both 45’s scripted and impromptu responses to the violence and death in Charlottesville last weekend are as appalling as anything he has said to date. But the fact he cannot and will not denounce racist groups is unconscionable.

I have been trying not to bash Trump for things he’s said and done and work on the issues behind his disagreeable actions. The gloves are off on this. For this he deserves the highest level of denunciation and disgust. He has shamed America and debased the Presidency in his actions since the campaign. This is a new level of shame, combined with a gut wrenching fear.

A week ago I was afraid of an imminent nuclear holocaust. Thank goodness Kim Jong Un has decided to continue to watch the antics of our crazy, crazed and definitely deranged president.  Whew! At least we’ve put that on the back burner and free us up to confront violence and destruction closer to home. Incidents like this are not at all helpful in bridging the gap between White Privilege and Brown Suppression. But what is the answer?

charlottesville
Charlottesville 2017

We all know what happened in Charlottesville, the dozens of people seriously injured and one killed by one guy using the latest weapon of mass murder; driving through a crowd. I understand the young man driving that car was confused at best, uncaring possibly, and likely was very lonely. The perfect candidate to be lured into believing the garbage hate groups like to spout. Playing on a person’s ignorance and fear. These are the exact tactics used by other hate groups, like ISIS, Al Queda, NRA, IRA. They find the disenchanted, disenfranchised, lonely (mostly) young white men and feed their fears.

The young woman he killed was a respected professional with a family. Nothing about her was violent.  For our president to diminish her life and death by claiming both sides had a part in the violence is at a minimum ridiculous.  The only part she had in the violence was being a victim of it.

The violence this past weekend didn’t end there.  The leader of the KKK publicly stated he was “glad” of Heather Heyer’s death.

“I’m sorta glad that them people got hit and I’m glad that girl died,” Justin Moore “a Grand Dragon” in a KKK organization, told WBTV.

The Neo-Nazis want to have a visible presence at the funeral for Ms. Heyer.

Andrew Auernheimer, known by the online pseudonym ‘weev’, said: “What’s the location of the fat skank’s funeral … get on it, e-sleuths. I’d do it myself but slammed with current logistical issues. I want to get people on the ground there.”

And my president can’t denounce these losers? I have never known this level of disgust.

Well Beyond Nixon

People have mentioned the corruption in our current administration as “Nixonian” in scale.  Watergate has nothing on our growing Russiagate investigation.  In fact, Trump’s administrational misdealings, illegal activities, and lies make Nixon’s activities look like child’s play.  It’s more than just admiration of and fawning over dictators and despots like the Philippine President Duterte, Putin, Kim Jong Un (CNN-Jake Tapper).  It’s all his other great plans for our nation that takes him well beyond Nixonian.  We’re reaching Orwellian proportions here.

About the only dictators Trump hasn’t personally approved of are Hitler and Mussolini. I’m guessing he considers them both losers, since they didn’t stay in power for decades. He called Un a “smart cookie” for having his uncle killed to gain the NK throne! He’s ok with Putin and the murders he’s complicit in.  “The US isn’t innocent,” Trump said in an interview.  Is he implying our President’s have murdered people for personal gain? I think if any US president had ordered a hit on someone history would’ve revealed it by this time. He seems to feel a dictator is a more competent, stronger leader than someone merely elected by the people.  Neither of which applies in this case.

He’s complicit in Russiagate, spending all his time covering up or burying as much information as he can.  Setting up one person at a time to take the fall.  My only hope is that he takes out the wrong guy and all the republicans turn on him.

He wants to revise the Constitution!  The First Amendment in particular so he can remove the Press from its protection.  Of course he had been talking about doing this throughout his campaign.  It seems to be getting more important to him.

He wants to keep us ill!  Healthcare Bill.  His budget proves it as well.

He wants to keeps us stupid!  Have you seen anything on his new budget?  He plans to cut $11 billion from education.

Trump’s an embarrassment everywhere he goes.  Pushing people aside to be front and center.  Saying ignorant things.  Acting inappropriately. Being happily ignorant of other cultures.

And my country elected this mess.  The world is totally screwed until we impeach this beast.

I Blew It

It is so easy to have an Us/Them mentality.  Us good.  Them Bad.  Us smart, Them dumb. Us openminded, Them not.  Us arrogant!  I’m past 50 now and have obtained a tiny amount of wisdom.  Unfortunately, that newfound wisdom doesn’t undo all the stupid, insensitive, arrogant and closed minded things I have done.  It doesn’t mean I won’t still do these things, but being aware has made this far less likely.

I attended the “Coffee and Conversation” with my Long Beach rep the other morning. The room was a small, but full, and there were plenty of people standing.  We even had the added treat of having a few Trumpsters attend as well.  One woman stood up,her hands and voice shaking, to protest the fact we are giving minors poison that will give them cancer.  Turns out she’s talking about the Pill and wants to defund Planned Parenthood. I must say we were not very kind, and simply told to her please shut up and/or leave.

I blew it.  This woman was waiting outside and stopped people as they passed.  I blew it. I should’ve taken that chance to speak with her.  I lost the opportunity to listen to her.  She was moved to show up at this event, we should respect her resolve, and her opinion, no matter how misguided.  She feels this is an important issue and we are wrong to dismiss it this way.  This would’ve been an opportunity to understand her side, find the common ground of caring for the next generation, while calmly explaining to her the realities of withholding birth control of any kind to anyone.  I’m ashamed of my knee jerk reaction and anger.  Now that I am aware of the opportunity, will I take it in the future?  I plan to.

We must all learn to control our angry reactions to Trump and his supporters.  Avoid dehumanizing the Trumpsters.  Once a group becomes ‘less than human’, the chance of violence increases.  Trumpsters are not the enemy.  Not directly.  Sure they may have voted for the egomaniacal wizard in the orange wig, but many are uneducated, mostly unaware, and were misled and lied to.  If we shut them down when they show up at rallys and meetings, we will never make any progress.  We must include these people in the discussion.  We need to help them understand they’ve been lied to.

The American Revolution didn’t start overnight.  It came after years of anger and not until the majority of the population felt pinched did the war begin.  Armed revolution will come to the US and it won’t take 10 years.  If TrumpCare passes the Senate as is (which is unlikely), people will begin to really feel the impact of Trump personally. The GOP will continue to cut these benefits and deny them outright to more and more people.  When people are barely surviving or dying because of lack of services like Welfare, Food Stamps, Disability, Medicare, they will stand up.  The tighter one is squeezed, the less one has to lose.  It’s as simple as that.

We have the chance to ensure that we avoid violence by choosing conversation rather than confrontation.  Let’s take it next time.  I will.

Grammar and Vocabulary

I try very hard not to be a “Grammar Nazi” when reading Facebook and similar things on the internet.  As to Facebook I realize not every writer has the education level, or for whom English is a second language.  As for the grammar used in posts on Yahoo and Google, that’s another matter.

These two entities like to provide news stories that after reading them I’m not sure what the article was about.  Was the writer pro or con on this issue?  I hoped the bad English would eventually be weeded out, but I decided I would just stick to the more reliable information sites:  CNN, Al Jazeera, Politico, Huffington Post, etc.

Now with Trump in power we can kiss our vocabulary and grammar good-bye.  Just like we have to accept “alternate facts” as real.  Now our anti-bullying campaign is a complete waste of time, money and effort, since our Commandeer-In-Chief has the diplomacy of a 6th year old playground bully.

I read an excellent, though dated, article  from Politico on Trump’s vocabulary, and it got me thinking: just how many words does Donnie have in his repertoire?  So I did a little more looking and found another, more recent, article from the Washington Post.  But no one actually counted the words Donnie uses.  Excluding articles (I, me, he, she, them, from, to, an, and, etc.) I decided to put together a list of his most frequently used words:

big, huge, bigly, biggest, best, worst, sad, bad, stupid, weak, lousy, horrible, deal, good, terrible, loser, hater, moron, dumb, smart (only when referring to himself), tough, dangerous, worse, lies, fake news, media, amazing, tremendous, terrific, zero, out of control (OK, I know it’s a phrase), beautiful, classy.

That’s just a taste.  Now, try to read the transcript of one of his speeches:

“Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

Help Us Diagram This Sentence by Donald Trump! This is probably the world’s longest run-on sentence ever! Nineteen lines and the man didn’t even say anything!

Our world is in chaos and we are being lead by an ignorant beast!  We need to find a child therapist to help us interpret and clarify what he says, not Sean Spicer, who speaks nearly as well as Trump.  But given the material he has to work with, I guess he does pretty well.

Please help us or we are doomed!  We Stand

Health Care

cropped-cropped-we-stand1.jpgOK, we all know what’s at stake here with the new Trump NonCare.  They ‘guarantee’ everyone will ‘have access’ to health care.  “Access” to healthcare insurance is not the same as “having health care.”   The GOP cannot be ignorant of what they propose; these changes will hurt more people than it helps, especially with the MacArthur Amendment, which will let states obtain waivers that will allow health insurance companies in that state to:

  • Not cover mental health and substance use treatment (also known as letting insurers scrap “essential health benefits”)
  • Charge people with mental illness more

Many addicts are self-medicating because back when Oxycodone was being pushed by every doctor on the planet, some poor guy who has been taking this stuff for 8 years, suddenly he’s cut off because of new regulations.  These new regulations only made criminals out of people who are/were ill or hurting.  They can’t get a drug strong enough for the pain.  Of course not.  Oxycodone is strong and the guy’s got an immunity.  But the doc will only give him tylenol.

It’s hard enough for people with mental illness to get through life.  I’d guess more than 60% of all addicts have an underlying, undiagnosed mental health problem.  Mainly because GPs are not skilled in identifying mental illness.  They are also not trained in the best course of treatment for an addict.

So our poor addict is in  withdrawal and extreme pain.  He goes to the ER hoping for pain relief.  For 6 1/2 hours this poor addict lays on an uncomfortable, too small bed in a 60 degree room as he begins to withdraw.  When he finally sees a doctor, they view him as an addict and therefore will not provide him with anything stronger than tylenol for the pain.

What’s a guy to do?  He goes online where he can get anything from anywhere at any price at any time.  He finds a supply of his drug and finds relief at last.  But now he is using an illegal substance.  He doesn’t know how to figure out the proper dosage because the stuff comes in powder form and he has to fill his own capsules.  One day he takes too much and doesn’t know, he gets in his car and gets arrested.  Now he’s a criminal.  His boss finds out and he loses his job–no one wants a druggy working for them.  His wife leaves him, and he ends up homeless.  Now he’s “in the system.”  Now he needs a homeless shelter, Welfare, Food Stamps, job training.  Now he is trapped.

Why do we go to the ER for an addict?  Because we don’t have anywhere else to go, it’s not like there is an urgent care specific to addicts and the mentally ill.  Someone on Medi-Cal (and many other government programs) is extremely limited in their choice of doctors.  Finding a mental health provider is pretty hard when there are only two psychiatrists in your area and neither will take on a new patient.  Or worse, you find one and they turn out to be a quack.

You can’t get your adult child into a half-way house or outpatient therapy because he’s still using. You can’t get him detoxed because there is a wait list a year long.  I say that again for emphasis:  a waiting list a year long!  I guess you just let the addict in your life continue to use for another year in the hope that at the end of that year they will still be willing to enter detox.   ER staff do not understand addicts or recognize someone who is mentally ill.  They aren’t trained to.   That needs to change.  I know medical staff are always getting additional training and there is no reason that can’t include a crash course on the most likely cases they’d come in contact with.

 

Our healthcare system is very good at making us addicts, but really really bad at providing good complete healthcare.  I guess if the new health care bill passes with mental health provisions slashed it just makes our national insurance (DumpCare) as bad as our national insurance (Medicare).  Which begs the question: why are there three national programs: One for Congress, one for the poor or retired (which is often the same), and one for the rest of us.

I feel so defeated by this administration, but I’m not giving in.  I have to believe that the protests work.  They certainly get Dumpty’s attention.  He demanded there be a “probe” into the Tax March.  How do you probe a protest?  And the idea that protesters are being paid by Obama to undermine the new administration.  I don’t have to tell you how ridiculous and paranoid that sounds.  And as for protesters being paid. I’m thinking someone owes me money.  What is the going rate for a protester?  Is it by the hour, by the day, specific to the event.  Are travel expenses covered?  If so, I’m going to the next march in DC.

Don’t forget to call your rep and tell them to vote No on the new plan.

 

 

 

Join the Movement

I’ve been reading Trump stuff all morning.  I’m making myself ill.  It is so frightening, what is happening here.  The good thing is we are working to get rid of him, and his cabinet. Unfortunately, the only one I don’t see implicated in the Russia thing is Pence.  Was that planned?

At the moment it appears nearly his entire cabinet and most of his advisers are involved in lies about Russian ties.  The bad thing about it will be tying up the courts for the next four years with a constant stream of impeachments.  Nothing will get done.  But at least it would stop these cretins from doing wholesale destruction of the US and our Constitution.

There are plenty of protesters.  Don’t believe the Faux News when they tell you that we are paid protesters.  That’s completely absurd, though I know there are plenty of Trumpsters who do.  Who would be paying us to protest?

And protesting works.  We are building sustainable groups.  Indivisible is a nationwide group actively involved in protests, marches, getting Reps to hold Town Halls.  We are calling our reps to get them to vote down all of Trump’s nominees, bills, etc.,  We are writing cards to the White House demanding resignation of Bannon, and firing Trump (#TheIdesOfTrump).

We have a group meeting with the Police Commission and the ACLU next month, as well as the Tax Day Protest, and the environmental march.  We are halting the progress of the #Freespeech bus.  There are many of us, but there is power in numbers!  The Trump team and Russia stole the election.  A virtual coup by Putin.  We need your help to take our country back.

Here are links to just a few groups you might look into.  It doesn’t need to become your second job or take the place of college.  Be as involved as you want.

http://www.stopcorporateabuse.org/

Resist Meetup

The Nation

Indivisible 

People Power