Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just Four Days In...

Now THAT's Regressive.
I’ve stayed away from much political commentary for two reasons – one, we’ve been really busy with other projects (like getting the business ready to sell at the end of the year), and two, I promised the spousal unit.  She said, “There’s no use bitching about it now – wait until he’s actually President, and then see.”

OK, then.  Well, we’re four days in, and it’s going about as I figured.
  • There was a fairly uninspiring (and sparsely attended) inauguration.
  • Hats for the occasion, which promised to put America First with American jobs, were made in…not America (China, Vietnam and Bangladesh).
  • He borrowed Obama’s 2009 pic of the inaugural crowds for his own Twitter page.
  • He complained about the “underreporting” of the inaugural crowds at a surreal appearance at the CIA.
  • There was an even more surreal press briefing about the size of his…inaugural crowd.
  • On Sunday, more talk about how the press lied about the size of the crowd, with a special appearance of “alternative facts.”
  • He made an angry tweet or two, with one directed to America’s Enemy #1 – Saturday Night Live.
  • And another tweet with a spelling error, which was deleted (which might not be legal anymore since he’s now POTUS).
  • And he’s shut down the White House comments line. 
  • Thin-skinned?  Inside the White House it’s been leaked that all of the protests (there were many on Friday and Saturday) have left Trump “demoralized.”

Book frickin’ hoo.  Enough about the inauguration.  What about policy? Well, so far, he’s signed documents for…
  • A slash at ObamaCare.
  • Rollback of mortgage insurance discounts to first-time buyers.
  • A hiring freeze for government workers.
  • Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is kinda weird since we never formally signed on in the first place and the treaty was never going to pass the Senate any-hoo.
  • Reinstated the “Global Gag Rule,” a ban on recipients of U.S. foreign aid from promoting abortion as a method of family planning.
  • Reneging on his plans to disassociate himself with all of his business interests.
  • And just today he’s OK’d the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, placed a gag order on the EPA (communications and grants), and other departments (Interior, Ag, NIH, NNS) are being told “you’re next.”

  • Republicans are plotting their “repeal and replace-maybe-with-something” to the ACA (really, it’s the same thing as ObamaCare.  Really).
  • Along with Trump are planning new tax plans that shift taxes from corporations and onto…you. 
  • They’re getting ready to “Get U.S. Out – of the United Nations (THAT will make us soooooo popular overseas…well, in Russian at least). 
  • They’re devaluing National lands so they can give it away to special interests.
  • And there’s other “worthwhile legislation” that’s just been “sitting there” for the last eight years of Obama’s dictatorship, like considering silencers to be the same as long guns, and to add 9-months to a voter’s voting ability (OK, it really wants to claim that life begins at fertilization). 
  • And now, they want to gag the press.

Here’s what’s sad:  we’re spending more time complaining about whiny, bitchy Donnie and how he’s “demoralized” because not enough Americans love him enough, and not enough time on the very policies that he and the GOP are racing through to move America backwards.  We tend to argue politics as Democrats and Republicans, or conservatives and liberals, but it’s really more like Progressives vs. Regressives. 

Face it – the very slogan “Take Our Country BACK” actually means taking it BACKWARDS.  “Make America Great AGAIN” implies a return to a previous time.  I’m never sure whether they mean the 1950s, 1910s, or 1860s.  Some time long before women’s reproductive rights, civil rights, LGBT rights, restrictions on air pollution and water pollution and nasty regulations that give us safe meat, safety standards for automobiles, and heavy tax burdens for the wealthy. 

How does gutting the EPA make America great?  How does taking away rights and deporting families make America great?  Every policy that the bastards try to force on us needs to answer – HOW THE HELL DOES THIS MAKE AMERICA GREAT?

Move forward.  That’s Progress.  Progress is better.  Be Progressive.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Optimistic about 2017? Yup.

Lots of "good things" in there.
I know that sounds wild coming from me, considering all that 2016 has delivered, but give me a minute and I’ll explain exactly why I am optimistic about the coming year.

First, know that I originally planned to do a two-part post about 2017 – why I was pessimistic and then, following that, why I was optimistic.  The truth is, the things I am pessimistic about I have little “control” over, and frankly, I have better things to worry about. 

To briefly summarize, I am pessimistic mostly about things political, and being a progressive, why not?  It’s bad enough that we now have (Federally) a GOP majority on both houses, unfettered by a Democrat in the White House.  Early warning signs about slashed to social programs like Medicare, SNAP, and even the third rail (Social Security) should not give anyone a good feeling.  Add in the end of the ACA, the Consumer Protection Agency, Dodd-Frank, perhaps the EPA and massive changes to other Federal agencies (we’re looking at YOU, Education), and there’s little to say, “yippie” about.

I haven’t even begun to talk about the Orange Menace.  Perhaps THE MOST distrustable, lying, scheming, secretive, blowhard of a President-elect we’ve ever had.

And yet, he had his fans.  Millions of ‘em.  They are either looking forward to a new arms race, increased tensions among all Americans of all colors, creeds, and sexual persuasions…or they are ignorant of all of that.

That’s the thing I considered the worst part of next year – all of the folks out there (in America and on my Facebook page) that are actually OPTIMISTIC about all the things that might happen with a GOP majority and Trump in the Golden White House.  Bitching and moaning about it here would do little good – I’d be preaching to the saved or riling up those who think we have a new King.

So I’ve decided to skip all that, and that’s one reason I am optimistic about 2017.  For the things I CAN control are looking pretty darn good.+

You might be familiar with the “good things jar” concept.  You’re supposed to write down all the positive things that have happened to you all year long, and then, today, open up the jar and relive all the “good things” that have happened.  We use a cookie jar and the picture you see is the pile of all of our “good things.”

There are material items (we got a new stove and new dishwasher), things we had repaired, things we did (most proud of the fact that Mona got her book published, available exclusively at Amazon.com here), and other stuff that made 2016 a great year.  We had another successful business year at the ice cream parlor, we cleaned out the garage (mostly), there were donations to charities and to the local Goodwill (which helped clean out the garage), and so on.

We’ve done something like this for several years, though we’ve only used the jar for the last two or three (our memory was better when we were younger).  You’ve no doubt seen this suggested several places, and for a good reason:  it helps you to focus on what counts most.  What really matters is what YOU DO.  Not what you say you’re going to do.  Not what others do, or what they say.  What YOU DO.

This is why I am optimistic about 2017.  I’ve got lots to DO, and it’s all good.  It’s a big year for us – we plan on it being our last year running the ice cream parlor, so we’ll be in the process of both running it AND selling it.  We’re also expected to start the planning process on our retirement abode, in another town about two hours from here (closer to Portland).  That’s gonna be a first for us – a brand new home (with solar) – fun!  So it will be a busy and fulfilling time.

Plus, we have many projects planned similar to ones we did this year for 2017.  There’s more rooms to clean out, more donations to make, more things to buy (for the new place), more personal projects and goals.  Our new year is shaping up to be a busy year of change, revival, renewal, work, and a bit of fun.  We don’t plan on dwelling on that which we cannot control, or bitching about it (much).  Y’all know how I feel, and the ones that disagree and think that the new administration will make America “great” again – I hope you’re right but I feel you’re very wrong.

We’ll see, but frankly, I’ll be too busy to worry much about it.  Besides, if and when things go south, I will recall the words of my father the night Nixon resigned the Presidency...

“I didn’t vote for the sonovabitch, anyway.” *

* Sadly, this is true for the wrong reasons.  He voted for George Wallace in 1968, and didn’t vote at all in 1972.

Happy New Year!  May peace, prosperity, and good health be yours.