Saturday, November 11, 2017

The situation.

If you look at their platform and actions, it becomes clear the Republican Party's underlying motivation is to shunt money to billionaires at the expense of services for the middle class and poor. This seems self evident once you take some things into account:

--They seek to harm access to affordable healthcare, which will kill thousands or more, so that they can keep a little more of their money. 

--They create gun purchasing laws and apply them to one kind of gun store, but undermine this law by allowing the loophole of gun shows.
--Despite proof that the fossil fuel industry is raising the temperature of our planet to dangerous levels, they continue opening up pristine wilderness for exploration. 
--Their most recent attempt at legislation, the proposed tax overhaul, gives massive tax cuts to the wealthiest citizens and removes lots of tax credits that help middle class and poor families. The rich pay less, the poor pay more. This will create a deficit that will necessitate cuts to social programs such as social security.

The examples go on and on. How can a party that has such terrible intentions for the rest of us still be in power? It's got to be a combination of a few things: 

--very smart PR people, 

--an ideology that denigrates science and forbids government help for the individual,

--a gullible populace, 
--an incredibly wealthy ruling class that is, as we speak, trying to hijack our system of democratic government, and has the financial resources to achieve it.

This ruling class, or let's call it an oligarchy because that's what it is, has managed to make themselves the figureheads of government in a few countries. One of those countries is Russian, where Vladimir Putin, one of the wealthiest men in the world, has taken over the government with the help of his billionaire friends and has a stranglehold over the entire country. Their methods are brutal and unscrupulous, including the murder of journalists, the imprisonment and murder of political rivals, and joining forces with other equally brutal dictatorships such as Syria.

It's worrying to see a man like Putin take an interest in Donald Trump, who might have ideas about making the United States a lot like Russia. In proof, I offer these quotes from the man himself: "Putin is a strong leader. He's made mincemeat out of our president," and about Hillary Clinton, "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know." Here he is inciting violence against his political rival, a very Putinesque thing to do. 

Not all billionaires are pitching in to this effort to make American government a seat of power for the billionaire oligarchy. There are plenty who stand on the side of the middle and lower classes. George Soros, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet have all thrown their lot in with the majority of humanity, not only because they're basically good people, but because they understand doing so is the wisest course for themselves. Not even billionaires would be safe if the government of the greatest power on earth is taken over by unscrupulous people. This can only lead to instability and death for many. In other words, they are civic minded.

Donald Trump and the billionaires who support him are not civic minded, impossible to be if they are willing to accept help from a man like Vladimir Putin. So what is motivating them to support a man who obviously wants to enjoy the benefits of dictatorship, at least for this term, maybe for the next, and the next? My only conclusion is that oligarchy's interest in the platform of the Republican Party is not about ideology like it is for their puppets Paul Ryan etc... It's about money. The Trump presidency is a good business decision, and good business decisions take precedence over absolutely everything else. They're in a knife fight right now with the media and career public servants in our federal government, some of whom can likely be bought.

This is, presently, our situation.

Reasons for hope:

--President Obama and Eric Holder are going after the practice of gerrymandering, which in most cases benefits Republican candidates. If they manage to redraw district lines to be less attuned to voters' political orientation, they may help bring congress into better balance, and stop the increasing polarization of districts.
--As I mention above, we have billionaires on our side too.
--Our responsible news media is viciously attentive to all of this and,
--so are the majority of Americans.
--I can still write this blog post, and you can still read it.
--There's still a special counsel investigation being headed by Robert Mueller, who so far seems determined to uncover the conspiracy.

The oligarchy is not going to win. Believe that. Some of the billionaires who supported Trump must see that if Trump made America into an authoritarian system, the results could be bad FOR THEM. These are not stupid people.

So, with a sigh and a furtive look around the room, I'm still going to write this: I think it's going to be okay. America will remain a democracy; I really believe that. But the world may never be quite the same again. The only thing to do is the very best we can, and call congress when we need to, and stay alert and informed. I think we're all concerned enough to stay on top of it. 

That's because we understand how much there is at stake.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The News Is Not Depressing.

I see a lot of people talking about how the news is too depressing, and they're shutting it off and tuning out. I have a message for you:

The news is not depressing. Do we have a corrupt regime right now? It appears so. Did they collude with a hostile foreign power? Looks like they did. Are some members of congress helping them cover it up? Yeah, they probably are. Are they going down for it? Yes. Emphatically yes, they are going down. It's happening NOW.

Remember, from the first news of the Watergate break-in until Richard Nixon's resignation took THREE YEARS.

This is bigger than Watergate.

This is the most important time in modern American history. What happens in the next few years will determine the fate of the world. I'm not kidding. There are heroes, right now, courageously standing up to a powerful group of people who are trying to subvert American Democracy. These heroes say: "Oh, no you don't. NOT in America." Sally Yates. Jim Comey. John McCain. Members of the media are doing the same: Rachel Maddow, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The New Yorker and other heroic, insightful, hardworking reporters ALL THROUGH THE MEDIA are proving their indispensability to the American experiment. Pay attention. Every story is built on the basis of staffers and elected officials leaking information, risking their careers to fuel reporters' research into all the ways democratic laws and norms are being flouted. This is a massive effort of people all through the government and news media to expose an administration that is trying to be above the law.

And all those shady people backing them, the corporations and millionaires and billionaires who would gut our feeble health care system to create tax savings for themselves? They. Will. Lose.

They are not above the law. They will never be above the law. They are going down.

Repeat after me:
They're going down.

If you can, if your health allows, watch it as it happens. Don't hide from it. I'm telling you, we are living through some of the most inspiring, uplifting, important events in American history.

You don't want to miss this.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Are you a trans teen?

Are you feeling unwanted? Are you surrounded by ignorance? Is cruelty a part of your every day life? Has it been getting worse lately?

You just need to wait a little while.

Maybe you're a kid trapped in a small town with a narrow family, and you feel invisible, or worse, when you are visible, you're in danger. I cannot imagine how oppressive that must feel.

Just know that out there, somewhere, are your people, and you just need to hang onto your courage and make it until you can go out and find them.

They might be in New York, or San Francisco, or Miami Beach. They might be in Chicago or St. Louis, or New Orleans. When you are of age and free, and you've earned a little bit of your own money, you can buy a crappy car and load it up and go out looking for them.

Maybe they're in Columbia University. Maybe some of them are in the nearest state college. Maybe they're on a cruise ship or in Paris. When you find them, you will agree that the travels and adventures, and risks, and disappointments were worth it. They will recognize you, they will embrace you, they will say, "Honey. Me too." And you will be home. You will know self expression
and creativity and joyful abandon.

So just hang on. That moment is coming. It is in your future.

And when your new people welcome you, together you will know acceptance and love while you wait for this idiotic world to catch up to you.

I'm rooting for you.

In comments, if you are an older trans person, please leave a word of encouragement.