Thursday, April 12, 2012

If this election doesn't kill me, will it really make me stronger?!

I've found myself doubting a lot of the "Good American" ideals I've been indoctrinated to believe. Did the American Dream ever really exist? Is it really necessary to work yourself to death for an impossible dream? Are poor people really less deserving? Are socialism and communism really evil? Can capitalism breed anything except selfishness? Does an apple a day actually keep the doctor away? Will feeding a cold and starving a fever accomplish anything more than create stomach discomfort? Are we really a Great Nation or do we just say so on TV?

I don't know. Right now, so little about the practice of America is anything I can morally support. Our discourse is crude & belittling. Our populace is waving pitchforks and calling for punishment before trial. Greed has become a virtue. Struggling people are penalized. Any policy that promotes selfishness is heralded as "fiscal responsibility." The majority is loudly proclaimed to be "too stupid" to make good policy decisions. Our President is ignored - Congress doesn't even show up at his meetings. Propaganda has gone so mainstream that it's called journalism (I don't think I've seen propaganda used this well since Goebbels conned the German people into killing 6 million Jews. I'm terrified what FOX News will accomplish as its end game.)

I'm disgusted that this is what's become of Thomas Jefferson's experiment. It's a circus - a harmful, embarrassing circus.
Just a personal message for all lovers of FOX News. Consider yourselves advised:

"All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those towards whom it intends to direct itself." -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), Vol. I

I reviewed some of my German propaganda lessons and realized that FOX is actually brilliant (as was Goebbels). FOX has taken our fears over Nazi Germany and then used the same techniques utilized in Germany to make fear of a Nazi state so palpable that a totalitarian state seems the only protection. It's ridiculously brilliant - use the same techniques with the same desired outcome but shroud it in fear of the technique's creators. It blinds the very people who are giving up control. And what has FOX created? A complete hijack of the US government "for our own good." Those Job Creators are working to save us - just as Hitler worked tirelessly to "save" the German people from the imagined threats of his day. In our day, collectivism is villainized - the Germans were united in their goals of a better future, so, therefore, wanting a better future must be evil! We should take our tough luck as engineered by the Job Creators and thank them daily for being poorer, less healthy, and less educated.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Republican demonization of a private Citizen

Wanna be mad? Read this blog post:

Here's my response to the "representative" who thought it appropriate.

1. Sandra Fluke ALSO pays her health insurance premium as part of her student fees. She's just asking that her health insurance cover FDA approved treatments.

2. Calling a woman a “dog” and claiming she is “studding” when her testimony never mentioned her own sex life is disgusting. Furthermore, I was abstinent before marriage & now have two kids - all we can afford on our hard-won income. PLEASE feel free to email me back & inform me how my IUD, in place so that I can KEEP WORKING and AFFORD HEALTHCARE means I am little more than a breeding bitch. Please. I'm still waiting on Rush to call me a SLUT to my face. I've told him that my husband & I will be happy to send him sex tapes as soon as our religion condones it, if that's what I have to do to prevent children suffering from poverty since society doesn't value a dietitian or truck driver very much. C'mon - you know you're dying to tell me that my employer is paying me to have sex. In actuality, my employer is "paying" for me to avoid getting pregnant & missing work. Society is "paying" for me to avoid producing children I can't afford. In exchange, I'm in the work force & raising two happy, healthy children.

3. As a “doctor,” you should know that hormonal treatments are used for various treatments. It's shameful that you would force women to endure pain, risk future fertility, and increase their risk of cancer just to punish a subset of the population.

4. Where is your rant about the medical uselessness of Viagra and its toll on health insurance premiums? I’d like to read it. I am also waiting for the official Republican statement that men should have sex only as many times as they can afford the children likely to be produced. When you make that statement, I'll stop calling you mysogenist pigs.

You’re making the intermountain west look bad. I was raised in Idaho. I was impressed by the good people that they are – honest, good, and willing to lend a helping hand. I can’t continue to defend them when drivel like this hits the Internet. Even my husband is rethinking his political stance after all this disgusting ranting against women.

Rush. Limbaugh. Must. Go. This is evidence that he DOES control the public debate. This is NOT the United States of Rush. I do not want that man dictating public policy. He is a foul excuse for a human being. He has bred this culture of hate & division. He is destroying our country.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Extremism just ain't my thang

If there are two issues that I could ban from public discourse, they would be abortion & gay marriage. It's not that I don't care about these two issues in the world's stupidest war (a.k.a. The US Culture War), but they are so polarizing that they blind the average person to political matters we can actually manipulate. The truth is that the Culture War has only one winner - The GOP. Here's why:

Right now, the GOP has realized that the economy can't be the issue of 2012. Life is better out here and we all know it. That "hopey changey thing" that they had bet heavily would fail has actually worked. The economy has favored the President.

It is no coincidence that, just as the economy improved, a flurry of extremist bills hit every Republican body in the country. We have bills to eliminate schools, force women back to the kitchen, create a government-sponsored religion, and authorize war with Iran. The GOP has draped each of these issues cleverly in the Culture War (another issue I'm certain to rant about excessively). Limiting female access to healthcare? Of course not! The GOP is valiantly defending freedom of religion (a "freedom" that only a handful of male bishops in the northeast ever requested and even their parishioners say it's an unnecessary element since the EMPLOYING BODIES within the church are totally cool with contraception). War against women? Surely you jest! We are protecting the sanctity of the womb! State-mandated rape (I actually think this one is RIDICULOUS on the left. A medical procedure is not a RAPE - I have banned that word outside of its legal sense, thank you.)? Not at all! We are pro-life!

While this should all be simply laughable - seen as the antics of a group of overgrown toddlers denied candy before supper - the Left has eagerly pandered to the screaming tot. The GOP is full of killers! How dare they?! They are anti-freedom, anti-woman, anti-peace, anti-marijuana for heaven's sakes! We must fight them - FIGHT THEM! We must insist that every woman has a right to kill any baby as long as it draws one ounce of blood from her. If she wants its throat slit post-delivery but before that umbilical cord is loosed, then doctors ready the scalpel! Religion is a horror! Mormons are scary! Christians are evil! Only the godless have any moral place in society! Fight them! Fight them! FIGHT THEM!

Yes, it IS that ridiculous. Probably more so. I'm not a great writer so I fail to capture the true idiocy of either side. I don't even believe it's a coincidence that Rush Limbaugh - the standard bearer of the right - is currently licking his wounds. His attack ramped up the ire of liberals while the boycott has rallied the conservatives with a new freedom to faux-support (speech).

The reason for all this crazy seems simple to me - by forcing the culture war into the limelight, the GOP saves itself. Liberals can't avoid letting their terrifying anti-religion, pro-baby-killing monster loose in the streets (usually carrying a sign or camping in a park). As soon as that terrifying beast is seen by the wavering Republican, he or she dashes back to the right, back to the power-hungry GOP stronghold. (It's brilliant strategy - I always give the GOP credit for really brilliant strategy.)

Oh, it's all such a joke. If the American people woke up tomorrow and yawned at the whole disaster while quietly working to put in power people that could make a difference on issues that truly matter to our lives, then we would change the world. We could undo the billionaire tyrants who rule our nation at present. We would have fair tax laws. The support of our country would fall equally across all citizens. We would have decent healthcare, supported public schools, and breathable air. So, maybe, anyone out there, tomorrow take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I will not be swayed by polarizing rhetoric. Today, I focus on what unifies rather than divides." Have a conversation with your neighbor where abortion or gay marriage can't be discussed. It may be illuminating.*

*That said, if you show up at the neighbor's house and the boorish Limbaugh is bellowing in the background, just leave your bundt cake with a smile & head home. After years of having his or her head beaten in by that fool, there is little rational thought remaining. My apologies to his fans, but if you turn off the drivel, you will find your brain has not yet atrophied & your heart is still capable of hearing the cries for justice.

A response to the myriad requests for money to defend Prop 8

We won't be donating. The case for Prop 8 was argued so poorly that we feel that donating is a waste of money. And, btw, the point of a constitution is to stop the populace when it calls for injustice. The judge had a right and an obligation if he sensed that was the point of the law. Our belief is that marriage is defined by GOD not people and that gay marriage legislation is a violation of our right to religious freedom as stated in the constitution. As this is a moment when two rights have collided, I had hoped for interesting, thoughtful court play that would set precedents to continue to protect religious freedom. Instead, the lawyers made us all look like ignorant bigots who just don't want gay people to have families. Prop 8 deserved to lose based on that argument. My religious freedom has not been protected, the organizations to which I belong look like backwater haters, and my money/time that I spent protecting God's right to define religious rites has been wasted. So, unless you can guarantee me that the lawyers understand what they're doing in the appeal, we won't donate a single cent. I am not a bigot and none of this has protected my right to religious freedom - in fact, it's likely hurting it. It's a sad day for everyone involved.

I feel the need to blog (again)

In all honesty, I feel the need to scream at the skies, but I've been told (by more than one person) that it's out of fashion. I get so frustrated sometimes. I have a strong personality - I know that - and I keep trying out different mediums in which I can just be. I just want to say what's on my mind. I know that I'm too passionate/intense/opinionated/emotional, etc., so I squelch all of that in my private discourse.

Believe me, I have gone to therapy. Many times. The therapist says, "What's wrong with being intense? It's good to have emotions." A few weeks later, the tune changes. I get it. I do. The social contract requires a little vanilla, but there is nothing vanilla about me. Nothing. I am rich, gooey, drippy, thick, undeniably sweet, stick-to-your-mouth chocolate cake. I'm that cake on the display that you save room to sample, only to discover that the intensity of flavor is downright unbearable. I still go to therapy because I really believe that, maybe, I can get it right one time. Maybe I can become a nice milk chocolate, at least.

In the meantime, I just want a place to be me. It's not outside in the world. It's not at work or home. I tried Facebook - too many people watching. Twitter was too limiting. In the past, blogging didn't turn out well either (people just had to try the chocolate cake), but I'm hoping that enough time has passed that I can hide in plain sight.

I just want to speak my mind. So, please, leave the chocolate cake alone. It'll only go straight to your thighs.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I wouldn't say I've lost my faith in humanity...

...but Americans are starting to feel like a lost cause.

I went to a conference back in the midwest. I figured while I was out there I should hear from "middle America" so that I could "get in tune" with the average voter like the so-called enlightened tea party.

I struck up a few convos about politics. There was one main theme, "Well, we just can't afford to keep giving all these government handouts." Hm. Ok. I can see an argument for welfare and social food programs as "government handouts" but how the hell did social security and Medicare become such??!! They are "pay as you go" programs. It's a collective savings plan intended to purchase products that are difficult to finance as individuals - mainly, care for our aging population.

It's like this - say that you want to buy one of the those 300 inch, $30,000 TV sets special-order from Japan on the average American income ($54,000 for those who know more about the Bachelorette than the state of the economy). Shoot - that's just not possible. However, you happen to live in a big condo complex and have a lot of friends. Y'all start talking about this idea and decide it would be an awesome pool-side addition to the complex. So, 30 of you each contribute $1,000. And...voila! There's a giant TV for all to enjoy.

That's called "collectivism" and it's apparently something that spoiled Americans can't do anymore. I mean - what if John from condo 3B hung out in the pool all day watching the TV but I only got to watch it for 45 minutes each Saturday. Well, that wouldn't be fair would it? So what if John has terminal cancer and, therefore, has fewer years to enjoy the TV overall. Taken that way, my 45 minutes and John's all-day-for-two-years becomes somewhat equal. But there's a shred of logic in that - and logic escapes the average American.

So, we will soon cancel Medicare, social security, unemployment insurance, public healthcare programs, and public education. I decided to run some numbers to see what that "good economic policy" will cost the average American on that $54,000 salary. Here is what it would look like in our family:

1. We would take on a share of the care for 4 elderly persons in good health.
Between my husband and I, we have 9 siblings. However, only 5 of those families are in good enough financial standing to provide any assistance. With good budgeting, we could probably manage costs of $300 per person for food, gas, and other incidentals, which, shared among families would equal about $150 per month. The real killer is the loss of Medicare. Due to their age, all persons over 65 require "high risk" insurance. In California, the average cost of a high-risk private policy is $1200 per month per person. So, now each family needs to fork over $960 (without consideration of copays or prescription costs) for medical care. If you're keeping track, that's like paying an additional rent payment for each family - just to take care of our parents.

2. We would have to support unemployed family members.
We are relatively blessed - we only have 4 families impacted by unemployment currently. So, we would only have to take on the co-support of one family. That family has 4 members total. They move in to our 3-bedroom condo so that we can support them on less cash. However, they are now also without health coverage and no government support - so now we have another family health plan to pay (or we can let our nieces/nephews/brother/sister get sick and die). They are young and healthy, so a good plan will cost ~$800 per month. We also need to increase the family grocery budget by $150 per person, so that's a lovely $600 per month increase.

3. Education costs for children
The average private school in California charges $700 per month per child in tuition. We are lucky in our scenario as only two children require schooling - a mere $1400 per month increase in the family budget there!!

In case you got lost in the narrative, here is the simple breakdown:
Elder care (with healthcare): $1010
Unemployment assistance: $1400
Education: $1400
Total: $3810


We can continue with the current plan where we pay ~$1260 per month and get the majority of the above covered through collective bargaining PLUS all the other pesky amenities we enjoy as a result of paying a really minimal amount of taxes (including dependable electricity and water).

So, the whole tea party thing seems so ridiculously stupid to me. Talk about killing ourselves softly with a nice blunted spoon. We are up in arms about the economy but our solution is to force struggling American families to take on even more financial responsibility - without the help of collective bargaining.

In the meantime, we subsidize oil companies, corn growers, GE, and other profitable companies that shouldn't need our help. We also use our tax dollars to give bonuses to the wealthy (and permit them not to pay taxes at all) and under-the-table deals for private industrial projects in individual states. The bait and switch tactic of the tea party has worked its magic - we stopped looking for places where we didn't intend to spend money but are and started looking at things that the rich & powerful don't want to help us fund - like using our own money to support programs that benefit 99% of the population.

Here's something to ponder, America: If every person who made a million-dollar salary would agree to take a reasonable but large salary of $200,000 (that's 4x the average American income if you're keeping tabs), the business savings could fund anywhere from 10 to 40 additional workers. How is that for a long-term economic solution?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stop teasing me!

Synopsis: Jason & Sonny came to understand one another's motives. Elizabeth tried to connect with Jason. Sam & Lucky had a stilted excuse for make-up sex while Carly & Jax faced the finale. LuLu & Johnny's summer o' love came to a tragic end.

Okay. That's it. I can take no more. Just when I get used to the idea that I hate Jason and will never have Liason...there they are...reminding me that Jason could have a future.

But no.

Not 5 minutes later, Jason and Sonny make up. We're back to the boring starting place. I'm supposed to care about the mob, cry over the reconciliation, cheer for the resolution...

But I do not.

There is nothing interesting left in that storyline. Jason's few scenes with Elizabeth brought more life to Jason than 100 gunfights.

So, on to the stuff I don't fast forward...

I have mixed feelings about the Johnny/LuLu scenes this week. On one side, I thought Johnny was sweet (and the writing lovely) as he explained that he would help LuLu avoid the craziness that affected his whole family. I felt very emotionally connected with them. However, I thought the final scene with LuLu screaming as Johnny was dragged off a little over-the-top. I wanted Johnny to turn himself in as an exchange for LuLu's health. Okay, that's tragic, too. It just seemed a lot too much-ish to watch drama at LuLu's commitment become overwhelmed by drama at Johnny's arrest.

But, all in all, Johnny & LuLu were lovely and tragic and everything I wanted them to be.