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Two White Men Hold United States Hostage

18 Jan

The Hug That Sank 800,000 Jobs

We are now in day 28 of the government shutdown–the longest government shutdown in US history. What a national embarrassment; I suppose it probably provides poor sad Theresa May some cold comfort. Let us just be clear and use facts about why the government is shut down. 45 has continued to lie about the safety of our southern border. He and Faux/Fox News have used fear to scare his base of support into spending nearly 6 billion dollars on a racist wall. However, Trump is not holding the country hostage alone: he has his loyal sycophant and award-winning hypocrite Mitch McConnell to help strangle the country. Lest we forget, during this shutdown Trump and all of Congress are still being paid their full salary.

More on the spineless, sexist, lying, egotistical, hypocritical, bigot, Mitch McConnell: this is the same bully who proposed the identical initiative that the Democrats are now to prevent a government shutdown–the same initiatives that he won’t allow to reach the senate floor, even though they passed by UNANIMOUS CONSENT in December. Party over politics and a huge fuck you to the American People to demonstrate his loyalty to the Dark Lord Covfefe Hamberders (are you missing Dan Quayle now?), and his loyalty to Putin, who gave him 3.5 million dollars. The Dark Turtle from Kentucky says he won’t allow a “show vote” that 45 won’t sign. This despite the fact that he allowed TWELVE votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act that he knew President Obama wouldn’t sign; he’s also allowing an anti-choice measure onto the floor this week, even though it has no chance of passing the house. Those are the very definition of show votes. Racist, sexist hypocrisy much, Mitch?

Let us talk about the serious and far-reaching impact of Trump’s racist temper tantrum. Over 800,000 employees are affected by the shutdown and going without pay; this includes 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents, 53,000 TSA agents, 42,000 Coast Guard employees, up to 88% of Homeland Security are working without pay. Maybe it is just me, but this does not make me feel safer. In fact, Trump’s tantrum has put the nation in jeopardy.

More than 380,000 people will be furloughed. This directly impacts NASA, the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the National Park Service. It seems to me this does not take an economics degree to understand that this is bad for the economy. Refund checks will now be delayed. There are now new barriers to homeownership, as there are now delays in processing and approving loans. This also negatively impacts all local economies that depend on tourism dollars to visit national parks.

While it is a Sisyphean task to keep track of all of the lies from Trump and his administration, it is important to note two huge whopper lies here.  Trump claimed that all of the previous presidents supported the wall, which in fact, is NOT true. Trump also made the claim that 63,000 Americans had been killed since 9/11 by people at the southern border. Again, this is NOT true. In fact, the number was made up by the self congratulating racist Steve King, who has now been censured for his charm free comment: “White nationalist, White supremacist,–how did that language become offensive?” I don’t even know how to unpack that, except to say that I’m grateful that at least a handful of Republicans have denounced King’s comments.

CALL TO ACTION: I implore you! Make those phone calls! Let Mitch know he can’t hide in his shell while the country suffers. Call your Senators! Thank the Democrats for holding firm and demanding that Congress perform its Constitutional duty of checks and balances. Demand that Republicans put their constituents before a pointless racist wall and force Mitch to allow a vote on measures that will easily pass.

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Girl Scout Cookies

10 Jan

I am getting ready to go for my second round of chemotherapy. I am dreading it and I know I have to have it. The first round was far more difficult and miserable than I had anticipated. I have to say this is the hardest thing I have ever done, and it makes sense to me why the nurse at the end of the first chemo treatment ended the seven hour session with: “Thank you for coming in and doing this–you did it!.”  As you all know, I named the tumor Pat, short for Patriarchy (we need to kill Pat), and the port in my chest is named Mueller. After the seven hours of chemo, there is one more chemical that is slow release through a pump via Mueller. I have named the pump Nancy Pelosi to help Mueller kill Pat. During the five days of being horribly sick with nausea (and a whole host of other side effects), I have a lot of time for reflection and sadly, sometimes I fear I start to spiral down into a very dark space that does not help me kill Pat. This reflection was spurred on by my wanting to order Girl Scout Cookies.

I love the Do-si-dos and Robert and I both love the thin mints. I told Robert to ask our neighbors to order some Girl Scout Cookies for us. Internally, I did a nose dive into an abyss of fear. My strange and irrational brain went to: “Wait, what if I die and Robert gets stuck with all of the Do-si-dos cookies? He is allergic to peanut butter. Is it irresponsible of me to order the cookies?”

Having cancer really sucks. For me, I constantly worry and I know I have to figure out a different way to navigate this journey. I have started to try some guided meditation. For those reading and have also gone through a similar journey, what are ways you found helpful in coping with the trauma and the everyday perseverating–am I burdening and fatiguing my support network?

My ask is this: support the Girl Scouts, and if people have advice from lived experience, please do share.

Cancer in the Trump Era, Part Deux

28 Dec

Today I start my first chemo treatment, thus starting my year-long journey to get rid of this new cancer. I hate that I am so scared and hate that I am causing all of the people whom I love to feel scared.  Obviously, the cancer last year along with the massive heart attack was not enough. This latest hiccup started the evening before Thanksgiving 2018 when I found out that the cancer in my colon spread to my liver. Needless to say this has been a rather intense and rather sad Holiday Season. My team of oncologists reported to me that this is stage 4 cancer and that there is between a 20 and 50% survival rate. Not exactly news I wanted to hear. I feel like my body, since hitting 50, has betrayed me, or is telling me that it is tired and has no desire to continue. While most of me still says fuck cancer, I must confess that the betrayal I feel from the Trump administration and from those who support this sociopath, makes it hard for me to feel confidence in beating this fucker cancer.

The past two years have seemed unbearable, as I have seen the decline of empathy and understanding of the Social Contract, if it ever existed. The currently emboldened racism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia is allowing us to see the very worst in humanity here in the United States. While it has always existed here, as it is a part of the very fiber of our country, 45 has normalized the worst in humanity. Sadly, 45 and his base of support have no understanding of what a Democracy is or how one works. Even more tragic is that the GOP does not know how a Democracy works, and they have proven they don’t care and thus support 45’s dismantling of our Democracy.

What has been particularly painful in the past three weeks aside from my latest cancer diagnosis, is that 45 is holding the country hostage by shutting down the government until he gets his racist wall. In the words of the late Ronald Reagan, I say: “Mr. Trump, Tear Down This Wall.” Yes, it has gotten so bad that I have to quote a president for whom I have nothing but contempt. Of course, in the world of twisted facts by Fox News which is wired directly to 45’s brain material, the blame is assigned to the Democrats who hold no power in the House or Senate currently. I and most of America continue to weep.

The list of lies and atrocities by Trump and his administration is pages long and interferes with my ability to focus on kicking cancer’s ass. Here is my plan to conquer cancer: I have named the tumor Pat, short for Patriarchy (watch out Trump/Pence), and I have named the port implanted in my chest Mueller to help kill Pat.

My hope is that during the next year, we will see some type of harmony and healing happen in the US and around the globe. That we will not see the pure hate delivered by Fox News, Trump, Pence, Theresa May, Michel Temer, J`anos `Ader, The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and of course Puppet Master Vladimir Putin. Let us hope people will work towards Democracy and dismantle the autocratic governments here and around the globe.

I am fully aware it will take an enormous amount of strength, courage, and determination to beat this cancer over the next year. I am very lucky. I have a beautiful and phenomenal network of friends that are on this ride with me and lift me up when I am tired, and carry me when I can’t walk. Even with this amazing support, I am scared as fuck! For all of us who are currently struggling with cancer, I say we need to unite and know we can’t do this alone and let us love on each other as we belt out our individual and collected voices to Fuck Cancer and Destroy the Patriarchy!

Nancy Pelosi, Really?

3 Dec

As the Democrats prepare to take over the House in January, there is much ado about who should be the Speaker of the House. While I’m exceedingly grateful we are kicking Fascist Paul Ryan to the curb, should Nancy Pelosi resume her role as Speaker?

In a word, I offer an emphatic YES! I have been deeply troubled, disturbed, saddened, and pissed off at the manifestation yet again of misogyny. Again, it is painfully clear that the United States cannot tolerate a strong, smart, powerful, woman. While I agree with those who want a new guard ushered in, Pelosi has already demonstrated her commitment to succession planning and ensuring that women are being set up to succeed. I also applaud the mindfulness and strategic thinking of leaders like Maxine Waters, who said her efforts are best used as the Chair of the Financial Services Committee. I also applaud Marcia Fudge of Ohio who supported Pelosi and said where her efforts would be best used. Fudge was a name thrown into the bid for Speaker, and frankly, I would love to see her in that position, and again we see strategy and mindfulness at play, as Fudge will be the Chair of the House Administration sub-committee on Elections–fantastic! Please help Georgia and Florida. If we are to dismantle the autocratic/fascist government that 45 has laid the groundwork for, we must be strategic. But we must also resist buying into a misogynistic narrative.

Sadly, 32 Democrats voted against Pelosi (one should note that is 11 fewer than the number of Republicans that did not support Ayn Rand– oops, I mean Paul Ryan — for Speaker). Of course, one of those voices against Pelosi was Republican Kurt Schrader of Oregon–oops, I mean Democrat Kurt Schrader; it is exceedingly difficult to see where his loyalties lie. He reminds me of Zell Miller of Georgia, who purported to be a Democrat, but those of us paying attention were not fooled or surprised when he showed up as the keynote at the 2004 Republican National Convention throwing his support for George W. Bush–the good ole days when we thought there could be no one worse than Bush.

This mid-term election is sending the most diverse Democratic caucus ever to Washington, largely elected on a progressive, pro-health-care platform. As Speaker, Nancy Pelosi must recognize these facts and continue her commitment to progressive policies and new leadership opportunities for a broader spectrum of Democrats. In return, her caucus must recognize her strong, smart leadership; her clear focus and strong voice is one of the reasons that the Democrats flipped more seats than any time since Watergate. 45’s administration demands seasoned opposition leadership, which Pelosi can clearly supply. Over the next two years, let’s groom those who can move into leadership and help advance progressive causes that allow for greater equity for all people in the United States.

How Dare You Kate Brown!

1 Oct

Watching the myriad Knute Buehler commercials on every network seems to address how truly systemic, institutional, and ubiquitous misogyny is, even here in “progressive” Oregon. How dare you, Kate Brown for being an effective, smart, and strong woman. Don’t you know that here in the United States we don’t want to see or hear smart and strong women? Watching the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas hearings 27 years ago to watching the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh hearings this week, it is painfully clear that we don’t want women’s voices in government. So who is going to save the country? Who will save Oregon? It looks to me like some angry women in elevators (true heroes, Maria Gallagher and Ana Maria Archila) will save the country, and I think Kate Brown is the woman to lead Oregon and who will remove barriers for all who carry targeted identities.

It is particularly difficult to watch the almost comical lies Buehler is spreading about Governor Brown. His lies range from the outrageous to the insane. I’m waiting for Buehler to blame Brown for the Scotts Mills earthquake that hit Oregon in 1993, or that she orchestrated the tsunami that just hit Indonesia–my she is powerful. Let us unpack some of the lies, so that we can all be better informed–granted this is for people who are concerned with facts, since facts have now become passè with Buehler and the Republican party. Let’s address the big ole lie regarding his blaming Brown for Oregon ranking number 48 in public schools. The fact is that, sadly, we already held that ranking before Brown became governor. Moreover, I need to underscore that Herr Buehler voted against creating smaller class sizes and voted against increasing teacher wages; this behavior/voting record only contributes to weakening our public schools. Buehler also lays the problem of homelessness at the feet of Brown–wow! Really? This attack is so unseemly and categorically false, yet I fear people will believe him because he is using the GOP method of lying: “just keep repeating it and people will eventually think it is true.” What is also disturbing is that Buehler has no realistic plan to address the system of poverty and homelessness. Whereas Governor Brown has been working to address poverty and remove barriers from people experiencing homelessness. It is also nice to see that President Obama endorsed Governor Brown.

Rep. Buehler’s website contains many “issues” pages with one common theme: start with a rant against Gov. Brown with no facts or substance, then spout lofty, vague platitudes about “working together” and “solving problems”. How committed is he to addressing Oregon’s problems? According to his voting record, not very. Over the past five years, he has voted against all of the following: statewide access to healthcare, requiring coverage for abortions and contraception, extending gun purchase background checks, prohibiting immigration status requirements, protecting tenants from capricious evictions (thus increasing the population experiencing homelessness), increasing the minimum wage, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and establishing seamless voter registration (one of Gov. Brown’s signature accomplishments, by the way). He has a 0% rating from the SEIU and a 93% rating from the NRA. The ACLU gives him a 33% and the Oregon Education Association a dismal 31%. Business and corporate groups consistently rate him in the 90s while environmental groups all rate him 40% or lower.

Knute Buehler is really good at finding marginalized and targeted people who are legitimately frustrated and spinning their stories into his web of lies. What he isn’t good at is actually identifying solutions to Oregon’s problems. He attacks PERS because it’s convenient, ignoring the fact that PERS security and education funding would both be solved by fixing our state’s ridiculous tax laws.

Gov. Brown is a dedicated, creative, passionate public servant. She’s actually interested in putting in the work to solve Oregon’s problems. Rep. Buehler is a self-serving, self-identified “moderate” who cares more about being Governor than being honest. His legislative record shows a callow conservative who votes against women, immigrants, victims of violence, the poor, and the disenfranchised. For all his talk about “fixing education”, he votes against schools.

Don’t be fooled. Knute Buehler may not be a raving lunatic like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC, aka Gollum serving his dark lord 45), but his calm demeanor hides a corporate agenda that will do nothing to make Oregon better.

I also want to give a shout out to the brilliant Stacey Abrams, who is running for Governor of Georgia. Like Brown, she is enduring false attacks from the very racist, homophobic, misogynist, Brian Kemp. Again, we see a woman, and a woman of color who is being attacked for being smart, a woman, and being black–definitely a common theme in the United States.

Call to action: VOTE! Call your senators. Campaign for candidates that support all people, not just white, heterosexual, cis, able bodied men.

In an attempt to be fair to Knute Buehler, I tried repeatedly to call his office and his campaign staff, only to get a voice recording. I left messages, but Mr. Buehler, nor anyone from his campaign got back to me.

Treason and the Embracing of Fascism

30 Jul

I have spent many weeks working on this particular article, as it has been eating at me and has been the cause of great consternation. While I typically do not reach out to 45’s base supporters, I am reaching out now, as I am exceedingly nonplussed. My observations are that continued support of 45 in the wake of his behavior in the last two years provides overwhelming evidence of a disturbing embracing of fascism and a complete lack of understanding of how a democracy operates, not to mention the overwhelming evidence of how racism unites a huge portion of the population in the United States.

In the past two years we have witnessed such sociopathic behavior from 45 and the entire GOP and what we have witnessed can’t be undone–it cannot be taken back. We now have to look at how do we repair the monumental damage done by this administration and all of you who colluded with this nefarious behavior. Here is just a minuscule list of the damaging and unacceptable behavior that is moving to deteriorate and dismantle our democracy: 45 endorsed and campaigned for Roy Moore who raped countless women and girls–how on earth do you move forward after that? How is that acceptable behavior? While campaigning, 45 mocked a reporter with disabilities–for me, I was certain this would have been the end of his campaign, but the American people sadly proved me wrong and said it was okay to mock people with disabilities. His base further disappointed me by saying it is acceptable for men to grab women by their genitals. I don’t know how any of you readers were raised, but I was raised with respect for human decency and all of 45’s behavior and the collusion and support by the entire GOP fly in the face of human decency.

Another breaking point was the separating of children from their families and placing children in cages in camps. When we learned that one particular child with Down syndrome was separated from his family, FOX correspondent Corey Lewandowski mocked the child and family with his pathetic “womp, womp.” Honestly, how does one bounce back from this behavior? Have you no decency Mr. Lewandowski? Have you no empathy? I grow fearful and exhausted by 45’s base who shout: “if you break the law, you get separated from your family.” Sadly, you all don’t seem to understand how the law works and how applying for asylum works, or what due process means. One has to be on American soil to fill out the paper work to apply for asylum and should not be separated from one’s family and then is entitled to due process.

Now let us talk about treason.  While 45 works to alienate our allies and insults Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, demonstrates unbelievably boorish behavior to the Queen of England, and then praises oppressive dictators like Kim Jung Un seems like a dystopian piece of fiction, but sadly it is our reality. His private meeting with Puppet Master Vlad Putin is more than just problematic, it is in fact treason. 45 said: “It is U.S. foolishness and stupidity and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in US relations with Russia,” all of this in the face of the evidence that Russia was involved in disrupting our democratic process. Then to make matters worse, 45 has now invited the Puppet Master to come to DC for another private meeting. Why are we not collectively freaking out over this? Why have charges of treason not been filed?

Moving on to more examples of behavior that you can’t take back–behavior that painfully demonstrates that 45 and the entire GOP display the very worst of humanity. 45 and his administration are currently trying to purge all current soldiers who are impacted by HIV.  Even more disgusting is that 45 is diverting Ryan White funds that are designated to help those impacted by HIV to separate children from families. The very unstable 45 has now also threatened Iran with war.  Is this who we are as a nation? The sad answer is YES–this is who we have devolved to as a nation. It is not a small wonder that we have lost any respect from our allies around the globe.

In my 51 years of living, never did I imagine I would witness the nation embracing Fascism, but alas here we are. Fascism is the embracing and subscription to an authoritarian government that does not allow for opposing views; it vilifies the free press and demonizes opposing voices as “enemies of the state.” There is a strong push towards nationalism and great disdain for economic equality, rampant misogyny, and disdain for the arts and intellectuals — disdain for human rights. All decision making is from a unilateral voice without a system of check and balances, and fraudulent elections.

Call to action: I worry that those of you who remain in 45’s seemingly implacable base, your legacy is one of hate, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and fear. Please prove me wrong. I implore all of us to reflect and show ourselves and the world we are better than this. I want America to weep no more. For all of us in the Resistance, please practice self-care. For me, I am watching Netflix and Kim’s Convenience.

Crying Over Breakfast

14 Jul
Robert and I started our morning with coffee on our front porch enjoying the sun, we try to make this our weekly Saturday ritual. We decided to walk to Multnomah Village to the new bagel shop for breakfast. While on our walk we were unpacking the stress of living under the insanity of the Trump administration; most recently his attack on NATO, England and Prime Minister Theresa May, his attack on Germany, and his over the top boorish behavior with Queen Elizabeth. As we were eating our breakfast outside we overheard two conversations. The first conversation was a family with two small boys and the father was saying to his son: “I think it would be a good idea to give part of your birthday money to an organization that needs some help–you can pick what organization you want to help out.”
The second conversation we overheard was with a mother and her daughter and son. Daughter: “Mamma, I feel guilty for using a straw, but I like using the straw.” Mother: “I think it would be a good idea if I start to pack reusable and washable straws so that you can have your straw and we don’t hurt the environment.”
Yes, this made Robert and me cry in public. In a time of such intense darkness and fear mongering and climate change denial all from 45, these two conversations we overheard were such a lovely and amazing gift and made us cry tears of joy and hope! Feeling hopeful and grateful today!
My hope is that all of you who read this have the chance to experience some hope today and to be in a place of gratitude.
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