Saturday, October 18, 2014

The War on America

I am so sick of all the fear mongering the Republicans and their fans are spreading across the political landscape these days. Immigrants. Ebola. Guns. Obama -he's black, you know. What these people, with their foaming mouths, their dire predictions, their demagoguery are doing is waging war on America. Some of them openly admit that, as well. Let's have all the generals resign because they don't want to follow the directives of their legal commander in chief. Let's point guns at, and threaten to shoot legal officers of the law when they come to hold us accountable for stealing land use from them. 

Let's make laws that give people the right to shoot first and always be found innocent (unless you are black or female, of course.)  Let's equip our police with war machines and tactical gear, and encourage them to use them against US citizens, in their own neighborhoods.

Let's allow politicians to openly call for the overthrow of our government without any consequences. Let's allow Congress to openly fail to carry out their sworn duty, and then brag about it, and ask people to reward them for it in the next election.

I was reading Stonekettle Station earlier, and he rails about American freedom being misused and abused. And he's right. America has become a nation of Constitutional abusers who demand that their actions have no (bad) consequences. That freedom of speech means that they can say anything - lies, hate speech, treason, whatever - and never be held accountable for it.

That isn't the America the founders created or wanted. It isn't the America of the 1950s, or even of the 1960s. And I don't want it to become the America of the 21st Century. We won't make it to the 22nd if that's what we become.

Already the economies of the world and the various states are floundering. Major cities are dying, being sold off to Wall Street creditors while turning off the water to their citizens, and stealing the pensions of thousands of citizens who worked their entire lives to earn those pensions. Education, climate, environmental care, unemployment compensation, jobs ~ none of that is important. Only the Big Corporations matter. Governors worth millions say there's no need to raise the minimum wage, because $7.25 is enough for anyone to live on, and even better, the minimum wage serves no purpose.

We have a man (David Perdue) running for a Senate seat who is proud of his lifetime work - outsourcing American jobs - and telling us we're just too dumb to understand how great that job is, and how brilliant he is for being so good at it. We have a man (Mitch McConnell) telling us that Kynect (the state version of the ACA marketplace) can remain, but ACA has to be completely repealed, and no one seems to notice that Kynect is ACA.

Another man is telling everyone that Ebola is Obama's war on women (nurses). Another one, a doctor, telling the world that he is a scientist, and there's no scientific evidence to support global warming. (medicine is not climate science, but who cares, right?)

This will only get worse if we continue to return these cretins and vipers to Congress. We must take a stand, this election, and vote them out. Show them their utterings and actions do have consequences - real ones they won't like. Let's stop beating up the poor, the black, the gay, the women, the children, the elderly and start respecting them, encouraging them, supporting them in their struggle to be free. Really free, with all the rights - and the responsibilities - they are entitled to.  Vote this November. Vote because it matters. Vote because we need to stop this headlong rush into an America no ones wants or deserves. The first step to recovering our dignity as a nation and people is to vote for those men and women who will work for us, not for the Corporations and Wall Street. For us.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I guess I shouldn't call this "A Teacher's" Reflection any more, since I retired from teaching last March. I even thought about changing the blog name, but I decided not to do that. I'm a former teacher, and nothing much has really changed about my life except that I now have a whole lot of free time.

I'm still pretty much disgusted by the Republicans, who seem to be going out of their way to be disgusting, racist, or just downright stupid these days. (My apologies to the republicans out there who don't subscribe to the new Republican Party of Mean Crazy.)  Let's bash Obama for not deporting all those children right away. (Because he can't legally do so, thanks to Bush's law.)  Let's meet up on the grassy knoll where Kennedy was shot, and rant about our black president while carrying rifles. Let's have Republican judges decide that a typo invalidates major portions of ACA (which even the Supreme Court has said is not a valid point for a ruling, and has already, surprisingly, said ACA is constitutional).  There is so much coming out almost daily that shows just how awful the Republican Party is behaving. It's an embarrassment of riches for comedians and political bloggers.

And not to short the Democrats, there's the news just out that Andrew Cuomo of NY has a decidedly odd view of "independent", as in an independent commission to investigate corruption in the state government. When establishing this commission, Cuomo directly stated that no office or office holder was off limits, and that the commission was to investigate any and all cases of suspect behavior. As it turns out, however, Cuomo has an odd conception of "not off-limit" as well, as the commission found out when it opened an investigation into a company that was involved in the Cuomo campaign. Then they found out that they truly weren't independent, and certain people and groups were definitely off limit. Shame on Andy. (Who never truly felt much like a Democrat to me, but that's what he calls himself.)

Oh, and not to forget one of the most 'love to hate' members of Congress, good ole John A. Boehner,  is apparently seriously trying to sue the President, and this because (I really love this part) Obama used an executive order to do exactly what the House Repubs had been badgering him to do all along. I don't get that. Grounds to sue are that he did what you wanted? Who knew?

Another "Are you kidding?!' moment has occurred, as well. Michele Bachmann (sp) has intimated that she "might run for President" again. I couldn't stop laughing. Like she did so well the last time? And she hasn't proven, almost daily since then, that she has zero capabilities to actually be President?  She and Palin are woefully two great examples of why women shouldn't be President (if you're looking for that sort of thing.) To me, they are just two examples of women who have no inner strength, no inner peace, no inner morality. They both will say and do anything to gain the spotlight. As a woman, that's just sad to me. 

I am not really a Hillary fan. I won't mind her running for president, because she doesn't make a bad example of women. I don't know of anyone else, however, that will run for that office that I like any better. Elizabeth Warren, I do like, but I don't want her to run for President. Facing Hillary, she can't win, which would diminish her position in the Senate. And we need her in the Senate. So, Hillary is the default candidate for me. I can already be quite certain that whoever the Republican candidate is, I won't like him, and won't want to see this country further destroyed by the Republican Party.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hobby Lobby doesn't have religious beiiefs

So, Hobby Lobby claims its religious beliefs are being violated by the requirement to cover all forms of female birth control, and sues to establish that right. But, in direct contradiction of their stated "religious beliefs" Hobby Lobby includes the same pharmaceutical companies that make the birth control methods they oppose, in the 401K it offers to its employees, and contributes to as well. And, of course, its biggest trading partner is China, which has state-sponsored, mandatory abortions. And child labor. And human rights violations all over the place. So, if the owners of Hobby Lobby truly have deeply respected religious beliefs on this topic, when are they going to stop trading with China? And when are they going to insist that the 401K fund be purged of all pharm. companies? Because, if they don't do that, then their lawsuit wasn't about religion at all. It was just another slap at women's' freedom.

The only good news I've heard about this whole mess is that this decision just made a big hole in the "corporate veil", which was created to specifically separate the business of the corporation from the lives of the owners of said corporation. That veil has always meant that for most corporations, at least, if they go belly-up, no one could go after the personal finances of the owners. But, that was before the Supremes decided that corporations were people, not only just people, but people with personal religious beliefs. I hope people sue every corporation out there, and go after the owner's finances, since the SC has just made them one and the same.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Enough, Already!

I tell you, I am sick to death of fighting for a woman's right to decide on what to do with her own body. No one ever questions a man's right to make those kind of decisions. Never. But I'm 61, almost 62, and we have been having these same kinds of attacks on us for my entire life. And, truly, ENOUGH!

Our Supreme Court isn't content, it seems, to just declare corporations are people, but now it has to jump in and decide that companies can impose their own religious beliefs on their female employees, and deny them birth control coverage if they feel like it. (Why doesn't anyone ever object to, say, Viagra coverage?) So, the SC has now taken this country back to a past that has never existed anywhere but in the minds of the justices and their misguided fans.

No, the founding fathers did not all believe in a Christian religion. George Washington famously avoided the use of the word "God" almost entirely; Thomas Paine was a Deist, Jefferson thought religion was a terrible idea. The founding fathers, to a man, made sure that the kind of state-imposed piety they'd lived under was not possible in the US, or so they thought.

Worse, this whole Hobby Lobby wasn't really about religious liberty ~ it was about men taking control of womens' bodies, again. Religion was just a shoddy excuse for it.

I am a Catholic, just to clarify my position on this. I converted to Catholicism over 30 years ago. I didn't do it for their strictures on sex, marriage, or abortion. I joined the Church because it was the only place I've ever found that made me feel close to God.  I spent a year or so before committing, talking over the Church's dogma with a young deacon, who finally left to become a priest. (I hope it is as fulfilling for him as he hoped it would be.) We debated the death penalty versus just wars (If killing someone is wrong, even in a just war, then how can the Church support killing someone for a crime?), and birth control (If abortions are so wrong, why shouldn't the Church support birth control measures to make abortions less necessary) and so on.  At the end of my year with Deacon John, he left to become a priest, and I left to become a Catholic ~ with reservations. I am still a Catholic with reservations, and will be, probably for the rest of my life. I am not, however, evangelical, conservative, narrow-minded, and arrogant, which sadly seems to sum up the character of the most out-spoken "Christian" advocates.

I thought it was very telling that not a single female justice sided with Alito and the boys on this ruling. (It's just nice to be able to say "female justice", especially in the context of "more than one"). And then, today, those $#%& SC bullies made liars of themselves, and demanded that Obama couldn't even ask a quasi-religious group to fill out a form explaining why they objected, as the SC had just previously said could be done. So this group, finding it too hard to fill out a form, decided to sue for relief. That should have been thrown out of court, not elevated to the SC.

Oh, and in another brilliant(ly stupid) move, the SC also has decided that declaring buffer zones around the few abortion clinics still open is a violation of the protestors' free speech rights. I didn't realize the justices were so concerned with the rights of a rabid, hate-filled lunatic's right to make death threats to women trying to enter a clinic. To scream at them that they're going to hell, that they're killing a baby, that they are worthless. Wow. How could we possibly not want to let everyone do that, all the time? (Please notice, of course, that the buffer zone around the SC is several hundred feet in fact.)

Some group just sent me a petition to sign asking to impeach the SC Five. I signed it, but I guess I don't truly believe that will ever happen.  It should, because this Court has gone far beyond what it is legally allowed to do, but fat chance.

Possibly the only way to stop this seemingly inexorable march to insanity is to take back the House and keep the Senate this year. We have to elect people who believe in America as it is and has been, not in what some fantasist has declared the "real America". We need to elect men and women who have the decency, character, and desire to do good, not to do nothing, as our current crop seems so dedicated to doing. Or is that not doing? Whatever.

We need to get rid of the climate-deniers, the "my Christianity" or else idiots, the just plain ignorant, and, of course, the venal and the power-for-power's sake people. Not to mention that young men declaring they stand for family values, while having been arrested and convicted of breaking into police and county worker's cars, hot wiring them and masturbating while the sparks fly. Or the losing candidate who claims he couldn't have lost because the guy who won is dead, and it's either a doppelganger or robot that's really the guy who won.

That truly covers most of the Republicans, but it also includes a fair number of Democrats. Maybe it's time for a new party ~ the Progressive Party.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A little of this, a little of that.

I've been having some trouble with my post office. I thought it was done, after finally visiting the PO, putting in writing, as suggested by the postmaster, that my mail could go in my tiny little mailbox, but that packages needed to be left at my door. The box is so small, I've had magazines, books, and other things ruined while trying to get them out of the box. Or when they shoved them in the box. I told all of this to someone at the national level, and to my postmaster. 

A couple of weeks went by just fine. Packages on my door step (It's upstairs, one flight), mail in my box. And then, again, packages in my box. So, I put a note on the delivery side of my mailbox (one of six, each about 5 X 5 inches) that packages were not to be put into the mailbox, but delivered to my door. The next day, scrawled on the back of one of my incoming mail, was this note:

"We put packages were (sic) it's best for our time. We are on a schedull (sic) so if putting in mailbox is better that't what we have to do."

Hmmm. So, my postal service is at the convenience of the delivery person. News to me. Especially since the postmaster of my local post office and told me that the note I gave him would solve the problem. 

So, once again I call the USPS, since I can't call the postoffice. (Well, I can call, but no one ever, ever answers the phone there, not between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm). I get some guy there who says he can't help me. That it's up to the postmaster of my local PO to handle it. And remember, the PO is understaffed!.

You know, I commiserate with this guy. The PO is being killed by the jackasses in Congress (but then, who isn't?). I know theyre understaffed. I know it's hard when money is tight. I still don't think that's an excuse for rude behavior and failure to do their job. So, once again, I'm off to my semi-local local postoffice, to ask, again, for them to stop smashing my packages into a mailbox designed to hold only letters and such.

Another high point this week was watching Marco Rubio explain how his "knowing about abortion" meant he could deny climate change. Right. Or Karl Rove, explaining how he didn't say Hilary Clinton had brain damage when he questioned her mental fitness for office because she was wearing "those glasses that are only for people with traumatic brain injury". Right. (I loved Jon Stewart's take on it, Brainghazi!) And nearly every Republican mocking the #Bring back our girls poster held by Michelle Obama. 

My father was a Goldwater republican. Conservative really meant something to him. But today? He'd be deeply ashamed of Republicans, and angry at what they are doing to the country he so loved. Thank God he didn't live to see the mockery they've made of this.

The seas are rising, the poor are villified, women are fighting to be treated as equal, again, to have charge of our bodies, our lives, our work, again. Money is the key to political success, and our Supreme Court seems to favor oligarchies, not democracies. 

Our Congress seems to have lost its way. Or been hijacked by idiots, at least. And yet, the public, which so strongly disapproves of Congress, keeps voting the idiots back into office. I'm lucky, I guess, to be living in a progressive state, California. My senate and house reps usually fight the good fight. Not always, but usually. But, you know, where you live in these United States should not be the determining factor in what government does for you and to you. The federal government should level the playing field, not put up roadblocks and blow up dams to make it harder. 

I retired this year from teaching, after 25 years. I was tired of it by then. Sure the kids were less well-mannered and more needy, but what tired me out so much was the  policies and programs foisted on teachers by every Tom, Dick, and Koch around. In the 23 years I was at the same school, I had 7 principals. A couple of whom were truly awful (one was terminated in April after we revolted and she committed a crime, one was returned to the classroom at the end of his third year), but most of them truly wanted to be good. And were handicapped by the central office, who was handicapped by the state and federal government. And so, each year, more and more days were spent out of the classroom, being "taught" a new trick to success. Our kids spend 180 days in class. Tell me how having a substitute for 15 to 20 of those days leads to success. I retired because I realized, even with the Common Core, which I liked, it was still, forever, going to be a circus of unending new programs, new policies. And one-day seminars were never going to be enough, but were too much time to be missing from my classroom. 

I am 61 years old, and I have been a liberal (only now I guess I'm called a progressive instead, since the Repugnacans killed "liberal") I have been active throughout my life ~ participating in protests, donating to causes and candidates (not just local ones, but progressives where ever they ran for office), signing petitions, calling representatives, phonebanking during elections. I don't regret a single moment of it, but really, after more than 42 years of it, I have to ask, why wasn't it enough? Why is the country worse today than it was when I was a kid? Sure, we've made serious progress on civil rights for blacks, Hispanics, and gays. But women haven't made much progress at all. We're fighting the same abortion fight I fought in my 20s. Corruption in government is higher than ever, and apparently doesn't even disqualify you from serving a member of Congress. (When did become okay to put criminals in office?) The "good ole boy" network is running strong all across the country, welfare daddys are raising armies of thugs with guns to protect their public mooching. 

What in the hell happened to us?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What is wrong with America?

I've been reading the news for quite a long time, and each day it seems as if another crazy Republican says something incredibly stupid and/or offensive. And Fox News(? Is it really news when they apply an extreme bias to how it's told?) can't seem to stop cheering for people who are at best dangerous lunatics.

What else can you call a person who threatens to shoot Federal employees for doing their job, because he doesn't want to pay the Fed what he owes them? I mean, seriously, he spouts absolute drivel, is engaging in armed insurrection, and is totally insane. And Fox News and Republican reps and senators hold this a*&hole in high regard? (Oh, wait, once Bundy began to sound wackyracist, the praise for him began a slow decline, but his armed insurrection continues to be praised.

If Bundy doesn't want to pay the government for the land he is using, fine. Let him find some other rancher who would let him graze for free. (Only you can't, you know. Private lands cost money when you want to eat off their land.) But when you've already spent 20 years freeloading off public lands, you can't seriously believe you have a right to defy the government over collecting the fees you agreed to pay 20 years ago.  And public land doesn't belong to Bundy. It belongs to me, and you, and you, and you. We pay through our taxes to help support the public lands. We pay fees that help support the public lands when we use them.  We all pay to hire people to protect the land, and the people using them, from all sorts of dangers. Those public lands are held in trust for our children, their children, and their children's children. Not for Bundy.

And frankly, I am appalled by the media apparently coddling this traitor. The Constitution does not include the right to violently overthrow the duly elected government. No where. Yet, here is a man who, after using the government for his entire life, has decided to round up a bunch of highly unstable, trigger-happy, delusional bully boys to defend his right to mooch off the public. And those bully boys are now putting up checkpoints on public roads, and demanding proof you have a right to be there? Oh, and let's not forget their first plan. To put their wives out in front, so that if shooting began, seeing those women die would be the most effective propaganda for these idiots. What in God's name is going on that all of America sits here twiddling its thumbs while a blatant insurrection is happening? 

I do agree that the embattled BLM agents did the right thing, and backed away from this traitorous action. I don't agree, however, that the best policy is to do nothing. Freeze all their assets. Make sure they don't have the funds to buy more guns and ammunition. Call out the National Guard and blockade the Bundy ranch. Arrest anyone trying to enter the ranch on charges of treason, for participating in Bundy's attempt to overthrow the legitimate government. ( Just listen to his demented demands to confiscate the guns of federal agent and deliver those guns to him. To "free" all the parks by demolishing their Service buildings and entrance gates. To basically set himself up as the new government.)

Unfortunately for Bundy, he is a citizen of these United States, and not the state in which he resides. Citizenship is a nation's designation, not a state's. The fact that he doesn't "believe" in the federal government speaks to his insanity, and not to his defense. He has no legitimate defense. He's just a whiney, despicable man, with delusions of grandeur. And in armed rebellion against the United States of America. All those pundits and broadcasters who "admire" his stand against our government are supporting a violent overthrow of our government. They should really think twice about what they are saying, and what they are supporting. Giving aid to the enemy isn't smart. Or legal.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gun Insanity

It has been 243 days since Newtown. In that time, 7,199 people have been killed by gunshot. That isn’t just the number who have been shot, it is the number that have been shot and killed. It works out to 30 (29.6) people per day. Per day! At that rate, my school could be wiped out in just under 10 days. And the NRA sees nothing alarming about that. They, in fact, want to make more guns available, make more “concealed carry” laws, make it mandatory for every place to allow guns in their place of business. The NRA, as I have said before, is a domestic terrorist group.

I started reading the NYTimes Joe Nocera blog, with his Gun Tracker column months ago. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of gun-involved crimes listed there.  By how widespread they were ~ there are very few states that haven't appeared in that column. And surprised to see how few of these incidents were either drugs or gangs related. And horrified by the number of children, 14 and under, who were shot and/or killed, often by another child, often under the noses of adults. (and positively incensed that all too often, the parents who left a loaded gun available to their children are not legally held responsible. Yes, I know that the loss of a child is a horrible event, but that isn't any kind of excuse for not holding that negligent parent responsible.)

More than 7,000 people have died since last December, by gun. Thousands more have been wounded, had their lives destroyed by a bullit.  Handguns have no place in the home. I don't want to take rifles and shotguns away from farmers and ranchers, or hunters. I want handgun ownership severely limited. I don't care what the NRA says (we do not negociate with terrorists, remember?)

If guns were banned, there would be no drive-by shootings. Children wouldn't be able to pick up a gun carelessly left in the open and shoot themselves, their siblings, or their friends. Women would be safer from spousal abuse, and some men, too. (Women are the majority of who gets abused, and so shot, but some men are on the receiving end of that as well.)

If America was to begin teaching common sense about guns, and not this hysterical, "my constitutional right" nonsense, eventually, anyone being shot and killed would be a rare event.  As it should be.