Twitter and Jack are not our friends

Twitter suspended me a couple of weeks ago with no explanation or recourse; nothing but a cheerful “Thank you!  We’ll be in touch!” and no response to my four or five inquiries.

To suspend and ostracize me now, because I posted something a right-winger complained about, is the kind of silencing and censorship that puts a chill on the kinds of real and difficult conversations we desperately need to have today on issues we need to face.

I’m a single person living alone in these insecure, scary, and lonely times, and I came to count on twitter for information and connection. To delete and ostracize me now, when life is so frightening and insecure – and to erase my thousands of followers and delete the thousands of folks I was following, along with my many posts and photos — is the kind of cruelty and bullying we expect from right-wingers.  Jack, if you’re fine running that kind of operation, you’ve got bigger problems than you realize.

The offending post:  “If Trump cheated on his taxes, he should be tarred and feathered” and run out of town on a rail.

Twitter is not your friend, friends, and we need another platform.

The upside is I’m on my treadmill more and doing chores around the apt instead of browsing twitter.  Fuck Jack.  (I wrote this tweet a little distractedly and in a hurry.)


Take away our healthcare? You have got to be insane.

Folks who want to strip away health coverage for the millions of us who now have it should be ashamed of themselves, and if they are not properly ashamed, it’s up to the rest of us to shame them.  They don’t realize they were already “paying for freeloaders,” but they were paying more with worse outcomes.

Before January of 2014, I went six years with no medical insurance.  I am blessed to be a healthy 50-something-year-old woman, so imagine what that is like, to be at my age with no healthcare.

Sit with that a moment, republicans and so-called libertarians.

Now I have coverage and it’s affordable and I have what I need.  And my son is covered.  ❤  Our friends, family, and neighbors are covered, or can be.  The republicans would take this away, take away our very health care and peace of mind while they try to pretend it’s the most reasonable thing in the world to do.

I was without insurance coverage for six years because six years ago I began working for myself in my new profession, just as the economy was tanking.  Rough timing.  In late 2007 my years of work and commitment paid off and I began working with attorneys and judges as a certified court reporter and independent contractor.  In the early 2000s, you might remember, student loans were enthusiastically offered.  Being a single parent, those loans were a big help.  (Sidebar:  Why I was a single parent all those many years is because this is Seattle…  But don’t ask.  That’s another essay.)  Previously, I had gone for stints here and there without coverage, usually while in between permanent job assignments, but I have always been fortunate and blessed to stay healthy.  Imagine if I had not been so lucky.  I would either be dead or bankrupt.  It breaks the heart what some people have to endure in America, the richest but most selfish nation in the world.

I began a profession I was proud to enter to do a job most people cannot do if they had to, in a program that has a 5-10% success rate.  It was a challenge, and my son and I both sacrificed.  After I let go of the security of a full-time position as a legal assistant, along with a heavy investment and more indebtedness in equipment, I began work in my new profession – just as George Bush’s economy took a nosedive and we suffered a near depression.  It was scary.  Life in America as a single woman and sole income is scary, but today it’s a lot less scary.

So 2009-10, my new profession was going well (albeit slowly and not terribly lucratively), and I lived daily without a safety net of any kind.  Even if I could afford medical insurance, which I could not, whatever I could afford would be unreliable and probably a ripoff.  We’ve heard the stories.  You pay $500 a month in premiums, but when you get sick, you find out it’s not covered, and if it is covered, it’s limited, and you have a cap on what would be paid, and then you’re cut off to do what?  Languish in an alley behind the hospital?  The insurance racket was a complete and total racket with criminals getting rich by it and their victims dying.  (I’m looking at you, republican Florida Governor Rick Scott.)

Now consumers have protections.  I and millions of others have protections.  That’s a wonderful and profound achievement, republicans be damned.

Now that I have this very decent and affordable coverage for the first time in six years, I can sleep at night not worrying about “what if?”  If you want to take that peace of mind and a chance at health and happiness away from 10 million of us, God help you for what voters will do to you, and for your own consciences, because I know deep down, even republicans are people too, and they have to live with themselves after denying simple, basic, humane, and cost-effective healthcare to millions of Americans, including many children.

In January of 2014 I made an appointment and saw my new doctor for a checkup.  I was able to get affordable medication for occasionally but debilitating migraines, and I got a flu shot a couple of weeks ago free of cost.  My son now has coverage for his asthma.  Who would take that away from us?  And how can they live with themselves?

It mystifies me that….

Martin and me.  We're special.

Martin and me. We’re special.

…self-interested schmucks think taking away good health is a good idea.

Common sense, fair gun regulation now. Vote Yes on I-594

The NRA has us by the huevos in this country!  Because of their influence, money, and threats — and weak politicians and ignorant voters — we are prohibited by law from studying gun violence, and doctors are prohibited from talking to their patients about gun violence.  Can you believe that?  The National Rampage Assn is the most ruthless and craven lobby we’ve ever seen in this country. They make their money by selling instruments of death and they want that to continue despite the costs to society or attempts to craft common sense regulations.  We are alone in the world on guns and gun violence.  The NRA has a stranglehold on this country, so the time for politeness is over, so I applauded Nick Hanauer’s frustration as expressed yesterday.  People who oppose common sense, bare minimum gun regulations are, in effect, supporting more shootings.  Let’s call it what it is.

When I hear politicians say nothing but Our hearts and prayers are with the families, that adds to my frustration because it’s meaningless when they should be leading the effort for gun regulation and reminding us exactly why we need it and saying clearly THIS is why we need it.  I read Patty Murray’s polite statement and it feels like she’s playing it safe politically. I don’t really respect that.  Background checks are the bare minimum we should do and we shouldn’t be afraid to say so when it’s most relevant.

Gun purchases are on the decline in the US, which is why the NRA is so desperate to sell their wares and why they whip up the anger and distrust of government and keep us from addressing this terrible scourge, all the while increasing their profits. They are selling to fewer people but those people are buying more and more guns.

Australia is a wonderful example of a nation with backbone who saw a troublesome issue and addressed it, inside of a year.  That didn’t happen with politeness.  Nick Hanauer can rant and rail because he puts his time and money where his mouth is.

The Cheneys: A Lesson in Psychopathy

Rachel Maddow has outdone herself today. I cannot wait to share with you, in case you didn’t catch it, her piece tonight on the Cheneys. Dick and Liz (!) Cheney have an unnatural and unhealthy relationship with each other that encompasses but goes beyond their fear and psychopathy. They feed off each other and probably have no one else to relate to (except for Lynne, the mother, and although she is an arrogant blowhard, she isn’t as crazy as the other two).

Watching the “politicians” of the family, Liz and Dick, I feel like watching I’m watching a car wreck about to happen, and I’m looking forward to it. I understand they have a mental illness, but I don’t feel sorry for them one bit because that mental illness is just simply, evil. Unfortunately, as a former VP, the media still accords Dick a level of respect he does not deserve and never really did. As with Iraq, he was always a warmonger chicken hawk, enthusiastically supporting the Vietnam War but never serving, instead receiving five deferments for the five children they had during that time.

Discredited, surely, but too depraved to finally go away, the Cheneys have earned our harsh judgment, and need to exit public life. They’re only coarsening and cheapening things and talking out of their asses. And sometimes Liz looks at her father in a way that makes me uncomfortable.

sig collecting

I have had gratifying, frustrating, and funny experiences while collecting signatures for the Move to Amend initiative which will get money out of politics by amending the US Constitution to say corporations are not people and money is not speech. Kind of an easy sell for most people. If money is speech, then speech isn’t free. Disappointing are the people who don’t seem to care or don’t know about the issue (!). What is fascinating, however, are the people who get angry.

Of course I expect to get responses like, “No, thanks,” or “Not today,” or “Not now,” or a perplexed look, or as many other responses as there are people. Sometimes I’ll get a “No, thanks,” and I will add, “We could sure use your help,” because maybe they’ll sign another time. Or when it makes the ballot (fingers crossed) they will have thought about or researched it. Or I’ll add, “The future of our democracy is at stake” and they might get annoyed at my perceived pushiness.

And I admit, if I get a flippant response, usually from a young, privileged-looking guy who smiles smugly and says “I’m goooood,” I might say, “Well, actually, we’re not good because our democracy is in danger,” or “our elections are being sold to the highest bidder.”

The other day I got a finger in the air when he was about 15 feet away, and the same day a guy told me to “Fuck off!” when I needled him further, to which I replied as cheerily as I could, “Hey, you, too!” and was glad that I had needled him.

Today’s exchange wins The Most Unpleasant award. Two people walked by, a younger woman and a large, older man, maybe her significant other, maybe not, and as they passed I did my spiel, “Would you like to help us get corporate money out of our elections?” (If they look interested, I follow it up with a quickie other comment.) The guy piped up, “I agree with you!” but then walked by waving his hand, and I said a bit enthusiastically, “Then help us out!” He then surprised me by angrily replying, “I’m walking around the lake!”

I was surprised for an instant. I probably should have just looked at him like he was a dummy, but he replied so angrily after being so enthusiastic that I challenged him. “Sorry! It’s only our democracy at stake.” And he yelled “I said I’m busy!” A few steps more. “HAVE A NICE DAY!” he disingenuously shouts at me, with no reply from me. (I hate a passive-aggressive “Have a nice day!” which I hear a lot in this town.) A few more steps, “Leave me alone!” he says loudly.

In the meantime a friendly young woman observed and heard the exchange and she wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained it quickly and succinctly, as I do, she said, “I can agree with that! I’ll sign it.”

I was so grateful to see her friendly face and caring. As she signed, Fatboy is still walking and turning around to look back, more angry each time, and finally shouts (because he’s a ways a way by now) “Leave me the fuck alone!!”

“Wow, he’s still yelling,” I say to the young woman. How embarrassed his companion must have felt in that moment.

You’re going to have a very difficult life if you’re always angry at yourself.

Anger at oneself usually comes when you can’t take stand to be inconvenienced and want never to be challenged in this life. If you won’t tolerate being asked to do something simple that wouldn’t burn any more than two calories, your life will be miserable and it should be.

“I’m walking around the lake!!” should mean he’d like an engraved invitation to sign a worthy petition? Maybe I should rather find him at home and interrupt his episode of “Duck Dynasty”? I don’t think that would go over too well. He’s indignant because somebody dares to ask him to think about an issue he agrees with and make a tiny effort. It is an outrage.

There are also those who say, “I agree with you” but won’t stop and sign, declaring it won’t matter. “Well, it would if we all signed and voted and got involved,” but usually I just shake my head and feel sorry for that kind of cynicism and capitulation.

I believe we have a lot of really ignorant and uninformed people in our country, so the rest of us should probably compensate for them and stay engaged and active. The rest, those who retreat inside themselves and their worlds of privilege, at least don’t interfere with our work and doing hard work isn’t in their makeup for one reason or another. But we have our work cut out for us. Most of the time I do it with a smile and appreciation for whatever I get, but when you’re a grade A asshole, I will probably have to tell you about it. It’s my curse. But it’s fun, too. I just hope I’m clever enough to know who to push and who not to. So far so good.

Why vote

I’m trying real hard not to hate republicans in Congress, but I’m angered and saddened by the lengths they go to to not do their jobs, and, worse, to hinder those who are working for fairness and justice, to improve the lives of all people, and protect this planet.  They are willing to waste our money in their zeal to destroy and discredit those they perceive as their “enemies.”  That they see progressives as enemies instead of, simply, folks with whom they disagree is unfortunate.  In their cynical effort to destroy and discredit Democrats, especially the black one, they’re sacrificing us all and are confident that they can if only they smile enough and pretend to be selectively outraged.  They know too many of us are preoccupied, and cynical about government, which they count on.  It won’t work on me.  I may be discouraged and angry, but I will not disengage or give up.

It’s particularly galling that the latest chair of the newest and ninth congressional committee to investigate !Benghazi! complains about government while serving and collecting a salary as a member of the House of Representatives.

Americans are often victims of the right-wing’s well-funded and craftily created lies and propaganda of their religious fundamentalist allies.   Their governors refused to accept federal funds for healthcare for millions of their uninsured citizens, preferring to see their citizens without affordable health care.  They’re not interested in jobs programs.  They don’t care to extend unemployment but will vote themselves a raise.  They routinely cut school lunch funding.  They’re waging a war on women.  They’re making it harder to vote.  They announce plans to gut regulations.  And the list goes on and on and on.

It is dereliction of their sworn duty to act in this manner, and these bastards are not going to find a more decent president who has tried harder to work with them.  He ain’t perfect, but I think history will regard him very favorably.  But like all bullies, they mistake cooperation and governance for weakness and see it as an opening to destroy, regardless of the fact that they are destroying us and destroying the nation we used to be.  If you’re an American and doing well financially, you still have to breathe the air and drink the water, and perhaps you want to sell a product to the public or raise your children here.  A nation in poverty — financially or spiritually — is a weak nation, and everyone who remains here will suffer.  As in the Gilded Age not so long ago, eventually the music will stop.

Their number one job, as conservatives see it, is to get reelected, and we should ask ourselves to what end, for what purpose?  We’ve seen what they do with power.  How many times must we learn that lesson?  Dems and progressives had better wake up and realize that we’d better start fighting back. 

If you don’t prefer to fight, you don’t have to.  You can merely vote, and help others to do likewise. If our current state of affairs isn’t enough to convince you to vote, recognize who is working so hard to keep you from voting and ask yourself why.  If that still isn’t enough to convince you to vote, remember that Medgar Evers, Dr. King, Andrew Goodman, and so many others, known and unnamed, rightly assumed that they may die ensuring and protecting our right to vote, all of us, but that right was important enough for them, and other brave and patriotic souls, to make that righteous sacrifice. In doing our part as citizens, we honor them.