Monthly Archives: June 2016

Lives Ended, Nearly Everyone Offended, and a Wedding Unattended

This post was written over several days, so might seem a little choppy.  I am still really sick.

On Sunday, June 12, a gunman stormed a gay nightclub and shot 102 people, killing 49 of them. He called 911 and a tv station – and even posted a Facebook message – pledging his allegiance to “ISIS” and said he was killing people because of American foreign policy in Iraq, amongst other things.  I don’t want to get into specifics because I don’t think his “message” is anything more than the hateful ravings of an extremist.

He chose “Latin Night”, and there was some suggestion that he had some problem with Latinos. One of the survivors – Patience Carter, an intern at a Philadelphia Fox TV affiliate – was told by the shooter that she was safe because he wasn’t targeting African-American people (“Patience Carter: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know”, Heavy website, Daniel S. Levine, 6/15/2016).

Other than that, no one is sure why the popular gay nightclub was selected by this creep.  His wife, who is cooperating with the FBI, has stated that she helped her husband “case” the nightclub and also Disney World, and apparently she knew what he was planning to do.

Her excuse for not telling anyone?  She was trying to talk him out of it, she says.

I think – and this is my opinion only – that she knew, she approved of what he was doing, and only after the feds traced the cell phones she and her husband used during the attack (because some self-absorbed young people, no matter how insane, have to jabber on the phone and post things online no matter what they’re doing) did she “cooperate” because she knew they had her dead-to-rights and she didn’t want to get the death penalty.

There is no excuse for not telling anyone when you know for sure that someone is going to kill another person (or 49!).  None!  Some have suggested that maybe she was afraid of him, a battered woman.  But there is no evidence of that, and let me tell you, that as a survivor of some horrific physical abuse…

…one thing – sometimes the ONLY thing – that we survivors have in common is that we are much more likely to run off and tell on the abuser if he is going to target someone else.  I don’t mean “maybe some future victim at some point”, I mean “this person is going to be hurt or killed if I don’t do something”.

Like our kids.  Like our pets.  Like someone the abuser has named to us as his target.  So I don’t buy that she knew but was too afraid to tell the police or the FBI.  I would bet others in his family knew, too.

And this guy was American.  He was born here to immigrants from Afghanistan.  What a way to pay back a country that took your parents in.

His father supports the Taliban and has run for president of Afghanistan, all from the safety of his American home.  He has bank accounts in Germany, and has solicited funds online, according to investigators.  No one seems to know how he supported his family (“Omar Mateen’s Father ‘s Bank Records Eyed, Says Source”, Newsday website, Newsday Staff, 6/16/2016).

But we don’t arrest people for how they think, or for soliciting funds online.  That’s not how our country works.  We don’t hassle people for expressing political views, usually (many on the left might disagree, and I would be one of those I guess).  Some political views.

So there wasn’t really any way to prevent this event, law enforcement says currently.  A few people have stated they told the FBI that this killer was making “radical” statements, or expressing violent ideas and plans, but so far…we hear no response from the FBI.

Of course, this all just fuels xenophobia and anti-Islamic sentiment, both of which I do not feel/think/support.  And, of course, Trump uses this to crow about how he keeps warning the American people about “Islamic terrorists”.  He would just lock everyone up, according to what they believe.

And…the House and Senate argued over 2 gun control bills – and didn’t pass either one. Conservatives made the “slippery slope” argument, and also insisted that semi-automatic assault weapons are “recreational”.

I don’t think we ought to allow anyone – besides our military – to have weapons that are designed to be used in military conflicts.  The idea that the American people have to arm themselves because their own government is going to one day declare martial law and then somehow confiscate over 3 million guns is beyond ridiculous – it’s paranoid and scary that so many people (like the NRA) actually believe this.

Aside #1: Of course, I would prefer not to have any war, ever.  I don’t like the thought of war and I pretty much oppose all of it.  WWII was the only legitimate reason for us to go to war, and I wish we had gone sooner because we might have prevented the Holocaust.  I don’t think, though, we ought to have bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Every war since WWII has been for the sake of money, and I oppose that vehemently.  Life – all life – is too precious.

These “patriots” actually think that their government is going to attack them, militarily.  And take their guns.  And put them in some kind of camps.  Because the government is their enemy.

They have survivalist organizations.  They have training camps.  They are ignorant, scary people.

You want these people defending you in bars and other public places?  You want more people to die in the crossfire because these “Muricans” feel they have to kill everyone in sight?

Their supporters are Trump, the NRA, Mitch McConnell, and others who spout their support of such lunacy – though usually they couch it in different words.  They imply, they hint, but their crazy gun-nut fans know what they mean.

Why?

When did “patriotism” come to mean “hatred of our own government”, “twisting the constitution so that only certain people have rights”, and “stockpiling assault weapons to shoot anyone I deem suspicious”?

Who lives that way?  And why do people with money and power, i.e., gun manufacturers and politicians, care what these stupid yahoos think?  Certainly they aren’t a majority; most Americans do not want people to own assault weapons (57%, according to a recent poll by CBS news; “Poll: Majority Backs Assault Weapons Ban”, The Hill website, Jessie Hellmann, 6/15/20160).

This gunman got his assault gun (AR 15) and handgun legally, even after passing background checks and some kind of psychological exam (though I can tell you, those are useless) – so “stricter” laws won’t help with this.  The weapon needs to be completely unavailable.  There’s no legitimate use for it besides killing people.

But, despite some elderly Democrats staging a sit-in at the House of Representatives until they get some bills debated and passed, nothing’s being accomplished.  It’s painful to see this group of people – older than I am – sitting on a floor that you know is causing them a lot of physical pain (“A Sit-In on the House Floor Over Gun Control”, The Atlantic website, Nora Kelly, 6/22/2016).

The House has no filibuster rules as the Senate does, so this is what the politicians came up with.  I guess, for some, it’s a throwback to the old days of protesting.

Oh well, if it works…ok.  I will support anything that gets any kind of gun control laws passed.  I am sick of the NRA and their cult of death.

In the background of all this important stuff, we have Trump reading a speech off a teleprompter – part of his “improved, more presidential” so-called change – attacking Mrs. Clinton with no proof of anything he’s said. The only difference now is he yells less.  He is still trying to blame her for everything he thinks her husband did 20 years ago, calling her “lyin’ corrupt Hillary”, blaming her for every conflict the US has gotten into, bringing up things the Republicans have tried to indict her with but can’t (after many investigations and so on), and just making things up.

MSNBC, normally a somewhat liberal channel, is gushing all over this “new Trump”, stating he now has a chance to win and so on.  Claiming that Mrs. Clinton is personally attacking him, rather than pointing out that she is merely exposing his history of failed businesses and quoting him verbatim all the evil that spews forth from his mouth.

Aside #2: It seems to me that MSNBC doesn’t really care who wins, as long as they can get entertainment value out of the candidacy (except maybe for Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, who really do seem to care). CNN is not much better, as it seems they have nearly doubled-down on the amount of Trump surrogates they have on their shows.  Really sickening.

Let this idiot pay for his air time, like every other candidate.  Oh wait, he can’t – he only has $1 million left, because he spent much of his campaign money paying himself and his family (“Donald Trump’s Self-Funding Includes Payments to Family and His Companies”, NY Times website, Alan Rappeport, 6/21/2016).  I guess he must still be manipulating the TV press for his own purposes.

And don’t expect him to debate Mrs. Clinton, ever.  I can’t see how he can do that, because she has knowledge about the world and how the US works, and he doesn’t.  He doesn’t even seem to understand the concept of the branches of government and what each one does.  He doesn’t seem familiar with the Constitution.  He doesn’t understand foreign policy or how to treat other world leaders with respect.

She will wipe the floor with him.  Unless he somehow can negotiate to have some aide standing right next to him, passing him notes or whispering in his ear.  Or maybe he can feign having a cold…for months.  Or laryngitis, so his surrogate has to literally speak for him.  I don’t know how he’s going to get out of debating her, but he will try, because he’s stupid.

Yep, he is. He’s not intelligent, he’s not savvy, he’s not educated.

He’s just a guy who inherited a shitload of money from his daddy, who only continues to be rich because he stiffs people, defaults on loans, and pulls his money out before the businesses he mismanages fails.  He also was an obnoxious TV “star” – one of those outrageous and disgusting individuals that a certain percentage of Americans find so amusing (I have never watched any “reality” TV like that, because I find people like that aggravating).

He is free market capitalism personified.  Why anyone, especially working people, would think this guy won’t exploit anyone and anything if he became president, is beyond me.  That’s what he does.  He is in it for HIM, no one else.  He has no love for the people.

Mrs. Clinton needs to keep pointing these things out, things Trump has done to hurt people.  If she and Elizabeth Warren continue to poke his sore spots this way, they will cause him to blow up again and again, until no one can stand to listen to him whenever he opens his mouth.

Already, 70% of Americans hate him.  And still he continues to take every criticism of him – his greed, his arrogance, his hatred of the poor – and says “Oh no, that’s HER, not me!”  As if just saying that makes it true.

I am so proud of Hillary Clinton.  She keeps her cool, her humor, and she hits back and hits back hard.  I cannot wait to see what our president does to Trump!  He will eviscerate him!

And finally…the wedding.  My lovely, wonderful daughter is getting married on Friday the 24th. In Seattle.  And I can’t go, because I am sick.  I am so sad about this, I can’t even express it.  But I can’t even go 5 minutes in a car without vomiting, let alone travel for hours on a plane.

She understands, of course, because she’s that kind of person.  I am, of course, beating myself up about it and crying as I read about her wedding preparations on Facebook.  I hate living so far away and would do anything to move to Seattle to be closer to her and my grandson (who is a teenager now).

This living far from your family really sucks…and to think one of the reasons I moved here from Memphis was because I couldn’t get healthcare to get a kidney stone removed (because Tennessee chooses to not participate in either the ACA or Medicaid).  Now I am stuck here…yes, the healthcare is decent, so is the mass transit, so is the low crime rate…but I miss my kids.  I miss working, I miss having a car, and now I am missing the most important thing of all – my daughter’s wedding.

Be good.  Be kind.  Don’t move far from your family, if possible.

 

 

 

 

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Oh, Brothers!

Health update: I called and requested sick leave from my volunteer gig (unpaid, of course) because I am spending most days feeling horrible (imagine motion sickness, 24/7).   I am housebound right now, unless I run out of water or ginger ale (thank goodness for food stamps!), in which case Nancy Downstairs drives me to the store (I have a sick bag in her car, it’s that ridiculous, for a 2 mile car ride!).  I didn’t ask the doctor how big the main gallstone was, he just said it was “enormous” and that I should call the surgeon to get my appointment moved up if possible.  I call every few days, no luck. Life, right now, is miserable.

This puts me in a bad financial situation, as this month I cannot pay all my bills due to the cost of medications (I think I have tried every prescription anti-nausea medication known to humankind – except, of course, for marijuana), and now am short on my bills with no stipend from my volunteer job.  I take ginger caps, which, though not cheap, are still cheaper than prescriptions and they seem to work just as well.

After I wrote my last post, I got some feedback from some fellas I know, so I decided to write this to explain.

The thing that bothered them was my implication that Bernie Sanders is a sexist.

I don’t know him.  I can’t assume that.  I was trying to point out what I see are sexist behaviors, or behaviors that might strike people as such.

It didn’t help that the news reported that Sanders had requested a meeting with President Obama today.  According to the Washington Post, which is apparently based on “sources” in the Sanders campaign, the subject of the meeting will be “how Sanders can assure that his campaign’s agenda has a central place in the Democratic Party’s general-election strategy” (“Bernie Sanders Returns to Vermont Ahead of Meeting with President Obama”, Robert Costa, Washington Post website, 6/8/2016).

On the face of it, and in my opinion, this strikes me as “I’m losing the primary so I am going to meet with the President instead of the DNC chair to talk about the party platform.”  This, despite the Sanders campaign having 5 seats on the platform committee (5 out of 15 seats).

The DNC chair is, of course, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  This is the woman Sanders got upset with because he blames her for bias (see last post or read PolitiFact for the info on this).  He wants to remove her from her position.

Well, why not then go talk to the vice chair of the DNC then?  Because she resigned, stating the she cannot be neutral as she supports Sanders (“Meet the Force Behind the Democratic National Committee Whom You’ve Never Heard Of”, Maxwell Tani, Business Insider website, 3/2/2016).

But why not her replacement, Amy Dacey (Ibid.)?  Certainly, if there are platform issues that need to be discussed, it makes more sense to talk to the DNC National Committee, doesn’t it?

All 3 are women, obviously.  I can see why the second one resigned, but what did the third one do?  She’s been in politics since she was 8, for goodness sake (Ibid.).

Just doesn’t set right with me.  So, while I would not call Sanders a sexist, I do notice signs of some men on the left, from long ago – who did happen to have a blind spot on “the women’s question” – that are similar to Sanders’.

It’s as if Sanders is, again, making this a “boy’s club” decision.  Let’s leave the women out of it. That’s one way of interpreting this.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time Sanders has “left women out of it”, as I detailed before.  He may not mean it, but it comes off as exclusionary and sexist.

Of course, I don’t definitively know why Sanders requested a meeting with the President.  But it made me go “hmm”.  Had it been the President who requested a meeting I would have assumed some sort of advice Mr. Obama would have for Mr. Sanders, regarding bowing out.

Here is what I wanted to say regarding the men who contacted me:

None of you, and indeed none of any of my male friends, have ever treated me or any woman I know with anything but respect and on equal footing.   Especially my Falls Church brothers! Known for their sometimes loud singing and boisterous partying – thankfully most of them sang well – they are some of the most fun people I know.  I remember thinking how respectful of me (and my sister Ginny) they were, and, contrasted with the “more leftist” guys I knew back then, there was really no contest.

It’s as if it just never occurred to them to be sexist, which is wonderful when you think about it. Even the one who classified himself as a conservative.  Not. one. peep. of. sexism.

To be able to say that about a good-sized population of men (we did have some extremely large parties of 100 or more sometimes), in the late 60s and early 70s, is just short of astounding.

So, no, my brothers, I don’t default to the “all men are sexist” point of view.  I look at behavior, and words.  And I would never, ever, classify any of you in that way.

Just wanted to make that clear.