Saturday, March 25, 2017
First, you can read this blog without knowing the video I'm talking about, but here's the link for those that want to have my same knee jerk reaction:
LINK TO Video Shared on FB that blog references
Okay, if you've watched it, you most likely had the same knee jerk reaction that I did. WTF?!?! But like I stated in the opening paragraph, there's always at least one other view of the facts and also that view usually has more facts. So, why would this case be any different?
So first, the "facts" that we already know from the video. There is a bill. The bill is HJ Res 69 (House Joint Resolution 69). Yes, it did pass the House on 22 March 2017, just this past Wednesday. It is in opposition to a Department of the Interior rule that was submitted, approved on 5 August 2016 and has been enforced since 6 September 2016. Next, it identifies that SJ Res 18 (Senate Joint Resolution 18) has already passed since it insinuates that it has passed Congress, but to contact your Senators if you are opposed to the bill. This is a contradiction since NO it hasn't passed the Senate, and thus why it's asking you to contact your Senator. Finally, of course, the knee jerk stuff...is it trying to reverse preventing of what most of us think is a piss poor excuse of hunting? Is it on wildlife preserves and refuges? Is it allowing hunting of hibernating animals? Is it allowing the killing of baby bear cubs? Yes and no.
See that's where they get us, right? The yes is where they stop. They got the right reaction out of most of us and that's the point, right? I don't think so. So as usual, I had to check and see what the hell, especially since my own knee jerk reaction was "oh hell no!!"
1. It only addresses Federal lands in ALASKA. That's right. We're not talking about any other land in the USA. That might lose some of you right there. Doesn't affect you although I would argue it does affect you because what we allow to happen in one place allows it to be allowed elsewhere that much easier.
2. The DOI rule, 81 Fed. Reg. 52247, is to address how a state rule in Alaska on hunting will affect Federal lands. That's right. The state of Alaska's Board of Game, part of Alaska's Department of Fish and Game, passed a rule that allows certain hunting tactics that the DOI rule addresses on Federal lands in Alaska. Since the Federal government owns over 260M acres of land in Alaska that are hunted legally, this rule that Alaska's BOG passed affects the lands in Alaska owned by the Feds. This is complicated since most of us think of Federal land as autonomous compared to the states that the lands are held. However, by saying nothing, the Federal government allows the state laws to governed within these states where no Federal mandate states otherwise. To put it simply, if the Federal government has no rule to govern what the state hunting rules say, the state rules apply.
3. The Alaska BOG rule is not law. It's a rule, so it was addressed by a DOI rule. So only a law can cancel a rule. That's right. When so many of you say you don't care about who is nominated and approved to the President's Cabinet, you need to remember these Cabinet members make the rules you and I have to live by. The DOI rule therefore has to have a law to cancel it unless the DOI decides to cancel it themselves, and apparently the DOI isn't going to do it. That's why this is a bill in front of Congress in the first place.
Okay, so what? Well, you need to understand this above crap to understand how it applies to you and others and decide how important it is to you. But now to the knee jerk stuff, the meat and potatoes:
4. The Alaska BOG rule allows:
i. The killing of mother bears, black and brown, even if they have cubs.
ii. Using bait to attract brown bears (non-subsistence hunting).
iii. Using snares and traps for hunting (non-subsistence hunting).
iv. Killing wolves and coyotes during denning season.
v. Killing bears from the air, typically from an aircraft.
It does NOT allow killing of bears in hibernation. Wolves and coyotes are already legally hunted by air because of how large the populations can become in a short time. Subsistence hunting, ie. the hunting that the Eskimo population uses of some bears, is still allowed.
5. The DOI rule only addresses the BOG rule on Federal lands already legal to hunt in Alaska.
Coyotes have spread nationwide because their populations grow quickly. Many states have had problems because coyotes have very large litters and the populations can get out of control quickly. Most states though have more issues with wild dogs--domestic breeds living feral--than with coyotes. However, many farmers in the USA suffer losses due to wolf packs and coyotes. These numbers, the deaths resulting from packs are probably underestimated because killing of coyotes and wolves are restricted in most states by hunting times. It's a flip of the coin whether some farmers will report killing a wolf or coyote to protect their herds. It's kind of like you or I killing a deer on the road. You didn't mean to, but you and I won't go to jail because it's not hunting season. It's the farmer's word against the dead wolf/coyote if it's not hunting season. Depending upon local law and gaming enforcement, well, it might be the dead animal's word over all else.
If you are outraged by the Alaska BOG rule, there's nothing you can do about it unless you are an Alaskan. I mean you can protest. I live in South Carolina. I'm pissed about non-subsistence hunting in general. I think if you kill a deer during hunting season you should have it processed and if you aren't going to eat it, then give it to friends that will. But no one, well almost no one, is eating wolves or coyotes. We like to think, at least those of us that know hunters, that responsible hunters wouldn't hunt for anything other than subsistence. People do eat bears. But note that this rule in Alaska allows non-subsistence hunting of bears. These people that do this, well, I don't know. I just can't imagine but I do know people that do hunt just to hunt. I like to think most trophy hunters are barbarians who have no sense of pride and dignity. Yet, most that hunt coyote and wolves legally are doing so for trophies--even during hunting seasons. Whether I want to admit it or not, there's legal hunting of these animals because their populations have the ability to outgrow the human population of an area if not controlled. Hunting seasons allow this. These seasons don't usually overlap denning seasons and procreation seasons. In some cases, they do though if the population is too large and needs to be brought down. I feel sorry for those state and federal gaming employees that can be taxed with bringing these populations down because the hunting isn't working--and yes, that has happened. I'm not happy with Alaska's BOG rule, but it is Alaska. There's a lot of wild tundra there--plenty for a population to get out of control
Also, on that note, Alaska is its own state. That which is not Federal law can be ruled and governed by the state. But, Federal land there should be governed by the conscious of our country as a whole. The USA owned land should follow the consciences of the USA as a whole. The state lands, well, while I don't like what the BOG there is allowing, I don't live there and I'm loathe to tell them what their wildlife population looks like. I don't know. I suppose if I lived there and it was obvious that the population was getting too large, I might have a different view. But I don't live there and therefore, I'm only considering the land that is part of my tax money--the Federal lands.
My recommendation is call your Senators. Stop this before we allow Alaska to rule our Federal land. Somehow this rule got passed there, and maybe even for good reason. But I don't want Federal lands turned into trophy hunters' playgrounds. Alaska owns plenty of their own land for that.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
First, what is staying the same--well, at least the ones that I know every average working American is going to worry about. Kids up to 26 years old can still be covered on their parents' plans. The protection for those with pre-existing conditions is going to remain intact. Finally, one that most people didn't even know was part of the ACA, aka. Obamacare, lifetime limits of what you or I will come out of pocket will be maintained. Don't get excited. Like I stated most of you didn't know or care about this one and the limit is like $1M or something. It's sky high. Higher than most of us can possibly ever pay off. So, yea, that one isn't great for a left or right working class family.
Next, what most Americans--except the far left--were concerned about goes away. The penalty for not having insurance goes away. I don't know many people that agreed with this, regardless of whether left or right. It simply punished those that couldn't afford it for not being able to afford it. This rarely came up in arguments about this bill which kind of pisses me off. Instead of focusing on what we agree on to build common ground--particularly something that we all know wasn't good for the lower income working people--we always focus on what we want to disagree on. This should never have made it into the ACA in the first place, but that's how it works anymore. We argue over things that we are divided on and let them force things that almost all of us agree should never happen. Keep that in mind next time you are "arguing" with someone that you perceive as disagreeing with you. We are not part of the solution if we can't find common ground and prevent things that most agree should never happen. This punishment on the poor was ridiculous.
Don't think that's wonderful though. The GOP bill, the AHCA, makes a 30% penalty premium on anyone that allows their healthcare insurance to lapse. That's right. Instead of the government getting the punishment money for not carrying insurance, the insurance companies will be collecting it. I'm not sure I feel about this. Think about it. One, the poorer working class can't afford the crap in the first place. If they are healthy and ineligible for Medicaid, they will have to pay an extra premium to an insurance company when they are covered again. There's nothing as far as any research I could find about special situations either like when we become unemployed and cannot afford COBRA. There's nothing about going from one job and not having coverage during the probationary periods that most companies have for hourly and usually in some cases for salary. This almost traps hourly people if they change jobs and have to wait. If you find a better hourly job but you're going to lose your healthcare coverage, it's unclear how this 30% penalty the insurance companies can wage on you is going to work or not work.
Of course, everyday Americans worry about what will happen with the premiums with the elderly. Like I stated in the opening paragraph, one right caller called in saying how much the new bill would save the elderly. The next caller, left, said the exact opposite. Neither cited anything factual to back up their opinions because neither had the facts. So it's kind of a mixed bag for the elderly. Obamacare did limit premium costs for older Americans. The new bill will allow insurance companies to charge older Americans as much as 3 times what the younger generation is paying. It also reduces federal tax credits for people in their 50s and 60s purchasing health insurance through the open market. This effectively increases their out of pocket costs for the insurance. So, technically this is a double whammy on the 50+ retired, semi-retired crowd. However, for lower incomes, the tax credits for buying insurance through the marketplace will be increased, so it's unclear whether this would in application balance out the difference. Most likely, it wouldn't offset the entire difference, so likely it will actually increase out of pocket and premiums on the 50 and up for all incomes.
Of course, it lowers the threshold for deducting medical expenses from our taxes. Obamacare increased the threshold to 10% of our AGI (adjusted gross income, that number after you have taken your standard or itemized deductions). The new bill will lower the threshold to 5.8%. This is actually lower than pre-Obamacare which was 7.5%. If we have a lot of medical or even a single major medical occurrence in a year, this is going to help most. For the average elderly couple, this would actually really help them, but it would also help the average family that has a week long stay in the hospital. It's a big plus to the new bill for pretty much any American family.
Now, here's one that we all debate about. I don't use the HSA at all. Healthy Americans have no reason to use a HSA account. Yes, it's all pre-tax, so it can lower your AGI. And the accumulated amounts can be used in future years if you opt for that type of HSA--although the law is unclear how this works if you never need to use it. So it's not really your money anymore until this is cleared up completely. However, Obamacare eliminated the ability to buy OTC drugs--Nyquil, aspirin, motrin, vitamins, etc--with the HSA. The new bill will restore this. For someone like me who pretty much has no reason to have the HSA because the only stuff I buy right now is OTC stuff, well, this makes it more logical for me to use. If you already have to buy a lot of prescriptions, this just adds to your likelihood to use the HSA more. I don't see a downside to this. Maybe you do. I'm having a hard time finding one with the OTC ability restored except that nasty business of what happens to the account if I never use it. I don't want it going to the Federal government and right now it's mainly a use it or lose it prospect. Even though there are some rules allowing certain cases of it being part of our estate when we die, Congress could change this with the drop of a hat. So I wouldn't recommend putting in more than you need unless you know your family history has some serious health issues that will bother you after you retire.
Many people know that Obamacare was going to expand Medicaid--which seems ridiculous when you consider what most people think. Most people think that it was making people buy insurance. It was, well, is. But, for those that were the poorest, regardless of their ability to work, it made it so that many would be better off not working. By simply quitting their jobs, they then became eligible for Medicaid and thus this is why Obamacare was going to expand Medicaid. Yes, that's right. That's a fact. No debate. In implementation, Medicaid was going to expand, and the average working American was going to pay extra Medicaid taxes to cover it. The new bill ends that. It caps the Federal government's payouts to the states also. The bill sets a per person limit dollar amount to the states. It also provides that states can opt out of the per person dollar limit payout for a lump sum payment from the Medicaid funding. I'm not sure which of these would be better. It would probably depend upon the state. Lower population states would probably benefit by taking the lump sum because it would likely be more than the per person enrolled in Medicaid. Higher population states would obviously more likely benefit from the per person payout. While Obamacare sought to increase Medicaid funding gradually to 2020, the new bill looks to eliminate that increase and reduce Federal payouts. Sounds good to those of us that look at our paystubs and freak out at how much Medicaid is costing us--particularly if we have never used it and don't know anyone that has needed to. However, we cannot know what will happen in the future, and most of us realize that. If you happen to be one of those people that was unemployed long enough to exhaust your unemployment benefits, you know that Medicaid was the only option if you had something happen. You paid into it for years and you may or may not have had to use it, but in that situation, it probably gave you comfort to know you wouldn't be totally abandoned.
The Medicaid issue though gets weird. For example, there's a provision in the bill specifically geared towards NYC and NY state. Why the hell this is in the bill is ridiculous, but our current POTUS being a New Yorker probably plays into that a lot. The brokered deal is as far as I can tell to prevent NY state from using Medicaid money from NYC for the rest of the counties in the state and vice versa. This is stupid as hell since it doesn't apply to other major cities versus their states, and I frankly question the legality since Medicaid is dispersed to the states and the states actually administer the Medicaid programs in their states how they see fit.
Of course, when Obamacare sought to expand the Medicaid program it was also because it eliminated all Federal aid to hospitals that served those with no insurance. Oh yes, the great healthcare bill of the left made it so that anyone that was uninsured should be turned away from hospitals that would normally help them. In fact, this actually increased the people turned away from hospitals that were run as commercial entities in the business of making money. Of course, again, thus the need to expand Medicaid, because the hospitals that helped the uninsured were then tasked to get these type of patients covered under Medicaid. If it sounds like a merry go round, it probably should. Now, the new bill removes this ban on Federal aid to hospitals serving the uninsured. (Note this ban wasn't noticeable or even referenced most of the time because it was a year to year lowering until completely eliminated in 2020. Gotta love the sneaky way they slip this stuff in that would make even the average leftish American cringe.)
Now, the meat and potatoes. The stuff we have debated--more argued and argued and argued with each other about depending upon whether we view ourselves as left, right or middle. The average working American got screwed by the Cadillac tax. Our companies have to pay an increasing tax on the high tiers of healthcare plans. Many of us discovered that the Cadillac plans were being offered to lower incomes or non working incomes for free while those of us that worked lost our fancier plans. There's no argument there. Those that are working all know our plans started to suck. The Cadillac tax is not, that's right NOT eliminated. However, the Obamacare healthcare insurance tiers are. So again, it's unclear whether the Cadillac tax is eliminated or shifted somehow. The Cadillac tax was calculated by the tier that a company chose to offer its employees, but the tiers won't exist. Yet the tax itself is not addressed in the new bill....It's hard to say YAY or call bullshit. It's become a wait and see how it will work implemented. I didn't like this wait and see with Obamacare and I'm not really thrilled with wait and see with this. Maybe I'm the odd duck, but I've had enough of trusting them to work out the details after the bill has passed because damn it that didn't work out well the last time.
Now, here's where it cuts taxes. Oh yes, you knew it cut taxes somewhere. I'm going to give you the most grievous first. Why wait? The Medicaid tax that we pay? If you make over $200K (individual) or $250K (married) is going to be cut. That's right. A tax cut just for the rich. So that Medicaid savings is going to be passed on to the wealthy Americans. It's an end run around so that they can say they didn't cut taxes on the rich, but this is a rich person tax cut. Period. It's unclear if this is AGI or gross income. The IRS always decides those nuances. I think that those people, no offense if any of my readers are in these income brackets, but you should be paying for those that can't pay more than I should. The Medicaid tax should either be equal % for all or lower for those that make less. The truth is this is a tax cut for 1.1% of Americans and it's typical far right bullshit. Sorry, but true. Medicaid funding will lose quite a bit and it will only benefit approximately 3.7M people out of 323M. We call this bullshit pork bellies because it really doesn't help the average American at all--it really helps those assholes we elected and their buddies though.
The new bill also eliminates the Obamacare taxes on health insurance companies, medical device companies, and drug companies. Big whoopie. It was never really clear how these taxes were going to work anyway. It eliminates the 10% tax on indoor tanning businesses--mostly small business owners. Obamacare simply was attempting to put these types of businesses out of business. I'm not a big fan of indoor tanning, but I've usually gone once a month in the summer since I work a job where I don't get outside much and I don't want to look like I just flew in from Antarctica during the summer. It eliminates $1B to the CDC for grants they provide states and local municipalities to address diabetes, health care awareness, dental programs for kids that schools provide, and other similar things. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but i don't like that they create a new fund for the $1B that has no earmarking at all. My interpretation is that they are stealing from one pocket to put it into a new pocket and they aren't telling what the new pocket's money is supposed to be used for. Excuse my concern, but I don't trust those people in Washington for the most part and why would you take money from something that appears to be a benefit unless you are cutting my taxes? This is just a shuffling act and I think it's crap unless they tell me exactly where the shuffled money is going.
This doesn't even cover all the stuff I learned about the bill--just the stuff I thought the average American would want to know and make up their own mind. But I've saved the most outrageous thing for last. The reason I say it is outrageous is because it's got NOTHING to do with healthcare. Oh yes, you read that right. This last item has nothing to do with healthcare but is in the new healthcare, AHCA, bill. The new bill eliminates the 3.8% tax on investment income. This doesn't affect most of us. It does affect that 1.1% but even them it probably only benefits half of them to the tune of millions, probably billions of tax dollars. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think we should punish the wealthy for being wealthy. It gives no one incentive to work hard to become wealthy when we punish them with over taxing. However, why in the hell are they sneaking it into this bill? No one is even talking about this!! WTF. If they want to give this tax break or eliminate this tax, why not do it in the open in a damn tax bill??? Why hide it in this bill? We all know the most likely reason. If they were forced to openly debate this, the average, the majority of the American public would be screaming at them, WHY??? But this way, they make us debate Obamacare versus the new bill and slip this little item right passed the sheep and even those of us that pride ourselves that we pay attention.
For the most part, the new bill is probably what the average Americans, middle Americans, want. But like every bill in Washington anymore, it is also a shining example of what is still wrong with our system. The NY crap and the investment income taxes? Give me a break. This is what we hate about DC and the people we elect. We hate that they keep trying to sneak shit passed us and seem to be business as usual even though they know we are sick of it. And some of the stuff we think this will eliminate isn't really guaranteed to be eliminated...same as the ACA bill. This bill is like a halfway fix. But most of us wanted to only go halfway back, so I guess it's okay. You can decide now--at least on more facts than the tv news media outlets seem to be sharing.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Like more than 50% of Americans, I lived with another 4 years of a jerk that had no idea what he was doing. I couldn't believe the best we could come up with after that nightmare was Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I didn't vote for either. Why? Because I saw both as liars--wealthy, hypocrites and sell outs that could give a crap about me, my average American friends (right or left) and just full of sh*t. I saw Clinton as more of Obama. Maybe, and that's a big maybe, more qualified overall than Obama and Trump, but a con-artist, a sham, a weasel that would do anything to be President. I saw Trump as her mirror reflection, but maybe, maybe just a hair of a well digger's ass better. So Trump. Okay. I am giving, like I gave Obama, the benefit of the doubt. Oh, yes, I know. The die hard Trump followers will say no, no, no I'm not. Guess what? That's what after 2 years of Obama the die hard Obama followers said of me. I wasn't being fair. Obama needed a chance. He was doing the best he could with an "inherited" bullshit situation. Poor Obama. Eight years later? Poor Obama my ass. He couldn't do the damn job and we had actually given him a second chance to do it. I don't really give a shit if it was his wife's best friend, who was his Chief of Staff. So what if she was a dumbass interfering bitch? He was POTUS. He needed to step up and do the damn job. Period. Did he? Hell no. Hell no. Hell no. We are still floundering economically. If he had done his job, there would be no Brexbit. There would be no North Korean nuclear testing that puts our shores at risk. We never would have left Iraq to destabilize. He was a liar just like all of them--and I lost a couple of ultra liberal friends prior to and after his second election. Don't care. He was a dumbass that didn't belong in the White House.
So guess what my ultra liberal former friends? (Yes, because they were all so mad at me for saying what a POS I thought he was.) You allowed by voting his ass in a second term for us to have the bright orange moron, self absorbed, reality television soap opera queer bait to become President. Oh yes. Look in the mirror. Obama should have had one term. He didn't deliver. He, himself, actually said if he didn't deliver he didn't deserve a second term, but you gave it to him anyway. The reality is that second term opened the door for the two most heinous choices in history to run. Sigh. It was a lose-lose campaign for the American public. The one thing that I hated most about Obama? That his whiny bitch ass would constantly blame GW Bush. Anything, everything, no matter what--military, economy, healthcare, student loans, hell the sun setting one minute before the weatherperson said so--all GW's fault. All I could think every single time--"shut the hell up and do your damn job". Oh, and maybe followed by "p*ssy" after year 3...and especially into year 5, 6, 7 and 8.
So....guess what I'm thinking now? Shut up Trump. I don't give a shit that Arnold got fired and you were the best "Apprentice" host. In fact, I think you being a reality TV host should have disqualified you from running for President. No, I don't give a shit if he thinks this is all Obama's fault. I heard that it was all GW's fault for 8 years and that was just whiny shit from someone who didn't do his job. So, Donald, I think you are just a whiner like Obama. Shut up and do your damn job. WE PAY the POTUS more than $400K a year. The "average" American makes around $55K. Do your job. I don't give a shit who's fault it is anymore. I know Obama was full of shit... and I KNOW you are also full of shit. But we wasted a ton of money on his obnoxious bullshit while he pointed his finger at GW because he didn't have a clue how to do his damn job! You claimed you know how to do the job. Yet, all I hear is you pointing fingers and whining. And even better, I read it on your damn Twitter. Shut up already and DO YOUR DAMN JOB.
Truth is we all know the Clintons are in bed with Russians. We all know that Trump is too. We also know that as a country we do not condone shooting down commercial airlines, illegally annexing another European country, and threatening our Allies. Both the Clintons and the Trumps know we will not have that. WE fought WWII to protect our Allies. We stood a Cold War to prevent Russian tyranny. We will not roll over and play dead to Putin--no matter which of those idiots got elected. Bottom line--Putin can kiss our asses. We stand with the UK, Germany, France, Belgium--those Allies that have always stood with us. And, regardless, our POTUS--can either get on board or well, he or she might not be POTUS. Given the POTUS's speech the other night, I'm pretty sure our Donald already figured that out.
So DO YOUR DAMN JOB POTUS. I do not care what Obama did. I seriously do not give a rat's ass what GW did. I don't care except you had damn well better deliver, because Obama didn't. So, I am just done with listening to finger pointing, redirection ad nauseum, and excuses why anyone didn't get done what they said they were going to get done not getting done. I know. It might be unfair to President Trump. I don't give a shit if it is. Poor Donald is not the victim. I am--me and the rest of the American public that got screwed over the last 10 years. Donald Trump promised he could fix it. So did Obama. Obama failed and I have zero patience for another asshat promising bullshit and not delivering. You wanted to be POTUS? Then act like one. I was sick of the whining with the last POTUS, so President Trump? You are starting with odds stacked against you because you have made the exact same promises Obama did. Oh I know. Your fan base and his were different--so you think no one noticed you were selling the same BS. But those of us that didn't like him and don't like you? No, we caught it. SO DO YOUR DAMN JOB and DELIVER a better economy, a UNITED country and SUPPORT our ALLIES. Enough said.
Monday, February 27, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
This last week has been a roller coaster. By the end of the week, I was thinking that our new POTUS has lost his mind. Let's face it. President Trump is still the Donald. He was looking bummed after less than 2 weeks into his new Presidency. He probably hadn't thought about how his entire life was going to change. He just wanted to win. He's never seemed to think that far ahead. No more NYC nightlife. No more being able to walk into his hotel bar and have people lining up to take pictures with him. But now he's powerful. The President of the United States is one of the most powerful people in the world. This has concerned a lot of people since he announced his run for the Office. But this week, I realized that the Donald is pretty simple. He doesn't like to lose. Many thought this meant he was a megalomanic. I was concerned he might be. Okay, I'm pretty sure that's a solid "no" now.
So in the last week, he started "keeping" campaign promises. First, he came out with an Executive Order for the "Wall". As controversial as it has been it didn't seem to bother him. The backlash was pretty severe from Mexico... Who cares? But the response here in the States? A huge backlash from how much money it would cost, how ridiculous it is to be spending money on it when the economy is the main issue, fear of terrorists next and the Wall? A high dollar price tag with no return. Next, another EO. Another campaign promise fulfilled. So important no one blinked, not even his adoring die hard Trump supporters. And another. Nothing. Little blurbages in the news and moving on.
Then he drops his biggest campaign promise of them all. Denying Muslims entry to the USA. But he only denies 7 countries, not including any he or his assets do business with, even though many of the countries are actually the ones with the money flowing to ISIS. He gets it from all sides. It didn't block all Muslims. His loyal following is divided. The GOP suddenly is mostly against him and all the Dems. The backlash from Europe comes pouring out faster than he changes his mind. The Donald boldly announces he's keeping his campaign promises. A few adoring comments on social media here and there but for the most part, backlash, and lots of it.
The new POTUS is beside himself. His best buddy through the election who was named Chief of Staff, Bannon, is still petting his favorite POTUS's ego, and the Donald rewards him--with a position in the National Security Committee. Unprecedented. Scary. The man, Bannon, has no real qualifications to be Chief of Staff. The position is supposed to be the gate keeper to the Oval Office, the person who appeases the media when needed, strokes and smooths the rough edges when the President gets short with minority party leaders or even majority party leaders. He's the one who's supposed to make sure where, when, what, who. Obama's Chief of Staff, according to Bob Woodward's books, was one of the biggest problems in the Obama White House. She blocked anyone she didn't like and was notorious to listen to the First Lady over all others. So his selection has given a lot of people pause because like her he's got some weird ideas compared to the average Americans' points of view.
Like President Obama's Chief of Staff, Bannon is known for his racist views. She leaned far left racist and he leans far right racist. In addition, his far right zealot views both from his time with Breitbart and from his far right tripe movies that he made make even the moderate conservatives shake. His appointment was not palatable to the Dems but to most of middle America, if they're still paying attention, was not the "best" choice. In fact, most Americans that realized who he was were concerned, even many who voted for Trump.
Yet Bannon knows his audience, and it's not America. It's Trump. And a stroke of the fur in the right direction is all that's needed. The Donald was down and his Chief of Staff assured him he was fine, as he has consistently from the start of the bid for the White House. The rewards with the Donald are usually pretty good when you make him happy, so the Donald rewarded his Chief of Staff with a seat on the NSC...
In the same stroke, President Trump also removed the Director of Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from the NSC. The backlash had been massive, even from the GOP, Allies, and more than 60% of the American public. The bombardment on social media was shocking. How dare he remove those two? And what the hell is Bannon doing there? The "removal" of the two is not unprecedented, but Bannon who has zero intelligence experience, a minimal 4 years as a peon in the military, and a tripe movie and news maker (not even a journalist), this seemed insane. The backlash was even more frightening.
The Donald doesn't like to admit to mistakes. I've told people he'll never do it. It's just not who he is. He said anything to win the Presidency. He won. Whatever he said in his mind is dead and buried, move on. Until, he needs to feel adored. Last week, he needed that adoration. He thought announcing he's keeping his promises with 4 EOs would help. The adoration fell short. Our Donald needs a lot of petting.
So two things happened to our poor new POTUS last week. He didn't get praised by masses like he had hoped after his latest Executive Orders and the backlash from his decisions on the NSC. He just didn't know what to do. Panic probably set in. This isn't a megalomanic. A megalomanic would be scrambling for more power. He's not. Obama when faced with the same slaps insisted everyone follow him. Do as I say. You must. You will. You have to. Our Donald? I'm keeping promises. I'm doing what I said. Look. Look. Look. He's waiting on praise like anyone who needs adoration.
No one knows who all the initial choices were for SCOTUS. We can safely assume they were a diverse group. President Trump is known in the past to like a lot of controversy and options amongst his decisions. This is both scary and unpredictable. Most expected his first SCOTUS choice to be someone who would be rejected almost immediately. Yet, he took some serious punches last week when he was most likely expecting fireworks and celebrations. His SCOTUS decision is not one that will piss off moderates. Moderate, middle of the road Americans cannot complain. The one he chose is known to side with gun owners. He's also known to side with religious freedoms. He's what I would call a true solid conservative Constitutionalist.
(NOTE:. This should not be mixed up with conservative politics. Not sure when the two deviated, but it is what it is.)
He won't make the far right zealots happy. He won't make the far left zealots happy. He believes the Constitution should be interpreted as written. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Religion. The Right to Bear Arms. The Fifth Amendment. He'll back some politically liberal ideas and some politically conservative ideas. And most of both will be what mainstream Americans want. President Trump deserves kudos for this choice. He's a great choice for Scalia's replacement. That's right. GREAT CHOICE FOR ALL OF US.
Okay, so even a blind horse can find water sometimes. But our President reminds me of another President who he shared years and years of friendship with. President Clinton. Billy Boy didn't like to be in the wrong side of the majority of Americans, even when that meant pissing off other Dems. The far right zealots went after him with a passion and I have no doubt that he and his wife are criminals (possibly more she than he), but regardless, President Clinton governed by polls. Didn't always result in the best decisions long term. He and Speaker Gingrich are the real people to blame for the real estate bubble that burst taking automotive and other industries with it. However, our Donald is very much an ego. He wants to be adored. Billy wanted popularity. What's the difference? Minor to us. What's it mean??
Well, that means President Trump needs the adoration of way, way more than the 10% of Americans that voted for him. Only 10% voted for him because they are devout true Trumpites. The other 35% hated the bitch more. Almost 10% of us voted for neither and 45% voted for the Clinton. But only 10% of them were devout Clinton followers. Like our new POTUS, 35% of them only voted for her because they didn't want him. So what's our poor new President to do? How can he gain the adoration he craves when the rest of his life will be surrounded by Secret Service? No NYC clubbing. No whims. Constant planning. This has not been his life. It is now and for the rest of his life. How does he get the 75% to 85% of us to adore him?
The right choice for SCOTUS. The right choices for the majority of us. That's how. And this week. He started with SCOTUS and today, just this morning, he announced he will not rescind LGBT rights granted by the Federal government. No doubt his SCOTUS pick explained the nuisances. For all of the Donald's faults, his "fault" to be praised and adored will trump, pun intended, any lip service he gave to get elected. He may turn into the most popular President since Reagan.
Oh no, I have no qualms that he has a long, long, LONG road to traverse before that happens. But his SCOTUS pick and the LGBT rights are a step in the right direction. He's starting to realize the zealots may have helped him win, but if he wants the majority of us to really love him, he's going to need to win the majority of us over. He wants us to forgive and forget what he said during the election. I think he's just figured out that, because he needs adoration, the right way to that is to give the majority what we want. We don't want zealots. We want middle of the road. We want equal rights. We want less government. We want gun rights. We want religious freedom. We want the economy fixed. We want DC to do their jobs. I'm not saying to those of you that hate him to give him a pass. No. He needs to know and he like Clinton is paying attention. Not to polls but social media. I'm not saying those of us that didn't want either to get all excited either, but Judge Gorsuch is someone that Johnson would've considered. And those Clinton voters that voted against him, I know y'all will be the hard sell, but admit it. If he were to dial back on the support of Israel, and/or fix the economy, and/or not take more Sioux land... Well, he'd win you too. The die hard Clinton fans, well, you'll probably be shit out of luck. He'll try because that's who he really is. He needs to be adored. Bottom line, he's not a megalomanic. He doesn't crave power. He craves love and attention--probably like most kids who's parents tossed them into a boarding school and nannies.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
So the women's march....We are not equal. It isn't democrat. In fact, women that voted for Trump actually marched too. Yep, look it up. It isn't republican. It isn't liberal politics. It isn't conservative politics. It isn't politics at all. They want women to believe it is. They want everyone to believe it is. They wanted in the 70s for women to believe that the only women that wanted "equal" were dykes. In the 80s, we, mostly GenX, bought this bullshit because we were told to. But GenX women were raped at rates of 3 out of 4--75%. We almost all knew our assailant. Millenials are raped at a rate of 3 out of 5. We are not equal. That's not equal. We would love to pretend we are. It's not even close. And, before you pat yourself on the back because of some shitty meme you saw telling you what men who rape complete strangers are looking for...Guess what? Rape by an unknown assailant is still less than 12%. Women do not normally get raped by people we don't know. Your daughters, your granddaughters get raped by someone they know at 3 out of 5. You have 5 granddaughters? Odds are 3, yes 3, will be raped before they are 25. You can bitch about how the most recent attempt at bringing women's rights to the forefront is about a man. No. It's about defending our daughters, our granddaughters and other women.
Oh, yes, the women's march. It was only the next try in the last 50 years. The women's march has been done over and over and over. Look up the Million Man march. You'll see all kinds of photos and articles for the black version of the million man march. The original, look up 1920s Million Man March. You'll find hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of when the KKK marched on Washington. Bet many didn't even know that there were 2 Million Man marches. Yet, women have marched on Washington in the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the first 10 years of the new millennium AND this past weekend. Do a search. Good luck finding any information on those other ones. This is probably the only one that you'll find any information about. So, the current President said some really nasty things about women during the election. The women that planned the march, well, they decided to take advantage of the media coverage. Can you blame them? We've been lucky to get local coverage--national? Pish posh. But this time, we got national and a lot of it, and if that brings a lot of the inequities and issues with women's rights to the attention of people who have literally spent decades ignoring it, then that's a good thing.
When Nancy Reagan attempted to speak out against rape, allowing women to choose how our bodies were treated, and pushing for laws to make date rape a felony, the women, the Baby Boomer women, that could have made a difference were too busy with their "freed" sexuality to give a shit about their daughters or granddaughters. There were still blue book laws that said their husbands could rape them legally even if separated. They didn't want to talk about rape. And when you did, it was always the woman's fault for being raped. Baby Boomer women had a chance to change it, but it was the Nancy Reagan generation, the Silent Generation women that made the last real changes. When they left the political scene, the changes stopped. The last blue book law allowing a man to rape his wife was eliminated in 1991. Shortly before the end of the last Silent Generation Presidency--Bush Sr.
The estimate is that 95-97% of all Baby Boomer women were raped. GenX estimates are at 75%. And our children, your grandchildren, granddaughters, they estimate 3 out of 5--60%. I don't know how anyone could find that acceptable. I find it nauseating. How is it okay that 60% of women under the age of 25 (because that's what they always base these stats on) will or have been raped? Oh right. I forgot. That victim is the perpetrator logic. We asked for it. They asked for it. You asked for it. Maybe the Baby Boomers did, but I promise GenX didn't and neither are the Millennials or subsequent generations. If a woman reported rape in the 80s and 90s, they were guaranteed to be ostracized. Guaranteed to be blamed. And worse, since 88% of all rapes are by someone we know, the rape victims were often portrayed as liars that wanted it but cried wolf after because this or that or whatever--some lame brain idiotic thing meant to make the victim into a villain--as if being raped wasn't bad enough. We, women, men, all of us, have failed miserably and many women are still making excuses that put other women in their places like some twisted version of Munchhausen syndrome. But if you are a grandmother of Millennials, think about this one: If you have 5 granddaughters, current statistics say 3 of them will be raped. Are you ready to stop playing Aunt Toms and start defending other women for the sake of your granddaughters?
Oh I know. Many of them argue it's not the same anymore. Rapists go to prison. No, they don't. 97% of all men arrested for rape never spend a single day in jail. That's right NINETY SEVEN PERCENT. 994 out of 1000 charged rapists never will see the inside of a jail cell. Let that sink in. Hell, just last year, a star college tennis player or track or whatever, raped a girl he saw at a party by drugging her and following her. Two other men caught him, held him until police arrived, testified at this jerk's trial, and he got 6 months. Even more heinous, reduced to 3 months for good behavior. GOOD BEHAVIOR? What message do you think this kind of crap sends to young women? Hell, any women?
How does this stuff still happen? The Aunt Toms. You know those women that ask what she was wearing. Ask why was she even at that party. What kind of student was she? What kind of family does she have? Just love that one. Like if she came from a poor family she might be asking for it more than a rich girl would. How come she was alone? Insinuating that being alone somehow is offering herself up. What kind of sexual partners has she had? Is she promiscuous? Ugh, NO is still NO no matter what she did in her past. The Aunt Toms actually will victimize the victim even more than the rapist did.
So the Aunt Toms this week wanted to make the newest women's march, all of it--the only ever to receive full national coverage from the media into some vested interest in Trump. But even women who voted for Trump, wearing their Trump hats, joined the march. Yes, fact. There were even pictures of them in the national media. The march was about women. Our rights. The things we are still denied by our own country. We no longer can be legally raped by our husbands, and we probably have a better chance of getting an abusive rapist husband convicted than we would an acquaintance or complete stranger. How sad is that? We only have a 3% chance of being given justice by our justice system. Think about that. Your daughters, your granddaughters, your friends, your loved ones--only a 3% chance of getting a conviction and justice.
This version of responding to rape: you asked for it, you wanted it, you wished, you were in the wrong place, you should've, you could've, you, you. you. It devalues another woman; it devalues all of us. This women's march, while we don't have to agree with everything some of them said or did, the facts stand. Domestic violence is still huge. Rape is still huge. The inequities in salaries are still huge. Sexual harassment is still huge. We are out of the industrialized nations on this planet number one per capita for rape. Let that sink in. Number one. We devalue our women as much and in some casees more than many extremist religious countries do.
The women that marched and many of us that didn't no longer view rape this way. The victim of rape did nothing wrong. It doesn't matter what you were wearing. We don't care if you have slept around. You have the right to say no. The #womensmarchonwashington was about all women having the right to be who you are without the fear of being treated as less. We are not meat. We have the right to equality under the law. Only 3% conviction rates or six months in a correctional facility is NOT equality under the law. We have the right to say no and the right to be believed. The Baby Boomer grandmothers would die metaphorically if they knew their granddaughters were raped. Many of them would probably die if they knew their daughters were--and the statistics are 3 out of 4 of their daughters were. What this march was about??? We stand beside you. We would fight for you and we would not back down. We are united as women to end rape. We are united to end the inequity in the law that allows almost all rapists to walk free. Here's the biggest change of all. Many men, especially those that have little girls, are just as committed to ending this now that they know the facts. Make no mistake, Aunt Toms need to leave well enough alone. You have been the problem. We are no longer okay accepting that rape is a norm for the majority of women.