politics


More than ever before, it is crucial that we get record turnout for Election 2020 and that all of those votes count. But with so many voters voting with absentee/mail-in ballots this year for the first time, I think it’s really important to help people avoid the types of mistakes that invalidate absentee ballots. It…

How To Make Absolutely Sure Your Vote Counts This November — Political⚡Charge

Super important info from a fellow blogger!!

If you’re feeling depressed and scared right now (and I am), there are actions we can all take. I know that posting about this on social media mostly feels like preaching to the choir.

From a friend of a friend of a friend, here’s a list of Republican senators who are either running vulnerable races or hate Trump. They can be called and pressured to hold off on nominating a new Supreme Court Justice:

Lisa Murkowski: (202) 224-6665 (Hates Trump)

Martha McSally: (202) 224-2235 (Vulnerable)

Cory Gardner: (202) 224-5941 (Vulnerable)

Mitt Romney: (202) 224-5251 (Hates Trump)

Susan Colling: (202) 224-2523 (Is going to lose anyway – so should hate Trump)

Talking about or to Mitch McConnell is also a waste of time. Remember, he has no honesty or integrity, so trying to reason with him about rules and principles is pointless. You might as well be trying to convince a slime mold that these things are important.

However, working to make sure that he’s no longer Senate majority leader is a great use of our time! Some good Senate races to donate to: Mark Kelly in AZ, Jaime Harrison in SC, John Hickenlooper in CO, Sara Gideon in Maine, Amy McGrath in KY (Mitch’s opponent!) Mark Kelly and Sara Gideon, in particular, are running ahead of their opponents in the polls–so these are seats we can flip!!

And of course, vote Joe Biden in November…volunteer to get out the vote…you know the drill.

Good luck, everyone!! RBG may be gone, but her legacy does not have to die.

In a different world, a long time ago, a little girl and her family were experiencing a country in crisis.

In this country, there were long lines in front of grocery stores, with people waiting for hours, often only to be told that the food in the store had run out.  The government issued ration cards for how much food each person could receive, and there was real anxiety about where our next meal was coming from.  There were tanks on our streets, and Soviet tanks waiting on our border, just in case they were needed to come in and help crush anti-government resistance.

And there were many, many people out on the streets protesting the government, including members of my family.  The protesters were met by the military and the police.  They were tear gassed and clubbed.  Some of them were shot.

This was life in the Communist Poland of my childhood.  But you would never know any of this was happening if you watched official state television.

We had only two channels on our black-and-white TV, but if you turned one of them on, you would see cheerful citizens, who would never even think of complaining.  You would see interviews with farmers who were excited to work for the socialist state.  Speeches from government officials about our glorious future, during which everyone in the audience clapped enthusiastically, because they knew they had to.  And of course, proud military parades, accompanied by much flag-waving.

And the protesters?  Their existence was rarely acknowledged, but when it was, they were described in no uncertain terms.  They were anarchists.  They were violent troublemakers.  They were drug addicts and criminals.

I made the mistake last week of watching parts of the Republican convention.  What I saw gave me a sinking feeling of the worst kind of déjà vu.

Once again, my family and I are living in a country in crisis.  Thousands are dead of a badly mismanaged pandemic.  Our economy is on the verge of collapse, with mass job losses and business closures and evictions looming on the horizon, or already here.  We see example after example of violent police brutality against Black Americans, and people are out on the streets protesting systemic racism.  And armed militias are now showing up at those protests, threatening and, at least in one case, shooting and killing protesters, with seeming support or indifference from the police.

But you would never know any of this was happening if you watched the RNC.  Here, the pandemic was mentioned in past tense, and since it’s practically over, the economy is about to bounce back!  The convention was full of happy nurses who were not experiencing PPE shortages, and happy people of color who don’t get discriminated against.  We got the requisite moving story of the prisoner who had repented and reformed, and the cop who became his lifelong friend.  And then there was the parade of shiny-faced Trump family members, telling us about how caring and compassionate this President is, how much he respects women and loves to put them in positions of power.  All this accompanied by many uniforms and much flag-waving.

According to the RNC, the biggest danger in our country right now is the “cancel culture” ushered in by liberals, which might cause a few people to unfollow you on Twitter.

To my American friends, please take this as a warning from someone who would know:  YES.  This is a tipping point.  Every time you hear another speech about how Trump is the “only one” who can protect America, you should be very afraid.  That is pure dictatorship talk.

If Trump wins re-election, that really could damage what remains of our democratic system beyond repair–or damage it so severely that it will take generations to fix it.  There are also fundamental problems with American society that have existed for a long time, like systemic racism and big money in elections, but we will not be able to work on any of them if our country slides into full-on totalitarianism.

My family was able to survive a totalitarian state once, and we don’t want to have to do it again.  We need to work to get Trump out of office like we have never worked before.  I’m ready to do my part.  I don’t want any more of this kind of déjà vu.

I’m learning how to use a gun.

I’m not thrilled about this.  I wish this wasn’t the reality I was living in.  But reality is what it is, not what I wish it would be.

Now, I’m about as far away from a fanatical gun nut as you can get.  I was raised in Europe, and there were almost no guns around when I was a kid.  The countries I lived in had very strict gun control laws, and I’m glad they did.  I continue to be a strong supporter of strict gun control laws.

But the American culture I live in is full of guns.  My neighborhood is full of guns–almost all of my neighbors have them.  Even though Portland is very progressive, there’s a strong gun tradition here in Oregon.  It doesn’t seem smart to be the only one without.

And there’s something scary brewing in this country.

Maybe this feeling has come over me because I’ve been watching the BLM protests, and the armed militias which have started showing up–and which seem to be supported by the police.  There is, of course, 17-year-old (!!!) Kyle Rittenhouse who killed two people and injured one person at the Kenosha protests, after having been given water and thanked for being there by the local cops.  In my own neck of the woods, Portland police basically allowed Proud Boys and other right-wing groups to run wild last weekend, to beat people up and point guns at them, including one guy who had a warrant out for his arrest…but was permitted to show up at the protest and then walk away.  Once the right-wingers were gone, the police declared a riot and tear gassed the protesters who remained.

Maybe I’m feeling this way because I’ve made the painful mistake of actually listening to the Republican convention this week.  I’m hoping this grave error doesn’t cost me my marriage, by the way.  Every time my poor husband walked into my office and heard one of the Trump-bots talking, he would clutch his head in horror and flee.  Thank goodness it’s over.  But it didn’t improve my mood to hear the President’s fans making hysterical speeches about how he is the only one who is standing between America and the country’s destruction by the radical left.  That is cult of personality talk, that is dictatorship talk.  It raises the temperature, and it makes me suspect that even if Joe Biden wins, we will have crazies on our hands who will be on a mission to “save America” from the rest of us.

Back in the day, when I was a bit more naive, I was one of those people who would have said “Well, if anything happens, I’ll just call 911, right?”  Unfortunately, everything that has happened recently has made me question how much we can trust our policing system.  Obviously, I realize that since I’m white, I don’t even know the half of it.  And I’m also pretty sure there are individual police officers who are genuinely wonderful people.  But when I see that instances of police brutality against black people just keep coming, and then when I see the police seemingly taking the side of armed vigilantes at protests, that worries me.

And if you visit any Facebook group or other online forum where these militia-type groups gather, you will see them discussing, with great excitement, the possibility of civil war and violent conflict in our near future.  This certainly didn’t start with Trump–I remember these same types threatening secession and armed insurrection all through the Obama years.  And I’m sure there are many big-bellied keyboard warriors involved, who may talk a lot, but would never get off their couch long enough to start a war.  Still, one theme is repeated over and over again in these discussions–it’ll be great when the shit hits the fan, because we’re the ones who have all the guns, and the “libtards” will be sitting ducks.

I used to dismiss that as idle chatter from incels stroking their own egos, but now that fanatical Trump-worship has been added to the mix, my perspective has shifted.  If the fascists ever decide to come for me, I don’t want to be defenseless.  Now, I’m not about to start doing stupid, showy things.  I’m not going to start showing up in public places or at public events wearing large machine guns.  That is just plain dumb and it’s asking for trouble–kind of like that St. Louis couple who decided to come out of their large mansion and wave their weapons at protesters, with their finger on the trigger.  But I will have a chance to defend myself if anyone ever enters my home with ill intentions.

I’m interested to hear opinions from others about this.  More and more, my point of view is shifting to the belief that the left should be armed, so that if the country slides into some ugly form of totalitarianism, we’re not completely helpless.  Or is that something that will just cause more problems and stoke more violence?  Obviously, my preference would be that we just vote Biden into office and the Trumpster phenomenon quietly dies away.  And that is what I will be working for all this upcoming fall.

But at least for now, I’m a reluctant gun owner.

 

 

 

 

All kinds of thoughts pop into our heads when we’re awake at 3 am.  Lately, I’ve been waking up at 3 am a lot.  Maybe it’s the pandemic.  Maybe my body is hinting at me that I shouldn’t be having that beer right before bed….but that’s a different story.

A few nights ago, a particularly disturbing thought came to me and wouldn’t let me get back to sleep for a long time.  In the light of day, it seems insane.  I hope it’s insane.  But I need to get it out of my system.

So, we all know that Donald Trump has a…shall we say…chummy relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin.  What if it becomes clear to Trump that he’s about to lose the election…or he does lose the election in November…and he decides to make a deal with Putin to stage some kind of terrorist attack in America?

It’s already obvious from his response to the COVID pandemic that Trump would not be too concerned about a large loss of life of his fellow Americans…especially if those Americans lived in one of those blue cities that don’t like him.  In fact, he would be thrilled if this happened in a place like Seattle, or Chicago, or maybe San Francisco, where Nancy Pelosi is from.  He is that petty of a man.  I don’t even think he would try to hide his joy.

And in the meantime–this would give him the perfect excuse to postpone the election, or postpone the upcoming transition of power.  You know he would jump on that opportunity.  It would be a national security emergency, after all!  And he will keep America safe, like nobody else!

Another advantage of working with Putin is that Trump could get around the Pentagon.  Our military has its own problems, but at this point he has pissed off enough generals and soldiers with his name-calling and his stupidity that I don’t think they would let this kind of coup slide.  If he made a deal with a foreign leader, though, they would never need to know what was going on.

And, of course, Vladimir would be more than happy to do anything that weakens and injures America.  And how hilarious would it be if the country’s own President invited him to do it?  I can hear all the Russian bots LOL’ing about it now…

Feel free to tell me I’m completely bonkers.  In fact, I hope that you will.  I hope I’m wrong.  I hope I’m crazy.  Please talk me off this ledge, because this is making sense to me, and I’m kind of scared thinking about it.

And let me note that this is what Trump’s presidency has done to me.  I hate conspiracy theories.  I hate conspiracy theory spouting people.  But I have turned into a conspiracy theorist myself, because I cannot trust this President.  I do not believe for one second that he has this country’s well-being in mind.  He only cares about his own ego and about being a celebrity, and he doesn’t care what he destroys as long as he can use that destruction to feed his insecure spirit, even if only for a brief moment.

So, let’s hope for a return to sanity in this country very soon…before my mind goes completely.  And…please tell me I’m crazy.

I’m beginning to think that Tucker Carlson’s main function in the world has become to tell white conservatives scary bedtime stories about black and brown people.

His storytelling first got my attention a couple years ago, when he was railing about immigration and demographic shifts in America, claiming this was “more change than human beings are designed to digest.”

More recently, this is the guy who envisioned a frightening dystopia ruled by BLM mobs:

Imagine if the Diversity Inclusion Department at Brown University had the power to arrest you. Imagine if the Black Lives Matter rioters had weapons and immunity from prosecution. That’s what they’re talking about. Partisan law enforcement and partisan law enforcement, incidentally, is hardly without precedent. In fact, it’s the rule in the third world. This is an attempt to bring it here.

…This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will. Anyone who has ever been subjected to the rage of the mob knows the feeling.

I have to admit, I’m really not that scared of the Diversity Inclusion Department at Brown University.  But if you don’t buy that threat, how about those “violent young men”?

Well, violent young men with guns will be in charge. They will make the rules, including the rules in your neighborhood. They will do what they want. You will do what they say. No one will stop them. You will not want to live here when that happens.

Tucker doesn’t specify what color these young men are, but he doesn’t have to.  If these were young white men with guns, Fox News would be calling them “patriots.”

Tucker got into some massive trouble, and lost some sponsors, over those comments.  But you’ve got to give it to him, he knows what his schtick is and what his audience expects from him, and he’s not giving that up.

So here is his latest, now about Joe Biden’s VP pick, Kamala Harris:

Consider this tape in which she explains how the federal government should respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Again, whatever you think of Affirmative Action, it’s likely you never imagined Affirmative Action would be applied to life-saving medical treatment. But Kamala Harris thinks it should be.

So we make decisions about where the resources should go to keep people from dying on the basis of skin color. So only people of a certain color get the vaccine, for example. That’s what she’s arguing. Now, this is a lot of things. It’s immoral. It’s unconstitutional, obviously. But above all it is definitely not moderate.

Now, mind you, in the interview Tucker mentions, Kamala was talking about the fact that communities of color were disproportionately affected by COVID, and that some of our resources should focus on helping those communities. She did not suggest that only people of color should get the COVID vaccine.  Well…of course she didn’t, because that would be insane and not something a serious person says.

But it is Tucker Carlson’s job to sell his Fox audience scary stories about what will happen when that brown-skinned woman with the weird name gets to be the Vice President…so that’s what he does.  Expect to see a lot more of this as we get closer to November, unfortunately.

Coincidentally, one of my neighbors has a dog named Tucker.  He is a round-bellied little creature which yips pointlessly all day at cats and squirrels and other animals that are not afraid of him and completely ignore him.

I would like to think the other Tucker has just about as much effect and influence.

 

 

So, it appears my lovely little city has been in the news lately.  It feels kind of strange for us to be in the national spotlight like this…we’re usually a bit more under the radar.  Now, everywhere I go…my Facebook newsfeed, the newspaper sites…it’s Portland this and Portland that.  So, how are things here in Portland?

It’s been a bit difficult for me to get around to writing this, because the events of the past weeks have been giving me unpleasant flashbacks to my childhood in a totalitarian state.  Those flashbacks actually started even before things were going down in Portland, back when Trump gassed the protesters in DC to get his photo op, when he was speculating about putting tanks in the streets.  I have memories of things like tanks in the streets, living under martial law, secret police.  The more I see this recreate itself here in the States, the more I become paralyzed and quiet, and the harder it is for me to write and talk about it.  It’s like I’m hoping that if I remain silent enough, it will all go away, like a bad dream.  But we all know that’s not how nightmares like this go away.

However, I also have to make this clear–Portland is not some terrifying war zone, not a “city under siege” with violent anarchists running around and setting everything on fire.  The right-wing media has been portraying things this way to justify the federal government’s actions.  I live out in the western suburbs of Portland, and if I didn’t turn on the news or social media, I wouldn’t know that anything was different.  I went on a drive through downtown Portland recently, and except for a few blocks, everything looked normal, businesses were operating, cafes and restaurants were welcoming customers (with some COVID restrictions).  A few stores and banks in a small area of downtown had plywood up and some graffiti on the walls, and most of the plywood had beautiful murals painted on it by local artists–which…I have to admit…looked way more creative than the corporate logos you would usually see there.

Another thing that’s important to know–the vast majority of the rioting, burning and looting happened on one night back in May.  This is important because people keep conflating what happened back then with what’s happening now.  So…you will hear someone say “Well, the Feds have to snatch people into unmarked vans to stop the rioting!”  Except…umm…there really isn’t rioting anymore.  I have multiple friends who have gone downtown to protest the past few nights.  These have been large peaceful protests.  A group of Moms goes down there to form the Wall of Moms to protect the protesters from the police and the Feds.  Not wanting to be outdone, the Dads of Portland have shown up with leaf blowers to disperse the tear gas.  Last night, there was a wall of military vets.  Point is, these are nonviolent protesters, and night after night, they continue to get tear gassed, clubbed and shot with rubber bullets by their own government.

Which brings me to another suggestion.  Some of the most trollish comments I have seen about this situation have come from folks who…surprise, surprise…don’t live in Portland.  They are always the ones flapping their lips about how it’s the city’s own fault for not having things under control, and how they’re hoping Trump finds a way to crack down even harder on us.  My message to them is…if you want to live in a little Trump-worshipping cult compound, that’s on you, but please fuck off as far as my city is concerned.  Don’t tell us how you know what’s going on here and we don’t, don’t give us advice about how we should run things here, how we should vote here, don’t encourage this loser of a President to show up with his goons and try to run the city for us.  STAY THE FUCK AWAY.  We don’t need you or your fascist worship here.

Of course, that is easier said than done.  What does the future hold for us?  Who knows?  Our Attorney General attempted to stop the Feds by filing a restraining order against some of their more secret police-esque actions, but her request was turned down by a federal judge.  I know what you might be thinking…nope, this judge was not one of the many recently appointed by Trump…he was a George W. Bush appointee.

Meanwhile, the dark shadow spreads across the rest of the country…DHS agents have now landed in Seattle.  Once again, this is “to protect federal buildings”…but what we’ve seen in Portland is that this is only a flimsy excuse and their actions range far beyond that.  Also, the agents sent to Seattle are part of a tactical border patrol unit from Texas…what in the hell?  If you think Seattle and Portland are border cities, you are really stretching the concept….

So, be careful and stay safe.  This is happening in Portland right now, but it will probably soon be coming to a town near you.  I really wish this wasn’t the case.  Hang in there, everyone…we’re in for a rough time.

 

 

 

I’ve been pretty frustrated about this.  The End The Shutdown protesters do not represent the majority of America.  Poll after poll shows this.  In my own state of Oregon, 80% of residents support the Governor’s stay-at-home order.

Yet the vocal minority which opposes these safety measures gets lots of attention and camera time because, well…to put it bluntly…. they’re willing to be stupid and risk their health and life by getting together in large crowds.

While those of us who are doing the right thing and staying safe are not about to start attending rallies any time soon.  So it’s harder for us to have our voices heard…but not impossible!

Here is my one-woman, stay-at-home protest!  Be well, everyone.

DontEndTheShutdown

 

 

 

 

2020 has just started and I am already crazy busy.  Part of my time is spent volunteering for my local Democratic party and various climate organizations, but a large chunk of time is going to my fave candidate in the 2020 Dem primaries, Elizabeth Warren.

(And did I mention that I also have a full-time job and a marriage to maintain?  Ha!)

There are many reasons why I like Elizabeth.  My top two issues in this election are getting universal health care established in America, as well as doing something about the climate crisis.  Elizabeth has great plans for both of those issues.  In fact, she has highly detailed plans for just about every problem one can think of on her website.  It’s one of the things I love about her, although I also realize that being wonky can be the kiss of death when it comes to the American public.  Sadly, our culture likes one-liners and simple slogans, not complex thoughts about our complex world.  Too bad for us.

If you’re serious about getting single payer health care in America, the two candidates you are left with are Elizabeth and Bernie.  I considered both of them for a while.  In the end, I went with Elizabeth because she seems like she would be better at working with others to get things done.  Also…I just have to say that my experience with the Bernie movement has been extremely negative, both in 2016 and now as a Warren supporter.  I have friends who are die-hard Bernie supporters and are also wonderful people, but especially online, Bernie supporters can be some of the worst trolls you can run into, short of actual Trumpsters.  The Warren campaign and volunteer family is an extremely supportive and positive place.  I recently took a break from using Facebook and have mostly been hanging out on the All In For Warren site, and it has been great.  No name calling, no bashing of other candidates.  Bernie and Liz are close enough policy-wise that the animosity seems really counterproductive.  It feels like the supporters of the two progressive candidates should have each other’s backs in this process, but of course that is not the case.  If Liz leaves the race, Bernie would be my logical number two choice, but while I could happily support the candidate himself, I’m kind of dreading joining his movement.

And yes, the fact that Elizabeth is a woman does matter to me.  I still have not given up on what is possibly a delusional pipe dream of getting a female President.  I have my doubts about seeing one in my lifetime, but I will certainly keep fighting for it as long as I am alive.

So where I have been spending a lot of my time is in the Warren campaign’s e-mail inbox, as part of her team of correspondence volunteers.  Now there’s a volunteer job which truly fits my introvert personality.  The amusing part of working for Elizabeth Warren is that you get to see both “I hate you because you’re a disgusting Commie who wants to force government health care on us” and “I hate you because you are not a true progressive” opinions.  It’s quite a ride.  There’s also lots of excitement and encouragement, and lots of moving stories from people dealing with the daily battle of trying to survive in this country.

All in all, totally worth giving up some of my evenings and Saturday mornings for.  And things are only going to get busier!  Cheers all, and talk to you again soon.

 

 

 

 

So I have spent the past few weeks of my life reading a truly atrocious right-wing prepper novel.  I’m a masochist, I know.  The story takes place in the Northwest and is every armed MAGA hatter’s fantasy.  Portland, which is naturally a socialist hellhole, collapses in riot and flames, overcome by raging violent hordes of Antifa types.  The intrepid conservative heroine of the tale, who’s been hoarding guns and vacuum-sealed bags of food, has been ready for this moment and escapes into the mountains of Colorado, which are blessedly free of Democratic voters and immigrants.

Reading this alt-right daydream about the collapse of the world as we know it reminded me of a suspicion I’ve had for a long time now–that if an apocalypse comes, I don’t think I want to survive it.

I can picture it now–the day all the preppers have been waiting for.  Smoke is rising from the ruined cities, no doubt done in by the disastrous policies of providing union jobs and offering free school lunches to kids.  As the murderous socialist hipsters finish each other off in the blue urban areas, the few who are wise enough to understand what’s going on flee to the red countryside, where they go back to the old ways, hunting and sewing their own clothes and working the land and…barf.

I know, I know, you’re supposed to appreciate being alive no matter what.  But seriously?  I grew up on a farm and never liked farming.  I don’t even like gardening in my suburban yard.  I’ve never felt any kind of mystical connection while digging around in the dirt, except for the mystical thought that I wanted to go back inside and read the news.  And don’t even get me started on my failed attempts at sewing back in home economics class.

And I would miss all the things I’m not supposed to miss about the modern world.  Starbucks.  Playing around on my phone.  Riding on a crowded bus.  The gentrified downtown of my city.  Truth is, I actually love working my comfy cubicle job and eating artificially colored snacks from the vending machine.

Right, if only I could learn to let go of all that stuff, I would find that there is a magical, natural lifestyle waiting for me of running barefoot in the grass, baking my own bread made from my own grain, which I would be able to eat in the log cabin I built myself.  I refuse to learn that lesson.  Why?  Because I’m happy right now, in this messy, cluttered, imperfect world.  I get the feeling that a lot of the preppers are secretly hoping for a catastrophe, because there is something missing in their lives (maybe excitement?).  I also hope that they do find what they’re searching for…but without the rest of us having to go down in flames in the process.

So in short, if the zombie apocalypse ever does come, feel free to throw me off the back of the truck as bait.  No, really.  I’m okay with not continuing my existence at that point.

Knowing my luck, though, I will end up very much alive and stuck in some happy clappy farming commune.  I’ll be easy to spot–I’ll be the one sneaking away from the fields with a beer, desperately trying to find a wi-fi signal.

Note:  For any of my readers willing to torture themselves, the prepper novel is titled A Great State and written by Shelby Gallagher.  It’s part of a trilogy, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach the other two parts.

Next Page »