Author Archives: mrswhatsit9

Onward Together!

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The news has been unrelenting this week. It feels like if you step away from Twitter for five minutes, so-called President Trump might decide to nuke Canada or institute martial law of defect to Russia and in the flood of ADDITIONAL bombshell stories AFTER that in the following four minutes and 37 seconds, you’d miss it. I saw a tweet of the famous scene from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel are in the chocolate factory and can’t keep up. You know, this one:

Caption: live footage of the NY Times and Washington Post newsrooms. It’s been like that. We’ve all been counting down to 5 pm ET every day with one hand over our eyes, the other clutching a bottle of brown liquor.

Given that, I thought I’d close the week with something that’s full of awesome: Onward Together.

For those who missed it in this week’s deluge, Onward Together is Hillary’s answer to: “So what’s next for you, Secretary Clinton?”

Or as she put it on Twitter on Monday:

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And as always, rather than making it all about her (unlike some Bernie Sanderses and Joe Bidens I could name), she’s remained focused on her Methodist creed:

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When she was younger, that looked like helping kids with disabilities get access to education and, when the Health Security Act of 1993 (her run at creating single payer almost 25 years ago) failed, picking herself up and securing health care for 8 million children through SCHIP.

Now that looks like using her platform and fundraising power to help other small but mighty organizations amplify the good work they’ve already begun.

She knows she’s not the one to organize Millennials, many of whom still appear to be, inexplicably, under Bernie Sanders spell. But Run For Something is.

She doesn’t need to write the definitive guide to effectively lobbying Congress – the team at the Indivisible Guide has already done that.

Swing Left is already hard at work doing the grassroots organizing Democrats will need to take back the House of Representatives in 2018.

The Color of Change is already organizing around issues that affect the lives of people of color every day, like criminal justice reform and representation.

Emerge America has a terrific and comprehensive program to train Democratic women to run for office.

What do they all have in common? They’re relatively small or new groups that have done amazing work with not a lot of resources.

So Hillary’s going to use her star power to fix that. As she does.

What can you do?

If you can give, give.

If you can’t, spread the word on social media. Or sign up for updates. Or volunteer for one of the above groups Onward Together is supporting.

Or as Hillary put it:

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Main image found here (of course).

Methodist creed graphic found here.

It’s Working

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To all my sisters and brothers in The Resistance,

I know it feels like this sham of a stolen presidency has been going on forever. I know it can feel like we’re calling and emailing and writing and donating and marching and working magic and NOTHING IS CHANGING. Not fast enough, anyway, as we watch so-called President Trump burn down our democratic institutions and international reputation and piss on the ashes.

But take heart, Dear Ones. It’s working.

There have been many comparisons to Nixon this week, but the most important one may be that when Deep Throat’s identity was eventually revealed, it turns out he was Associate Director of the FBI Mark Felt. So-called President Trump’s administration has been leaking like a sieve already, and now he’s pissed off the FBI. If history is any indicator, that’s not going to end well for him.

Meanwhile, Trump has also publicly and on Twitter attempted to intimidate witness (and former Deputy Attorney General) Sally Yates and soon-to-be-witness (and former Director of the FBI) James Comey. That’s a felony. Two, actually.

Both of those witnesses testimony relate to Trump’s ties to Russia. Trump also fired US Attorney Preet Bharara, much like with Comey almost immediately after praising him. Now, he had fired ALL the Obama-era US Attorneys, but guess what Bharara was looking into? Trump’s ties to Russia.

Trump’s lawyers have said he has no income from Russia “with few exceptions.” While the income is relevant, what should really concern us all is the debt.

So here’s a little story about getting a security clearance. The feds care about any secrets you’re keeping (susceptibility to blackmail) and who you owe money to, and how much (susceptibility to bribes). I would say our so-called President fails on both counts.

NPR interviewed more idiot Trump supporters this morning. One guy from Georgia was bitching about how he’s “so over” the whole Russia thing. Gee, it’s nice for him that he doesn’t care if Russia is trying to subvert our country, but THE REST OF US DO, so maybe he should shut the fuck up. (And maybe NPR should stop interviewing Trump supporters who believe the same thing on Wednesday they believed on Monday, regardless of what happened on Tuesday? Just a thought.)

This is not, however, a time for us to slack off, to rest on our laurels, to assume that our institutions will take it from here, to trust that a SINGLE GODDAMN REPUBLICAN might consider putting country before party. (Goddess knows, they were eager to impeach Bill Clinton over a goddamn blowjob, so you might THINK some of them might care a LITTLE BIT about treason.)

Rather, this is a time for us to redouble our efforts, to keep the pressure on, to do what we each need to keep ourselves strong for the fight. Feed your body with nourishing food, enough sleep, and exercise, preferably outside. Feed your mind with truth and knowledge and the wise counsel of good friends. Feed your soul and spirit with art and music and dancing and joy and beauty and prayer and magic. And know in your heart: this is a fight we will win. It is only a matter of time.

Image found here.

 

Now That The Damn Tour Is Over, Maybe We Can Create Some Actual Unity

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Dear DNC,

Look. I get it. Bernie Sanders generated a lot of heat in the primaries. Thousands of young people showed up at his rallies and gave his campaign $27 and made a lot of noise on social media and got tattoos they’re likely to regret within the next few years (fortunately, ink can be covered with more ink). They didn’t exactly set the polls on fire, but whatever. They were young people excited about supporting their candidate, and that was nice to see.

Which is probably why the DNC brain trust decided that Tom and Bernie’s Excellent Adventure would be just the thing to bring all the fractious factions in line (and I apologize for sending you to CNN with their damn auto-play videos, but I was trying to get a link to a news announcement about the “Unity Tour” without commentary).

One problem: MILLIONS more of us did NOT support Bernie Sanders and, in the wake of everything he’s done over the past year to damage the eventual nominee and the party itself, the LAST thing we want is to unify WITH HIM.

I know – we didn’t show up at rallies.

We DID show up at the local campaign office, bearing home-baked brownies, to do data entry and filing. We DID show up at the supermarket parking lot every weekend to register voters. We DID show up evenings, after dinner was over and the dishes were done and the homework was done and the laundry was washed and folded and the lunches were packed and the permission slips were signed, to phone bank from our dining room tables.

We didn’t make a lot of noise on social media.

We DID have private communities MILLIONS strong of people – mostly but not entirely women, mostly but not entirely middle aged and older, of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions – who passionately loved and respected our candidate (she was always “Hillary” to us) and were tired of being relentlessly trolled, attacked, threatened, bullied, and shamed in public spaces, many times by St. Bernard of the Snows’ supporters.

We DID get together in each others’ living rooms to craft Suffragist sashes to wear to the polls and fundraise and organize and canvass and support each other and our girl Hillary.

We didn’t give $27.

We gave a HELL of a lot more. That’s one of the advantages of having a few more years in the workforce under your belt. We can afford to max out our legally allowed donations.

And we see you, DNC. We see that women are leading The Resistance, and your “Unity Tour” was a sausage fest. We see that women of color voted for Hillary in MASSIVE majorities, but St. Bernard thinks that we need to abandon the “identity politics”  he doesn’t care about in favor of HIS preferred hobbyhorse of the white working class. We see that “working class” in reality is mostly women and people of color, but not in the small, insular world of 93+% white Vermont, where Bernie has spent the overwhelming majority of his life. We see that Jon Ossoff, who’s in a very close race to turn Tom Price’s *Senate* seat blue, isn’t sufficiently “progressive” for Bernie, but that pro-life Heath Mello, standing for *mayor* in Omaha, is.

We see you. And we don’t like it.

Now you are right about one thing. Women and people of color and LGBT people probably won’t abandon the Democratic party in large numbers in a fit of pique over having someone who is avowedly, loudly, stubbornly not one of us (other than temporarily when it suits his own personal ends) constantly pushed on us, will we or nil we. We don’t have that luxury. We choose and vote like our lives depend on it, because they do.

But – and this is an important but – women, and particularly women of color, have been the unpaid, unappreciated, we’ll show up and do the boring grunt work while you fellas make all the speeches and get all the press and take all the glory and credit, labor force of every progressive social movement going back to the abolitionists. And we might not be there next time around if you keep this shit up.

Signed,

Mrs. Whatsit

Image found here.

100 Days of Fail

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We’re winning! We’re winning bigly! It’s YUUUGGGEEE the winning! We’re getting tired of winning!

Yeah, no.

How has so-called President Trump failed? Let me count (some of) the ways.

The big five promises for the first 100 days were:

  1. Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)
  2. Build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it
  3. Suspend immigration from terrorist-prone areas
  4. Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal
  5. Guarantee six weeks of paid MATERNITY (not parental) leave

Trumpcare was a total fail. It turns out, his idiot supporters love their health care plans – they just don’t want it named for the black guy. Paul Ryan introduced his draconian American Health Care Act, and sure enough, they went apeshit. It was reminiscent of this foolishness, from a few years back:

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So-called President Trump, desperate for a win, raged and shouted and threatened and threw a tantrum and blamed everyone other than Ronald Reagan’s ghost and that creepy Easter Bunny they hired for the White House egg roll (yet another fail) to no avail. Apparently, the Republicans have no idea how whipping votes works, so Ryan had to cancel.

The Republicans regrouped and, trying to appease the Freedom Caucus (something they should’ve already realized is a losing proposition), came up with a WORSE plan. The cherry on the AHCA v. 2 shit sundae was to announce that *Congress* would get to keep *their* Obamacare – it’s just everyone else that would get thrown off and left to die. That is not going over well, so once again, vote canceled.

The wall. Here’s the thing: all thinking people knew from the start that the whole wall deal was bullshit. Unfortunately, the Venn diagram of “Trump supporters” and “thinking people” looks like this:

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Even Congressional Republicans know it’s fucking ridiculous. So Trump hatches the brilliant plan to threaten a government shutdown if he doesn’t get his way on funding, and blame the Democrats if the government shuts down. Even Congressional Republicans know THAT’s fucking ridiculous, too. With control over BOTH the legislative AND executive branches, a shutdown would be 100% on them, and they know it. Remind me: how’d that turn out for Newt Gingrich? Ted Cruz?

Result? Congress is working on just approved a bipartisan continuing resolution and is working on a longer term spending plan right now, and there’s still no money for Donny’s wall. Maybe he should go back to Mexico with his cap in his hand? At least he’d be comfortable and familiar with the inevitable failure.

Suspend immigration. Let’s talk about Executive Orders for a minute. I’m old enough to remember when the GOP loudly proclaimed that EOs were a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad usurpation of power by the President. But somehow, when their guy is in the White House, they’re AWESOME!11!!!1!

Oh wait – I know this one! EOs are only bad when a black guy signs them!

Of course, Trump keeps forgetting that we have THREE branches of government – that pesky judiciary! – and judges have actually READ the Constitution. He keeps signing ’em, they keep overturning ’em. Muslim ban? Overturned. Muslim ban the sequel, Dumb and Dumber? Overturned. Yanking funding from sanctuary cities? Overturned. Fail. Fail. Fail.

Trade deals. OK, so-called President Trump did pull out of TPP. But (and I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this Berniebros) that’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. For two years, Trump raged across the campaign trail about China. Pulling out of TPP is tantamount to ceding all control over and influence on Pacific rim trade to China. Oops.

Meanwhile, I know Donny wants to be a BIG BOY and be able to shout NO and have everyone listen to him, but I’d hate to be the person who draws the daily short straw in the administration and has to explain to him the stupidity of his latest idea about trade. First poor President Xi had to explain what currency manipulation is so Donny could understand that China’s not doing it and hasn’t for several years (and really, making the visitor participate in the daily circular firing squad is NOT NICE).

Then so-called Agriculture Secretary Perdue drew the short straw and had to create pictures to demonstrate why pulling out of NAFTA unilaterally is a bad idea.

I wonder who got stuck with explaining to Trump why he can’t just cancel our trade deal with South Korea today?

Six weeks of paid maternity leave. Notice it’s just for mothers, and also notice that Trump doesn’t give two shits about this in either case. It was only in there as a smokescreen to protect Daughter-Wife Ivanka’s purported “centrist” cred. Which, as John Oliver has pointed out, is based on precisely ZERO evidence:

Trump’s budget proposal? Fail. Ludicrous fail.

Trump’s tax reform proposal? Fail. In fact, let me quote Eugene Robinson’s column in today’s Washington Post on that account:

Even the conservative Tax Foundation, which has rarely seen a tax cut it didn’t like, foresees at least a $2 trillion gap.

But wait! I thought deficits were bad? Oh right – black guy thing again.

Economic growth? The Q1 2017 numbers were just released, and it was the slowest quarter for growth in over three years. Fail.

Donny’s VOICE hotline? You should definitely, definitely NOT call the hotline for crimes committed by illegal aliens to recount the plot of old Twilight Zone or X Files episodes. Or of Men In Black. Or the fact that ET was flying without a pilot’s license. Or to bitch about the alternative timeline created by the Star Trek reboot. Definitely do not call 1-855-48-VOICE  (1-855-488-6423) to do that.

Need help keeping track of all of so-called President Trump’s failures? I understand – he’s failing so much and so often, it’s really hard to keep up. Fortunately, Pulitzer-prize winning, nonpartisan, fact-checking organization PolitiFact has a Trump-O-Meter that can help you out. They’re awesome!

Although, as my spouse points out, were he polled about whether he approves of the job so-called President Trump is doing so far, he’s not sure how he’d answer. Since he’s against everything Trump is for, my spouse is very pleased by the fact that Trump’s been an utter and complete failure to date. (I tell him he’s parsing language too closely and he should just express his disapproval in the strongest terms possible, but that’s what you get with someone as logical as he is.)

In conclusion, what with all the failing and whatnot:

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All I can say is: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.

Header image found: Everywhere. Seriously. So-called President Trump is a total mess (but you already knew that).

Government hands image found at: RWNJ,org

Venn diagram image found at: http://www.learningelectronics.net/vol_4/chpt_8/2.html

Trump quote found at: Reuters Twitter account

Are You Marching?

static1.squarespace.comThese days it can be easy to get all protested out. Particularly if you live in or near a major city, there are rallies and protests and marches it seems like every day, and certainly every weekend. Hey, protest is the new brunch, right?

And we just *had* a big march last weekend – the Tax March – and there’s another big march coming up *next* weekend – the People’s Climate March.

“Mrs. Whatsit!” you cry. “Can’t I please have at least one weekend off? If I don’t weed soon, I won’t be able to find my front door, and I have one more day before I’m going to be wearing my pajamas – or my last Halloween costume – to work!”

I hear you, but if you can, it’s really important to show up for the March For Science tomorrow, Saturday, March 22.

Science is not a partisan issue, but it *is* political, particularly lately.

Yes, we all know that so-called President Trump’s budget is not going to pass. Even the dipshit Freedom Caucus isn’t going to approve all his draconian cuts, and they love them some draconian cuts, let me tell you.

But his plan to cut 30% from the EPA’s budget is not going away. Because one of the few things it seems like all the Republicans can actually agree on these days is “Screw the planet! We want to kill every environmental regulation we can, and we don’t care if it causes asthma or cancer or decimates wetlands or kills endangered species, or, you know, DESTROYS OUR ABILITY TO SURVIVE AS HUMANS ON THIS PLANET due to climate change. YAY POLLUTION!”

This bunch of young-earth, creationist, heartbeat-bill, reality-challenged nincompoops is doing everything in their power to kick scientists out of national decision-making and to shape scientific results according to their desired political ends (aka, “I don’t care about your damn facts – I just want rationalizations for what I already believe, no matter how asinine it is”).

Which is why it’s important that we march. Science matters. Facts are a thing, and not, as some would have you believe, a liberal conspiracy. Research that helps us understand how the world and the cosmos work is worthy of support. Human-caused climate change is happening, and it’s the biggest collective threat humanity faces, more that ISIL or economic inequality or right-wing nationalist political movements or Ebola or the rapidly approaching post-antibiotic era or any of the -isms we can name. Science is the only way we can figure out how to halt it and maybe even reverse some of the damage that’s already been done.

As the march website says:

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.

The main march is in Washington, DC, but there are satellite marches in over 600 locations worldwide. Maybe there’s one near you?

Come out and celebrate science with scientists and the science-supporting public – and me (and my secret “chief curiosity correspondent” crush Emily Graslie – well, at least if you’ll be in Chicago).

Image found here.

You Need Closure

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My spouse is not a hot head. He doesn’t get angry or yell or rage or raise his voice. He’s a kind, gentle soul, normally.

These are not normal times.

We were both raised evangelical. In high school, he had seriously considered being a minister. By the time we met, however, at a religious college, we were both well on our way out of the church.

My path took me to a “gap year” type situation where I was working retail and customer service type jobs before starting grad school, which meant that for the first time in 17 years, I had a whole year when I could read anything at all I wanted. I proceeded to work my way through the local library’s entire catalogue of second-wave feminist classics. While reading Robin Morgan, I got introduced to the concept of W.I.T.C.H., and then through the local UU church, to Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Rise Up and Call Her Name.

I knew almost immediately that I’d found my place and my people. I also knew that I had a lot of psychic baggage hanging on from 22+ years in a misogynist world founded on a patriarchal religion and run by woman-hating men. And I knew I needed to deal with it, or it would eat me alive.

The very first ritual I ever created was for myself only, making peace with and releasing my religious past. I created an elaborate trail of my entire religious journey, from memorizing my first bible verses at age two through getting “saved” (or “born again” if you prefer) at age five. I wrote about Sunday school and church camps and revivals and altar calls and Awana and youth group and Vacation Bible School and singing in the choir and 13 years of fundamentalist christian grade school and many years of Marches for Life and summer missions projects. I remembered my awakening to the fact that there was a better than average chance this was all bullshit around the age of 12 and the fact that my mother tried to support me, as much as the constraints of her world view would allow. I honored the resulting years of questioning and then hitting college and learning to think critically and acquiring better intellectual tools. I went all the way up to the present, having found the Goddess, where She was waiting for me all the time. I named names. I laughed and cried and raged and screamed and argued. I felt nostalgia and sadness and loss and love and regret and relief that I made it through relatively unscathed. And I forgave. I forgave my deeply misguided but well-meaning parents. I forgave my teachers and coaches and youth ministers and pastors, despite the fact that they had not asked for it, did not want it, and would never understand why they needed it. I forgave my equally deluded childhood friends. And I burned it all, and dumped the ashes in the creek that ran along the edge of the property, and set my face, my heart, my mind, and my spirit towards the future.

Which brings us back to my spouse.

I’ve been saddened and disappointed by evangelicals since the election. My relationship with my evangelical family is on life support, and the prognosis is not great. But I’m neither angry nor surprised.

As Maya Angelou (may her memory be a blessing) wrote: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

My spouse made an intellectual break with evangelicals due to their rampant hypocrisy long before I met him (although you’ll never convince my mother-in-law that his leaving the path to the ministry is not directly and solely my Jezebel ass’s fault). But I don’t know that he’d ever made the emotional break. And now, after more than 25 years, he’s grieving it like the loss of a lover. And he’s been stuck on the anger stage since about November 10.

All that was to say this: so many of us are grieving painful breaks with people and organizations and situations and institutions we thought we knew right now. But we can’t move forward if we can’t let go of the past. You have to be sad about it, and live through that sadness, and release it, to move towards the future. I don’t know what that future will be, and neither do you. We’re all afraid, but I have hope, and I have to hold to that vision of hope, of a better future. There is much work to be done to help us get into and stay in the “Good Reality.” And we can’t get there with pain and anger and regret dragging us down. So do what you need to do to get closure with whatever is holding you back, because we need you, unreservedly, in the fight for hope and the future and our lovely, fragile blue-green planet and our children’s children’s children.

And I guess I need to help my non-religious spouse find his way towards his own ritual of closure before his anger burns him up.

Image found here.

Could We Stop With the Public Monday Morning Quarterbacking Already?

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I had the idea to write this post immediately after the election.

Here’s what I was thinking at the time: we do need to talk about what went wrong.

Hillary did not run a perfect campaign,

NO ONE IN THE HISTORY OF EVER HAS.

There’s was lots of pontificating about “economic insecurity,” despite the fact that 40% of union households that went for Trump, when we all know – including union members – that he is no friend to unions.

There was lots of pontificating, particularly from dudebros, about how race was the determining factor, despite the fact that, last I checked, Hillary’s white and we elected an African-American in 2008 and still haven’t manged to elect a woman.

Liberal white men have to accept that sexism played a huge part, and the rest of us have to accept that they weren’t the only problems.

But maybe, just maybe, we keep it in the family rather than in a public fucking interview for fucking CNN with David fucking Axelrod. You know, just hypothetically.

And then things kind of died down, and I figured I’d missed my window and moved on to other topics.

But no! I hadn’t missed my window!

St. Bernard of the Goddamn Snows is STILL out there talking shit about how he would’ve won, and if all us uppity wimmins and Negroes would just sit down (preferably at the back of the bus and/or on his lap, cantcha take a joke, honey?) and shut up, he’d be MORE THAN HAPPY to work with so-called President Trump on the class issues and economic anxieties of (white) working class people, which are the only things that REALLY matter, only all us “identity politics” people are just too dumb to figure that out.

First of all, “Bernie would’ve won” is a highly debatable assertion. Oppo research exists on EVERY candidate and potential candidate, only Bernie’s never came out. Hillary’s people didn’t use it because she didn’t want to divide the party, and the Republicans didn’t use it because they were DYING to run against St. Bernard, and those of you who are STILL feeling the Bern might want to ask yourselves why that was.

Secondly, since when is “white man” not an identity? Oh right – they’re the norm; the rest of us are all those icky “Others” who have “problematic” identities. I forgot.

Joe Biden’s now jumped on the “I would’ve won” train, too.

As the wise and witty Melissa McEwan writes at shakesville: “Joe Biden, What Are You Even Doing?” (and you should really go read the whole post)

Joe, I get that all the memes about you washing your Trans-Am on the White House driveway in your aviators and Wonkette’s referring to you as Old Handsome Joe Biden for eight years might’ve gone to your head, but let’s not forget that you actually voted for Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill, and ANITA HILL, YOU MOTHERFUCKER. No, some of us didn’t forget.

What’s worse is that they’re also both implicitly saying that the Democrats can only ever run a white man for president. Well, at least if they want to be successful and win.

Fuck that shit.

So I find myself back where I was in early December, after I’d climbed out of the rye whiskey bottle, I mean “post election slough of despond.”

Just like any time you ever run any kind of a campaign (marketing, fundraising, PRESIDENTIAL, whatever), you need to debrief after, to document what went well so you can do more of that next time, what went wrong so you can figure out why it went wrong and work on fixing it for next time, and record what you learned while it’s still fresh in your mind, again with an eye towards improvement.

But could we maybe keep it in the fam and STAY THE FUCK OFF OF CNN?

Image found on Pinterest.