Death And Taxes

I live in a state that has no sales tax.  Lucky me!  I can go to a store or restaurant and the state government does not get to add anything to my bill and keep it.  But, I also work for a public school, drive on public roads, and rely on public services like the police and fire departments.  Our town has lost it’s library.  Lucky me? Every bond that gets floated past our citizens is voted down… people don’t want to, or ‘can’t’ pay.

But, we got our tax bill this week.  We live in a modest home in an okay neighborhood… nothing fancy… really. Our tax bill, however, is on par with a house in Los Angeles worth three or four times what our house is worth!  So, those roads? I pay for them.  Those schools? I pay for them.  Those public services? I pay for them.  My neighbors, who are renters, get the benefit of all of those things.  My local library? Sorry folks, there wasn’t enough money…

We are not the most taxed people in the world.  Perhaps if we were taxed more, we would be a better country.  We could afford healthcare for all, beautiful roads, small classroom sizes, mental health facilities that kept the homeless off the streets, food on every table, after school programs free to the public and free college.  If you were not paying for health care and child care, if you were not having to save for your child’s college, if you were not fixing your car because you hit that pothole that never gets fixed, perhaps you could live on a little less money.

The tax reform coming from Washington is a joke.  In no way will it make my life or your life better… this is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul… and in this scenario most of us are Peter… and Paul? He is already making plenty of money… Robbing Peter means that HUD is cutting 2-3 billion dollars out of their budget, it means that money spent helping people pay for health care is cut, it means that the majority of the people who need help in our country will be on the chopping block and lose the benefits they depend on.

If our state needs more money to run the government and help our citizens they will try to balance their budget by increasing our property tax and cutting public education… both will slam our family… Lucky me

Advertisements

Trump Claps For Himself

Trump steps onto the stage clapping for himself, he is speaking to conservative voters… he likes people who speak well of him.  He is at the Values Voters Summit… I am going to vomit… we are a nation sustained by the values of prayer.  He quotes scripture…’The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.  His promise is to never leave the survivors’ side.  Mentioning the fires in California and Puerto Rico he stayed on script… we love those American’s and what they are going through…. it is hard to listen to his ramblings even when he stays on script.  His words are hollow, empty of understanding and true compassion.

He knows his audience.  An ovation for saying ‘We support our American Flag’. He thanks the crowd.  He gives a history lesson saying that our forefathers invoked the name of ‘Our Creator’ in the Declaration of Independence four times… Trump claims Ben Franklin wanted people to bow their heads in prayer, it is interesting to note that Franklin was arguably an atheist.  That will be one for the fact checkers.

His mostly white audience cheered for him being ahead of schedule in coming through on his campaign promises… protecting the unborn, protecting religious organizations, making a day of prayer official, tightening immigration restrictions, promising not to target religious groups, stopping the attacks on Judeo-Christian values… We’re saying Merry Christmas again… the room of Christians cheer.

He is proud of his kept promises: Getting out of the TPP and the Paris Accord, pushing through the Dakota XL Pipeline, our new Supreme Court Justice, and the recent EPA protection cancellations.  This is a list of thoughtless actions that will hurt people, our Earth, and our position of respect in the world… add to that his backing out of the Iran deal and the US just looks less and less reliable as a partner in global concerns.  So glad we can all say Merry Christmas again.

Trump is bringing back religion… and from the cheers of the crowd, they are thrilled to have him as their spokesman.

Trump is arguably the least informed voice in a conversation about anything: politics, race relations, international concerns, scientific findings and religion.  It continues to baffle me that so many are still cheering. At least he is proud of himself… hence the clapping….

 

 

It’s Not About Him…

Tweet, tweet, tweet… day after day we read absurdly offensive statements from our president.  We asked ourselves why he took so long to tweet about Charlottesville  or any other event… there is only one answer… Charlottesville was not about him, and when things are not about him he doesn’t really care until someone makes him see that those events require a presidential response … what he really cares about is what he tweets about: crowd size, news that makes him look bad, SNL, people who disagree with his handling of an increasing number of incidents at home and around the world. He does not really care to tweet about incidents- just the people who disagree with or criticize him or things that will make him look good to his base.

As we go through these next 3 + years remember that everything that comes out of the white house is meant to make him look good, feel good or fire up his base. His perception of events are not ever objective.  For example, there may have been a commotion when he was tossing paper towels, what he said he heard were cheers, cheers for him.  It was probably shock, confusion, and a bit of outrage, but that is just my spin.

No tweets (that I have seen) about the California fires… he doesn’t really care much for Californians who didn’t vote for him, and sending his thoughts and prayers to that liberal state may upset his base.

If someone makes it about him… we will see some commentary and perhaps action… otherwise he has better things to focus on like his executive order reversing health care subsidies for the most needy Americans.  So glad he is showing America he can keep his promises. I can’t wait for America to be great again.

Stop Looking Up and Start Looking In

Many of us have heaps of criticism about the daily (often hourly) assaults on our moral sensibilities by the president.  Yes, he is horrid, racist, misogynistic… and at least five more labels that go against all that I hold dear… But, many are picking apart, not just what he says, tweets and does, they are picking apart the efforts and commentary of those who oppose him.

Tina Fay did a comedic piece on SNL with a sheet cake… It was great. I loved it.  And yet, here come the haters who didn’t get it. They are critics who suggest that her piece was serious and that it encouraged us to join a ‘sheet cake-eating movement’… Really? They obviously missed the point, the frustration, and the anger of the segment.  If you missed the piece on one of the platforms you follow, here it is again: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tina-fey-sheet-caking_us_599675d0e4b0e8cc855cce85

Instead of looking to criticize people who are putting their opinions out there, we should look at what we are doing ourselves to push back against Trump.  Send postcards, write e-mails, have those difficult conversations where you listen as much as you speak, march, boycott, make a statement, help solve this crisis, resist…. criticizing people who are trying to do something is counter productive… YOU do something.

I am tired of hearing that ‘This is not who we are’ from all sides… sorry folks, it is.  We elected him and WE need to sort this out.  WE need to grow, to listen, to make it right.  I know that this is who we are because we are a country where an angry few can terrorize the many, where one bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch… 20 cars can give me plenty of room when I am out riding my bike ~ it only takes one jerk to buzz by me honking and yelling for me to get off the road to do harm.  Our town is working on improvement but over and over people hatefully complain about what is being done… Our town and our country is being terrorized by hate ~ that is what racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and misogyny are really about… we could say it is fear but that just makes you feel sorry for the haters… we need to combat hate, we have elected hate to our highest office and hate has been given a license to flourish with the protection of the first amendment.  Hate is on the rise and we must rally against it.

So, when you turn on your ‘feed’ make sure you are not contributing to hate… make sure you are being constructive and helpful… and to all of the teachers out there beginning your school year, make sure that you are teaching the most important lessons of our time… teach kindness, understanding, love and peace… let’s raise a generation where hate dies a quick death because it is drowned out by US… let’s become what we wish our country was now… sadly, what’s happening in our country IS who we are, but it doesn’t have to be…

 

 

A Perfect Fit… Scaramucci and Trump

I watched, enraptured, as the new press secretary introduced Anthony Scaramucci and he took the stage… Smooth operator played in the minds of some CNN news people as he slowly poured out his proverbial soul to the press and the American people… His devotion and loyalty to the President is obviously unmatched and what earned him his job, as was his ability to smile and almost flirt with a room full of reporters… It was like watching a first date. The room was full of anticipation.  Will he be the one?  He was charming, confident, boyish, and funny… he did his job.  But, he also declared his love for his boss, he made some interestingly catchy statements and showed us that he will be 100% in the President’s corner on all things ~ will he be willing to lie and distort facts? Well, after watching his morning interview on CNN, it seems so.

I felt almost sorry for Spicer, he was a deer in the headlights in that briefing room. It was like he had no idea of what he was getting himself into until it was too late and he was a character on SNL.  Scaramucci, on the other hand, knows exactly what he is taking on.  He is a cat playing with a mouse… the mouse still has some life in it, but it is being toyed with, tossed around… it will only be a matter of time before the claws come out and there is one final chomp.  Scaramucci is reminiscent of a mafia lawyer… he is too smooth… beware! If we thought hiding in the shrubbery was bad we will have so much more to be concerned about as the months progress…

The most laughable moment of that press conference, if you want to see humor in a horror film, was when he declared that Trump has ‘very good karma’… let that sink in

Sympathy for the Devil

I almost feel sorry for him… day after day, speech after speech, meeting after meeting and tweet after tweet… people still support him ~ those same people who wore the red hats and flooded the internet spreading fake news ~ they are standing tall by their man.  Billing himself as the only one who could come in and ‘save’ our country, he was (and probably still is) looked at as the Messiah. I recall reading  and hearing his supporters  speak about Trump being the choice of God.  How frightening for them to think that God was really not in charge of our election but actually a narcissistic loose cannon and his helpful Russian friends (whether he knew it or not).  Trump is spiraling out of control, digging his hole deeper by the day, and alienating our global friends. Most every day we can hear him speaking the alternate truth.  Watching Trump’s presidency is like watching a train wreck or a singer perform who can’t carry a tune… cringing, I watch, through my finger, shaking my head…  I almost feel sorry for him because he is making himself and our country look like a fool…. and a man in his 70’s should behave with more dignity and speak with more care…

Impeachment? I don’t think it will happen…. but I can hope…

People say that everything is either a gift or a lesson…. well, America?  Have we learned our lesson yet?  If so, it is time to move on and do better next time.

Never Give Up!

Never give up… the show must go on.  A lesson confirmed by my 17 year old son last night at his final performance of his senior year.  Just as he was about to go on stage for his last ‘big number’ his mic went out.  Panicked, he was trying to change the batteries and finally just pulled off the battery pack, tucked in his shirt and stepped on stage.  The band is really amazing, but without a mic on, the singers are almost impossible to hear.  He knew that… and he knew that this was his final performance.  He told me that all he thought about was that no matter what, he would be heard.  And he was.  He sang much of his part up an octave so he could really belt it out.  The adrenalin rush pushed him beyond what he had done during every rehearsal… and he made it work

So, this is the lesson… at our time of crisis… when things are not going our way… don’t give up… that is the time to sing up an octave and really belt it out!  Do not let the band drown you out!  This current political craziness is threatening to silence us at one of our most important moments… sing loud, sing strong, and put it all out there… Never give up and always be heard!