Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For Those Keeping Score on Trump's Evil Deeds...

For those keeping score on President Trump's idiotic moves meant to hurt people, let's see:
In the last couple of weeks, he's proposed cutting administrative funds for Meals on Wheels, which would kill the program that brings hot meals to old and infirm people who would not otherwise have them;
He's proposed cutting back on public school funding;
An appointment of his has suggested cutting funding for school lunches, calling them unnecessary and saying there is no evidence that kids who eat well do better in school;
He's repealed legislation protecting federal workers from wage theft and dangerous working conditions;
He's in the process of rolling back the Climate Change-fighting regulations the Obama administration put into place;
He's calling for opening US protected lands for gas and oil drilling and coal mining;
He's given the green light to the Keystone Pipeline, which will bring Canadian tar sands through the US to the Texas tax free Port Arthur, where it will be shipped overseas (by existing contracts), meaning there will be no taxed paid on it, and about 1,000 temporary jobs--up to two months each, most shorter than that--with the 40 permanent jobs going to Canadians who work for the pipeline company-- a giveaway to the Koch brothers, who own much of the contested tar sands, to try to get them into his corner;
He's willing to go along with internet companies selling your private information and browsing history;
He's put into place the least competent people ever assembled for a cabinet;
He's reauthorized the use of private prisons for federal prisoners, which Obama had disallowed several months ago, leading to a huge increase in GEO Group's stock price, enough that they are about to do a stock split;
He's cost $16 million thus far for vacation travel and protection for his adult kids while they fly around the world on our dime doing his business, as well as protecting his wife and child in New York;
Oh, and he tried to take healthcare away, okayed a Navy Seal mission that cost the life of a Seal, a US plane and between 20-30 innocent women and children;
Then he's tried to stop the investigation into his team's possible collusion with Russia during and prior to the election that made him president;
For a cherry on top, he put his son-in-law in charge of revamping the United States federal operations.
Talk about a busy first 65 days or so! Wow! He's been at it, alright, if you want to see the country disappear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not the Best Mom in the World

Every now and then I am reminded by stark reality that I am not the best mom and dad in the world. Today is one of those reminder days. Chepa came over for coffee early, and noticed that my daughter and her boyfriend were in the same bedroom. They had come home from college last night about 2 AM to take care of their dog, Seven, who was neutered yesterday and was sort of freaking out. So I got a scolding for that, even though they are both second year college kids. Then Chepa announced that I would be taking care of Alexa, who is 8, who was staying home from school today. No problem.
   On her way out, I asked Chepa if she had been in touch with the lawyer about the money she owed for the next stage in a lawsuit she's unfortunately embroiled in. She hadn't, but suggested I get in touch so that the lawyer would know we remain a strong team.
   She dropped Alexa off a short while later, then called me from her job to say she desperately needed a locksmith as she'd locked her keys in her car. So I called six or seven and finally got one willing to drive over if Chepa would call. Chepa would not answer her phone.
   So I called the school about Alexa being sick, called the lawyer and made it clear I would be good for the money--hated doing that--if need be, then got ready to see Madeleina off to school. Unfortunately she had a flat tire. Worse, she had lockdown bolts that I could not get off. So I drove to the local tire place and they promised to come to the house to take off the tire but told me I would have to wait for an hour because it was lunchtime.
   I came home to a sobbing Madeleina, who, truth be told, has seen about 20 of these roadblocks pop up in front of her in the last week.
   It's a little later. The mechanic came, got the wheel off, took it to his place and he'll repair or replace it (I just bought it, used, last week). Then I will take Alexa to the store with me, she's sick so she is no mood so I know I am in for a fight, then we will pick up Sierra and Taylor Rain when they get off the school bus, and I'll come home to some other tiny, but real, emergency--like Madeleinia's dog pooping in the house.
   Gonna need some wine later. Today was supposed to be about other things but it got taken over by reality. My own mother and father always seemed better able to handle this stuff than me.

Drug War Follies

This is my 99th Drug War Follies column for Skunk Magazine. They have let me run with it for about 12 years now, and I hope they let me keep on running. In any event, this one is political so if you hate politics, or my position, just skip it. Or read it anyway and then write hate mail!!!!! 


We have met the enemy and we are fucked.

By Peter Gorman

As a rational, reasonably intelligent citizen of the USA, and one who has now been voting for 48 years, it bewilders me that Donald Trump, the thief of New York, the con man of carneys, the troll l’orange, has wound up as president. What did we do? How did it happen that we elected a guy with the intelligence of a can of Spam (sorry, Spam), the soul of Machiavelli, and the heart of a rattle snake to be the leader of the free world? What were his credentials going in? What did he promise—to the people, not the devil—to earn this position? And what is going to come of this errant experiment in populism?
   I’m not sure what you up in the Great White North think about this, but down here a lot of us are going crazy on a daily basis, and with good reason. This guy is killing us. His 3 AM Tweets knocking former President Obama, healthcare, Hillary Clinton, the connection between his closest associates and Russian intelligence in the lead up to the election are enough to make a sober man grab for a pint, or a doper to reach for a needle and spoon. His refusal to display his tax returns that might show where he could be compromised as president, his insistent chanting to have Hillary locked up, his choice of Cabinet heads, from a woman who hates public schools to head up the Department of Education, to a man who wants to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency to head the EPA, to Dr. Ben Carson, the man who says that slaves were immigrants who had to work really hard to head up the Department of Housing, and all the rest of them leave us baffled, bewildered, and yeah, reaching for a second, third and fourth pint.
   How did this happen?
   This is a man who was caught saying he liked to grab women by the pussies on video tape and yet 53 percent of white women voted for him. This is a man who said he would bring back coal mining jobs to forlorn towns which didn’t lose coal mining jobs to regulations, they lost them to animation and a disinterest in coal given the glut of natural gas the US has had for years. This is the man who promised a border wall after years of more Mexicans and other Central Americans leaving the US voluntarily than arrive annually. This is a man who claims the election was rigged and begged, on national television, Russian spies to hack Hillary’s emails, then won and called the election not rigged--though he did lie and say that the fact that he lost the popular vote my more than 3 million was due to illegals voting. This is a man who lies easier than he breathes. To help define his condition, the constant and abject lying, his marble-mouthed spokesperson, Kellyanne Conway explained that he simply has alternate facts—when there are no alternate facts. I have no idea what actual color you see when you look at a clear sky, but we all agree to call whatever we see “blue”. That is how society functions. There are no alternate facts unless we want chaos.
   But then it seems this President Trump actually does want chaos. He claimed, for years, that President Obama was not a US citizen, sent a posse to Hawaii where he said the truth had been uncovered and would blow Obama out of the White House, but never showed the proof. He swears he has proof that the election was rigged but has no proof to show. He swears, on Twitter, that he was bugged at the personal behest of President Obama, but has no proof, no incriminating evidence, nothing. He just recently sent high-level advisors to monitor the goings-on at each of his Cabinet departments and agencies to ascertain that people are loyal to him and not leaking anything to the press. This is not democracy, this is the extreme paranoia of a madman. He lied to his entire constituency before the election that his healthcare plan would include everyone and cover everyone better and for a lot less money than Obamacare, and now, in late March, admits that millions of people will not be covered, but will have access, if they have the funds, to medical insurance. The fact that tens of millions obviously do not have the funds was the precise reason Obamacare was crafted and drafted into law. The current president thinks it’s a great idea to go back to the old way, despite it meaning he lied through his teeth to his voters and that people will go back to being kicked off their insurance in the middle of treatments, even if they have insurance.
   This man bullshits every time he opens his mouth. He has never met the truth in his life. During his short time in office he’s pushed for mentally ill people to be allowed to buy guns, for everyone to be able to buy silencers for their guns, for rollbacks on guarding rivers and waterways from industrial waste, for pushing to rescind the Russian sanctions so that his friend Rex Tillerson, now Secretary of State, can have his former company, ExxonMobil, begin working on the billion dollar deal he crafted with Putin prior to Trump’s unexpected win at the polls. He has decried climate change science even while the sea rises around us; proposed to cut off meals for old and sick people who have no way to get out to get their own; he’s planning to defund Planned Parenthood, the primary source of medical attention for two million women and hundreds of thousands of men in the US because one branch of their operation—funded privately, not with a cent from the federal or any state or local governments—performs abortions. He has reinstituted the ban on any country that promotes birth control to stop receiving foreign aid. He has put forward a budget that will increase our military spending by $54 billion this year while phasing out money for school lunches for kids, afterschool programs, endowments for the arts, public radio and a host of programs that cost nearly nothing while educating millions annually.
   And he’s done this while spending more on weekend retreats—and maintaining a wife in New York who hates him—in two months, than former President Obama ever spent on vacations in a year.
   Then there are his businesses, all 500 or so of them. Rather than divest himself of them, he’s put his kids in charge of them and, what luck, they get secret service protection, and probably an armed jet escort, wherever they go to do business to make him money.
   Folks, we are in the Matrix and it is not pretty here. Things are out of whack.
   But it gets worse: His call to round up innocent illegal aliens who have been here 20-30 years, or were brought over before they could talk, has re-infused life into the dying private prison industry. Yes, the private prison giants have seen their stock prices soar wildly since his election. And then he has Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions in the Attorney General slot and he has promised to look hard at states where marijuana is legal. No, you did not think you were getting away from this red-haired octopus, did you? Yes, by the time you read this he will probably have started that war. Can you imagine him sending local police or national guard into Colorado, Oregon, Washington or elsewhere to shut down legal pot shops and grows?
   Somehow, this man, this man-child who pouts like a 3-year-old and acts like a terrible-two, this short fingered vulgarian—to copy someone smarter than me at perfect insults-—has managed to secure the Oval Office. And he has brought Steve Bannon, a scum sucking—in all ways—piece of flotsam who has never done a single thing worth noting in his entire life, into the Oval Office with him. Bannon, the white nationalist whose term as head of Breitbart News was marked by White Supremacist slogans, endorsements, paid advertisements.
   How did this happen? Were we all drugged? Were people just so angry at the idea of the beautiful nigger in the white house that they would have drunk the toilet water of anyone who shit into it just to get a white guy back into that place?
   As the head dies, so follows the body. We’re not doomed yet, but unless we change things quickly, we are definitely in deep shit and the stink is only going to get worse as people start dying from this freak’s programs.
   Give me a pint, bartender, and keep them coming till I puke, okay?
It would all be funny if people weren’t dying and the prisons weren’t full.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Pat's!

 Well, Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Raise a pint or two of Guinness but keep it safe out on the road. Dying is one heck of a lousy way to wind up a nice celebration.

Now this came out yesterday in The Guardian. For some reason it is not a live link, but if you cut and paste into a new window it will come up. It is a profile of me, including my belly, but the writer, Lance Richardson did a good job with it. I think it's worth a look if you've got 15 minutes on your hands.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

I'm Back and I'm Nuts

Well, I've been back from Peru for two weeks now. Sorry I have not written, but things have been very hectic and I got a nasty couple of bites on my right hand from a very angry anaconda--a juvenile at about 8 feet that was caught in a fishing net, and when I later tried to pick her up I missed by enough for her to nail me. She nailed me again as I tried to snap her off. The result was extreme numbness in my right thumb and right ring and pinkey fingers. Not from poison, as anacondas are not poisonous, but from just biting deeply enough to get some nerves or muscles out of whack. The feeling is coming back slowly and I can finally type again.
   Lots of other stuff going on as well.
   Some of it involves me getting way too angry on facebook at friends who copy and paste political lies. Twice now I have allowed myself to get trapped in stupid rants that make sense at the time but which I later wish I could eliminate from people's memories. The crux of the problem is not with people who disagree with my political position, it lies in people who simply repeat obvious lies. Why respond at all? It's just nonsense, right?
   Well, yes, except that it has real life consequences. If someone copies and pastes something from a source known to make up bs about, say, the new healthcare, well, people might believe that, and not bother to look into what is really going into the new healthcare bills being written. And if that happens, and those bills become law, people are going to die with no healthcare insurance. That is a real life consequence of a lie and I have a hard time ignoring those things.
   Now calling out the lie isn't the problem. The problem is that when people on the thread shout me down as not knowing the truth, I respond, and twice recently I've wound up calling people stupid or brain dead or idiots, that sort of thing. In other words, I have let myself get caught in traps--or maybe it would be more honest to say I ran into the traps full speed--that reduced me to a jerk and caused any validity of my initial reaction to the lies to lose all of its power.
  So I need to stop that. I have no excuse and am embarrassed by my behavior.
  So stop it, Gorman. Let's let those things stand and start over, beginning this morning.
  Hope you all made it through the winter okay.