Tuesday, December 20, 2016

You might be a Liberal!

Yes, you read the title correctly:  you might actually be a Liberal.  You just don't know it.  And you don't know it because the political right-wing has been filling your head with crap for so long that you might not even know what "liberal" really means these days - or how liberals affect your lives on a daily basis.

Do you like the idea that women have the right to vote?  Liberals brought us the 19th Amendment, so if you're a woman and you like casting a ballot right along with men, then you are supporting a liberal idea.

Let's talk about work for a little bit, shall we?  Are you glad employers can't force you into working 60-75 hours a week like they used to be able to do?  Really?  Well, you can thank liberals for the 40-hour work week AND overtime!  Yeppers ... any time you make more money because you worked past that 40 hours a week, you might want to find a liberal and buy him a cup of coffee.  Oh, and have you ever been hurt on the job?  Liberals gave us the Workers Compensation Act!  And for veterans, liberals came out with the G.I. Bill of Rights.  I know three veterans right now who are using that to pay for higher education.  I wonder if they appreciate liberals as they are attending classes.  I doubt it; they are all right-wing conservatives who appear to love the benefits, but hate those who made the benefits possible.

Speaking of education!  Thousands and thousands of Americans (me included) made use of Pell Grants and Guaranteed Student Loans to get our college degrees.  Yep ... those pesky liberals wanted to make it possible for all Americans to continue their education past high school.  And for the little guys, liberals used real data and learned that the earlier children can be a part of an organized educational setting, the better chances of academic success they will have later.  So ... they gave us Operation Head Start.

Do you like the fact that you have clean, safe water to drink?  Then thank liberals for the Clean Water Act.  Of course, if you are in Flint, MI then you are probably still forced to drink bottled water because the conservatives running that city haven't made the repairs or rebuilds needed to bring clean water to all residents.  And the conservative-run Congress refused to appropriate any money for the repairs/rebuild.  Meanwhile, children in Flint are being monitored for - and treated for - lead poisoning.

If you're a senior like I am, you might just appreciate Social Security and Medicare!  I know I do!  I paid into it and now it's time to get some of it back.  Liberals gave us both.  Social Security lifted millions of older people out of poverty ... and it still does.  And without Medicare, I suspect there would be a health care crisis worse than any we've seen to date.  Thank you, liberals, for understanding the "promote the general welfare" clause of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution!  Welfare = well being.  Promote the well-being of the citizenry.

Liberals gave us the Peace Corps.  Our people go to developing/third world countries to teach them how to farm and educate and develop their economies.  Imagine that ... we send people to help those countries instead of bombing the crap out of them!  What a concept!

Liberals gave us desegregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  For liberals, it boils down to equality and that which is promised in the 14th Amendment:  equal protection of the laws.  There are no exceptions.  Equal protection of the laws ... period.  

Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Do you like the idea that every qualified person in this country should have easy access to the ballot box?  You do?  Well, then, you need to know that liberals gave us that law.  

How about a balanced federal budget?  Conservatives talk a big game, but the last time since 1970 that we had a balanced federal budget was when Bill Clinton was President and the liberals controlled Congress.  The U.S. government suffered budget deficits every year from 1970 through 1997. Democrat Bill Clinton was president in 1998, when the government finally recorded a surplus. There also were budget surpluses in 1999, 2000 and in 2001. 2001 was the last year the Clinton administration proposed the budget.  Next came conservatives who nailed us with a budget deficit once again.

Health care reform ... there's Obamacare!  Yes, about 20 million people with health insurance, most of whom didn't have it before because of pre-existing conditions or lack of money to pay the premiums.  Actually, this was a conservative plan that liberals turned into a reality.  And now, conservatives want to dump it all and start all over instead of simply fixing what needs to be fixed ... and who gives a hoot about the Americans who will lose that health safety net! 

Listen ... you probably support much of the above.  You just didn't know liberals gave it to you - and that conservatives fought all of it tooth and nail.  The list is much longer than the items discussed in this piece ... all liberal ideas brought to you by people who understand that equality and general well-being of the citizenry are essential to our country.

I am proud to be a liberal.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Yes, it IS a big deal!

When Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated by a major political party for the office of President, I let out a small gasp.  It actually happened.  To be honest, I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime.

And then the internet lit up with comments.  For most of the women who commented, this was a proud and happy moment.  But then ... the other comments started coming in, too.  And I paid attention.  Most of those comments were made by men.

"She's playing the female card!"
"So she's the first ... so what?"
There were more I will not repeat ... but my favorite:

"I don't know why, but the hussies think this is a big deal."

Yes, it IS a big deal.  Here are just a few dates from history that should set the record straight:

1776 - Women were not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence
1787 - Women were not mentioned in the United States Constitution.
As late as 1867 -  married women in several states couldn't own property. A decision of the Supreme Court of Illinois in Cole v. Van Riper noted that "It is simply impossible that a married woman should be able to control and enjoy her property ..."
It took until 1869 - for any kind of women's voting rights ...the territory of Wyoming passed the first women's suffrage law. The following year, women began serving on juries in that territory.
1916 -  Margaret Sanger opened the first U.S. birth-control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y.  The clinic was shut down ten days later and Sanger was arrested. 
It wasn't until 1920 -  that 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was signed into law.
1936 -  The federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail was modified and birth control information was no longer classified as obscene. 
1960 -  The Food and Drug Administration approved birth control pills ... but it wasn't legal for everyone to use them.
1963 - Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.  Unfortunately, many employers didn't get the message - and still don't.
It wasn't until 1965 - that the Supreme Court struck down the last state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples.
1972 -  The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. It reads: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The amendment died in 1982 when it failed to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.
1972 -  The Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people can use contraceptives through the right to privacy.
1972 -  Title IX of the Education Amendments banned sex discrimination in schools.
1973 -  The Supreme Court established a woman's right to safe and legal abortion, overriding the anti-abortion laws of many states.
It wasn't until 1974 - that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed,  prohibiting discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance.
1976 -  The first marital rape law was enacted.  Nebraska enacted the law making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife.
1994 -  The Violence Against Women Act tightened federal penalties for sex offenders, funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for special training of police officers.
 It wasn't until 2016 - that women were allowed to serve in any job (including combat) in the armed services, provided they meet gender neutral performance standards.  Never mind the fact that women have always been, in some capacity, in combat situations ... and many have died.

So, please ... how long did it take before women were granted the right to vote ... or use birth control ... or have some control over her own body ... or have the opportunity to participate in athletic competition just like men ... or serve her country in any role for which she qualifies?  

I'm one of those women who couldn't even get a library card in 1973 with my own name on it!  My card had my then-husband's name on it with "Mrs." in front of the name!  I remember telling the woman at the desk, "He's not going to check out or read the books.  He won't be bringing them back.  I will."  Didn't matter - I was a married woman who, basically, had no legal identity of my own.

This is no big deal?  No big deal?  Entertainer Elizabeth Banks said this at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia:   "We're half the population ... we're everywhere ... and we matter!"

Yes, we do.  And it matters that a woman has finally been nominated for President by a major political party.  There have been other women in our history who most certainly could have done the job, but our society knocked them down every time. I don't have a crystal ball so I don't know if Hillary Clinton will win the election, but her name will be right there! Trust me ... it IS a big deal.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Who's Who in AZ Dark Money Law!

You might recall SB 1516, a bill that was passed by Republicans in this last Arizona legislative session - and signed into law by Republican Governor, Doug Ducey.  It is a corrupt lawmaker's dream come true!  It removes any criminal punishment for people who make illegal campaign contributions!  Yeah, yeah ... and there's more!  It also allows a whole lot more dark money to be used in Arizona election campaigns.  What that means to you and me is that anyone, anywhere, can donate whatever they want to get someone elected - and we, the voters, will never be able to find out  who made those donations.  We'll never know who bought the people who are supposed to represent us.

Guess what ... that bill is now in effect and you can take every dark dollar available, and you can bet that this new Republican law will cover up a lot of corruption in the upcoming election.  And the sad thing is this:  you can't do a darn thing about it.

Wait just a minute ... there is something you can do.  You can nail those lawmakers to the wall and defeat them in the primary election ... or the general election.  You can actually VOTE them out of office - what a concept!

Laurie Roberts, columnist for The Republic, put together the following list of who voted for SB 1516 and who voted against it. You should not be surprised to know that most all Republicans voted yes ... all Democrats who voted, voted no.  Thank you, Ms. Roberts!  Armed with this information, perhaps we can actually go to the polls this year and do something that will matter:  all those who voted yes on this bill should be thrown out of office.  They put themselves, their greed, their need for power, and their downright corruption above YOU and the state they pretend to represent.

Here’s a rundown of the vote so ... how did your two representatives and one senator vote?  And if they voted yes, what are you going to do when they come begging for your vote again in November?

Republican senators voting for the bill: Sylvia Allen of Snowflake; Nancy Barton of Phoenix; Carlyle Begay of Ganado; Andy Biggs of Gilbert; Judy Burges of Sun City West; Jeff Dial of Chandler; Susan Donahue of Lake Havasu City; Adam Driggs of Phoenix; David Farnsworth of Mesa; Gail Griffin of Hereford; John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills; Debbie Lesko of Peoria; Steve Pierce of Prescott; Don Shooter of Yuma; Steve Smith of Maricopa; Bob Worsley of Mesa; Steve Yarbrough of Chandler, and Kimberly Yee of Phoenix.

Not one Republican senator voted against the bill! 

Democratic senators who voted against the bill: David Bradley and Olivia Cajero Bedford, both of Tucson; Lupe Contreras of Cashion; Andrea Dalessandro of Sahuarita; Steve Farley of Tucson; Katie Hobbs of Phoenix; Barbara McGuire of Kearny; Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma; Martin Quezada of Phoenix, and Andrew Sherwood of Tempe.

Senate Democrats Robert Meza and Catherine Miranda, both of Phoenix, didn’t vote.

Republican representatives voting for the bill: John Allen of Scottsdale, Brenda Barton of Payson, Sonny Borrelli of Lake Havasu City; Rusty Bowers of Mesa; Paul Boyer of Phoenix; Heather Carter of Phoenix; Regina Cobb of Kingman; Doug Coleman of Apache Junction; Karen Fann of Prescott; Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert; Mark Finchem of Oro Valley; David Gowan of Sierra Vista, Rick Gray of Sun City; Anthony Kern of Glendale; Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale; Vince Leach of Tucson; David Livingston and Phil Lovas, both of Peoria; J.D. Mesnard of Chandler; Darin Mitchell and Steve Montenegro, both of Litchfield Park; Jill Norgaard of Phoenix; Justin Olson of Mesa; Warren Petersen of Gilbert; Frank Pratt of Casa Grande; Tony Rivero of Peoria; T.J. Shope of Coolidge; David Stevens of Sierra Vista; Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff; Kelly Townsend of Mesa, and Jeff Weninger of Chandler.

Republicans voting against the bill: Christopher Ackerley of Sahuarita; Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix; Noel Campbell of Prescott, and Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale. Republican Bob Robson of Chandler did not vote.

Democratic representatives voting against the bill: Lela Alston of Phoenix; Richard Andrade of Glendale; Jennifer Benally of Tuba City; Reg Bolding, Mark Cardenas and Ken Clark, all of Phoenix; Diego Espinoza of Tolleson; Carlene Fernandez of Yuma; Randall Friese of Tucson; Rosanna Gabaldon of Green Valley; Albert Hale of St. Michaels; Matt Kopec of Tucson; Jonathan Larkin of Glendale; Stefanie Mach of Tucson; Debbie McCune Davis of Phoenix; Juan Mendez of Tempe; Eric Meyer of Phoenix;  Lisa Otondo of Yuma; Celeste Plumlee of Tempe; Rebecca Rios of Phoenix; Macario Saldate of Tucson; Ceci Velasquez of Litchfield Park, and Bruce Wheeler of Tucson.

Democrat Sally Ann Gonzales of Tucson did not vote.

It just boggles the mind at how blatantly corrupt (yes, my opinion) these Republican lawmakers are - they want that dark money and they don't want you to know who handed over the cash.  The only way they will be stopped is to vote them out of office.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

High temps can kill!

This blog is usually political in nature, but this time I'm changing topics.  Not only am I getting tired of the political scene, I'm also getting tired of seeing news stories about the abuse heaped on dogs by their reckless, careless, thoughtless and cruel owners.  And, yes ... this is ABUSE.  I'm tired of seeing stupid people drag their dogs along as they walk on cement sidewalks.  I'm tired of hearing about deaths of dogs left in backyards with no shade or water - or in vehicles.

HIGH TEMPERATURES CAN INJURE AND KILL ANIMALS! How many times do we have to say it?  

I volunteer at the North Mountain Visitor Center which is part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserves.  People hike the trails every single day and every summer there are hikers who make the news when rescue teams have to bring them down off the mountains.  SIX hikers have already died this summer because they were overcome by the heat.  Heat can kill.  And that applies to dogs, too.

With the high temps now, not only are people still hiking, they are bringing their dogs with them.  STUPID!  The visitor center produced a handout for people who come in (dogs on leashes are quite welcome in the center) ... in hopes of educating.  Here are some numbers for you:

 Hmmm .... could YOU walk in bare feet on a sidewalk that is 154 degrees?  

And even if you don't live in Phoenix where the temperatures can be blistering, your dogs can still be overcome.  High humidity makes it even more difficult for a dog to cool down through panting.  Ninety degrees can quickly turn into a danger zone.

Be smart.  And ... try to educate those who are clearly showing their stupidity.  Am I harsh?  Yes.  And I don't have a problem with that.  None.  There are a lot of things I can't control, but maybe - just maybe - I can prevent some abuse down the road through education.  It's worth a try.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

PPP - Primer on Presidential Power

It this presidential election weren't so funny, I'd be crying.  But maybe I should cry anyway.   And you can bet a lot of candidate supporters will be crying, no matter who wins the election.  The reason?  I'd say most voters do not understand how government works, specifically presidential power.  So whoever is elected is going to be a big disappointment.

Trump:  "I'm gonna build a wall - a HUGE wall."

 Cruz:  "I will abolish the IRS."

Sanders: "I'll make college free for everyone."

Clinton: “I will rewrite the tax code ... "

Let's look at these statements, shall we?  Not one of these statements is accurate because not one of these promises can be kept without Congress.  Not one.  And voters don't seem to know this!  The statements tell us what the candidates would like to do, but make no mistake about it:  Only Congress can rewrite the tax code - or abolish the IRS.  Only Congress can authorize a way to make college free for everyone.  And there's no way any president can fund the building and maintenance of a huge wall by himself/herself.

A top Republican from Utah (sorry, I can't remember his name right now) was interviewed on NPR several weeks ago and he does not support Donald Trump for president.  He said Trump supporters will be disappointed - and angry - should Trump be elected because ...

1) They will find out that Trump doesn't understand how the three branches of government work, therefore ...

2) That HUGE wall will never be built! Revenue bills originate in the House of Representatives and even this bunch of Republicans are not going to appropriate the trillions of dollars it will take to build - and then maintain - such a wall.

Supporters of all the other top presidential candidates are also going to be disappointed and angry - for the same reason.  Voters don't seem to understand that presidential power is not all encompassing, but they expect their candidates to fulfill every pledge made during a campaign.  Oops.  Big Mistake.

My advice:  GROW UP and LEARN SOMETHING!  If you don't remember your high school government class, then do a brief Google search on the three branches of the U.S. government and find out what each branch can - and cannot - do.  

Maybe you'll realize that who you vote for below President on your ballot is just as important - or more - than the office at the top.

As for President ... vote for someone who can work with others, will represent the United States throughout the world with dignity and competence, and someone understands the value of compromise.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Trump and the Republican Abortion Playbook

Actually, I should probably get out the popcorn and just settle in because it's quite a show!

Donald Trump, Republican front runner for the presidency, said women who have an abortion should be punished.  Okay, really ... that's logical, right?  Trump simply applied logic to the abortion issue as seen by most Republican politicians:

1) Anti-choice advocates want the procedure to be illegal.
2) "Illegal" means against the law.
3) If someone violates the law, society calls for punishment.

or ... you might prefer another version of the logic:

1) Abortion is murder.
2) Murder is illegal.
3) People who commit murder should be punished.

So, come on ... if you apply that logic to abortion, then Trump spoke the truth (for once)!  If a woman has an abortion, she will have violated the law, thus she should be punished just as any other criminal!  And, so should the doctors, nurses, scheduling people - anyone who was complicit in that act.

But, whoa Nellie!  Stop the presses!  Within minutes of Trump's interview being aired, the Republican machine nearly tore itself apart!  Even the anti-choice groups and the pro-birthers went into a panic and started appearing on every cable news program available!  Republican lawmakers who have been passing oppressive restrictions on abortion started hiding under their desks.  And they all, once again, started distancing themselves from The Donald.

Why?  Well, it's really very simple.  And it's all politics.  Republicans KNOW that people in this country - by every major survey and legitimate poll conducted over the last forty years - support keeping abortion legal.  

Republicans KNOW that when anyone starts talking about punishing women, their entire talking point of "protecting women" goes right down the toilet.  And that's what they do, you see ... they say their restrictive legislation is all about "protecting women" and, boy, when they say that, many folks will nod their heads and tolerate the overbearing laws because ... who doesn't want to protect women, right?  But how can you "protect women" and make them into "victims" of abortion, when you punish them for it?

 Republicans KNOW that when you start talking about punishing women for having an abortion, the American public is going to withdraw support.  They KNOW they can't sell restrictive laws to the public if those laws include punishment for women. Big time.  And that means they might not get to keep their elective offices!  Ain't politics grand?

Ah ... good 'ole Trump didn't understand that he wasn't supposed to apply logic to this issue.  And he got spanked for doing it.  Poor Donald ... nobody gave him the Republican Abortion Playbook. Within hours, he started walking back on his statement.  And then he - and his surrogates - started saying the whole thing was a misspeak.  Uh, huh.  Right.  

So ... poor Trump.  But don't weep for him;  weep for American women and girls.  We need to protect ourselves because politicians just aren't going to do it.  At least Republican politicians aren't going to do it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Time for a BREAK!

Early this morning, I checked into Facebook and found myself immediately starting to frown.  And I realized why:  I was reading about the latest exploits of some Republican lawmakers.  Then I realized that I have totally lost any semblance of impartiality when it comes to Republicans in office.  I simply cannot stand what is happening and my reaction is quite visceral.  

I despise what they are doing to my country. These people are against everything I value:  equality under the law, equality of opportunity, tolerance, inclusion rather than exclusion, separation of church and state.  I have come to believe that some of them are ... well ... intentionally destructive.

Here are just a few examples that I read today:
  • Republicans in several states continue to defund Planned Parenthood so that thousands of low and middle-income women do not have access to affordable cancer screenings and contraceptives.
  • Raphael Cruz, Republican presidential candidate, is holding up the passage of a federal aid bill for Flint, Michigan as residents continue to struggle with a lead poisoning crisis that was caused by their Republican leaders.
  • Two Republican legislators in Illinois want to punish single mothers.  They introduced a bill that says, if there is no father to sign a birth certificate, the state will not issue that child a birth certificate!
  • Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire says Pope Francis is the "anti-Christ" because he had the audacity to make comments about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wanting to build walls instead of bridges.
  •  A Republican lawmaker in Virginia introduced a bill that would require schools to be certain that children are using the restroom that corresponds to their “correct anatomical sex" ... in order to enforce the measure if it becomes law, school officials will have to check children's genitals before they can go into a bathroom.
  • Republicans in several states waste taxpayer money by drug testing people on public assistance, even after every single state that's done it has shown that the number of those testing positive for drugs is way below national average.  WAY below.  
  • Republicans in the U.S. Senate are refusing to even consider a presidential nominee to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  They say they think the "will of the people" should be honored.  I agree.  The will of the people put President Obama in office for eight years, not seven.
  • Republicans in the U.S. House have wasted millions and millions of dollars with the ever-popular vote to repeal the ACA - without having a plan to deal with the millions of people who would no longer have health insurance if the ACA is scrapped.
  • The Republican Party of Texas wrote in its platform: "We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs ..."  Of course not!  We wouldn't want students to THINK, now would we?
  • Kansas' Republican governor has run his state into the ground - even to the point where some schools last year had to shut down early because they ran out of money - and he's following the Republican playbook.
  • Arizona's Republican governor slashed public education from kindergarten through college - but he wanted more money to spend on for-profit prisons.  
I can lengthen this list, but the disgust I feel for these Republicans is just too powerful.  I need to take a break from them.   I need to refrain from reading about their asinine and malicious legislation and, in the case of the presidential candidates, I need to refrain from reading about the GOP plans to do even more harm to my country - and to me personally.

Yes, it's time for a break from Republicans.  Maybe if I see rational Republicans standing up against what's going on, I'll feel better.  But that sure as hell hasn't happened yet!  Maybe I'll just have to wait awhile to see if I can view them with a more forgiving eye.  I might be waiting a long time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

News consumers are LAZY!

This is my second post about this topic, but the situation is getting worse ... much worse. 

The more stuff I see on Facebook, the more irritated I get.  And I am not as irritated with the original writer or creator as I am with the lazy, lazy people who just keep sharing garbage - without checking accuracy first.

The original creator has an agenda, usually political or religious in nature.  And many times, facts get in the way of a meme that blasts the president or Islam or whoever/whatever is the target of the day.  It's kinda like Carly Fiorina and her infamous videos - remember?  The videos that never existed, the videos that the creators finally admitted were fraudulent and edited with the purpose of misleading?  Well, Fiorina had an agenda and she stuck by her story to the bitter end.  What she counted on was lazy news consumers to spread those lies ... and they did.

It usually takes about thirty seconds to check a story or a set of statistics.  A Google search will usually give you what you need.  But most people won't take the time and that's because the meme or article fits the reader's agenda, too!  Simple, huh?  Hey ... if you hate the president, then you will be more than happy to share the "news story" about the president being part of a conspiracy to murder Justice Scalia!  Oh, yes ... that started making the rounds within a few hours of Scalia's death - and some of my "friends" are more than happy to keep it going even though there is nothing to it.  Nada. Zip. Zilch.  No evidence of any such thing.

Faking a news story is actually very easy.  I bet you that within three hours, I can buy a domain name, then put up a website with a newsy name and a logo.  I can make up some reporters, write a few stories, grab a couple pictures off the internet, and then share one of those stories.  Let's say I write about a child who was punished at school for saying grace before eating his lunch - he was spanked and made to sit outside in the cold while other children ate inside the warm cafeteria.  Well, you can bet that the "war on Christianity" soldiers would grab that story in a heartbeat and it would go viral in minutes.  They wouldn't check:
  •  Source of the story
  • Who is quoted in the story
  • Location of the story
  • Credibility of the publication or reporter
 But spreading that fictional story would fuel their agenda.  They WANT people to believe that there is a war on Christianity and my piece of creative writing would help them do that.

Just do some checking before you post.  And if you do post something that is proven false, then delete it.  That's the responsible thing to do.  When you leave a false story or meme on your Facebook wall - even after it's been proven false - then you let the rest of us know a lot about your character - or lack of one.