Friday, October 30, 2020

Covid 19 as a Weapon?

I found this article to be very interesting:

UBI is going to become necessary. The small businesses that are gone in America, aren't going to provide livelihoods anymore.

As you know, I wrote an article here recently on the Social Engineering of Covid19. and why it has been allowed to happen. Make sure to read that article before you read this one. The virus is real, but it is being USED.

I don't like what is being done to our lives.  The far reaching implications of all this disturbs me.

Covid 19 as a Weapon: The Crushing of the Disposable Working Class by Design

Some articles warn not to trust Cory Morningstar, the author of the above article.  It is hard to know who to trust nowadays.  I am bothered by the social engineering I do see. Time magazine going on about the "Great Reset" as lives have been destroyed is beyond bothersome.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Don't Take Voting for Granted!


This was another lecture I did to the UU. I had to cut this way down for the time limit. My husband did help me edit it. I believe even if we have nothing but the worse candidates, we must never refuse to vote, because once that right is gone, it is gone for good.  My voting is done, it was one of the most Democratic ballots I've ever voted. The Green party usually gets a lot of my votes, but we are in crisis mode, even locally the Republicans here have a death-grip on us, and are impacting our lives, refusing all Covid19 mandates.  We get to see who is going to be president next soon.

Don’t Take Voting for Granted

"Voting isn't the most we can do. But it is the least" [Gloria Steinem]

If the ballot doesn't work, we'll try something else, but let us try the ballot.” [Malcolm X]

So what does it mean to vote, exactly? It's something that many people can't access today, or have fought for centuries, to have a democratic process happen where they are truly represented. Few people in the history of this world have ever had the choice in electing their own government.

One snapshot of the problem comes from the Democracy Index, a project of the Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranks how 167 countries are run.

Only 22, mostly in Western Europe, rate as full democracies, in which civil liberties are respected and protected by adequate checks and balances on government power.

The US is among 54 flawed democracies on the Index, or nations that provide free elections, and honor basic civil liberties, but suffer from major institutional problems, like governance problems. The last time I checked, we rank just ahead of Malta and Estonia in those areas.

Thirty-seven more nations on the Index are classified as hybrids, or flawed democracies hobbled by issues like rigged elections. The remaining 54 are authoritarian, mostly in Africa, or the Middle East, in which basic rights are severely oppressed, under threat, or essentially nonexistent.

Americans take the ability and right to vote for granted, when this has been chipped away. Even if you feel there is no one that's worth supporting, don't ever give up. Don't fall for the idea, “Oh, your vote doesn't matter,” or, “All those politicians are sold out, and rotten, anyway.”

Otherwise, you're just giving in to inertia. Voting is an important part of any activist's toolbox, even if it means sticking only with local races, or there's only candidate you're able to support. So you go and protest, but never show up to vote? Then you're missing an important part.

Poor people and people of color, and women all had to fight for the right to vote. People forget that our time in America of having an equal vote among all races, and sexes is a very recent development. Women didn’t gain the right to vote until 1920, Native Americans until 1924 – and some had to wait until 1948 – while 18- to 20-year-olds could not vote until 1971.

Before that date, most states set the bar for voting at 21, even though you were old enough to marry, get sent off to war, and pay taxes. Vietnam raised the issue with the saying, ''Old enough to fight, old enough to die – old enough to vote.”

By the 1980s and 1990s, however, getting young people to vote, or engaged politically, was nearly impossible – leading to campaigns like MTV's “Rock The Vote” effort, because so many people of our own generation checked out. I was politically active, however. I protested the Iraq War in the 2000s, and for much of that time, never missed a vote.

Too many of Generation X took the slacker media image to heart, though, and lost motivation for civil involvement. These days, from what I can tell, young people are getting more politically involved – and that’s good, because political vigilance is needed to keep our freedom and right now, we are in danger of it slipping away. Part of this vigilance requires exercising our voting rights as an informed citizen.

That brings me to our current problem of Voter Suppression, where a ruling political party or clique works to curtail the ability of certain groups or individuals from voting, or limit their representation in government.

For authoritarian or hybrid regimes, that often means sending police or paramilitary groups to polling places, either to scare off a particular candidate's supporters, or force them to vote for its preferred candidate. Sound familiar lately?

Claiming additional years in office is another common tactic. Examples include Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin, who's just signed himself on as “president for life” through 2036, or the Ivory Coast, whose former president plans to seek a third term – defying his opponents, who argue its constitution forbids it. However, the government has already announced that national elections will go ahead, with or without its critics.

Other voter suppression tactics include changing how checks and balances work. In Poland, judges have been removed for not being loyal enough to the ironically-named Law & Justice Party, which then passed laws to give itself, the dominant political force, more power over the judiciary.

These things happen here, too. We all remember what happened in 2018, when Georgia's Secretary Of State Brian Kemp, whose office oversees elections, defeated Stacey Abrams – on paper, anyway – amid bitter accusations of voter suppression.

For those who keep score, Kemp's office canceled 1.4 million voter registrations between 2012 and 2018, including half a million in one night in 2017 – what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called “maybe the largest mass disenfranchisement in US history.”

Here's the rub, though. Unfair as they definitely are, such tactics are not illegal, in light of two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions – including Citizens United, which allowed corporations to count as “people” under the law. Many believe this 2010 ruling sold democracy to the highest bidder, and made Super-PACS a reality.

The other case is Shelby County v. Holder, a 5-4 ruling in 2013, where the justices threw out the idea of preclearance – or getting federal approval, in advance, for changes in voting laws and practices.

This is why we're seeing the last minute closing or shrinking of polling places in states like Ohio and Texas, for instance, or the tightening of voter ID laws – where someone without a driver's license ends up shut out of voting altogether, or unable to vote absentee, if they can't produce an excuse like a doctor's note. Or their name might end up getting struck off the list, as Kemp did in Georgia.

The Holder ruling prompted late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to fume, in one of her most blistering dissents: “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked, and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes, is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Last but not least, let's not forget about gerrymandering, or redrawing district boundaries to lock down opposition-proof majorities for favored politicians – a tactic that often shuts minorities and other marginalized groups out of the equation.

Not surprisingly, the current Supreme Court has proven indifferent to addressing the problem, as it showed in a 5-4 ruling last summer that threw out challenges to redrawn districts in Maryland and North Carolina.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts claimed “partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” Again, his reasoning prompted a scathing dissent from Ginsburg, and her more liberal colleagues: “If left unchecked, gerrymanders like the ones here may irreparably damage our system of government.”

The Michigan Supreme Court apparently followed the same rulebook in October 2019, when it ruled, 5-4, that 34 districts didn't need to be redrawn until 2022, even though they purposely favored Republicans.

The decision also means that a 13-member independent commission can't do its job until 2022 – even though Michigan voters overwhelmingly created it four years earlier, in 2018, by a statewide referendum. The walls being thrown up against people of color, the poor, voters with disabilities, and young people are getting higher and wider all the time, it seems.

We get in our cars and go to a polling station, or fill out our ballots early now, not realizing how many people in America today are stopped from voting. Not everyone has a car to get to a polling place. People with disabilities may need help with reading a ballot, or even marking one. Accessible voting machines are available in our state, but are needed in lots of other places.

Whatever happened to government or civics classes? We need them more than ever nowadays, instead of teaching to standardized tests. Knowing how the system's supposed to work is the first step in trying to change it.

We also need to better educate young people on how marginalized groups like women and African-Americans, stood up against poll taxes, literacy tests and other tactics rolled out to prevent them from voting.

That kind of context is crucial, especially when you consider the approach of movies like Mississippi Burning, that present civil rights as a history lesson that wrapped up in the 1960s, or early 1970s, depending who's spinning the narrative. I doubt Stacey Abrams would see it that way, though.

Never take voting for granted. One important way to stand against Voter Suppression is exercise your right to vote, and agitate for everyone else's right to vote too. Don’t give in to apathy or thinking your vote won’t matter. This has chipped away at voting in America for too long, and we are seeing the results.

I think we need to bring back to the concept of civic duty, of being a good citizen, of being informed, and participating in your own government. After all, it’s supposed to be FOR THE PEOPLE. It's up to us to keep it that way.

Yahweh the Monster?

This writing is from Sandi_T. over on the Ex-Christian Reddit board. She does have a lot of interesting things to say about religion. I always enjoy her posts. I deconverted long ago realizing some serious things about Christianity did not add up. The brutal foundations of the religion is one reason I no longer consider myself a Christian. I do believe Jesus had many good teachings about love your neighbor and much more, but I separate the good from the bad. I do not believe there is a huge invisible man demanding blood sacrifices and appeasement anymore.  These teachings have brought brutality to our society, and violence on multi-layers.

 "Well, the NT portrays yahweh as a monster because jesus is a human sacrifice.

Human sacrifice is objectively evil.

Yahweh screwed up and created people who didn't know right from wrong. He expected them to obey him when they didn't know disobedience was wrong. He sat back and did nothing while their "big brother" tricked them into learning about right and wrong.

Then he had a hissy fit and made everyone forevermore after that pay the price.

What price? DEATH.

Which, by the way, he lied about. "If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall surely die that very day." They did not, indeed, exactly as the serpent said, die that day. Or the next. Or the next, or the next, or the next.... for years yet to come.

That being said, why, precisely, do you think that the NT renders all of the slaughter, savagery, rape, and monstrous behavior of the yahweh and his people in the OT perfectly fine?

Because the perfect human sacrifice was needed, and absolutely anything whatsoever, however brutal, horrific, and savage was perfectly fine because it led to THE PERFECT HUMAN SACRIFICE??

Tell me, what do you think of the ritual of eating your demigod's flesh and drinking his blood as "communion"? Isn't that just a LITTLE on the sick side? What kind of god can't fix his screwup without a human sacrifice? How weak, pathetic, and stupid does he have to be?

Or sadistic? Which is it is? Sadistic, or weak? Under what circumstances is it acceptable for a thing of unlimited power to be incapable of fixing their own mistake of miscreation without HUMAN BLOOD SACRIFICE??

The very premise of the new testament is sickening. The fact that you think all of the old testament is FINE and even GOOD because it led to the ultimate human sacrifice makes me wonder if you've really, genuinely thought that through.

An entire race slaughtered en masse in a grotesque drowning... to pave the way for what? Ritual human sacrifice to a monster who thinks the scent of burning flesh is "a savory odor."

Now, I understand that you think it's BEAUTIFUL and all that, but... me? Not so much."


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Handmaiden

 It's scary, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a new Supreme Court justice. The Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights, gay rights including the right to marry, are in danger with this extreme right wing new judge. Did you know she played a role, when the 2000 election was contested with the close outcome between Bush and Gore? I wonder how history would be today if Gore had been the one who got in? Leonard Leo of The Federalist Society--the group which has supported Barrett as the new choice, has done speeches with The National Council for Policy, an extremely right wing Dominionist group.  It is like The Handmaiden's Tale is foretelling the future. I really hope Biden wins the presidency, I suppose we will know soon. There's some real forces destroying any semblance of democracy in America. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Emigration Blues

 I thought of the escape, and clearing out out of the country watching King Trump's madness and his idiotic henchmen and than made the decision to stay [for now]. By the way if things get bad enough here, this option may still be on the table. We see ourselves as Americans, this is a culture I am used to, there's also the idea of staying and fighting and refusing to give up a country to fascist fools as well.

America is going down the chute. I voted for Biden, with a ballot walked up to the local ballot box at the clerk's office, but I know Biden is just a neo-liberal way to buy time. He still is in the back pocket of all those corporations, but I'd rather a neo-liberal than an unhinged maniac who wants to bring in Gilead with Pence. Chris Hedges has warned where this place is going and unless there are some major changes and deep reform, it's going to be bad. I still think Bernie would have been far better but took what I could get. If Trump wins or steals the election, I am expecting full collapse.

When I did my research for leaving the country, I didn't assume Europe is instantly better because of their better social safety net and health care. My husband has lived there before in the UK for a year and half in the early 1990s and an extended visit to countries on the "continent". He has told me for years, "Everything is smaller in Europe" and "This two bedroom 800 square foot apartment would be a palace there."

I did emigration research and found out my husband IS ELIGIBLE for "citizenship via descent" with  parents who emigrated here from Germany [he was born in the USA] and they never became USA citizens.  So this was an issue I studied heavily, I even went into the English language corners of that country's website to learn how to apply and which consulate to contact in the USA.

When I said to my husband, America could become a fascist hellhole, maybe we should think about getting getting out if Trump gets a second term, he was more reluctant, he sees himself as American first and foremost and identifies more with that identity than the one of his parents.  He said to me, "Well, maybe Biden will win!" I said, "I hope so!"

I went on to research things. I have some European friends and contacts online, and people who have lived overseas, and had extensive conversations with them. I have never been to Europe. Its always good to know what you are getting into.

Things I learned:

1. Americans seem to over-estimate the Utopia of Europe. [more on this as I go down the list]

2. Just getting there would probably clean us out and that would take selling stuff off. Who wants to move to a foreign country to be homeless? I also told husband, moving that far would mean giving up 90 percent of all our possessions. We obviously didn't like that idea. Nearly immobile people are far happier with access to a car too. There's also the complicated issue of being on disability.

3. Gig employment and remote employment is not allowed in certain European countries. I can't argue, unlike this place they support their workers and want them to have some benefits and stability. Some of those "digital nomads" are technically breaking the law in some places.

4. If you get too old, such as in husband's case you won't qualify for public health care in Germany. These were some of the details I checked out.

5. You have to know the language wherever you go to function. Several Germans who could speak English online, told me to really survive, you need to be fluent in Germany, and don't believe the websites that claim everyone can speak English. They said, "yes we learn some English in school but it is nowhere near the fluency you will expect except for people who use it work situations or have lived overseas." You need German to get a job like in husband's case. My husband knows some German but is far from fluent. I can ask him certain words like how do you say this in German, but he never could write a newspaper article in decent enough German.

6. I am not one for German culture, I consider it too rule-laden and the people too stoic. Other European friends were honest about the culture there. My husband's sister who is the most austere person I know, had a rough time in Germany when she tried to go to medical school there back in the mid 1990s.  I thought well, he could get the German citizenship and we could go to a place in the EU that speaks English. So I talked to other Europeans online and others I met via groups online and have been friends with for some time.

7. Much of Europe is expensive as hell. For what I pay for rent in the Midwest, and get 800 square feet and two bedrooms, I was told I would have to pay 30-40 percent more [I know the exchange rates] to get a room with a bed in it, and not even my own bathroom in Ireland. Other countries were even more expensive. That was a common theme too. I don't think Europe has the number of cheaper medium and small sized towns that America does and they are more remote with less offerings. Eastern Europe is deemed far cheaper but obviously things are very different there.

8. Europe is not handicapped accessible in many places.  I went to go find out how accessible is Europe? Is there a country where there is help for the disabled and accessibility? Americans forget, this place was a shiny place of progress before Republicans started destroying things here. Europe never had anything equivalent to the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] like American has had.

There's a few disability groups and such who help people but there never was a "disability rights movement" perse. There's no rules that public buildings have to be accessible to the disabled. Yes many buildings are very old so that makes it harder. I thought of me and my walker, and my life becoming hell unable to even get to an art class or a doctor's appointment. I can do a few stairs but flights and flights forget it. One German told me stories of disabled people being carried up or down stairs.  Better not take a vacation there if I ever came into money. I always had the thought that the rambling roads, tiny cars and castles with twisting staircases would be a nightmare for me.

One issue occurred to me, I am very heavy and supersized ironically pass for about 100 under what I really weight, was told water is heavier than fat by one doctor, but in countries where people are thin, I would stick out like a strange thumb. Add in the "Michelin Man" body from severe Lipedema, and that could go bad. People are used to my appearance here. I can walk around basically ignored and there's enough fat people too.

9. The right wing is rising everywhere. Germany has a far right problem. I thought it would be idiocy to leave America to escape the fundamentalists and crazies and then encounter worse racists and public Nazis in another country. Hungary and Poland are so far gone down the right wing/religion highway, don't even get me started. Germans seem to see their far right, as "controlled" and with the majority rejecting their nonsense but I found out there was even an anti-masker and Trump parade in Germany. The numbers of their far right are growing. Obviously Trump's brand of hate has been exported to Brazil and other places. England of course has their Brexit problem, growing austerity and right-ward drift too.

10. Canada, it's not Europe, but I know getting into Canada as a disabled person is impossible. I learned this years ago. Canada while smaller, has it's limitations. The health care IS better, and but there things are expensive. They are having their own right wing drift too, if you check out the news. One thing I have learned is they are outraged with America and not too happy about people crossing the border or sneaking in.

11. Covid is everywhere. I had thought Europe and other countries were doing better with Covid. Maybe not. Some of the European friends told me there were resurgences. I read of SOME anti-masker rallies in Germany, held by their right wing though obviously I don't think the anti-science and religion crowd is as big as it is here.

12. Everywhere has problems. My husband once when I was bringing up, "Should we escape?" said, "No, they've managed to ruin everywhere." He may have had a point. One can tell the 1 percent's greed has affected the whole planet. Most Europeans still have some far better health care and some safety nets, but the expenses and more are some real drawbacks.

13. Climate change is everywhere. Parts of Europe have been in severe drought for three years to even the point the trees are dying. I think that is a problem you can't out run.  I expect as the West burns, where I live now with it's greenery and expansive water resources is going to become the new popular spot. Forest fires are rare here.

The USA is very unstable. I think it means something bad when the Michigan governor is threatened with kidnapping by a group of domestic terrorists, and the crazy man who is now president wrote "Liberate Michigan". Being surrounded by crazy anti-maskers and extreme religious people and strutting around Proud Boys with their black and white flags is not easy. I do have the sane allies, but people are wondering where this is all going to go.

We did go to one protest where I stayed far away from others, the Republicans had taken over the side of the street us protesters used to stand on.  I figure my liberal allies didn't see that as a hill to die on, and just took over the street across from them. Things were peaceful at this last protest with both groups not interacting with each other. I made a sign against the extremely conservative Judge Barrett, that Trump wants to put in the Supreme Court. There was part of me that thought, "Why do all this protesting and trying to change things only to run away?" So yeah that was in my mind too. Like my husband, I see myself as an American first too though in my case, the ancestors who immigrated here are a few generations back on one side, and back to 1860 on another.

I decided to set the European dreams aside for now. Part of what fueled the emigration research is my fight or flight that kicks in. Husband kept telling me to calm down, it can't get that bad. I do think there are signs of things getting really bad here. A few people told me if you haven't already left, it's already too late.

I hope America can get it's shit together. The next two months are going to tell us, a lot of where things are going to go. I don't know if there's going to be a Civil War or civil unrest or what. Many are afraid in regards to the election.

I am scared of what a sizeable part of our population has become. There has been heartache in seeing what people stood for and supported. It was horrifying. I am not someone who sees every liberal as perfect too or the DNC, but the extremes here are beyond explanation. How can I tolerate people who literally don't care if others die? The way now 212,000 deaths have been accepted is horrific.

Ibram X. Kendi, thinks racism has fueled their hatred, and selfishness and I agree with him. It is troubling. I've parted ways now with so many people and them from me. The dividing lines are happening on a microcosm too and it's impacting my life a lot.

I do think going to Europe would be a more viable decision for a younger, wealthier and healthier couple. My disabilities are a giant barrier as well as our advanced age, and my being on disability and husband's limited work--he has moderate health problems that would make full time work very difficult. Also in my case, language and other problems would be worsened with my severe hearing problems. I don't want to buy more trouble, running away. I don't regret finding out the rules, or the option that is there, but I feel sad, that I live in a country that has become so unsafe, so ruined by the stupid and sociopathic that I even thought to research this "option".  I hope it's not too late for things to be changed and where we can look to progress instead of fascism and a dystopia. I would rather be able to stay.

Redneck High School

                                                                   A classmate against the wearing of masks for Covid, and an ardent supporter of Trump

 I've never gone to a high school reunion.

Maybe this is a good thing, because since I befriended several classmates on Facebook about 10 years ago, it has astonished me the conservative vs. liberal rate among my Generation X [1986] classmates. I would say the conservative rate runs at about 85%-95%. I've watched with horror as my classmates grew far more fundamentalist--mini mega churches with canned rock music and blue lyric screens, have popped up around my old Midwestern teenage town like mushrooms. The vast majority are now enamored with Trump beyond anything that is healthy.

The cult got them. Generation X usually has more liberals in it. So what happened? At the age of 13, I was moved to a backwater medium sized town not known for liberalness and open minds. I remember crying over being moved to a "hick town", those early teenage feelings were correct.

A few of the gay kids escaped to big cities and this one classmate with a far higher IQ than mine who could pick up Spanish with ease escaped to Mexico to be a college professor and is a Marxist. One smart guy who had a fondness for me despite my outcast status and his being the Homecoming King of our class, became a civil liberties based libertarian, I can deal with him. He at least has the intellect to support basic freedom over fascism and see through Trump's antics.

The folks above however are rare exceptions among the whole. I am tempted to ask the Mexican college professor,  if our past classmates fill her with horror, but she was far more popular than me and may not have a good attitude towards my dark opinions of her past friends.

My classmates seem to love owning pitbulls too. Something I can't seem to figure out. One became a United Methodist minister who is nice but seems to have David Ramsey attitudes towards the poor people she serves in a homeless shelter. I attempted a few messages towards her to tell how the world of poverty really works, but didn't get anywhere. Many became far more dedicated Christian fundamentalists than I ever could claim to be but they embraced Republican politics and Trump with gusto. I would say the number of active evangelicals is at around 70% with a few religious moderates/mainliners who are still Christians in the mix.

Many are actually quite well off, which belies the view that Trump's followers are all impoverished though there's a few lower working class types who have held factory jobs for the past 30 years. All the shop kids grew up to be Trumpsters too, one blocked me for being a liberal.

It's weird to be over 50 and think, "Damn so wonder I never fit in that place!" I knew as my wizened World War II veteran teachers, told me to vote for Reagan and one used racist slurs like "wetbacks" in the classroom, that the seeds of brainwashing started early for my all white high school back in the 1980s. I sometimes look back at horror at the things I was taught in that place, especially the level of narcissism and "winners" take all attitudes. One can see this in my classmates. There is this hardness among some of them, where all the talk of "reaching the stars" at all costs in the 1980s must have had their affect.

My political outspokenness wasn't appreciated. I got unfriended and blocked by a few old classmates and unfriended and blocked a few myself this week.  The old high school Homecoming King, of the class in the year before mine, came on and told me off, as well for supporting the use of masks. One wonders at times what has happened to the world. The ones I am "friends" with on Facebook all know I am very high risk, but that didn't change their views.

I definitely won't be showing up to any high school reunions now.