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If you didn't see her tonight on MSNBC, Listen to the podcast ASAP.

Be aware, this is a call to arms to any of us who're part of the 99%. That should be about everyone. Certainly anyone who is reading my journal.

We cannot be complacent. The Republican elite in control in this country is now answering to big money (if they ever listened to anyone else, at least in my lifetime). They think they have a mandate, but as they found out from town halls and political activism in their home districts, many of them are in marked danger of defeat at the ballot box in 2018 if they continue to do what they have been threatening to do.

For the time being we have stopped them from killing the affordable care act. Note - I said for the time being. They are actively gutting the EPA. They are working to do the same with public education.

As I said, we cannot be complacent. The price of not taking direct action now, to protect the environment, to protect our health care, to protect our rights, to protect our future is too high.
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Forgive the hyperbole in the title for this post. I am deadly serious.

We are living in dangerous times right now. At the risk of offending some who supported him blindly, we have put the fox in charge of the henhouse and we may pay for it dearly. We need to be vigilant and carefully pay attention to forces that have likely been behind the scenes, engineering putting the fox in charge. I have often said in the past to understand why things are as they are, you have to follow the money. That dictum remains I think all too true.

Rachel Maddow is a major voice that needs to be heard and listened to. She brings to the airwaves a thirst for truth and examination. If you don't catch her on cable, I strongly suggest you subscribe to the podcast of her show. Specifically, listen this past Friday's show and then tell me you're not disturbed, perturbed, and asking for more information. The appointments of Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson and Wilbur Ross to the cabinet now make much more sense to me.

And I'm starting to have greater respect to some of the intelligence community.

Seriously, if you do nothing else today download Friday's podcast and listen to it!

Then join the resistance.
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I am constantly flabbergasted these days. How in the world did it come to pass that the buffoon currently sitting in the Oval Office, is sitting in the Oval Office?

Honestly, at best I'm embarrassed. How can any other nation actually take us seriously when this is the quality of individual who holds that position. It would be one thing if he had inherited the position (see the Madness of King George), but this man was elected. No matter how much you question the validity of the last election, a significant number of people did actually vote for him. (Yes, he did lose the popular vote by something like 3 million votes, but thanks to the method we use with an electoral college, he did win enough electoral delegates to win.)

Yes, there may were foreign influences afoot to push the election in his favor, but these could not have worked if there were not already a huge number of people in this country clambering for things Trump promised.

There, I said his name. I started off resisting doing that and couldn't even get past the 3rd paragraph successfully.

In my not so humble personal opinion, Trump thrives on lies and deceptions, now being dubbed alternative facts by people like Kelly Ann Conway, that he can use to sway the less well educated in our greater society. Venues like Breitbart, Drudge, and Fox News dispense this pablum as gospel. They and other similar media outlets are therefore being given favored status by the administration, while, dangerously so, more objective news outlets like, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, and CNN are not allowed into his most recent press briefings. WTF??

"Fake News!", Trump proclaims. This is not only dangerous, it should be considered by my fellow citizens as heresy! In support of this concept I offer something that should be known to any American High School-er who has taken a civics class:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." ---------1st Amendment to the US Constitution.

One of the first things on the agenda of almost all authoritarian rulers is to stamp our freedom of the press. Declaring war on so-called fake media and then putting news stalwarts like the NYT, and CNN, et.al. in that group is Trump's attempt to do just that. This cannot be allowed. From her televised bully pulpet, Rachel Maddow has been pushing people for months now if not longer to go out and subscribe to their local news papers so they do not go away due to financial troubles. She's right. The demise of many of the print media across the country is not serving the truth in this country. It is serving the likes of Donald Trump and his ilk.

It is not only our right but our civic duty to speak out and to protest this (see 1st amendment above). If we do not, then we get what we deserve. Inaction in times like these is not a luxury we can afford. So far some of what he has attempted to do has been thwarted by the courts. That can only continue if the American Public stands up and presses OUR elected representatives to do what is right for us.

That's right; they are OUR representatives. Not the NRA, not the Koch Brothers, not Goldman Sach's. They represent us. They have to respond to us, both Democrats and Republican. BUT it also means they have to hear from us, in large numbers and often. It means we have to push our friends, neighbors and relatives to not sit back, but to do what they can. We have to show up at town halls, write and call our representatives and if they do not respond to us, WE HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO BE CERTAIN THEY ARE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY. The deluge Republican members of congress are getting in their home districts around the country will bear fruit, if it continues. If they start seeing their chances for re-election dwindling away, they will respond to that. If districts flip in special elections for seats now vacant because people have moved on into Trump's cabinet, the members who remain will recognize that if they continue on the path they are on, there will be consequences for their political futures.
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So while discussing the odd pledge the Donald has extracted from his blind followers adoring supporters where they were asked to raise their right hands and promise to vote for him in an upcoming primary, the discourse on MSNBC went like this:

Brian Williams: One supporter was seen holding up the right paw of his border collie.

Rachel Maddow: Not a German Shepherd?

Honestly, I find watching these rallies disturbing when Herr Drumpf (the family name Trump's grandfather carried on arrival to the US from Germany), when he calls for a protester or a reporter to be ejected from the rally and supporters physically manhandles the person roughly out the door. It reminds me all too clearly of Hitler's brown shirts.

As much as I dislike the man, I have no love for anyone in the Republican field. I suspect Trump is the Republican with the worst odds winning in November and ultimately I am praying to see The Republican party lose in November. Hopefully to Bernie Sanders, though I could live with Clinton.

Note to all: Go to Louis CK's website and read his letter about Trump. It's scathing.
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Derek Kitchen, the lead plaintiff in the suit that lead to marriage equality in Utah is running for city council in Salt Lake City and came in first in the primary. He faces the #2 finisher for a runoff this November. Meanwhile, an open lesbian has finished #1 in her primary and will face the current sitting mayor in that race in SLC this fall.

I have heard in the past, Salt Lake is supposed to be fairly gay friendly, which I had taken with a grain of salt. (As in the whole bloody shaker!) Perhaps I need to question my assumption.
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Not happy this morning. Mourning would be an apter word. This country took a hard turn to the right last night & it ain't sitting well with me.

When I look across the country and see the results of the current inch last night, I'm disturbed. Even the sounds of Joni Ernst's laughter last night sounded Machiavellian to me.seeing the likes of Sam Brownback, Paul LePage, Rick Scott and Scott Walker all return to governorships was more than just disappointing; it borders on sickening. Mitch McConnell as the new Senate majority leader sends chills up my spine. With the current makeup how long will it be before some ultra conservative decide to it's time to impeach the president? I suspect Ted Cruz is salivating at the moment.

After seeing the midterm turnout at the polls, I'm reinforced my belief that yes, Democrats fall in love, while Republicans fall in line.

Well, at least in the spirit of Tip O'Neill's comments of all politics being local, I'm somewhat relieved with the returns here in my home state. The ballot initiatives hear that really needed to fail, all did so. Prop 46, put up of the trial lawyers & which would likely have had a major negative effect on my professional life, failed resoundingly. Good news indeed. People actually do have the ability to vote in their own interest. Most of our congressional delegation made it through unscathed, sadly though not including Dr. Bera from Sacramento.

After last night I am praying both Justices Bryer and Ginsberg stay strong and healthy.
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Last night Rachel Maddow profiled the mayor's race in one of the few poor areas in northern California's Bay Area. Billboards are popping up all over Richmond supporting new candidates for mayor and city council. How much has been spent? According to Rachel the mayoral candidate has $1 million to work with; this contrasted with the sitting mayor's war chest of $60K. Who's gifted the mayor's opponent with those funds? Well, Richmond is home to Chevron's oil refinery. For Chevron, a million is pocket change. Thanks to the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United corporations are people, money is speech and those corporations can put all the money they wish into a political race.

Finest democracy money can buy, eh?

There is no guarantee that Chevron's candidate will win. The initiative the Koch Brothers got onto the ballot a couple of cycles back to undo an environment protection law enacted by our legislature, failed at the ballot box. There were enough activists across the state and enough organizations campaigning against the measure. A smaller city election however, in a poorer community however? That kinda money doesn't bode well.

So, as I said before, elections have consequences. When people sit home during midterm elections, not exercising their franchise, conservative 'true believers' who do make it to the polls shift the make-up of congress to the right.

Pissed off at the gridlock in Washington? I am.

Think letting the Senate flip to the Republicans won't matter? Think again.

I have two words for you. Supreme Court. The Senate has to approve any presidential nominee to the court. What kind of candidate would a Senate lead by Mitch McConnell approve? The very thought of this makes my blood run cold. Especially when I remember the notorious RBG is 81 years old. And a two time cancer survivor.

Think twice, before you choose to stay home from the polls this year. Very carefully, indeed.

As for corporations being people, I'll believe that right after the state of Texas executes one.
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I awoke this morning to my husband snuggling up to me. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I pulled off my cpap and stretched. It was 6:42, morning fog thick on our deck just outside the french doors.

"You're awake," he cooed softly.

One thing lead to another, as one by one, pillows fell off of the bed and bedsheets became even more rumpled. I finally exited our bed at 7:25, invigorated and fully awake. A nice way to face the day.

An hour later, munching some strawberries and my oatmeal, seated at the hospital computer, I checked first the inpatient patient list for new labs, and then went on to look at the daily news.

I usually start at electoral-vote.com, for what's happening in American politics. The country's predicted shift to the right in the upcoming Senate races discourages the hell outta me. Elections have consequences, none the least of which is the current composition of our US Supreme Court. We have the likes of Alito, Thomas, Roberts, and Scalia due to previous national elections, and given the health of at least 3 of those conservative men, we'll be feeling the results of those elections for years, if not decades to come. Now I'm not just talking about presidential elections. Yes, the person at the top of the ticket is extremely important. However, agendas are either pulled forward or stymied, by the composition of the Congress, and either segment can royally gum up the works for any resident of the White House.

Last night's final commercial, before I shut off the idiot box and went to sleep was one of the worst I have seen and it was on Al Jazeera, no less. An attractive young woman is talking to the camera about what appears at first to be her relationship going sour over the past 6 years. As she goes on, becoming more angry and firm in her words, the abused girlfriend no longer willing to put up with her man's promises and lies, it becomes clear the man is Barak Obama, and she is supposed to represent all disaffected female voters. I found it offensive, and last I looked, I'm not female.

Umm, yeah. Right.

The Republican party/conservatives/right wing is really digging deep here. Let's reduce women even further. Let's suggest woman are in bed with the Democratic administration. Meanwhile, every time Republicans take over power in a jurisdiction, instead of seeing a push for job creation and financial growth, instead we see a rolling back of family planning services and along with that, women's health services in general. Look at what's happening across the South and Midwest. No, women are not a monolithic voting block or at least shouldn't be, but when every time the right goes for an all out assault on your reproductive rights and time after time you are forced to address and re-address what most of us thought was settled law, it becomes much easier to turn people into single issue voters.

This swing to the right is scaring the crap out my my little minority heart. As much as I'm heartened by the change in how gay people are viewed and treated in this country, and as much as I marvel here on this electronic platform over the speed of the change, I'm tired of waiting for equality. I'm tired both of having to be at once guarded about my life and speech around strangers, yet simultaneously the feeling the need to be public. Who's business is it other than mine? Yet the memory of being a teenager at the time of Stonewall and the solace I felt knowing then I was not the only one, even though still the only roll models I saw, fit little more than stereotypes. I suppose stereotypes were better than invisibility, though not as much as 3 dimensional human beings.

I want this all over. I want the Supreme Court to deal with this now. As in today. Yesterday would be even better. I want this ruled on before (G-d forbid) something happens to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because given the swing I think we're now likely to see in the Senate, I shudder to think the battle royal there will be to find a suitable replacement for her seat on the court. G-d forbid we have Republicans in control in both the Senate and the House. Every last person in this country who wants a better future needs to remember that elections, even mid-terms, have consequences, and we ignore that to our own peril.
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And on the whole it was a pretty damn good day as well.

Late yesterday morning I saw on the web that the Illinois House was actually going to vote on marriage equality. In the last couple of days, a couple of representatives had come out publicly in support of marriage equality, but there was no word as to whether there would be a vote during the veto session. If anything, it looked like it was likely to sit until the new year. Word was 72 votes would be required to pass the house during the veto session rather than the usual 60, but apparently some sort of procedural change was negotiated and all of the sudden, it was happening.

Last spring Rep. Harris, the bill's chief sponsor kept saying in public that the bill would be brought up for a vote, and yet on May 31 the legislative session adjourned with no vote. After it had passed so overwhelmingly on Valentine's Day in the state Senate, this was a real letdown. My mother called me that day I think an hour or so after the legislative session closed, and she recognized from my voice that I was bummed. When she asked me what was wrong, I told her and she responded by saying, "Honey, it's a process. It's going to happen. It's inevitable. It's just going to take time."

I found some comfort in her words, but after I hung up the phone I thought to myself, "who are you and what have you done with my mother?" For the woman who asked so plaintively six or seven years ago, "why do they have to call it marriage?", this was some change.

Well minutes after the vote yesterday, I called mom to tell her she was right. She started laughing and said, "let me hear you say those words again please. Did I just hear you tell me I was right?" This was followed by a few minute discussion about what's happening in Hawaii and with various court cases in New Mexico, Michigan and Nevada.

The word was good with regard to my nephew. I posted last month that he was running for city Council and at the tender age of 28, he will become the Beachwood Ohio's youngest City Councilman. This was his first time standing for public office and the people of Beachwood have decided to send a progressive Democrat to a four-year term on the city Council. I am stoked and proud.

Virginia had the good sense to send Ken Cuccinelli packing, and to hand the three statewide offices (Gov., Lt. Gov., and Atty Gen.) to the Democrats instead of to Tea Party Republicans. While I'm sad to say that Chris Christie will have another term as governor in New Jersey, the electorate turned around and approved the same rise in the minimum wage Christie vetoed earlier in the year. This is the same man who was going to appeal the Superior Court's decision in favor of marriage equality, until the Supreme Court made it obvious, he was not going to win. Further polls showed 63% of New Jersians in favor of marriage equality. To be frank, I'm not sure I get it. You don't like the man's policies, but you send him back to the Gov.'s mansion, for a second term?

Finally, last night [livejournal.com profile] aofe commented in my journal filling me in on what's happening in Hawai'i, and that the marriage equality bill they are finally made it out of the house committee. Knowing that a final vote is likely to happen before the end of the week, and that it looks likely that we will get marriage equality in Hawai'i, was an end to a nearly perfect day.
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Carl Sciortino, Jr. who's in Massachusetts' legislature is running for Ed Markey's old seat. Have to admit I love this ad. In an interview on MSNBC with his father, the younger Carl admits it was harder coming out to his father as a progressive, than as gay.

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I just sent Wendy Davis a donation. She's the state senator from Ft. Worth who filibustered the highly restrictive abortion bill the Republicans are trying to ram through their legislature. You can be sure that the Republican party in Texas, has drawn a bull's eye on her back for this next legislative cycle. And true to form, Rick Perry has called for another special session to try and ram this bill thru again. If they succeed, the number of clinics in the entire state of Texas where women will be able to seek abortion services will drop from 34 to 5.

I dropped her the following note:

Dear Sen Davis-

I followed what you did last week to protect the rights of women to seek medical care appropriate to their situation, something that is now and must remain legal for them to be able to do. I'm grateful that Rachel Maddow profiled what happened; we streamed live over the net, to watch as it happened. Thank you for your courageous actions, and your willingness to speak truth to power.

I made a donation to your campaign fund just now. It's not much, but as a physician trying to give care to the underserved here in California, it was what I could afford. Hopefully, I'm just one of many across the country who will have your back.

If you're open to supporting her financially go to wendydavisforsenate.com and follow the link to the donate page.
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So, before I left for work yesterday, I saw a banner headline on MSNBC; Michelle Bachmann will not run again for congress in 2014. (Say amen!) Then last night before leaving work, my NY Times app announced she's being investigated for misuse of campaign funds from her unsuccessful bid last year for the Republican nomination for President. (Say AMEN!!)

Rachel Maddow had a segment about her last night which featured a series of Bachmann misstating facts on the floor of Congress and in front of news cameras, which would be pretty funny, were she not such a lightening rod for the far right. (Picture Glenn Beck in a bra, a wig & a string of pearls, on the floor of the House.) At one point she went off about the "Hoot-Smalley" Act, enacted under Roosevelt, how awful a government overreach it was, and how wonderful it was finally gotten rid of. (How about Smoot-Hawley, Michelle, enacted under Hoover?) Frankly, I'm not so certain that the current globalization of our economy is serving the American worker all that well, given the amount of manufacturing that was once done here in the US and is now off-shored. Today, the American worker competes with labor costs in the third world, while factories here are shuttered and our workers wind up on the dole. But I digress.

Last night, I dreamt of a scene from the Wizard of Oz with hundreds munchkins singing gleefully the wicked witch is dead, except the house that had been dropped on her had the Capital dome on in, and it was Mrs Bachmann that laid under it, striped stockings, ruby slippers and all.

Now, if only that scene could be re-enacted, but with Reps. Steve King, Louis Gomert, as well as Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Not that I wish them ill. I just wish them out of positions of power. Legislatively emasculated, so to speak. *sigh*
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I wonder how many of the congress representatives that are busy in front of the cameras covering the horrible tornado in Oklahoma were individuals who dragged their heels in the federal relief effort following Hurricane Sandy?

Please do not get me wrong; I bear the people of Moore, Oklahoma no ill will. I was very grateful to get the news that one of my closest friends, who is currently living with his sister's family in Moore, came thru the storm unscathed. (Amen.)

However, seeing Sen. James Imhoff in front of the cameras this morning, just makes me angry.
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I will readily admit, I am a left of center, dyed in the wool liberal. (This is the beginning of a quasi-political essay, so if you have no interest in American politics, tab on forward.)

Yesterday marked a very sad day in the history of the American labor movement; Michigan became the 24th 'right-to-work' state in the union. Why is this important? 'Right-to-work' states have over all lower wages and lower benefits for most workers. After the rather decisive election the Republican-controlled legislature in Michigan realizing that they were going to be significantly less Republican after the first of the year, very rapidly pushed through this right-to-work legislation to get it to the Republican governor tout suite for his signature. "It's all about jobs, jobs, jobs," is the Republican mantra. The governor states he's trying to keep jobs from moving to Indiana.

As I watched the coverage on this last night, on Rachel Maddow, I found myself scratching my head. Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and even Ohio went rather solidly for Barack Obama at the polls last month. Why is there such a staunch Republican control in their state legislatures, and for that matter their executive branches? As a Californian, this makes very little sense to me. It turns out there has been significant gerrymandering in all of these states, not to mention elsewhere. Sadly, it got significantly worse after the 2010 census. As Democrats, we did not show up to the polls as we needed to in 2010. Democrats as you may recall, lost control of the house at that point. This was also however the year of the census, which has brought about subsequent redistricting in much of this country due to shifts in our population. Republicans have been extremely adroit in redistricting making it so there are lines drawn concentrating Democrats in just a handful of places, and splintering remaining populations so that Republicans are favored. This is led to some very surprising results for those of us who thought we were on a level playing field. When you look at the total number of registered Republican versus Democratic voters, to see state delegations that are so lopsidedly Republican, when the number of registered voters are not is disturbing to say the least. According to statistics that Rachel Maddow quoted last night, it takes roughly 2 1/2 registered Democrats to equal the voting power of one registered Republican.

California underwent redistricting last year, done by a nonpartisan commission, as opposed to many other states where the party in power in 2010, had the ability to redraw the districts. Further in our primary system it's now the top two vote getters that will face each other at the election, no matter their party. This led to districts where two people of the same party actually faced each other in November. It is also interesting to note that post redistricting, Democrats now hold a super-majority in both our state senate and house. Further, in all the years that I have lived in California I've never had it take more than 20 min. to be able to vote. I look at the reports from Florida and Ohio where voters spent hours upon hours in lines waiting to cast their ballots, and for the life of me, I do not understand why this is the case in this country in 2012.

This strikes me as being about control of power, nothing more. In a representative democracy, one that holds itself up to be a model for the remainder of our world to follow, how is this the current state of affairs within this country?
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It just hit me. Every last candidate I donated to and every last electoral campaign I donated time or money to save one, won at the polls this year.

No, I'm no well-heeled donor the likes of which Karl Rove & his ilk now explain themselves to. I did not contribute to any 501c4's this year. I'm a guy who sent $10 here, and $50 there, to help give candidates and causes a little boost directly. Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, & Claire McCaskill all got a few bucks from me for their senate runs. Drs. Ami Bera & Raul Ruìz each running against conservatives House members from here in California (Lundgren & Bono Mack) each got some cash directly to their campaigns. I made donations to grass roots groups in Maine, Maryland & Washington who were working for marriage equality.

Only the petitions I circulated for California prop 34 against our death penalty bore no fruit.

All in all, I think it was money and time well spent.
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Last night Rosie was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show, after the video below hit the net.

I'm bilingual, spend the majority of my professional time working with the Latino community and I found Romney's comments on the now infamous "47% video" personally offensive, where he suggested had his father who was born Mexico to Americans, been born instead to Mexican parents, he would have an easier time winning the hispanic vote. When I first heard that video, I nearly threw my shoe at the TV.

Remember folks, this is the man who would like latinos to self-deport.

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For the first time in weeks, polls are showing both Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and Elizabeth Warren in Mass. ahead of their Republican rivals.

For those who don't know, Baldwin has been out of the closet since prior to being elected to congress 14 years ago. Her politics are progressive and I think warrant support, so I donated again today to her campaign. She is exactly the kind of voice our community needs in the Senate, so if any of you have a few bucks to spare, please think of sending them to her campaign.
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I got an email earlier today from a friend back east. A rather well done video has been posted on Vimeo, using some of the music from Les Mis. I wanted to embed it here, but lack the Vimeo account that would allow me to do so.

You can find it here: http://www.onetermmore.com/video.html

I would suggest given the speed of the lyrics watching it the first time through with the subtitles. I can't tell you how strongly I agree with the sentiments expressed.

From [livejournal.com profile] ogam

Aug. 28th, 2012 07:28 am
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This tickled me no end. Like hearing my grandfather again, only political.


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