St. Elizabeth’s, Mental Illness, and Greed…

St. Elizabeth’s, Mental Illness, and Greed…

Okay, so when I have to sit in traffic forEVER going from work to home, or vice versa, I often have NPR on the radio, which means I’m generally listening to Morning Edition or All Things Considered. Continue reading “St. Elizabeth’s, Mental Illness, and Greed…”

I was off by a month. My bad.

I was off by a month. My bad.

When I started writing online, way back in 2004, my blogging was a combination of minutiae designed to keep a then-deployed husband in the loop on day-to-day life at home. We were not quite to the end of W’s first term, but it was already clear to me what his election meant to the country, in terms of an erosion of civil liberty, of a dramatic (but by no means complete) shift to the right, and long term lasting damage to our reputation as a world leader by his creation of the USA Patriot Act.

In an ever-increasing feeling of depression and anger over last November, I’ve lashed out repeatedly at people who still seem to think that we are operating “business-as-usual” even in the face of abject corruption and cronyism not seen in decades in this country, going all the way back to the Gilded age of the robber barons.

The Republicans won and they’ve wasted no time showing us liberals what they think of us. They don’t give an actual damn who they harm at this point. They’ve done such a good job snowing their base, those folks will happily walk straight into their graves still believing that the people they elected to office care about anything but their own personal economy and to hell with their constituents. Yes, yes, those town halls are sure something, aren’t they? Meaningless political theatre. It makes the proles feel good, so why not? At least until things get violent, anyway.

Meanwhile, Bernie supporters who voted Anyone But Clinton are still making feeble attempts at explaining their relevance to the future, because they think their candidate still means something. He doesn’t, of course, except as the perfect foil for the Democrats whose last, best hope was to take the White House, and who failed to push enough of the agenda to ensure that would happen. He won’t last past 2018, if I’m guessing right.

In the heat of frustration earlier in the day, on Facebook (that bastion of modern nonsense and bluster that passes, for now, as something resembling a communication tool, if only for one’s personal echo chamber), I started to outline a timeline of damage.

I’ve explored that timeline throughout my Dots posts, but not in anything like a complete way.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I am considering creating a video timeline, which (at least until the government figures out how to shut down YouTube) might be the best way to explain what happened and how we got here.

In the interest of generating the outline, for future reference, here’s my take on the whole shebang, from Nixon’s disgraceful departure through to present day.

I can’t provide proof because a lot of what I think happened because, frankly, either the evidence is gone or it’s still out of view, thanks to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA).

So while I’m saying this is what I think, I have no proof that this is what actually happened. I can infer, guess, or in some cases prove that these things are what happened, but I do not have either the time or the funding to go and research these statements. So let’s say this is all fiction. It “could” have happened the way I’ve laid it out. Or not. You be the judge.

I’m stealing data from Wikipedia’s existing timeline to save myself the typing time, but you’re welcome to go visit the original and see for yourself what I’ve edited out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_history)

1960-1970:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1960
  • CIA U-2 spy plane shot down over Soviet airspace.
  • The 50-star flag is adopted.
  • John F. Kennedy elected
  • President Eisenhower warns of the “military–industrial complex” in his farewell address
  • President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
  • The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution grants electors to the District of Columbia
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion
  • The Freedom Rides begin in Washington D.C.
  • Vietnam War (1955-1973) continues
  • Cuban missile crisis: A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law.
  • Medgar Evers is assassinated
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gives “I Have a Dream” speech
  • The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, carried out by a KKK splinter group, kills four African-American girls
  • The Atomic Test Ban Treaty is signed.
  • President John F. Kennedy assassinated
  • Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as President
  • Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy, killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
  • President Johnson establishes The Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
  • The Clean Air Act signed into law.
  • The Twenty-fourth Amendment eliminates the poll tax
  • The Beatles herald the British Invasion of pop music
  • President Johnson proposes the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
  • President Johnson signs The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
  • Robert McNamara helps orchestrate the Tonkin Gulf incident (a false flag operation with ‘deliberately skewed’ intelligence, used to expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam).
  • The bodies of three missing civil rights activists, working to register voters as a part of the Freedom Summer, are found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson defeats Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.
  • African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated
  • “Bloody Sunday” (Alabama State Troopers severely beat and used tear gas against the nonviolent demonstrators on the Selma to Montgomery marches)
  • March Against the Vietnam War:
  • President Johnson signs the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, establishing Medicaid and Medicare in the United States. He also signs the Voting Rights Act
  • The Watts riots in Los Angeles, result in the deaths of 34 people.
  • President Johnson signs the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, establishing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • The Immigration Act of 1965 is signed into law, abolishing the National Origins Formula.
  • The Higher Education Act of 1965 is passed.
  • Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position.
  • Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court establishes the rule that becomes “Miranda Rights”
  • National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.
  • The Freedom of Information Act is signed into law.
  • The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is passed.
  • The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing succession to the Presidency and procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, was ratified.
  • The United States Department of Transportation is established.
  • Loving v. Virginia: The Supreme Court overrules the prohibition of interracial marriage.
  • Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice to serve on the Supreme Court.
  • Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, prompting riots in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Kansas City and Louisville; leaving 36 people dead.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1968, providing equal housing protection, was signed into law.
  • Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on the Presidential campaign trail
  • The United States signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Chicago City Police clash with anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • The Gun Control Act of 1968 is signed into law.
  • Former Vice President Richard Nixon is elected President
  • The Stonewall riots mark the start of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.
  • Senator Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne and ruining any future bid for the White House.
  • Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins land on the moon, and Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.
  • The Woodstock Festival takes place in White Lake, New York
  • Sesame Street premieres on National Educational Television.
  • President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.

Okay, so that establishes many of the changes over the course of a decade, without laying out the horrible details of the Vietnam war, which ran throughout the entire decade.

From here on, things get truly ugly, as the country struggles with changes in policy and freedom for young adults, women, and people of color. And that ugliness continues for the next 40 years, even as we fool ourselves into believing Johnson’s glorious vision of the Great Society, built on FDR’s vision of the post-Depression world. In hindsight, even as it appears that we’ve won freedom to choose and we’ve come to believe in the American Dream, that dream has become a nightmare. Fake news. The worst propaganda story possible, because it worked as a carrot for the common man, the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” who voted Trump believing naively that Trump and his cronies cared about anything other than rising to power.

Buckle your seat belts. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The management bears no responsibility for lost limbs or life. Ready?

Go.

In 1970, Nixon’s Southern Strategy started the shift, turning Southern Democrats away from the party and converting them to Republicans. (Remember this fact, when your Libertarian friends want to try and rewrite history. The racists left to join the Republicans under Nixon.)

When Jimmy Carter went on to win the presidency in 1976, beating Gerald Ford (who took over for Nixon, the only President to date who ever resigned from office), the shift from Southern Democrat to Republican was complete. And at about this time, I got involved in politics, working in support of Carter’s run for president at the local level. Ambitious work for a 12 year-old kid, but then I was rooting for McGovern in 1972, and by then the racists had already fled the Democratic party, leading to Nixon’s landslide victory.

In that same election, Carter’s administration saw filibuster-proof Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. (See: House vs Senate control by party.) Note that this didn’t save Carter’s presidency for a second term, because on November 4, 1979 (a little over a year prior to elections in 1980), Iranian students took over the US embassy and held over 50 embassy employees hostage. President Carter’s response was considered too weak, and some suggested that this is how Ronald Reagan rose to power.

I explained some of this here and some more of this here, but the big part is really here. (Don’t just look at the pretty bright letters. Click through and READ these three posts, and every link embedded in them.

I’ll wait.

Done? Great. Moving on.

By the time we get to modern history, the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer, we are well past the ability to reverse the damage.

I invite you to read everything I’ve written since November 8th. It’s not all that much, really, but it’s not above me to say “I told you so.

Tonight, Trump launched a direct attack on Syria, doing precisely what he (and a lot of theoretically liberal apologists accused Hillary Clinton of planning to do throughout her presidential campaign).

“But her emails…”

“Wikileaks…”

Save it. You did this. Own it.

Two weeks…

Two weeks…

I am casting my vote for Hillary Clinton as soon as the polls are open for early voting. I’m not taking any chances.

Yesterday on FB there was a meme circulating about how Jimmy Carter was up by 8% before the landslide that lost him the presidency in 1980. Back in March, the article below suggested that Trump’s message wouldn’t serve to do the same damage in this election as the fight between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan did back then.

I disagree.

In 1980 I was still too young to vote, but I lived through the damage Reagan and Bush did during their twelve years at the helm of the US. They lied about the economy and tossed out regulations we’re only now coming to realize were important and not just a drag on business. People felt justified in voting against Carter because of a variety of things, including the “Iranian crisis” that extended through much of Carter’s last year in office, only to come to grips with Iran Scam in the late end of Bush’s sole term.

I understand that as conspiracy theories go, the October Surprise is unproven and fairly damning, but as I hasten to remind people, Bush Sr. was involved in the CIA prior to his run for the Presidency that led to being selected as Reagan’s running mate that year, and I have absolutely no trouble at all believing that he was in it up to his ears. I believe the truth will out once we finally have access to Reagan’s papers, starting in 2020 (if we’re lucky and the GOP don’t find a way to bury the truth down further).

From Wikipedia:

October Surprise conspiracy theory

Allegations that the Reagan administration negotiated a delay in the release of the hostages until after the 1980 presidential election have been numerous but unproven. Gary Sick, principal White House aide for Iran and the Persian Gulf on the Carter administration’s National Security Council, claimed in his book October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan[145] that CIA Director William Casey and possibly Vice President George H. W. Bush went to Paris to negotiate such a delay. Many others have made the same allegations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._W._Bush#Other_positions.2C_1977.E2.80.9380

I celebrated when we finally got a Democrat in the White House in 1992, though he wasn’t the one I voted for in the primary. I am grateful that we have one again, who’s worked really damn hard to undo a lot of the damage the Bush family has done to our country in the last 36 years.

We CANNOT afford to let this election slide based on polling statistics. A portion of our country is on the brink of recognizing and celebrating our diversity at precisely the same time as people in other portions are looking for people to blame, to vilify, to terrorize into believing that Hillary Clinton is the very devil.

I am asking a different question. It’s the same question I’ve asked since the end of the Primaries.

What if the polls aren’t telling the whole story? What if people who have the opportunity to vote choose not to exercise their right? What if they try but are prevented because the GOP is too scared to let Democrats back into power again?

What if the GOP knows that a Democratic majority in the House and Senate would spell an end to witch hunts and allow for forward progress because they can no longer obstruct change, and they are doing their best to turn the country toward fascism?

What if the true separation between Trump and Clinton comes down to too few votes in too many battleground states?

Can you really trust polls to tell you the truth? Their scope is limited, by definition, to the people they reach, and there’s no guarantee that those people will answer truthfully. Things can change (like they did for Jimmy Carter) in a matter of days. Can you say with confidence that the numbers on fivethirtyeight.com are in sufficient quantity that they’re reliable? What if the predictions of a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton are wrong?

Suppose the separation between candidates is as it was during the primary? There were fewer than two million votes across the entire country that separated Democrats from Republicans and MORE people voted for Republicans during this year’s primary than in any election from 1992 through 2012. That margin is too close for my own personal comfort.
 
Early voting is underway in many states. I’m going to get the opportunity to exercise my right starting on October 27. I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton with a clear conscience and a hope that enough others will do the same that Donald Trump will have no chance, and that all the down-ticket offices will finally be filled with enough Democrats to restore a super majority to OUR side of the aisle (something not seen since Jimmy Carter’s presidency).
 
If your vote of conscience puts Donald J. Trump in charge of the country, I guarantee I will hold you personally responsible for the damage he and his followers will do, and we will not speak again.
 
Count on it.
 
#ImWithHer

The Big Social Security Lie…

The Big Social Security Lie…

Social Security isn’t entitlement and it isn’t an open gift to the government. It’s my money, taken by force out of my paycheck starting with my very first job in 1983. The government thugs who raided the fund in the first place should repay what they stole or go to jail, just like any other thieves.

Yes, all of them.

But who are they? Are they even still here? Well, that’s an interesting question. It requires some major fishing into the dark depths of history. Head all the way back to 1983 with me. That’s where it started.

Maybe you weren’t paying attention. I was, because I was receiving Social Security benefits as a teenager, thanks to the disability and early death of my mother. And here’s where it all began. With Ronald Reagan.

But not really. Actually, it’s Alan Greenspan who did the dirty work here. Reagan just signed off on the bill. Like the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s going to crush all of us unless we figure out a way to get out of the way.

What follows is a bunch of link sausage. A lot of these links are thick with details that may seem unnecessary, but trust me, they build my case that this is, and has been, the whole goal of the GOP, ever since Reagan’s election. And with all that hindsight, it’s clear we’re getting screwed. And we’re not even getting the courtesy of a thank you or a payment for services rendered.

See, from my perspective, it started when Reagan decided that survivor benefits could be cut. First direct cut into my direct benefits as a college student. Forced me to get a student loan for my first year in college. Lucky for me, my grandfather was in a position to help with tuition, after he buried my mother.

From the first article, at FedSmith.com: Ronald Reagan and The Great Social Security Heist, some choice selections for the TL;DR crowd:

Instead of being a proud day for America, April 20, 1983, has become a day of shame. The Social Security Amendments of 1983 laid the foundation for 30-years of federal embezzlement of Social Security money in order to use the money to pay for wars, tax cuts and other government programs. The payroll tax hike of 1983 generated a total of $2.7 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue. This surplus revenue was supposed to be saved and invested in marketable U.S. Treasury bonds that would be held in the trust fund until the baby boomers began to retire in about 2010. But not one dime of that money went to Social Security.

The $2.7 trillion, which is alleged to be in the trust fund, was all spent for wars, tax cuts for the rich, and other government programs. If the money is repaid at some point in the future, we could say is was just “borrowed.” But no arrangements have been made to repay the money, and nobody in government is suggesting that the money should be repaid. So, if it is never repaid, the money will definitely have been stolen.

And that brings us to Iran-Contra, G.H.W. Bush, and Black Monday.

Black Monday? Yeah. Stock market crash. Under Reagan’s watch. Tied to a small oil problem with OPEC. Funny thing, the Bush family is deep into oil. So, we put an oil man in the White House.

And what happens then?

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Fortunately for us, Bush fails to gain a second term. We have eight years of Bill Clinton’s administration, where we try to gain back some of the momentum, but we overbalance, and suddenly the GOP take the House. Hello, Contract With America. Goodbye cooperation in the House and Senate. For good and all, it seems in hindsight. And hello to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Another bubble, and then Enron, and suddenly the SEC is all over accountability. Finger pointing…goes nowhere. To be sure, it’s a problem, but soon forgotten in the post-election sorting out, 9/11 and infighting that comes out of the election, which put G.W. Bush in office. And like magic, the solvency of the Social Security Fund was an issue.

Again.

NPR: Bush Questions Solvency of Social Security Trust

Now to be sure, I’ve skipped hundreds of small details to get to this point, but I wanted you to have some background. What follows is essentially link sausage, but it all points to one thing: The GOP want you to pull your money out of what ought to be a stable financial environment and trust THEM to keep your money for you while you age.

So if you want some stomach-churning reading material, click away.

The Huffington Post: 7 Ways The Bush Tax Cuts Wrecked The Economy

The Hill: Scrapping the Social Security payroll tax cap

This. This is what we are fighting in the government. Were you born before 1965?

You’re going to see the hit, unless you die of cancer or heart disease first. Which is entirely possible if the GOP get their way and make the death…I mean health industry private for everyone.

With an entire subsequent generation in jail or jobless, and wages that are virtually unchanged in 30 years, we are indeed in a pickle, but it’s one we could have avoided if we’d managed to keep the greedy bastards from getting their hands on that money. MY money. YOUR money.

This is a disaster that could have been avoided.

How? By stopping these people from bankrolling the deception and the lies.

The Atlantic: A Guide to the Billionaires Bankrolling the GOP Candidates

Chew on this: How much have you heard the big buzz that privatization of social security is the only way to save it?

What does that mean? Pushing everyone to purchase stock, either outright or in funds.

Have you been paying attention to Wall Street this week? In just two days, my teeny tiny IRA has lost a third of its value, on three stocks. I’m not sharing which because that info’s irrelevant. Suffice to say, if I’d tossed the money into an index fund, there’d be even less. I might as well have invested the entire amount in PowerBall lottery tickets.

Welcome to the latest bubble. Tied to the sudden drop of oil.

And thank your stars the GOP hasn’t yet gotten its way, because if they had, many of you who might depend on Social Security for at least some of your income could be SOL right now.

Buy low, huh? Yeah.

Daily Finance: With Oil Prices So Low, Are Oil Stocks a Good Investment?

So, how long do you think it will take for oil prices to rocket skyward if the GOP takes the White House? Four months? Two?

And in the meantime, I hope your retirement fund, that IRA or 401(K) of yours survives. Because without that and your precious Social Security and Medicaid, you, my friend, are screwed.

This is what’s at stake with the coming election. Bernie Sanders knows it. So does Elizabeth Warren.

Do you?

PoliticsUSA: Obama’s First Term Approval Ratings Now Equal Clinton and Reagan

PoliticsUSA: Obama’s First Term Approval Ratings Now Equal Clinton and Reagan

PoliticsUSA: Obama’s First Term Approval Ratings Now Equal Clinton and Reagan

“The Republican argument that Obama is an unpopular colossal failure simply doesn’t match up with reality. The Obama that Mitt Romney is running against is a failed left wing socialist that voters are rejecting on a daily basis.

The Gallup data illustrates the reality that Obama is much closer to Bill Clinton in terms of being a personally popular centrist Democrat.

Much like Reagan and Clinton, Obama has personal likability and an appeal to the political middle.

Barack Obama looks more like a potential two term success story than a one term failure.”

And now for something REALLY scary…

And now for something REALLY scary…

Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch Aug. 10, 2010, 12:45 a.m. EDT

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — “How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.” Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, “Four Deformations of the Apocalypse.”

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/reagan-insider-gop-destroyed-us-economy-2010-08-10?pagenumber=1

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