Friday, April 18, 2014

Voice From The Middle

I am a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, wife, and friend. I was born on an island and have lived in both north and south. My dad worked for the Air Force as a civilian as did my mom in earlier years. I attended college to follow my dream of becoming a "starving artist in a loft" and left to become the mother of four kids, eventually the grandmother of seven. I was brought up in the Southern Baptist church, and left in early adulthood. I have raised a family in tandem with a husband, as was the custom during the 60's, and ended  bringing the brood up over twenty years as a single mom when circumstances changed. I have always owned my own home. I have worked full time in offices while working part time evenings and weekends (maybe in a trauma center or maybe custodial work in a beauty shop) to augment my income. I watched my mother endure the downslide with Alzheimer's, and die of the disease. I have battled cancer twice (surgery, chemo and radiation)……once with insurance, and once without. I am keeping Melanoma at bay as we speak. My present husband and I are now retired, once having owned a small business. He has a part time job now working at a recycling center when he's not with his "Eat to ride, and ride to Eat" motorcycle buddies. My kids are raising families in another state…..two of them are enduring the downturn, hopeful they can find new jobs since BOA eliminated their old ones months ago. 

Why am I telling you all this?

 As I look back upon my life, I can see that I am a microcosm of many peoples' lives……an average Jill, so to speak. And as I see it the average person is no longer respected, cared about, listened to, catered to, consulted or even noticed in today's world, especially in this country. 

For example, I was lucky to get respectable jobs with decent pay for the 1970's after my divorce: $6.25 per hour starting in one doctor's office, where I today  would need $38.64 per hour to purchase the same goods/services needed for my family. The minimum wage that big businesses seem to rail against ($10.10 usually) would be the equivalent of $1.66 in 1970. Forgive me if I call "BS" on the Right Wing axiom that "these are just jobs for entry level, teenagers needing spending money." HAVE YOU BEEN IN A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT OR DISCOUNT RETAIL STORE LATELY? (Also "Republicans "tended to think the poor are poor because of individual failings, rather than lack of opportunities present … and that they have a poor work ethic rather than good jobs being unavailable.")

Owning and taking care of a home is also a thing of the past for most couples….let alone single folks. Buying a three bedroom brick home in a good middle class neighborhood for $16,900 (you heard me right), improving it, selling and moving up every few years is a forgotten dream. That will buy you a hovel in downtown Nowhere….I get it.  The point is wages are not keeping up, and banks are NOT your friends anymore….you can only borrow money if you can prove you don't really need it. And the expense to heat and cool a home will kill you. 

Women have always been "the little women" to society. To have to be the bread winner, mother, school bus, housekeeper, lawn maintenance crew, urgent care nurse, cook and bottle washer, nurturer, educator, and look like you just stepped out of a magazine shoot….and not be too ASSERTIVE on the job…is not a task to be taken lightly. Thousands of women do this same thing every day. But those men in the GOP seem to think THEY have the authority to make health and medical decisions for them as well as mock them for being "too emotional to make decisions on anything important."

Single moms raising several kids are just the SCOURGE of society..why those children will never amount to anything. They are children of divorce and they will have developmental problems all their lives. They will probably not finish school, go to college, have several out-of-wedlock kids, end up in jail, have no ambition, and wear smelly dirty clothes. (Of course, they COULD learn the value of not having everything handed to them. They COULD learn that the "best" is not always necessary. They COULD learn that co-operation and compromise are to be valued, and that having your own way is not always going to happen. They COULD learn that friends of all races and beliefs are a good thing. They COULD learn respect for elders…...and that mom will kick your butt when you need it.) Bible quotes have their place, but common sense is more important.

Getting sick was almost NOT an option…ask my kids. Two aspirin, hot tea with lemon and honey, a warm bath, and good nights sleep HAS to cure everything. ("Mom didn't take us to the doctor unless we were bleeding…") My son was treated for several bad cuts and illness by one of the doctors I worked for……OB/GYNs. Luckily, all they had were minor childhood diseases. First time I had cancer, my employer provided insurance. The second time, I had just started a new job and no insurance was in effect at the time. (This was when I first bought an answering machine…I was inundated by doctors and hospitals for bills I could only pay a minimum on for years….4 or 5 years of complete insanity.) Thank you, Mr. President, for helping others to NOT have to go through this same thing!

Working hard, owning your own business and putting everything you have into it is the American way. Just ask any Republican running for office these days. Only LOSERS do not get anywhere in life, and they should be mocked for the "bad decisions" they have made, and that "we" have to pay for. That is all well and good…until YOUR business becomes another statistic from a bad economy, and suddenly you are "overqualified" for the very jobs you once had. Yes, early retirement has it's benefits. 

Now, suddenly, after working for years, paying your dues (and taxes, I might add) you "are not contributing to society." You are sucking up "your children's future" with all your "entitlements." Well, if you had planned it right….you could have been BORN into enough money, or used other people's money to get even richer…..or have the SCOTUS rule in your favor, anyway.

Our Founders did their best to put this country on the right track….I just don't believe they accounted for the vast sums of money being used to power the train. All the Framers of our democracy had other positions and callings BESIDES working in the government. They did what they could…and moved on to let others carry the load. Today a government job, or a political position ITSELF is the end result. Once you get in the "system", with a little luck, good friends and lots of BS you can stay there forever. With donor money, government rules, insider knowledge, glad-handing, and taxpayer support you can live the good life forever. If that doesn't work out…you can always hit the media circuit. There is always a place on one network for fading GOP stars.

As I look over what I have lived through, what I have accomplished, what I have seen, what I hope for my family and others like them….I see that I could only have been what I am. And you cannot make yourself bigger by making someone else look small. And I can only support those who can put themselves in others' shoes….people with empathy. People who are Dems.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bob Corker, where's that big announcement???

 "Expansion talks at Volkswagen's lone U.S. plant have ground to a halt amid disagreements about the role of organized labor at the factory in Tennessee.
…...comments came in the aftermath of revelations that the state's $300 million incentive package offered to Volkswagen in August contained the caveat that the money was subject to labor talks "being concluded to the satisfaction" of the state.
.. Monday raised concerns that Volkswagen could move to recognize the UAW even without revote. The Center for Worker Freedom said in a release that that would be a "betrayal" of the workers at the plant who voted 712-626 against the union in February."
So much for "no government interference" in the running of a private corporation. The Repubs are ALL in favor of a Free Market…when it is to their advantage. "The government should stay out and let us run our business as we see fit."

Enter the lobbyists and "grassroots" organizations, and see how that song changes. A little bit of KOCH money can go a long way……ALEC and Americans for Prosperity.
The Center for Worker Freedom is a Grover Norquist ("anti tax") group. They are also part of the anti-union, right-to-work pushes, with groups like Americans For Prosperity, being made in Missouri just like they did in Michigan and Wisconsin.

So…let the Koch Brothers, those examples of American expansiveness and hard work, have their editorials printed the the WSJ, quoted on FOX and have emails sent to their employees to "share with like minded people." If people are THAT gullible, easily duped, bigoted, uninformed to the point of ignorance or just too darn lazy to not dig a little deeper, we are in a world of trouble. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Worth Thinking About…...

“The prevention of conception is not in itself forbidden or sinful providing the reasons for it are in harmony with the total revelation of God for married life” and that the “method of preventing pregnancy is not so much a religious as a scientific and medical question to be determined in consultation with one’s physician.”  

(Thanks, )

Today's Conservative Party keeps on in it's glorious tradition of tying itself in knots………or what I'd call marching on it's highway of hypocrisy. I realize time can change someone's point of view; life itself sometimes forces intellectual growth. But the Republican Party of today is on a mission……backwards. Citizens United. Voter suppression. Stalling on sensible immigration reform…not the "stay here pay taxes but no healthcare, education, or citizenship" route. Profits on oil and gas production for corporations, but lousy water and air for you. Making women the chattel of their husbands, starting with reproductive rights then moving on to education and voting privileges. You get my drift.

All it takes is a chip here, a crack there. A school voucher here, a revised textbook there. Remove a voting place here, pass an ALEC bill there.


Friday, March 14, 2014

A Dem's point of view…factual:

A Repub's point of view………with their facts:

"If we calculate the minimum wage to inflation since the early 1980s we will find that the minmimum wage should be about $8 per hour. There are many factors that contribute to less employment for the teens. More elderly people work longer, technology is taking over many of these jobs that youth had done previously, many jobs ar being done in other countries, ect. I am all for the private sector setting wages and people increasing their worth to an emmployer. It is not the employers responsibility to ensure they are paying enough for a person to live on. It is the employees responsibility to develope themselves to make earn enough to live on. An employer is only responsible to pay an employee to the worth they bring to the organization."
………..quoted from a comment in the Dayton Daily News today.

And people in this country just do NOT get it!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


This really is encouraging, especially if you have lost your job in the last few months, your unemployment is running out, and you need to feed your family or pay off your student loans.  I'm sure you've sent hundreds of resume's detailing your decades of experience, college degrees and credentials, military service, your "team leadership", glowing references from those folks who decided to sent your job overseas or "downsize", and you check your emails hourly for responses. 

LiveCareer's research has determined the Top 15 Jobs for 2014 to be:
  1. Personal Care Aides
  2. Registered Nurses
  3. Retail Salespeople
  4. Food Preparation and Serving Workers (read: WALMART, McDONALDS)
  5. Nursing Assistants
  6. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
  7. Customer Service Representatives
  8. Janitors and Cleaners
  9. General and Operations Managers
  10. Construction Laborers
  11. Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks
  12. Childcare Workers
  13. Office Clerks
  14. Waiters and Waitresses (read: below minimum wage, counting on tips)
  15. Cashiers
All you unemployed folks out there…..get hopping! Who cares if you were once a bank branch manager, teacher, nurse, fireman, teacher, department supervisor, master mechanic, billing clerk, physician's assistant, librarian, technical advisor for a large corporation, auto worker, college professor or dietician. There are PLENTY of jobs out there up for grabs. (Five folks for each one…..) So what if you have to work 2 or 3 of them…you can ALWAYS work your way up, but never to what you were making a year ago, certainly. Just ask any Republican congressman…..if you can find one to talk with you.

Or better yet, ask your parents ( they're on Social Security living it up anyway) to loan you money to go back to school or start your own business. Who knows…one more degree MAY be the answer and there ARE laws against age discrimination. (Oh, I'm sorry: You are overqualified for this position.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yeah, Corker, About Those New Jobs

Senator Bob Corker of TN is soooo proud of himself and the antics of his GOP friends here. They managed to spread enough fear mongering, threats, and guilt among the workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga so that the employees voted against a union by about 86 votes .  Not a big landslide but enough for the Repubs in this state to go tooting their horns. And lord knows there are ENOUGH of them here……Blackburn, Campfield, Corker, Alexander, Duncan, and De Jarlais to name a few.

Well,…..lookey here: VW is not so happy about the goings on during the voting.

"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council.
"If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW's supervisory board, said.
Remember: "The board (NLRB) spent years in the crosshairs of GOP lawmakers after its general counsel brought a controversial complaint against Boeing in April 2011. Republicans tried to strip the independent agency of its funding and even shut it down temporarily by declining to confirm board nominees."

I just wish the American people would wake up and see what hypocritical blowhards these Repubs are. Everything is for their benefit. The bottom line is king. They have continued on their march for decades. If they cannot control the workplace, the voting booth, women's reproductive life, education,  deport every nonwhite available (except those that do their laundry and yards…) and push their view of the Bible into everyday life…..they will not rest. Enough is enough. Looks like someone's calling their bluff this time.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oh, those crazy Repubs...

…they have the answer to everything. Inequality….it's all in your head. War against women…..nope, just a left wing fantasy. ("All we're doing is fighting for the rights of all women to have no contraception, never have an abortion should the necessity arise, have limited but more expensive healthcare because of their lady-parts, ignore them if SOMEHOW they achieve a political position and dare to speak their minds, make it harder to vote if they are nonwhite, shame them if they attend college, and keep food out of their children's mouths.")

And they could solve the problems of those poor souls lower down on the social ladder in four easy steps:

So what’s the solution to the massive income gap? What’s the magic path to wealth?
For the scholars, behavioral remedies are paramount. From the Cato Institute and the 
National Center for Policy Analysis comes the observation that if you do these four things, it's almost impossible to remain poor:
1. Finish high school,   2. Get a job,    3. Get married, and   4. Don't have children until you get married.
I have never seen a Krugman column discussing how the solution to inequality is for those at the bottom of the income ladder to change their behavior. Instead, we find the ever-present hint that those at the top are somehow to blame.

Let me go over my life again. Finish high school…did that. Go to college (I just threw that in there)….did that. Got married….did that. Had four kids after getting married…did that. GOD, I MUST BE WEALTHY!

But there is a little more to living life than that of the GOP's pipe dream of everlasting superiority, condescension, and blessed righteousness: divorce, single parenthood (but I was fortunate, I always owned my home and drove a decent car, never had to use a social safety net), working full time office job and a part time one too, going through cancer twice (once with no insurance), raising teenagers with all their inherent catastrophes (all attended college and have really good jobs.) and the naturally occurring ups and downs of life. Then, years later, add to that my second husband's stroke (again, no insurance from his employer), a small business we invested in failed, renters we had in a house bailed out and stuck us with thousands of dollars back rent (going to court did nothing….), more bouts of cancer (Melanoma, then skin cancer), moving, changing jobs, and finally retiring on that socialist entitlement Social Security. And did you ever try to find a job after the age of 60…even a part time one at Home Depot, Lowe's, a local furniture store or women's shop?? Don't want to be considered a moocher, living off the taxpayer's dollar, you see.

My life is fine, really. I want for nothing. Even have some put away for future emergencies……if they are not too large. But it galls me no end to hear these sanctimonious, "Representatives of the American People", blather on about how everybody else should lead their lives….when not ONE of them could have lived yours or mine….without the Trust Fund's or lobbyists money helping them along. I won't even go into their government jobs you and I pay for…..
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
  --  John Kenneth Galbraith