Wednesday, November 18, 2015


If you have been reading the stories regarding the recent Paris attacks, with more promised, you probably have also seen the discussions regarding how poverty is part of what has led to this whole problem-- worldwide poverty on a level often we can't even imagine in the United States. I don't have answers for the problem, maybe nobody does, but I posted a huge comment in someone else's blog where she was writing about this book:  '$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America' by social scientists Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. My comment, which virtually was a rant, ran over the limit. I decided  not to cut it down, not post it there, and instead bring it here with a few modifications--

A beginning answer to the working poor in the US is to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour but also understand that some will not then be able to hire the help they used to hire. This is particularly true for senior citizens who might want to hire some assistance, but their own income has not risen with the cost of living. 

Likewise farm laborers will lose some work-- where often the owner of the farm doesn't make a lot of money for the many hours he/she puts in (I know my husband would not want to figure out what he actually makes for his many hours with the cattle and sheep. I don't think it's $2 a day though because we often don't break even by the end of a year, and he puts in a LOT of hours. By the time ranchers pay for feed, fencing, etc. etc., they are doing it for the love of the animals and to provide healthier meat for other families. But if that small rancher had to make a living wage from it, it'd likely not be an option, which explains the growth of corporate farms with far less healthy meat-- but it can make money

Small operations like ours would often like to hire extra help but as the wages rise, it becomes out of the question. In our ranching/logging community, I know many people who don't make much and what they do is sometimes off the grid-- i.e. they are paid in cash and nobody reports any of it. We convinced one man that we had to pay him on the grid and it would be better for him. Because he had skills, we paid him $20 an hour. He hadn't wanted to do it on the grid  because of paying taxes and some other complications. Once though he did, he then got other jobs and more steady employment. His off the grid work looked good but in the end limited him by no 'record' of what he was doing.

Having a niece who was on welfare back when the rules changed gave me another insight. She actually benefited from the law change, as back then they gave her work for I believe two years and training. That enabled her to get a 'real' job when the two years ran out. She has worked since and has a job with respect attached.

Recently, I have gotten a view into the minimum wage economy when our home vacation rental here in Tucson needed to find an agency to clean between renters. Living in Oregon most of the year, we can't do it ourselves. We already had this season's renters or we might've just plain quit renting it with the complications of using an agency where we don't know the people and the house is full of art, books and gourmet cooking tools. With the new system, we aren't sure what we will end up paying per cleaning, as it's done with a minimum but no maximum. Two will come in, each getting $22 an hour with the agency, of course, getting part of that. The workers also have travel time between jobs; and of course, this is all on the grid. 

Tucson has enough wealthier retirees, some with plush pensions or who invested well, that there are a lot of agencies that do cleaning. Not so many probably where I live in Oregon (I had never hired anybody to clean any home of mine until we got this vacation rental). 

When we have come here to do the maintenance on the house, we've hired what we can using those who work from job to job, independent contractors-- most of whom are on the grid. Talking to one of them this time, my husband said the guy told him he has a hard time getting workers. Too many people in this area don't want to work or lack any skills. The contractor said he would hire more but instead has to do it himself. If someone does not want to work and can get money for doing nothing, how do you make them?

America has many tiers to its culture and I think it's hard to evaluate what anything means today. Ethics vary from community to community as well as era to era. My mother worked, in her middle years, as a home cleaner for wealthy ladies, coming in once a week. My dad had worked with his muscle all his life but when he couldn't do the heavier work, he became a school janitor. They didn't ever ask for government assistance and that means no food stamps either. They considered themselves middle class as I always saw them too. But that was maybe based on things other than income.

There at least had been a respect for work in our culture even among the poor. I am not sure we will be ahead to form a guaranteed hand-out society even with problems like this Homeless in LA huge problem. We know that many homeless don't want to work or be tied down to a job. That is just a fact and some of it based on mental problems but some just their personalities. 

The thing is though-- working a job for 40 hours a week should mean you can live on it with enough to cover food, clothing and shelter. Guaranteeing that higher minimum wage though isn't simple. How do we find those who can afford to pay the salaries if more want $15 an hour jobs maybe with no skills or work ethic. We can guarantee the handicapped are given enough to live on. Should we guarantee those, who could work but choose not to, also get one?

It's a bigger problem than words will solve. Seeing again the fear from the right wing and their resentment of the poor, Seeing the working middle class's anger at those they believe are sucking at their tit, and I think it's going to be hard to get any of this fixed. The right fears the poor getting money for nothing, but for some reason don't worry when it's the rich.

Most recently, when I saw the maps of the states that are trying to refuse any Syrian refugees, even when well vetted, it doesn't look like this is going to get fixed soon. Those states mostly have Republican governors and it looks from that map that the country is turning strong right. (Oregon's governor said we'll take them for which I am proud of her). Logic though is missing on votes like Kentucky's recent turn to a right winger for their governor. And if any of the Republicans get in the Presidency, and I mean any of them, it'll be worse and maybe worldwide with their big mouths on war with total ignorance (willfully so) of history. :( They know where they want their tax money to go, that that they are willing to pay, and it's for wars and war machinery not the poor.

All this worries me with grandchildren coming up into the world and what kind of world is it going to be? My granddaughter says they'll fix what we messed up. My generation thought that once too...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Isn't there one good person running for the GOP nomination?

It used to be Fiorina and Huckabee topped my list of worst possible candidates on the right wing side. Well, the more I learn about Ben Carson, the Republican rising star, the more he worries me. There have been several statements he's made that have created some of my concern but also articles regarding his past and present.

Give these a try: 

Here's the thing, this guy might be someone with the kind of mental illness that lets him function quite well in many arenas of society but as President? With that kind of power?

As the middle article indicated, the concern goes also to those who vote for someone like Carson, those who want this country run by a dictator from their particular religion, which half the time they barely understand themselves. He says a woman who is pregnant is like a slave owner if she wants to end a pregnancy, but guess he'd let her do it with the morning after pill if she knew in time she might be pregnant... or will he change that too?

This is the guy who said he wouldn't have let the killer in Roseburg kill so many without rousing his fellow students to fight back and uses as an example how he faced a gun once and dealt with it by saying-- you don't want me. You want the guy behind the counter... And he didn't even seem to realize what a cowardly thing he was bragging about.

Because he's quiet, because he's a religious person, because he's black, because he's an extreme right winger, the Republican religious types like the idea of him. It would prove they were not bigoted in their hate of Obama. Or would it?

Carson is a man who profited from all the social programs he could avail himself of but now says they keep people down and should be eliminated for everybody else. Again he seems to have no actual clue what he's saying. Some would vote for him because of his claim that he dragged himself up by his bootstraps. Except he didn't. He was pulled up by the social network that offered him a chance to better his life. Now he sees that network as bad. I mean he has his, doesn't he! 

There are those though who will vote for someone based purely on similar religious values or at least so they think. Carson claims his views on abortion come from his religion. He's a Seventh Day Adventist, who have a very different view on things like the Trinity; but what they say about abortion is it is wrong but should be a matter between a woman and God. This doesn't sound like a Carson, who would push it into back alleys and punish women and abortion doctors. 

Carson is a religious extremist but of what religion?

Friday, October 02, 2015

what can we do?

Yesterday, like everyone else who had a radio, television or computer on, I was feeling the same shock that repeats with each of these mass shootings. This one was closer to home but they all hit close to home because we know they could happen where we or our loved ones are. The thing we all wonder each time is what would stop this? Some say take away all guns. They know that won't really happen because even if that law went out, some would keep their guns. I'd be all for stopping the purchase of assault rifles and extended magazines. It would slow down shooters at least but the right wing stops any such attempt-- too much money in it dontchaknow.

Well, then how about better gun regulations as to who can buy a gun? Background checks make sense, but we don't yet know this guy would've had any problem buying his. Oregon did pass such a regulation requiring background checks, but how do they know ahead of time that a nutcase is ready to try for his moment of fame?

Some of the shooters, like the guy in Tucson, would not be able to buy guns. Ironically sometimes those people end up with a family member who buys one for them. What can we do about the one whose mother was buying them all for him?

This guy wanted fame. That can be denied them but it isn't. Time and again they get their picture and name in the paper. Then some other nutcase thinks how cool and they go for the same.

It is rumored that this guy was on some kind of social media site bragging about his intent (if it was him and not another nutcase) but the ones on that site were encouraging him not turning him in. The government could monitor such sites, but a lot of Americans don't like that idea.

Having some people armed could sometimes help. The young man who charged the shooter and ended up shot 5 times likely could have done it if he had been armed. Having been in the military, he had been trained in firearms use. But not everyone could use a gun wisely in such a situation. A lot of times there is no one nearby who could.

There should be praise now for those brave police officers who went in without backup and without waiting. Lately, the police get such a bad time from those blaming them for everything, but they always are the ones who go in when everybody else runs out. [Police officers end the shooter's rampage]

The thing is we should not give these cowardly murderers any notoriety, but the media does time and again. It's time to stop. Don't play the game in the media with why did he do it. Leave that for the experts to study and make it part of serious investigations not the usual media overkill as that 'fame' they give to these losers is part of why they do it-- time and again. 

Personally, I am all for gun regulations and I happen to not only be a gun owner but one with a concealed weapon permit of many years now; but it won't stop all of this kind of carnage. Although if that ex soldier had had one...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A link worth reading

More reasons that Carly Fiorina should not be in serious contention to run anything-- let alone the United States.

Right winger positions will always cause me to not vote for one, but some are worse... and she is one of those. I hope Republicans do some research before they end up with one of their worst disasters as a nominee.

I should add that in the article, I think the writer blew one aspect. Fiorina probably did see that image she claims. The word is out that it was from a miscarriage. I looked for the pictures and saw them. There was no body harvesting and the words were added over the top by the grifter who is making all those anti-planned parenthood videos. Creative editing has been the name of that guy's game. And to believe this is real without doing research is Carly's game too. It suits her agenda.

Some are making a big deal out of Planned Parenthood making most of its money from abortions as if that is significant. Their director made their point well that a lot of their services are for low income women and they don't charge. I was a recipient of my first ever vaginal exam and prescription for birth control pills when I was in college and about to be married. It cost me nothing. 

Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service for low income women and with the way the right has gone after abortion providers, if Planned Parenthood was stopped from offering that service, there would be even less safe places for abortions. That is the goal of some. Back alley abortions or babies who are unwanted is what they desire to happen.

I doubt Planned Parenthood will be stopped from receiving government help for its services (other than abortion), but whether Fiorina will be stopped is another question. 

For anyone who understands psychology, Fiorina fits the profile of a sociopath. If you ever worked with her, you know how much. Is that what Republicans want as their Presidential candidate? Well, they did run Sarah Palin as Veep; so maybe it is...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

looking ahead

Ranting on this again because it's on my mind. To me, the future of our country is about future generations being raised up ready to take over. What are we doing to make that happen? Are we only educating the wealthy to be in that position-- a generation of oligarchs ruling over peasants?

For those who are worried that Bernie Sanders might win the election and do what he said he wants to do, I suspect you have nothing to worry about. The number of citizens who will vote for him probably aren't enough to even get him the nomination. The people in this country worried about a student (or the poor) getting money from them appears to outweigh concerns with wars we don't need, likewise weapon systems that we only need if we want wars around the world.

Bernie may not be able to win but I wish Americans would think long and hard on his proposals, such as regarding college tuition being paid by the government. This is NOT a partisan issue. It's a cultural one.

Did you know that Washington State Universities will have their tuition cut by 20% this year and it's a Republican legislature that drove it to happen. Who do you suppose that helps? The middle class. 

Concern over college getting so costly is all about the middle class, who are the ones being cut out of having their youth get educations beyond high school. $26,316 for three terms this year will be what an OSU undergraduate will be charged:

Tuition and fees: $10,000+
Books: $1950+
Housing and food: $11,874+
Misc: $2400.
On one of the right wing talk shows, I listened to the guy from Washington as he discussed why he did what he did and fought Democrats in Washington to get the reduction. He understood it. The poor get grants. The rich can afford those costs. The ones being priced out of college are from middle class working families.

I've mentioned before that when I went to college, I could pay my tuition by cleaning an office building one day a week. My husband paid for his by working at a dairy during his week-ends. Part time work could do it. Anybody who believes that is the case today is not paying a lot of attention to minimum wage and how hard it would be to earn $26,000 a year to go to college. Then if the kids borrow, the interest rates currently are 4.29% (down from when it used to be 8%) but it is calculated from the date the loan is taken out. So while elders like my husband and I earn maybe .5% interest on our savings, the banks aren't passing that benefit onto the students. You can buy a car at 0% interest and pay it off within three years to keep it 0% but our future generations-- pffft, no investment we want to make as a culture.

There are those on the right and left who understand how important higher education is to innovation and growth. They understand that if Germany, Sweden and five other countries not only don't charge their kids tuition but would let American kids come there to go to school, at no tuition, they value education. Why don't we? Or do we want to become a servant nation with the bulk of our population knowing how to grow food or sweep our floors?

This nation was built by those who valued education. Schools were one of the first things that communities made sure were built right alongside churches. My parents taught me how important it was to work hard in school and go to college. They only had eighth grade educations but they both read and they pushed their kids to work in school. They knew it mattered and they drilled it into me-- as my husband and I drilled it into our children, who now drill it into their children. 

Americans need to get it together that there are some things worth investing in—the future generations should be at the top of the list. Sure, I wouldn’t let just any kid go to college, one who didn’t get good grades in school should be in a trade school, those who want to learn a trade should equally be encouraged to those schools-- nothing bad about a good, solid trade-- but for those who want a college education, who have worked hard, they should know the way is open for them. It will give them motivation to work when they know it can take them somewhere. 

This isn't a gift or if it is, it is to repay the benefits we received from those years when college was affordable for the middle. It still won’t be free. Tuition is less than half the cost. But it will be more feasible for kids like I was to believe they could do it. 

To make this work will also take some monitoring of the universities to be sure their dollars are going into education not an overabundance of deans, advisers, and administration. A lazy people don’t want to monitor the system, make sure it's being fair and farsighted. A lazy people will get a future generation worthy of it.

The ones whining about paying tuition don't seem have any problem with a budget that is 57% military with a lot of weapon systems that don't even work out. They don't mind subsidizing big corporations or  giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest. They don't mind being run by oligarchs. They also will get a future generation worthy of it... except I want better for my grandkids. A lot of Republicans feel the same way. Those elders, who don't get it, should get educated as to why having kids get more education will in the end be good for them. It's called looking ahead!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

quotes that live on

Once in awhile, everyone should watch Blazing Saddles again. It is funny and has some lines that hit home hard even this many years later. Try this one:
What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny?" "Make yourself at home?" "Marry my daughter?" You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.
We laugh over that one a lot :)

I should add for those who might not have seen it, you cannot be politically correct or you will be infuriated as it is not PC for then or even less for today. ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2015


As a disclaimer, I have been a registered Democrat all my voting life-- first election I got to vote in (had to be 21 back then) was 1964, and I've voted regularly ever since-- like the choices or not. Whoever the Republicans choose for their nominee, I will obviously have no say in it. The stand on issues required by these candidates is pretty much the antithesis to how I feel about what should be done; so none of them could get my vote in the November '16 election. Still some are worse than others to me, and every year I always hope the Republicans will nominate someone who I feel good about-- even I disagree on the issues.

You might think the candidate I'd like least would be Trump, but he's not. First on that list would have to be Huckabee as a religious ideologue who literally would throw out the Constitution for his personal interpretation of the Bible. He defends child molesters and those who refuse to do their job despite the oath they took,while he panders to the right wing religious types who mostly have no idea what the Bible even says. You may think that's extreme to say; but they ruin people's view of Christianity which, if they really followed Christ, would offend no one. Huckabee would be a disaster if he got in but he can't; so he's not the bigger concern I have right now.

No, what worries me is how the right wing are so shallow in how they respond to these candidates. It's the voters who worry me more than the possible candidates. And this is not just true of the low information voters so prevalent on the right (even as Rush says that's supposed to be me), but also those who know a lot but they want their agenda to get in there and they listen to the ones who sound the best regardless of their history.

Carly Fiorina fits this to a T. She is running as a successful CEO, who evidently (in her own grandiose mind) was pushed out of her job due to sexism not her failure as a CEO. She strikes me, having seen how she operated at HP and before that at Lucent that she is a sociopath. That isn't necessarily a drawback to the right wing. 

She uses her personal history as it suits her. So she claims a daughter died of drug abuse. Sad sad for Carly. Except the divorce from that daughter's parents came after Carly met the girl's father. The girl's mother had custody. Carly was her stepmother, a stepmother who might have broken up a marriage-- only two people know if that is true and they aren't apt to tell the truth.

A little personal history on Fiorina might be beneficial for those so enamored by the persona she projects. 

If you worked at HP, you would have opinions on her too. This is a woman who took a company known for its innovation, for how it encouraged creativity and recognized the value of all levels on the teams. She turned it into one who wanted to buy technology. She stifled teamwork. She valued her own image more than the company's, and she walked away a wealthy woman due to raising her own pay and a golden parachute. 

Her willingness to use anyone has worked well for her as a CEO-- not. Will it be any better as a President? Republicans are willing to gamble to give that a try. But then they would have foisted Sarah Palin onto our country as a Veep and possible President if McCain had died in office. 

I could say a lot more about Fiorina and probably will if she looks likely to get the nomination, but for now-- how can the Republican party seriously consider a candidate who says about Social Security and Medicare-- I won't say what I'd do about either until I get in office. I'll tell you what I call that-- a pig in a poke. This woman is a lot more than that on the rest of her resume. 

Hopefully the right will start to pay attention to her actual record-- all of it-- and not just her rhetoric. She ranks right down there with Huckabee in my mind for what a disaster she would be for the country if she truly gets into the White House as other than a visitor.