VOTING EARLY IN UXBRIDGE

Just as I suspected, the parking lot was almost empty when we got there around noon today. It was post doctor and post laboratory. Garry needed labs for his appointment on Friday and I needed them for my appointment today. It wouldn’t have taken nearly as long if I had any veins, but each year they get more difficult to find.

I take so many medications — bunches of blood pressure meds and pain-killers and anti-migraine stuff — that every now and then the doctor figures he needs to see if I have functional kidneys. I occasionally wonder myself.

It’s a very medical couple of months. Garry and I both have appointments this week. I have a phoner tomorrow and my cardiologist (annual checkup) at the end of the month.

One of Garry’s hearing aids — not the cochlear implant; the other one — stopped working over the weekend. I think it has been going bad for a while because his hearing has gotten worse. I didn’t know why (and neither did he), but he has also been complaining that this aid seemed to need an awful lot of batteries. So something was wrong. The question is what — and how expensive will it be to fix?

Also, my (our, actually) doctor wants to send me to his favorite pain clinic. Although everyone has already told me there’s nothing they can do for  me, he says these people are miracle workers. I’m definitely up for a miracle. I’m just wondering how they are going to get the information they need when they can’t take an MRI because of my metal, magnetic Pacemaker. That should be interesting. I have nothing to lose but money — those Cat-scans and other tests can wind up expensive and we are SO broke. Still, maybe they can come up with an answer. Or something that helps. Anything that would help me get a night’s sleep would be really nice. It is so ironic that the pain is worst trying to sleep. I should probably sleep in the recliner, but I like going to bed. Cozy comforter, soft pillows, and the warm bodies of dog and husband  are just not available in a chair.

I like this early voting thing. Especially out here in the boonies, it make voting SO much easier! AND it isn’t mail-in voting. This way, at least I know the vote actually made it to the poll and don’t have to worry about whether or not the postman forgot to deliver it.

We even took some pictures and as soon as I can force myself to download them, I’ll find something appropriate for this and at least one more post.

FROM C.S. LEWIS, A QUOTE TO PONDER ON GOOD AND EVIL IN THESE MODERN DAYS

A remarkable quote from C.S. Lewis, the author of many remarkable quotes that never seem to get old or lack current veracity in the real world — even a hundred years after their original publication:

“To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism (Meaning: baseness, dishonesty, double-dealing) will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors…. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still–just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naive or a prig–the hint will come. It will be the hint of something, which is not quite in accordance with the technical rules of fair play, something that the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand. Something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about, but something, says your new friend, which “we”– and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure–something “we always do.” And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face–that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face–turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude: it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.” — C. S. Lewis. The Inner Ring (1944)

The worst of the worst do not come to us as blatantly evil, but as complainers, whiners, malcontents. They come as wealthy people, offering us a place at their table and they wear down our rejection of their values with endless lies, half-lies, and untruths. After a while, it all fades into something vague that you are too tired to reject. This is what I see today. That the ugliness of Trump has become mundane and banal. His wickedness is “normalizing.” We are exhausted. Many of us feel as if there is nothing more to say because we’ve said it before as have so many others. This normalization will destroy us and our world.

I’ve gotten into trouble before trying to talk about good and evil. We aren’t supposed to categorize things as evil or good. We are supposed to find psychological justification, logical explanations. We have to spin lies and make them into “sound bites.” Instead of saying this is evil, we say “Oh, it’s just politics.” Thus evil no longer has value or validity — nor good, either.

Finally, from T.S. Elliott, probably the most quoted lines from his poems  — and this is just the final stanza from “The Hollow Men”:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Who has a conscience? Who cannot normalize the cruelty, bigotry, and evil of “our leader”? Are we now going to fade into fascism because we are too exhausted to vote?

THESE WERE THE YEARS THAT WERE. REALLY.

In May 1969, I had a baby boy. I sang “Come a little closer to my breast” originally sung by the Holy Modal Rounders though made famous by other covering singers including the Incredible String Band, I bumped into them them at a local folk-rock club in 1963. I was fascinated and immediately thought they were the stonedest group of people I’d ever seen, on or off stage. Despite that, it was a great song and it made a wonderful lullaby for my 1969 infant. Given the very small size of the club — known as the AbMaPhd or Ab_Ma_Phid (a line out from an Arthur Miller play), it summed up our relationship to the university.

The Holy Modals were either very tall, or I was very short, or the ceiling was really low, (maybe all three), because they seemed to have to hold on to the ceiling to keep from falling over when they sang. It turned out they needed the ceiling to stay upright because they were taking vast quantities of methamphetamine. They gave some to Bob who was at the stage when he would take anything — and after he took it, he disappeared completely for a entire week. During this period, he never left his typewriter and wrote a poem that was more than 100 pages long without so much as a paragraph break or a single point of punctuation. I think he read too many copies of  James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” a book I was supposed to have read and for which i got an “A” on the paper I wrote for the class, but I never read. I did read the book about the book — which by itself was almost 300 page long, so you can only imagine the actually original tome.. At a later date, Bob’s poem was edited down to a couple of pages. Maybe a few pages. Three, I think. But all began with what I swear was a full cup of liquid methamphetamine which probably should have killed him, but as a writer, it turned out to be anti-iambic poetry.

Meth wasn’t a “thing” yet. Pot was, of course. Marijuana was part of the music scene since the 1920s or maybe earlier. But no matter how much pot you eat or smoke, you aren’t going to stay up for a week and do anything, much less write 100 pages of anti-iambic poetry . You’d be sound asleep long before you got to page five.

Everything’s Fine Right Now
(Note: This is NOT the Holy Modal Rounders, but is the guy who wrote the song)
Who’s that knocking on my door?
Can’t see no-one right now.
Got my baby here by me,
can’t stop, no, no, not now.
Oh, come a little closer to my breast,
I’ll tell you that you’re the one I really love the best,
and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest,
’cause everything’s fine right now.
 
And you don’t have to talk and you don’t have to sing,
You don’t have to do nothing at all;
Just lie around and do as you please,
you don’t have far to fall.
 
Oh, come a little closer to my breast,
I’ll tell you that you’re the one I really love the best,
and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest,
’cause everything’s fine right now.
 
Oh, my, my, it looks kind of dark.
Looks like the night’s rolled on.
Best thing you do is just lie here by me,
of course only just until the dawn.
Oh, come a little closer to my breast,
I’ll tell you that you’re the one I really love the best,
and you don’t have to worry about any of the rest,
’cause everything’s fine right now.

The club was owned by my first husband and his best friend, the aforementioned Bob. They thought a folk-rock-coffee house a short walk from the university was bound to be a hit. It made sense if you leave out information about how much the rent, food, and entertainment will cost versus how much you are going to bring in on any give night. Music was sizzling hot that year as it was for some years — maybe a decade or so — afterward. All this talent somehow found a place to grow and yes, make a difference. The guys were able to find a place just a few blocks away from Hofstra’s main campus — it only had a main campus. To this tiny (old) building, they added a kitchen in which to make hot cocoa and fancy coffee as well as basic food for hungry students weary of whatever they sold as food in the cafeteria. Remember: do NOT eat the green meat.

Mind you this was when Hofstra wasn’t the fancy school it has become. It didn’t have a big library, dormitories, or a stadium. The beautiful gardening they have since done, not to mention the Drama School, Law School, and some other elegant student architecture and for which you pay tens of thousands of dollars to attend, didn’t exist. It was a peaceful and rather wacky local commuter college. It wasn’t even a university.

Hofstra in 2014

If you wanted to live near the college — and many of us did — you rented a room locally. I originally commuted from Queens by bus and picked up “the blue beetle” bus at the Hempstead LIRR station. Not very romantic, but at $43 per credit, it was an education I could afford without having to take out a gazillion dollars worth of student loans. When Garry started attending — five years before me — it was only $17 a credit. Now, tuition costs are tens of thousands of dollars, though these days, who knows? I wonder — among the other things about which I wonder — what else besides the real estate market and cozy small restaurants are going to tank forever during 2020. How many private colleges will meet the same fate? It’s going to be a bumper year for non-graduates and unpaid tuition, especially since Trump won’t even let foreign students into the States … not that they would be willing to come. I wouldn’t come here — unless I was immigrating from North Korea. some of the less civilized parts of Russia, or maybe that part of Mongolia where Bubonic Plague has broken out again.

That was how I made my first group of college friends — most of whom are still friends and one of whom I continue (against all odds) to remain married. The first one I met was Jeff, my first husband who was the Station manager at The Radio Station. Garry was the Program Director. Oddly oddly enough, I wound up working there too. Funny about that.

It was WVHC — The Voice of Hofstra College running at a crazy 10 watts. Our motto became “Don’t tune us in, we’ll drift to you” and we did. Somehow, we developed an audience, possibly because we also developed an intensely creative bunch of people. We were the weird people, the nerdy people who didn’t join fraternities or sororities. Who had strange senses of humor — but we could make you laugh and we did. I believe you had to live within a mile of the school to hear us, but with all the the crazy bounces of AM radio, sometimes we were clear as a bell in Cleveland, Ohio — but not next door in East Meadow, Long Island.

Jeff Kraus WVHC, probably about 1967

Meanwhile, back at the AbMaPhd, Muddy Waters came and sang for us. I was so illiterate about folk, blues, and rock singers I didn’t have a clue who he was but I liked his music. I liked the music so much I never entirely recovered from it and it is still my favorite music. I bought a really nice guitar and learned to play it with the full mediocrity of a girl who really wanted to be Joan Baez.

WVHC 1963

Anyway, they decided to put on live folk-rock shows at the AbMaPhd. Great idea, but the venue was tiny. The entire place, including the kitchen, as probably about a big as our living room and a piece of the dining room — maybe smaller. In other words, tiny. It barely held half a dozen tables. The kitchen was sweaty in any weather. Bob’s durable wife Sonja did the cooking, though I’m pretty sure she could have thought of any one of a thousand other things she have preferred to do (like be a math teacher, for example).. One of the big problems of AbMaPhd was that the owners never learned to brew decent coffee. Really GOOD coffee wasn’t the “thing” it has become. The powdered stuff from the grocery store really didn’t quite do it.

But the lack of good eats was only one issue. More important, it was so small that even with overflow crowds, that was a bare 60 people if everyone seat was jammed together as tight as possible. Lacking splendid cooking and buying the groceries retail at the local grocery store — which was expensive — they had to seriously overcharge on everything to make even a minimal profit. It was the kind of cool club that managed to thrive in The Village (Greenwich Village), but somehow never translated to Hempstead, New York. Add to that two men without a lick of business sense and no money to put it into the operation, it wasn’t doomed to be a big hit. But they tried. For more than a year, they struggled to somehow make it a go. Nope.

Little Theater – WVHC 1963

Which is how come my first really good set of guitar strings were put on my guitar by Tom Paxton and I got to meet all these others who eventually became legendary (or at least pretty nigh famous). Back then, everyone was pretty happy to get $60 to sing for the evening.

So that’s how I met the Holy Modal Rounders. I was single, a stage in my life that didn’t last long because by the time I was 18, I had married Jeff. I knew absolutely nothing about the current “culture” of folk-rock which was a “coming up thing” in the music world. In a few years, these same guys would  have records with pictures on the covers and the lyrics on the back. Joan Baez was singing in Boston in Harvard Square — and Bob Dylan was making some great noise in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. And there were so many more. There was a boiling up of talent back then. It was amazing and a joy to be part of it, even in a minimal way.

You didn’t need to be a star because stardom was lurking. You could feel it. Not everyone made it, but a lot of people did. Mostly in the radio and TV world — because that was our special place. But we got to hang out with the great ones. We got to tell the stories, sometimes record their records, and do their radio and television interviews.

Imagine a time when no one had any money. When what most of us carried were a few dollars and a subway token. If you sang you got to pass the hat and if anyone in the audience had money they could spare, they’d give you some. Musicians carried their guitars — without a case — on their backs as they rode bicycles from place to place because who could afford a car? Or, for that matter, a telephone? And from this grew legends and producers and executives and performers. We talk — almost with a sense of embarrassment about being the “Boomer Generation,” but we did stuff. We worked hard, we played hard. We didn’t, sadly, solve the problems of the world, but who did? Who else even tried?

At Broadcasting Hall Of Fame, September 2013

Is this generation going to do better? So far, I’m not seeing the talent, drive, or enthusiasm. I’m seeing a lot of kids working hard to better themselves at the cost of everyone else or not doing much of anything. However little we did, this gen looks likely to do less — and they need to do more. Much more.

I can go back to my dreams now and remember that those good old days were good.The “old” is merely the passage of time, but the rest? We were talented people at a time when talent was valued. Now what? Who is next at bat? Who is going to drive a homer out of the park or grab the pigskin and dash down the field or stand on a stage, accept “the hardware” (that’s what Garry likes to call it) and tell others they can do it too? It’s not that there’s nobody around. It’s just there aren’t enough of anyone around.

I SAID I WOULDN’T BUT I DID IT ANYWAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I said I wouldn’t donate money to anyway, but I sent $6 to Elizabeth Warren. I couldn’t help myself. I have so little money to give to anyone, it’s always a hard choice. Despite having no money, I try to donate something to Durrell on the Isle of Jersey where they try to keep vanishing species alive.

I give a few dollars to Wikipedia because I use it and I figure if I use it, they deserve at least a couple of dollars from me as a thank you. And, every four years, if I feel there is someone worth donating to, I give a few dollars to someone I think is worthy of being my President.

I sent a few dollars during both elections to Obama. I sent a few dollars to Elizabeth Warren when she was running for Senate in Massachusetts, and now, a few dollars more. I’m sure they’ll dump thousands of additional begging letters into my email, but I think she is the one. I think she’s a good one and I want to see her win.

I admitted to Garry that I’d done it again and he patted me and said “I like her too. It’s okay. If you hadn’t, I would have.” Because in the end, you have to make a commitment … even if it’s only $6.00 and very unlikely to change the election. At least I feel that I’m part of it. A small part, but I’ve made the best commitment I can manage — and that’s something. For us.

Because we really do care and I needed to show it.

And yes, okay, I bought a tee-shirt for me and an apron for Garry. Garry wears aprons all the time. He has a “thing” about getting food on his clothing. Also, I really loved the logo.

DO WE WANT TO ELECT ANYONE? – Marilyn Armstrong

I was just glancing through another post on The New Yorker asking whether Joe Biden is electable.

I have read similar stories in the Washington Post and other newspaper, online and offline about every potential candidate. It’s almost as if we don’t want to find a viable candidate because there’s something wrong with everyone.


I have a hot flash for you:
NO ONE IS PERFECT.

There is no perfect candidate waiting to run for office. There may be perfect people — somewhere (though I’ve never met one) — but none of them are interested in politics. Personally, I doubt there is a perfect person anywhere and if there is, I’m sure he or she would run screaming in terror should someone suggest they run for office.

We have turned running for office into the worst job interview on Earth. We are dredging up everything and anything that anyone ever did, no matter how many years ago it happened. We are dredging this stuff up without any context, either. Without any attempt to understand what else was going on.

Let’s take Joe Biden. He was not perfect. He has been in office for 50 years and has done stuff about which I’m sure he is ashamed and embarrassed. On top of everything else, he is being picked on for being “too huggy.”

Too huggy?

Seriously?

We have a racist pig as president — and you want to disqualify a man who is too friendly in a non-sexual way?

Do you want to re-elect Trump?

Everyone has stuff in their past they would just as soon not make public. Me too. You too. My husband, my friends, my son. I’m sure even my dogs have something about which they would be embarrassed if they could remember that far back, but being dogs, they are more interested in right now and when is dinner?

At a time when we should be looking for reasons why a person might BE electable, we are doing that classic Democratic “let’s pick apart every possible candidate, disqualify all of them, then pick someone who offends nobody and also has nothing of value to offer anyone. Let’s run him or her for office and be shockedSHOCKED! … that he or she is not elected.

We’ve done it before and we seem to be ready to do it again.

Banning Kate Smith for a recording she made decades ago, probably because her record company told her to do it and in those days if your bosses said “Cut this record,” you cut that record.

Actors made movies they hated and about which they still can’t bear to speak. People said things they didn’t mean, or intended as jokes. Are bad jokes enough to keep you out of office? Meanwhile, no attempt is made to figure out what the context was that created what was done or said. We ask for perfection from candidates we never require of ourselves.

Are we going to hold every single thing that anyone has ever done or said against them?

I know if someone asked me to run for office, I would say “Not on your life.” Garry was actually asked to run — locally — and said “No way.”

No one wants to do it because they know they are going to be shredded. Torn to bits by their own party, the press, bloggers and for all I know, their own family. If we are going to turn all potential candidate into bad people for something that happened a long time ago, we aren’t going to have anyone worth electing. There needs to be a limit to anyone’s liability for things that weren’t even crimes.

Okay, if he turns out to have been a murderer or bank robber or treasonous … but that’s not what’s happening. We not looking to see if someone actually did something felonious. We’re just looking for anything, everything, even nothing.

Indiscretion is not a crime. Even bad jokes — 30-year-old bad jokes — are not a crime. If you look at some of our great presidents, they were far from perfect men. Both Roosevelts had plenty of lumps and bumps and a few shameful incidents to boot. It didn’t mean they weren’t great presidents.

Maybe some personal indiscretions should be left in the dusty closets where they have been lying all these years. Some of these folks have good ideas. Vision. They might be great if you give them half a chance.

If we are going to demand perfection, we will get the kids no one liked in school. Our candidates will all be losers. Not Trump’s version. I mean real losers.

If we cannot tolerate anything living people do in the course of life before we allow them to be a candidate for office, the only people who will run for office will be people no one wants.

The priggish. The voiceless. Those who have no opinions, no vision. The intellectual who doesn’t know how to talk to “real” people. The stupid and the unthinking.

We are approaching that stage now.

How else do you think we got Trump? And the rest of his party of bottom-feeders?

“PROVOCATIVE” QUESTION 16: GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER MENU

Fandango’s Provocative Question #16

So the question is:


“Should taxpayers have the option to explicitly say what they don’t want their tax dollars spent on?”

I think we settled this during our revolutionary war. We explicitly demanded that only voters can be taxed. We never suggested we have the right to choose what we pay for. We don’t get a menu of selections, check those that suit us and refuse to pay for the rest.

In this benighted world, here’s my neighborhood.

My right-hand neighbor hates cops. He doesn’t want to pay for them.

The guy on the left resents school taxes.  He never had kids. Never wanted them. Doesn’t feel like paying for education no one in his family is going to get.

Down the road, that guy has a big powerful SUV, so he doesn’t care if the roads are plowed or not. If you can’t get through, well, too bad. Why should he pay for your transportation? He’s got his own.

The then there’s the one on the opposite corner. He doesn’t believe in government at all. He doesn’t feel obliged to pay for anything. He’s the creepy guy who wouldn’t turn his hose on if his neighbor’s house was on fire. You want him choosing which taxes to pay? Maybe he’s part of a group and none of them will pay anything at all.

We settled this. Long ago.

Taxes exist in law. We pay them because we are legally required to do so. You don’t have to like anything about the government, governor, Congress, or the school board. Or the cops, the town selectman, or the Mayor.

There are laws and we abide by them.

Government is not lunch where you get to pick whatever you want from any page on the menu. No picking and choosing which parts of the government you support. The closest you can get to that kind of choice is voting for whoever will support the programs you support. That’s what makes a government.

The picking and choosing from different parts of the menu is not a government. It’s lunch.

THUS THE ELECTION – Marilyn Armstrong

Not every count is in, but the general ambiance is “Yay we took the house — and a bunch of governorships” and “Boo, they still have the Senate — and sadly, Trump.”

Our polling area
Old High School lobby – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Not exactly a giant blue wave. More like a little wave that laps the shore. Garry is depressed. He was hoping for something more defining. A blue tsunami. I just wanted them to retake the house. And it’s not over yet. Really, it’s not. We don’t even have the votes from the west coast yet.

Photo: Garry Armstrong
The poll, AKA the old high school – Photo: Garry Armstrong
More polling Photo: Garry Armstrong

I realized I didn’t have any pictures or a single post for tomorrow, so it’s 11:18 and here I am, writing. We took a few pictures at the poll and near it.

I think we’ll know a lot more after we hear about the votes from the west.

Polling

And we did retake the House. That’s a bigger deal than you realize. It also means Mueller is good to go. I wish he’d get a move on it. Throw us a bone.

Tell us something.

NO REPRESSION! VOTE! – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Repress


In a few minutes, we are out of here to go vote. I hope that’s what you are doing today, too. No repression in Massachusetts. We aren’t that kind of state. But wherever you are, don’t let them stop you.

Your job is to be a citizen and VOTE. Please vote. Today!

FORGET FEAR. FORGET RAGE. LET’S TALK ABOUT DISGUST – BY TOM CURLEY

Elisabeth Kubler Ross defined the five stages of grief. They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

The tragedy that is this current administration and Republicans, in general, have created a completely different five stages of grief.  Shock, Denial, Anger, Rage and finally,

DISGUST.

I never really thought about disgust as an emotion. Usually, you’re only disgusted when you see, smell or eat something really gross.

It first hit me during the Kavanagh hearings.

Remember them? It was a long, time ago. About a month.

I watched pathetic old white Republican Senators sitting behind a woman because they were too cowardly to ask questions to another woman accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual harassment.

It was disgusting.

Then the next day this same nominee came out yelling and screaming about how everybody was picking on him. He threatened “payback” for Democrats who asked him mean questions. He treated the female Democratic Senators on the committee with stunning disrespect.

I like beer. I really like beer. Beer beer beer beer beer!

I was disgusted.

Then all the male Republicans on the committee proceeded to scream with phony rage about how this poor man is being treated.

I was beyond disgusted.

Since then, long ago (last month), things have gotten more and more disgusting.

The Fear-Monger-In-Chief has been crisscrossing the country trying to convince his moronic minions that a few thousand desperate refugees — mostly women, and children — fleeing their home countries and walking more than 2000 miles to come to America. Based on the very slim hope of being granted asylum, Trump claims they are really a raging mob of barbarians, criminals, and terrorists coming here to

INVADE AMERICA!

Disgusting.

He also says he can change the Constitution ON HIS OWN. He — alone and without an amendment or even a conversation with Congress — can deny citizenship to children born in the United States if they’re babies he doesn’t like.

No citizenship for you!

Disgusting.

This Idiot-in-Chief and every Republican running are claiming that they are only ones protecting pre-existing conditions for our health care. Even though they’ve all voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times and are planning on doing it again.

Disgusting.

They claim Democrats are trying to abolish Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If they are elected the entire country will become an apocalyptic dystopian nightmare of crime and violence.

And Zombies!

The Democrats are coming!!!

Disgusting

Racist attacks on African-American candidates that have gone from racial dog whistle code words to obscene robocalls from Nazis who don’t even live in the state in which the candidates are running.

Disgusting

In one week, a white racist, living in a van covered with alt-right pro-Trump memes sends 17 pipe bombs to two living Presidents and other Democratic leaders.

Disgusting.

Then another white racist, who after listening to the President telling crowds that Jews like George Soros is supporting the invading horde of refugees over 800 miles away decides to take an AR-15 and slaughter 11 Jews in a Temple. On Shabbat no less.

And what does the President say? It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t fair to blame him for it. Then goes to a rally that very night and says the exact same thing!



I could go on, but I’m too disgusted.

I’m writing this on the day before the mid-term elections.  If you’re reading this before the election, use your rage, your disgust.

Go out and vote.

If you’re reading after the election and you didn’t vote?

Disgusting.

IT’S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE – Reblog – THE SHINBONE STAR

THE SHINBONE STAR

WRITTEN BY MADMEGSBLOG – November 4, 2018

As a Canadian watching helplessly from north of the border, all I can do is scream at the laptop and the television and type “VOTE” over and over until my fingers cramp up. There used to be a time I could tell you the current political stories and climate for both countries; now, it’s more like “Trudeau who?”I know I could walk away from social media (and I have at times) and I could shut my ears to the constant noise, but I just can’t. Most of us can’t.

What has been a constant train wreck that was both cringe-worthy and entertaining in a circus kind of way has become one giant ball of horrific attack after horrific attack thrown at the citizens of a country I used to know.

What used to be a bit of joke for Canadians to heckle has become a tragedy of historic proportions. We still can’t look away, but we sure as hell aren’t laughing anymore. None of this is funny. Hell, watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” no longer keeps me sane. I try to chuckle at their witty jokes, but I cry inside wondering if the disaster down below is a survivable event.

I commend the likes of Maher, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, and Samantha Bee. To go on air weekly or nightly and try to make people laugh about that thing in their Oval Office that is ruining their great country one hateful tweet at a time makes my heart hurt for them.

I know I have run out of steam so I can only imagine what my American friends are feeling right now. You can see the exhaustion on their faces. It’s pretty bad when Stormy Daniels has to be the one to carry the humour on Bill Maher’s show.

It’s a scary time right now.

For Americans and for anyone who believes in democracy. Nationalism and racial divide is popping up all over the globe. Europe is in disarray and hate groups are on the rise. There are 49 countries that are officially ruled by a dictatorship.

That may not sound like a lot, but given how influential the United States is globally, the fact that the piece of garbage currently now running the country routinely threatens freedom of the press and attempts to dismantle the Constitution while cozying up to ruthless leaders gives governments in struggling countries a renewed energy to do the same. Here’s a map below to give you some idea of “freedom” in the world. Green is free, at least for now. Let that sink in.

We are all watching the decline of democracy globally, and the Great Ape in Charge of America is leading the parade. The sad part is, he doesn’t even really know it. It was never his intention; his intention is to WIN. At any cost.

The free and not-free world

So all we Canadians can do is sit and watch, and freaking hope beyond all hope that every American citizen gets out there on Nov. 6 and VOTES!!! Because if Trump and the Republican Party win and keep the majority, the cost will be huge and will be felt everywhere. The ripple effect of hate and malignant tribal politics will be far-reaching and even harder to beat come 2020. Even if it’s a Democratic sweep in November, it’s still an uphill battle to regain the political dignity that the Big O and his cronies have destroyed.

We aren’t laughing anymore. There’s no more condescending Canadian humour at the expense of our American friends. How could anyone joke about the idiot in the White House when people are dying at the hands of hate? No, we are frightened for you and we hope you can win this fight. We are behind you 100 percent.

So I will just say it one more time:  PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

via It’s Not Funny Anymore

WHY YOUR VOTE REALLY DOES MATTER – Marilyn Armstrong

I hear a lot from many people, including in my own family, that “my vote doesn’t matter.” The reasons given range from “I live in the country and it’s just the votes in the cities that make the difference.” There’s some truth in that and it is frustrating, particularly on a local level.

Then I hear “None of this has anything to do with me.” That’s pretty hard to accept from a kid living in HUD-managed reduced cost housing and who survives on Social Security Disability. And a woman.

Others include “This state is so blue, my vote won’t matter.” That’s how we elected Trump.

The thing is, the vote isn’t just YOUR vote. Your vote is one of the millions of votes never given.

In the last election, more people didn’t vote than did.

One person doesn’t vote? No big deal. A dozen people don’t vote? Still no big deal.

When millions of people don’t vote? That’s a very big problem not in a single election, but in all elections. For years, we have had more non-voters than voters in national elections and in mid-terms, the voting is even worse.

If everyone like you and me will vote, we fix the problem. Voting means millions of people will get their ballots counted. I know my vote doesn’t count because not only do I live in a hugely blue state but because Boston has so many more votes than the rest of the state combined. However, Boston goes, so Massachusetts also goes.

This is true in every state that has one or two major cities which hold the concentration of voters. New York, for example, sets the votes of the state. As New York city votes, so goes the rest of the state — even though New York is a large state and is primarily rural.

You’d never know it from the vote count. Those of us who live in the country don’t have much impact. But if everyone who can vote actually votes, it would change the country’s demographics.

Because the truth is, we don’t know how those non-votes would vote. There are so many of them, they could create a third-party that could change our entire political system.

Collectively, we matter. Unless you are planning to run for office, you will always be one of many. Or as we say “E Pluribus Unum.”

It’s our national motto and it means “One From Many.”

Be one. Be part of the many.

Many things need changing, but we need people in office willing to change the status quo. To create an amendment that eliminates or massively alters the Electoral College. A serious rewrite of the second amendment. We need some legal requirements about who can hold office, especially the presidency.

We have a great constitution, but it is hundreds of years old and needs an upgrade.

FOR MASSACHUSETTS: OUR GUBERNATORIAL RACE – Marilyn Armstrong

I spent some time today reading about races that are close and which are not. Here in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is expected to win handily and I am glad. She’s a live wire in a house full of deadheads.

Charlie Baker, our Republican governor, is considered extremely likely to win in more or less of a landslide because everyone likes Charlie Baker. Even I like Charlie Baker, but I’m not going to vote for him.

BOSTON, MA. – SEPTEMBER 26: Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez speaks to media at The Massachusetts Statehouse on September 26, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)

I’ve been thinking as a middle of the state semi-rural resident of Worcester country, I’d like to know what exactly he has done? He certainly hasn’t done anything around here.

He hasn’t paved the roads, repaired the bridges, or updated our disastrous trains (commuter trains, and Amtrak). He hasn’t invested in new or improved schools, better healthcare, or extended MassHealth (our state’s Medicaid) to people who need it. I can’t think of anything he has done that has anything to do with me or anyone in this county. I’m pretty sure the rest of Massachusetts would agree with me.

But he is a pleasant fellow. Your basic nice guy. Garry once told me the nicest people you’ll ever meet are politicians and mobsters. I’ve met both.

Garry was right.

Flowers growing in the potholes

Other than being nice, what else is Charlie Baker doing? All the problems we had when he took office are still with us. And if you live in this state, you absolutely know — 100% sure — the rails will stop working as soon as we get snow. Moreover, we won’t have enough snowplows, sand, or salt.

Charles Baker, Governor – Massachusetts

Charlie Baker is Boston’s mayor. He has little or nothing to do with anyone outside greater Boston or the wealthy areas along our eastern coastline. In short, he’s not our governor. If you live in Newton or Framingham, maybe he’s your guy, although I’m not sure what he’s done for you, either.

In fact, I’m not sure he does anything except be pleasant. He is, however, committed to supporting the Republican ticket because that’s where the money comes from. He may act like a Democrat to get elected in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, but make no mistake. He is not. It’s a political shell-game.

One of the things Gonzalez said during the debate was that anyone who doesn’t live in or around Boston must wonder when the government might do something for them. He actually said he had wanted to do this debate in Worcester, but Baker’s staff would not agree. He said he would like to be governor for the entire state because everyone west of greater Boston was still waiting to some any kind of public transport, much less upgraded transport.

That is exactly how I feel. I get that we are always outvoted by the city and its suburbs, but we live here too. Wouldn’t it be nice to at least get back the amount of taxes we pay in? Maybe have an extension so we could take a  train to Boston? How about a minibus so if you can’t drive, you are not helpless.

I don’t think charming Charlie is enough. We deserve better. Not that this post is going to change the race, but we need to stop electing pleasant do-nothing governors and find one who will actually accomplish something.

The last good one we had was Michael Dukakis — more than 30 years ago.