An Open Letter to Thoughtful, Serious, Reasonable Conservatives

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I feel so sorry for you guys. I really do. Here we are, in a two party system, and the only "conservative" choice available to you is moving farther and farther out into the weeds of megalomania, extremism, fear, fiscal irresponsibility, and bigotry. Your party leader is a world class douchebag; unserious, classless, unqualified, incurious, unthoughtful, and fit only for being the butt of jokes.

I miss the old Republican party. The one I belonged to when I believed in conservatism, and actually believed the GOP was the party of fiscal responsibility. These were serious people, and knew how to get things done.* Whether you agreed with it or not, they were effective in executing on their vision. They truly were the loyal opposition to the Democrats, and they deserved to participate in the marketplace of ideas. I miss them.

Because the current party isn't like that at all. Consider:
  • They would rather lie - demonstrably so - than admit they may not be the most popular group in politics, or that their proposed legislation is clearly hurtful to millions of Americans, or that they give a crap about the deficit, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
  • While riding on the coattails of populism, they simultaneously try to enact legislation the majority of Americans don't want - but that big business and the ultra-rich do.
  • They remain in power partly because they stoke the fears of the public, insinuating through speech and deed that we Americans are on the verge of losing our way, that our country's in the toilet. They've encouraged us to give in to fear and hate. 
  • They've used the Southern Strategy to enormous benefit. A strategy based on populism, fear, bigotry, and exceptionalism. 
  • They're completely incompetent. It's been nine months since they controlled every branch of the government, and what have they accomplished? Bupkis. They can't get their own ducks in a row long enough to address what color to paint the halls in the Capital Building, let alone actually display some governance. 
  • They have no fiduciary responsibility whatsoever. They go on and on and on about the national debt, but Republican administrations apparently can't balance their budget if their life depended on it. Reagan's record in this area is especially egregious, and when you do an honest comparison of National Debt in the last 50 years, the difference between the two parties is negligible, at best. The difference is that Republicans want to cut taxes (especially for the rich), thus reducing income while simultaneously cutting services to the poor, and the Democrats want to adopt more of a socialistic model, where services are increased, and taxes are increased accordingly to pay for the additional services. Quite frankly, the execution on both of these strategies has been piss poor, leaving the country with higher and higher national debt. So having the Republicans toot their own horn on how fiscally conservative they are is laughable. They're not (and neither are the Democrats).
  • Their hypocrisy when it comes to "small government" is beyond the pale. They may want fewer people on the payroll (doing the same amount of work), but when it comes to sticking their noses into other people's business, they are first in line.
Aren't you tired? Aren't you tired of the Republican Party relying on their strategy of catering to the lowest common denominator to get into power, assuming smart, reasonable, serious conservatives will do nothing as long as Republicans occupy the halls of power? Aren't you tired of having the Tea Party extremists claiming to represent you, while simultaneously trying to enact legislation that you totally disagree with?

I know I would be. I know I was, which is why I left the party.

But I understand why thoughtful, serious, reasonable, conservative citizens don't want to switch to the Democrats. They're as far away from your belief system as the extremists who have taken over your own party.

So if you can't bring the Republican party back on track from within, how about you form a new party? You could call it "The Reasonable Party," or "The Conservative Party," or "The Anyone but Trump Party."

The fact of the matter is that we really do need to "take our country back." We need to take it back from ultraconservative/fascist extremists who are warping the Republic to their own ends. And since the Republicans are currently in power, that means it's up to you, conservatives, to do what is necessary to fix it. Liberals cannot do so on our own - we don't speak the conservative language (and that's okay, it's really not our job to do so in this context). You're allowing this with your silence and lack of action. And that's not okay.


*Note that I'm aware they did so on the backs of the marginalized. There's a reason I'm no longer a Republican.

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to once again encourage the members of Congress who represent me in Washington to work together on a bipartisan effort to stabilize the ACA’s insurance marketplaces. 

Senators Alexander and Murray are working together on this effort, and I strongly believe that this is what leadership looks like. Healthcare for our citizenry is far too important a matter to rush something through without following the normal hearing process, and these Senators are leading the way by taking a mature, thoughtful approach to the issue. 

Once the marketplaces are stable, it then falls on both Democrats and Republicans to build on this work to come up with a long-term solution that addresses the concerns of both parties. The ability to compromise and work through partisan politics on important legislation is a skill most Congresspeople appear to have lost, and it’s time to resurrect those skills for the good of the country. 

Country before self, and especially before Party. Let’s return to civility, bipartisanship, and compromise in politics. I expect my Congresspeople to be role models in this behavior, not the last ones on board. 

Let’s get something done.


Regards, 

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - Doing the Right Thing Edition

Monday, September 25, 2017

A young girl was hit in the face by a line drive during a Yankees game on Wednesday the 20th. The injury was bad enough that the crews televising the game chose not to release footage of the accident due to its graphic nature. Thankfully, reports are that the youngster is doing okay, and I hope she makes a full recovery. Many players for both the Yankees and the Twins were in tears over the incident, which I totally understand. It's not Todd Frazier's fault, but you know he's torn up over it, and most certainly blaming himself.

Our own Colorado Rockies are working and planning to expand the nets at Coors Field for the 2018 season, and I'm grateful to them for making that decision.
________

45 once again stuck his oar in when he should have been letting the adults talk, this time surrounding the appropriateness of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest racism and police brutality in this country. He's trying to throw the "respect for the flag" red herring into the argument, rather than appreciating the fact that these are American citizens, exercising their 1st Amendment rights. Thankfully, it appears that many owners are choosing to ignore 45's rhetoric and mind their business. I choose to stand and salute during the national anthem for my own reasons, but I don't think it's right to try and push my choices off on others. I'm glad so many owners are looking at this as a civil rights and activism issue rather than assuming they know their players' motivations for choosing to make a political statement. Naturally, all the games on Sunday featured protests by players, coaches, and even owners to 45's suggestion.

Also, LeBron James called 45 a "bum" over his rhetoric, and for some reason that just made me laugh and laugh and laugh.
________

Meanwhile, the island of Puerto Rico is in a total blackout due to hurricane damage, and they need our help. Please remember that these people are American citizens, and so are entitled to the same level of support and aid any American community would receive from the federal government (which they're not getting). A list of "on the ground" charities can be found here. A little pressure on 45 to do his job and help the citizens of this country rather than blathering on and on about football might be in order, as well.
________

And I'm still not eating at Chick-Fil-A. Yes, I've heard all the arguments about taking money from local franchisees, and how boycotting them is wrong because they themselves are not necessarily anti-LGBTQ. All of that is absolutely true. But it's also true that for every dollar spent in a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, some portion goes to the home office and is used to fund legislation that hurts a community I care about. So no. Just...no.
________

Dominionist Roy Moore, the cashiered Judge from Alabama who believes evolution isn't real and that being gay should be illegal, needs a better class of campaign staff.
________

There's a Facebook group out there called "White Nonsense Roundup," and it essentially exists to help people of color respond and educate white people about race issues when the POC don't have the emotional energy to do so themselves.  I don't know enough about this group to have an informed opinion, but I like the fact that responders only come into a conversation if invited by the POC dealing with the mess.

I've interacted with so many POC who are tired - really, really, tired - of having to explain concepts of systemic racism, privilege, intersectionality, etc. to white people. It's not that the education isn't important enough to spend time on it - far from it. It's just emotionally draining work, and sometimes they wish white people would step up and help.

I'm going to follow the group for a while and see what it's all about.
________

Fourteen women pose nude for photographer Carey Fruth to demonstrate that female beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Love.
________

Video of my Heart: Actual journalist and decent human being Anderson Cooper takes down liar, liar, pants on fire Sean Spicer in his Ridiculist.


An Open Letter to Senator Cory Gardner, 09/22/2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

I am writing today to express my extreme opposition to the Graham-Cassidy Bill.

Here are the factual reasons I oppose this bill. Please note that these are matters of fact, not opinion:

 • There is not enough time between now and September 30th to get an accurate CBO score that tells us how many people will loose coverage as well as what the bill will cost, and that is inexcusable.

• It ends individual and employer mandates, which will drive premiums up. It will also end federal subsidies for individual insurance. This is estimated to leave 32 million people uninsured.

• It takes the money going to the states that opted ‘in’ to Medicaid expansion and distributes it among all states, even those whose legislatures irresponsibly voted against expansion. In 2026, funding for Medicaid expansion would end entirely, and the shortfall would be left for the states to cover.

• It institutes a one year freeze on Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood (even though federal law already prohibits federal tax dollars being used to fund or finance abortion services)

• It allows individual states to define what constitutes an “essential benefit”, which will likely result in a slash of coverage for maternity services, cancer treatments and services, ER visits, prescription drugs, and many more benefits. This could also further prevent women’s clinics from charging Medicaid for things like cancer screenings and birth control.

• It allows insurers to double their surcharge for elderly patients. (The ACA allows insurers to charge older customers up to 3 times as much as younger ones. This bill increases that to up to 5 times as much.)

• It allows insurers to charge higher rates based on health status, and it repeals language in the ACA which prevents changing insurance rates after a patient is diagnosed with a condition.

I can't believe I have to even say this, but the provisions in this legislation are just INDECENT. It's just as bad as the last bill brought before the Senate. Denying people the care they need to live is IMMORAL. Continuing to be a rank-and-file Republican on this issue is WRONG. Allowing the Federal government to cut billions from Colorado, money that serves the least among us, is NOT serving your constituents. I don't know why we even have to have these conversations - the argument of decency versus cruelty should have a clear-cut winner, and yet here I am, trying to convince you that decency should WIN.

Please vote NO on this bill and work with the Democrats on a bi-partisan approach that addresses both party's concerns. It's what the American people need, regardless of the Vice President's paternalistic view to the contrary. It's what we want. It's what we've TOLD you we want, when the majority of Americans have said they do not want the ACA to be repealed. Do not assume that because you hold office that you can pat your constituency on the head and claim that Father knows best. You obviously DON'T know best, as evidenced by years of do-nothing Congressional sessions and a complete failure to pass meaningful, popular legislation when your party controls ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

Do the right thing. Vote NO on this bill and help Coloradans retain the care they need.

An Open Letter to Senator Cory Gardner, 09/21/2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I am writing today to encourage you to vote NO on the Cassidy-Graham bill. 

While I understand that you are a rank and file Republican, I urge you to think independently on this issue. Most Americans don’t want the ACA to be repealed. Coloradans don’t want to lose billions in federal aid and have it repurposed to the Bible Belt, all of whom think federal health care is “Socialism.” Coloradans don’t want millions to lose their health care through Medicaid/Medicare. 

This really is a moral issue. Will you be the kind of Senator who pays attention to his constituents, or will you serve your masters at the GOP at the expense of Coloradans? Will you be the kind of Senator who votes to essentially kill your constituents so you can remain in your party’s good graces, or will you be a stand-up guy and do what is right, damn the consequences? Are you the kind of man who is guided by morality, values, and compassion, or will you be the man who puts party and self before country? 

Please - prove me wrong, and do the right thing, rather than the expedient thing. Vote NO on the bill, and then work with the Democrats to come to a bi-partisan solution. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about you and your priorities. Please, vote NO on this bill.

What's the Haps

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I realize I haven't been posting much lately. Between the latest political landscape and getting ready for our AFSP Out of the Darkness walk, I've become emotionally tired, and as Sister Stacey says, I've run out of spoons.

But I'm starting to get inquiries from my readers, so I thought an update might be in order. An update informed by today being "Talk Like a Pirate Day."

1. Miss Jackson Pi has been feeling poorly of late. She's always been a delicate flower when it comes to her digestion, but vomiting happens often enough that I spoke to her vet about it. She's now on a new (pricey) kibble and taking doggie probiotics. That dog lives a healthier life than most people I know. But she is getting her teeth cleaned on Friday, so she's just going to have a bad week. Poor Bubbie. (It's better than a peg-leg, Argh.)

2. I've been kind of blue lately. I think the upcoming AFSP walk is bringing everything that punched me in the heart about Moe's death to the front of my mind, and it's pretty draining, as well as making me touchy and weepy. (Cap'n needs a hug, Argh.)

3. Recently I've started yoga practice using an iPad app. Apparently I am currently the most inflexible person on the face of the earth. (Argh-ouch.)

4. We went to Santa Fe over Labor Day with Sister Stacey and Brother J.R. and it was FABULOUS. I love that city, and my "turn left at the adobe house" joke never stops being funny. (Argh.)

5. The end of fiscal year is fast approaching, which means I'll be getting my FY2018 work assignments in the next month or so. I'll probably pick up some more accounts, which is fine with me. If I don't stay busy, I live inside my head too much, and that place smells of psychological pharmaceuticals and orange soda. (Argh.)

6. I've been putting my costume together for the annual Douglas County Library Foundation Gala. The theme is Alice in Wonderland, and I shall be going as the Red Queen, because of course I am. Nothing too over the top - just a tiara, scepter, appropriate jewelry, a red dress and these. (Argh.)


Hubba, hubba

7. You want to know why I'm out of political spoons? This is why. I honestly do not understand how Republicans - Republicans I know and respect - can support the things and the people they support. I just don't get it. And every time I try to get it, I get more confused, because the argument for cruelty and against decency also makes no sense to me. This work makes me very, very tired, and I'm no closer to understanding now than I was when I wrote this or this. So I keep calling, writing, faxing, and e:mailing my Congressional Representative and my Senators, hoping my small voice will join with others to save us from ourselves. (Walk the Plank, Matey! No, really - walk the mother-fucking plank, you shameful piece of shit.)

8. Summer is winding down, and that means the growing season is almost over. I still have dozens of tomatoes and about eight zucchini out there, waiting to ripen, but it won't be long until the plants will be ready to be pulled up and mulch applied for next year. (Eat yer tomatoes or gets the scurvy, matey!)

An Open Letter to Senator Cory Gardner, 09/18/2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

I am writing to you today to ask you to vote "no" on the latest ACA repeal. I'm not really interested in having 1.3 million of my fellow Coloradans lose their Medicare coverage because the GOP needs a win to convince their constituents they're capable of governing. 

If you want to govern, then pass some domestic legislation that improves the lives of your Constituents by working WITH the Democrats to reach a compromise. 

Right now I consider your primary job as keeping an unfit, unpredictable, unqualified man child from destroying our Democracy. Snatching medical coverage away from 32 million people makes you an immoral failure, not a leader of men. 

If you want my vote, then work on bipartisan legislation that benefits us all, and lead your party away from extremism.