Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Howl From the Great Recession

Well, my dears -- a Happy New Year to You!  It is the 5th Day of Christmas as well -- our holidays have been very very interesting the last three years.  Our little family has descended along with hundreds of thousands of Americans from a secure life of relative ease to poverty -- I think an income of $2500 a month defines poverty pretty well here in Marin among two people.  What is our Christmas like now?

When I was what you might consider "well-off" I can remember one year exhausting myself in a joyful confusion of purchasing and wrapping so many gifts that they piled high on the floor spilling way into the middle of the room.  It was such a thrill to give my children such pleasure.  That was the apex of my maddened gift-giving days -- fun, but way over-the-top and absolutely tiring excess.

My boyfriend of the time spent much of the week in bed in an allergic reaction to Christmas; I took care of his brother, two children and my own.  I remember commenting on how utterly exhausted I felt; he looked me and said, to my shock and dismay: "What did you do?" with a sneer I will always remember; our days were numbered!

But things DID change after that -- I had peaked.  I always tried to make my girls happy, but the last three  years have been very different.  Since the onset of the Great Recession we have had little to share materially -- this year  my daughters, on Christmas Day itself, cadged a free tree from the tree sellers.  It sat unadorned throughout the usual Christmas night "Orphans of the Storm" party we have.  The next day it was festooned with carnival beads and it stands downstairs now.

This was our third Christmas of limited means; my oldest daughter pulled gifts from her magical traveling hat for the last few years, but I had little left to give. This was our first year without stockings or presents; nobody had anything for anybody as our resources are so limited.

We put together a feast for our friends anyway, and our usual multi-generational blast was had.  Definitely a night of glorious gaiety -- oh, my adopted "children" make me laugh in the face of anything!  The spirit of Christmas prevailed!  The true spirit, that "god bless us EVERY one" spirit was in full force that night

But this time it was different; who knows where we will be next year. After 25 years of living here my home is in jeopardy, in foreclosure with no sale date set.  I am terrified. As a woman with bipolar I have done EVERYTHING the manuals say can happen to an untreated bipolar patient up until homelessness -- I haven't gotten there yet.  I am fighting to save my home and sanity -- a loss so gigantic would be mind-threatening to me.

And so they wound us, household by household -- the banks and the speculators who created this problem are off the hook in our new Plutocracy while those of us who belong squarely in the middle class have been reduced to poverty and begging for services.  How does that sit with you all? 

It is not sitting well with me.  I am so angry at the banks, at the financial institutions and the lack of leadership that it takes to make sure your population doesn't go hungry and want shelter.  It is clear that thousands upon thousands of us are losing our homes to faceless corporations who put profit above ALL human decency.

Town by town, person by person, there are these stories.  No gifts, no heat for us for 3 years now, bills we can't pay mounting up and NO PLAN B.  I am terrified, America, along with a good many others of you.  But more than that, I am outraged.  I read an article I'd written years and years ago predicting this economic downturn if Bush-co's policies were followed -- I was amazed at my own prescience.  It sure didn't protect me.  So now I am drowning while friends and family look on helplessly.  Or so it seems.

Only Time will tell.  God Bless Us, Everyone!  From the most humble to the most "exalted" we are all made from the same energy, we are connected, we are Light and Energy and Love.  This world is an illusion and I must remember to accept where this child of the Divine is placed by a world out of her control.

God/Goddess help us.  It is dark, the light returns.  We are frightened, but we proceed.  That's all we can do -- but my fellow travelers, those others lost and afraid -- we are together in this and must make our voices of pain and rage and terror felt in this land of people enduring the unendurable suffering the Corporations and Banks of this land have caused. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Holiday Wish - Letters to Senate!

I think we need a place, I think so many of us would love to have a place where all people can make their voices heard.  You know -- instead of a letter to SANTA -- a letter to SENATE with a cc to the Public at Large so that the Senators can have a better grip on what the public actually wants, as opposed to what they have been paid to grant their Corporate Sponsors.  I want A GIANT POST OFFICE where all the disgruntled people in the land can voice their TRUE AND SERIOUS GRIEVANCES; which should lead to a little "redress of wrongs", like it says in Article III of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.


It's not as lame as it sounds (well it is; I'm just really angry).  I mean -- I am so sick of hearing  various political MORONS on either side of the aisle use the words "what the American People want"! I am sick to bloody death to it.   

Does anyone around still think these guys whose stated goal is to bring down the President --mostly old, white guys who find cell phones miraculous -- know or care what We the People want or so VERY desperately need? Not a chance, my dears, not a chance.  And I am so so very ANGRY.

I don't think most of us want to see these venal crooks playing craps with our lives as though their political well-being were more important than the health of the planet, true national security, education, poverty -- all the horrible ways our country has headed for skid row in the last decade -- we must reverse this!

Before anyone reminds me that all capital letters = shouting, yeah, well I certainly know that.  I am shouting, shouting SHOUTING, AND SHOUTING SOME MORE.  After enduring the shenanigans for the last two years I'M PISSED OFF POLITICALLY, literally just filled with political rage.

What I want and need at this my hour of capillary bursting outrage is an address.  Not just for my own perfectly fine California Congresswomen, I WANT A PLACE WHERE I CAN SCREAM AT THE SENATE,  those same, gallant 30 or so who are refusing to pass Legislation of real importance to the long-term well being of this wonderful country of ours.  Some weep about the beauty of their home states as they eviscerate the Appalachians and try to figure out every possible way of grinding and smashing the earth for what the sun gives so freely --aaaaargh.   

I am ashamed that the GOP stood and stands shamelessly united in opposition to LEGISLATION THAT COULD HAVE TRANSFORMED OUR COUNTRY POSITIVELY!! These folk value the wealthy above the poor, and they do not care that they are busily creating a Dickensian society filled with  more terribly poor people for them to sneer at.  The irony is that they created the sudden loss of wealth that has put the gob-smacked American people at risk financially, and they blame US for it -- too lazy to work, welfare is easier... 

I was well off for quite some time, for example.  I am now officially literally indigent. Not whining, but it's a weird ride -- had my kids, did my job, caught caught up in the real estate tsunami, got ripped off -- so with $437 social security watch me roll.
So -- where's the place where WE THE PEOPLE get to tell these people ruining our Government WHAT WE WANT??  I just do not know where to put my outrage -- or does it just not matter what we want, that we need and deserve basic goods and services?  Christ, at least DADT was repealed -- I have SOME hope!

Nobody can tell me those GOP Senators are not compromised in some huge way, and some of the Dems too, sure.  Some are not. But it's easy to see how Big Business really did rather well for itself, as usual. Medical companies pleased, Big Pharma seems to have struck an early deal, Banks doing great, and I am suddenly indigent, penniless, sans sous.

How in hell did that happen? Not even enough money for a Christmas tree, and certainly there will be no gifts this year. We'll all be together, and I shall have the pleasure of listening to the sweet tones of my blended family quarreling -- stress of relative poverty.

I WANT TO RAGE AGAINST THAT BROKEN MACHINE THAT AFFECTS OUR LIVES SO GREATLY BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE!!!! They isolate themselves, State by State, buffered from the rage of the body politic; and by god I hope some of you are starting to get angry!!

And if these majority-obstructing “law-makers” are quoting the American People it is time we set them straight.  These guys represent  just 1 flavor of the people, and it's vanilla ice milk that has been in the freezer some years.  Yum.

              If you are starting to feel a little populist rage,  START MAKING SOME NOISE!!  If I just knew WHERE TO WRITE THOSE LETTERS OF OUTRAGE I COULD DO IT ALL DAY.  IT'S GOT TO STOP-- what is happening to this country has to stop.div>

It's time for the women and men of good heart, mind and will to step in and push back against these guys , for you may not see it but on some really big level we are being sold out, and it is more obvious by the day.  Broken schools, government, highways, dreams -- where will it end?

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Oh mercy --  just heard that ol' Joe Liebermann, Independent from CT, spearheaded the successful repudiation of the discriminatory DADT law that has forced Americans of different sexual orientations than the norm to hide within a culture that SAYS it values truth above all else.

First of all, Senator Liebermann, this does NOT get you off my own personal hooks for all the ways you have sabotaged progress the last few years -- but it sure does help.  Hat's off to you, sir.

I have been waiting for this day as proof that we as Americans had any grace, any goodness, any fairness left in our hearts for those who would fight and die for us, whether gay or straight or any combination thereof.  We're all so different, and this American society, despite what some think, is NOT a monotheistic, straight society of only heterosexual white people.

That would be the 1950's -- one of the most culturally boring times in recent history.  I was there, so you can't tell me it wasn't!!

This is a short post -- my overwhelming joy forced me to do it.  I am so happy for all these Margaret Witts and Dan Chois of the  military, these brilliant, superlative people whose chief desire is to be allowed back in.  Who the hell are those who prefer NOT to be our warrior class to stand in their way?

Glory Hallelujah -- we got it right this time.  I think.  And thanks, Connecticut Senator Liebermann -- you aren't the complete hound I thought you'd become.  Huzzah!!

Nancy Pelosi and Sexism in American Politics

Here's something I forgot to post a while back -- a few years back, I believe. I wish I'd done it then but I've made some alterations so that I can speak of my respect, admiration and affection for my particular Hero, Nancy Pelosi, as she prepares to leave center stage as the FIRST woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. I think we Democrats, caring as we always have for the weakest among us -- are the heart and soul of American politics. I offer this piece as tribute to Madame Speaker of the House -- Nancy Pelosi, one of the Greats in American politics.

It has been amazing to watch her in the last few years -- her graciousness, her command of her caucus -- the accolades of her fellows, who say that her kindness is unflagging and her spine is made of steel. I do not doubt that, as she has passed an astonishing quantity of GOOD Legislation in the House that has gone off to die in the Senatorial Graveyard of GOP obstructionism -- despite the welfare of the American people they claim so often to speak for.

She has been a target for these last few years, this good and brilliant woman, in such an ugly fashion that only the attacks on the President have been worse. She has been demonized for her looks, her clothes, her values -- yes, those San Francisco values of caring for your fellow men, and that has been what her term as Speaker has been about -- trying to accomplish the wishes of the President. She seems a much stronger figure to me than either the President or the Senate Leader, Harry Reid.

At the beginning of her term, the first lashings she received were when she stated that the CIA had misled Congress. For months she was the target of every Republican I can think of. I can still remember the phony, sanctimonious outrage of John Boehner! And then we learned that she was right. We find that the C.I.A. DID mislead Congress by order of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Bush signed off on it. Everybody, it seemed, lied to Congress.

Hello out there in GOP-Land -- Speaker Pelosi was correct, and I don't believe I've heard any apologies about that or any other smear you've painted her with. And in fact, when all this was happening, those who knew she spoke the truth let the lies stand as they continued to jump up and down, screeching and flinging their ideological scat on her.

These are the moments when I hate politics -- when people with ideas become ideologues, when those who know the truth remain silent in service to their particular political Party, no matter the cost to the rest of us and the Country as a whole. This country was NEVER meant to be built on a base of lies and corruption -- how far we have fallen.

American women have spoken often and for decades about the difficulty of overcoming sexism in our political theater. The barracuda-like feeding frenzy that occurred around Ms. Pelosi a few years back when she stated that the saintly brotherhood of the C.I.A. had misled Congress about torture, or "enhanced techniques" in Bush-speak is certainly a case in point. The sanctimonious outrage that flared up around the Speaker of the House was hot enough to light the kindling under the stake she had been tied to.

My god, what was that compared to what Dick Cheney has done while in office, and after, until his evil heart broke down and prevented further political interference, except through his wretched daughter? Where is the outrage against Cheney or Bush for bringing this country to the brink of ruin?

Where is the outrage against those who involved us in bank-breaking, heart-breaking, body-smashing endless wars because THEY WANTED TO??? For torturing in our name in order to get the information they wanted to justify a war they had already waged? For continuing to JUSTIFY torture to the point where a huge percentage of our population believe it's okay?

Somehow, in the confused, hostile logic of some Republicans, all the crimes of Bush-Co were as nothing compared to the possible perfidy of Pelosi. Such nonsense. And I do think the attack has been stronger because she's a woman. I'm throwing this out as a possibility though I didn't consider it at first -- and then I woke up and started noticing various attacks on political women.

There is a feeling that nobody is addressing the sexist aspect of the attacks. This has been deeply disturbing to anyone who can see that Nancy Pelosi is a relative angel in the middle of all these power-mad, corrupt men who aligned against her.  The attacks on "fancy Nancy' (Mike Huckabee) have to do with botox and her clothing, mainly, as there's not much else they can think of.

Here's another example -- think Hillary Clinton and her run for the Presidency -- every bloody anchorman in the States (including most of the MSNBC guys) laughed at her voice and freaking pantsuits. How people tried to trivialize that formidable woman! Even Sarah Palin must be mentioned, because she was brought down in a particularly savage fashion (errr -- thank god), although she continues to annoy!

To really regard the level of animosity directed at these women is to comprehend a virulent stream of particularly American sexism that is ignored because it is commonplace. But this was a spectacular witch-hunt, and I thought I might point it out.

Despite all the negativity, there have been of late a few montages of Madame Speaker pounding the gavel and beaming while everything her President asked for passed. She did her job, and she did it well. Too bad about the dinosaurs obstructing progress. Part of progress is letting the women in to clean up the mess you boys have made, and not burning them at the stake for it.

I have heard and read it said that she will be regarded as one of the most powerful Speakers in generations, and I believe that. Can this show us that power can be wielded with grace and gentility, and by a woman? I think so. Madame Speaker, I consider you a truly heroic figure, and I am so grateful for all you've accomplished. You have my complete admiration and utter thanks. Someday your dreams will be not only vindicated, but realized. You are, unfortunately for us all, far ahead of your time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Secret Santa!! We had a Secret Santa!!!

WOW! As most of you know things have been difficult for us financially! Patrick worked for 2 weeks selling newspapers and got $35 for freezing his rear off. I was sitting upstairs feeling destitute when he walked in with a few Christmas cards. One, from a "secret Santa", contained a generous check; I started sobbing. 
Because of my nature (the sucker that is born every minute) I have been fleeced by every person who could possibly manage it -- not of course by my real friends, but by people who seemed real.  I had money, and when I had it I gave away as much as I could -- I had about 25 charities I gave to each year and now I'm the one needing help.  Well, I never fancied myself the Queen of Society in any case, but I never imagined facing homelessness or even moving, ever!

I want to express my deepest thanks to OUR SECRET SANTA for this life saving gift. We were so low and frightened -- literally indigent -- when we received it, and to feel that somewhere out there somebody cared enough for us to reach out in such a fashion touched me so profoundly it set off those "will to live" hormones which keep failing me.  It also set off the tears of joy/pain that love brings. They didn't even want any acknowledgment (although I have my guesses!!), just to help us.  That is a lovely example of a Visitation from the Spirit of Christmas!  God Bless Us, Every One!!!

So this week has begun well -- last week ended with me having a Pro Bono Lawyer literally fall into my lap, and today, along with Patrick's check for $35, we had a Secret Santa!  

Life is Beautiful.

As I have said to others -- forgive me for bleeding all over you while we go through what millions others are silently enduring.  I'm not going to be quiet.  I'm not going to be ashamed.  I will be one of the voices of outrage that need to be heard in this nation, which, as Keith Olbermann says, is ON FIRE.

Anyway, here's to those that Love and show it.  Here's to those who reach out to their friends in times of darkness.  Here's to all those who keep us in their hearts even though they are feeling as helpless as we do!  Thanks, Santas -- we love you!  And y'all come and celebrate with us Christmas night!  Any old time will be all right, whether for dinner or just a bite.  All we wanna do is hug you tight!!  (spontaneous rhyming is a sign of bipolar disorder).  I used to practice this form of daughter torture!)

A Dystopian Christmas to Us?

Hello again.

I am back from Bipolar Hell into the body again, and I thought this a good time to begin this anew.  I write constantly, daily -- most of it indignant posts on Huffpo or a series of nicely crafted 140 character rants on Twitter -- but I have got to come to grips with this writing thing -- it's got me.

When I'm ON -- as in not in bed for 3 years after a familial drama including all the elements of today's tragedies -- real estate, the crash, dreams of securing a future intersecting with a financial collapse, and finally, being fleeced by every single human (oh stop it, not all of them) who came into contact with me/us.

Bipolar people have NO business deciding that they should build homes and lead expensive projects with young relatives who turn out to be either moonlighting behind my back or falling in love and squandering everything without thought to the fact that it was my money. 

Hard luck, yes.  Me and everybody else  in the world, though. But I'm plenty ticked off, as in circumstances like this you realize what a complete dumbass you are to have so deeply trusted unreliable people.  It is one of my greatest weaknesses.  I am the sucker that's born every minute.


You might wonder what all this has to do with the subject line.  Ha, and well you should ask.  You see, I love Christmas.  I love the smells and the lights against the dark, and i love having our annual Christmas Party -- for the Orphans of the Storm.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  

The last 3 years have been remarkably different for us since we fell topsy turvy from ease into penury.  We've managed to luck out and get trees a few years in a row, but for 3 years there have been no prezzies.  There hasn't been any heat either.  However, despite the rage I feel at the Machine that has brought us to this -- I am uncommonly cheerful.

i have decorated my laptop screen with a scene that's like -- oh, from one hundred years ago, with little cottages and sleighs and snow.  That makes me so happy.  We have no tree and absolutely no presents, but that means I don't have to stress about anything -- I can just enjoy the time with my family when my daughters come home -- a terrible fate.  ;-) 

Oh no, no no no.  I think that's why I'm so happy -- no Christmas stress, no more shopping for stuff nobody wants!  No stress, except for fighting foreclosure, engaging in lawsuits and all that we ordinary Americans have to put up because our financial/political systems are corrupt.

Sick sick sick of political corruption.  But very entertained at the nature of the Christmas specials this year, which on Fox this Sunday were quite dark -- revolving around the exhaustion of Santa Claus, the enslavement of elves and feral reindeer that ate one another when left alone, hahahaha!  Yes, the glorious Christmas season has been -- on television anyway -- transformed into a black dystopian feast for those of us who are either sick of the stress, or -- let's face it -- too poor to buy anything, but secretly relieved!  

Not at being poor, god no.  But of the obligation to keep up the tradition of giving stuff this one day to the people you love.  I'm trying to get rid of my beautiful things anyway, one by one or more -- I don't need to be convinced to cut back.  I just need to be convinced to avoid strangling my mate when he brings home ANYTHING FROM A GARAGE SALE, 25 cents or not.  We drown in stuff; we alone would occupy a significant amount of ocean footage with our debris, and I am ashamed.

I repent.  Now I am impoverished, so it doesn't really count, this sort of repentance.  Although I've always "reduced, re-used and re-cycled" cause that's just who I am.  It's a Mars in Virgo thing, a desire to tend the earth.  No more plastic from China, please -- even rubber duckies.  We can make our own damned rubber duckies.

So tonight was filled with drunk Santas, bleeding Santas, cannabalistic reindeer with glowing red demon eyes and every possible version of the new U.S.A. Weimar Republic Christmas, in my opinion.  So let's enjoy our freedoms while we still have them. 

I've just enjoyed the freedom to go from well-off to  poor without anyone asking me if allowing a giant ripoff by the banks was okay with me.  It damned well wasn't and isn't, and that's why I think the Christmas programs this year are so dark.  WE deserve a lump from old Black Peter (look it up) -- a lump of coal in our made-in-Chinese stockings just for being so god-damned greedy.  

The best one was a "Family Guy" episode where Stewie and Brian discovered that there REALLY is a Santa Claus, but he was on death's door and the elves were dropping dead from over-use and these terrible gruesome reindeer, as mentioned above, were  eating one another -- all because of our GREED and lust for more.  Every show had similar themes (of course, except for "The Simpsons" it was a Seth MacFarlane night) and maybe we ought to take them to heart.  On "Family Guy" they settled upon each having one present, one REALLY special present!  I think we can manage that!

We'll all get through this somehow.  One day at a time one day at a time one freaking day at a time one one one -- happy holidays, all!!   xoxox