matociquala: (bear by san)
Here is a storify of my Inauguration Day Twitter rant welcoming the new folks to the resistance.

Do the work that is before your hand to do.

There is enough work for everyone, and enough hands to get it all done eventually.
matociquala: (bad girls firefighters)
So let's talk a little bit about the long con, and about the career of Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump (tm). Let's talk about how he actually makes his money.

Hint: It's not by developing successful properties and making a long-term killing off rents, fees, and providing services.

It's not by creating wealth. It's not even by running successful casinos and getting suckers to forget that the house always wins.


It's by getting other people to invest money in a project, slapping his name on it, making a huge fuss about how great it is using his (to me inexplicable) charisma and salesmanship, siphoning off as much cash as he quickly can, allowing the project to fail, writing it off at a loss, and allowing his creditors to take the bath on it--including small businesses that could ill-aford such a loss.

(Fun fact: the Mob put that hit out on Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel because he didn't prevent contractors from siphoning money and materials out of the Flamingo Hotel project, did you know that?)

Long story short: his business partners take a bath, and he walks away with his pockets jingling (though they don't jingle as much as he claims. That roll of hundreds is fluffed out with newspaper cut to size, metaphorically speaking.) There's a reason he can't get a loan from a U.S. bank anymore; as a result, there's pretty good reason to think a bunch of his projects are funded by members of the Russian kleptocracy.*

So some people can learn how to avoid a con artist after he's hit them once. But apparently, 46% of U.S. voters can't spot a scam even when the evidence is right there.

...well, it is really hard to break up with a gaslighting abuser. You really start not knowing what is real, and you start to feel like it's all your fault. And this is how con artists work, too. You need them! They're going to give you the break you really deserve, that you somehow never got before!

He's a great businessman, right? He's going to build the U.S. economy. It's going to be HUGE, because this time will be different or something?

Did you know that Trump has already charged U.S. taxpayers $1.6 million for his Secret Service detail to fly on his plane with him? Or that his campaign paid his own businesses close to ten million dollars?

Guess who the business partner is who's getting their pocket picked this time?

Based on the rule that whatever Trump claims his enemies are doing, it's what he's up to himself, I'd say his businesses were failing again ("failing New York Times") and this time he had nowhere left to turn, because he'd bilked his way around the globe. I'd say that the election was rigged--rigged in the sense that it was influenced by a Russian-backed hacking and disinformation campaign. And I'd say that this man who ran, laughably, against "insider corruption" is about to depose the Grant administration as the most corrupt in U.S. history.

My only question at this point is whether sometime between Dec 19th (when the electoral college confirms the vote) and Jan 20th (Inauguration day), the Russian intelligence apparatus releases information to delegitimize the election and with the goal of making the U.S. completely ineffectual in containing their adventurism due to internal strife, or if Putin tries to run Trump like a hand puppet for the next four years.

They must have something really juicy on him, too, because he's stuck by his oligarchic allies so far, and this is a man who has never once hesitated to throw an ally under the bus the instant it suited him.

Yep. This is gonna get ugly, and not just because we're staring down the barrel of a bunch of freshly empowered homophobic, misogynistic white supremacists.

Hold onto your hats. 
matociquala: (sf sapphire and steel winning)
Here is the text of the letter I just sent to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, because I thought people might like to see it, in case they want to write their own.

17 November 2016

Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts State House
Office of the Governor
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Baker,

I am a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a registered voter therein. I am writing to inform you that I, along with many of your constituents, am extremely concerned about your call to wait and see, to give President-Elect Trump a chance to prove himself.

Meanwhile, the President-Elect's surrogates, such as Carl Higbie, begin the work of arguing the case that one of America's greatest modern shames, the detention of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II, constitutes a legal precedent for the forced registration of Muslims in the United States.

Sir, Massachusetts takes great pride in its history of being at the forefront in the struggle for liberty and civil rights. We were the second state in the Union to abolish slavery; we were the home of President John Quincy Adams, who argued for the freedom of the Amistad rebels before the Supreme Court; we were the home of his mother, Abigail Adams, who argued for the right of women to vote from the inception of the Union. We were the first state to offer the full protection of the law to same-sex marriage.

Boston is home to the Freedom Trail; it is here that the first shot of the American Revolution was fired. It is the city that responded to a gross act of terrorism, the Boston Marathon bombing, with strength, courage, and the rule of law.

Our Constitution, written chiefly by President John Adams (there's that family again) is the oldest functioning written constitution still in effect in the world. It served as a model for the United States Constitution, and the Declaration of Rights it contains serves as a model for the first ten Amendments to that United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, which most Americans hold sacred.

That Declaration of Rights contains the following words:

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession or sentiments, provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.

Governor Baker, I call upon you to adhere to the founding principles of our Commonwealth. I call upon you to follow the basic dictates of human beings of good conscience. I call upon you for a display of character and valiance in keeping with the better history of Massachusetts, and the legacy we must strive to preserve.

I call upon you to join in leadership with the Legislature of the State of California and the Governor of the State of New York, and to publicly disavow any such attempt to shamefully and illegally detain American citizens and legal immigrants on the basis of their religion and culture alone.

That cowardice, sir, is beneath us. Do not shame us before the world. Let us again be a model for the nation, as we unequivocally say no to racism, to fascism, to bigotry, and to fear.
matociquala: (sf sapphire and steel winning)
It's been a while, livejournal, but I think I have something to say again, so I'm back.

On fear:

A lot of you are really scared right now.

I get that. I'm scared too. I'm scared in the way that tells me that there is no safe space in the world for somebody like me. That my civil rights, my freedom of speech, my very personal safety are under assault.

We feel homeless, hypervigilant, and downright panicky.

Some of you have never felt scared in this particular way before, and don't know how to manage it. It's new, because of the way the kyriarchal system we live under has previously insulated you from this kind of existential terror.

For some of us, though, it's old hat. We have coping strategies. We have the knowledge that we've been through this kind of existential terror before, and we made it, and the world got better after a while.

(This is how it works. Remember when you feel that despair that we are fighting from a foundation now. We have to defend the hill, for certain. Our forbears in the quest for civil rights for all had to build the damned hill, often out of their own bodies, and then fight their way up it.)

So here's what's important. We who know this feeling of terror and despair, who know how to live iwth it, work through it, dig in and hold the door--we need to be as kind as we can manage to our allies who have not experienced it before. We need to remember that in the long run that experience will increase their empathy. It will make them better allies for us as well.

We need to understand that it's going to take them a little longer to process their despair and grief and fear than those of us who feel the anxiety spike and go "Well, this again."

We need to, because we need them right now. We need all hands on deck, every last one from ship's cook to cabin girl.

We need compassion for each other, and we need to set aside our differences and work together against a greater threat--to our civil liberties, our freedom of speech, our very personal safety. We cannot afford to be cut out of the herd group by group, set against one another on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion, skin color, ethnic affiliation, moral purity, or anything else.

These guys have been feeling that same existential fear, you know, and they're not used to it either: the fear that their way of life is vanishing, that they are losing power and influence and control. It's an existential battle to them, and they think they have to destroy us or drive us underground again in order to continue to exist.

These guys hate us all. And if we do not hang together, we shall surely all hang separately.

matociquala: (criminal minds boom)
Every time I see one of those Tea Party appropriations of the Gadsden Flag (you know, the "Don't Tread On Me" snake flags?), I want to mail them a postcard with this famous comment by Benjamin Franklin on it:

matociquala: (criminal minds boom)
Every time I see one of those Tea Party appropriations of the Gadsden Flag (you know, the "Don't Tread On Me" snake flags?), I want to mail them a postcard with this famous comment by Benjamin Franklin on it:

matociquala: (writing carnival)
Pastor Terry Jones has announced an intention to call off his Quran-burning, and instead go to NYC to meet with Imam Rauf instead.

Maybe our species does deserve to live.

This morning's news offers a less rosy picture, of course. Jones remains a turd in a human suit.
matociquala: (hustle emma saw that)
And in other news, if you happen to feel like calling the White House comment line for oh, any reason at all today, that phone number is 202-456-1111.

See, here's the thing. I'm not going to rant about how Obama's betrayed me or how he has blood on his hands. This is politics, people, and expecting any politician to reflect my views a hundred percent kind of assumes that I'm the only subject position in the land. If you think about it for a little while, you'll see how silly that is. (And what a bad way to stay married, if you carry it home with you.)

But since I'm not the only subject position in the land, I think it's only fair to encourage other subject positions to make those positions known. Because this is politics, after all.

Again, 202-456-1111. 
matociquala: (david bowie realism _ truepenny)
Okay, I finally get it.

I realized at the gym on Friday, with CNN running on the big screen TVs that hang everywhere there, that I get a great sense of comfort and safety from watching the Obamas on TV. It wasn't just a lack of the sense of fear and loathing I'm used to: it was actual pleasure. that's what the emotional response to having a leader who you identify as like you is. Huh.

Now I understand the people who still defend Reagan. 0.o
matociquala: (sf farscape pilot)
An interesting examination of the relationship between the queer community and the African-american civil rights movement. (And no, people of color are not responsible for the passage of Prop 8., so please, guys, stop spreading that meme until you do a little reading.)

I have to say that [ profile] slit's experience of the modern queer community is not very similar to my experience of the radical lesbian community (aka The Community) of the 1980s, where women of color were in many ways seen as More Perfect Lesbians, possibly because the women's community in those days was a little hung up on mythologizing the survivors of oppression. But I'm not connected with any Communities these days, except inasmuch as I have friends who participate in several, and I have no idea what the current state of the zeitgeist in queer radicalism is. If it's as [ profile] slit presents it, I think I'm just as happy not to be.
matociquala: (lion in winter broken because you're bri)

Link of the day: Obama snarks Brian Williams. Apparently, there are stupid questions:

"So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I fucking changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

matociquala: (ncis abby perky goff)
This morning I am thinking very fondly of my godson, and feeling so grateful that he will never have a real memory of a time that someone whose skin is brown like his couldn't become President of the United States.  --[ profile] panjianlien, elsewhere in a locked post, quoted with permission.

That, exactly. I am thinking very fondly of my godson, too. And the fact that the first president Sunil knows about will be Barack Hussein Obama. Somebody who I honestly believe, at this point, may hold the ideals of a public servant rather than a kleptocrat. A community organizer. That guy.

No, of course racism and prejudice aren't over in America, and neither are years of anger and the twisted baggage of "us vs. them" thinking. But I do note that last night, both candidates made a point in denouncing that kind of thinking--though one was booed for it, and the other applauded. And I also note that my generation, and even more dramatically the people younger than me, voted overwhelmingly for human rights, for social justice, for looking forward, and for change.

It's not going to be easy, and that's another message I think everybody should be hearing loud and clear. Building a strong and just society, a strong and just economy, and a strong and just foreign policy are not going to be easy. It's going to take all hands on deck, and it's going to take compromise on the level of Henry Clay. (Remember when compromise was an ideal in American Democracy? Remember when it was something that made a statesman great?)

In some ways, we're like a drunk who's just really hit bottom hard enough to finally believe that the alcohol is killing him. Backsliding is easy. Staying clean is hard.

But the future is inevitable, and we've stopped trying to hide our faces from it. It's just a matter of outliving the walking corpse of the dead century.
matociquala: (comics invisibles king mob)
Via [ profile] sithdragn:
matociquala: (writing genocide)
Ladies and gentlemen, it's looking an awful lot like John Sununu just got served.
matociquala: (sf doctor dance)
I am trying very hard not to think about CT Question 1 (Shall we call a constitutional convention?) and CA Proposition 8 (a ballot initiative to make illegal some marriages). I have voted and donated. I've done what I can, and now it's up to the polls.

Do not obsess about what you cannot control.

The CT Constitution is currently amended by a combination of legislative action and ballot initiative. It is the oldest written constitution in the US (that's why it says "Constitution State") on our license plates.

A convention would allow it to be amended without ballot initiative or direct legislative action. Which might mean that the newly recognized right of couples of any gender to marry in my home state would be abridged.

Let's not, guys. We're better than that.
matociquala: (writing whiskey soul)
Got up at 5 am to vote, showered, dressed, and walked the half mile to the polls through a gorgeous, misty November morning that I shared with the garbage trucks:


Some more somewhat blurry shots behind the cut. I was hand-holding in low light conditions.

My civic duty. I show u it. )

The radio is predicting a crushing defeat for CT Representative Christopher Shays, who--they say--is the last Republican member of the House from New England.

Yankees. I tell you what. You goof up, we'll let you know.
matociquala: (Default)
I've been avoiding blogging politics lately, because I'm as sick of it as anybody else, and if you haven't already made up your mind who to vote for and figured out how to get to the polls, all the continued nagging is going to do is drive people off, at this point.

But this is a heck of a speech.

And I think "Once more choose our better history" is one of those phrases that will ring for a long time.

March 2017



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