That was Seriously Close

By Persephone

In the wee hours this morning, the U.S. Senate voted on the health care bill they referred to as the “Skinny” repeal.  It was a rushed effort, and that’s an understatement at best.  After multiple health care bills that hadn’t gotten enough votes to enter into open debate, this week McConnell and President Cheeto were determined to get something passed.

I’ll admit: it terrified me when the Republicans voted to debate the newest travesty of a bill earlier this week.  I mean, they only got this far with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the 50-50 tie, but this is still a big deal.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act would threaten the health care, and therefore lives, of millions of American voters.  Even replacing the act with one of the proposed Republican health care bills wasn’t going to change that.  Things looked dire.

I really don’t understand why Republicans have been so opposed to ObamaCare in the first place.  It’s a bill that wouldn’t have been introduced had the public not needed it.  I’m a prime example.  Without my health insurance through the ACA, I’d be left without while I attend graduate school.  It gives me security while I get my life in order and become a professional educator.

But whatever.  To make a point that the ACA is failing despite all the evidence to the contrary, the Republicans have claimed for seven fucking years that it needs to go away.  They’ve thrown together legislation that’s scary in the details, as they give insurance companies leave to refuse care for those with preexisting conditions and defund Planned Parenthood.  It’s a hissy fit that could cost thousands if not millions of lives in the coming years.

So, this morning, thanks to John McCain and two other Republican Senators, the “Skinny” Repeal didn’t go through.  The bill lost, 49 to 51.

That.  Was.  Really.  Close.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  This was a bill that was thrown together with even greater speed and half-assedness than previous ones, yet it came the closest to getting passed.  Had not three Republicans grown a spine, we’d all be freaking out this morning.

Well, I think we need to freak out anyway.  That was close.  That was really close.  We just dodged a serious bullet.  But there will be others, and the next one could easily hit its intended target.

So, in the meantime, call your congressmen.  They need to know that their constituents care about what is going on, and that we are watching their every move.

Why is Loyalty Such a Thing?

By Persephone

Why do we crave loyalty from the people around us?  It seems to me that when we attach ourselves to others, we expect certain things back.  With family, we want acceptance.  With romantic partners, we demand affection.  In friends, we require all of the above.  More than anything else, we want loyalty from those we’re loyal to.

Yet, what is loyalty?  I love my family, but I wouldn’t stand by if I found out one was a serial killer.  I might hire them an awesome lawyer even as I reported that family member to the police, but that’s as far as it goes.  My love probably wouldn’t just disappear, depending on the circumstances.  Loyalty means you protect others’ secrets, defend them when they need defending, and let them know that you’ve got their back.  It doesn’t mean sitting idly aside while they treat you like shit.  It doesn’t mean keeping quiet while they commit treason.

President Cheeto demands loyalty from everyone he encounters.  In his version of this emotional phenomenon, loyalty isn’t just having someone’s back.  It’s pretending that other loyalties–such as those belonging to ethics, reason, other people, or the rule of law simply do not exist.  It’s not a fair standard.  In fact, it’s a dangerous one.

Too bad that President Cheeto doesn’t extend these same standards to himself.  He’s proven time and time again that he will dump anyone in his administration that he considers a liability.  Hell, they don’t even have to be a member of his administration.  Just look to how he’s treated Chris Christie, and that guy’s crazy-loyal.

Then, of course, we got to read that long, incoherent interview with the New York Times this last weekend.  Can I point out, just for a moment, that Trump sure likes to take interviews with those organizations he continually refers to as “fake news”?  He must have realized that they have higher ratings than his favorite: Fox News.

In the interview, President Cheeto got mad at Jeff Sessions for recusing himself over this investigation into Russian interference of our last election.  He now believes that Sessions, one of his most prominent supporters from the very beginning, should have never taken the job.  Because of one investigation.  Because, apparently, Trump just now realized that Sessions recused himself from an investigation that has yet to be swept under the rug.  Seriously, where has he been?

Sessions isn’t the only person Trump has turned his back on.  Look at how he’s handled KellyAnne Conway or Sean Spicer.  They haven’t exactly survived with their careers intact here.  He only cares about the people around them so much as they are useful to him.  Then, he discards them.

If only this revelation would make those who voted for him think a little.  Take a look at his proposed tax plan and failed health care bill.  Those supporters are going to be the first ones he screws over.

 

Tuna Noodle Casserole

By Persephone

It’s a  simple casserole, but I like it.

In a large pot on the stove, cook 24 ounces of wide noodles.  After the noodles get soft, drain out the water.  In a large skillet, make a white sauce of four tablespoons of melted butter, 1/2 cup of flour, and three cups of milk.  I’m not actually this precise when I make a white sauce.  Just use a whisk to break up the flour properly and eyeball it.  Stir until smooth.

Then, add 3 five ounce cans of light tuna in water (no need to drain) to the white sauce.  You can also add 1 eight ounce can of drained mushrooms along with 12 ounces of grated medium cheddar cheese (again, you can eyeball the amount needed).  Stir occasionally.  When the cheese has melted, you can stir the white sauce into the cooked noodles.  Place the casserole in a glass dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  This casserole serves 8 people.

Cheeto Cheated, Actively Working with a Foreign Government to Win the Presidency. Yet, He was So Unprepared When He Got It!

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By Persephone

As the latest scandal involving Donald Trump, Jr. continues, we’ve learned that there were upwards of eight people at that infamous meeting back in June of 2016.  It’s like when one secret get unraveled, a few dozen more spill straight out.  Journalists are having way too much fun on this one, as the incompetence on the part of the Trump campaign is far too easy to follow.

Only the morons on Fox News are in denial of what all this means.  Donald Trump made deals with the Russian government in order to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.  He worked with Putin to undermine our election, and he has personally profited off that win since becoming president.  It’s an ugly situation.

However, I’d just like to ask President Trump what he was thinking.  I’m not interested in the whys or the hows of colluding with a foreign government.  We all know why he did it.  He wanted to win, and Hillary was getting more votes.

No, I just want to know why, if he put so much work into winning and risked his own freedom by committing treason, President Trump was so unprepared for becoming president.

Just look at all that he’s accomplished.  He presented numerous, ill-conceived executive orders.  The most infamous of these orders, the Islamic travel ban, is still stuck in the court systems even after Trump wrote a do-over.  He throws hissy fits whenever a journalist says something against him, which means he’s thrown a lot of hissy fits over the last several months.  He still hasn’t filled most of the remaining jobs in the executive branch, and he fires anyone he thinks hurts his image.  He hasn’t repealed and replaced ObamaCare, and it doesn’t look he’ll be able to.  He spends huge amounts of time on vacation, including a multitude of weekends at his resort in Florida.  Most of his staff, including the ones related to him, seem broiled in one obvious scandal after another.  When he speaks in public, he seems lost when trying to explain simple concepts like economics or health care.  The rest of the world’s leaders find him a disturbing joke.  Other than getting someone on U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump hasn’t actually accomplished anything positive for the Republican party.

So, President Cheeto, is there a reason you’re dropping the ball on this one?  You broke so many laws and pissed off so many people to get a job you don’t even want?

Seriously, you’re like the ex-boyfriend who spends the better part of a year convincing a woman to allay her doubts and leave the kind, dependable fiance for you.  Then, when you get the girl, you constantly ditch her even as you promise that things are going to be different this time.

Well, let me tell you, dumbass.  Our country is not going to stand for this.  One of these days, our country will remember common sense and dump Trump once and for all.

Picture from gawker.com

Tapioca Pudding

By Persephone

That’s right–more comfort food!  It really is my go-to during the Trump era.

In a large pan, first combine 1 quart of milk with 1/4 cup of quick-cooking tapioca, 1/2 cup of sugar, and a sprinkle of salt.  Stir and let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes.

Take 3 eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.  Beat the yolks with a fork, then add the yolks to the milk mixture.  Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly.  Then remove the pan from the heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.

In a separate bowl with a mixer, beat the egg whites until they’re very fluffy.  Slowly fold in egg whites into the heated milk mixture.  When they’re all mixed, let the pudding cool before putting it in the refrigerator.  This is great served with fruit such as peaches or blueberries.

I’m Starting to Agree with John Oliver: This is Stupid Watergate

By Persephone

The big news right now is obviously how Donald Trump, Jr. met with a lawyer with strong ties to the Russian government shortly after his father received the Republican presidential nomination.  For the past several months, DT Jr. lied, claiming that such a meeting didn’t happen.  He then changed this story, admitting that there was a meeting between himself, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and the Russian lawyer, but they only discussed non-treasonous topics like adoption.  Because three such busy guys had all the time in the world to drop everything to meet for such an inane reason.

Of course, we now know for sure that this wasn’t true.  These men were there for dirt on Hillary Clinton.  These guys actively worked with a foreign government in order to win Donald Trump the election.  Our presidential electoral process has been thoroughly compromised.

For those of us who have been skeptical that there was Russian collusion, this has been probably more of a shock than it should have been.  My sister has spent her time since the election following such twitter accounts such as Louise Mensch’s, believing all the conspiracy theories that there was active collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia.  She believed that treason really was what got Trump elected.

I’ll admit: I was the skeptical one.  I knew that Russia had hacked our election in that it had bombarded moderates with anti-Clinton fake news articles and provided other influential media.  Even the FBI and the CIA have openly confirmed this.  We know that Russia did this.  That’s a given.

As for the collusion, all the signs were there.  President Cheeto has a habit of overreacting every time Russia is brought up, either making excuses, blaming Obama or Hillary for something, or doing something so distractingly batshit crazy that we don’t question what’s going on as closely as we should.  So many members of his staff have been proven to have close ties to Russia, and the internet has been awash with accusations of secret meetings and not-so-private dossiers.  There was a lot to soak in.

While it wouldn’t surprise me that Donald Trump was so incompetently obvious, I still tried to hold onto my skepticism.  I still want the Republicans and the Democrats to work things out, somehow.  While I’m socially a liberal, I do identify as a fiscal moderate.  I think it’s the moderates who are going to fix what’s wrong with our government.  This means conservatives should have a voice, too.

But my skepticism was unfounded.  I was more giving Trump some benefit of the doubt, although I don’t know why I bothered.  I knew he was a mysogist, xenophobic, stupid, crude, illiterate, cruel, and violent narcissist, so treason shouldn’t have been much of a leap.

So, the Washington Post revealed the truth about this meeting back in June of 2016.  In a preemptive strike, Donald Trump, Jr. released his emails associated with the meeting.  I’m not sure why he released these emails, as they are quite incriminating.  There’s really no hiding that he was involved with working with a foreign government to change the results of an American election.  And this is an election that he and his father have personally profited from.

Bottom line: this don’t look good, kid.

When did Handshakes Become Front Page News?

By Persephone

Sorry I haven’t written much the last few weeks.  I’ve been wiped keeping up with my job at Safeway, my mom, and a class.  I really don’t have time to work on this article right now, as I get up to go to work in just five hours.

However, I’ve noticed a weird trend in the media in recent months, and I just have to wonder…when did handshakes become such a big fucking deal?  We see an incompetent, rambling idiot who has been given far too much power by both the executive and the Republican legislative branches, and all anyone seems to want to talk about is how the Polish first lady shook Melania’s hand first.

Oh.  My.  God.  I don’t give a shit about the awkward handshakes between Trump and Merkel, Trump and Macron, or Trump and just about every person who comes near him.  I don’t need to spend countless hours analyzing his body language.  I already know he’s an idiot with a high opinion of himself who doesn’t know how to relate to anyone on an equal footing.  This is nothing new.

We’ve got tons to worry about coming out of this G20 summit.  President Cheeto went out of his way to make excuses for Putin, even suggesting that we hire Russia to figure out how to prevent election hacking from occurring again.  Now, that’s something we should focus on.  He also stood by his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.  Germany is now getting recognized more and more as the frontrunner of industrialized nations, rather than the United States.  These are all concerns that our country should be facing, and instead twitter obsesses with GIFs about freaking handshakes.

My sister is convinced that Russian bots are promoting such harmless hilarities online as a distraction from the real problems at hand.  And I’m starting to believe it.

So, to all those people out there reading and watching everything that’s going on–keep paying attention.  Yes, you can find Trump’s foibles hilarious.  I laughed my ass off when he couldn’t find the limo literally right in front of him.  However, you also can’t grow complacent.  He might be incompetent, but not everyone he’s involved with is.

Don’t get caught up on the idiocy of Trump.  He’s not the only asshole with power.

 

On This Independence Day, Try to Remember Why You Love Your Country…

By Persephone

July 4th has rolled around, and I’m scrambling to hang onto my patriotism.  It’s only Tuesday, and this week has already sprung multiple scandals that only further anesthetize our indignation.  New Jersey governor Chris Christie was photographed hanging out on a beach that was closed to his constituents because he’d refused to sign the budget.  President Cheeto retweeted a badly edited video depicting him beating up the human form of CNN, then his people said it was just a joke.  Because constantly threatening the free press isn’t the first sign of a dictator or anything.  North Korea now claims that they’ve developed a missile with the range to hit the United States.  I really have no idea how Trump isn’t worn out by now.  I personally feel worn down to a frazzle.

Yet, this is the holiday where we’re expected to don red, white, and blue clothes and host family barbecues.  We’re supposed to blindly adore everything about our country or we’re just unpatriotic.  Right now, so-called “snowflakes” are being told over and over again that they should just step back and let Trump do his job.

I say fuck that, but that doesn’t actually weaken my dedication to my country.

I might not follow all the cornier traditions of this holiday.  I’m not wearing red, white, or blue today.  There’s a fire ban in my area, so I’ll be avoiding fireworks.  No one’s invited me to a barbecue, so I’m in the clear there.  I didn’t put out an American flag.  Yet, I don’t feel that I’m unpatriotic.

Patriotism means loving your country, despite its flaws.  It doesn’t entail pretending those flaws don’t exist.  We snowflakes protest and call our congressmen because we don’t like what we’re seeing.  We love our country, and we love the people in it.  Our country is a diverse amalgamation of various cultures, and yes, our past is pretty fucked up.  Trump is only the tip of the iceberg when you look back at slavery and the slaughter from our ancestors taking land from native tribes.  Americans have taken from those they view as vulnerable for centuries, and this trend will only continue if we don’t stand up for our country.

I am an American.  I hate the current American president.  Every time I hear him talk, I grind my teeth and think back longingly to George W. Bush.  You know things are dire.  I hate how the rest of the world views us because this clown is our Commander-in-Chief.  We are better than this.

I say this, because I genuinely love my country.  This situation is grave, but we will rise above it.  I only hope we don’t elect another asshole like Cheeto during my lifetime.  I’d like to believe we’ll have learned our lesson for a few decades.

As a Poor Person, I’d like to Tell Our President One Thing: Screw You.

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By Persephone

Last week, President Cheeto held a rally in Ohio.  There was no particular reason for the rally, other than our Commander-in-Chief needed the adulation that only blind loyalty can provide.  During his speech, he said many rambling, bullshit statements, as is his want.  He said one thing, though, that’s really stuck with me.  I kind of need to address it.

In response to criticism over nominating multi-millionaires and businessmen in his cabinet, filling all key positions with the extremely wealthy, Trump grew quite defensive.  He claimed that he would want only a rich person in charge of the economy, as “in those particular positions, [he] just do[es]n’t want a poor person.  Does that makes sense?”

As a poor person, let me tell you: it doesn’t.  If you’re going to insist on putting people with zero political experience in the White House, why must they be the obscenely rich?  CEOs and higher-up businessmen don’t understand what the economy is like for the working class.  Most of them were born wealthy–they have no other perspective.

Could you imagine if we actually placed poor people in these key cabinet positions?  I’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck my entire adult life, and it sucks.  It sucks a lot.  There is nothing fun about counting every dime you spend.  Having admitted that, you’d have to be a complete idiot not to admire how well I can stretch out $200 over two weeks before my next paycheck.  It’s quite the acquired skill.

And that’s my point.  Big businessmen throw around huge amounts of money at the drop of a hat.  Their only purpose is the bottom line, and government is not a business.  The government’s purpose is to protect and assist the citizens of the United States.  When you place guys who are used to screwing over their working class citizens in charge, you’re sort of defeating the purpose, aren’t you?

Why wouldn’t it make sense to hire a poor person to work on the economy?  We know which areas are lacking and which could be cut back.  We can set budgets like nobody’s business.  We do what has to be done.  And we don’t screw over the working and middle classes in order to accomplish our goals.  We’re kind of awesome.

I’m also not thrilled over the idea that being poor automatically means we’re stupid.  Trump didn’t outright say it, but the implication was crazy obvious.  I’m currently working on two Master’s degrees, so I’m not exactly a typical member of the working class, but I’ve met many an intelligent individual in my various professions.  There’s a difference between being educated and being smart.  As Trump attended the University of Pennsylvania, this fact grows ever more blatantly clear.

One last thing–Trump said all this at a rally with his most loyal voters.  His most loyal voters are primarily the white and the working class.  He told the people who voted for him and continue to support him that they are too dumb to work in the cabinet.

Jeez, what an asshole.

Photo from youtube.com

Pie Crust

By Persephone

This recipe is very basic, but it’s also totally awesome.  It’s easy and creates a rather flaky crust.  Just make sure to follow the recipe to the letter.  I once doubled the recipe and doubled all the ingredients except the butter.  That was some of the driest crust I’ve ever had.

In a bowl, blend together 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.  Cut in 2/3 cup of cold butter with a pasty knife.  Then mix in 1 egg (jumbo or extra large), 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1/3 cup of water.  Mix in gradually with a pastry cutter or fork.  Add in a little extra water if needed.  Roll the crust onto a floured board.  Should make two crusts.