Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dear Activists

We have political leaders who completely isolate themselves from any and all opposition: They do not keep an open office. They do not answer email. They do not have open "Town Hall Meetings." They throw out dissenters. They don't take questions from the floor. They don't answer questions.

They are firmly secured behind an impenetrable wall.

What will it take to make them answer to the American people for their voting records and political positions? To answer to their friends and neighbors?

What are your ideas. Please share them!

Will Wisconsin - and, Janesville in particular - be willing to shed our down-home good manners and do whatever it takes to make our elected officials accountable? Uncomfortable? Miserable even?

Will neighbors be willing to break the social norms and make bold statements?

Will neighbors, friends, church members, etc. be willing to write letters to the editor and keep it up day in and day out? Calling out our congress-critters?

Will friends and neighbors be willing to plaster the neighborhood with Planned Parenthood signs?

Will activists be willing to have close-to-home events and invite the press?

Will we be willing to call donors and boycott them?

Getting out of the mess that we are in is going to take bold and sustained action. What are your ideas?

Wisconsin has the trifecta: A Republican Gov, Senate, House. Oh... and a politicized Supreme Court. A majority of governors are Republicans. Many other states have this trifecta. Dems are a minority in the US Senate and House...

Love, love, love,

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Dear Citiznes

Our new president’s behavior is not normal. I wish it weren't true, but...

Shouting, interrupting, name-calling, and threatening to jail a political opponent is not acceptable behavior. We wouldn’t allow our children to behavior this way. We don’t behave this way.

This behavior is completely unacceptable and we should not adjust to it. It is not refreshing. It is not daring. It is dysfunctional. It is not normal.

A president involving adult children (who are business partners of his) in governmental affairs is not acceptable and not normal political behavior.

Not giving press interviews after being elected to the highest office in the land is not normal political behavior. Being inaccessible is not in keeping with our democratic values. 

Refusing to release tax returns is not normal acceptable political behavior. It is undemocratic.

Threatening mass deportations is undemocratic. It is not normal political behavior. It is dangerous.

A religious registry is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. It is undemocratic and a betrayal of our history. It is not normal.

Using religion as a factor in approving immigration is not normal political behavior. It is a betrayal of our history. It is undemocratic. It is not normal.

Let us not “normalize” the abnormal; the maladjusted; the dysfunctional.

A president whose behavior is abnormal; who lacks any relevant experience; and who has a personal and business history of repeated failure is not normal and not acceptable.

Let’s vow not to adjust; to resist; to speak out; to raise our expectations and never lower them.

I love you. I really really do. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dear Parents

Oh, fer Gawd's sake! Put away your paddles and belts and spoons and hairbrushes and... whips and ....

Quit sending out those emails and making those Facebook posts about the wonders of spanking children and how much you just loved being spanked. What are you? A masochist? 

These messages make me bleed from the eyes and wherever! 

I am opposed to any form of physical discipline. I doubt that there is any evidence that there is a positive correlation between corporeal punishment and success in later life or any other positive outcome. I would have to actually read the research to believe it.

I have worked with hundr
eds of people who were physically punished as children. Children vary in temperament and sensitivity. Just like other humans... older humans... 

Some children are terrified. Some are humiliated. Some experience a spanking on the buttocks as a sexual act - even if all they can express at the time is terror.

I have been spanked and seen numerous instances of physical punishment. Never, ever, not even once was the one dishing out the punishment in a calm state of mind with the purpose of teaching a lesson. Therefore...

2. Physical punishment teaches children that it is OK to act out on anger - as opposed to finding other ways of coping with conflict and anger.

3. Spanking is less effective than many other means of punishment.

EX: When my daughter was a toddler, she suddenly learned to turn the disposal on and off - over, and over, and over. She was so precocious!

I asked her to stop. I "scolded" her. I gave her a time out. She returned each time to flipping the switch. I then stood very close to her, crossed by arms, and turned my back. She burst into tears and never flipped that switch again.

There are countless other vastly superior methods of discipline - but, they sometimes require thought on the part of the parent.  Stopping and thinking and acting creatively. What a bummer!

Methods that I and friends have used: 

Have child
a. Write essays! 

b. Sit on the stairs and recite the multiplication table - or the alphabet or addition/subtraction facts or poetry! Yes. Poetry!

c. Replace what they loose, abuse, misuse, etc from their own allowance - using reason in terms of amounts, of course.
Don't be a Scrooge, fer the love of childhood!

d. Read aloud!

e. Run around the house - get some fresh air!

f. Clean the house, dust, do dishes, etc. I know that you are not teaching your brats this because... I know your kids!

g. Write apology letters.

h. Call elderly relatives! Accomplishes a good deed and ... well... children do not want to call elderly relatives.

Parents - take a time out! It's too good for kids. You are the one who needs it!

The single most effective tool I have ever, ever seen or used to eliminate undesirable behavior (nagging, whining, begging, bad language, etc.) is the Reverse Reward!

A. Describe exactly the behavior that you want to stop. (Don't say, "Cut it out" or "Stop that.")

Say, "Do not ask to go the movie again tonight."

B. Then... put a treat on the table (for a very young child) or a jar of treats (for older children). The "treat" has to be something desirable to the child: candy, stickers, coins - or even a mix.

Tell a very young child:

"You will lose that treat if you (beg, whine, ask, shout, etc) in the next minute."

Tell an older child:

"Here is a jar of treats. (Or, money, or stickers, or ...). You will lose one treat every time you beg/whine/shout. Let's try it. You shout out right now!"

After the child has begged, whined, etc. then YOU remove the treat.

Every time the child does the naughty deed, remove another treat, coin, etc

At the end of the time period (as long as a week for teens, a minute for a toddler, an hour or day for children in the mid-range) the child gets what's left.

Now, spanking is certainly easier, isn't it?

I have a very scary theory.  Spanking feels really delicious to parents, doesn't it? I hope not. But...

I love you just as much as you love getting a spanking!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Dear Haters

Do we really "need somebody to love?" Or, are we really looking for somebody to hate?

And, isn't it really fear and sadness that are right under the hate?

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself" because fear makes us do bat-$h!t crazy things!

Do we really want to make America great again by going backwards in time? Let's go forward! With love. With love! Love our neighbors as ourselves. We have to - if we really are a Christian country, right?

Puritans and Separatists came and killed off the Native population and persecuted Baptists! It was all about $$$$ - the Mayflower was a stock company. 

We then found a way to get free labor! Slavery.

We ended slavery but instituted discrimination laws (even north of the Mason-Dixon) to keep more of the jobs and $$$$

Fear keeps people in line, so we had lynchings -- after church on the courthouse lawn with spectators and mementos: body parts.

Then everyone hated the Irish: "Irish need not apply." What?!? Now, we love them and everyone brags about being Irish!

And, we definitely hated those Jews. We turned away a ship load of Holocaust refugees and sent them back - to the camps. Those rats couldn't attend college or join the country club and they still became successful! Now, we love all things, "Judeo-Christian." But, I ask, where were the Christians when the Judeo part of that formula couldn't join the country club?

We had a spell of hating Catholics and it was a big deal when we elected a Catholic president!

Everyone already here in the USA then joined up and hated Italians.

Now, it is Muslims, Latinos, Syrians....

When are we going to learn! No one is taking anything away from us - unless you want to pick strawberries for less than minimum wage and live in an un-insulated shack and...

Love thy sisters and brothers as thyself, I say - or, don't call yourself a Christian.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dear Democracy Lovers

Well, where are you? Where have you been? Are we asleep at the wheel of democracy?

Did the "Wisconsin Uprising" of 2011 accomplished anything at all?

What did these massive protests accomplish?

Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans were hardly ruffled at all.

Would we have been better served if we had donated the gas money we spent to an legal activist organization?

Wisconsin is in the hands of one political party. The USA is in the hands of one political party.

Among the states, there are 31 Republicans, 18 Democrats, and 1 Independent that hold the office of governor.

There are 25 Republican "trifectas" - 25 states where Republicans hold the House, the Senate, and the Governor's office - including Wisconsin.

There are only about 5 Democratic Party trifectas.

Oh, yes, the Federal gov is now under the control of one party.

Wisconsin is so gerrymandered that it is not possible to win more seats in the senate or the assembly.

Republicans very successfully bounce people off the voter rolls in every election with impunity and continue to do their best to make voting as difficult as possible.

We have grave concerns about the integrity of our voting machines - but, is anything ever done about that?

The amount of information available about each of us to the government and to private businesses and industries is massive.

The amount of money consolidated in few hands... the numbers of media outlets owned by a very few companies, the amount of data and money that social media companies have is unbelievably massive.

Republicans own major media sites that function as propaganda sites.

Yet, I am sure that we are going to be hearing from Republicans how persecuted they are; how persecuted Christians are; how Democrats have accomplished nothing and are to blame for everything...

What do we do that is effective?

General strikes?

Protests at lawmakers' homes?

Tax protests?

What do we do?

And, how do we listen to those who voted for Trump and who feel disenfranchised, unheard, unacknowledged?

The so-called "liberal media" is largely just "corporate media" which translates to "Republican media" as soon as there is a conflict of interest.

What to do? 


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dear Evangelical Voters

Well, my friends, you have done it! You have elected a non-Christian, lying, cheating, rude, completely inexperienced, business failure to lead you to a true Evangelical promised land.

Will this man give you the Evangelical Theocracy that you desire and believe that all Americans of every religion deserve? Who knows?

A huge chunk of the American electorate evidently want a state religion: They want theocracy. Evangelical Christianit!y Theocracy, dummy! Not a Muslim theocracy!

Will DT give you teacher-led prayer in public school?

We can assume that the demand for “prayer in public school” doesn’t refer to Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or Catholic prayer but to Evangelical Christian teacher-led prayer in public schools.

You want “In God We Trust” and the “Ten Commandments” posted on public buildings that are paid for by every tax-payer of every religion and no-religion? I am waiting and watching for DT to post those on His buildings.

Of course, that really means, “In Evangelical Christian God We Trust” and you certainly do not want the rest of the Hebrew commandments posted.

Will DT restore to you a world where heterosexuals rule? I haven't heard of him groping men, so... I am guessing "YES!"

No constitutional/civil rights for the LGBTQ population: no marriage, no military service, none of the tax benefits that go to heterosexual couples, no adoption, no foster parenting…?

You want businesses, clubs, civic organizations, etc. to have the right to refuse to serve anyone they don’t want to serve. “No Irish Need Apply?” “No Jews” admitted to the country club – again? 

You are counting on DT's SCOTUS to achieve it.

I almost forgot that you want to prioritize a fetus' constitutional rights over those of a sentient woman. 


You want to put white male Evangelical men in charge of women’s gynecological health care. Pat Robertson making medical decisions for all women? Oh, sure. Why not.

All women – whether they are Evangelicals or Jewish, or Jain will have to follow the rules of white male Evangelicals.

 That translates to “denying gynecological health care to women.” No birth control. No abortion – even to save the life of the mother.

Oh, but, they will provide Viagra and urological services to men.

Do Evangelicals want men to have the right to grope women? 

 If I sound a bit unhinged by the election... I am.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dear Lians

My Dear Dear Lying Friends and Neighbors:

I know why politicians lie. 

What is really sickening is the dishonesty on the part of my friends and neighbors: voters. 

Why do you lie? 

Oh, wait!?! You are a Conservative Christians? Don't you realize that "bearing false witness" means "telling lies?" It is. I wouldn't lie to you. It really is.

Lying includes far more than claiming that the sky is always green.   

Shocking news: Creating a false impression is lying, too. That means that when you use "buzz-words" to create a false impression, you are lying.

When you tell part of a story to create a false impression, you are lying.

When you share others' lies, you are lying. Yes, even if it is a really cute meme.

When you watch television, read newspapers, and read journals and blogs that are lying, you are participating in lying and enabling liars.

Didn't your parents count it is as a lie if you shared information that was a lie? Yes, they did. Or they should have. 

Refusing to read, watch, or believe contradictory information is participating in a lie.

It is perfectly alright to have values! To vote on your values! To vote for candidates that share your values!

You don't have to lie about it.

Don't make me call your parents! Stop it right now!

Love, Vivian

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dear Evangelicals


Dearest Evangelical, Right Wing, Ultra-Conservative, One and Only 
True Religious:

No! I'm not talking to Muslims! I'm talking to you Conservative Christians - the only ones in all the earth who go to heaven.

The only ones that God speaks to. Wait! God chose to speak to Pat Robertson and not Stephen Hawking? What's that about?

I have breaking news! 

Other religions also believe that they are the “one and only true religion.”

Many religions (most?) view others’ religion as wrong, in error, etc, also. They believe that you are in the wrong.

There is no reason for Conservative Christians to be riled because others view them as infidels when they view every other religious person as an infidel.

In fact, some religions do not view themselves as a belief system or religion but as “reality.”

People just are not attracted to being told that they are going to burn in ever-lasting hell. Not a lot of appeal there.

Many Conservative Christians are very out-spoken in their condemnation of everyone and everything that they disagree with. That is what others experience: condemnation, judgment, etc.

Evangelical/Conservative Christians, in fact, seem to have set the goal of being the judges of all peoples and all religions.

Do any Evangelical/Conservative Christian leaders preach loving one’s neighbor as oneself? Publicly? Privately, they sometimes love their neighbors a bit tooooo much.

Do any Evangelicals take seriously Jesus’ commandments? To go into a closet to pray. To not make a public spectacle of oneself. To feed the poor. Visit the imprisoned. Care for widows and orphans?

Experiences that might make one bitter – or at least not receptive:

My child was told by a youth minister that her father was not going to heaven (she knew that meant going to hell) because he is Jewish.

I have heard a group of Evangelicals condemning Lutherans (Lutherans!) as “not Christian” because they believe in “good works.”  Good works!

I have been told that the mainline Christian Church that I grew up in is a “cult” because we believe that “Faith without works is dead.”  A cult!

My dearest friends, ask me if I believe that God has spoken to you (and to you alone) and appointed you the judges of the rest of humanity?

Why, no! She spoke to me and me alone!