As a progressive in a few Bernie Sanders Facebook groups, I realize some people in those groups really need to chill out! Not about Bernie, but about other progressives. Yeah I know I joined the group back in March when it was hard to take the media blackout, the gaslighting attacks, and the aggressive supporters, so it was good to find a community of like-minded Berners to help buoy me through the tough primaries. But now it seems like we’re becoming the bots that we all hate (you know of whom I speak).

We are progressives. Whether we are Berniecrats or democratic socialists or Greens or old school hippies, we are progressive in our politics. We are mature enough to be able to talk about our politics openly with everyone here and without fear. The Green Party has been an option for Bernie as well as fellow progressives in the fight against the oligarchy. In a revolution like this with who we are up against, we need all hands on deck. As such we should never try to shut down conversations about the Green Party just because Bernie is not specifically mentioned. As Bernie himself said at a rally in North Dakota, “The truth is you, not me. If there is any person here, any person here that thinks I’m coming to you as some kind of savior, that I’m going to do it all — all myself, you’re wrong. No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do it alone. We don’t need a savior. We need a political movement.”

As a movement we need to stand together, not blindly but as the big tent party that the DNC elites don’t want us to be. The Greens are natural allies, and they’ve offered Bernie the top of the ticket if he wants it, but they also need help getting on all the state ballots. As I’ve said in many other posts and comments in this group, we are able to walk and chew gum at the same time. You can donate to Bernie and travel to Philadelphia to help him out, but before you go sign a petition to get the Green Party on the ballots if you live in one of the 29 states they still need to get on to. Bernie told a packed town hall that “when we say that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that than when we say ‘hey this whole world is me, I need more and more. I don’t care about anybody else.’ That’s my religion, that’s what I believe in.” He talking the Golden Rule of do unto others as you would have done unto you. We should be treating debates AMONG progressives of different stripes the same way, not reporting any post that doesn’t explicitly say “Bernie or Bust.”

We can and should be able to talk about progressive politics. All of it—Berniecrat, Green or straight independent. If we can’t do this here, we are no better than the shills and trolls we struggle against. I say this not as one who has given up on Bernie and pushing people to unite the party—the party is dead and needs to be replaced; but as someone who wants to see the next steps of the revolution happen now. This can be a lasting revolution if we are able to keep unity among us; but unity doesn’t mean lockstep. We need room to differ and present options. Options and differing opinions aren’t bad, they just are a different perspective for a solution. If we have to offer fealty to Bernie in every discussion we have, we won’t get anywhere. The reason Bernie has such a high favorable rating among fellow Senators is because he knows how to build bridges without betraying his values. We can and should do the same in this group.

If part of what is said among us Berners is true—what would Bernie do—he wouldn’t stifle different opinions or debates; he welcomes it. We should too.

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A New Bernie Sanders Pledge

December 30, 2015

Okay Bernie Sanders supporters, we’re coming to a crossroad in the campaign. We’re about 40-plus days away from the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, both of which seem to be key to his White House campaign. We know that Sanders’ support is growing in size and breadth, and his momentum is steadily forward; however the media blackout against him continues and only further misleads the public. After every Democratic debate so far, each internet snap poll of viewers (which aren’t scientifically accurate) showed that they thought Sanders won each debate in overwhelming numbers (80% and over). Yet when TV news analysts were asked who won, each time they said Hillary Clinton won overall. Despite having NO SuperPAC support, Sanders has nearly matched Clinton in fundraising efforts thanks to having a history making two million individual donors in the fastest time period. Still Sanders is getting pushed out of the spotlight by Clinton and Donald Trump, and any other news event that doesn’t deal with politics. But Sanders hangs on in national polls, diminishing Clinton’s lead and polling better than any GOP candidate. He holds on, but soon holding on will not be good enough, Soon we will be tallying votes in caucuses and primaries, and if Sanders can’t come out on top in the early primaries, the campaign will be over. I know there is the growing pledge of Sanders’ supporters to write-in Sanders’ name in the general election if he doesn’t become the Democratic nominee. I’d rather talk about a different pledge: to make sure Sanders IS the nominee period.

If we really want to take back our democracy (née transform our American oligarchy back into a representative democracy), we NEED to vote for Sanders in every primary and caucus leading up to the national convention. If every person who donated to the Sanders campaign or clicked his name in the post debate polls voted in the upcoming primaries, he will win the primaries and get the nomination for president. No need to split the parties in November or write his name in; we can vote him into office proudly and faithfully. I understand the principle behind wanting to vote Sanders and only Sanders for president; what I’m saying is wee need to concentrate on February before November. Sanders can be the nominee if we first put our votes where our hearts are.

We need to have a new pledge: if you’ve donated to Sanders’ campaign, posted memes on Facebook, retweeted his comments, if you really think his voice in office would best serve the American people, pledge to vote for Sanders in your state primary or caucus. Find out what date your state primary is here and plan to vote. We can always revolt if things are rigged afterwards, but right now Sanders will be the nominee if everyone who says they support him vote for him in the primaries. He not only needs our pledge to vote for him, he needs our vote. Give it to him when the primaries come up.

Is There a Square Zero?

November 30, 2015

“A dream without a goal is just a wish. A goal without a plan is just a dream.”

This has surely been in the back of my mind for the last month or so. A lot of the things I’ve been trying to do haven’t had goals or plans in place. So I’m basically been wishing and dreaming a lot without achieving much. This I thought I wanted never came to pass because I never had a plan in place to get to them or goals to achieve. There have been times when I’ve been disciplined enough to get things done—I got my Masters and completed 10 screenplays—it’s the steps afterwards that I hadn’t a clue what to do next. I think this is a pattern for most of my life. A lot of things I wanted to do or be never passed because I got stuck in my own head and stayed there daydreaming. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt so asleep these days.

I’m not sure how to get the discipline I used to have back. I don’t remember what plans (if I had any) to create what I have so far. I’m not sure of the goals I have to reach for; a lot of them changed from when I was younger, but haven’t settled into a visible or tangible thing. I used to want fame; I don’t anymore. I thuoght that would lead to wealth; now I simply want to thrive and not give up more yardage. I’m kind of lost and not sure where to begin. This seems to be my biggest problem: not knowing where to start or which way to go.

pj

Waste of a Day

November 6, 2015

Here’s what I was hoping to do today:

  1. Take a shower
  2. Clean the cat litter
  3. Call Ferry Beach about church retreat
  4. Mop the kitchen floor
  5. Add to sci-fi western short
  6. Reserve car for Tuesday

What I wound up doing today:

  1. Clean cat litter
  2. Watched “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” marathon

Yeah this was a day well spent.

Go NaBloPoMo!

November 2, 2015

So I decided to do the NaBloPoMo (National Bog Post Month) challenge this year. I knew I couldn’t do the NaNoWriMo challenge, but the blogging can work. A post a day for 30 days. I’m pretty sure there won’t be a lot of long sordid posts I’m used to writing, but getting some blog posting every day will be helpful to me. Get some creative juices flowing again and reestablish a structure/schedule/process for me to use. Should be fun.

Maybe NaBloPoMo…?

September 23, 2015

Not sure. I’m definitely considering it. I know I can’t do a 50,000 word project for November, but I certainly can post something on my blog every day for 30 days. Probably… Still thinking about it.

Summer of Discontent

August 13, 2015

You know your writer’s block is bad when you can’t figure out what to say in a blog posting. It could be worse; I couldn’tt be able to write a tweet. Of course with me it’s never as much that I don’t have things to write, 1) I have too many things I want to write; 2) each idea has too many directions it can go; and 3) I don’t know where to start.

I’m this close to putting a short story collection for sale online, but I need to getthe next step. Of course I have a short story and a novella I still need to finish, but other things are wanting to be written as well. Plus I’m wondering if I want to keep plugging ahead with the short I have half finished now. I hate having to abandon stuff when I haven’t finished them, but I’m not feeling this story so much as I once was. I may jump to the writing the ending as I want it to go and then come back to bridge the part I left off with.

Seems like this is how some of my writers block goes. It sucks because I have some good ideas that don’t get executed well because I can’t break through. Something I need to work on for sure.

So far the summer has been okay. The delivery work has been up and down as it always is. It’s good money when the hours come in, but the last couple of weeks has been a slow period. A client built in a busy week once a month or so and I know some money comes in then; I’m juts worried about the savings I have. I have a cushion from what I made at the last temp job and tax refunds which I am stretching out pretty far, but it only holds up if the money going out comes back in—which is sort of trickling in and gushing out. I budgeted for some of the things coming up, but the worry is starting. This last week I haven’t worked at all and not happy abou that. It sort of worked out in that Sophia has this summer cold that is dropping all my other friends so she’s been fine to stay home this week. Yesterday it was fun when there was a Phineas and Ferb all day marathon on Disney, but today they’re doing Lab Rats (ugh…); and I can only take so much of Season 7 American Ninja Warrior reruns before I go nuts. This hasn’t helped with jitters about not working.

Everything seems to be more of a work in progress than usual. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but the fact that Im restless about it is bad.

The new job I got that was supposed to be temp-to-perm turned out to be more temporary than permanent. Shy a week after my 60-day review, the company let me go. I never heard why. They called my temp agency letting me go and my temp agency emailed me the bad news. From what I gather, it was a bad fit departmentally. I thought I fit into the job well, but I guess numbers said otherwise, so no harm done letting me go. Sort of.

Soon after the email, I texted my old boss at Via Lago—the restaurant I drove catering for—to ask for my old job back. In my book, part-time work beats unemployment. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, I had to wait until Tuesday to hear anything. The thing is I wasn’t as panicked as I would normally be. Not to say that I wasn’t panicked at all (Friday night was especially rough) but not as bad as I have in the past. This was the first time I’ve been let go from a job when I had a surplus of money on hand. My income increased but not all of my expenses did over the two months (plus my tax refund) which helped. I wasn’t going to be making more money but I didn’t need to decrease my spending drastically. I’m floating, not drowning so it worked out.

Tuesday morning I heard from my old boss that she could put me back in rotation no problem. They’ve always been good to me as a company and people and I appreciate that. It’s also good to feel wanted immediately after made to feel like a failure. The temp agency said nothing about why I was let go, but they let me know about offers that fit my skill sets coming in the future. Right now I’m taking my mom’s advice and enjoy the time I have with my daughter now. She’s doing the STEM summer program for grade school kids at MIT so she’ll be busy. I’m not in a hurry to look for second shift work while she’s doing that so I’m thinking about the next steps I want to take work wise. And as I said it feels better to work short and (somewhat) stable hours than not work at all.

Near the end of March, I got my six month review of my SNAP benefits. I had a checkbox review of what had changed and what hadn’t in my circumstances over the six month period. Usually I just check off the checklist and return it, but two weeks before I started the new temp-to-perm job I’m at now. This meant my income changed and I’d have to see what happens next. I knew there would be a reduction in benefits, but I’m not sure if the food stamps would be taken away completely. I got copies of the only two paychecks I received thus far, sent it with the review and hope for the best.

April came and I still had my full allotment of food stamps and was able to buy what I needed and stretched the benefits until the end of April. When May EBT date came along I had no food stamp allotment, but had no food in the house; I paid for it myself. I wasn’t worried about paying out of my own pocket; I had money for what I needed and paid for it.

Later that day, I missed a call from the Massachusetts office of transitional assistance, which handes food stamps for the state. When I called back, they said my case had been closed, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was why. Earlier in mid-April, I got a notice saying my account would be closed if I didn’t mail in my full review to them in the next week, even though I mailed it out a week before it was due and even online they say they received it. So I called customer service rather pissed off. It’s one thing to close my account because I’m ineligible; it’s another to close it because they say I didn’t do something that I actually did (even their computer acknowledges it!).

As it turns out the only thing I needed to include to complete the review was a termination letter from the previous job; I do this and I can get the EBT back. I was more upset that they didn’t notify me of that fact—it’s not even mentioned in the review forms. While talking to the customer service guy I told him about the new full time job elsewhere. He did some calculations with me on the phone to see if I needed to even mail in the termination letter. As it turns out, I didn’t as my new salary put me just over their income level needed to receive food stamps.

And I’m fine with that. I’ve been on food stamps for almost 6 years. This was shortly after I was forced out of WGBH, lost two of the three part time jobs lined up to supplement that loss, and still had to pay full time child support payments. They ebbed and flowed over those six year but it’s been there to use for a good reason: I wasn’t making enough to feed me and/or my daughter on my own. Crunching the current numbers, I now have a little left over each month after all expenses—not a lot, but any kind of cushion is good—and still have a decent weekly shopping budget. It’s one more step in the right direction towards recovery in my life. It’s a mark of success. Things are slowly getting better. The forward momentum needs to be sustained to see serious improvement.

Unexpected Transition

March 20, 2015

When my friend at churh told me this would be a year of transition, he wasn’t kidding.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a temp agency I used to use. It was a standard notification of here’s-what-jobs-are-available email, but it had a job that I thought I was pretty capable of doing. I double checked my resume making sure I that the one geared towards customer service was up to date and sent it out. So the agency called me back wanting to know if I could go on an interview for the company the next day. By the end of Friday afternoon, I was slated to start a full-time temp-to-perm job as a customer service agent in one week’s time. I couldn’t give two weeks notice to my delivery job, but they were really understanding with everything—even letting me know I can come back if it doens’t turn out to be so permanent. That was really helpful. Not that I don’t think I can do the job required of me, but I do remember the last time I tried to transition from part-time to temp-to-perm full time. I was not in a good emotional state and my work suffered because of it and I was let go after a week. I don’t want to go throiugh that again.

This will be the first full time job I’ve had since 2009 and I am nervous that I might screw it up. But I’m almost done with my first week of training and so far it’s pretty good. The work is detail oriented but if I keep focused I can get all the little things I need to pick up on. Everyone I’ve met so far is friendly and helpful and it actually seems like a good fit for me. And my trainer says I’m doing fine so that’s a big relief. 

A new job was actually the last thing I was looking for or expected to find lately, but it is a pleasant and welcome surprise. It’s good to take a chance once in a while.