The Tell-Trump Heart

August 1, 2017

A week or so ago, another absurd denial of fact by the #TabloidPresident inspired Madeleine Morris,‏ aka @RemittanceGirl, to tweet:

“I am powerfully reminded of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. The dead giveaway to the fact that the narrator is insane is his repetitive denial.”

I couldn’t resist and fired off (with a little help from Patrick):

“True!-nervous-very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am not stable? #FauxNews has sharpened my senses!”

and

“‘Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit the deed!–tear up the planks! here, here!–It is the beating of the Russian Collusion!’

To which, @RemittanceGirl responded

“The Tell-Trump Heart”.

That resulted in an immediate request from Patrick to write the full fan fic version of The Tell-Tale Heart as The Tell-Trump Heart.

Warning, don’t try to drink beverages while reading.

 

The Tell-Trump Heart

(with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)
By Game Master

True! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will many, many people say that I am crazy? The presidency had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of memes acute. I heard all conspiracy theories in the Info Wars and in the Fox News. I heard many, many things in Russia. How, then, am I mad? I’m honored to have the greatest temperament that anybody has. Believe me! See how stable I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea to run for President entered my brain; maybe because my friend Putin said it, maybe not, I forget. But once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object for the responsibility there was none. Passion for doing the job there was none. I loved the old man Uncle Sam. He had never wronged me, always looked the other way every April 15th. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire, well maybe I did. I think it was his gaze! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a reporter — a sharp blue eye that could look right through me. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold and told my lawyers to hide my tax returns. I don’t pay taxes. That makes me smart. And so by little steps, – tiny, tiny little steps, so tiny you’d never see them — I made up my mind to take the life of the Uncle Sam, and thus rid myself of the fake news forever.

Now this is the point. People say I am mad. Madmen know nothing and I know many things. I know the best things. But you should have seen me. I was the best sneaker. You should have seen how sneaky I was — with what unpresidented plans — with what total focus I sent my staff to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I declared my candidacy. And every night, about midnight, I went to my smart phone and turned it on — oh so gently logged into Twitter! And then, when I had opened a keyboard sufficient for my hands – such big hands, not tiny at all – and with my mind all closed, closed, that no light shone in, did I type out a Tweet. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I tweeted! I typed it slowly — very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb him. It took me an hour to finish my tweets. Okay, more like three hours. Genius cannot be rushed. Ha! would a madman have been so covfefe as this? I wrote it good. They don’t write good. They have people over there, like Maggie Haberman and others, they don’t — they don’t write good. They don’t know how to write good. Not as good as me.

And then, when I was done, I closed the keyboard cautiously — oh, so cautiously — cautiously (for the hinges creaked) and this I did for seven long months — every night just at midnight — but I found the fake news always everywhere; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not old man Sam who vexed me, but the Evil Eye of his press. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the rallies, and spoke courageously about him, saying in a hearty tone how I was going to make him great again. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at three, I tweeted about him upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth month, I was more than usually cautious in opening the keyboard. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers — of my very best words. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. My numbers in the polls were up, my opponents were losers, Losers! To think they knew not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and opened the screen to see: “Russiagate”

My heart beat faster. But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. Meantime the hellish beep of every positive search for the word on the internet increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! — do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that White House, these stories excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beeping grew louder, louder! And now a new anxiety seized me — the old man would hear it! With a loud yell, I leaped into the Lincoln Bedroom. In my horror I found Sam in bed, reading from his smart phone a file called “Steele Dossier” No! Vladmir had told me, promised me those tapes were safe. This could not be!

In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. He struggled and cried out. I shouted words to cover his, “Build a Wall! Mexico is sending us rapists! Pizzagate! Grab them by the pussy! Repeal & Replace! If she wasn’t my daughter, I’d be dating her!” His movements slowed, than stilled. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. Deader than dead. I make the best dead. The story would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. I took up three planks from the flooring of the Oval Office, and I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye — not even his — could have detected any thing wrong.

I sat each day in the Office, smiling. I went about my days building hotels and signing things Steve gave me without reading them. Then entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as members of the press. Stories had been heard of meetings in the Mayflower hotel; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged with the FBI, and they had been deputed to speak of me of these things. I smiled, — for what had I to fear? I was smarter than them — so much smarter. I bade the gentlemen welcome. The news, I said, was fake news. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I invited my visitors into the Office. I bade them ask questions — ask well. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the Old Man Sam.

The reporters were satisfied. My bumbling manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease, very much at ease. They asked questions, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of ice cream scoops and the size of my hands — my big hands. But, ere long, I felt myself getting bored and wished them gone. My head ached from the questions they asked, all the words they used, and I fancied a beeping in my ears: but still they sat and still asked me about policies and programs and other nonsense. The beeping became more distinct: — It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: spoke of birth certificates and Hillary’s nastiness. Nasty woman! Those votes were illegally cast. But it continued and gained definiteness — until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears. No doubt I now grew very pale; — but I talked with a heightened voice of walls and how I saved coal jobs, yes coal is the future! Yet the sound increased — and what could I do? It was a low, dull, beep — much such a sound as a smart phone makes on low volume. I gasped for breath — and yet the reporters heard it not. I talked more quickly — more vehemently of trifles, of Rosie O’Donnell, of Muslim’s dancing in the street on 9/11, of inauguration crowds, the Stock Market up — oh so much up — but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the tweets of other men — but the noise steadily increased. I foamed — I raved — I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the beeps grew louder and faster. It grew louder — louder — louder! And still the men chatted about Fake News, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty Dollar! — no, no! They heard! — they suspected! — they invoked Pinocchio! — they were making a mockery of my horror! — this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now — again! — hark! beep! beep! beep! beep!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! here, here! — It is the beeping of the Russian Collusion!”

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To White Supremacists “Free Speech” is Code for Inciting Violence

June 1, 2017

Shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater unless it’s burning is not free speech.

Screaming “Kill the Jews.” and/or “Kill the Muslims.” and/or “Kill the Christians.” and/or “Kill the N*s.” Is not free speech.

Some people, including the ACLU, are criticizing the mayor of Portland, Oregon for asking the U.S. Government to pull the permits for “free speech” rallies on federal property in the city’s downtown. One is scheduled less than ten days after someone who claims shouting about killing people is free speech actually murdered two men and tried to kill a third.

It’s important to remember that fascists are really good at using code words such as “alt-right” instead of white supremacist; “preventing voter fraud” to mean disenfranchising people of color; “inner-city culture” to demonize minorities. The most tragically comical is the claim that Muslims want to impose Shariah Law while trying to get their version of the bible codified in our legal system.

The so-called “free speech” rallies are code for spewing hate against POC, LGTBQ, non-christians, etc. and for inciting violence. At these rallies, white supremacists physically intimidate people until they feel  forced to defend themselves and then are viciously attacked by fascists who claim they beat someone to a pulp in self defense. (These actions have been documented at other “free speech” events and one of the guests scheduled for June 4 has been convicted for beating a counter-protestor.) These same people are organizing a rally that is specifically anti-Muslim, although they’re moving that one to Seattle.

The white supremacists  aren’t interested in “free speech”. They shout down others trying to exercise their own right to free speech. They ignore that freedom of religion comes before freedom of speech in the first amendment and that the right of the people to assemble specifies “peaceably”.

They’re coming to Portland from California and Washington to confront people who try to be inclusive, who want to welcome immigrants of all faiths and colors, who don’t believe in hating those who are different. There are even reports that some of the interlopers have and will disguise themselves as anti-fa or anarchists to get the violence started.

They come to Portland because of its racist history and its hugely white majority trying to galvanize more racism among Internet trolls (such as the May 26th terrorist murderer) and vulnerable young people.

Tolerance does not mean tolerating intolerance and free speech does not include hate speech. Nor are we required to allow people to gather when they’ve proven that their only reason for doing so is to incite violence and spew hatred.

At the last “free speech” rally he attended, the terrorist who murdered two brave men in Portland May 26 and tried to murder another screamed obscenities and gave the Nazi salute while wrapping himself in the American flag. He slaughtered those two men only because they tried to stop him from harassing two teenage girls. He has the gall to call that a “patriotic” act.

Don’t let white supremacists and neo-nazis get away with using code words. Those code words are the first step towards the totalitarian regime our current hater in chief and Congressional feudalists want to take us.

Sunday, June 4, do not go to downtown Portland. The media should stay away. Counter protestors should stay away. Set up an opposing rally somewhere else and make sure that gets media coverage. Let people know you stand against hate, but do not give the haters a platform. If no one, except the cops, show up to their “rally”, if the media do not cover it, if there are no peaceful counter protestors for them to attack, they can go back home and spew their hate on YouTube. Portland doesn’t have to listen.


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

January 3, 2017

http://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/2016/11/06I went dark on November 9 after enough people voted for an eminently unqualified, racist, misogynist, homo-hating, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, narcissistic, criminal con man and Putin puppet to give him the majority of votes in the electoral college and force those of us who are not white, straight, christianists to live in fear for our lives.

The election results were disappointing, horrifying, nauseating, frightening, outrageous, and disgusting. The one thing they were not, at least for me, is shocking or surprising. I suspect the more marginalized someone is by our society, the less surprised they were by the vote.

Make no mistake, if you voted for Trump, if you stayed home and sat the election out as a protest (or just because you couldn’t be bothered), if you voted for Stein or Johnson or anyone else but Clinton, your actions contributed to people suffering and dying because they are queer, trans, POC, or just can’t afford health care. (No Clinton would not have been worse, she wouldn’t have hired billionaire white supremacists with no experience but plenty of conflicts of interest to run the government or worked to destroy any progress made in reproductive health care and LGBT/POC civil rights or left many of us trying to figure out whether we should flee the country.)

White nationalists emboldened by Trump are thirsting for blood. That blood might be mine, or your gay cousin’s, or the Sikh gentleman’s behind the motel counter whose mistaken for a Muslim, or the African-American boy’s playing in the park, or your neighbor’s who wears a hijab, or your trans co-worker’s. (You didn’t know she was trans? But you insist she should use the men’s restroom?)

As far as I’m concerned, every single person who voted for Trump is a racist bigot. You can say whatever you want about how you voted for him to protect your guns (Clinton wasn’t going to take them away). Or because the economy is in the toilet (it was the best it’s been since Bush destroyed it in ’08). Or because he’ll bring back manufacturing jobs (he can’t, automation has already replaced those jobs even if the factories move back to the U.S. and those jobs he claimed — at the cost of millions from taxpayer– to bring back either were staying anyway or will be used to create further automation). Or because he’s a successful business man (he’s lost more money than he ever made, routinely rips off people he hires as contractors, paid millions to get out of fraud charges against him, etc. etc.). Or because Clinton did whatever (outrageous misogynistic fabricated conspiracy theory) you’ve cited as an excuse not to vote for her. Or whatever other lies he told that you were gullible enough to believe. I do not care what “reason” you give to salve your conscious, you voted for toxic sludge and should be judged by what you did, not what you say.

I’m so very tired of inane statements about the majority of people voting with genuinely good intentions for what they honestly believe is their country’s best interest. The majority of those voters don’t give one rat’s ass for the best interest of the U.S. They deliberately voted to prioritize their straight white cis privileges over basic civil rights for POC, LGBTQ folk, and those who don’t worship their particular brand of consumerist christianism. They didn’t care about the consequences as long as they got what they wanted (and they will be genuinely shocked, blaming anyone but themselves and the man they elected, when they lose their jobs, their homes, their health insurance, and/or their savings and retirement as a result).

I find it more and more difficult to believe that even a small majority of people are genuinely good when so many of them are willing to deprive others of health care, a safe place to live, enough food to eat, a decent education, the ability to earn a fair wage for their work, agency/autonomy over their own bodies, a partner in life, etc.

Trump voters will eventually pay the price for their hubris. Racism is one of the ways the ruling class one percent keeps the poor white working class in line, enabling the rich to turn them into wage slaves while raping the planet, destroying our water supply and making the air impossible to breathe. No matter how bad it gets, at least those wage slaves can believe they’re superior because they’re white, straight christianists.

Racism has always been the primary motivation behind the white nationalism white evangelical movement and remains at its core. The GOP deliberately used the evangelicals to create the noxious atmosphere that allowed Trump to ascend to the White House by pandering to racist, xenophobic, fears of privilege loss.

Wherever you claim to stand on civil rights for women, POC, immigrants, or those who are LGBT, if you facilitated Trump’s election with your vote (or lack of) you are condoning both the violent racist/xenophobic attacks of his followers and your own exploitation at the hands of their billionaire masters. The overt anti-Semites in Germany didn’t enable the Holocaust as much as all those middle class Germans who wanted to Make Germany Great Again and who were willing to overlook their missing neighbors, the broken glass in the streets, the stench from the ovens, and the racist, xenophobic rhetoric. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

This naziism of America is the result of your sharing fake news, giving racists the benefit of the doubt, avoiding political discussions with family members who actively support venal politicians, staying silent in the face of misogyny.

Now what are you going to do about it (whether you enabled Trump’s election or not)? Will you sit silently with your head down and ignore the slaughter or will you step up to stop the colleague making racist jokes, refuse to allow your relatives to justify their Trump votes, call out the guy yelling at the Mexican-American on the bus to “go home,” video record the white cops harassing an African-American for minding their own business, stand in front of the woman threatened for wearing an expression of her faith? Will you donate and volunteer for organizations fighting for civil rights and reproductive health care? Will you call your Congressional representatives, daily if necessary, to let them know you won’t tolerate evisceration of the Office of Congressional Ethics, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc? Will you recruit, support, campaign for, and finance candidates for public office who believe in civil rights for all?

Or will you proceed with your daily life while everything that made America great is destroyed?

I know where I stand. I may have been silent online, but I never stopped fighting. What about you?


KOTW: Clothed Female Naked Male (CFNM)

January 27, 2014

This post originally appeared January 19, 2014 on Kink of the Week. Jade expanded the topic to the broader kink of “Clothed Top Naked Bottom” and you can find links to the interesting perspectives of others who enjoy the kink — both tops and bottoms — at the end of the original post.

Does CFNM or CMNF ring your chimes? Check out the conversation.

When I first discovered the joy of having men serve me naked, I had no idea the “naked” part was considered a fetish.

Then one of my toys sent me a link to a site that discussed CFNM (Clothed Female Naked Male). I shrugged. I just found it sexy to have my housework done by a naked man. I didn’t care why it turned him on as long as the house got cleaned and he had a cute ass.

Since Jade asked me to introduce the topic of CFNM for Kink of the Week, I thought I’d look for some online resources to point you to. Unfortunately, I discovered, there seems to be a dearth of accurate information about CFNM online. Searching for the term brings up a slew of male-centric porn sites. Many have unrealistic portrayals of gorgeous woman and (at best) average looking men. (Some women may like Bears, but personally, if you’ve got a beer belly, I do NOT want to see you naked.)

And, because these are male fantasies, the CFNM encounters often involve men getting blow and/or hand jobs. (Hint: if the word “job” is involved, you’re not likely to attract the interest of a female dominant.)

Sites that claim to offer facts about CFNM, instead provide misinformation about female motivation, presumably written by wishful men. (Any site that refers to women as “girls” but males as “men” is about male fantasy, not female dominance.)

So, I will offer some more realistic information about CFNM from the perspective of a FemDom who’s practiced it for almost a decade, written fiction which includes it, and discussed it with other FemDoms. Disclaimer, this is my opinion, your mileage may vary.

Motivations for participating in CFNM vary greatly for both genders. CFNM may or may not demonstrate a woman’s power over a man by keeping him vulnerable, presumably unable to leave the house without her permission to get dressed. It may or may not be part of a Dominant/submissive relationship in which she controls what he wears inside and outside the home.

CFNM may or may not allow a woman to objectify a male’s body (especially if it’s attractive to her) giving him a taste of what she’s experienced her entire life.

CFNM may or may not include humiliation play, such as making disparaging remarks about general or specific aspects of the man’s appearance including (in some cases) the size of his penis, his virility, or other aspects of his masculinity.

CFNM may or may not satisfy a male’s exhibitionism, especially because a woman who keeps her man naked may or may not allow other women to see him nude and parading around naked for one woman may or may not be enough for an exhibitionist.

CFNM may or may not involve sexual contact. And, any sexual contact may or may not include genital stimulation for the male.

For a CFNM scene at a party, women may dress up in fetish wear including boots or high heels. But, if CFNM is the household status quo, she’s just as likely to wear comfy sweats and fuzzy slippers.

If you’re interested in CFNM, I recommend you first determine what you find appealing about it and what you don’t think you’ll enjoy.

Women, does a naked male body turn you on? Do you want to humiliate and/or control a man? Do you enjoy making decisions for your man, including whether or not (and when) he wears clothes? Or do you just enjoy a naked ass peeking out from the bathroom as he scrubs the floor on his hands and knees?

Men, do you want to exhibit your body for admiration or humiliation? Do you wish to parade naked just for a special someone or while serving a dozen ladies at a FemDom tea or in front of the entire community at a dungeon party? Do you enjoy surrendering control or just the sensuality of forgoing clothing? Or is it just that you’re willing to do the housework, but hate getting chemical burns on your jeans?

Your motivation doesn’t have to match your partner’s, it just needs to be compatible.

And, much of your motivation may be determined by whether or not you want a relationship that incorporates CFNM or would just like to engage in the activity for fun once in a while, perhaps with different play partners each time.

Once you’re clear on your motivation, you will find it easier to seek someone who shares your interests or try to incorporate it into your existing relationship(s).

Yes, there’s a dating site just for people looking for CFNM encounters. But, rarely can a single fetish sustain a relationship, especially with a fetish as complex and with as many variations as CFNM. And, of course, in a TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationship whether or not the male enjoys doing the housework naked may not matter to his owner.

If you’re involved in CFNM, perhaps you’d like to join the conversation by sharing how you discovered you enjoy it? What about it rings your chimes? How important is CFNM to your relationship?

And, of course feel free to ask questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.


Election 2012 Endorsements: A Closer Look at Hidden Ballot Bombs

October 22, 2012

I’ve not exactly been quite thisGoldwater: watch out for preachers political season. But most of my Tweets, Facebook and Google Plus posts have been about the presidential election and the travesty of religious extremist who have hijacked the Republican party and are attempting to drag women, LGBT folk, and persons of color back into the eighteenth century while eliminating the middle class and returning to the nobility/peasants stratification.

But, in many states, there are additional candidates who require support. And, in Oregon and Portland there are a a number of other issues critical to progressive values on the ballot — too many of which have had the facts of the harm they will cause obfuscated in campaign rhetoric.

So here, I will share how and why I’m voting. I’ve done the research and I explain my positions so if you don’t want to take the time, feel free to use what’s below to mark your ballot. Just remember to drop it off at your local library or other official drop box by Nov. 6.

National Election

What Kind of World do You Want to Live In?

who caused the deficit?I have never been a big Barack Obama fan. He makes purty speeches and maybe in eight years he would have been ready to tackle everything the presidency requires. If he’d been a little less naive, a little more seasoned, he might have wrangled a party majority in Congress to pass significant health care reform, get rid of laws that violate the constitution, reinstate the financial regulations that would have prevented the Wall Street-engineered meltdown, and ended the horrific wars the Shrub dragged us into.

But, Obama has gotten us out of Iraq, improved U.S. relations with the rest of the world, ended DADT, stopped defending DOMA, and enacted some health care reform including making contraceptives more accessible. Under Obama, the economic crash had a softer landing that it would have without his stimulus package and more people are working. His accomplishments are more impressive when you take into account he had to fight Republican determination to see him fail at every turn.

Whatever you think of the man now in the White House, he beats the alternative and only a vote for him can keep Mittens from giving more of the country away to the rich and powerful he belongs to.

The same philosophy applies to Congressional races. Right wing extremists, in the pocket of the Koch brothers and other corporatacracies, are trying to turn Social Security benefits over to the Wall Street swindlers, eliminate Medicare and all access to contraception, take our education system back to the dark ages, etc. Their ultimate goal is to deprive anyone except rich white straight males of their civil rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Romney-Ryan Social Security PlanEven if you’ve never had to choose between food and medicine, wondered how you would get to work without money for gas or bus fare because your child needed to see a doctor, or watched a love one die because of corporate neglect, try to discover within you the empathy entirely missing in the GOP rhetoric and candidates.

If you get weekends off or a paid vacation or have a retirement fund or paid sick leave, remember the union members who bought those benefits for you with their blood. The Koch brothers are leading a movement to take all that away and return to the concept of company-owned employees forced to work six days a week for a pittance with no benefits and no regard for providing a safe workplace, clean drinking water, breathable air.

If you want to see a viable third party, the time to do so is during interim elections. Progressive candidates who don’t want to affiliate with the Demicans, need to start in local races building up experience and clout.

Unless you’ve fallen for the right-wing extremist BS rhetoric, if you don’t want to see women forced back to the days of barefoot, pregnant, and dead in childbirth by the time they’re thirty, vote for the Democratic candidate for Senator and Representative to Congress and your state legislature.

Oregon State Offices

Secretary of State: Kate Brown has made some mistakes. She’s been arrogant and some of her decisions have been questionable. But, overall she did a good job for her constituents when she was a state legislator and has made state level accountability improvements as Secretary of State.

Much of her opposition is coming from a man who is angry that he was fined for violating state laws prohibiting paying signature gatherers by the signature. He’s telling people to vote for anyone but the incumbent.

But, her Republican opponent spouts the GOP line about voter fraud. So far, the only documented voter fraud has been perpetuated by Republicans and all efforts that have claimed to combat the proven Republican fraud has been aimed at disenfranchising people of color, poor folk, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and students — those more likely to vote Democratic. That alone is enough to keep me from voting for him.

State Treasurer: The state’s chief financial officer manages investment of state money, the sale of state bonds and helps oversee management of state lands. Ted Wheeler has done a good job protecting the state’s money through prclass warfareofitable investments. He also discredited claims that the $3.5 billion Columbia River Crossing boondoggle would be funded by tolls and federal money.

His opponent has worked for companies that contributed to the economic mess GOP deregulation put us in, has never held a public office, and spews the GOP line about the need to decimate public employee benefits so we can give more tax breaks to the wealthy. Enough said.

Oregon’s first woman State Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, is a former appellate court judge, former state court judge, and was a federal prosecutor. She’s endorsed by labor, conservationists, LGBTQ advocates, pro choice supporters, and builders. That last one may seem incongruous, but it speaks to her fairness.

who actually balanced the budget?Her opponent has only been in private practice and has never held a public office. He supports the GOP line about out-of-control government spending (that never seems to mention how much the GOP-started wars and GOP-passed tax breaks and corporate welfare for their wealthy donors have contributed to deficits).

State Labor Commissioner: Organized labor (the folks who brought you the 40-hour work week, health and safety regulations to protect workers from injury, paid holidays, weekends off, etc. for which they’re vilified by the right wing as the evil that is destroying business) is supporting Brad Avakian and businesses don’t consider him to be the Big Bad. Among other accomplishments, he’s gotten more than $15 million returned to workers who were cheated out of their wages by their employers.

His opponent toes the GOP line that “Red tape, high taxes and lawsuits are killing good paying family wage jobs.” The reality is that unregulated businesses that refuse to pay “family-wages” leave consumers unable to make purchases, which kills jobs.

Oregon Supreme Court: Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Richard Baldwin, an 11-year court veteran, has demonstrated his commitment to helping those with less access to the legal system.

His opponent has mostly worked as a lawyer in private practice and only served as a volunteer substitute judge. She has seriously exaggerated how much bench experience she has and I’m not willing to vote for someone who lies to serve as a judge.

Oregon Court of Appeals, Pos. 6: James Egan sits on the Linn County Circuit Court. Previously, as an attorney, he represented people who had been injured on their jobs. He also served as a Judge Advocate General in the military.

His opponent is a trial lawyer with no experience on the bench, although his supporters make much of the fact that he successfully argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. What isn’t mentioned on his website or in most of those endorsements is that the Supreme Court case supported random drug testing. That alone is enough to cost him my vote.

State Measures

Romney LiesPolitical spin often phrases issues to make them appear the exact opposite of their real impact. I remember one election where I condemned a measure in a letter to the newspaper (you know back in the old days before weblogs) and someone asked me how it could have a downside. He had only read the paid endorsements in the Oregon Voter’s pamphlet (please note, there’s nothing “impartial” about the document–I rarely open mine). The significant downside had been completely hidden in the campaign rhetoric so I had to dig it out, but it was there.

There are a number of measures on the ballot this year that promise the opposite of what they will deliver, kind of like GOP candidates. Some are particularly egregious because, like the Republicans, they appeal to core needs — jobs, education, environment — while only lining the pockets of the wealthy.

Vote YES on Measure 77 Disaster Emergency Powers: Some measures just make you shake your head as to why they’re needed or why no one passed them before. Measure 77 grants the governor temporary (30-day) authority to call the legislature into emergency session and direct response and spending in the case of catastrophic disasters.

Vote YES on Measure 78 which makes spelling and grammatical changes in the state constitution.

Vote NO on Measure 79 – Real Estate Transfer Tax Ban: The National Association of Realtors is trying to scare voters into adding a ban on real estate transfer taxes to the state constitution even though that’s been illegal under state law since 1989. (Washington County’s tax was grandfathered in under that law and won’t be affected by Measure 79.)

Realtors have wasted more than $5 million in a misleading campaign to protect their own (and no one else’s) interests.

marijuana lawsVote YES on Measure 80 – Legalizes Marijuana: For decades, billions of dollars have been flushed down the toilet trying to prevent Americans from consuming marijuana. Thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens are thrown into prisons — fed, clothed, and housed by taxpayers. Meanwhile, it’s easier for minors to purchase pot than beer.

This measure would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales in Oregon. When we persecute, prosecute, and incarcerate those who use a drug that’s less harmful than legal ones such as nicotine and alcohol, everyone loses, especially taxpayers.

Vote: NO on Measure 81 – Bans Gillnetting: Sports fishermen are casting this as a law to prevent cruel fish captures. But, this measure would not change the number of salmon caught. It would only allow sports fishermen — who spend money fishing for fun — to catch even more salmon at the expense of commercial and Trbal fisherman for whom fishing is their livelihood. (Sports fishermen already remove more fish from the rivers than the commercial fisherman combined, but the greedy asshats want more. As one newspaper asked: “Is it too much to call this whole proposal fishy?”

Vote NO Measure 82 (Authorizes private casinos) and Measure 83 (Authorizes Multnomah County casino): Slick advertising gushes BS about The Grange’s (a name stolen from an organization that has supported farm families since 1867) “family-friendly” casino, jobs, and contributions to the state coffers.

This amendment is wrong in so many ways, it’s hard to remember them all. First, it would break yet another white man’s government promise to Tribal authorities and deal a devastating blow to Oregon’s tribal casino profits which are their only hope for lifting their members out of the dire poverty in which many of them have been kept for generations.

Second, enshrining benefits to a single, foreign (Canadian), shady (their other endeavors have all come under legal scrutiny for questionably practices) in the state constitution is an egregious mistake.

Third, the Canadians would take money that now goes into the pockets of Tribes, local businesses, and schools out of the country.

Fourth, many of the “jobs” would be minimum-wage, no benefit, night and weekend (how’s that good for “families”?) shit work that would be created at the expense of existing jobs and businesses.

Those slick advertisements for the privately owned Wood Village casino (which won’t be called The Grange after the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry took them to court for stealing its name) make much about a portion of its revenue will be paid to the state.

But those advertisements neglect to factor in the reduced revenue from lottery and video poker which pay more that triple the percentage that the Canadians would pay. The Oregon Lottery generates more than $500 million for the state through video gambling machines. Bar  owners now (and would continue to) pay 75 percent of their video poker money to the state while the Wood Village monstrosity would only pay a quarter of its profits in taxes. Even in other states where it has established gambling entities, the Canadian company pays from 55 to 85 percent.

Supporting this measure gives a Canadian company a virtual monopoly over gambling in the Portland area and allows it to steal more than $300 million dollars from the state of Oregon every year.

Vote NO Measure 84 Eliminates inheritance tax: Once again proponents are lying to try to get you to vote for another way for the rich to get richer at the expense of the rest of us. They claim this measure would be a boon to small farms, but all farms worth less than $7.5 million already are exempt from inheritance tax. And anyone else with an estate valued at less than $1 million doesn’t pay estate taxes either.

Worse, the proponents always seem to forget to mention that this measure would allow family members to give unlimited assets such as stocks, bonds or businesses to other family members tax-free. So rather than pay taxes on the gain of something that’s appreciated significantly in value, the rich get to transfer it to Uncle Bob, who only has to declare the gain from when it was gifted to when he sold it. He then gifts it back.

The only people who would benefit from this are the 1 percent. And we can’t afford to gift the 1 percent with anymore tax breaks. This measure is supported by Kevin Mannix, who broke the law to finance its campaign, which is really enough to say vote no in and of itself.

Vote YES Measure 85 Repeals the Corporate “Kicker”: The kicker check, a unique, bizarre Oregon tax construct, is triggered when the state’s revenue surplus is 2 percent more than predicted. Divided between individual and corporate taxpayers it’s fiscally irresponsible, especially when our bridges are falling down, are schools are underfunded, and we already have one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country.

As fiscally irresponsible as the kicker policy is, Oregonians have seemed reluctant to relinquish it. But giving it to corporations, most of which have their headquarters (and take their profits) out of state, while public schools increase class sizes and shorten school years is just stupid.

This measure won’t fix the madness that is the kicker or a legislature underfunding public education (that requires voting to throw out all Republicans in the state legislature), but it’s a start.

City of Portland/Multnomah County

Mayor: Write In Scott Fernandez : Although early in the primary campaign I threw my support in the Portland Mayor’s race behind one of the two eventual winners, as November approached I’ve found myself having second thoughts. During the primaries, he seemed the best choice to stop big business from buying the Mayor’s office and to stand up against the CRC boondoggle. But watching him fumble revelations dug up from his past, especially given that he could have brought them up earlier himself and diffused their impact, I had to wonder whether he’s ready to be Portland’s mayor.

Unfortunately, his principal opponent is a horrible alternative. He’s owned by developers who enjoy building huge apartment complexes with no parking and no regard for the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. He’s been a strong backer of the developer boondoggle, aka the Columbia River Crossing, that will cost the taxpayers billions.

As stated above, I don’t usually advocate supporting third parties and/or write-in candidates. But, Scott Fernandez is a scientist, not a politician. He prioritizes clean water, will fight to keep coal trains from polluting the city with their dust, and supports a no-kill animal shelter. He’s not accepted big business contributions.

City Council, Position No. 1: Supporting Amanda Fritz in the primary was probably the last decision I made for that ballot. She’s made mistakes and enemies. But, she cares and shows it with every thoughtful decision. She guards every penny in the city’s pocketbook as if it were her own. She’s probably the only truly independent voice on the city council, and continually stands ready and willing to challenge the status quo.

Her opponent has run a, expensive vicious campaign that’s quick to find fault with Fritz, but rarely mentions why her opponent would do a better job.

One of Portland’s biggest problems is a rogue police force that shoots first and doesn’t ever want to hear answers to the questions invariably asked later. Most of their victims are mentally ill and Fritz’s background as a psychiatric nurse puts her in an excellent position to challenge the status quo of blood on the streets.

Her opponent is backed by the police union, she supports their desire to remain above the law, and she would have returned Aaron Campbell’s killer to the streets.

Vote: YES Measure 26-143 – Creates a Multnomah County Library Tax District: Multnomah County Library is second only to New York City in per capita usage, circulating twice as many materials per resident as the average library. It’s a critical component of Portland’s literary reputation and the city’s livability. And it’s closed on Mondays because it’s underfunded.

Bizarre accounting systems put in place by tax cutting measures have stripped city and counties of their ability to deliver needed services to their citizens. As a result, even when we pass a levy to support it, as property values drop many people don’t pay that levy. (Look at your tax bill which arrived within a day or two of your ballot to see if you’re contributing.)

A library district would give the marvelous Multnomah County Library it’s own tax revenues so it no longer would be at the mercy of county needs. The cost would be minimal, $33 for a home with an assessed value of $100,000. If you’re an average user, that’s $1 for each item checked out during the year.

The measure would restore library hours and children’s programs and remove the necessity and expense of campaigning for a funding levy every few years.

Vote: YES Measure 26-145 – Reforms the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund: A loophole allows police and firefighters to bump up their lifetime annual pension payments by retiring in a year that includes an extra pay period, inflating the number used to calculate their retirement benefits. This measure will save taxpayers $46.6 million over 25 years.

Vote: NO Measure 26-146 – City of Portland Arts Tax: Can we spell deceit children? This is being sold as a way to restore arts education in schools. But, more than half of the funds collected for this regressive tax will go to already well-endowed nonprofit arts organizations such as the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Art Museum, etc.

Every resident with earned income (which eliminates wealthy tax avoiders who live off their stock and bond funds) must pay$35 a year evene if they’re eligible for food stamps or other benefits.

And, the worst potential impact of this measure is that it will hurt smaller schools. The measure guarantees one art or music teacher for every 500 public school students between kindergarten and fifth grade within city limits. Most city schools have fewer than 500 students so they will be forced by this measure to fork over enough to pay the difference, possibly at the expense of math and science programs.

I’m all for arts. I believe we should have arts education in schools, but we also need math, sicent, and reading. And as much as I think it’s important to have a symphony and ballet and art museum, these are organizations with wealthy backers, pricy fundraisers, tax breaks, and tickets the taxpayers hurt most by this measure won’t ever be able to afford.

Vote: YES Measure 26-144 – Portland Public Schools Bond: Portland Public School District is one of few in Oregon without bonds to build and repair school buildings. As a result, the district’s buildings are in bad shape.

This measure would fix the schools with greatest need first while trying to minimize the impact on taxpayers ($1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value for the first eight years when most of the money will be raised/spent).


Judging a Book by its Cover

July 28, 2012

This post originally appeared June 12, 2012  on K.D. Grace’s blog, “A Hopeful Romantic”.

People do judge a book by its cover. Case in point: my third novel, Dommemoir. The original publisher approached me and offered promotional/marketing support to get me to sign with them.

Image

WARNING: This book will change women’s perspective on relationship dynamics forever.

They sponsored a launch party that featured a cake topped with a marzipan male genitalia wearing a ball spreader. I wrote guest blog posts. I gave workshops. I appeared on radio shows. I held a second launch party hosted by a Body Piercing & Tattoo establishment whose owner had been a resource for scenes in the book. The book received excellent reviews and was a Night Owl Romance Top Pick.

Sales were disappointing.

After two years, I got the rights back to the book and re-released it. I did none of those things. No party. No guest blog posts. No radio shows. I mentioned the book on Twitter, Face book, and G+.

My launch day sales exceeded those the publisher reported for the entire first quarter when it was originally released and they’ve steadily increased since then. As of mid May, my sales exceeded those of the publisher for the entire time they had the rights to the book.

The only thing I changed (except for correcting some minor typos) was the interior and cover design. And, while the former might make for a better reading experience, the latter is what dramatically increased my book sales.

The original cover looked okay in print, but it did nothing to sell the book. The thumbnail was a black blob. I never liked it, but I’d already gotten the publisher to ditch an even worse cover design and knew I’d never get this one changed.

One of the advantages of Indie publishing is having complete control over how your book looks. But, that also means you own responsibility for every facet of your book’s appearance. I’m fortunate in that I have skills as a typesetter and book designer. The interior design of the first edition of Dommemoir was just plain boring and I could fix that.

I’ve had some graphic design experience, and I’m comfortable creating simple covers for short stories. But, I’m not a designer or an artist. As I mentioned on this blog at the beginning of the year, I already had Nyla Alisia at Pussy Cat Press, who is both, redesign the covers for the second editions of Broken and Shattered. (Sales for both have also increased dramatically with the new covers. They are not romances so they have a smaller audience. But, they still outsold their original, three-year publisher release at the end of May after less than seven months with new covers. Some of those sales could be attributed to the lack of e-books when the books were originally released. But they’re selling in paper as well.)

As a result, when Nyla asked me to trust her and give her free reign to design the new cover for Dommemoir, I agreed. Although normally she only reads a synopsis and a few chapters before working on a cover design, apparently she wasn’t able to put Dommemoir down and ended up reading the entire book. (And, after she finished it, Nyla decided she would like to be a FemDom and wrote a tagline warning readers: “This book will change women’s perspective on relationship dynamics forever.”)

She took the elements that touched her, that made the story powerful, and combined them in a unique cover that captures the emotional content of the book. I know if she had tried to explain the cover to me or showed me a sketch to convey the idea, I probably would have vetoed it. But, the minute I saw what she created, I fell in love and only requested some very minor adjustments.

In one image she managed to cover every critical element of the book, without giving away too much. It is absolutely perfect! And, the sales numbers prove that a good cover really can make or break a book.

Recently, I taught a class on self publishing at a local college. When I spoke about cover design, I started with a bag full of books that I believe have great covers. One by one, I pulled each book out of the bag, held it up for a few seconds, and put it back. Then, I asked my students to tell me what genre that book was marketed in. (Genre being a way to categorize the emotional response expected from a reader.) Even with only a few seconds to view each cover, at least one student accurately stated the genre of each book.

And, then, I went on to explain why that was important.

You have to write a good book. You have to put it in front of the right audience with a blurb that entices them to read a sample. But, if you don’t have an eye catching cover that captures the emotional tone of the book at first glance, you’ll never get readers to click on your cover instead of one of the dozens of others vying for their attention.


Avoiding Abuse in the Search for D/s

May 22, 2012

This post originally appeared April 30, 2012 on BDSM Book Reviews.

Included in Chapter Six of Connecting to Kink

Sometimes, only a thin line separates BDSM from abuse in a relationship. Especially online, you find people who claim that their “naturally dominant” personalities entitle them to demand submission of others: to take ownership of mind, body and soul. The only thing creepier than Dominants who profess their superiority are the submissives who offer themselves up for this sort of abuse.

True, many submissives simply echo the erotic fantasies that haunt them, reciting the words they’ve seen others type. Most shun real-time opportunities. Although a few may go so far as to present themselves for service, reality and pain soon send them back to the comfort of their online world. But some actually put themselves in the hands of the those who have no education, little experience, and less understanding of the responsibilities that come with accepting someone’s submission.

I especially worry about the submissives who have low (or no) self-esteem, who think enslavement will solve their vanilla-world problems, who make decisions based on the reaction between their legs instead of the one between their ears. They get damaged — emotionally, physically, and financially.

“I am dominant by nature and like to be in control,” more than one profile claims. They makes no reference to experience, knowledge, or caring for a submissive. “I am a True Master seeking a true sub/slave to serve Me,” another common declaration. Exactly what does that mean?

BDSM organizations have defined abuse as: “Physical, sexual or emotional acts inflicted on a person without their informed and freely given consent.”

But without training and experience, without care and consideration, abuse can happen even with consent. Someone who consents to a D/s relationship without prior knowledge of what it involves or the person to whom he/she is submitting is a perfect candidate for emotional abuse. This statement, in a “slave’s” online journal, speaks volumes about what the person writing it has experienced in the past. “i need some security and to feel good that i am not going to be thrown away for a simple reason.”

That boi consented to a D/s relationship. He offered himself as a slave to someone who professed experience and presented a “leather resume” that was, for the most part fabricated. What he didn’t get from the Dominant to whom he gave himself was references from others who had served him. The emotional abuse that ensued took its toll, and it required the better part of a year for the boi to heal from a month-long enslavement.

To work, a Dominant/submissive relationship must offer symbiotic benefits to everyone involved. Even a slave should ask: “What’s in it for me?” Dominants who do not ensure that their submissives’ needs get met, as well as their own, do not deserve the title of Master/Mistress. Those who abuse their submissives — who don’t respect and treasure them as human beings — give all a bad name.

Friendship, love, intimacy, respect, and trust form the core of all relationships. Without any one of those, the connection between two (or more) people will not last. The strongest D/s relationships I know are the ones that started out as two people in love. Often the D/s aspect grew organically out of their love affair/marriage. Their unions have endured for decades. However, those who seek Owners or slaves without developing deeper relationships, most likely will not survive together a year.

One can meet one’s soul mate online. I know a number of couples/families who have done so, including those who started out geographically very far apart. And it helps if you share common interests in S&M and D/s, so seeking that soul mate on a site for alternative lifestyles offers advantages. But, look beyond the labels at the person. Get to know the man or woman on many levels before venturing into a Master/slave contract. D/s demands incredible trust. You cannot achieve trust without scrupulous honesty, and that requires a lot of  communication.

The best way to avoid abuse is to take precautions from the moment you meet a potential new partner. I highly recommend Jack Rinella’s book Partners in Power. Not only does he address safety, but he also talks about types of real-world relationships and what it takes to find the right partner and actually make a D/s relationships work.

If you got involved in a relationship without taking precautions, if you allowed fantasies and desire to overrule common sense, it’s critical that you be honest with yourself now. Anyone who suspects they (or someone they care about) has suffered from abuse, needs to ask these questions (developed at Leather Leadership Conference in 1999):

“1. Are your needs and limits respected?

“2. Is your relationship built on honesty, trust, and respect?

“3. Are you able to express feelings of guilt or jealousy or unhappiness?

“4. Can you function in everyday life?

“5. Can you refuse to do illegal activities?

“6. Can you insist on safe sex practices?

“7. Can you choose to interact freely with others outside of your relationship?

“8. Can you leave the situation without fearing that you will be harmed, or fearing the other participant(s) will harm themselves?

“9. Can you choose to exercise self-determination with money, employment, and life decisions?

“10. Do you feel free to discuss your practices and feelings with anyone you choose?”

If any of those questions generates a “No” answer, the relationship is potentially abusive. You can find help by contacting the National Leather Association-International Domestic Violence Project at http://www.nlaidvproject.us, your local domestic violence hotline, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or http://www.ndvh.org/

Stay safe.