Unpacking the Sausage: Tantrum tapas

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I picked a hell of a week to break my month-long news embargo. There are simply too many dumpster fires for me to rant about a single topic, so please enjoy this series of micro-minis. Tantrum tapas, if you will.

Transgender rights

I am prepared to discuss this one from a place of expertise so allow me to be very clear: f#@! you, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Bre KidmanBy labeling transition-related health care “child abuse,” the state of Texas has effectively sentenced all transgender children within its borders to state-sanctioned psychological torture.

It’s wild how it’s a crime when one person withholds health care from someone when they have a duty to provide it, but when a state blocks access to life-saving care there’s nothing to be done beyond long costly lawsuits that won’t hold anyone accountable for the damage they cause.

If you consider yourself an ally, check on your trans friends. We’re not OK.

Central Maine Power Co.

The utility Maine loves to hate somehow managed to get approval for an 83 percent rate increase last year and folks are feeling it now.

Having vetoed the Legislature’s attempt to give Mainers the right to control our electrical grid last year, Gov. Janet Mills has proposed a one-time $90 credit for low-income households to help offset the increase. This strikes me as bordering on hilariously bad, given that it doesn’t even cover the difference in cost for one month in my 800-square-foot oil-powered house.

The rate increase, approved last November, was reportedly attributed to rising natural gas costs. Blaming natural gas seems a particularly convenient way to punish Mainers for voting down CMP and Versant’s multi-billion-dollar greenwashing scam, but maybe I’ll dig into that for the next column.

All I can say now is: Given Maine’s trend of electing governors who love the taste of CMP’s boots, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Public Utilities Commission Chair Phil Bartlett’s name on the gubernatorial ballot in a cycle or two. 

The race for governor

There are still more than two candidates. The parties and news media are still only acknowledging Mills and Paul LePage, despite no primary having been completed. The most logical explanation is probably that Mills and LePage are the only candidates who have truly proved their love for the taste of CMP’s boots and, so, the only ones who have fulfilled the necessary prerequisites to govern the state.

‘Inflation’

Inflation often describes conditions where goods and services cost companies more to provide, and so they pass these costs onto customers to avoid changes to their profit margins. Many small businesses are currently feeling the pinch of inflation. 

But recent earnings reports indicate that most major corporations are not feeling that particular pinch. That’s because when the cost of goods goes up and corporate profits margins are soaring to record highs, it’s not inflation – it’s price gouging. We are experiencing mass-scale price gouging and our politicians are letting it happen and calling it “inflation” because they know there is too much other crap going on for us to effectively revolt.

COVID-19, still

The U.S. seven-day average has finally dropped back below 2,000 deaths per day. Meanwhile, state, local, and national government agencies have decided to use the slight bit of headway we’ve seen in the wake of renewed precautions as an excuse to abandon them – even as the next “variant of concern” has begun to emerge.

I have come to understand my persistent rage at these endless failures as a stage of COVID-19 grief. It makes a little more sense when I frame it as though most people have reached the acceptance phase, while people like me continue to bargain hopelessly for a situation that sucks less. It doesn’t change the situation at all, but it does carve out a little space around the leaden lump in my chest for me to feel compassion towards those approaching COVID in 2022 differently than I do. So, that’s something.

Russia and Ukraine

I saved this one for last because I couldn’t figure out what to say, but I knew it wasn’t “nothing.” 

There is a space of nuance in between the poles of “the military-industrial complex has always lied to get us into expensive and unjustified wars” and “anti-imperialism means stopping Russia now,” but I haven’t figured out what it is yet. Best to leave this alone until I find it, I think. 

And that’s what’s on the menu this week. With any luck, there will be less to write about next time, but something tells me the next few weeks will be an absolute smorgasbord of flaming garbage. 

I hope everyone’s hungry.

Bre Kidman is an artist, activist, and attorney (in that order), and the first openly non-binary person in history to run for the U.S. Senate. They would be delighted to hear your thoughts on the political industrial complex at [email protected].