Biden, politicians, politics, social media, stupid people, Trump

Apparently, $1.89 gas is really all that matters to some people…

Last night, just before I fell asleep, I noticed a “purple” friend of mine who was watching the January 6 hearings on television posted a provocative status on Facebook. His comment was,

“Man! $250 million buys a lot of gas.”

At the time when I shut down for the night, that comment only had a few responses from people who are decidedly not Republicans. But by the time I cracked open my eyes this morning, that post had blown up. At this writing, it has over 100 comments, and was only just dying as I was getting up. As I write this post, it’s about 2:00 AM on the East Coast of the United States, which is where a lot of my friends live. I suspect that thread could resurrect in a few hours, as the hearings continue, bombshells drop, and more people express polarized opinions about the state of the United States today.

I was interested in what my friend’s friends had to say about his comment, so I actually took the time to read the posts. Sadly, one of the more entertaining posters has me blocked. I don’t remember why, although his name is familiar. Based on responses to him, he appears to be liberal. He must have caught me on a day when I was feeling irritated by the perpetually “woke”. That’s right, folks. I do vote blue now, but sadly, it’s not because I think Democrats are without issues. There’s actually a lot I don’t like about liberalism. However, I think at this point, I am so utterly disgusted by conservatives and their policies that I simply can’t vote for Republicans anymore. Quite a few of them are hopelessly mired in a fantasy world and, I’m afraid, are stuck on ideas that can’t and don’t work. One such idea that I think is long over and done with is cheap gas.

One of my friend’s commenters– a guy who appears to be from the western side of Virginia and, in spite of his protests regarding Trump worship, is clearly a conservative– wrote this:

Hey yall voted for this! All the experts said if Biden is elected we’ll see gas prices and inflation like never before! Hope all the Biden supporters are happy now!! Smh

Once again, I can’t help but shake my head. Does this person really believe that Joe Biden controls gas prices and inflation? Has he ever heard of the rest of the world? Inflation and high gas prices are global issues. A whole lot happened before Biden got into the White House that has affected the situation we’re in right now. Is Joe Biden the best president we could have had? I don’t think so. But I also don’t believe that Donald Trump would have handled this any better. In fact, it’s pretty clear that Trump did a lot of lying, cheating, and stealing when he was our POTUS. He is not an honorable man. That fact is becoming more and more obvious by the day.

My friend responded somewhat calmly, saying that he felt that a point was being missed. He explained that Donald Trump had raised $250 million from his followers to fight the election results. But it turns out the money was never used for that purpose. Instead, it went to his hotels and his cronies. Basically, Donald Trump, yet again, defrauded his base and ripped off their money. He has a long, long history of ripping people off– it dates from the 1970s. But some people refuse to see it and won’t face facts. They’re focused on cheap gas. And indeed, that’s what my friend’s conservative friend wrote in response:

…at least it’s going to America!! Both Biden’s making money left and right off other countries including Ukraine and China and we steady sending them money over there and buying all their high priced resources! At this point i really don’t think anyone cares what Trump is doin with his money if he can get us back to 1.89 gas, normal grocery, house , car prices and restores our all the foreign relations that Biden has ruined!!

Many of my friend’s other friends piled on this guy, who was gamely responding to everybody. It appeared that as the evening wore on, he was getting more and more desperate to deny the clear truth of the matter. He was delivering the usual conservative talking points– blaming the Democrats for shutting down the Keystone Pipeline, wanting to protect the environment, wanting to stop COVID from killing another million people, taking Christianity out of schools (really?)… the only point he didn’t hit is abortion.

I only contributed one comment to this thread, since it was dying as I was waking up. The point I did make was kind of inflammatory, and that’s that I can’t fathom how so-called “Christians” can champion a man who has sexually assaulted and harassed so many women. These supposed God fearing people don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a president who admits to molesting women, whether they want him to or not. These “sober” Christian folks don’t care that Donald Trump, if he were a “normal”, rank and file person, would never qualify for a security clearance. This man had our nuclear codes. And yet he’s been bankrupt multiple times, has had two foreign born wives (from formerly Eastern bloc countries, no less), and consorts with dictatorial types like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un. But to hear or read comments from some Trumpers, he’s just the greatest person ever for America.

I get being conservative. I understand why some conservatives dislike liberals. But I don’t understand why conservatives don’t want someone who is truly decent to run the country. I mean someone who is honest and noble, and actually cares about people. What is so fabulous about Trump and Trump-like people? The truth is coming out about what really went on over the four years he led the country. The people who supported him in the White House are now explaining what really happened. Why are so many people still sticking their fingers in their ears, squeezing their eyes closed, and screaming about how Trump was robbed? He so very clearly wasn’t robbed. He was doing the robbing!

This morning, I read an interesting editorial on CNN. It was titled “The surprising reason for Joe Biden’s low approval rating”. The author of the piece, David Masciotra, explained his opinions as to why conservatives are so strongly wedded to their candidates, while liberals seem to be a lot less loyal. He introduces the idea of “fan fiction leftists”, who are so far left that they have the effect of strengthening conservatives’ loyalty to their party. I enjoyed the whole piece, but I especially identified with Masciotra’s last paragraph, in which he writes:

The Democrats certainly have flaws. They are rhetorically passive, disorganized and seem to base their strategy on how not to lose rather than how to win, which usually guarantees failure. The party is also worthy of harsh criticism for taking a bashful approach to punishing Trump and his allies for insurrection. Despite sizable weaknesses, they do have the advantage of not being racists, sexists, homophobes or hostile to the foundation of democracy. Residents of the real world should vote accordingly.

Yeah… that’s pretty much why I have abandoned conservatism. I don’t want to align myself with the ugly values of the Republican Party, in which the only thing that matters is money and maintaining power over minorities, women, and anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the Protestant variety of Christianity. My friend’s friend… the one who says he doesn’t care what Trump does, if he can “get us back to $1.89 gas”, doesn’t seem to realize that there’s a huge price to be paid for cheap gas. Also, I think going back to $1.89 gas is a pipe dream. It’s not because of “the liberals”, either. I think fossil fuel is probably going to have to be replaced with another energy source. Car manufacturers have already noticed. When we toured the Volvo factory in Sweden, back in 2019, our guide– a Chinese woman, since Volvo is currently owned by a Chinese company– told us that very soon, Volvo will only offer cars that run on electricity. I think she gave us an actual year when this would happen. Of course, that was before COVID-19 fucked everything up for two years.

Guys like my friend’s friend– the $1.89 gas guy– don’t seem to realize that a global pandemic will fuck things up. He seems to expect everything to be like it was ten years ago. Well, a lot of shit has happened since 2012. And the pandemic is a real thing that has affected the whole world. When people are forced to stay home to avoid a virus, there will be issues with supply and demand. When people learn how nice it is to be able to work from home, avoid sitting in traffic (burning more gas, no less), and enjoy the flexibility and convenience that affords, there will be some people who will demand to have that option. Twenty years ago, I had a boss who let me work from home. When I brought up that possibility in job interviews, I got scoffed at. But now, it’s a reality for many people. I knew it would be eventually, and now some American workers are demanding it. That means a dramatic shift in how things are going to be done from now on… and that also means we have to adapt. Adapting takes time, but it’s inevitable that things are changing… and even though conservatives are trying so hard to prevent change, they are eventually going to fail in that effort.

But try to tell $1.89 guy that… This is what he says:

mmm mmm mmm. I’m not a Trump supporter, I just didn’t want Biden bc of exactly what’s happening! U don’t see the big picture! It’s all coming down to 1 world government and 1 world money system! We were the last hope to fight that! Now with Biden and his puppets in office….its a done deal! We’ve totally been sold out to the world! U think it’s bad now, u just wait!! So thank u and all these other idiots that have supported this party that have drastically sped up the process! I suggest u go dig deep in REVELATIONS and find JESUS!!!

Holy crap. Now he’s bringing Jesus into the discussion? What does Jesus have to do with people like Donald Trump and the “very fine people” who follow him, like Jim Bob Duggar and such? But he continues:

See that’s the problem right now, any other religion or belief can say what they want to anybody and we’re just suppose to deal with it!! But stand up for God or Christianity and OMG, no no no they’re a terrible person!! Enough is enough! More Christians need to stand up and quit tolerating this crap! This party traffics children, kills children, wants to kill babies, supports Changing ur gender and wants to take God out of everything in this country! I didn’t make these rules so don’t be mad at me….its God rules! But everyone wants to bend and stretch them…smh

This poor guy obviously hasn’t expanded his world view beyond small town Virginia. He thinks Christianity is the only religion, and Republicans are the only political party, because they are in bed with Christians. But he doesn’t seem to get that there are plenty of terrible Christians out there… people who use religion to gain money, power, and dare I say it? Pussy. And they vote for people like the “pussy grabber”, because that’s what they want for themselves. They don’t seem to understand that Trump doesn’t care about them at all and will happily take whatever they will give him and just throw them a few crumbs as a reward.

$1.89 guy thinks that no one wants to work. He thinks everybody’s on welfare. He seems to think that asking for, or even DEMANDING decent pay and benefits, as well as time off to live life, should not be reasons a person won’t take a job. He’s all about the business owners getting richer and richer, while the working class has to bust their asses in unsafe, unpleasant, and unhealthy work environments. Like a lot of conservatives, he doesn’t question why people should have to sacrifice their health and happiness just so someone like Donald Trump can make more money.

…create jobs!? Ur kidding right!? Most businesses are closing or not operating all days bc nobody wants to work!! There are literally hiring signs on every other business u pass! U hv bought into this media crap so bad that ur completely oblivious to the real world!! Smh

Guy… yes, there are people hiring. But they want to hire people as cheaply as possible. After two years of having a home life, many Americans are realizing that they’ve spent too much time wasting their lives sitting in traffic, being paid as little as possible, for crappy benefits, and for employers who don’t give a shit about them and would dispense with them in a heartbeat if it would save them a few beans.

And $1.89 guy also doesn’t believe in science, either. He thinks COVID vaccines are useless, even though it’s been proven that people who have been vaccinated are staying out of ICUs at a much higher rate than unvaccinated people are.

I believe in vaccines that work!! Not the COVID vaccine or the boosters! They even came out and said later on ur natural immunity will fight it better anyway! Smh…. (tell that bullshit to the families of people whose anti-vaxxer loved ones died miserable deaths saying that COVID is a real thing after all)

There’s more I could add to this post… $1.89 was quite stubbornly insisting that we’ve all been duped. But I think I have to stop now. I’ll add one last parting shot, though. $1.89 guy also threw out the theory that Mr. Biden has “dementia”…

u voted for a president that can’t talk, can’t walk up a flight of steps, literally cheated through college, has taken credit for speeches he never wrote and pretty much has dementia……but we’re the idiots!! Lol 🤣…. Doesn’t take much common sense to figure out who’s the idiot here!! Smh

I think, of all the negative points people make about Joe Biden, the claim that he has dementia is the most offensive to me. The VAST majority of the people who have said this are not, in any way, shape, or form, qualified to determine if someone has dementia. I have seen people with dementia, and they don’t look or act like Joe Biden does. Moreover, if we’re gonna talk about cheaters, Donald Trump fucking wrote the book on it. Or, actually, he had someone else write it and simply took the credit. That sounds about right for Mr. Trump… and all of his narcissistic brothers and sisters. But if we point this out, we get accused of having “Trump Derangement Syndrome”.

To quote our very erudite and intellectual $1.89 gas guy… SMH.

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Biden, complaints, politics, rants, Reality TV, Trump, YouTube

Things are really getting uglier by the day…

Happy Friday, everybody. It’s a sunny, warm day in Germany so far, and I’m looking forward to another nice weekend with Bill. Right now, I’m listening to another video by Katie Joy Paulson, the woman behind the popular YouTube channel, Without A Crystal Ball. I discovered Katie Joy at some point last year, when I got hooked on YouTube videos while Bill was out of town on business. I mostly watch her videos about the Duggars, but every once in awhile, I watch some of her other stuff.

I know a lot of people don’t like Katie Joy. She’s been sued for defamation by a number of people. Nevertheless, she continues to make videos, and there are lots of rumors swirling around about her. I, personally, don’t have much of an opinion about the rumors. I have not been personally involved in any of the controversies about her. I mainly watch her stuff because she includes clips from the old Duggar shows, and God help me, I find the Duggars interesting… in a trainwreck kind of way.

This week, Katie Joy has been talking a lot about Todd and Julie Chrisley. Until this week, I had never even heard of Todd and Julie Chrisley, but I’m now finding myself falling down another rabbit hole. I think I heard their name for the first time last week, but it wasn’t even Katie Joy who uttered it. In fact, I think it was the lady behind Down the Rabbit Hole at Bedtime who first introduced me to this very southern, apparently very wealthy couple from Georgia, who just got convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion. The Chrisleys are currently trending, because both Todd and Julie are very likely going to go to federal prison soon. However, Todd Chrisley also sued Katie Joy for defamation, and according to a video she put out yesterday, Todd Chrisley has a habit of suing people. Katie Joy quoted Mr. Chrisley as saying that he “sues people for sport.” Charming, huh?

The video that introduced me to Chrisley Knows Best. This video is by Down the Rabbit Hole at Bedtime.

Katie Joy says she started talking and writing about the Chrisleys in 2019, when they were indicted by the feds for tax evasion and bank fraud. The couple were accused of falsifying bank documents to illegally qualify for loans, and not filing tax returns. They finally went to trial last month, and they were found guilty. The Chrisleys are facing up to 30 years in prison, although it’s unlikely that they’ll come even close to getting that lengthy of a sentence. Naturally, Katie Joy has reported about these events, even though Todd Chrisley threatened her and did, in fact, sue her. Below are three videos she’s done in the past week about this situation.

Yikes!
Todd Chrisley accused KJ of lying and threatened her…
It’s pretty ugly stuff.

Again, I don’t have a horse in the race myself. I never watched Chrisley Knows Best and, in fact, had never even heard of the show or the Chrisleys until a couple of days ago. However, listening to Todd Chrisley speak, I come away with the idea that he’s kind of a nasty, hateful, and desperate character. He repeatedly says that nobody cares about KJ, but then he sues her, and spends time talking and writing about her. Obviously he DOES care, on some level, and she is a threat to him. If she weren’t threatening, why would he bother seething about her on his podcast? Why would he sue her, especially since he now has no money to pay for lawyers? I listen to him speak, and he practically bubbles over with hatred. I can hear it in his voice, and it’s very unnerving.

Katie Joy didn’t go after Todd Chrisley for “personal” reasons. He’s a public figure, and his case was in the news. She covers those topics. It’s not like she hated him and decided to destroy his life. She covers him because he has a television show and he got busted by the feds. Todd Chrisley, on the other hand, appears to be going after Katie Joy simply because he hates her. He accused her of lying and defaming him, and yet he’s been found guilty and is very likely going to go to prison, along with his wife. So I’m not sure his lawsuit against her is going to be successful.

So why am I writing about this today? I think it’s because Todd Chrisley, and his nasty vendetta against Katie Joy, sort of epitomizes the way I see a lot of Americans lately. People are so incredibly polarized and negative. It’s just really ugly and trashy. It’s like we’ve forgotten how to respect each other as human beings. Listen to the way Chrisley speaks to and about Katie Joy. It’s the way a lot of people are talking to each other now. If you don’t agree with someone’s opinions or politics, that’s reason to dehumanize them and treat them with disdain. It didn’t used to be that way.

This morning, I woke up to a statement posted on Facebook by a woman I’ve known since I was eight years old. We grew up in the same small town in Virginia. She is a very nice person, and while we weren’t necessarily close friends when we were growing up, we now have similar views about politics. We have both abandoned voting for conservatives, mainly because of the complete shitshow the Republican party has turned into in the wake of Donald Trump. My friend, who works as a teacher and truly loves her students, posted this:

Finally got home and turned on the tv. I wish I hadn’t. Footage from Jan. 6 literally makes me sick. Crazy people shouting “USA” while behaving like animals (who should have at the very least have been tear-gassed). Knowing that people are going to again vote for the hate-monger who invoked that behavior and are condoning that behavior makes me even sicker. Unfriend me if you must, but I will forever speak out against traitors and cowards.

One of her friends– someone else from our conservative, southern hometown, wrote this:

I would never unfriend you for differing opinions as long as we understand, I too will also speak against the idiot leadership we have in office as we speak. 

But honestly I won’t have the discussion because you are so far left and I’m on the right so I will just be a friend! Lol 

And my old friend, God bless her, wrote something that really speaks to me, personally:

I’m glad that we can remain friends too. But I’m actually not far left. I don’t like Dems either and I’m not a party line person. I would NEVER condone or continue to support anyone who engaged in or incited such anti-American acts.

Bravo! I wouldn’t go so far as to say “I don’t like Dems”. The fact is, I do like a few Dems. However, there was a time, not so long ago, when I liked conservatives much more than I do now. I consider myself a Centrist. There are a lot of policies and ideas championed by the “left” that I don’t agree with at all. I don’t like cancel culture. I don’t like having “wokeness” crammed down my throat. I don’t want to be forced to wear a face mask for the rest of my life. And, while I do think COVID vaccines are a good idea, I am not in favor of forcing people to be vaccinated, unless there is a very compelling reason to do so. Like, I do think healthcare workers should be vaccinated. I do think that people who are dealing with vulnerable people should get their shots. But I hesitate to advocate for forced vaccinations– just as I don’t think anyone should be forced to stay pregnant.

But, as we all know, there are currently only two political parties in the United States that have a chance in hell of getting elected. Yes, other parties DO exist, but they can’t win an election at this point in time. So, my option is to vote Democrat, or vote for people who promote the likes of Donald Trump, who raped his ex wife, brags about molesting women, has been bankrupt repeatedly, and, when he was in office, egged on a segment of our society who tried to overthrow our government! It is also the party Josh Duggar prefers, and I don’t even need to discuss the likes of Kandiss Taylor, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mitch McConnell, and Lauren Boebert, do I? No, I don’t align with any of those people, and high gas prices don’t enrage me, because Europeans have been paying high gas prices for plenty of years. It’s nothing new here. Americans have been spoiled.

I am not a big fan of Joe Biden. BUT– while he’s not the most dynamic or amazing leader we have ever had, he’s leagues better than Trump is. Joe Biden is not a narcissist, and he does care, on some level, about people. Donald Trump is an absolutely vile person, and he has no business being in a position of political power. I can’t fathom how decent people can champion a man like Donald Trump for president. What will it take before people see how absolutely awful he is? There’s so much proof of how selfish, corrupt, and “above the law” he is. He’s also extremely incompetent, even as a business person. I think countries should be led by human beings who CARE about the people they lead. Donald Trump doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Unfortunately, Trump has emboldened a lot of freaks, and our political system has become a huge embarrassing free for all.

It blows my mind that abortion– which really is necessary medical care for some people— is now potentially going to be illegal in many parts of the United States. At the same time, people are screaming about the prospect of gun control. How is it that so many people are horrified by an early abortion, but they are not equally horrified by an already born six year old being obliterated by an AR-15 in a classroom? How is it that we have ignorant MEN who want to force ALL pregnant women to stay pregnant, even if they are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, which will KILL them, if it continues? I thought we settled this shit a few years ago, when the moronic MALE Ohio Republican wanted to compel doctors to “reimplant” ectopic pregnancies. Remember John Becker, who famously said of treating ectopic pregnancies:

“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and re-inserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill,”

Seriously!!!!

That fucking idiot doesn’t even know that ectopic pregnancies CANNOT ever be salvaged, and are often FATAL to the pregnant person if they aren’t treated with ABORTION. And yet, there he was, trying to make stupid laws about pregnancy, something about which he obviously knows NOTHING. And WHY should a woman who needs that kind of lifesaving treatment, have to explain or justify it to ANYONE? No, I don’t cheer for abortions, nor have I ever had one, and nor would I necessarily want one. But it’s not my business why someone doesn’t want to be pregnant or needs to have an abortion. It’s not my body, my finances, or my health on the line. And it’s certainly not the business of a MAN who will not ever face a situation like that, either. Why are these fucking men allowed to make laws about things they don’t know anything about?

Mama Doctor Jones speaks about ectopic pregnancies. She got the below comment from someone who clearly has no idea what they’re talking about…
Mama Doctor Jones is an actual physician! She knows of what she speaks.

It seems that abortion, guns, and gas prices are the only things most Republicans care about… Oh, and banning “illegals”… How disgusting and dehumanizing is it that these “God fearing folks” refer to other human beings as “illegals”? How would they like it if the United States suddenly became so dangerous or inhospitable that they wanted to leave for safer territory, and they were called ILLEGALS by other human beings? Actually, I kind of understand how some so-called “illegals” must feel, as I live in Germany. We are here in Germany legally, but right now, I feel like a refugee from my country. I watch from afar and feel very apprehensive about going home again, because it just seems like such a dangerous, polarized, unhinged place full of maniacs.

Living in Europe has forever changed me, and it’s changed my political views. That being said, I don’t hate all Republicans. I have many friends and family members who are Republicans… sadly, quite a few of my family members don’t speak to me anymore, all because of politics. So… I guess I don’t have a reason to go home. They don’t care, anyway. Fortunately, most Germans seem to have a more mature, humane, and magnanimous attitude about all humans, although of course there’s racism here, too. But at least here, I don’t worry about being shot when I go to the market or walk my dogs.

Anyway… I hope things get better at some point before I finally pass out of this hellhole we call Life. It’s gotten really bad, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’m just so sad to see how people seem to hate each other, simply because they have differing opinions. I thank God for Bill, because I think if it weren’t for him, I would be back in a full on depressive episode. I wish we could all come together and cooperate to make life better for EVERYONE.

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Biden, ethics, healthcare, law, obits

Texas and Maryland… diametrically opposed on the issue of abortion…

It’s Monday morning, and it’s already been an interesting day. First, I woke up to some sad news. My cousin’s beautiful wife, Chris, passed away. I knew she had been sick, and last year, there were updates on Facebook about her cancer journey. As I don’t live in the United States and am not that close to most of my family members, I didn’t know that her health had declined. Her daughter posted a beautiful message… and in just a few days, that same daughter will be getting married. She wrote that her mother will have the “best” seat at the wedding. I’m sure that brings her some comfort during this sad time.

My cousin and his family are mostly conservative Christians. I’m pretty certain that they are pro-life, when it comes to the abortion debate. It always fascinates when I think about how we share family, but turn out so differently. I used to be more conservative than I am now, but I have always felt the decision to be pregnant is a personal one. I have never been pregnant, but if I ever did get pregnant, I doubt I would choose to have an abortion. But I can’t say that I never would, because I can think of a lot of reasons why someone would make that choice– reasons that are no one else’s business.

In my case, I would probably choose abortion if I got raped, or if I had some kind of medical issue that made being pregnant especially dangerous. I would also consider abortion if the developing fetus had a condition that would make being born painful or cruel. And, having worked in maternal and child health, and having briefly done work with people who weren’t ready to be parents, I can see why abortion might be a wise choice for some. But… I can also see why some people are against abortion, and why some would not consider it under any circumstances. I just think this should be a personal and private choice. Fortunately, I am now at the end of my fertile time… not quite menopausal, but Aunt Flow is visiting a lot less often these days. It’s been nice not to have her around so often.

I am relieved that Mr. Biden’s Supreme Court Justice pick, Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson, has been confirmed to the Supreme Court and will be taking Justice Stephen Breyer’s place this summer, when he retires. I know the liberals are still a minority in the Supreme Court, but at least there’s one more vote that might make protecting women’s health more likely. I believe that abortion is women’s healthcare– especially when her mental or physical health is at stake due to pregnancy.

Within the last twelve hours, I read a couple of interesting news stories about abortion in two states. Yesterday, Gocha Allen Ramirez, the district attorney in Starr County, Texas, declined to prosecute 26 year old Lizelle Herrera, a woman who had been charged with murder over a self-induced abortion. Ms. Herrera was released from jail on a $500,000 bond, having spent three days locked up after it was discovered that she had performed an abortion on herself. Although Texas has some of the most restrictive and, frankly, brutal anti-abortion laws in the country, state law is very clear that pregnant people who get abortions cannot be criminally prosecuted. Instead, abortion providers are prosecuted. Texas also passed a law last September that allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who aids someone in getting an abortion. Texas physicians are also forbidden from giving abortion-inducing medication to any pregnant person who is more than seven weeks along.

I suppose one could argue that Ms. Herrera was an “abortion provider”, having given herself an abortion. But, as a pregnant person, she also couldn’t be prosecuted. I’m sure some of the backwards, women-hating lawmakers in Texas will do what they can to fix this oversight. They’d rather put young people like Lizelle Herrera in prison for practicing self-determination, instead of helping them avoid unintended pregnancies. They’d rather waste time and money in court over denying women the right to make decisions for their own healthcare and family planning than make having and raising children more affordable and feasible. The mind boggles.

Now Maryland, on the other hand, is showing a lot more compassion and common sense regarding the abortion issue. In that state, lawmakers have just passed a new law that, from July 1, allows nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and trained physician assistants to perform abortions. It will also require most insurance providers in the state to cover the cost of an abortion, at no cost to the resident, and directs the state to invest $3.5 million a year into abortion-care training. It should be noted that Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, vetoed this bill. However, Mr. Hogan’s veto was overruled by the House of Delegates, with a vote of 90 to 46. The State Senate voted 29 to 15 in favor of the new law.

I noticed a lot of people were reacting to this news. One woman wrote an angry comment about how this was a “vile” law. She was asked by many other people how many babies she’s adopted. Answer? None, of course. But she still thinks she should get to have an opinion about other people’s reproductive choices. Many folks, like me, think this is very good news. Others are angry about it. In the article I linked, there was this quote from Laura Bogley, the director of legislation for Maryland Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization:

“This is an example of what happens when you have a partisan monopoly in a state legislature.” She added, “The monopoly breeds extremism.”

Extremism? Has Ms. Bogley noticed Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court? Does she not see how Trump tried to stack the court with conservatives so that Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land since 1973, could be overturned? Does Ms. Bogley not understand that sometimes women get abortions for heartbreaking, tragic, health related reasons that should remain private and personal? It’s not always heartless, careless, “slutty” women who are seeking abortions. In fact, I would venture to guess that the vast majority who seek abortions do not fit that stereotype.

I might be more willing to support the pro-life viewpoint if we had better access to affordable birth control, healthcare, and childcare in the United States. But, the fact remains, that quality childcare remains extremely expensive and difficult to access for many people. And even if a person doesn’t have children, it’s very expensive to pay for healthcare, especially if one doesn’t have health insurance. Health insurance is also very expensive for many people. Even though former President Obama pushed through the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare), a lot of people remain uninsured. This is a problem that is going to take some time to fix… and it’s going to require cooperation from our esteemed elected officials. Sadly, too many of them are focused on blocking and foiling each other’s efforts to get laws passed or overturned, than they are in making life easier and more humane for everyone.

Still… I am surprised that Maryland is now among 15 states that is making abortion more accessible, instead of trying to ban it. I would much rather people avoid unintended pregnancies whenever possible, but when a situation comes up that threatens a person’s health– mental or physical– I think they should have the right to determine whether or not they wish to be pregnant. And making that decision should be entirely up to the person who has to live with the physical, mental, and emotional aftermath of being pregnant.

Maybe when we’re done with our Germany stint, Bill and I should think about moving to Maryland. It sounds like they’re heading in a good direction. I’ll be glad to give up my Texas driver’s license, either way. That state has gone straight to Crazy Town.

As for my cousin and his daughters, I wish them so much peace after their tremendous loss. Chris was a wonderful woman, and I know she was much beloved by many people. I know she was a woman of great Christian faith, so I suspect she’s in Heaven with her sister-in-law, my cousin Karen, who died in 2020, and my Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Bob, who have been with the angels for awhile now. I’m sure there’s plenty of room at the table for Chris at the Heavenly party.

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Biden, disasters, Military, politicians, politics

A comparison of presidential condolences…

This morning, I read an article in the Washington Post about the father of one of the Marines who died last week in Afghanistan. The father, whose name is Mark Schmitz, was at Dover Air Force Base, waiting for his son’s remains to be repatriated. Schmitz’s son, Jared, was 20 years old when he perished. Schmitz was reportedly angry, and initially didn’t want to speak to Joe Biden. He didn’t vote for Biden, and he blames the president for the fact that his son died.

But then Mr. Schmitz changed his mind, and he and his ex wife did speak to President Biden, just days after losing Jared to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Schmitz said he “glared” hard at the president, so Biden paid more attention to Schmitz’s ex, speaking of his son, Beau, who died in 2015. I suspect that Biden might have thought that reminding the grieving family members that he’s lost a child, too, was his clumsy attempt at empathy.

Naturally, Mr. Schmitz didn’t want to talk about Beau Biden. He wanted to talk about Jared, who died much too young. And Schmitz is pissed off at Biden because his son is gone. He said to Mr. Biden, “Don’t you ever forget that name. Don’t you ever forget that face. Don’t you ever forget the names of the other 12… And take some time to learn their stories. ”

According to Schmitz, Biden’s response was “I do know their stories.”

Schmitz did offer “kudos” to Biden for one thing. Biden pulled out a card that he carries in his breast pocket that shows the number of Americans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of the card, Biden had written “Plus 13.” Schmitz was apparently glad to see that Biden wasn’t totally full of it, even if his comments seemed “scripted and shallow”. Schmitz also recognized that the meeting must have been very hard for Joe Biden. Schmitz said:

“It had to be one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. You make some calls, here’s the aftereffect. It’s got to be difficult. I’m not saying it was easy at all. But you can’t run up and hug someone as if you had nothing to do with it. It’s not going to work that way when you’re commander in chief.”

Other people were a lot angrier at Biden. One person said she hoped he burned in Hell. Roice McCollum, the sister of Ryan McCollum, one of the fallen, said this to the Washington Post:

“He cannot possibly understand… My dad and I did not want to speak to him. You cannot kneel on our flag and pretend you care about our troops. You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry. This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands. The thousands of Afghans who will suffer and be tortured is a direct result of his incompetence.”

As I read this account of the “tough” meeting Biden had with the families of the mostly very young American servicemembers who died in Afghanistan, I couldn’t help but remember an incident from October 2017 involving Donald Trump. On October 4, 2017, there was a deadly ambush in Niger, and two weeks after the event, Donald Trump made phone calls to family members of the fallen Soldiers. One of the calls he made was to Myeshia Johnson, widow of La David Johnson. La David Johnson was one of four Army Soldiers who had died in the ambush.

Prior to making the phone call, Trump was advised by former Marine General John Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan when the 29 year old stepped on a land mine. Kelly told Trump a story about how his best friend, Joe Dunford, was Kelly’s casualty officer, and said something along the lines of this:

Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. 

In my 2017 blog post about Trump’s interaction with La David Johnson’s family, I wrote:

It seems to me that if you are two guys in the military, brothers in arms, as it were, it would make sense to say something like what General Kelly’s friend and casualty officer said. People who serve in the military understand that there is risk when a war is going on. They can talk to each other about the business of war, because they have a concept of it. They understand the job; they’ve been through the training and indoctrination; and saying something like “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do…” makes sense. However, I don’t think the same thing is true for family members of the fallen.

In the course of Trump’s phone call intended to express condolences to Myeshia Johnson, he forgot La David Johnson’s name. He told Mrs. Johnson, who was pregnant at the time, that her husband “knew what he signed up for… but it hurts anyway.” And then Trump said, “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do…” If memory serves, Trump also repeatedly referred to La David Johnson as “your guy” to his grieving wife.

I don’t know why La David Johnson joined the Army, and I certainly don’t know what his wife knew about her husband’s motives for serving. Maybe he wanted to be a Soldier because of a sense of duty, or maybe he just wanted the money and benefits. Maybe it was a combination of factors that influenced him to join. But I am willing to bet that Johnson would have preferred to have been with his wife and children to being in Niger. Even if Johnson actually did prefer to be working in Niger, as a spouse, I sure wouldn’t want to hear that my husband preferred a war zone to being at home with me. I’ll bet Mrs. Johnson didn’t want to hear that, either.

When Mrs. Johnson later complained about how tone deaf and insensitive Trump’s phone call was, Trump didn’t apologize. Instead, he tweeted “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”

Meanwhile, Myeshia Johnson said that Trump’s phone call had made her feel worse. She said, “… I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn’t remember my husband’s name.”

As people condemned Trump’s graceless handling of the Niger ambush, Trump took the opportunity to throw shade at past presidents. He said, “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls – a lot of them didn’t make calls.”

Now… I’m not saying that the families of the fallen who met with Joe Biden are wrong to be angry. I’m sure that a lot of them didn’t vote for Mr. Biden, and they think Donald Trump would have handled leaving Afghanistan better. They see Biden as “weak”. He has a very different personality than Trump has. He doesn’t come across with as much charisma, force, or bluster. They perceive Biden’s less flashy personality as less effective, and they blame Biden for “fucking up” the exit from Afghanistan as he ended America’s longest war.

Personally, I am shocked that only 13 Americans have been lost, so far, in the departure from Afghanistan. I think if Trump had been in charge, the fallout would have been much worse. Moreover, I am impressed by the number of people who were successfully evacuated from Afghanistan. According to the Washington Post, over 124,000 people have left Afghanistan alive. Yes, we did lose 13 Americans last week, and that’s a terrible thing. And there’s nothing anyone can say or do to make the families of those who died feel better. But, I do think Mr. Biden’s attempt at offering condolences was much better than Trump’s attempts to comfort the bereaved.

Some people seem to have forgotten that Donald Trump has historically had no empathy for other people’s pain and suffering. I remember what he said about the late John McCain, who was captured and tortured in Vietnam. Donald Trump, who never put on a uniform because of his “bone spurs”, called John McCain a “fucking loser”. Trump also said of McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

Trump also memorably referred to members of the military as “losers and suckers”, having canceled a trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018. At the time, Trump falsely claimed rainy conditions had made it impossible for the helicopter to fly, and the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. The truth is that Trump was worried about his hair getting mussed in the rain, and he didn’t think honoring the American war dead was important enough to risk messing up his hair. According to an article written by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic:

In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

As I read about people who are angry at President Biden because 13 Americans died at an airport suicide attack in Kabul, then they criticize Biden’s attempts to express condolences and apologize, I can’t help but wonder how they would have reacted to Trump in the same situation. People died during the Trump administration, too. I wonder if Trump would have met personally with those family members, having remembered each and every servicemember’s name and story. I wonder if he would have pulled out a card with the names of the fallen written down. I also wonder if there would have been more dead servicemembers sent home.

The United States has been engaged with Afghanistan for 20 years. A lot of money, time, and talent has been wasted on a country whose people are still living in a different era. It was time for the conflict to end. I don’t think there was a way to win in this situation. It was bound to be messy.

Many people, safe at home, are blaming Biden. Some are also blaming military leaders, claiming that they should have recognized the threats and addressed them. I guess it’s only natural to try to second guess what people do and the decisions they make in a war zone. I just wonder if people ever stop and think about it longer than a minute.

My husband spent thirty years in the Army. He never went to Afghanistan, but he did go to Iraq. Bill never talks about what should have been done in Afghanistan, in spite of his experience. He can’t speak to what should have been done, because he wasn’t there. Most of the people who are criticizing the president and the military don’t have a concept of what was going on in Afghanistan, beyond what was in the news.

I get that the families of the fallen are grief stricken. I understand that many of them preferred Trump to Biden, and this is a great opportunity for them to cement their hatred of Biden. But, as the wife and daughter of military veterans, I can’t help but notice the difference between Biden’s style of presidential condolences and Trump’s. I think I would much prefer Biden’s clumsy attempts to comfort– talking about his son, Beau, and compulsively looking at his dead son Beau’s watch– to Trump’s tone deaf attempts– forgetting the names of the fallen, bickering with widows on Twitter, and falsely claiming that he cares more than other presidents did in similar circumstances.

In my view, Donald Trump would not have done any of this better. It probably would have been an even bigger fiasco. More people would have died, and fewer would have been evacuated. And when it came time to comfort the grieving, history shows that Trump would have probably really fucked things up even more.

I have never served in the military myself, but I have been surrounded by veterans my whole life. One thing I’ve learned is that everyone who serves knows that there’s a chance they could be killed. That’s something that comes with the territory of military service. But, if you think about it, there’s a risk in everything we do. Hell, nowadays, just breathing can get you killed.

I’m glad that the people who met with Joe Biden had the chance to look him in the eye, speak to him, accept hugs from him, or even tell him they hope he rots in Hell. Under Trump’s watch, they would have probably just gotten a phone call at the very most, with glib cliches about “knowing what they were getting into” and “dying doing exactly what they wanted to do…” coupled with forgotten names, awkward stammering, and no chance to respond.

Joe Biden didn’t kill those people who died in Afghanistan last week. They were killed by a terrorist. The young man who strapped 25 pounds to explosives to himself, went to the gate, and blew himself up for his god is the one who did the killing and maiming. If anyone should be blamed for those senseless deaths, it’s that guy, and people like him. The last military plane left Afghanistan this morning. Thank God for that. I hope we don’t ever go back. I congratulate Joe Biden for finally ending our 20 year war with Afghanistan… and for having the courage, humility, and decency to meet with the people who are grieving the tragic loss of their family members.

There’s a stark contrast in Biden’s sense of duty compared to Trump’s… Again, from my blog post from 2017, regarding La David Johnson’s death:

La David Johnson was laid to rest yesterday.  His devastated widow was there with the children and Sergeant Johnson’s other loved ones.  Mrs. Johnson kissed her husband’s casket goodbye as she clutched two folded American flags. 

Trump, by contrast, was playing golf, as usual… and, ever classy, he posted on social media as mourners were preparing for the funeral…

What a tragic disaster this man is.

Think about it.

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Biden, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

Sorry folks, but Trump would have been way worse…

Sorry to bring this up today. I’d rather be writing about something really hilarious. But I feel the need to bring up something that has been bugging the crap out of me ever since the Afghanistan debacle happened.

Last night, one of my relatives posted a nasty diatribe about Joe Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. He called Biden a “POS” and then berated people for thinking Trump is worse than Biden is. I fought to stop myself from commenting. I decided not to, mainly because my relative has a huge number of conservative friends, as well as lots of mutual family members hanging out on his page. And I just didn’t feel like getting into it with anyone last night, especially since we’re about to leave town.

Sadly… and what makes it worse is that I know a lot of people who support Trump aren’t like him themselves.

I also recognize people’s rights to post what they want to on their social media. It’s almost always better to just scroll by things that are inflammatory and/or hide the post. So that’s what I did. But my husband, who has over 30 years of military experience, as well as actual experience “downrange”, did decide to respond. I haven’t gone to look at the aftermath of Bill’s comment, because again, I don’t want to feel the need to respond. The “need to respond” is definitely a troublesome family trait on my dad’s side of the family, and it doesn’t always lead to things that are good.

Trump doesn’t think about what he says before he speaks, and he acts impulsively. He regularly says things that are incredibly hurtful and offensive, and he does harmful things without a second thought about the outcome. A man who brags about grabbing any woman he wants by the pussy is not someone who would handle pulling out of Afghanistan with any grace or finesse. He apparently doesn’t even operate that way in the bedroom.

We have had four years to see Trump’s way of handling things. Maybe the optics would have been more palatable to the armchair warriors who are safe at home, watching the news… and being manipulated like everyone else is by the way the media portrays things. But I don’t in a million years believe that the outcome would have been better. In fact, I think it would have been much worse.

Anyway… here’s why I think Trump would have botched Afghanistan much worse than Biden has. It’s because Trump is probably a malignant narcissist. That’s really the main reason. Trump’s narcissism is apparently off the charts. And that fact, in and of itself, is what makes him a terrible leader, and what would have made him seriously fuck up Afghanistan in a way that probably would have gotten a lot of people killed.

What is a malignant narcissist?

You can click this link to read a pretty good description of what a malignant narcissist is. But in brief terms, a malignant narcissist is someone who is completely preoccupied with their image and has superficial charm. They seek to win at all costs, and don’t care what they have to do or who they have to hurt in order to win. They can’t handle criticism, listen to counsel or advice from others, or regulate their behavior. And they are amused by other people’s pain and suffering.

Dr. Grande also presents a pretty good look at Trump and narcissistic behavior.

Donald Trump regularly and obviously displays his extreme narcissism. He says and does whatever he wants. He doesn’t care when people get hurt, unless it suits his narrative. When the cameras aren’t rolling, he doesn’t give a shit about other people. There are thousands of people who are affected by what’s going on in Afghanistan. And, as it was said on one of Dr. Grande’s videos, “Narcissism is a barrier against reason and logic.” If there’s a time when having reason and logic is paramount, it’s now.

Another video worth watching… and a reminder of why Trump is dangerous, and would not have handled Afghanistan well. He talks a lot about characteristics good leaders should have.

I know some people don’t think Trump’s narcissism is significant. But if you have had personal dealings with this type of person, you will come to know all too well how narcissists put other people in grave danger and serious personal risk. Seriously narcissistic people like Trump do not care about anything or anyone but themselves. That is a fact. And given that, he would not care about the people of Afghanistan or the Americans who are trying to get out of there safely.

Is it better to have a “weak” person like Biden handling pulling out of Afghanistan? Or is Trump’s bluster and perceived “strength” better?

In my opinion, Biden is clearly a better person to be handling this crisis. Let’s be honest. This was a mess 20 years in the making. Joe Biden didn’t start it. In fact, he didn’t even really end it. Donald Trump made one of his famous “deals” with the Taliban last year. Trump wanted to get America out of Afghanistan, but instead of dealing with the Afghan government, he cut a deal with the Taliban. Maybe the Taliban still would have struck if Trump had dealt with the government instead of an extremist terrorist group, but as Trump likes to say, “it wasn’t a good look” for him to be negotiating with terrorists.

Trump wasn’t wrong to want us out of Afghanistan, since the war was a huge cash drain. Moreover, history has shown us that Afghanistan doesn’t want to “change”. Other countries have tried and failed to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century (and yes, I do mean 20th, not 21st).

So Trump wasn’t wrong to want to end the war… But he made a deal with the Taliban. He basically sold out Afghanistan to a bunch of terrorists. And then he lost the election– and yes, he DID lose– but there was still that deal with the Taliban. We had to get out of there, and it was not a secret that we would be leaving.

Biden clearly didn’t handle this situation perfectly, but I think this would have been a shitstorm regardless. And I would much rather have someone like him leading the country– someone who does care about others and has pledged to try to help the Afghans who helped the U.S. military for twenty years. Biden’s priority is to get Americans out, as well as those who helped Americans. He’s doing that. Thousands of Afghan refugees have already arrived in Germany. In fact, one was even born on the transport to Germany from Afghanistan. Thanks to my husband’s work, I know that those people are being taken care of. I doubt they would have been under Trump.

Donald Trump has proven that he doesn’t think much of brown people. But aside from that, Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, and won’t listen to anyone who does. So I think that if he had been in charge, the situation would have been much, much worse. There certainly would have been more death and destruction.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan with lots of cash. Why did he take off? Because of what happened to his predecessor when the Taliban took over. According to The New York Times, Ghani left because he was afraid he’d be lynched. In 1996, former Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah was executed and strung up in a public square. Prior to his execution, the former president was castrated and beaten.

Ghani did not want to be tortured and executed, nor did the world need to see another leader desecrated in such a way. I can’t really blame him for getting out of Afghanistan. But when it comes down to it, Afghanistan was Ghani’s responsibility, wasn’t it? And they had 20 years. Biden’s first priority was getting Americans out of Afghanistan. That’s what he’s been doing.

My relative is a military veteran, but he left the military after four years. His service was in the 1990s, which was a relatively peaceful era. I don’t think he’s ever even been to Europe, let alone a place like Afghanistan. I’m not sure what he thinks qualifies him to criticize Biden and the way he handled this situation, which was bound to be a chaotic shitstorm regardless.

So… the bottom line is, I agree that this situation is tragic and could have been done better. But Donald Trump was certainly not the one who could have done it better. I think if Trump had been in charge, it would have been a huge catastrophe. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone but himself. That makes him a totally unsuitable leader. I’m really glad he’s not the president anymore. I hope more people will realize how dangerous he is, but more importantly, I hope the American people won’t vote in someone much worse than Trump.

Well… we’re off to the Black Forest for a few days. Gotta get our teeth cleaned and burn up some leave.

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