communication, complaints, controversies, ethics, law, true crime

Why do so many people like to blame the victim?

Yesterday was an interesting day. It started in the usual way and ended with a couple of situations that have led me to ponder this morning. Why do so many people seem to think others deserve anything negative that happens to them? Why do some people have this innate instinct to spin any tragic or awful situation into something that could and should have been avoided or prevented? And why do so many people seem to want to see other people suffer?

Take Brittney Griner’s situation. Griner is a basketball star who won gold medals at the Olympics and played for the W.N.B.A. She went to Russia to play basketball. In February, she was arrested at an airport in Moscow when customs agents found vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage. Griner’s arrest happened just before Russia invaded Ukraine. Her case was soon international and daily news, especially when in August of this year, she was sentenced to nine years at a Russian penal colony.

Yesterday afternoon, Europe time, it was announced that Griner was exchanged for a notorious Russian arms dealer named Viktor Bout who was doing time in a U.S. prison. Bout had been languishing in the United States for eleven years, and was sentenced to twenty-five years.

My first reaction, when I read about Brittney Griner’s release, was relief. I always like to hear about Americans who are locked up abroad– especially when they are obviously being used as political pawns– being released and coming home. Yes, I know that fellow American, Paul Whelan, is also locked up in Russia, serving sixteen years of hard labor, and President Biden wasn’t able to secure his release. But he was able to get Brittney out, and now she’s coming home to her wife, Cherrelle Griner, and her parents. Yes, I know she broke Russian law by having hashish oil in her luggage, but I don’t think that crime should warrant being locked in a Russian hellhole, being tortured, starved, and forced to work in inhumane conditions. I don’t think ANY prisoner should be treated that way, regardless of their crimes. Russia is well known for mistreating prisoners.

Maybe trading Griner for Bout was an “uneven exchange”, but what was the alternative?

I read a number of puzzling responses to the news that Brittney was released. Some people were actually ANGRY about it. They cited the fact that Whelan is still locked up, and he is somehow a “better American” than Brittney is. One woman, upon reading that Griner would be going to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, wrote that she should be happy, since “medical marijuana is legal in Texas.” Was that response that really necessary? Why can’t people simply be happy that an American citizen is not going to be tortured for nine years for a very minimal offense? Whose side are they on, anyway?

One of the comments regarding Brittney Griner’s situation.

I also get that some people don’t like Brittney Griner because they see her as immoral and unAmerican. She’s a Black lesbian who took a knee during the national anthem, protesting racism. She moved to Russia to play basketball instead of staying in the United States. For these “crimes”, she should have to languish for years in a Russian hellhole prison? I know a lot of people are also upset because marriage equality in the United States is about to be made federal law, and Brittney Griner’s “out” sexual orientation and marriage to another woman are very visible displays of what some Christian Americans see as an abomination. It amazes me that so-called Christians enjoy it when people suffer, especially as punishment for things that are beyond their control.

I’ve seen this kind of negative “victim blaming” response in a lot of situations. I’ve also seen a lot of Americans expressing very harsh reactions to people who commit what amount to minimal violations of the law. I’ve written about this a few times in my blog. See my unpopular comments about Debra Hunter, Lori Loughlin, and Skylar Mack, women who did jail time for what turned out to be pretty minor offenses. 😉

Recently, I read about a Tik Tok user named Katie Sigmond who decided to hit a golf ball over the rim of the Grand Canyon. In the course of sending the ball over the edge, she also tossed her golf club. This was all filmed and put on Tik Tok, where Sigmond has almost seven million followers. Officials at the Grand Canyon found out who Sigmond was and issued a fine. The amount of the fine wasn’t specified, but one official said that the fine for what Katie did was usually about $280.

The comments about the fine were pretty ridiculous. I saw more than one outraged person writing that Sigmond should get a jail sentence for her stunt. Really? I could see a jail sentence if Sigmond’s Tik Tok stunt had actually hurt someone. What her offense actually amounted to, though, was littering. Should we really jail people for being litterbugs? I think a fine, community service, and perhaps being banned from the Grand Canyon for awhile is punishment enough.

Why do so many Americans think that jail is the end all, be all for punishment? Do people ever stop and think about how being incarcerated affects the person who is jailed, and their families? Do they consider how putting people behind bars affects society? And do people ever stop and think about when a person has been disciplined enough for a crime? At what point would some of these jail cheerleaders think Sigmond has suffered enough for littering? Would a week be enough, or would they rather see her sit in a prison cell for years? Is that how they would like to be treated if they ran afoul of the law?

The longer I live, the more I think that people don’t really stop and think about the long term consequences of their actions. I’m sure Griner thought she’d get away with bringing hashish oil into Russia. Her mind was probably on playing basketball, not on the fact that she’s an American who was living in country with a leader who has no qualms about finding any excuse whatsoever to use people as pawns. I know for a fact that Russians aren’t inherently bad people simply because they’re Russian. But a lot of Americans seem to think that Griner “asked for” her situation simply because she moved to Russia to play a sport she apparently loves.

Lots of people seem to think Brittney Griner should still be sitting in a Russian prison. They see her as a “traitor” for not staying in the United States. I don’t know what Brittney Griner’s reasons were for moving to Russia. It might have simply been about making money, which I think is fair enough, especially when a person makes a living as an athlete. Professional athletes have a limited shelf life. Maybe she needed the money. Maybe she thought it would be an exciting adventure. Maybe she just loves the game and wants to play during the off season. In any case, she moved to Russia for whatever reason, and got caught up in an international game.

Do people really think Griner deserved nine years in a penal colony for what she did? And why is making money a crime? Especially in our capitalistic society, where people’s successes and worthiness are often based on whether or not they make money?

Awful… and totally unnecessary.

I’ve got more to write on this subject, but I’m going to put those thoughts in my travel blog, because the other situation I want to write about has to do with travel… But the theme is the same. A lot of Americans LOVE to blame the victim. And they love to criticize anyone who has a valid complaint. I don’t understand that mindset, but I notice that it’s especially prevalent in military communities. Bill calls it the “suck it up and drive on” mentality. I call it annoying as hell… Anyway, if you want to read about that situation, have a look at the travel blog later, after I’ve vented my spleen. 😀

I’m glad Brittney Griner is going to be free. I hope she has the best holiday season this year. Her life is meaningful, and Americans should be glad that she’s out of prison instead of wishing to see her rot.

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controversies, dogs, ethics, healthcare

The surprising judgment that comes with seeking advanced veterinary care…

The featured photo is of Arran and Bill, just a few days ago… As you can see, they love each other very much. Arran is glad to be here with his favorite person. I’m glad we can afford to treat his cancer and keep him comfortable for a little while longer. And I’m grateful that living in Germany allows this outcome for us.

A month ago, I wrote a post about our decision to treat our dog, Arran, for B-cell lymphoma. I was inspired to write that post after reading an article in the Washington Post about the cost of treating major diseases in pets. The article in the WaPo was written by Kim Kavin, whose dog, Blue, was diagnosed with cancer. She decided to pull out all the stops to treat Blue, and it cost a lot of money. Blue initially responded to the treatment, but then suffered a relapse when the cancer came roaring back with a vengeance. Kavin’s piece ran in the paper, and lots of people had negative opinions about it. I felt badly that she was getting so many brutal comments, so I wrote my own post about our decision to treat Arran.

At this writing, Arran has had six chemo treatments. If we hadn’t done these treatments, I feel pretty sure he would have died by now. When we started the chemotherapy on October 13th, he was starting to get sick. He wasn’t eating much, and looked very sad. He spent a lot of time sleeping, and could barely manage a short walk around the block. Now, he eats, sleeps, takes walks, jumps on the furniture, and tears things up. The chemotherapy hasn’t made him feel sick. The only thing I’ve noticed is that he sleeps a bit after he gets Vincristine and/or Endoxan. But he doesn’t have diarrhea or issues with vomiting. He hasn’t lost his fur. He doesn’t even have to take medication every day. And you’d never know he has cancer.

What has his treatment cost us so far? So far, we’ve paid for six weeks of treatment, which consists of weekly IV pushes of Vinistrine, a chemo drug. He takes two Endoxan pills per week– on Thursdays and Saturdays. Every other day, he takes three 5 milligram tablets of Prednisolone. This regime will continue for another two weeks, and then it will change to one that is less extreme. Total cost here in Germany? Still less than 1000 euros. And he feels much better with a great quality of life, while we’ve been able to enjoy his company for a little bit longer. I think he’ll make it to his tenth anniversary with us. That’s all we could have ever hoped for.

This was Arran’s first chemo bill. It covers two treatments. As you can see, it’s very reasonable. The following week, we were billed another 445 euros for four more treatments.

A couple of days ago, The Atlantic ran a story titled “How Much Would You Pay to Save Your Cat’s Life?”, by Sarah Zhang. The story was about the veterinary hospitals in the United States that give cats kidney transplants to save their lives. Their owners shell out $15,000 for the surgery, which involves using a donor cat’s kidney, implanting it in an often elderly cat. Many times, the owners end up adopting the donor cats, too, as they are typically young and healthy and in need of a home. As it is for most humans, cats can get by just fine with one kidney. In one case, the prospective donor got adopted anyway, when the cat that needed a kidney passed from heart failure before the surgery could be done.

It was noted in the article that kidney transplants are the only transplant surgeries available to cats. The donors are not killed. Apparently, transplants are not yet available for dogs, because “the canine immune system is unusually reactive, leading to kidney rejection.”

Zhang wrote about a 16 year old cat named Strawberry who got a new kidney. Strawberry’s owner did not want to be identified, as she feared backlash from people about the cost. The surgery alone costs $15,000, but with travel, follow-up care, and other costs, it can end up being twice as expensive. And Strawberry’s owner didn’t want to deal with a bunch of negativity about her choice to spend that money. Zhang writes that she interviewed a dozen cat owners who had opted for the surgery and also wanted to remain anonymous. One person quipped, “I wouldn’t think of saying to somebody, ‘Wow, that’s an expensive car,’  But people seem pretty free to say, ‘Wow, you spent a lot of money on a cat.’ ”

I remember the very negative and judgmental comments on Kavin’s article in the Washington Post. I expected to see similar comments on The Atlantic’s article. Much to my surprise and delight, The Atlantic’s readers seem to be a lot more open-minded. Or, at least they aren’t as full of judgmental bile about what people will spend their money on, as well as the mistaken belief that cancer treatment is always unpleasant and leads to sickness, as it often does in humans. And one person wrote a very astute comment, which I think really highlights why people tend to have strong reactions to other people’s choices to treat illnesses like cancer in their pets. Facebook user Isaac Suárez wrote:

The issue is not “is a cat’s life worth saving.” A cat is a companion, to be loved and cared for. There is no shame in wanting to preserve this bond and prevent unnecessary suffering.

Rather, the judgement comes from the fact that some have $15k to burn on pet care while the vast majority of people don’t. I know many people who’d happily pay the price to help a friend; I know very few who have the money to do so.

Sadly, a cat with kidney failure is just one of innumerable occasions where the stark class divide of our country manifests. Instead of talking about “are cats worth the price” we should be asking “why is the price so high” and “why do some people have the freedom to make this choice when the vast majority don’t?” As with many topics covered by Atlantic, the question is misframed and a valuable opportunity to address a visceral and important issue is sidestepped.

Another Facebook user liked Isaac’s comment, and responded thusly:

Brilliant and eloquent response! Its heartbreaking that so many must choose to have their beloved pet euthanized because the treatment cannot be afforded or people take on a hideous amount if debt in order to save their pet. Either way, there is a great deal of needless pain.

I also really related to Isaac’s comment, especially as an American who lives in a country where healthcare and veterinary treatments are much more reasonably priced than they are in the United States. If Bill and I were living in the United States, Arran’s treatment would no doubt cost a whole lot more. It would probably be undertaken at a high speed referral center, rather than at our local vet’s office. And we would be paying much more for his medications, as well as every single thing that would be done for him. We love Arran very much, but we’re practical people. He’s already an old guy. I can’t see us spending many thousands of dollars to keep him going. But in Germany, we can easily afford the treatment, and it makes him feel better. So he gets this comfort care at the end of his life, which will allow him more time with us, and give the vet more valuable experience treating lymphoma. It’s a win-win.

Arran and Noyzi welcome us home two weeks ago. You’d never know Arran has cancer, thanks to canine chemo. Isn’t this a result worth paying for? Especially when it’s pretty reasonably priced?

Many Americans resent how some people can afford to provide such advanced care for a pet, while human beings are going without care because they can’t afford it. And yet, so many people continue to vote for the same leaders, who do nothing about this problem. The United States is among the richest countries in the world, yet so many Americans lack the ability to pay for their own healthcare, let alone that of their pet’s. But a lot of us would never bat an eye at buying the latest iPad or tennis shoes. We don’t roll our eyes when a neighbor takes a trip to Hawaii or buys a Tesla. A pet can give a family intangible things that an iPad or a Tesla never can. Why should anyone be ashamed to spend money on their best friends? And why should anyone feel the need to judge someone negatively for making that choice? It’s not as if that person who can afford the advanced veterinary treatment for their dog or cat is going to be paying for their neighbor’s treatment.

I am probably not one of those people who would opt for a kitty kidney transplant, especially on a cat who is 16 years old. But now that I’ve experienced giving a dog chemo, I might opt to do it again for another dog… if I think the dog is well enough to be treated and wants to fight. I would probably pay a fair amount for that option, even if I’m living in the United States, where it will undoubtedly cost a lot more. Here in Germany, it’s a no brainer to give chemo a chance, although not all dogs respond the way Arran has. The response depends a lot on the animal and the type of disease. In Arran’s case, he is resilient, and he has a type of lymphoma that responds to treatment. We have the money. Why not treat it? What makes it any different than treating him for heartworms or diabetes or any other disease that people don’t think twice about treating in their pets? And if someone else has the ability and the desire to pay for advanced treatment for their cat, who am I to judge them? I’m not involved in the aftermath of that decision, and it’s really none of my business.

Anyway… I found Sarah Zhang’s article thought provoking on many levels, especially since we’re dealing with a pet who has cancer now. Arran is our fourth dog to get cancer, but he’s the first one we’ve been able to do anything for… and it really does feel good to do something. I can see, every day, that Arran is glad to be here. No, it’s not fun for him to get intravenous medications every week, but that’s only for about a half an hour. In a couple of weeks, he’ll be getting the IV meds less frequently. We’ll see how long he can make it before it’s time to let him go. I’m just glad we have the luxury of being able to prepare for the end, and enjoying every minute with our beloved Arran. If we weren’t in Germany, I’m not sure we’d have that. This shouldn’t be something that other people judge us negatively for doing, simply because our healthcare system is so fucked up and prices for humans and animals needing medical care are so ridiculously high. It seems to me that Americans ought to be demanding lower healthcare costs. I know that’s the way I’m going to be voting from now on.

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condescending twatbags, ethics, Ex, modern problems, rants, social media, social welfare

I got your “cog dis” right here, lady…

Warning… this rant probably makes me seem like a complete bitch. I don’t care.

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans. July 4th isn’t a holiday in Germany, but Bill gets the day off, because he works for an American company. So he’s got big plans to cook ribs on the grill, and as I write this, he’s putting the sheets on the bed that I washed after we got up this morning. We have beautiful weather again today, so it would be fun to go do something, but I think the dogs would be pissed off if we ventured out again. Besides, it’s Monday, and a lot of restaurants and shops have their Ruhetag on Mondays. After I’m done writing this post, I’ll probably practice guitar and then try to read more of my latest book, which is about Roe v. Wade. When I started reading it, the ruling hadn’t yet been overturned. It’s surreal to read about how the law came about now… and the story behind Norma McCorvey, who was “Jane Roe” in the famous 1973 lawsuit that led to American women having the right to get abortions.

I don’t really want to write about abortion again. I’m tired of writing about it, arguing about it, and reading the really disgusting, misogynistic, disrespectful comments from “pro-birthers”. And yet, I feel kind of compelled, since we’re all kind of saturated in this mess right now. It’s Independence Day, but I know a lot of women don’t feel very “free” anymore. Last night, as I was reading more comments on Twitter, I was reminded of a post I wrote in 2019 about a truly creepy Trump appointee who pushed his pro-life views on migrant women and refugees. In that post, I asked if we were now living in 1970s era Romania.

I’m sure a lot of people don’t know what I’m referring to when I mention 1970s Romania. Younger people who weren’t around when the Eastern Bloc was still communist, and the Soviet Union still existed, might not have heard of Romania’s Decree 770. From 1967 until 1989, women in Romania were basically forced to give birth for the state. Women were strictly tracked by gynecologists on a monthly basis. Those who were 40-45 (depending on the year) were expected to have four or five children. Contraception and abortion were outlawed for the vast majority of women. And a WHOLE lot of babies ended up in orphanages, not because they were actual orphans, but because their parents couldn’t afford to take care of them.

Many of the unlucky children who landed in orphanages became institutionalized. They weren’t held enough, did not receive love, and that affected their mental and emotional health. A lot of those babies were also in poor physical health; they received blood transfusions, some of which were tainted with HIV or delivered with used needles. Consequently, a lot of Romanian children in orphanages contracted AIDS.

I’m not saying that this is what will happen in the United States. Obviously, we know a lot more about HIV and AIDS now than we did in the 1980s. There are also a lot more drugs available to treat AIDS and HIV infections. But I do think that a lot of issues mentioned in this article from New Europe will come to pass. Romanian families were severely impacted with the pressure to birth. A lot of women were reluctant to have sex with their husbands, which resulted in family strife, abuse, abandonment, and general unhappiness.

People who are cheering about this loss of rights for women most likely haven’t thought very long and hard about how we will all be affected by forcing women to have babies they don’t want, can’t afford, and aren’t ready to parent. Oh, but there’s always adoption, right? Right… except there are already about 400,000 kids in foster care, waiting to be adopted. People are eager to adopt healthy infants. They aren’t so interested in the older kids who languish in the system until they age out and find themselves on their own, often without a lot of life skills other than street smarts.

I imagine that adoption could become big business again, with lawyers and private agencies brokering babies, just as they did in older times, when women didn’t have the right to choose. Maybe those adoptions will turn out okay for some kids… or maybe they’ll be tragic, as some people find out they aren’t equipped to raise another person’s child.

Once again, I give you Ex’s example. She went on a public Twitter tear last night, as Mark Hamill did what a lot of celebrities are doing right now. He tweeted a picture of a cartoon couple with the caption, “We will adopt your baby.”

Har de har har har…

Someone angrily tweeted back to Mark Hamill that she was an adoptive mother and she was offended that people were attacking adoptive parents with this trend of derisively sharing photos of couples offering to adopt.

Ugh… I hate it when people call other people “hon”. It’s so condescending!

Several people pointed out to this person that people weren’t attacking adoptive couples, they were attacking virtue signaling “anti-choice” people who want to force women to birth, and then actually WON’T adopt a child.

Glad you ended up with a child who is healthy and happy… and I hope you DO honor your son’s bio parents– especially his bio mom. It was her body that took a beating so you could be a parent.

Ex follows Mark Hamill, and she was adopted, so naturally, she chimed in. I couldn’t believe some of the bullshit she was peddling. I mean, it sounded “good”, but I know about a lot of what goes on behind the Twitter account. For twenty years, I’ve been sitting here watching and experiencing the “aftereffects of Ex”. And well, I gotta say, there’s clearly a lot of “cog dis” going on.

It’s no secret that I despise my husband’s ex wife for many very valid reasons. However, I also recognize that she did legitimately suffer horrific abuse when she was a child. She did NOT land in an adoptive family where she was loved, cherished, and taken care of as all children should be. The end result is that she visits her hellish childhood on anyone close to her, and engages in some pretty serious “cog dis”. Her tweets sound good in theory, but the reality of how she actually behaves is something entirely different, which is easy to verify, if you know where to look.

I give you Ex’s tweets on this subject. Her comments are italicized, while bolded comments are from other users, and my comments are in parentheses.

I’ll admit… I would never, for any reason have an abortion personally. But I would never choose for anyone else what they should do either. It’s that whole being an American and being a Christian thing… judging others or commanding others doesn’t sit well with me. (she wouldn’t, because she’s 55 years old now, and her sweet bird of youth has flown… and also, children make excellent weapons against her ex husbands and their families… Truthfully, though, I would not be surprised if Ex would NEVER abort, even if it might save her life to do so. She likes attention.)

You’re doing what we all should do if we can… changing the life of one child at a time. I’ll tell you; I could never ever have an abortion. Not for anything in the world. I just refuse to believe that I have the right to tell anyone else what to do. (except she doesn’t mind telling her husbands and children what to do– and anyone else with a connection to her children, even if doing what she wants them to do is unhealthy, unwise, or financially disastrous… Woe be unto anyone who defies her, too. She will retaliate in twisted and horrible ways.)

Well, I could add that by continuing to have a poor class of people, the 1% could maintain power over the country easily. (I don’t disagree with her here, although she doesn’t do much to prevent poverty in her own home.)

Mark, adoption is a wonderful option. My own father was adopted when he was a skinny, sickly, weak infant (about 1939-1940). My grandfather’s first wife went to adopt and she said, “Show me the baby who is in the most need of care.” That baby grew up and at age 30, became my dad.

This is a wonderful story!!! So happy for you and your father. If only everyone who wanted a child felt this way we would not have 400k children in foster are. I was adopted, also. I’m grateful for my life, but it has been so very hard to know I was an accidental bastard child. (Ex was responding to the tweet I bolded. I find it interesting that she refers to herself as an “accidental bastard child”, when she’s also referred to herself as a descendent of a famous Scottish clan. I don’t know if her ties to the famous Scottish clan are through her careless bio parents who had an affair, or her terrible adoptive parents, who severely abused and neglected her when she was a child. I was an “accident child”, too, but my parents were married. I was also abused, though not as badly as Ex was.)

I know abortion debate rages. I was adopted… living hell… sexually assaulted for 7 years by my STEP father (mom married 7 times). I am glad I wasn’t aborted, but, all these “I will adopt your baby.” folks make me angry. They want only perfect babies; that isn’t always possible! (If she had been aborted, it would have spared a whole lot of people significant pain and grief… But, in fairness, Bill is enjoying getting to know younger daughter again, after being denied her company for 15 years. Too bad she wasn’t my daughter, so she could know her father better.)

It is so sad you posted this. You have 3 kids and worth $20M. Do you even understand a) how hard it is and b) how much it costs to adopt a kid? My wife and I looked into it and it is impossible. So many great people out there that can’t have kids that would be great parents.

There are countless children waiting… desperately in need of good parents, their lives being wasted in the foster care system! These couples who will adopt only babies are selfish and not the kind of people who should be parents. Being a parent requires unconditional love! (again, a response to someone else… and unconditional love is not something she has shown to her children. We know this because Bill witnessed it, and others have told us about the lengths she went to as she tried to maintain control of her offspring. One time, she reportedly attempted suicide as a way of keeping younger daughter under her thumb. But, in fairness, I doubt the vast majority of people are truly capable of “unconditional love”, even regarding their own kids.)

Children in the foster care system need good parents more than anyone. They desperately need to be loved and properly cared for. (true… and I’m glad it doesn’t appear that she’s trying to adopt a foster kid.)

People only want to adopt newborns. Countless children grow up parentless in the foster care system. (and some end up in hellish foster homes with “parents” who are only interested in money, and exploit the children for their own use and gratification… sounds like someone else we know.)

Exactly! 500k children who need a loving caring forever home but people will not adopt them because they are not perfect little baby packages of joy. EVERY CHILD deserves to be loved, no matter what! When we have no children in foster care I will believe “we will adopt” signs. (true enough, I guess… but I don’t know that she should be speaking about this, given her track record of parental alienation and irresponsible behavior.)

Not to mention the fact that Pro-life folks want to BAN CONTRACEPTIVES. How irresponsible is that? (does she have much experience with using contraception? Other than pressuring her husbands to get snipped for her?)

What a totally false and reprehensible thing to say. I was the victim of sexual assault by my step father for 7 years. My mother knew; I told her. She did nothing. What would you have said to me as a 9 year old child if I had become pregnant? That I was irresponsible? (again, true enough… and I’m so sorry that happened to her, because that abusive treatment contributed to turning her into the person she is now.)

I know it seems like I’m being super hard on Ex. Like I said, I know she has suffered greatly in her life. She’s not the only one, though, and plenty of people have been abused and not turned into parental alienators, liars, and exploiters. She puts on a perfectly reasonable public facade on Twitter, but behind closed doors, it’s a totally different story. And if you watch what she does, you can see that she’s quite full of shit… and cognitive dissonance.

My perfectly lovely and kind husband was denied the right to be a father to his daughters, and his ex stepson, whom he basically raised, because his ex wife is so damaged by her crappy childhood… a childhood she spent with adoptive parents who were, in no way, equipped to be good parents. Her pain has caused a lot of ripple effects to innocent people, including yours truly. I never got to know my stepdaughters because of her selfishness, nor was I able to have my own children, due to her greediness and irresponsible, impulsive behavior.

Personally, I think that sometimes, abortion is the most humane and responsible choice there is. It would have been a blessing to many people to have access to it prior to 1973. Not having access to it beyond 2022 is going to cause many, many problems… problems that I don’t think the pro-birth set have considered. I do hope that some people who agree with outlawing abortion will take up my challenge and read about Romania’s Decree 770. It might be an eye opener, that could serve to cut through some of that “cog dis” that is clouding so many people’s judgment right now.

And, just to end this post on an outrageous note, I just spotted this totally disgusting tweet by a man who thinks a ten year old child can consent to having sex…

I didn’t think it was possible, but Twitter is even more horrible than Facebook is…

Immediately following the creep’s tweet was this moronic comment from a woman in North Carolina. I probably shouldn’t follow “Bad Medical Takes”, because there are some pretty infuriating retweets there. I can’t believe how delusional some people are… Cog dis abounds!!!

I doubt this idiot is a doctor, but my mom was 10 when she started having periods. Bill’s mom was 9. It totally is possible for 10 year olds to conceive. It’s called “precocious puberty“, and these days, more girls are experiencing it than ever before.
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disasters, ethics, healthcare, history, law, music

Some people seem to want to WHITEwash the past… and send America back to 1950…

This post has more language in it than usual… proceed with caution.

Bill and I had a really beautiful day yesterday. You can read about it on my travel blog. I love that we still have beautiful days, and that I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about gun violence. I love that I don’t have to worry about the government butting into my private healthcare decisions. I love that I’m 50, and I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I love that I don’t have to be around creepy MAGA conservatives who seem to be hellbent on controlling women. I feel very fortunate to be where I am right now… but I worry about the future. I’m not a German citizen. I’m not even an ordinary resident.

I used to love my country. When I lived in Armenia, I missed the United States. When I lived in Germany the first time, I missed it less, but was still proud of being an American, where I believed I was “free”. I’m sad to say, I’m not so proud of being American today. I don’t feel like I would be “free” in the United States anymore. And I can’t stand how polarized people are now. There’s no more civility or empathy or decency. There’s just violence and wicked insanity perpetrated by people who care more about money, religion, and power than they do human beings. I’ve watched as some people I used to know as “decent” and kind, are now more concerned about high gas prices than they are the well-being of their friends and neighbors.

Word. It’s interesting to live in a country that knows all about this shit that is happening in the United States today.

In the eight years since I last lived there, I’ve watched the United States gradually turning into a dystopian hellhole, where a pregnant 10 year old rape victim was forced to go to an adjoining state for an abortion. She was lucky enough to be able to get the very necessary procedure done in Indiana. If this had happened a few weeks from now, the Ohio child who got pregnant because of some depraved pervert, probably would have had to go even further away than Indiana to get an abortion. Indiana politicians want to force women to birth, too. They just didn’t have a trigger ban law against abortion, like Ohio does. In Ohio, there’s no right to abortion in cases of rape and incest. It’s just so cruel and infuriating… I think the people who denied this poor baby an abortion are the vilest sorts of people who belong in the deepest parts of Hell! There’s no way a ten year old CHILD is prepared to give birth on ANY LEVEL! Cases like this are why abortion must be legal and safe.

My heart breaks for that girl, and all of the other girls who are going to be forced to stay pregnant because of some sick MALE politician! It’s absolutely SICK to me to read that women who have ectopic pregnancies are being forced to wait until they’re near death before a doctor will do anything to save them. It makes me so angry! And it makes me sad. Women will die, and they don’t care.

A little musical wisdom from Joni Mitchell circa 1995… See the lyrics at the end of this post.

In Texas, there’s a proposal to stop teaching children about enslaved people. Instead, the powers that be want to change the language to people who were subjected to “involuntary relocation”. Why? Because some geniuses are afraid of making White children feel badly about their heritage. Last year, Texas passed a law to eliminate topics in school that would make children “feel discomfort”. I don’t think it’s the kids who feel uncomfortable. It’s the privileged White MALE adults who feel that way. They can’t stand to see Confederate statues coming down, and buildings being renamed… So they try to change the culture to one that favors them… as if it were 1950 again, only worse. In 1950, there was a veneer of respectability and civility. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me when I look at footage from that era. But it was really only respectable for White MALES. America was NEVER great for anyone but White MEN. This policy, on its surface, may not seem to relate to forced birthing… but I think if we look deeper, it relates very well. Basically, what these MAGA fuckheads are trying to do, is enslave women and force them back into the home. They are desperately trying to stay relevant.

I’ve been reading about how the mostly MEN in the religious far right are wanting to make abortion even less possible to get, even for people who really need it for their health. They want to make women slaves. They want to pass laws that restrict women’s movements. They want abortion to be banned nationally. They don’t care that women will die because of this. From the Washington Post:

Just moments after the Supreme Court released its decision on Friday, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging the Republican to call a special session that would allow the legislature to pass a six-week abortion ban.

The 15-week ban that DeSantis signed into law in April, which allows more than 90 percent of abortions to continue, does not go far enough, Sabatini said.

“The problem is not the governor … it’s cowards in the Republican legislature who have been blocking [the six-week ban],” said Sabatini. Now that Roe has fallen, he added, he is hopeful that the governor and the legislature will “respond to pressure.” (A DeSantis spokesman pointed toward the governor’s statement on Friday pledging to “expand pro-life protections.”)

I HATE these people. I feel nothing but rage and contempt toward the MALES who dare to take privacy and rights away from women. I don’t want to feel this way. It’s not natural or normal for me to feel this toward others. But I am absolutely appalled and offended by the extreme arrogance of these MALES… and I wish I had gone to law school, so I could be a part of the group of feminist lawyers who will make them dearly pay for this stunt. In Missouri, according to the Washington Post:

In Missouri, where abortion was banned almost immediately after the decision came down, state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R) worries that the state Supreme Court may find protections for abortion in the Missouri Constitution, as other state courts across the country have done in recent years. On abortion-related issues, Coleman said, the state courts are out of step with the legislature, with a history of blocking legislation to defund Planned Parenthood facilities.

Right now, Coleman said, her priority is passing a constitutional amendment — by way of a statewide referendum — that makes clear there is no right to abortion in Missouri.

Coleman is also eager to restrict abortion across state lines, an idea she surfaced in legislation earlier this year and is now being discussed by antiabortion lawmakers across the country. The issue is particularly pertinent in Coleman’s home state of Missouri, where, even before Roe fell, thousands of people streamed across the Missouri-Illinois border for abortion care every year.

Coleman’s bill, which failed to pass in the 2022 legislative session, would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident access abortion outside the state, using the novel legal strategy behind the Texas abortion ban, which empowers private citizens to enforce the law through civil litigation. (Mary Elizabeth Coleman should be deeply ashamed of herself. She needs to be drop kicked out of politics.)

Even some younger women are eager to screw over other women by denying them privacy and essential healthcare. Also from the Washington Post:

Kristan Hawkins, president of the national antiabortion organization Students for Life, said she has been in talks with legislators in Missouri, and plans to bring a similar idea to a conference she’s hosting in D.C. this weekend, where over 200 antiabortion leaders will gather to discuss their post-Roe plans.

“I think we can say, ‘Look, if you travel out of state for an abortion, that abortionist can be held liable,’ ” Hawkins said. (Fuck you, Kristan Hawkins! You are a traitor to women!)

I hope that the businesses who have vowed to help their employees access abortion services will put their money where their mouths are, and move the fuck out of these hellhole states where women are becoming second class citizens. That is the only thing that will make these Republican motherfuckers listen to reason. And I hope women of childbearing age who are as angry about this as I am stop having sex with these MALES who want to force them to bear children they don’t want. Either that, or they take the motherfuckers to court as soon as they get pregnant and FORCE them to PAY. How dare they?!

I would expect this kind of thing to be happening in some third world hellhole. I would never expect it in the so-called “land of the free”. But the United States’ MAGA group of misogynistic fuckheads isn’t alone in their campaign against women. In Brazil, a pregnant ten year old was taken away from her family to protect the fetus, after a FEMALE judge failed to convince her to stay pregnant voluntarily. Fortunately, good sense eventually prevailed, and the girl got an abortion a month later. I hope that girl gets the hell out of Brazil someday and lives somewhere more humane.

I’m glad that the Fourth of July is not a holiday in Germany. There’s nothing to celebrate in the United States tomorrow. Our country is getting more and more ridiculous by the day. I don’t think I want to go back there. I know I’ll probably have to, though… and that makes me feel scared. The United States is turning into Gilead. God help us.

Sex Kills (Joni Mitchell)

I pulled up behind a Cadillac
We were waiting for the light
And I took a look at his license plate
It said, “just ice”
Is justice just ice?
Governed by greed and lust?
Just the strong doing what they can
And the weak suffering what they must?
Oh, and the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
Sex kills

Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
And the bills bury you like an avalanche
And lawyers haven’t been this popular
Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
The balance is undone, crazy ions
You can feel it out in traffic
Everyone hates everyone
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
Sex kills

All these jack-offs at the office
The rapist in the pool
Oh, and the tragedies in the nurseries
Little kids packin’ guns to school
The ulcerated ozone
These tumors of the skin
This hostile sun beating down on
Massive mess we’re in
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Sex kills
Sex kills
Oh, sex kills
Sex kills

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Joni Mitchell

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ethics, law, true crime, Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell gets sentenced to 20 years in federal prison…

Thank God for other items in the news besides Donald Trump’s January 6 shenanigans and the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m pretty tired of thinking and writing about abortion. And I’ve been tired of Trump for years now. Nevertheless, if Ghislaine Maxwell hadn’t been delivered a prison sentence yesterday, I could still write reams about abortion and Trump. There’s still a lot to be said and written about both subjects. But I won’t be opining about those two tired topics this Wednesday morning. Today, I’m going to write about what I think of Ghislaine Maxwell’s punishment. So here goes…

Yesterday afternoon– I think it was afternoon in Germany, anyway, Ghislaine Maxwell, former British socialite and ex girlfriend of sex offender extraordinaire, Jeffrey Epstein, finally got sentenced for her role in Epstein’s disgusting crimes against young women. Ms. Maxwell was accused of sex trafficking young women. She befriended beautiful young girls who hoped to become models and lured them to Epstein’s lair, where they would be forced to engage in sex acts with Epstein and his powerful and wealthy friends.

Jeffrey Epstein had been awaiting his own trial when he allegedly committed suicide in jail back in August 2019. Many people questioned whether or not Epstein wasn’t actually murdered, since many high powered people were his friends and stood to lose a lot if he testified in court. How powerful were these people? Well, they included people like Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Kevin Spacey, Itzhak Perlman, astronaut John Glenn, many US senators, and our very own loser ex “president”, Trump.

In 2020, I watched Netflix’s revelatory documentary about what went on in Epstein’s fancy homes in Palm Beach, Florida, London, England, New York City, and his private island in the Caribbean. Ghislaine Maxwell was in the thick of it, and she presented a gentle, friendly face to trusting young women who were looking for a big break. Instead, they were used and abused by Epstein and his depraved, corrupt buddies. When I think about the metaphorical snake pit those women faced, filled with slimy narcissistic scumbags, it makes me cringe with revulsion.

Ghislaine Maxwell orchestrated much of the abuse, funneling girls and young women into the vortex of Epstein’s inner sanctums, victimizing them as she smiled and pretended to be their friends. They would trust a woman before they’d trust the lecherous middle aged men who wanted to use them for their own sexual gratification. Now, those women are living with the aftermath of that abuse, and Maxwell knows that she will be in prison until at least her late 70s. She must also pay a $750,000 fine.

Maxwell was arrested in July 2020, and she’s been sitting in a Brooklyn jail cell the whole time, as her case has slowly ground through the court system. Now, it’s time to get down to business. She didn’t get the five years her lawyers asked for, and she didn’t get the 30 years prosecutors wanted. She might not die in prison, but her life as a socialite is over. As she learned her fate, Maxwell addressed her victims, claiming to empathize with them, and telling them she hoped her prison sentence would bring them “peace and finality”.

I read about this case last night, as many people were still reeling from the Roe v. Wade decision, and learning about Donald Trump’s horrible conduct on January 6, 2021, as Cassidy Hutchinson testified about Trump’s incredibly narcissistic and abusive behavior. Trump was a friend of Epstein’s, and I know of at least one person who described what he did to her at Epstein’s home. A lot of people are quick to deny Hutchinson’s testimony about January 6, and they doggedly defend their man, Trump. I have little hope that Trump will ever face punishment for his crimes against people. But at least they got Ghislaine. I think 20 years in prison and having to pay a huge fine is fair. And in spite of how terrible her crimes are, I hope Ghislaine Maxwell is treated humanely while she does her time in prison.

Someone in the Facebook comments wrote that Ghislaine Maxwell should spend all 20 years in solitary confinement. Against my better judgment, I wrote “That would be inhumane. She needs to be punished, not tortured. America should be above torture (even if it isn’t).

A few people liked my comment, but at least two people gave me grief over it. One seemingly outraged woman asked me if I would feel the same way if it had been one of my daughters who was victimized by Ghislaine Maxwell. To that, I responded “Yes, I would. I don’t condone torture. Twenty years in solitary confinement would be torture.” A man tagged me in his angry comment about how much Maxwell should suffer. I wrote to him that he was entitled to his opinion, but I disagree with it. I don’t ever want to get to a point at which I think torturing other people is okay… even if I completely understand the sentiment behind those thoughts. Solitary confinement, even just for a couple of weeks, is considered inhumane and akin to torture. I am not okay with that.

Once again, I’m left sitting here scratching my head at the logic of some of my countrymen. So many people are happy to excuse Donald Trump for his egregious and well documented crimes against people over his long career as a businessman, politician, and “star”. A lot of them would be absolutely delighted to see him elected president again, even though he boldly admits to having no control over his sexual impulses, abuses his employees, cheats his creditors, and demonstrates an attitude that he is ABOVE the law. But some of those same people want to torture Ghislaine Maxwell. The mind boggles. Maybe it’s because she’s a woman, and women aren’t supposed to be “monsters”.

I remember a couple of years ago, when Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were in the news for their fraudulent actions of trying to buy their daughters spots at prestigious universities. I read so many comments from “outraged” people who thought they should just ROT in prison for decades. What Loughlin and Huffman did were not crimes of violence. Yes, their crimes were dishonest and unfair. Yes, they abused their great privilege and wealth. They needed to be held accountable, and they were. But plenty of people felt that their sentences were too light, and they should be locked up for years.

I remember when 18 year old Skylar Mack went to the Cayman Islands and flouted the COVID rules there. She got caught by the police, and faced incarceration as punishment. At one point, she was sentenced to four months in jail, and some Americans were complaining when her family members tried to get her sentence reduced, which it eventually was. I wrote about her case several times in this blog. A few people wanted to tell me off for not wanting Skylar to rot in jail. My response is that I don’t see how locking up an 18 year old for two more months in a hellish Caribbean jail, potentially traumatizing her for life, would be justice.

Ghislaine Maxwell, of course, is no Skylar Mack, Lori Loughlin, or Felicity Huffman. Her crimes were much worse than theirs were, and she really did legitimately hurt people. So yes, she needs to be severely punished, and it’s entirely fitting that she spend a couple of decades locked up. But even though Maxwell’s crimes against young women were horrific, we are not much better as a society if our response to Maxwell’s crimes is to punish her using methods that are considered cruel by most civilized members of the global community. The United States is supposed to be a first world nation. Americans, as a people, should be above torturing people.

There’s another, more selfish reason I don’t condone torturing Ghislaine Maxwell. And that’s if, by some circumstance, I ever end up on the wrong side of the law, I would not want to be tortured. I wouldn’t want torture for my friends or loved ones, if they ever got sent to prison. I don’t think abusing people delivers good results for society, especially if there’s a chance that a person in prison will ever be released. I don’t want to see that person so completely shattered that they can’t recover. Not only is it not good for them, or their friends and loved ones, it’s also not good for everyone else in the world, who might be victimized if they go off the rails. Abuse has a terrible effect on people. It makes them angry, jaded, and potentially violent. I don’t think that angry, jaded, violent people, fresh from incarceration, are safe to be around. People should be able to recover from their mistakes. Otherwise, why go on living? And what would they have to lose, committing more crimes against other people?

I don’t think there are many truly evil people in the world. As long as someone still has a shred of humanity within them, we should have some respect for them as human beings. Every one of us would want the same consideration. And, as people who haven’t committed serious crimes, we should be at a level at which we can grant basic mercy, even if someone has done something really terrible. Of course, I write this as I’ve also read many comments from people who think anyone who has had an abortion should be jailed for life. It’s probably hyperbole when people say or write these things. I still wish people would stop and think for a minute when they express this kind of vitriol. At best, it’s unhelpful and unrealistic. At worst, it promotes barbaric ideas that put the United States in the same company as Middle Eastern countries where prisoners are routinely tortured and denied basic rights.

But I do understand the outrage… and I do agree that Maxwell should suffer the consequences of her actions. I think that will happen. Ghislaine Maxwell has spent most of her life pampered and cosseted, cushioned by extreme wealth and privilege. Prison will not be pleasant for her. We don’t need to make it worse for her by locking her in a hole for twenty years. That’s extreme, and it would make her go insane… and then we would be obliged to treat her mental illness, although the reality is, she would probably be neglected. And then there would be people who would actually pity her… which she probably doesn’t deserve at all.

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