dogs, healthcare, history, law, narcissists, politics, Trump

Now I *know* that I’m not a narcissist…

The past few days have been pretty wild, and I’m still kind of trying to process them. But sometimes, things happen to remind me of the simpler things in life. Yesterday, as I was watching Cassidy Hutchinson testify about how completely unhinged Donald Trump is, I got a private message from Meg, the woman who rescued Noyzi when he was a tiny puppy in Kosovo. She was going to be in our vicinity and wanted to know if she could come visit her long lost dog. Bill and I agreed that it would be alright for her to visit, so she came over with her little black dog, Little Guy.

We put Noyzi and Arran in the backyard, and Meg and Little Guy walked through the house to where the boys were. When Noyzi saw Meg, he immediately went crazy with excitement and unbridled joy. I didn’t even get the best part of their reunion on video, but I did get part of it. Noyzi knew exactly who she was and he was absolutely DELIGHTED to see her. It was probably the happiest we’ve ever seen him.

Then, after about an hour of catching up with Meg, Noyzi came over to me. It was as if he was saying how happy he was to see his old friend, and reassuring her that he was doing great. He obviously appreciated so much what she did for him when he was a tiny puppy. And now he has a home that he doesn’t want to leave. That’s a good thing, because Meg lives in a small apartment now, and Noyzi is a big guy.

I think that visit was healing for all of us. Noyzi was ecstatic to see Meg and Little Guy again. Arran was happy to meet Little Guy and get to know Meg. Meg was happy to see Noyzi, and determine for herself that he’s healthy, safe, and much loved. And we were reassured that Noyzi has bonded with us and is happy to be where he is. When Meg’s visit was over, Noyzi said goodbye and went back to his bed. He didn’t stand at the door, pining for Meg. This is an excellent outcome for a dog rescue. I got a dozen pictures of Noyzi looking absolutely delirious with joy, with a big grin on his face. I also got video footage that will always remind us of how happy we made this one canine soul, who by all rights, should have died on the streets of Pristina when he was a baby. And yet, by fate’s twists and turns, he wound up living with Americans in Germany.

I noticed one other thing as I was watching the scene unfold. I legitimately didn’t feel jealous or possessive when I was watching my dog reunite with the woman who saved his life. Maybe this is a strange thing to notice or mention in this post, but if you’ve been following me for any time whatsoever, you know that Bill and I have had a lot of dealings with narcissists. Bill’s ex wife is a very jealous, insecure person. She was so insecure that she couldn’t allow her kids to know their fathers or me. Her kids probably didn’t dare talk about how much they loved or missed Bill, or were curious about me. Talking about loving Bill would have caused a narcissistic injury, and there would have been terrible consequences. If Ex were Noyzi’s “mom”, she would have been jealous of Meg. But I am Noyzi’s “mom”, and I was really moved to see how much he loves Meg. So at least I know I’m not like Ex in that way.

A narcissistic person would not have been happy to see Noyzi so glad to see his rescuer. They would have felt threatened, unloved, betrayed, discarded… maybe they would have seen Noyzi as a traitor. Narcissists can’t share love, attention, or allegiances. They are very selfish. I often worry that I might be narcissistic, even as I know that wondering or worrying about such a thing in myself is a clear sign that I’m not a narcissist. Narcissists don’t think anything is wrong with them. They don’t check their behavior. A scene involving a rescue dog joyfully reuniting with a rescuer would send echoes of terror and betrayal into the depths of their very souls.

I didn’t experience any of those negative feelings yesterday. You can hear me on the video sounding amazed, happy, elated that our dog was so excited and delighted to see his beloved rescuer again. He remembered her, and obviously adored her, and it was a beautiful thing to see! I hope we can see it again soon. And I know it’s strange to bring up Ex in this… since it doesn’t directly involve her. I guess I mention it because Ex, like Trump, is kind of like a stubborn disease that infiltrates everything. She has the ability to inflict deep wounds and scars. She makes people doubtful and unsure of themselves. But dogs and other animals, who have pure hearts and souls, make people see what’s real.

Last night, I had a weird dream about dogs. It was a mostly pleasant dream that involved the old 80s video game, Q*bert. I think Q*bert invaded my dreams because yesterday morning, as I was barely awake and doing my morning routine, I mentioned something about the game… or, I think I did. I don’t really remember. Bill went off on a very energetic tangent about Q binary coding. I didn’t know what the fuck he was on about, and didn’t care, as I was trying to shit. Sorry, I know that’s too much information, but that’s what I was doing as Bill was crowing like a rooster. He really is a morning person and that’s the best time for him to do almost anything. I am kind of a morning person too, but not as much of one as he is, so I’m often left befuddled by Bill’s sheer energy in the morning. He practically glows when the sun is rising. When it sets, he’s barely coherent.

Q*bert… big fun for us Gen Xers.

I somehow mentioned Q*bert, a game Bill didn’t play when he was young, because he was a legal adult circa 1982 and didn’t have the time, money, or inclination to play video games. I haven’t thought of Q*bert in literal decades. Now I want to play it again. I had a dream about it this morning… and my dogs… and a couple of lesbians. I don’t know what that was about. Maybe it’s because I read a hateful tweet from some misogynistic jackass who said his favorite part of the overturning of Roe v. Wade was that it happened during gay pride.

I’ve read a lot of very disturbing comments from men this week… hateful, mean spirited, homophobic and misogynistic comments from men who are gleeful at this new opportunity to oppress, control, and mansplain to women. They diminish and discount our valid concerns about what will happen in the future, as babies are born to women who don’t want them. And I’ve read some equally hateful responses from women, some of whom are really going to fuck up the worlds of some of these men who think they’ve got us by the pubes. It will be a huge letdown when the consequences of this decision come to light… lots of men will be paying a lot of child support and some of them will go to prison for rape. Other men will be left wanting when women don’t want to have sex with them because they don’t want to risk pregnancy. I think men should be afraid. There are some vindictive women out there who will make them sorry they championed taking away their rights.

I’ll bet Donald Trump never thought a beautiful young woman named Cassidy would be the person who instigated his downfall… and I do think her testimony is going to cause Trump to fall. Donald Trump is a narcissist, and his actions and comments on January 6 prove it. Most narcissists have a pretty horrible downfall when they finally fuck up the wrong thing. January 6 was probably Trump’s biggest fuck up in life. It may be the thing that brings him down… and a lot of otherwise decent people will be left on the wrong side of history. I can see that a lot of people don’t want to admit that they were duped, but there will be a day when Trump supporters will be as ashamed as many of Hitler’s supporters eventually were.

Speaking out against Trump so bravely will cost Cassidy Hutchinson, and I hope she is being protected. The world is watching her, and she delivered, but there are going to be people who will want her to pay for being outspoken. She would be right to be fearful right now, although the world owes her a debt of gratitude for her bravery. I hope that witnessing what she did in the White House will help her realize that she should choose her heroes with much care.

I notice that besides being intelligent and well-spoken, Cassidy is also a very attractive woman. If she had been plainer, she probably wouldn’t have been chosen for her role in Trump’s White House. I know that sounds insulting, but if you look at most of the women in Trump’s domain, they are almost all easy on the eyes… and most of them use that to their advantage. Cassidy Hutchinson obviously has good character to go with her brains and beauty. She’ll go far… if she manages to survive this chapter. I don’t blame her for being a Republican. I was one too, when I was her age… and as she is a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, which is close to where I grew up, I can understand why being a Republican would appeal to her. Most people in that area are conservative.

I sure would like to see a government that is more centrist and interested in actually getting things done that benefit everyone and don’t get undone in subsequent administrations. Everything has been such a mess in the past few years, and although Bill and I have fared well, it makes me really worry about the future. But it makes me feel good to know that there are still decent people in the Republican Party, like Cassidy Hutchinson. I would be so happy if we could just get rid of Trump’s version of the Republicans. Maybe it’s a pipe dream. Trump is like an unusually recalcitrant sexually transmitted infection that can’t be cured with the usual drugs.

Anyway… I read a very good opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday that brought up some consequences of allowing states to decide about abortion that I hadn’t considered. I will probably write about it later today or tomorrow, if I am so moved. I would like to get those ideas down right now, but this post isn’t the place to do it. This post is a hodgepodge of weird stuff and random thoughts. So it’s time I closed it and got on with the day… It’s Thursday, so that means I have to vacuum. Blech.

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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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controversies, healthcare, language, law

“Abortion” is technically not defined as a dirty word.

Good morning, folks. It’s just after 8:00 AM on a warm Tuesday here in Deutschland, and I’ve already done my housework for the day, having gotten up three hours ago. The sun rises very early at this time of year in Germany, and it sets very late in the evening. Consequently, I often need an afternoon nap, because I don’t sleep long during the night.

I don’t really want to write about abortion today. It’s a topic I’m a little tired of at the moment. However, abortion is what everybody seems to be talking about right now. I have some comments I’d like to make in a place where I’m not going to hurt people’s feelings, get into pissing matches with the deliberately obtuse, or otherwise get mired in a bunch of Internet noise. My blog is a place where comments are generally respectful and reasonable. I think abortion is an important topic that deserves that much gravity.

Yesterday, I ran across an interesting Tik Tok/Facebook video by Mama Doctor Jones, a board certified OB-GYN from Texas who is currently working in New Zealand. In the video, Dr. Jones talked about what constitutes an abortion, and what the treatments are for certain medical conditions that occur during pregnancy. She made the video in response to comments by Live Action, a right wing, anti-abortion propaganda machine.

A screenshot from Mama Doctor Joneses’ video. Notice the emotional language. But, in fact, all of these conditions require terminating the pregnancy, which is precisely what abortion is.

Live Action had put out this comment regarding “abortion”, obviously likening abortion to the negative image that many people have of it. The people at Live Action obviously consider the medical procedure that abortion is as “murder”. Abortion isn’t murder, though. Abortion simply refers to the termination of a pregnancy that doesn’t result in a live birth. Moreover, in spite of how Live Action spins it, abortion is a treatment for a number of legitimate medical issues that come up in pregnancy. In fact, a miscarriage is technically called “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. Abortion is not a dirty word, but that group, and others who want to limit a person’s ability to terminate a pregnancy, wants to make it so.

I don’t see anything “dirty” about these definitions.

Above is a screenshot of Dictionary.com’s definition of abortion. Nowhere in that definition do I see a single definition that depicts the vile description of abortion that is being put out by Live Action. Abortion simply refers to ending a pregnancy, for whatever reason. There are different techniques used to achieve an abortion, depending on the circumstances. Under the above definition, abortion might involve taking a pill, removing the contents of the uterus, removing a body part, or actually going through labor and delivery. It depends on the case, and the time during pregnancy at which the abortion occurs.

The problem is, the term “abortion” has taken on so much emotional baggage that people automatically think of it as sinful and wrong. That baggage is causing a lot of people pain, as medical conditions that happen during pregnancy and require that the pregnancy be terminated are technically abortions. People don’t want to think of a necessary termination as an “abortion”. The term “abortion” has a nasty connotation that conjures up images of someone who got careless and wants to end a pregnancy out of convenience or shame. Groups like Live Action liken abortion to murder. But abortion isn’t really murder, either. See below.

Notice the first definition. In that meaning of the word “murder”, it’s specified that murder is the “killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law.” At this point, abortion is still legal in many places, but I don’t know of a place anywhere on the planet where it’s legal for somewhere to kill another person with premeditation or malice. I also know that sometimes people have abortions because that developing human being is causing severe physical or mental health problems that threatens the life of the already born person. In that case, an abortion is less like murder and more like self-defense.

One could also argue that a developing fetus simply has the potential to become a human being, but hasn’t yet reached that designation. It all depends on when life actually begins. People also have varying opinions on when that happens. We haven’t yet decided if life begins at conception, or at birth. The federal government seems to think life begins at birth, but religious people and hyper-conservative people want to say it begins at fertilization. A consensus has yet to be reached. See below.

I have some dear people in my life who have had to end pregnancies for health reasons. These are women that I know would probably never voluntarily opt to have an abortion. I write “probably”, because a lot of us think we know what we would do in a given situation, but we don’t actually know until it happens to us. For instance, I feel pretty certain that if I were a rape or incest victim, I would want to have an abortion. But I also know for a fact that I have a pretty serious aversion to seeing doctors. I was traumatized by an OB-GYN when I was 22 years old, and that has made me very reluctant to seek medical care unless I absolutely have to have it. To be honest, at this point, even if I have to have medical care, I still might not seek it. I haven’t seen a medical doctor since 2010. Going to see physicians causes me great anxiety.

I also suffer from depression a lot of the time, and that often makes me feel worthless. The state of the world right now adds to my depression, and makes me think it would be better to be dead. So I can’t say for certain that I would seek an abortion if I got pregnant due to rape (which I know I wouldn’t at this point in time). I probably would want one… because my healthy mental days are usually more plentiful than my unhealthy days, and I’m sure I would not want to raise my rapist’s baby. I also know that I would not want to give a baby up for adoption. But I say that as someone who has never experienced forced intercourse with a man, and has never even been close to being pregnant. I would probably feel emotionally shattered if I were ever raped, and that would affect my self-esteem. So, to be frank, I can’t say for certain I would have an abortion. I only know how I feel right now, which is that I would probably want one.

The people in my life who have had to end their pregnancies for medical reasons desperately wanted to have their babies. They would never choose to have what we think of is an “abortion”. They needed medical care for an emergency situation that involved terminating a pregnancy. Technically, they DID have an abortion, as defined by the medical establishment, but it was not the kind of abortion one might have at Planned Parenthood. And they don’t want to think of their procedures in that way. I can totally understand that. But I also think that it might be helpful if we stopped thinking of abortion as something dirty and sleazy. Sometimes, it’s a necessary, life saving, medical procedure, and like all medical procedures, it really should be private business, with no emotional baggage attached by other people’s opinions.

Personally, I think any person who wants to have an abortion should have one, for ANY reason. It’s not up to me or anyone else to judge whether or not their reasons are valid. People who are pregnant against their wills are not going to be motivated to take care of themselves the way they should. I think it’s a lot crueler to force people to gestate– crueler for the pregnant person AND the developing fetus. Because choices that pregnant people make will affect that developing fetus, and it’s possible that the person born after such a pregnancy will have to live their whole lives with the choices made by the person who birthed them. We don’t have the ability to force pregnant people to take care of themselves, and I don’t think that’s what most Americans would want to see happen. That would put us on a very slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare culture.

I like Mama Doctor Jones because she makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen her respond very logically to people who come at her with emotional comments full of shame and judgment. See below.

I totally agree with Mama Doctor Jones that allowing abortions in “some situations” is hypocritical. If we’re going to assign personhood to developing embryos, then almost no reason for abortion should be acceptable. Allowing it in certain circumstances, but not others, is problematic if we’re calling embryos people. The embryos are “innocent”, right? But forcing women to have babies conceived in the commission of a crime seems cruel to many. I think forcing women to have babies they don’t want to have is cruel. It doesn’t matter how or why they got pregnant. If abortion is okay in one situation, it should be okay in all situations. And before anyone brings up abortions that happen later in pregnancy, let me just say that those abortions are very rare, and usually occur due to a catastrophic medical issue. I highly doubt that women, as a rule, decide to terminate a pregnancy after the first trimester unless they have a damned good reason. They certainly don’t do that for convenience.

Darynidia’s comment is especially good… Why is it that so many people who want to deny women the right to choose, also have no problem suggesting suicide to already born people?
Yes. She sums up my feelings nicely.

So… these are my thoughts on the word “abortion”. I really don’t think of it as a “dirty word”. It’s not defined as a dirty word in the dictionary or by medical professionals. Some members of the public have made it a dirty word by implying that people who seek them are careless, immoral, heartless, cruel, unChristian, slutty, or whatever else. It ain’t necessarily so. Your aunt who had to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons technically did have an abortion. That procedure saved her life. Your sister who had a miscarriage technically experienced a “spontaneous abortion”. That doesn’t make her a bad person. Your high school friend who got pregnant after having unprotected sex went to a clinic to have an abortion. She’s still a decent person, worthy of respect and understanding. Maybe that procedure saved her life. Either way, it’s no one else’s business but hers.

The people behind Live Action deliberately use shaming language to push their agenda and make people feel bad for exercising self-determination. I would trust a board certified physician like Dr. Danielle Jones, OB-GYN over them anyday. I say that as someone who does not trust doctors, as a general rule. And I do not follow the word of any organization that gets into bed with so-called conservative leaders like Donald Trump and his ilk. This is a man who brags about molesting women and has probably funded and/or caused a few abortions himself. Abortion isn’t a dirty word in any sense, and people should stop attaching so much shame to it. It’s a neutral word that has been burdened with the dogmatic agenda of religious and political groups, who simply want to control women and maintain their power.

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healthcare, law, narcissists, Trump

“PLeaSe DOn’T AbORT! wE wIlL aDopT yOuR bAby!”

Recently, I started paying a lot more attention to Twitter than I used to. I never liked using Twitter before, because I don’t like having character limits on my posts. Also, I just never got into it. When Trump was president, he was constantly on Twitter, and I didn’t want to be exposed to his constant stream of shit. I actually blocked Donald Trump on Twitter before he got banned.

But lately, I have slowly been warming up to Twitter and posting more tweets. Most of my tweets are autogenerated by Untappd– a beer tracking app, but I have been making a point of sharing links to blog posts. I’ve also been following the musician, Anthony D’Amato, whom Bill and I had the pleasure of seeing open for Keb’ Mo’ last month. He’s very intelligent, witty, and shares my perspective on a number of issues. I like his music. He’s also pretty responsive.

I probably got more into Twitter in March, when USAA got me extremely pissed. I would go on Twitter to read comments from other outraged customers who have been let down by them lately. Bill and I are trying to divest ourselves from USAA, but it’s proving to be difficult for a lot of reasons. But we did manage to move our car loan and open another checking account at a different bank. As that gets more established, we will be moving more of our stuff out of Texas… USAA is based in Texas, of course, but Texas is also at the root of the abortion access crisis we’re facing now, thanks to the ridiculous decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. I spent the weekend reading a lot of reactions to this decision, and I am truly frightened for the future. I am pretty sure women will DIE because of this nonsense.

This morning, I got an email from Twitter with a digest of people it thinks I want to follow (but I don’t actually follow). In the email, there was a link to someone named Matt Oswalt. I don’t even know who the hell Matt Oswalt is. I should probably find out, since his tweet that appeared in this morning’s Twitter email is the inspiration for today’s blog post. According to his handle, Matt Oswalt is a comedian, and further research shows that he’s the brother of Patton Oswalt, who is also a comedian. And look at that! They’re from Virginia! Okay… now I feel caught up on things.

Cool.

So, this morning I saw the below tweet from Matt Oswalt.

Keep in mind, I didn’t know who or what Matt Oswalt was when I first saw the above tweet. I started reading the responses from people. Some of the comments were pretty funny. Some were outraged. A lot of people were engaging in a conversation that I’ve had with a few strangers myself, lately. Like, for instance, it shouldn’t be up to women who are unintentionally pregnant and unable to access abortion to provide babies for infertile people. Pregnancy and parenting are different issues. Giving a baby up for adoption is an extremely difficult and complicated decision. But, aside from that, there’s something really creepy about this couple…

Eeew.

And this one…

No thanks.

I mean, they could be wonderful people. They sure smile big and pretty. But they also look like the kind of people who would send their kid to a church where girls are routinely taught that having sex before marriage makes them akin to a shattered vase, a chewed piece of gum, a wilted rose, or a licked cupcake. Or maybe they’d “lovingly” kick the kid out of the house if he turned out to be gay, or preferred to be an atheist.

I can understand why a lot of women don’t want to give up their babies, even if they are ill equipped to raise them. Adoption may be a very loving and mature thing to do, or it could be a disaster. At least if a woman has an abortion, she knows what became of her baby. If she does it early enough, there’s no chance to bond. But going through nine months of pregnancy, feeling the fetus grow and kick, watching her body change irreversibly, and putting her life on the line has a way of creating a bond. And when the baby is born, those hormones kick into full force. The prospect of handing one’s baby over to a woman with a vacuous stare and the personality of mashed potatoes and her hungry looking husband is not very appealing. Like anything else, adoption is a crapshoot.

I know some adoptees, because when I was born, abortion wasn’t available everywhere. A number of people in my generation were adopted. Some adoptees had really good experiences and were raised by excellent people. Others had terrible experiences and felt rejected by their birth parents. The psychological injury that resulted from that rejection led to significant character disorders.

For instance, Bill’s former wife was adopted, and her childhood was a disaster. She didn’t know her adoptive father until she was seven years old, because he was a Merchant Marine and went to sea a lot. According to Bill, Ex’s adoptive father was comparably decent compared to her adoptive mother. That doesn’t mean he was a really great guy– he was married several times, and once reportedly got his marriage annulled from a woman he’d been married to for two days because he didn’t like the way she smelled. But at least he provided for his kids, and wasn’t extremely abusive to them. I guess he was just guilty of abandoning and neglecting them– or, at least he was guilty of abandoning Ex.

Ex’s mother divorced Ex’s father when Ex was very young. Ex’s mom then married a wealthy but evil man, with whom she later had a couple of bio children. For the first few years of her life, Ex reportedly believed her stepfather was her dad, because her adoptive dad wasn’t in her life. Ex was horrifically abused by her stepfather, and her mother turned a blind eye to it because it meant her husband left her bio kids alone. The end result of that upbringing was, in part, a woman who exploits her children and uses them as weapons against their own family members. That upbringing resulted in a woman who tweets celebrities, begging for money and narcissistic supply. She was rejected by her bio parents, and abused by her adoptive parents, and the reality of that is crushing. It’s the house of horrors that built Ex.

Here’s another example of an adoptee who went off the rails. In 2007, Bill went to war in Iraq with a narcissistic man who was adopted. Bill’s boss hated his adoptive mother. Actually, he seemed to hate all women, as he would openly deride and disrespect them. He would not let female doctors or dentists examine him, and he would be openly disdainful toward female officers. I have a female childhood friend who recently retired as an Air Force colonel. She is extremely well respected in the Army and Air Force, especially in special operations and military intelligence. She once had to report to Bill’s former boss, and he was openly rude to her, simply because she does not possess a penis. This man did not think women had any place in the military, and he behaved accordingly.

A few years after they deployed together, this colonel who had been Bill’s boss was very publicly fired for abusing his troops in Iraq. He had been on track to be a general officer, but too many people reported his egregiously horrible and dangerous leadership. He was relieved of duty and sent back to the States where he was forced to retire as a colonel, instead of the brigadier general he had been slated to become within weeks. There was a huge, embarrassing article about it in the Army Times. A quick Google search still shows plenty of mentions about what an absolutely terrible boss he is and how he disgraced himself in a war zone, abusing his troops and putting them in danger.

I remember Bill would call me from Iraq and talk about his boss… a man who delighted in abusing people. My blood would boil as I heard my husband talk about how his boss reminded him of Ex, and how my husband was in a war zone, which was stressful enough, and having to endure psychological abuse from his superior. I took comfort in knowing that I had warned his boss not to get my husband killed, because I would be coming after his ass if he did. I had said that in a joking manner, but Bill told me his boss took what I said very seriously. He was clearly not used to being spoken to in such a way by a woman, and since I wasn’t his underling, there was nothing he could do about it. He probably figured that if I had the nerve to say such a thing to him, I would follow up on my threats if he didn’t bring Bill home to me. Also… the colonel the narcissistic boss was replacing was killed in a helicopter crash a week before he and Bill arrived in Iraq, and his narcissism would not allow a similar fate to befall him or Bill. So he did take care of Bill, and made a point of not putting him in very dangerous situations. But that care came at a cost. He often mentioned my comment to Bill, and harassed him about it.

I remember asking Bill in 2007 why he wouldn’t report his boss. Bill said that if he reported him, he would be the one who would be punished. In Bill’s situation, it was just him and the colonel, not a brigade of troops, as the colonel was commanding when he got fired. So if Bill had complained, he would have looked weak and whiny. But… if Bill had complained, he would have done his part to try to stop an abuser from staying in charge. It might not have worked in the short term, but they would have had some precedence– a record of his abuse toward an officer in a war zone. Maybe things would have turned out better. Unfortunately, the military still has a long way to go in dealing with abusers.

I’m not at all saying that all adoptees turn out the way Ex and Bill’s former boss did, or even that being adopted was what caused them to be the way they are. I’m saying that adoption is a crapshoot, and sometimes adopted children have hellish childhoods that can turn them into terrible people. A lot of people like to talk about how adopted children are lucky because they were “chosen”, and of anyone, they should be the most in favor of the “pro-life” argument. But I have read comments from people who were adopted and wound up very conflicted, confused, and damaged by the experience. It’s not always a happy ending for those kids.

I do know a number of adoptees who grew up healthy, strong, and mentally balanced– including Bill’s half sister, who was adopted by his father and stepmother. It’s just that in both of the cases I presented in this post, it seems that being adopted had wounded the adoptees in some way. They didn’t feel the unconditional love and acceptance that all humans need to develop normal empathy. If their bio parents had raised them, they might have still turned out to be narcissists. Plenty of non adopted people are narcissistic. But in both of these cases, the adoptees reported not being loved and accepted when they were very young. Ex was used as a source of sadistic pleasure for her stepfather, in exchange for leaving his bio children alone. I’m not sure why the colonel hated his mother– Bill just told me that he had no regard for her, but he worshiped his father. And, in fact, the colonel was fired after having gone home to the States for his mother’s funeral. He probably hates her even more, now.

Adoption causes a lot of issues that the pro-life crowd wants to ignore. Aside from that, people who want to adopt usually want babies… preferably healthy white ones with no intellectual, physical, or psychological defects. Considering that we don’t offer universal healthcare in the United States, it stands to reason that a lot of women who will be forced to gestate won’t have access to the best prenatal care. Or, maybe the woman who is being forced to birth might deliberately neglect herself, hoping for a miscarriage… until the laws are made that force pregnant people to “take care of themselves” or risk being imprisoned, where pregnant people are also treated very poorly (and I’ve noticed lots of conservative men cheering about the prospect of jailing women over pregnancy– why are Americans so in love with the idea of warehousing humans in prisons?).

I mentioned recently that the foster care system in the United States is full of children who desperately need families. As red states gleefully ban abortion, some people are delighted at the prospect of a bumper crop of babies to adopt, as poor women with no means to travel to less misogynistic places will be forced to gestate. But many of those women still won’t choose adoption, so a lot of those babies will be raised in terrible circumstances that will trap them in abuse and poverty.

Yup…

The adoption thing isn’t the only issue to come up after the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision on Friday. Women’s lives are already in jeopardy in red states, because now doctors are feeling that they have to be especially careful in dealing with pregnant women in crisis. Last night, I saw this Tik Tok video from a nurse with a platform. Another nurse had written to her, explaining how a woman had come into the hospital with an ectopic pregnancy just after the ruling was overturned and a trigger law went into effect. The doctor would not treat her until he had spoken with a lawyer about how to get around the law and not lose his license. By the time she got surgery, nine hours had passed, and she had 600 ccs of blood in her abdomen. She had almost bled out and died, when a week prior, the doctor would not have hesitated to immediately do the necessary surgery to save her life.

@travelingnurse #greenscreen I hate it here #nursesoftiktok ♬ original sound – Lex RN BSN

It’s terrifying to be a woman who can get pregnant these days.

Meanwhile, we have moronic Republican representatives like Mary Miller of Illinois, praising Donald Trump for the overturning of Roe v. Wade as a “historic victory for white life”. Her exact words were “President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday…” What a stupid woman. But she’s probably only echoing what a lot of very ignorant people in the United States are thinking… until they or their loved ones are the ones whose lives are in danger because of this situation.

And then there’s Utah’s Republican Representative Karianne Lisonbee, who said this:

“I got a text message today saying I should seek to control men’s ejaculations and not women’s pregnancies,” Lisonbee told reporters during a news conference, adding that the message suggested: “that I clearly don’t trust women enough to make choices to control their own body.”

“And my response is I do trust women enough to control when they allow a man to ejaculate inside of them and to control that intake of semen,” she said.

She should be deeply ashamed of herself. What an asinine and CRUEL comment. She’s a traitor to women.

Well, anyway… I am pissed off about this. I am one of many people who are pissed off about this. I’m not sure what I can do, other than to keep writing, tweeting, and voting. We are indeed living in “interesting times”.

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complaints, controversies, healthcare, law, modern problems

Well… most of us knew this sad and scary day was coming…

I wasn’t surprised yesterday when I read the news about Roe v. Wade, and how six out of nine Supreme Court Justices voted to overturn the landmark decision that has allowed American women to legally access abortions since 1973. I was about to include the word “safely” in my previous sentence, but decided against it. Because truthfully, accessing abortion in the United States hasn’t been safe in years.

I can remember as far back as the 1990s, hearing and reading about doctors who provided abortions being murdered by gun toting, right wing zealots. I can remember hearing and reading about women having to face throngs of protesters when they visited Planned Parenthood, even if their visit was simply to get gynecological care or treatment for a yeast infection. I’ve read more than a few stories about parents who bravely sought late term abortions of their very much wanted developing fetuses due to a medical catastrophe, only to be confronted by some intrusive asshole holding up a sign and pictures of mutilated fetuses, screaming at them for “murdering” their child.

So many times, the people who presume to tell strangers what reproductive choices are appropriate for their lives have no ideas about how to care for babies that are born to people who aren’t ready to be parents. Their usual stock answer is to put the baby up for adoption… but that conveniently ignores the fact that there are many thousands of older children languishing in foster care, waiting for some pro-life person to give them a home. Those who want to adopt, often prefer to adopt babies… preferably babies that are completely healthy. They also don’t pay any mind to the fact that giving up a baby is very traumatic, and many times, the baby is given up only because of finances.

People who regularly read my blog may know that I like to read advice columns. Recently, I read a post written by a mother whose daughter gave up her baby girl for adoption. Years later, the daughter who “chose life” yearned to have a relationship with her long, lost child. The young woman wanted nothing to do with her birth mother, and this was crushing to her– as well as her mom, who had written for advice. I remember reading the comments left, most of which were pretty shaming toward the birth mom. People wrote things like, “What did she expect?” and “This is what happens when you abandon your baby and give it up for adoption!” and “Birth mom is just going to have to suck it up.” With that kind of judgment from the masses, is it any wonder that so many pregnant folks who don’t want to be pregnant would opt for abortion? At least with an abortion, there’s no wondering… and no one has to know or judge.

People who are against abortion also tend to be against welfare, and they never hesitate to condemn anyone who seeks help when they need it. They are usually against universal healthcare, mandatory leave for new parents, and requiring birth control to be covered by health insurance. Hell, they are also against having to have health insurance! And by God, many of them are just fine with people owning as many weapons as they want to own, no matter how deadly they are.

Then there’s the other side of the abortion spectrum. What about all of the developing embryos that were created by people who dearly want to be parents? Those embryos, which to most of the pro-lifers should be considered full fledged babies, are usually discarded when people have had as many babies as they want to have. But now that states can determine what constitutes personhood, there could be a real issue with procedures such as IVF. I’ve often thought about the many children who have been killed in schools by crazed young men with guns. How many of those children were conceived with help from a reproductive specialist? How many of them represented years of dashed hopes, massive money spent, and dramatic upheavals, only to be gunned down in a classroom? We can’t seem to do anything about the gun nuts, but we can sure as shit force people to gestate, even if it might threaten their well-being… or even their lives.

I saw many people opining about this decision. Most of the people I know are heartbroken, angry, and vowing to vote blue. Some of my friends still have friends who are happy that women are now going to be forced to gestate. A lot of the people who don’t have a problem with the Supreme Court’s decision are men, or women who are beyond their reproductive years. It always makes me cringe when I read a comment from a conservative white man who has no empathy for women. It usually doesn’t take long before they make a comment about women’s “personal responsibility” and birth control. They’re often pretty clueless about how to access birth control and what it takes to get it– and afford it. They don’t ever think about the number of rape and incest cases that never get reported, and assume that people who are pregnant and don’t want to be got that way because they were “irresponsible”. I often see and hear them saying things like, “She made her bed. She needs to lie in it.” Really… they think babies ought to be punishment! Like– if a woman has a baby she isn’t ready to raise, that will teach her to keep her legs closed. Well… isn’t that disgusting?

They never think about the times females are in situations in which they are pressured to have sex. The female might not have wanted sex, but she likes the guy she’s with… and HE wants sex. But he doesn’t want to bother with a condom… or the one he’s had in his wallet for over two years has a tiny hole in it. The types of people who blame women and want to “teach them a lesson” by forcing them to birth never think about that scenario. And if you point out to them that all pregnancies are caused by men, they want to argue about it and slut shame.

And then there are the people who say that this ruling hasn’t made abortion illegal, it’s only put the decision back into domain of the states. That conveniently ignores the fact that there are many states that have had trigger laws on the books for ages, just waiting for Roe v. Wade to be overturned so abortion can be made illegal immediately. And there will be other states that will rush to push through legislation that stops abortion, forcing the women with means to go to other places to get what they need (or want), overloading those states’ or countries’ systems. And the women without means will suffer and possibly even die.

Yesterday, I commented to a man who made a statement about how this decision hadn’t made abortion illegal, and was only shifting the responsibility to the states. A woman responded that those who want abortion can “always go to another state”. As if that’s the easiest thing in the world for a teenager with no money or transportation to do… But then she ended her comment by asking me if I wasn’t glad my mom hadn’t aborted me. I had to laugh at that, and I took great joy in telling her in very blunt terms that no, I AM NOT GLAD my mom didn’t abort me. I explained that if she had aborted me, I would not have been any the wiser. Developing embryos are oblivious. They have no concept of life or death, right or wrong, heaven or hell, or anything else. And if she had aborted me, we both would have been spared significant pain.

I was born in 1972, and abortion wasn’t legal everywhere at that time. Even if it had been legal in Virginia in 1972, I doubt my mom would have had one. My father wouldn’t have wanted her to do that because he was a conservative, white, southern male, and I think he liked the idea of being the father of four. But he wasn’t the one doing most of the work of child raising, and to be frank, my mom was not very good at the job. I had to hear many times about how upset she was about being pregnant with me, how obnoxious I was, and how her friends didn’t want to go anywhere with her because of me. And you know, all of that might have been true… but it’s not the sort of thing any parent should be telling a child. I heard it repeatedly, not just from her, but also from my siblings. In fact, when she’d get annoyed with me, my mom would even say “Where did you come from?!”

I grew up feeling resented and put up with… and although I had most of everything I needed or even wanted, in terms of material goods, I wasn’t cherished much. I have often felt rejected by the people who are responsible for my being here in the first place. It’s not so bad now. I’m 50, and don’t rely on my mom anymore. My dad died 8 years ago. We clashed a lot, and I think he was often ashamed of me. There are worse things that not being born… or even dying. Anyway, whenever someone thinks they’ve burned me by asking if I’m not glad to be here myself, I always delight in telling them “no.” I think babies should be wanted and deeply cherished by their parents. I also think that ideally, babies should be raised by the people who birthed them, because even the best adoptive parents can’t erase the biological connection that children have with their parents. People want to know where they came from; if they didn’t, DNA tests wouldn’t be so wildly popular.

I noticed this morning that my response got a few likes, as well as a comment from the woman who asked me if I was not glad to be born (which I didn’t bother to read). It also got at least one angry reaction. I want to ask the angry reactor if she would have preferred it if I’d lied. People who ask such personal questions of perfect strangers should be prepared to handle the truth. I don’t feel ashamed of myself for feeling the way I do. My life hasn’t amounted to that much, in spite of my best efforts when I was younger. If I died tomorrow, my husband would be devastated… but I don’t have any descendants, and my family of origin mostly feels alienated. I live in country that isn’t really my home, and my home country is becoming a place I don’t recognize anymore. I don’t look forward to the process of dying, but I would be lying if I said that dying wouldn’t probably be a relief. Because it means I no longer have to worry about anything at all… or engage with clueless idiots who don’t understand why people are so very upset about this ruling, and what it will mean for all Americans.

Well… I probably ought to close out this rant… because I suspect some people might not like it very much and may feel the need to “correct my opinions”. And while I think that writers should be brave enough to be truthful and tackle the rough subjects, this feels pretty raw and painful. I’m glad I’m 50 now, and this ruling will have no bearing on me, personally. And I’m also glad I don’t have any children to worry about. The United States is quickly turning into a dystopian hell.

But… on the positive side, at least I’m feeling somewhat better. Second COVID test was also negative. Of course, some people want to insist that it might still be COVID, and I should test again in a week. If I’m still sick, I’ll do that. But this really feels like every cold I’ve ever had… and I have no doubt that colds still exist. I don’t understand why people seem to want me to have COVID. What difference does it make, as long as I get well? It’s not like I ever interact with people, anyway.

ETA: I forgot to add that just yesterday, Germany’s leaders struck Hitler era legislation that forbade physicians from “encouraging” abortions. Doctors were being fined thousands of euros simply for providing factual information about abortion. And it was a brainchild of Hitler and is only just now being stricken from the books. The USA needs to take a lesson from more civilized countries.

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