law, narcissists, politicians, politics, sex, slut shamers, social media

Dear Mr. Pro-Life Guy… it’s time someone reminded you that “no means no”…

No means no.” As a child of the 70s and 80s, I heard this catchphrase a lot. Some marketing genius came up with it for PSAs about date rape. It’s meant to emphasize the importance of obtaining sexual consent before proceeding with sexual deeds.

I never had a lot of problems with people not respecting me when I said “no” to sex. But, before some smartass tries to tell me it’s because no one was interested, I will state that like almost all women, I was occasionally sexually harassed by men. I just mainly stayed out of situations in which I would have to deal with them. I’m not sure why that was. To my knowledge, I’ve never been raped. I did have some unfortunate encounters with a pervert when I was growing up, but he just showed me pornography. He never actually touched me. For that, I’m grateful.

Last night, I had an experience in a comment section with a very aggressive pro-life warrior. I had just read a news story about 80 year old Florida Representative Frederica Wilson. In the late 1960s, Ms. Wilson almost died from a pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth. Doctors pronounced her baby dead in its seventh month of gestation. However, because her pregnancy predated Roe v. Wade, doctors were not permitted to induce labor. According to the article, Wilson said:

“I had to learn how, first of all, to handle the immense grief that comes with losing a child and the fact that the corpse of that child was still within me. I cried every night and all day. My little body was wretched with pain, weakness and frailty.”

Wilson was commenting about anti-abortion legislation just passed by the House. The “born alive” bill will not go anywhere right now, as the Senate will probably not address it, and even if they passed it, Joe Biden won’t sign it. But it is a sign of what’s to come, as extremist right wingers try to impose their ridiculous anti-abortion views on the majority of Americans. I can’t help but notice that a lot of these folks are men. Quite a few of them are pushing shaming messages toward women who have casual, consensual sex. They claim they aren’t wanting to punish women for having sex for fun. But then, when a woman unintentionally gets pregnant, they think she needs to “lie in the bed she made for herself.”

Sure enough, there were several of these pro-life men opining in the comment section of the Washington Post article. A woman posted this excellent comment:

An embryo at 4 weeks is the size of a poppy seed. A 10 weeks fetus is the size of a pomegranate seed. Besides the contribution of one cell from a man, it is essentially a parasite using the woman’s blood, bone, muscle, etc. Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one. Mind your own business, in other words.

Then a pro-life man challenged her. He asked when she thought abortion should be banned. A lot of us, myself included, responded that it shouldn’t be banned at any stage of pregnancy. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll restate it for the latecomers. The vast majority of women who have abortions after the first trimester do so because there’s a medical reason. Either she’s sick, or the developing fetus has catastrophic medical problems. Late term abortions aren’t something a person does for fun or convenience. Any person who would do that for shits and giggles is not someone who should be a mother, anyway.

It wasn’t long before a guy named Kenneth decided to harass me with his pro-life views. I usually try to be respectful when I make comments, but this guy wouldn’t let up. He kept hammering away at me, trying to trip me up, challenging my opinions about abortion. I found him very disrespectful and responded accordingly. It reminded me of times when some horny guy wanted to do something sexual, when I didn’t. Fortunately, I never had an issue saying “no”, mainly because for some reason, I was afraid of sex and aggressive men. My fear of sex was greater than my fear of being socially rejected.

However, I happen to know that a lot of women, particularly young women, care a lot about what men think of them. So, when a man comes on to them, they’d rather just give him what he wants. They are willing to give in to his demands for sex. That’s how some of them end up pregnant when they never meant to be. While not every man is an asshole in this situation, a lot of men are.

I noticed that Kenneth had some “slut shaming” qualities. He commented to me that a woman who has a one night stand and has an abortion is doing so out of convenience. Obviously, he thinks that’s wrong. First off, the woman shouldn’t be having casual sex. Secondly, if she does get pregnant, she should commit to the pregnancy. Thirdly, if she doesn’t want to be a mother, she should give the baby up for adoption. He makes it sound like this is an easy thing to do. He acts as if pregnancy is easy, painless, and CHEAP.

Kenneth seems to think that he’s morally superior to pro-choice people, because he’s against abortion. Moreover, he thinks he has the right to hammer his views at total strangers. I normally don’t give guys like Kenneth much time, but I was feeling sort of hostile last night. He lobbed his impassioned entreaties at me, clearly getting nowhere, but unable to stop trying. I got increasingly annoyed, as he tried to explain to me– a woman– about pregnancy and the morals associated with it. It wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered this phenomenon.

I finally tired of Kenneth’s bullshit. It was time for dinner, and I wanted to end the conversation. So, after he referred to me as a “pro-abortionist”, I wrote this:

I am not a pro-abortionist. I simply don’t think you need to concern yourself with women’s healthcare decisions. It’s not your business. Especially since I highly doubt you vote for people who care about helping the poor or making healthcare affordable for everyone. Now please leave me alone. I’d rather clean the lint out of my bellybutton than continue this pointless dialogue with you.

As you can see, I very clearly asked him to leave me alone. I even used the word “please”. It’s a very clear indication that I’m saying “no” to continuing the discussion. It was getting nowhere, and my dinner was getting cold. But, not surprisingly, Kenneth came back with more stupid drivel. So I blocked him.

If I hadn’t had dinner in front of me, I might have pointed out that he was acting like a horny man. I refer to the type of man who pressures a woman for sex, won’t take “no” for an answer, and then slut shames her when she gets pregnant! This type of man accuses women of “getting themselves pregnant”. They call them sluts. They don’t want to help them. Instead, they say they should have been more careful. Guys like Kenneth put all the responsibility on women, as they demand to have a say in their healthcare decisions.

A few months ago, I had a similar experience, not on the topic of abortion, but about Virginia Military Institute. I wanted to comment because a number of my family members went there or worked there. Bill and I married there, although he’s not a graduate. My favorite relative, Uncle Brownlee (RIP), was in charge of the physical plant in the 1990s. He was actually at the forefront of making VMI accessible to women. I commented, and a man very soon attacked me for posting something positive about VMI. This guy wasn’t a right wing pro-life asshole, like Kenneth. Instead, it was a left-winger named Kent, trying to school me on how “racist, sexist, and abusive” VMI is.

I’m not going to try to tell people that VMI doesn’t have its problems. It’s not where I would have wanted to go to college. However, I do know that a lot of people– men and women– have done well at VMI and love the school. I think the good far outweighs the bad. Moreover, I have personal experience with VMI, thanks to my family members who attended and worked there. My perspective means that I don’t agree with people who think the school should be shut down for its sins of the past. This left-wing guy, Kent, who likely has ZERO actual experience with the school and probably doesn’t know a single graduate, felt the need to hammer me with his views.

As Kent tried to tell me more about “abuse” and all of the reasons VMI is “terrible”, I asked him to leave me alone. Naturally, he wouldn’t. For some reason, he couldn’t manage to do that. Instead, he came back with two more paragraphs of drivel. It was probably lost on him that he’s pretty abusive himself. I ended up blocking him, too, after pointing out that he doesn’t seem to be able to respect the word “no”. Perhaps he’s more like an “abusive” Keydet than he’d like to admit. I’m sure the strong and brave young women who choose VMI for college can make an informed decision about their higher education choices without Kent’s input, in spite of his penis.

I can’t help but notice that a lot of pro-life men missed the memo regarding “no meaning no”. I’ve noticed that they are also a lot like fat shaming men. Maybe it’s not so much the pro-life types that are like this, but it’s more narcissistic assholes who are. A narcissist can be on either side of the political spectrum, after all. But they do have one thing in common, and that’s the tendency to shame other people. And narcissistic men love to do it to women, especially those they see as somehow morally weak.

To these types, a fat woman is weak because she eats too much and dares to be in public when she’s not attractive to him. This is annoying to him. A pregnant woman who wants an abortion has the nerve to reject the sperm of the man who fucked her. She should have kept her legs crossed, just as the fat woman should keep her mouth closed. What they see as a lack of discipline is disgusting to them. But they never seem to look at their own behaviors, do they? The hypocrites!

I don’t have time for hypocrites, nor do I have the energy to waste on guys like Kent and Kenneth. My mind is perfectly good, and I have the ability to make my own decisions and form my own opinions. I don’t need help. When I ask to be left alone, I mean it. No means no.

Maybe if more men like Kenneth respected women who say no to them, there would be less of a need for abortion. Either way, it’s none of his goddamned business if a woman wants or needs an abortion. Women like me are going to fight for the right to make our own healthcare and education decisions without help from anti-choice assholes like Kenneth… and Kent, for that matter.

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healthcare, law, politicians, politics, Reality TV, sexism

“Activist judges” in South Carolina have defied the right wing alpha MALES, and I am so here for it!

Featured photo is in the public domain.

Yesterday was an interesting day. After I wrote my too long and too opinionated review of Jamie Lynn Spears’ book, Things I Should Have Said, I waited all day for the Amazon guy to show up with my latest toys. I bought an Amazon Echo Dot for my bedroom, as well as a couple of “smart” power strips that I can’t figure out how to configure. I was inspired to make that purchase because Bill bought me an Echo Dot for my office. I don’t really need one for either place, since I have so many other devices, to include my big desktop iMac computer that is outfitted with Siri. But they are nice to have… and it’s kind of fun when Alexa gives me a notification that turns its ring yellow. Makes me think of all the 70s era space travel shows I missed when I was a kid.

While I was waiting for my delivery, I noticed some exciting news coming out of South Carolina, the state where I spent three years earning my “overeducated housewife” status. The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the six week abortion law is unconstitutional. The law has been struck down, as the majority of the five justices determined “that the law that restricted abortions after detectable fetal cardiac activity [is] ‘an unreasonable restriction upon a woman’s right to privacy’.” Thanks to the 3-2 decision, abortion is now, once again, legal in South Carolina until 20 weeks gestation. This ruling comes almost two years after current South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. That law made abortion illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, except in limited situations such as pregnancies that would endanger the pregnant person’s life or were caused by rape or incest.

I was heartened to read the comments by Justice Kaye G. Hearn, who wrote the opinion of the majority. She stated, “Few decisions in life are more private than the decision whether to terminate a pregnancy. Our privacy right must be implicated by restrictions on that decision.”

Naturally, some people were rattled by Justice Hearn’s statement. I noticed the ones who were quoted in the Washington Post article link I unlocked were all MEN. Governor McMaster tweeted, “Our State Supreme Court has found a right in our Constitution which was never intended by the people of South Carolina. With this opinion, the Court has clearly exceeded its authority. The people have spoken through their elected representatives multiple times on this issue.

McMaster added that he “look[s] forward to working with the General Assembly to correct this error.”

I find McMaster’s wording very intriguing. He wrote, “Our State Supreme Court has found a ‘right’ in our Constitution…” That’s right, Henry. It is a RIGHT. I lived in South Carolina and worked in maternal and child health and healthcare policy there. I know about South Carolina’s moronic and ineffective approach to preventing unintended pregnancies… Just tell the girls to abstain.

Well, it’s not their public health approach, really. I found the public health folks working at the Department of Health and Environmental Control to be quite intelligent and informed on the issue, including why it’s important that women have access to abortion healthcare. It’s the right wing MALE legislators who have their heads firmly lodged in their asses. These same folks have no desire whatsoever to do anything to help people who find themselves unintentionally pregnant. They don’t give a damn about making sure those babies are born healthy to people who are prepared to raise them. It’s all about fear and shame, and telling women to keep their mouths closed and their legs crossed. Ridiculous… and completely unrealistic.

I don’t see how McMaster’s comments square with what happened to our federal rights to have abortions. For fifty years, women all across America had that right, and it was unceremoniously taken away from us by Trump’s trio of pro-life “activist judges”. Now, McHenry is accusing his own state’s Supreme Court judges of “exceeding their authority”, simply because he doesn’t agree with their interpretation of South Carolina’s Constitutional law. They were doing their jobs, Henry. You should do yours, and work for the betterment of ALL South Carolinians, not just your hyper-male, conservative, Republican buddies. 😉

The other quote in the article comes from another Republican male, Jeff Duncan, who says he’s “extremely disappointed” with the decision made by “activist judges” in South Carolina. Sounds to me like these judges are compassionate, Jeff. Do you have the same level of compassion for women who, for whatever personal, private reason, do not wish to be pregnant? Do you value the right to privacy for all people? Why should a woman who finds herself unintentionally pregnant have to justify terminating her pregnancy to ANYONE? It’s her BODY, Jeff; not yours. You will never face this choice. You will never have to deal with the multitude of changes that happen when someone gets pregnant. So kindly develop some compassion for the already born, and do what you can to make life better for them. Maybe then, your constituents might not feel like they need to have an abortion for reasons you don’t deem “acceptable”.

It seems to me that people who don’t like abortion should simply not have one. They should not lobby to take that right away from other people. Developing embryos and fetuses don’t have a concept of abortion, nor do they experience pain until quite late in pregnancy, beyond when the vast majority of people would consider having an abortion. And those who do, almost universally do so because the alternative to having one would be much worse.

Even MAGA idiot Donald Trump has recently opined about the foolishness of being extreme about taking away women’s abortion rights. He was recently complaining about the Republicans’ poor showing during the midterms. He said on his very own Truth Social:

“It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the midterms.” Then he added, “It was the ‘abortion issue’, poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on no exceptions, even in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother, that lost large numbers of voters.” Then he finished with, “Also, the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the U.S. Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared, not to be seen again.”

Those comments are now prompting anti-abortion groups to fire back, and indeed, a bunch of Trump’s former supporters are turning on him. I guess they’re finally seeing what some of us have noticed all along. But, in this case, Trump is actually right. A lot of people in the United States are legitimately angry about abortion rights being taken away. And many of the pissed off among us are women who would ordinarily vote Republican. Those women, many of whom are business people whose livelihoods could be adversely affected by unintended pregnancies, don’t want to be forced back into the kitchen. Quite a few of the rest of them are, like I am, disgusted by the idea that they would have to explain to anyone why they want or need to have an abortion. It’s, quite frankly, no one else’s business, no matter what the reason is. And basic privacy is, if not a right, an expectation, especially when it comes to healthcare. Abortion is healthcare for the already born women who need it, even if it’s not for the developing embryos or fetuses who have the potential to be born.

I, for one, am so ready for this issue to be settled, once and for all. This constant back and forth ping ponging about abortion is ridiculous, and it’s preventing actual work from being done to help the rank and file already born people who are actually struggling to survive. When a person is having trouble paying their bills, the last thing they want to be is unexpectedly pregnant, especially when they live in a state that is notoriously stingy about funding social welfare programs. And I am SO SICK of MEN inserting themselves in this issue, especially since a lot of them don’t even know the first thing about pregnancy or even female anatomy. They just want control over women. It’s plain and simple. Of course, some of the idiot Republican males who are claiming to be “disappointed” about this decision would not hesitate to provide access to and pay for abortions for their knocked up daughters or mistresses, would they?

Moving on…

It was totally random that I reviewed Jamie Lynn Spears’ book yesterday, and she is now participating in a new Fox reality show called Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test. I heard about the show yesterday, which also includes actress Beverley Mitchell, gymnast Nastia Liukin, Kate Gosselin (who has already washed out), and Dr. Drew Pinsky (also already eliminated). The first two episodes dropped on Wednesday, so I downloaded them yesterday and watched. I have to say, I found the show kind of boring and hokey. But… the cast mix is kind of interesting, given that it’s a mix of a lot of different kinds of people, to include reality TV stars, Olympic athletes, and actresses. I’ll probably watch the whole series and groan the whole time.

Yes… they’re REALLY going to let these “household names” die on TV. What bullshit. They must have really needed the money.

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narcissists, politicians, politics, poor judgment, Trump

Hope Hicks moaning about January 6th making her “unemployable”…

Ah, January 3, 2023… You know what that means, right? Christmas and New Year’s are now history. My trees are still up. I often leave them up until Epiphany, not because I’m particularly religious, but more because I hate the process of de-Christmasfying my house, both because it’s hard work, and because it’s sad to see the lights go. I like how the trees make our living room look more lived in and homey. I’ve slowly been taking Christmas stuff downstairs to the basement, but I know that very soon, I’ll be hauling the boxes up to the living room and dismantling the whole thing. Sad…

You know what else is kind of “sad”? Hope Hicks and her ilk, bitching about how the horrifying events of January 6, 2021 now make them “unemployable”. Yes, that’s right. CNN has released the contents of an angry text exchange between former Trump White House Aid, Hope Hicks, and Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff, Julie Radford. Hicks, who, in spite of her bad decision to work for Trump, is almost surely not someone with intellectual disabilities, was “mad and upset” because the insurrection hurt her professionally.

On January 6, 2021, Hicks texted to Radford, “In one day he ended every future opportunity that doesn’t include speaking engagements at the local Proud Boys chapter,” continuing, “And all of us that didn’t have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed. I’m so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now.” Hicks finished her diatribe with, “This made us all unemployable. Like untouchable. God I’m so f***ing mad.”

And Radford’s response was, “I know, like there isn’t a chance of finding a job,” and indicating she already lost a job opportunity from Visa, which sent her a “blow off email.”

My heart is breaking.

I just want to shake these women and remind them that there were many warnings and indications that the events of January 6, 2021 were going to happen. What the hell was she expecting? Did she really think that Trump’s attempted power grab was going to end well? Even if he had managed to stay in power after January 6th, eventually he would have ended up on the wrong side of history. And, as someone who voluntarily worked for him, and was there to hear the warnings about what was planned for January 6th, Hicks is complicit in enabling Trump. She really has no one to blame but herself.

Poor baby.

I look at Hope Hicks, and I see a very attractive, young woman who has a lot of things going for her besides her education and experience. In fact, I’ll bet that education and experience weren’t really the qualities that helped her get a job in Trump’s administration. She’s a woman, and we know what Trump thinks of women. He sees them as sex objects.

Fortunately, there were a few people in that administration who could see the writing on the wall. Hicks noted, “Not being dramatic, but we are all fucked. Alyssa looks like a genius,” supposedly referring to Alyssa Farah Griffin, who resigned from her job a month before the insurrection. I believe it was Griffin who helped Cassidy Hutchinson, who also realized too late that working for Donald Trump eventually becomes a serious liability for most people. Hicks was apparently more interested in her career and making money than doing what’s right for the American people. I have no sympathy for her. Cassidy Hutchinson also stuck around the White House too long, but at least she worked with the January 6th committee and shared what she knows. Hope Hicks was apparently just out for herself.

According to the Farron Balanced YouTube channel, Alyssa Farah Griffin basically said that Ivanka Trump was “worse than useless” in the White House. Because not only did Ivanka not try to temper her father’s worst impulses, but she also didn’t do a damned thing to mitigate his decisions. And neither did Hope Hicks, who was thought to be able to convince Trump to be a better human.

I like Alyssa Farah Griffin. She’s clearly more of a “genius” than her fellow former Trump administration colleagues are.

I seriously wonder, though… do these people have any common sense? They work in politics, and have surely been around people who won’t hesitate to shaft them. I think they could all use a course in psychology, so they might learn a thing or two about narcissistic personality disorder. While I obviously can’t diagnose Trump with anything, to me it’s very clear that he’s pretty much off the charts in terms of his narcissistic tendencies. He doesn’t do anything for anyone who can’t do something for him. And his desires and needs will ALWAYS come first. So of course she was going to be screwed over. Even if he’d stayed in office, she would only be as good as her last “good deed” for Trump’s agenda. Hicks didn’t see this when she worked for him? Was she blind?

Alyssa Farah Griffin speaks to Jake Tapper. I think it’s great that she quit, although I can see that Alyssa kind of fits the mold, doesn’t she? But at least she has some decency and integrity.

Bill and I were talking about this situation over breakfast. My husband, who is always so kind and empathic, said “Yes, it’s stupid that she wound up in that situation, but I can empathize. I know firsthand how easy it is to be blinded by this type of person.”

It’s true that Bill was married to a narcissist, and he went to war with one. And he soon learned that these very damaged people will never do anything for anyone that doesn’t somehow benefit them. They don’t care about the fallout to others when they do “nuclear style” shit like trying to overthrow the government, abusing troops, or demanding a divorce over Easter. They are focused entirely on themselves.

Alyssa Farah Griffin was smart enough to see that she didn’t want her name linked to Trump, knowing that there were so many lies being promoted. While I might fault her for being involved with Trump in the first place, I do commend her for quitting while the quitting was good. She shows that she has some good sense, or at least a sense of self-preservation. I get being young and wanting to find a good job. Alyssa is obviously very intelligent and well-spoken, in spite of her Republican ties. I hope the rest of these women have learned something.

For me, it was very clear who Trump was when I heard and read his comments about grabbing women by the pussy, and believing he could do it “because he is a star”. That, my friends, is the epitome of narcissistic thinking to the point of delusion. When someone speaks like that, it means that they don’t care about ANYONE but themselves, and they are wholly unqualified to lead anyone. This is a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women and them being “okay” with it, because of who he is. It’s sick and delusional, and as an American, I am ashamed that Trump was the president of my homeland. He is a huge embarrassment on many levels.

Good leaders care about other people. Trump obviously doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and his endless needs. It has NOTHING to do with his political affiliation or beliefs, which frankly, have little to do with the Republican Party. It’s about his quality as a human being. Trump is a very low quality person. And anyone who can’t see that now has obviously missed the plot. I wish people would learn to vote for individuals over political parties. Because, as I have learned over my five decades of life, the parties matter much less than the people who comprise them. The Republican Party used to have more decent people, but a lot of them have left or were voted out, and now we’re left with extremist power hungry psychopaths, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Lauren Boebert. And these are folks who have been emboldened by Donald Trump. Trump is getting to be old, but his influence, I’m afraid, is going to last a long time. I know his supporters will eventually look at their affiliation with him with shame… and some might even wind up in prison. But it will take time before they plainly see how wrong they are, and how they are now on the wrong side of history.

Anyway… I’m sure Hope Hicks has recovered professionally from the insurrection by now. As I mentioned, she’s obviously a beautiful woman, and she has education and experience. And, you know, there are people out there who will hire her, simply because she’s very pretty. I’m pretty sure her good looks were one reason why she ended up working for Trump in the first place, sad as it is. I see she used to be a model. Maybe she can go back to that gig.

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politics, Trump

Cassidy Hutchinson is truly a hero, as far as I’m concerned…

I know I’ve already written a book review today, but I wanted to add a few comments about Cassidy Hutchinson, former junior White House aide to Mark Meadows in the Trump administration. Yesterday, I read and heard about how she was “encouraged” by “ethics attorney” Stefan Passantino to lie under oath to protect Donald Trump and his cronies. Or, rather, the attorney advised her “not to recall” things that she remembered from her time in the White House. When Hutchinson asked the lawyer if that wouldn’t be perjury, he told her no one would know what she did and didn’t remember. So she could say “I don’t recall”, even though that would have been a lie. And yes, technically it IS perjury.

Thank God Cassidy Hutchinson has integrity.

After I watched the above video yesterday, I posted on Facebook that I think Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero. I truly believe she is, even though she worked in the Trump administration. I’ve seen a number of people holding her work for Trump against her, and minimizing the fact that what she did took immense courage and maturity. She has proven that she’s very professional and has a high level of personal honor.

Consider this. Last summer, when she was all over the news, Cassidy Hutchinson was 26 years old and had never needed to hire a lawyer. When this stuff came up, she was out of work, because Trump lost the election. She didn’t have the money to pay for a lawyer. One lawyer she contacted said they could help, but requested a $150,000 retainer. I bet that lawyer is kicking themselves now.

Stefan Passantino, one of Trump’s crony lawyers, offered to help her, and said she didn’t need to worry about legal bills. He refused to tell her who was paying for his services. It is legal for lawyers to be paid by third parties, but clients are supposed to know who pays so that they can give “informed consent”. Someone working for Trump would expect Hutchinson to be on Trump’s side, rather than allowing her to tell the truth.

Shortly after Passantino started working with her, some of Trump’s buddies started contacting her about job opportunities. I remember what it was like to be 26 and hungry for work, although I was waiting tables at that time of my life. I’m sure it was tempting to keep her mouth shut and take the job security and legal assistance. Naturally, once it became clear that Hutchinson was cooperating with investigators, those lucrative job offers were pulled, just like the proverbial carrot on a stick.

Fortunately for all Americans, Hutchinson realized that accepting this help from Passantino was akin to making a deal with the devil. She went to her parents for help. Her mother couldn’t help. Her father, with whom she understandably doesn’t have a relationship, is a big Trump supporter and refused to assist her in hiring a lawyer. In spite of her fears about retribution from Trump and lack of financial resources, Hutchinson told the truth. And now, a lot of people are thinking of her as a hero. I doubt she’s going to have to worry about finding a job. She has her self-respect, and she may have done a lot to help save our democracy. We’ll see what actually happens to Trump. Still… what she did took some guts!

I know a lot of people think Hutchinson should be criticized for working for Trump in the first place. I am inclined to cut her a break, though. It sounds like she was raised by Republicans, like I was. She may have never had a chance to consider other political views. Her father is a Trumper, so much so that he would protect Trump over helping his own daughter. She describes herself as a first generation college student, which probably means her parents are working class. Democrats used to be considered the party for “working class” people, but now it seems that Republicans are mostly folks who aren’t big on education. Trump even famously said that he “loves the poorly educated”. Hutchinson also went to Christopher Newport University, in Newport News, Virginia, which is very close to where I grew up. It’s a very conservative, red, part of Virginia. She’s only twenty-six years old. Maybe she hasn’t been exposed to other ideologies yet, in spite of her degrees in political science and American studies. Or maybe she considers herself the old style of Republican, which is what I used to be.

I’m sure Trump and his minions thought Cassidy Hutchinson would be easy to manipulate, flatter, bribe, or threaten into compliance. There she was, a beautiful young woman with just a bachelor’s degree and some entry level experience. She had her sights set on a political career and was making it happen. Surely they could get her to cooperate in this little matter, right? She sure proved them wrong. Maybe it would make sense to do Trump’s bidding, but it would have meant being beholden to him forever. Lots of Trump’s pals were contacting her relentlessly before she was to testify, trying to sway her testimony. I’m glad she realized that trusting them would be foolhardy. Trump is a snake, and he has no honor. There’s no guarantee that Cassidy Hutchinson would be rewarded for her cooperation. People like Trump routinely use people until they’ve gotten all they can and then ditch them. So Hutchinson was absolutely right to do the right thing.

According to the Washington Post:

“It wasn’t just that I had Stefan sitting next to me; it was almost like I felt like I had Trump looking over my shoulder,” Hutchinson testified. “Because I knew in some fashion it would get back to him if I said anything he would find disloyal. And the prospect of that genuinely scared me. You know, I’d seen this world ruin people’s lives or try to ruin people’s careers.”

And…

Hutchinson testified: “Pam [Bondi- Former Attorney General of Florida] texted me that night and said something to the effect of: ‘Susie, Matt Schlapp, and I had dinner with POTUS at Mar-a-Lago tonight. Call Matt next week. He has a job for you that we all think you’d be great at — that you all — we all think you would be great in. You are the best. Keep up the good work. Love and miss you.’”

I’ll bet none of those people are calling her now… The article continues:

Ben Williamson, a former White House aide who was still working for Hutchinson’s former boss, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, reached out to Hutchinson the night before her second scheduled interview with the committee with a friendly reminder.

“He said something to the effect of: ‘Well, Mark wants me to let you know that he knows you’re loyal and he knows you’ll do the right thing tomorrow and that you’re going to protect him and the boss,’” Hutchinson testified. “‘He knows that we’re all on the same team and we’re all a family.’”

Williamson did not immediately offer a comment.

Hutchinson was still concerned about lying under oath. She spoke to Passantino about her misgivings, and he said:

“I would have heard if he was mad about anything discussed in yours, but it’s just a good reminder that the boss does read transcripts,” Hutchinson recalled Passantino telling her. “And we want to make sure that, like, whatever he’s reading isn’t going to put you in a bad situation.”

Yeah, right.

The WaPo article I linked indicates that there’s another brave woman who deserves some credit. Alyssa Farah Griffin, another former Trump aide who had managed to break free of the MAGA cult, spoke to Hutchinson, who confided that she was withholding information at Passantino’s request. Griffin served as a conduit to the January 6th committee, letting them know that Hutchinson had more information that she was willing to divulge.

Through Griffin, Hutchinson answered more questions from the committee. When Stefan Passantino found out about it, he demanded to know how the committee found out. She tried to maintain plausible deniability, but the jig was up. The lucrative job offers dried up, and she was out in the cold. Hutchinson told a staffer, “I’m about to be fucking nuked.” She soon started to realize the price she could be paying for betraying Trump. I’m sure she experienced great anxiety and sleepless nights, realizing that these heavy hitting Republicans could and would happily steamroll her in their bid for maintain power and money. She could have given in to that and been a slave to Trump’s MAGA cult. She chose integrity, instead.

According to The New York Times:

“They don’t know what you know, Cassidy,” she quoted [Passatino] as saying. “They don’t know that you can recall some of these things.”

After the interview, Ms. Hutchinson said, Mr. Passantino told her that he would help her get her “a really good job in Trump world.”

“We’re going to get you taken care of,” she quoted him as saying. “We want to keep you in the family.”

But obviously only if she lied for Donald Trump and his cronies… and only if she was willing to sell her soul to his MAGA cult. It’s not a nice way to live, is it? Yes, she should have avoided Trump in the first place, but because she was there and was willing to talk, we know a lot more than we might have. Cassidy Hutchinson is to be commended for her grace under pressure, her commitment to honesty and professionalism, and her extreme bravery and integrity. I’m sure she will be rewarded for this on many levels. The biggest and best reward of all, in my opinion, is maintaining her dignity and self-respect. She’s going to go down in history as a courageous young woman who didn’t bow to Donald Trump. She seems to be one of the few and proud. I think she has a bright future ahead of her, as long as she stays healthy and safe… because, frankly, I would not put it past Trump to try to get her offed somehow. He has proven, time and again, that he’s an insane, ruthless, vindictive bastard who will stoop to incredibly low levels to get revenge on his enemies. I sincerely hope she has some protection.

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bad TV, good tv, modern problems, nostalgia, politicians, politics, Russia, Trump, YouTube

TDY weeks are made for made for TV movies…

As I mentioned in today’s first post, my husband, Bill, is gone this week on a business trip in Bavaria. I don’t have any local buddies to hang out with, so that means I have a lot of empty time on my hands. When Bill was deployed to Iraq back in 2007, I spent a lot of time watching reality TV. At that time, we lived in the States on Fort Belvoir, and we had FiOS (fiber optic cable TV and Internet– which is just becoming a “thing” here in Germany). This was before Apple TV, so I couldn’t spend my time watching relics from my childhood, the way I do today. I’m glad for Apple TV and YouTube, because now I can watch stuff I missed back in the day.

Back in February 1987, I was fifteen years old, and very busy with school and taking care of my horse. I wasn’t at all interested in politics, religion, or current events. I was kind of “dumb” then, as we didn’t have all of the news and information sources we have now. In those days, the Soviet Union was still very much a thing. People worried about nuclear war to the extent that it was a topic on sitcoms, like The Golden Girls. There were a number of Soviet themed films that were released for the big screen. I remember the movie, Red Dawn, came out in 1984, when I was 12 years old. It was the very first PG-13 rated movie, mainly because it was, and still is, a very violent film about Soviets invading the United States. I remember being very “fired up” when I saw that movie the first time. I was young and impressionable, and thought the height of patriotism would be to join the military and fight for my country. Hell, when I was 12, I might have even made the military’s weight standards. 😉 Actually, I’m kidding. As a teenager, I thought I was fat, but I really wasn’t. Like I said… I was kind of dumb in those days… dumber than I am today. But today, I am fatter than I was in the 80s.

Since the Soviet Union was still so threatening, the American Broadcasting Company, otherwise known as ABC, made the mother of all miniseries. It was a seven night EVENT, which even in the era of network TV, was a big production for a miniseries. Most miniseries lasted two or three nights. I was interested in very few of them, because like I said, I was BUSY then… and not interested in politics, religion, or current events. But other people were interested, so ABC made this miniseries called Amerika. It was set in 1997, in a fictional midwestern town called Milford in Nebraska. It starred, Kris Kristofferson, Mariel Hemingway, Cindy Pickett (“Ferris Beuller’s mom”), Christine Lahti, Robert Ulrich, and a very young Lara Flynn Boyle, among other people who are now either dead, or more or less famous than they were in 1987.

The premise of Amerika was that the Soviet Union’s leaders had messed with our elections and that had led to a “bloodless” coup. The United States was no longer. Instead, it was broken up into smaller areas. The flag and national anthem were changed, and the idea of communism was introduced to our capitalistic society. The miniseries was about how the country changed. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and it was obviously based on the propaganda of the time. Remember, the Soviet Union ceased to exist in December 1991, so a lot of today’s adults weren’t around when it was still in existence. But some of us old farts remember it very well.

Well, I completely missed seeing Amerika when it originally aired. It only aired once, because it caused a lot of issues with leaders in the Soviet Union, who were outraged by it. It was also a really long television event that was probably expensive and disruptive to air. In the 80s, we had our “must see TV”, and these kinds of special shows would usurp our old favorites. And then, after just a few years, Amerika seemed over the top and ridiculous, as the Soviet Union literally fell apart, and formerly closed borders started opening. Hell, the movie was set in 1997, but I was actually finishing up my Peace Corps assignment in Armenia, a former Soviet country, in 1997. So, as you can see, it didn’t make a lot of sense to air the program again. It was later released on video, but it doesn’t look like a DVD set was ever released. However… someone did upload the entire series to YouTube. I watched the whole thing in several sittings, as the program is over fourteen hours in length. Even couch potatoes like me need to get up and move sometimes.

A trailer for Amerika.

I don’t want to get too much into the specific plot of this series, because frankly, it seems like an overwhelming task. As I mentioned up post, the series was set in a fictional town of Milford, which was named after the enterprising American family that helped build it. Some of them still lived in Milford, only to watch their town being overrun by Soviets and American politicians who figuratively “got in bed” with them in a bid to seize power. We watch as people with private businesses can no longer offer what they used to have. A woman who ran a cafe for over thirty years was forced to serve soy products instead of the comfort food she used to offer. Later, everyone is forced into a curfew and heavily armed Soviet soldiers bust the woman’s neon sign, which had been lit for decades. She cries as she’s forced into the back of a truck to be driven off to God knows where.

We see a talented young dancer (Boyle’s character, Jackie Bradford) being ignored when she auditions for a show because she’s too good and would ruin the uniformity of mediocrity of the others. By the way, while I can see where the writers were going with this point, years of watching Soviet athletes and listening to Soviet trained musicians tells me that the culture certainly embraced the talented. They were showcased! Just watch any 70s or 80s era Olympics or a Russian ballet! But the point is, communists didn’t give anyone an incentive to excel, since everyone was “treated equally”. Except they actually weren’t. There were certainly people in communist countries who had it better than others did, due to their stations in life.

We see dissidents being forced into “re-education” camps. Kristofferson’s character, a former politician and 1988 presidential candidate named Devin Milford, had been imprisoned in Texas for trying to fight against the regime and speaking out against corruption. At the beginning of the series, we see him being released and sent into exile in Milford, where he is to stay within 25 miles of his property or risk being jailed or shot. He watches as families lose their homes as Soviet squatters are not recognizing the former Americans’ rights to own land. Children in school are being propagandized with communist principles, which they spout off by rote.

Devin’s eldest son is sent to a psychiatric hospital to be “treated” for thought crimes. He and his fellow patients are shown propaganda while hooked up to electrodes, drugged, and kept in cells. His middle and youngest sons are kept from him. The middle child is bright enough to see through what is happening, but the youngest child becomes very indoctrinated, to the point at which he turns on his father, with a literal gun. Devin’s ex wife, Marion Andrews (Wendy Hughes), is becoming a government leader who wants her ex husband killed.

Fellow Milfordite, Peter Bradford (Robert Ulrich) becomes president, with his wife Amanda (Cindy Pickett) as his first lady. Amanda is very disturbed by all she sees, and tells Bradford that she can be his wife, but not his first lady. Sounds kind of like Melania Trump! Except Amanda is nowhere near as narcissistic and vacuous as Melania is. 😉

And then there’s Kimberly Ballard (Mariel Hemingway), who was very young and beautiful in 1987. She plays a musical theater actress whose work is affected because of censorship. She also gets involved with a Soviet military leader– well… she falls in love with him, and he falls in love with her. But their love can’t survive, because she’s an American through and through, and he’s a Soviet. And politics always take precedence over love.

Mariel Hemingway “sings” as Kimberly Ballard… or does she? This is disturbing.

Like I said, this is a very long series, and to be honest, it was a bit of a plod to get through it. It starts off rather slowly, but then gets more interesting. The musical score may be familiar to some people, too, as the composer of much of the music was Basil Poledouris, the same guy who did the music for the original Red Dawn. In some ways, this film reminded me a bit of Red Dawn, minus most of the violence… at least at first. As Americans start waking up to the reality of communism, a la a frog in slowly heated water, there’s more violent action. Some of it was kind of chilling to see, even by today’s bloodthirsty standards. There are a lot of “dead” people shown– eyes frozen open in shock and horror, as fake blood runs down their faces. In 1987, it was still uncommon for Americans to see mass shooting events.

In some ways, Amerika still seems far fetched and ridiculous. It’s now 2022, and 1997 was a long time ago– 25 years! But realizing that this movie was made in 1987, it’s kind of interesting to see what we had in 1997 that wasn’t yet conceived of in 1987. So, for 1997, Amerika seems pretty quaint and antiquated. However, I moved to Armenia in 1995, which was only about 3.5 years after the Soviet Union fell apart. Things were still very antiquated there in 1995, and things were still pretty much run like they were in the Soviet era. In fact, conditions were worse there at that time, because they were on their own. We had no electricity most of the time; some places had no running water; and almost no one had hot water from a tap. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia in 1995, I took bucket baths with water heated on my kerosene heaters or propane stove. I read books at night by kerosene lamp light. Anything I wanted to buy was behind a counter. And I lived in a series of ugly Soviet era cookie cutter apartments.

But, in other ways, Amerika is scarily prescient. The miniseries was probably conceived of by right wing political conservatives, as it has a very anti-communism message. BUT… as we all know, in 2016, the Russians fucked with our presidential elections. We had a “Republican” leader in Donald Trump, who doesn’t really resemble an old style Republican at all and, in fact, isn’t one. Trump is a fascist, dictator wannabe, and he’s spawned a bunch of power hungry acolytes who would love to follow in his footsteps, even though he’s clearly against freedom and outwardly said the Constitution needs to be “suspended” so he can be put back in power.

This bitch needs to be voted out… but Georgians are too wedded to being “Republicans”. She says that if she and Steve Bannon had been “in charge” of January 6th, they would have “won”. What a fucking loser she is. How DARE she?!

Yesterday, there was news about how, on January 17, 2021, South Carolina Republican Ralph Norman sent a text message to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, calling for Trump to institute “Marshall law”. He means “martial law”, of course. But he was actually calling for Trump to use military force to overturn the legal and fair 2020 presidential election, to prevent Joe Biden from taking his rightful place as the US President. Can you fucking believe it? These are Republicans! Aren’t they supposed to be about smaller government, the Constitution, and freedom for everyone (except women of childbearing age)?

How dare he? These MAGA motherfuckers need to be run out of power. Especially Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is among the worst of the lot.

I saw a lot of comments on the Amerika videos. Many people were trashing Biden, and saying that America is headed for the scary communist dystopian reality presented in Amerika. And yet, I lived in a former Soviet country, and I learned that the people living there weren’t bad people. They really weren’t that different than I was. They just came from a poorer country in need of assistance. In the 25 years since I left Armenia, I have been really heartened to see how far the country has come. It’s truly become a cool place to be, in terms of the incredible culture and the insane talents of its citizenry. Meanwhile, the United States is starting to look more like it could go the way of the old Soviet Union, as Trump and his minions try to take over and force us to accept his “leadership”. I’m actually not that afraid of Trump anymore, because he’s old and has been revealed for what he is. BUT… I am afraid of the younger, smarter, more polished, power hungry types in his wake who claim to be patriots and fans of the Constitution, but want to do away with fundamental American principles like separation of church and state, the right to privacy, and not having the military running the government so that the overall unpopular extremist, dictatorial types like Trump can stay in charge.

Peru and Germany DID something about their dictator wannabes. Let’s get with it, America, and put these dangerous people away, before they ruin the country.

This week, there was a coup stopped in Germany, which is where I live right now. The people involved in that are now in massive legal trouble. They have been arrested. In the United States, Donald Trump is still a free man, in spite of showing us who he is, and what he wants to do. For some reason, Republicans think their party is still what it was years ago, when it was about keeping government out of people’s private business and keeping taxes low. Do these folks really believe that Trump and his deplorable minions won’t be trying their best to take what’s yours? Trump just wants money and power. But there are people inspired by him who want more. They have shown us… and there are a lot of awful people in public office who care more about being re-elected than doing what is right for the citizens of the United States and running free and FAIR elections, without corruption.

One thing that I did learn, having lived in Armenia, is that abortion wasn’t really a big deal in the Soviet Union. I met many women who’d had them, mainly because birth control wasn’t freely available, and their men didn’t want to bother with condoms. And when you’re making the US equivalent of $10 a month, it’s hard to have enough money to raise children. But, it hasn’t escaped my attention that a lot of Republican business owners who don’t want to pay a living wage, nor do they want to offer birth control coverage on health insurance policies provided through work, are very much against allowing abortion. At least for now. 😉 Some of those folks might eventually realize that religion makes it harder for them to control the masses, as people have a power higher than the state. I think with time, religion and the so-called morals espoused because of “God” will become much less fashionable among Republicans, just as the Constitution apparently has.

Yeah… she’s all for church, until she realizes that people are giving money to churches that they could be giving to government officials, like her. What an un American idiot she is. And no, the church is NOT supposed to direct the US government.
It’s UNBELIEVABLE to me that people are so blind to WHO these MAGAts are!!!!

Anyway… just like I was in 1987, a lot of Americans are concerned about other things. And they aren’t paying attention, even though we have a lot more ways to pay attention now, than we ever had in the past. I hope some people wake up before we start seeing America turn into Amerika. I don’t even want to say that all Republicans are bad, per se. It’s just that the old school ones are being replaced like MAGAts… like cancer cells, they are taking over.

So, although Amerika was a “plod” to get through, I am glad I took the time to watch it. It made me think. If I had taken more time, I probably could have written a much better blog post about it. But if I manage to inspire someone to watch it and draw their own conclusions, maybe I will have done my good deed for the day. It was eye opening for me, but not in the way that other viewers saw it, apparently. This is the type of thing conservatives would tend to watch, because of that dirty word– communism– and Soviet Union style politics. They don’t see the similarities between Soviet Union style communism and Trump style fascism that I see, like the Trump style desire to suppress the media— something very much in the Soviet playbook. As someone who has experienced life over there, and has voted on either side of the spectrum, I see other, more frightening things. We, as a nation, need to collectively wake up and do something about these deranged, fascist, violent people before it’s too late.

WHEW… I meant for this to be about two movies. Guess I’ll be writing another post, which seems fair enough, since it’s snowing outside right now.

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