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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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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controversies, modern problems, music, sex

Repost: Getting a little sick of hearing about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”…”

Here’s a post I wrote on December 14, 2018. I’m reposting it as/is, because it goes with my fresh content posted today. And yes, I would probably pause if Bill Cosby sang this… but it wasn’t written with guys like Cosby in mind. Why should a classic song be banned because of a few “rapey” bad apples? Why don’t we ban rapey creeps like Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, instead? The song is innocent.

Last year, I wrote a post on my music blog about the controversy surrounding the holiday classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  I remember a few murmurs last year about the “rapey” lyrics of the song, which was written by Frank Loesser and originally intended as a “parlor act” for himself and his ex wife, Lynn.  Someone wrote a very informative Facebook post about the history of the song, and its original intent.  I decided to write about it on my blog.

This year, it seems “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, which was never meant to be a holiday song, is more controversial than ever.  Radio stations across the United States have been pulling it from their playlists in the wake of the #metoo movement.  The song, which was written in 1944 as a “call and response” between a man and a woman, was never intended to be a date rape anthem.  In the 1940s, it was improper for unmarried couples to spend the night together.  In order to look respectable, a woman had to protest an invitation to stay the night, even if she wanted to stay.  And the man who was inviting her had to appear to be concerned about her welfare.  Otherwise, her reputation might be negatively affected.

Unfortunately, people have a tendency to see and hear things through modern lenses.  In 2018, lyrics like “Say, what’s in this drink?”, especially in the wake of Bill Cosby’s drink drugging scandal, seem inappropriate and tasteless.  But in 1944, no one gave a thought to a man spiking a woman’s beverage.  It was more a comment about the potential of a drink going to one’s head.

Although I’m definitely not a fan of “rapey” comments or song lyrics, I do think it’s ridiculous that people are clutching their pearls over an old song like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  Of all the things a person could get outraged about– like, the fact that our president brags about grabbing women by the pussy– a classic parlor song that was never meant to be inappropriate seems like a poor choice to me.  “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has never been a favorite song of mine– especially when James Taylor sang it with Natalie Cole– but I don’t necessarily dislike it because of its lyrics.  It’s just that there are other holiday staples I like better.

The larger issue, to me, is that I believe there is a place for “the inappropriate”.  I don’t like to see books, songs, movies, or artwork banned.  I remember in the 80s, there were conservative Christian groups lobbying to ban classic books like Slaughterhouse Five and The Catcher in the Rye.  I remember some people were outraged that students were reading books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird.  In those days, it seemed more like banning books was more of a conservative idea, to keep students from reading things deemed indecent or immoral. 

Now, it seems like the liberal left wants to do the same thing with certain classic songs, like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.  Maybe some people would say it’s different because Loesser’s classic seems to promote “date rape”.  I don’t see a difference at all, though.  Even if the lyrics were “rapey”, which they really aren’t, the song is still a classic.  It should be heard and examined by people.  You don’t have to agree with the content.  Just don’t presume to make that decision for other people.

I just read an interesting New York Times piece about “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” which, once again, explains the song’s original intent.  I’m glad to read that many folks aren’t taking this song banning business lying down… although I have read some surprisingly vitriolic arguments with people over this issue.  People like controversy, and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is enjoying new popularity as a download, even as radio stations are striking it from their holiday playlists.  Good.  Frank Loesser wasn’t intending to promote date rape or anything else untoward.  His song was intended to be a lighthearted, flirtatious, fun look at a couple in an era when respectable unmarried folks didn’t spend the night.  I think people should consider the context before they start demanding bans.  And then, after they do that, perhaps they should read a classic banned book.  The opportunity to learn will present itself accordingly.

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book reviews, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

My thoughts on The Trump Tapes, by Bob Woodward…

Happy Friday, everybody! As I wrote in today’s travel blog post, we had gorgeous weather yesterday. We went to the weekly market, since Bill is pretty much done with COVID. Afterwards, we came home and listened to the last of Bob Woodward’s Audible book, The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump. I must admit that I was glad to hear the end of the book, not because I don’t think Woodward did a good job, but because I hate listening to Donald Trump. And because this is an Audible book, it doesn’t exist in a print version. I can understand why it’s not in print, as I don’t think people would get the same experience from reading text as they do actually hearing Trump speak, but I still find listening to Trump a very painful experience. However, I am not sorry I bought Woodward’s first solely Audible effort. It was very educational.

“I’m doing something here that I’ve never done before, presenting the lengthy, raw interviews of my work. In the fall of 2019 through August 2020, I interviewed President Trump 19 times for my second book on his presidency, Rage. I had also interviewed him in 2016 when he was a presidential candidate. I decided to take this unusual step of releasing these recordings after relistening in full to all 20 interviews. As I listened to them again I was stunned by their relevance to understanding Trump. Hearing Trump speak is a completely different experience to reading the transcripts or listening to snatches of interviews on television or the internet.”—Bob Woodward from The Trump Tapes

While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that Trump’s effect on my attitudes regarding politics has been remarkable. Just a few short years ago, I was one of those people who didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics or politicians. I didn’t care who people voted for, and I mostly didn’t care who ran for office. I mean, sure, in my 40s, I cared more than I did when I was a young woman. But I mostly didn’t think it mattered much who was in office. Trump’s time in the White House changed all of that, and now I find myself watching political pundits on YouTube and CNN. I find myself deeply resenting unhinged, extremist politicians who seem to be hellbent on destroying democracy. And I think Donald Trump is the main reason this has been allowed to happen. While I do appreciate that he’s made me a less apathetic American voter, I despise Trump. I did hesitate before I downloaded Woodward’s project, but ultimately decided that it was something Bill and I could share. So, over the past three nights, we’ve been listening to Woodward’s interviews… as best as we were able to, anyway.

I’ve read a few books written by Bob Woodward, who has enjoyed a long career as a journalist for the Washington Post. He is an excellent writer and researcher, and he’s a very good, patient interviewer, as he obviously had to be to have conversations with Trump. The Trump Tapes was released on October 24, 2022, and the work represents twenty interviews the ever patient and professional Woodward had with Donald Trump, before and during his presidency. Woodward has interviewed many politicians and former presidents, as well as our current president, Joe Biden. He is well qualified to undertake this project. I think he did a good job, although I know this project will obviously not be a hit with everyone. Trump still has his cheerleaders, after all.

As we listened to the eleven plus hours of content in The Trump Tapes, I noticed that at the beginning of his political “career”, Trump seemed a lot more rational than he does today. The first interviews start off sounding somewhat sane and sensical. By the end of the book, Trump talks over Woodward, interrupting him constantly, spews lies and obvious untruths, and makes some truly ridiculous comments that are easily disproved. He honestly sounds like a deranged maniac by the end of the book, and I couldn’t help but really appreciate Woodward’s ability to stay cordial, congenial, and professional as he struggled to cover his subject. Woodward has what sounds like a strong Midwestern accent, and it’s obvious to me that his strengths aren’t necessarily in narration. Still, I had no trouble understanding him, except in a couple of interviews when the audio quality wasn’t as good due to the circumstances of when and where the recordings were made.

An interview about Woodward’s latest project, The Trump Tapes.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post, when I mentioned The Trump Tapes, that Trump is very friendly and forthcoming to journalists who convince him that they’re “on his side.” Woodward manages to stroke Trump enough to get him to speak in an astonishingly forthcoming manner, which as an American citizen who also has a tendency to be outspoken, was shocking even to me. Trump speaks to Woodward as if they’re old buddies, casually referring to him as “Bob”, while Mr. Woodward deferentially calls Trump “Mr. President.” You know that Trump was LOVING and expecting that “respect” and deference, right?

Hats off to Mr. Woodward for his incredible patience, which allowed him to achieve that impression of respect for Trump. I think that’s what made it possible for him to deliver the goods in the form of a hell of a story. That’s a true gift, in my opinion. I don’t think I could have done it. Trying to interview Trump is obviously extremely frustrating. Listening to him is frustrating, too; but I think that was Mr. Woodward’s point. A person who is running the United States shouldn’t act or speak like Trump does. There were times, especially toward the end of the book, when Trump sounded a bit like a lunatic. And yes, as to be expected, Trump constantly self-aggrandises and congratulates himself. It’s infuriating, yet illuminating.

I see that a lot of reviewers on Amazon are polarized on the subject of The Trump Tapes. Woodward is, after all, preaching to the choir. People who like Trump aren’t going to buy and listen to his blather as put out by a journalist who obviously has a negative opinion of their orange Jesus. In fact, those of us who agree with Woodward might not want to buy this book either, because we don’t want to listen to Trump. I know I paused before buying for that reason. I did notice that a lot of people who clearly didn’t buy the book left one star reviews and accused Woodward has having TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Frankly, I think if anyone is deranged, it’s the people who doggedly defend Trump, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of what and who he is.

I certainly didn’t need to hear Trump’s unhinged bullshit to know that I won’t ever be voting for him or his acolytes. However… I am actually glad that Bill and I listened, because it confirmed what we already know, and I gained new appreciation and respect for Mr. Woodward’s skills as a journalist. He might not make a lot of money on this project, but I think he’s done a great service for the nation. Truly. Some people are saying that maybe these interviews were “edited”. I don’t think so. I’ve heard enough of Trump to know that he’s as bad as he sounds. I suspect that some of his supporters, even in the face of actual recordings, don’t want to believe that they voted for someone this corrupt. It’s a hard thing to admit. We all make mistakes. I just hope some people will open their eyes and make better choices before it’s too late.

One person complained that this book is only available on CD or on Audible, which they said they didn’t want to join. I want to comment that I don’t make a habit of buying Audible books. The only title I have, besides this one, was James Taylor’s book Break Shot: My First 21 Years, which was only available on Audible. I didn’t have to “join” anything to get these books. I just bought them on their own. I double checked my Amazon subscriptions, and I’m still just a member of Prime. Maybe Audible is included in that. I do see that people can join Audible Plus, which I guess offers books for a monthly fee. I prefer to read rather than listen, so I wouldn’t want an Audible Plus account. I don’t know. I do have an Alexa device, so maybe that was also an issue for the people who complained. The commenter also asked who has a CD player these days. Actually, I have one of those, too. In storage, I have several hundred CDs, so I’m going to keep my equipment for as long as it functions. I also still have a VCR, but I’m not sure if it still works.

I wouldn’t want to subscribe to Audible Plus just for this book, but I am glad that I was able to download it. I’m also glad I’m done with it and don’t have to listen to it again. As important and valuable as I think Woodward’s book is, I don’t want to subject myself to it again. I’m hoping I won’t need to, as Trump someday rides off into the sunset… or finally passes away, as even he must mercifully do at some point.

Below is a screenshot I took of an Amazon review that I think pretty much sums up what I think about the content, only she says it better than I can. I will admit that we were a bit distracted as we were listening; I didn’t take notes, either, so the experience is a bit of an aural blur. What I do remember is that a lot of his emphasis was on the stock market, money, and whether or not people were with him or against him. In other words, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Trump, or any other obvious narcissist.

Yes… Woodward really does shine a light on Trump, and how completely inappropriate his presidency was. I do remember listening to Trump’s disrespectful comments about Jim Mattis, who was and is a highly regarded Marine general.

Should you listen to The Trump Tapes? Well, that depends. As I mentioned, I didn’t find listening to this book particularly pleasant, nor did I pay attention with rapt concentration. But I did hear concrete evidence as to why I can’t ever vote for anyone affiliated with Trump or his minions. A lot of innocent people suffered and died due to Donald Trump’s insatiable greed and complete lack of regard for the citizens of the United States, particularly during the height of COVID crisis. He is an irresponsible, arrogant, incompetent, and uncaring man, and he has no business serving as an elected official. I knew that before I listened to The Trump Tapes, but now I am even more convinced. Basically, we had the Wizard of Oz in the White House for four years. It’s time for us to wake up and elect someone who cares, and actually wants to deliver something to every citizen, not just the super rich and powerful elites. If you need further proof as to how disastrous Trump is, then yes, you should listen to The Trump Tapes… if you can stand it, that is.

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