communication, condescending twatbags, family, healthcare, history, law, politicians, politics, true crime, Uncategorized

Granny’s notes give me perspective on the past…

I had an interesting Thursday, and not just because it was my day to vacuum the house. It was interesting because I did some thinking, and even became a little inspired. My Aunt Gayle sent an email containing a document written by my Granny years ago. The fifteenth anniversary of her death is approaching next week, so Gayle sent out “Granny’s notes”, which was basically a brief history of Granny’s long and fascinating life. Granny was born near Natural Bridge, Virginia and spent most of her life there, though she did have some brief sojourns to other places. She was the fifth of ten children, and the last of the children to die, at almost 101 years of age. Had she lived just 54 more days, she would have made it. But it was time for Granny to go, as she had obviously witnessed a whole lot in her life. I can’t imagine what she would think of what’s happening today.

My grandmother was born at a time when women couldn’t vote, and were thought of as little more than property to their fathers and husbands. She died in the age of the Internet. In her lifetime, she bore nine children, and outlived two of them. She saw a man walk on the moon. She watched cars take over horses and buggies. She traveled to England to visit my parents, my sisters, and me, stopping in Scotland and Ireland, to walk on land where her ancestors lived. What would she think about the way women’s rights are being rolled back today? Granny was a conservative lady, but she was always very smart and practical, and she had a sharp mind until the bitter end of her life. I don’t know what she thought of topics like homosexuality or abortion. I suspect she was more progressive than some people would have liked to have given her credit for being. I say that, knowing that she was born and raised in Rockbridge County, which is a very red part of Virginia.

When I got my aunt’s email last night, I thought of a woman I “met” on 23andMe. She and I are first cousins twice removed. It turns out my Granny’s brother, Ed, had a fling with a young woman who had come from Longwood University (then known as the State Teachers College) to Natural Bridge to teach school. Ed and the young woman conceived a baby girl, whom they surrendered for adoption in Roanoke, Virginia. The girl was adopted by a couple from Roanoke and grew up there, while Ed went on to marry another woman and have a son. I seem to remember hearing that Ed’s son died when he was still in his 20s, although that happened when I was still a glint in my dad’s eye. Ed died a few years before I was born.

The woman I “met” is the daughter of Ed’s “illegitimate” daughter (to use an antiquated term), who was given up for adoption. She is in her 70s now, and has a half sister. They live in Maryland. I hadn’t been chatting with her lately, mainly because after we exchanged information, there wasn’t much else to say. But Granny’s notes changed everything. I immediately contacted her on 23andMe and told her about the document, and asked her if she’d like me to send it to her, since Granny had written about her parents and grandparents– and they were also kin to her. She enthusiastically agreed, so I forwarded the document to her.

Then I thought about the rest of this woman’s incredible DNA story. Her mother had grown up in Roanoke, apparently unaware that she had been adopted from a couple in Rockbridge County. When she became an adult, she moved to Washington, DC to work, and there she met a young, dark haired man who worked for the Ecuadorian Embassy. They had a fling, and sure enough, she got pregnant. When she told her mother, her mother snapped “Just like your real mother!” That’s when she found out she wasn’t her mother’s natural child.

Unlike her biological parents, to include my great uncle and his girlfriend, my cousin’s mom chose not to give her daughter with the “Ecuadorian” up for adoption. So she grew up not knowing her dad, but assumed she was half Ecuadorian, since that was where he was from, and he definitely looked and acted the part. Many years later, when she took her DNA test, it turned out that actually, he was Ashkenazi Jewish! I guess his family had moved out of Germany to Ecuador as a means of avoiding Hitler.

Of course, it’s not lost on me that had this all happened years later, Ed’s girlfriend could have chosen to have an abortion, and I wouldn’t have this novel worthy story to tell. And the truth is, I don’t cheer for abortions. Personally, I like the idea of choosing life over an abortion. But I am against forcing women to give birth, because there are simply too many reasons why having a baby might be the worst decision. And so, I read stories about women who made that tough choice and agonized over it, or even laughed about it, as Alison Leiby has, having written a comedy show about her choice to have an abortion before Roe v Wade was overturned, and women’s rights became even more threatened than they already were.

Yesterday, I wrote about Alison Leiby’s op-ed in The New York Times titled “Please Laugh About My Abortion With Me”. I still think it’s an article well worth reading. I found it very thought provoking, and I think she’s very BRAVE to have written it, given how completely horrible and closed-minded some people are about this topic. For those who missed yesterday’s post and don’t want to read it, here’s another link to the unlocked article.

I noticed that a lot of people on Facebook were commenting on Leiby’s op-ed, but it appeared that very few had bothered to read it. It was behind a paywall, so that’s to be expected. Still, it’s disappointing when someone writes a piece that is thoughtful and interesting, and the masses– who can’t or don’t want to pay for a subscription– feel the need to make irrelevant comments about it. So I posted that I thought Alison Leiby’s excellent op-ed was “thought provoking”, and it’s a shame that few people appeared to have read it. Others who had read it gave me likes, while a few obvious pro-birthers gave me laughter.

Naturally, it wasn’t long before a guy named Steve decided to engage me. He immediately wrote a mocking post to me, asking what part of Leiby’s post I thought was thought provoking. His comment was full of the usual tripe about how Leiby is obviously an uncaring, irresponsible woman who made a poor choice in sexual partners and then cold-heartedly KILLED her baby. I laughed at that and wrote, “Didn’t read the article, huh?” Because I knew that if he had, he would find out that the piece was not about Alison’s decision to have an abortion, but rather how she had processed the experience, the difficulty of discussing abortion with others… and yes, LAUGHING about it. She’s a comedian, so tackling difficult topics with humor is literally what she does for work.

Steve came back at me with more hostility, accusing me of not having read the article, which I actually did. And then he demanded that I defend my pro-choice opinions to him, which I don’t have to do even when people ask me politely, let alone make demands. But I decided I wouldn’t be engaging him at all, when I noticed that in his snarky retort, he referred to me as a “chick”. Imagine that. I’m 50 fucking years old, and this “pro-life” man, who doesn’t even know me, just called me a CHICK! I’m not even a fellow human being to him. I’m a baby chicken who happens to have a uterus (for now, anyway). My Granny used to take care of “chicks” on her family’s farm. And then he expects me to have a thoughtful discussion with him about a topic as complicated as abortion is? I don’t think so.

“Duck you, Steve.”

My response was more or less, “I can answer the questions, but I am choosing not to, because it’s obvious to me that you just want to judge this woman’s very personal decisions. The fact that you just referred to me as a ‘chick’ gives me a pretty good idea about what you think of women. I couldn’t be less interested in interacting with you. Please leave me alone.”

To his credit, he did stop tagging me. It’s a good thing he did that, because if he hadn’t, I could have commented on the fact that not only does he dismiss and dehumanize women by calling them “chicks” when they’re being serious, he also doesn’t respect them when they say “no”. And this overbearing habit that some men have of not hearing the word “no” when a woman says it, is precisely why a lot of women need to seek abortions in the first place!

Fortunately for Steve, he did hear me when I asked him to leave him alone, and he complied with my wishes. Not every guy offline or on social media is even that respectful, so I guess I should be grateful that he knocked it off when I requested it. But it was quite clear to me that he hadn’t read the essay and was betting that I hadn’t, either. Then he had the nerve to try to demand that I interact with him. I wonder if he was ever like that on his dates.

Is Steve like this guy?

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on ol’ Steve, though. It probably didn’t occur to him that calling me “chick” would trip him up on his path to the idyllic Land of Mansplaining Sanctimony. Like a lot of people, he failed to think ahead. Failure to think or plan ahead, is another reason why some women want or need to have abortions. It’s natural that this happens, and as Steve has proven, it’s not just the women who have this issue.

It occurs to me that Granny, who was a very strong, intelligent, wise, and hardworking woman who bore nine kids, probably had to deal with that kind of shit from men all the time. I know she had to deal with my grandfather, whom she had said was the “nicest man” when he wasn’t drinking. The trouble is, he was “always” drinking, and had a legendary temper. Or so I was told by his son, who was my dad. By contrast, Granny wrote in her notes that her own father was very quiet and gentle. Being married to “Pappy” must have been quite different to her, just as being married to my gentle husband is different for me. Like Pappy, my father was often very nice and kind, but he was also a severe alcoholic who could be brutal. Thankfully, he wasn’t physically abusive very often, although it was often enough.

I think about women who are still, even in 2022, when we have laws against domestic violence, trapped in horrific relationships with men who won’t take no for an answer. I think about women who are on their way to financial freedom, or finally have the achievement of a lifelong dream in their sights, or maybe can’t keep any food down because they have severe hyperemesis gravidarum, or any other medical issue, just wanting to make their own private decision about whether or not to be pregnant. If I had gotten pregnant with Bill’s baby, I would have been very happy about it. But if I had gotten pregnant after being date raped at a fraternity party, not so much (and no, that never happened to me, but it could have). Likewise, I served in the Peace Corps, where female Volunteers have been known to be sexually assaulted. I personally knew of one person who was raped when I was serving in Armenia. She didn’t get pregnant, but if she had, she would have been required to get an abortion at her own expense, or leave the Peace Corps.

And guys like Steve want to frame a narrative about how anyone who wants or needs an abortion is just some loose, slutty woman with no heart or morals, who “got herself pregnant” because she was “irresponsible”. Same guy wants to call me a “chick”, as he demands that I engage with him. I’ll bet he was expecting me to write something coherent and sensible, too, even though he degraded me by calling me a slang barnyard term for a young woman. It’s crazy! Why should anyone waste the time or energy?

That brings me to some other news that has come out this week. That ten year old Ohio girl who was raped and had to go to Indiana for an abortion resurfaced in the news, after certain right wing pundits theorized that her story was a hoax. And then, Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rokita, was allegedly “outraged” that the girl’s doctor, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, allegedly hadn’t reported the abortion— except she HAD, and the story is absolutely true. See below.

I’ll bet that jerk, Rokita, hasn’t even apologized for his mistake, and decision to smear the good doctor’s name. She did a great compassionate service to a CHILD who was raped, not once, but TWICE! No ten year old is, in any way, prepared to have a baby! But Rokita isn’t about to humble himself. Instead, he’s “gathering evidence” to see if he can still nail Dr. Bernard for doing something that was obviously medically indicated. Guys like Rokita just want to put doctors and nurses in prison, don’t they? Misogyny is still alive and well in our country. I wish there was more empathy and decency!

At least in Ohio, some of the politicians are showing some remorse for their mistakes, having initially cast doubt on the girl’s story. But you know how remorse is, when it comes from a politician. It’s often pretty hollow. And Ohio is a state where a MALE legislator wanted to make properly treating ectopic pregnancies ILLEGAL. He wanted to plug and play non-viable embryos– technology that doesn’t exist. What makes me especially sick is that these dumbasses aren’t even learning from their mistakes. Ohio’s MALE attorney general, Dave Yost, was among those who doubted that a ten year old could get pregnant. Yes, they can, and this is one major reason WHY abortion should be allowed… and frankly, kept PRIVATE. There’s no reason why the whole world should have to know about this girl’s hellish torment, even if she is anonymous (for now). This is something that should have been kept confidential and dealt with by medical personnel, social workers, and law enforcement. It should not be a political football. And for Christ’s sake, she should not have had to go to another state to get an abortion done! Way to prolong and increase her pain, Ohio!

Some people, unbelievably, think that poor baby should have been FORCED to birth— and they have even said they would have “hoped” she would come to understand why birthing her rapist’s baby, when she’s ten years old, is the right thing to do. Naturally, it was a MALE lawyer named Jim Bopp who said that. That shit regularly happens in developing countries, not the United States! And even those countries are reevaluating their draconian positions on abortion.

So, you see, we still have a long way to go… in spite of the great wisdom in Granny’s notes and the great progress she personally witnessed in almost 101 years of living. I truly do wonder what she would think of how things are today. Reversing Roe v Wade has opened a huge Pandora’s Box. I really hope we can get this mess straightened out for the women of the future. But at least I know it won’t affect me personally. I haven’t had a period in about two months. I think very soon, Aunt Flow will finally become a guest from my past. And I thank God for that on so many levels.

In other news… Ivana Trump suddenly died yesterday in what appears to be very suspicious circumstances. It was curiously announced by her most famous ex husband, Trump, who disseminated the news on Truth Social, his very own social media platform. It seems curious that she died so suddenly, weeks before Trump is expected to announce another run at the presidency. But I’m sure the details will come out soon enough. Maybe it’s a coincidence, like Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide was. I know that many idiots will still happily vote for Trump, even though it’s very obvious that he’s a liar, a cheat, and unhinged to the nth degree. I think the people who keep supporting him will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history. I think if he wins again, it will be a disaster. Hopefully, the saner people in the Republican Party will keep him from running for the Republicans. They already know he can’t be controlled… and I’ll bet he’s paid for MANY abortions.

Standard
healthcare, law, narcissists, Trump

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

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

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

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

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

Cool.

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

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

Eeew.

And this one…

No thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yup…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things are really getting uglier by the day…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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politicians, stupid people

Once again with feeling– YOU CANNOT RE-IMPLANT AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY!

Yesterday, as I was waking up on my last day in Poland, I read an article a friend of mine shared about Ohio’s relentless push to end abortion. The article, which came from a site called Insider.com, was based on a news item that was in The Columbus Dispatch. Since I am in Europe, I can’t read the original article without a VPN. Fortunately, I have a VPN, and am now reading the article. I know I have at least one regular reader in Ohio who has commented to me about how frightening the pro-life agenda is in Ohio right now. The article I just read is not very comforting.

House Bill 413 proposes that “a fetus would be legally considered a person, and those performing an abortion could be charged with aggravated murder.” Furthermore, anyone providing an abortion “shall suffer death or be imprisoned for life.” I hasten to add that at least this bill doesn’t subject women who seek abortions to the death penalty, unlike recently proposed legislation in Texas. I guess the lawmakers figure the poor pregnant people are “misguided” and need a firm hand to help them make decisions more in line with their way of thinking.

My first reaction to this? Wow! It seems very strange to want to impose the death penalty on abortion providers when one is arguing for the pro-life movement. After all, every abortion provider was once someone’s unborn fetus, too. Why kill competent healthcare professionals for helping their patients? Why put them in prisons, where their skills will erode and they will cost taxpayers money while potentially enriching shareholders at privately run corrections facilities? It makes no sense to me at all.

I have come to understand that this kind of extreme language is par for the course when it comes to pro-life wingnuts. However, one thing that I cannot wrap my head around is the insistence that ectopic pregnancies can be made viable. In the Columbus Dispatch article dated November 15, 2019, it is stated:

Exceptions for saving the life of the mother are limited — including a requirement to attempt to implant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman’s uterus. Critics say the procedure is not supported by science and puts the woman’s life at even greater risk.

Now… I distinctly remember back in May 2019, writing a post about this very same ludicrous argument that ectopic pregnancies can somehow be salvaged by technology that doesn’t yet exist. At that time, idiot lawmaker John Becker, who apparently has zero knowledge about pregnancy, anatomy, or physiology, proposed House Bill 182, which would prohibit most private insurance coverage for abortion. The bill included language addressing treating ectopic pregnancies (when the fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes). When this was big news, Becker said:

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

Back then, I wrote that no ectopic pregnancy I have ever heard of could be salvaged. Indeed, ectopic pregnancies are true medical emergencies, and they almost always end with the termination of the pregnancy and possibly a significant downgrade in the woman’s fertility, since there is a good chance the affected fallopian tube might also have to be removed. More importantly, there does not currently exist any medical procedure that would allow a physician to “re-implant” an embryo into a woman’s uterus. The technology simply isn’t there yet. If it was there, a lot of women who have ectopic pregnancies would be all for getting the procedure done. Contrary to what the pro-lifers in Ohio seem to believe, most pregnant women look forward to being mothers and don’t plan to terminate their pregnancies. I fail to see why ectopic pregnancies need to be addressed by the pro-life crowd.

As I recall, Becker got a pretty good backlash for his ignorant and tone deaf comments on the ectopic pregnancy issue. I thought maybe his fellow lawmakers would get a clue and at least consult someone in the maternal healthcare field who knows more about pregnancy than they do. But no… they’re still discussing requiring physicians to re-implant non-viable embryos resulting from ectopic pregnancies into the uteri of women who surely have enough trauma to deal with. Under this bill, if the physicians don’t try to save the ectopic pregnancies by using currently non-existent technology, they could wind up facing the death penalty.

All I can do is just shake my head at the sheer cruelty and lunacy of the right wing nutjobs in Ohio who keep pushing this UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation. They really should be ashamed of themselves, not just for trying to deny reproductive freedom to Ohioans, but for being just plain stupid and ignorant on the topic for which they claim to be so passionate. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and they have nothing to do with abortion. Pro-lifers need to get a clue and stop pushing this nonsense before more innocent people die. Then, they need to take it a step further and realize that there are situations in which an abortion is the appropriate medical decision and sometimes should be allowed for the health of the mother. And then they need to butt the hell out of other people’s private healthcare decisions.

And… just to bring Donald Trump into this– I just read that he’s been trying to push a rule that would allow healthcare professionals to refuse to treat people on religious grounds. The measure, which would have gone into effect yesterday, was struck down a federal judge who, thank GOD, realized the chilling effect that could have on our already horrendous healthcare system. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup was the third judge to reject the measure, writing “When a rule is so saturated with error, as here, there is no point in trying to sever the problematic provisions. The whole rule must go.”

Alsup continues, ” [the Trump administration rule] upsets the balance drawn by Congress between protecting conscientious objections versus protecting the uninterrupted effective flow of health care to Americans.” Then he cites a scary hypothetical scenario, quoted below, in which “ambulance drivers” (who really should be referred to as EMTs or paramedics), could legally abandon a pregnant person en route to the hospital needing an emergency abortion. I would assume an ectopic pregnancy would be one of those situations, although I sure would hope that anyone choosing to work as an EMT or paramedic would know better, and understand that without surgery that will effectively terminate the pregnancy, someone with an ectopic pregnancy will likely DIE without medical intervention. Those who are truly pro-life should recognize that the person who is growing the fetus deserves care and protection, too.

“Under the new rule, to preview just one example, an ambulance driver would be free, on religious or moral grounds, to eject a patient en route to a hospital upon learning that the patient needed an emergency abortion,” wrote Alsup. “Such harsh treatment would be blessed by the new rule.”

I really think we’re seeing a lot of these ridiculous, extreme, church sponsored pro-life rules being proposed because we have an incompetent jackass in the White House who will champion and embolden these people into pushing their sick and intrusive agendas. Extreme Christians have gained too much power and are trying to force their religious views on the entire country. I really hope that people will open their eyes and vote against Trump in the next election. He’s destroying lives, and that will, in turn, destroy the country. We need to get him out of power, pronto, and elect someone decent who will restore humanity to our government before it’s too late. Trump admires dictators, disrespects women, non-whites, and the poor, and cozies up to the ignorant simply to win their votes. This anti-woman legislation that punishes women who are pregnant and threatens healthcare providers with the death penalty is a huge step backwards into the Dark Ages. We simply must elect more competent and compassionate people.

For more on Ohio’s House Bill 413 and all the craziness it proposes in its over 700 pages, have a look at this link.

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