communication, condescending twatbags, Duggars, narcissists, religion

Easy for you to say, armchair quarterback…

Thursday already! This week is flying by, which is a good thing. Tomorrow is the big day. I don’t usually start packing before the morning of departure or maybe the night before, if we’re leaving early. For this big trip, I started filling my new suitcase on Tuesday. I am very ready to get out of here, even if there’s a part of me that kind of dreads the logistics. But I think I have most everything planned appropriately.

We’ll take Noyzi to the Hundehotel tomorrow morning, then head for the airport in advance of our early afternoon flight. It’ll be my first airplane ride since November 2019! By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be in Oslo, the first stop of our multi-city Scandinavia/Baltics tour. 😉 I know it will be over before we know it, so I hope to savor everything… but I also know myself, and I’m sure there will be first world problems to complain about. I’ll try to confine them to my blogs.

And since we aren’t on vacation yet, allow me to offer some observations I’ve made since yesterday. Wednesday’s post was about the “right to complain” and how complaining doesn’t necessarily make a person a “karen”. And how I’m not a “karen” because I think the term “karen” is stupid and needs to go out of style. 😉

I’ll admit, I was a bit all over the map yesterday, because I was overwhelmed with examples for my post. That’s a problem, but it’s less of a problem than not having any examples to write about. Then, maybe you might have some trouble explaining exactly what you mean.

Today’s post, thankfully, does offer a good example of what I mean by its title. That is, it’s easy for people to pass judgment and get on a moral high horse about some things, when they aren’t actually in a given situation, and won’t suffer any hardships for advising someone to do what they think is the “right” thing to do. Once again, I’m going to bring up the Duggar family.

In the Duggar Family News Facebook group, the group leader, Pickles, shared some commentary from someone who used to work on 19 Kids and Counting. The person whose comments were referenced wasn’t identified, but it was someone who spent a lot of time around the Duggar family.

One person in the group wrote that crew members who filmed everything were complicit in the abuse, since they stood by and allowed all of this stuff to happen, but said nothing about it. She wrote:

The crew witnessed girls being forced into arranged marriages, forbidden to use birth control and then pregnancies with no prenatal care and agonizing childbirth. They suffered for days without proper medical care. The crew saw children that were not allowed to go anywhere without chaperones. They saw substandard teaching and educational materials because they were not allowed to go to school. The network constantly allowed them to praise their ATI and IBLP training sessions. The crew saw that their patriarch had total creative control. The crew saw girls made to wear long skirts with long uncut stringy hair that were constantly being slut-shamed. They saw girls that were forced to cook, clean and raise their siblings while the boys played. They saw the constant abuse of women and girls due to their Christian beliefs. The crew was silent and complicit.

As I read the above passage, I couldn’t help but think that it would be very difficult for the crew to do anything about what they saw. As Pickles pointed out:

Yes, but is any of that reportable to child protective services? In this country kids only need to be fed and have their basic needs met. It is sad sometimes that we can’t do more.

And Pickles is right. In many places in the United States, all that is necessary is that children have their basic needs met. We may not agree with how other people raise their children, but that doesn’t mean that the government has the right to intervene. And, honestly, as much as I don’t like seeing children raised in cults, I also think that there’s a slippery slope. A lot of well meaning people think they’re doing good, when they don’t have the whole story… or they think their way is automatically always the *best* way.

People often think they are above reproach, as they point the finger at other people. They never seem to realize that the standards they want to impose on other people could just as easily be imposed on them. Who’s to say that while you point your fingers at people you think are doing wrong, that certain other people won’t be pointing at you and saying the same thing? Would you want them to be able to dictate what’s right, and what’s not?

The original poster’s response to Pickles was this:

My belief is that the standard should not have rested with CPS regulations but rather with doing the right thing for women and girls. The crew should never have participated in promoting this patriarchy.

Who’s to say what is the “right thing” for women and girls? Those of us who were born and raised in western cultures often think our way is the best way. I think Americans, in particular, are guilty of trying to impose our mores on other cultures, thinking the standard way we do things is the way everyone should do them. But, if you look at other countries around the world, you realize that when it comes to oppressing females, the Duggars’ ways are actually pretty lenient! I mean, I haven’t heard of any of the Duggar girls being held down and having their clitorises cut off by their aunties, right?

And secondly, has this poster considered that by “not participating in promoting the patriarchy”, the Duggar insider would have aided in keeping all of this stuff hidden? It probably would have been much easier for Josh Duggar to keep abusing people if he hadn’t come from such a famous family. Moreover, television work was this person’s livelihood, and TV jobs are, presumably, not that plentiful. It’s easy for some random person on Facebook to condemn the Duggar Family TV show insider for not “stepping up” and “refusing to promote the patriarchy” when it’s not the rando’s paycheck at stake.

Besides… everyone who watched the Duggars on TV saw this stuff going on every time an episode aired. No, we didn’t see the unedited parts that the TV crew saw, but we saw enough of it to speak out about it, if we were so inclined. Most of us didn’t bother.

I remember back in 2008, when the FLDS sect at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas got raided. So many relatively “normal” people were glad to see it being raided, because they were absolutely sure the children in that sect were miserable and being abused. And, if I’m honest, I think a lot of the kids in that sect probably were experiencing what a lot of us would consider abuse. BUT… that lifestyle is what they knew, and their abusers were their family. When the children were eventually reunited with their mothers, there was no mistaking the joy on the children’s faces.

When you’re a child, you won’t necessarily see CPS workers as heroic when they yank you out of the only home you’ve ever known. Moreover, sometimes kids who are removed from abusive homes end up in foster homes that are as bad or even worse from where they came. Read up on the Turpin siblings’ hellish experiences with foster care for some verification on that. I’m not saying that calling CPS is never necessary or lifesaving for abused children, but foster care and government intervention are certainly not panaceas against preventing or stopping child abuse. Like it or not, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are the parents to that huge brood. We may see them as awful parents, but they’re still the only parents their children have.

This doesn’t mean that I support the Duggars’ way of doing things. I am absolutely sure there’s a legitimate hotbed of abuse in that family. I doubt that Josh is the only one who did pervy things, either. However, I do think it’s a lot to expect random people to intervene/be heroic, especially when they don’t have the whole story, haven’t been asked to intervene, and are relying on a paycheck. Because while it’s very noble to think that we all have our principles, when it really comes down to it, people have basic needs that have to be fulfilled. It’s hard to be tough when you realize that speaking up or speaking out could lead to unemployment.

My husband went to war with a man who was later outed and very publicly fired from the Army for abusing troops in Iraq. Bill was similarly abused by this man when they went to Iraq a couple of years prior. Bill didn’t say much to Army officials about what happened in that war zone because he wanted to stay employed and promotable, and he did not want to be labeled a complainer. If he had spoken about the abuse, maybe he could have prevented his former boss from abusing other troops. But, there’s also a good chance that he would have been punished for being vocal about the abuse, and his boss would have still gotten ahead. It’s easy for those who aren’t directly faced with a dilemma to say what they think should be done. It’s much harder to take those actions when it’s your ass on the line and you have other people depending on you.

I am a big believer in speaking out and taking action when it’s possible to safely do so. However, I am also a realist, and I am wise enough to know that speaking up and taking action isn’t always something that is easily done without severe reprisals. And, unfortunately, when you’re dealing with powerful narcissistic types like Jim Bob Duggar, Donald Trump, Bill’s “war buddy”, or even his ex wife (when the kids were minors), you find that doing the “right thing” is very often easier said than done.

So no, I don’t blame the Duggar TV show insider for not “refusing to promote the patriarchy” and “refusing to take action” on behalf of the Duggar daughters. That would have been a tall order that probably wouldn’t have ended with good results. But I am glad to see people like Jill, Jinger, and Amy Duggar standing up now, and speaking out against the abuses perpetrated in the name of “Christianity” and Bill Gothard’s IBLP cult.

I think being married to a man who attracts narcissists has made me more aware of what is at stake when a person confronts one. The bigger and more powerful they are, and the more money and prestige they have, the harder it is to confront them. And while it’s easy to armchair quarterback– I do it myself sometimes– the reality is, when it comes down to it, we all have to watch our own backs first. You can’t help someone else if you’re not wearing your own oxygen mask, so to speak. 😉

Hopefully, we won’t be needing any oxygen masks when we fly to Norway tomorrow. 😀

As I posted earlier… my blog may be less attended while we’re away, but I will bring my laptop and see what I can do. I hope you’ll wish us luck!

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blog news, language, musings, true crime

I need to work on my titles, don’t I?

I’ve never been very good at coming up with good titles for my posts. Sometimes, that means I get fewer readers than I might. Other times, my posts end up being more “click baity” than I would prefer. I think my posts on my travel blog have better titles, mainly because they are usually about something specific. I get tons of hits on my posts about attending nude spas, for instance.

I’ll also admit that sometimes, I deliberately title something a certain way to yank people’s chains. There’s a post on my travel blog titled “Enjoying some extra dick tonight”. I know what it sounds like… but it’s actually a post about extra thick pommes. In German, “dick” means thick. So, when I buy extra thick frozen fries at the store, it literally says “extra dick” on the packaging! I’m sure more than one person has been disappointed that the post isn’t pornographic, but it IS a travel blog. The blog’s title itself mentions “travel”, so they probably shouldn’t be expecting anything sexy.

I did something similar a few years ago, when I saw a stray cat walking through our rural yard in North Carolina. I titled the post, “Looking for pussy…” or something like that. Sure enough, people clicked. There are a lot of pervs out there. 😉 And I’m sure they were sad that I wrote about actual cats instead of what they were obviously looking for. It was a very short post, and my good friend, Alex, even left me a comment congratulating me on the “clever word play”. Mwahahaahaha! Because it’s such a short post, I’ll even repost it here, for the curious…

Looking for pussy…

No, not THAT kind of pussy.  I was just sitting at my desk and noticed a black cat cutting through the yard.  I decided to go outside to see where it was headed, but by the time I got out the front door, the kitty was gone.  It’s just as well, I guess.  My hounds would love to go out there and chase that cat and Bill is allergic to them anyway.

I came back inside and Bill asked me if I went looking for the cat and I said I was looking for pussy.  That made him laugh.  The dogs were whining up a storm and Arran brought me a toy when I came back inside.  That’s one of his more adorable doggy behaviors.  Whenever anyone comes home, even if it’s just after a few minutes or so, he responds by giving them one of his chewed up toys.  In this case, he brought me a stuffed duck that makes a quacking sound when you squeeze it.  All of my dogs have loved the stuffed duck toys… probably even more than they love the toy squirrels I’ve brought them.

The packers are coming to pack up our house on July 23rd and will load the truck on the 25th.  I guess we’ll leave on the 26th or 27th and start our long ass drive to San Antonio. 

I bet this blog post will get a lot of hits because I used the word pussy…  People have such dirty minds. 

In other news, this post is my 700th.  I’ve been a busy little beaver.  😉

This was very interesting, since I had never seen an armadillo before… not even in a zoo! And it was in Georgia, not Texas. Our dogs went NUTS.

I included the above video of an armadillo I filmed when we lived in Georgia, then added to the end of the above post, “Or, since we’re moving to Texas, I should say I’ve been a busy armadillo.

Arran doesn’t bring us toys anymore, mainly because we no longer give him free access to them. That’s mostly Noyzi’s fault, because Noyzi has been known to eat toys, and we don’t want to have to have them surgically extracted. But, when we give Arran a toy, he will still play with it for a minute or two. Then he demands a treat.

This post seems really random, but I do have a point to make…

I need to get better at coming up with post titles, because sometimes the titles I come up with encourage people to comment before they read. And, as some of my regulars know, that’s one of my pet peeves. It happened the other day, actually. I wrote a post called “But we really don’t need gun control, do we?” I included a screenshot of the sign for Richneck Elementary School, where a six year old child deliberately shot his 25 year old teacher last Friday. At this writing, that post has just nine hits.

I have a whole lot of friends who are teachers. One of them commented on my Facebook link for that post. Below was our exchange:

I think I gleaned more than my friend bargained for when I read her comments.

My friend must have thought my post was a liberal and impersonal rant about gun control, based only on the post’s title. For the record, I do think we need more gun control in the United States. I don’t see how we can continue to go on the way we have, where people don’t feel safe carrying out their usual tasks of the day, because they don’t know who is packing heat.

When I titled that post, I was thinking about how absolutely terrifying it is that a six year old CHILD got his hands on a firearm and KNEW HOW TO USE IT! He was skilled enough that he could aim that gun at a teacher and seriously injure her. And he carried the weapon into the school and pointed it at a beautiful 25 year old woman who was just doing her job. By so many accounts, Abby Zwerner is a much beloved and respected teacher. She could have been killed by a six year old. How scary is that? And then I found out that I’m actually kind of connected to Abby, simply because I lived and worked for so many years in the area where she lives.

In my original post about that incident, I mentioned that Abby and I have a mutual Facebook friend. She teaches in a city near where I grew up, and where I still have a lot of friends. I was born in Hampton, Virginia, which is adjacent to Newport News, where Abby teaches.

It turns out our mutual Facebook friend is a woman I knew in high school. We were in a lot of classes together. I used to sit with her at lunch, when we were ourselves students in public high school, back in the 80s. I remember her stepmother was a substitute teacher, getting her own teaching credentials. Abby’s aunt, my high school friend, is also a teacher with a doctoral degree who teaches in the same geographical area. One of her best friends is an Air Force colonel, who also went to school with us. I just got a Christmas card from her the other day.

So now, I feel even more connected to that incident, even though I moved out of the Tidewater area of Virginia about 23 years ago. It’s still “home”, even though I don’t really have a home to go to down there anymore. Not only do I still know a lot of people from that area, but I also have connections because of so many of my friends– people who have never lived in the Hampton Roads area– who are teachers. And what happened to Abby, could have happened to any one of them. I’m sure all of my teaching friends are feeling a special kind of terror about this case.

My dear friend who wrote the above comments is very special to me. I would be absolutely DEVASTATED if she got seriously hurt while on the job, never mind if she was killed. She doesn’t teach in Newport News, but she is a Virginia teacher. I can’t even fathom how scared she must be to read about gun violence in schools. Because of where I went to college, I know a lot of teachers. I remember watching them prepare for their careers in our dormitories at Longwood University. Their coursework often involved a lot of reading, papers, and tests, as well as complicated art projects. I never even knew what contact paper was until I went to Longwood and made friends with budding teachers. They were constantly using it to make learning aids for their students.

There is so much preparation and dedication involved with becoming a teacher. It’s a lot of work for not that much money… but at least in the early 90s, there weren’t constant gun related events in schools. In those days, my friends were blissfully unaware of the bloodshed that was coming to America’s schools from 1999 onward. My friends who became teachers all have one thing in common. They are kind, caring, creative people who love working with young people. But now, they have to fear for their lives as they do their jobs. My friend wasn’t the only teacher who wrote about how teachers get blamed when kids do crazy things. Another former high school classmate– not someone I was friends with– wrote something similar about the crisis in public schools.

Maybe I don’t really want people to read what I write…

There is a certain freedom in writing things that people don’t think they want to read. I do use a headline analyzer, which gives me a “score” that shows how “good” my titles are. I aim for the green score, which I usually manage to attain, even though my post titles are often kind of cryptic.

After years of writing blog posts, I’ve come to realize that there’s a certain freedom in not giving too much away in a post title. I’ve frequently mentioned that I don’t write this stuff for money, so I don’t necessarily want to upset people. Sometimes I do make people angry, and they have a right to their feelings. I don’t want to deal with hate mail, though, nor do I want to be targeted by criminals. True crime posts often invite lurkers, which is unnerving. I’d rather my readers be people who know and like me, than the random person who jumps to conclusions.

So… maybe, for my mental and physical health, my post titles should stay the way they are… But then, that might lead to people continuing to assume things before they’ve read. I don’t think my friend has yet read the post she referenced. If she had read it, she’d know that I don’t blame teachers for what that little boy did. I don’t even necessarily blame the kid. The adults in his life have failed him. At least we know that he won’t be going to juvenile hall… at least not for this crime. He’s too young. But he probably will end up in foster care, which may or may not be a good thing. Foster care is a mixed bag. If that boy doesn’t get some serious help, he may very well go to juvie soon… and that will probably lead to prison.

Anyway… I’ve found that I often have connections to the things I write about, and that’s what compels me to blog. I want to put my thoughts down somewhere. I don’t mind when people read, especially if they get something good from my insights. However, I also don’t want to be a target. So… maybe these crappy blog post titles are really just a form of cowardice. Maybe it’s time I stopped blogging for the public. Or maybe I should just write book reviews, although even those can be controversial. I wouldn’t be able to post every day, either.

Today’s post probably won’t necessarily attract a lot of readers. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. But I do feel better for having written today. I hope one or two people enjoyed my insights, such as they are. Or… at least had occasion to think about them a little bit…

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healthcare, law, politicians, politics, slut shamers

Pro life activist makes a dumb comment about ten year old rape victim and abortion recipient…

Mornin’ folks. I’m sad to report that I’m sick again. I have a sore throat, slight hoarseness, cough, and congestion, and I’ve had several near misses with the urge to hurl. Some may recall that I was sick a month ago, too. That time, it appeared to be a garden variety cold. I did two COVID tests and both were very negative. Like, there wasn’t even a hint that I might have the virus. This time, I think my luck might have finally run out, since I read this morning that COVID is now initially presenting with a sore throat, and not with a fever and loss of smell and taste.

I actually feel significantly better now than I did a couple of hours ago. Once I ate breakfast, did some coughing and clearing of my throat, and drank some fluids, the pain in my throat lessened. I still feel kind of icky, but it’s not too bad. I haven’t tested for COVID, because I don’t have any tests at home. Hopefully, this won’t linger. What sucks the most is that right now, there’s a heat wave in Europe. There’s nothing worse than being sick when it’s hot as Hell outside.

Yesterday, I mentioned a satire story that’s been rattling in my head. I told Bill about it, and he was enthusiastic and was adding ideas. Last night, when Bill came home, we brainstormed some more. It was surprisingly fun. Maybe I’ll actually get down to writing it… especially if it turns out I need to be housebound. I think it could be a good story.

Now to get on with today’s topic. I hate to write about abortion again, but I just have to… I happened to see a video yesterday that blew my mind. A few days ago, MSNBC posted the below video to YouTube.

They sure are denying reality, aren’t they? The featured photo is a picture of Eric Swalwell’s visible reaction to Catherine Glenn Foster’s lunacy.

By now, many people have heard about the ten year old Ohio girl who was raped, resulting in a pregnancy. By the time her pregnancy was revealed, she was six weeks and three days beyond conception. Since Ohio currently bans almost all abortions beyond six weeks, the girl could not get the healthcare she needed in her home state. Her doctor called Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN in Indiana, where abortions are currently permitted until the 22nd week of gestation. Dr. Bernard agreed to help the girl. This poor ten year old CHILD had to travel from Ohio to Indiana to get her abortion.

Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to discount and try to debunk the story about the pregnant ten year old rape victim. They dismissed the story as “liberal talking points”. Many people were saying that it couldn’t be true, that a ten year old baby girl got pregnant. Some were even “slut shaming” the girl, saying she needed to keep her legs closed. 😮 Indiana Attorney General, Todd Rokita, went on the offensive, claiming that Dr. Bernard didn’t properly report the abortion, when actually, she did. Dr. Bernard’s lawyer has since sent Mr. Rokita a “cease and desist” letter, threatening litigation to defend against his malicious and defamatory statements regarding the doctor’s work. Rokita may also face disciplinary action for the false and unverified statements he’s made regarding this case.

Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, likewise scoffed at the story and cast doubt on its veracity. Yost said that he had not heard anything about a ten year old rape victim. I guess it doesn’t occur to him that not only do Americans have healthcare privacy, but minors’ and sexual assault victims’ privacy is especially protected, and for good reason. Yost, nevertheless, went on Fox News and said:

“We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere,”

He continued:

“I know the cops and prosecutors in this state… There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. They wouldn’t leave him loose on the streets … I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence.”

It is true that this ten year old girl was raped at least twice. One of those assaults led to her conceiving with her rapist, a 27 year old man who has since been arrested. It’s absolutely terrible that this crime happened to the girl. We mustn’t forget that this happens to other girls around the world. She’s not the first ten year old to get pregnant. Any ten year old who has sex is a victim of rape. Ten year olds CANNOT consent to having sex. When that news came out, Dave Yost’s only comment was “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.” He later added, he’s “absolutely delighted that this monster has been taken off the street. If convicted, he should spend the rest of his life in prison.” No apology for casting doubt on the girl’s story, which turns out to be true. No reconsideration of the dumb comments he made regarding this case.

I think a lot of Republicans were jubilant about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and it never occurred to them that the horrifying repercussions of that disastrous decision would so quickly become apparent. The rape case was reported just three days after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Ohio’s abortion trigger ban went into effect. I guess I can understand why Republicans thought this was political game playing, since elections are coming up soon, and there’s about to be a desperate fight for power. But, the fact remains that this child was raped, and did get pregnant. Some people, amazingly, think this kid should have been forced to birth, even though pregnancy and childbirth are stressful, painful and traumatic, even for grown women.

Attorney Jim Bopp, who authored model legislation in Indiana in advance of the Supreme Court’s decision, said of the ten year old under his law, “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.” Figures this is an old white guy saying this. Bopp was born in 1948, and is clearly out of touch with reality. Shame on him! Doesn’t he remember what it was like to be a ten year old child?

I suppose all of this crap shouldn’t have surprised me at all, but then I saw the video I posted above. In that video, at about the three minute mark, Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) questioned a pro-life activist named Catherine Glenn Foster, asking her if she thought a ten year old would “choose to carry”. The activist stammered, hemmed, and hawed, clearly trying to evade making an exception in this case, and not answering “yes or no” to a simple question. Swalwell doubled down, demanding that she simply answer “yes or no”, which she obviously wasn’t willing to do. I was truly flabbergasted when she said:

“I believe it would probably impact her life, and so, therefore, it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.”

Swalwell reacted with shock and confusion, saying “Wait. It would not be an abortion if a 10-year-old with her parents made the decision not to have a baby that was the result of a rape?

Amazingly, Catherine Glenn Foster continued with her bizarre rationale, apparently changing the definition of an abortion, saying “If a 10-year-old became pregnant as a result of rape and it was threatening her life, then that’s not an abortion.

Say what?! Of course it’s an abortion, you twit!

Um… excuse me? YOU believe it would PROBABLY impact her life? Wouldn’t that be true of anyone who wanted or needed an abortion? And because YOU believe it would PROBABLY impact her life, it’s NOT an abortion? That is truly mind boggling! I wonder at which point Catherine Glenn Foster would determine that an unintended pregnancy would not impact the “host’s” life in some way? When is it permissible to force someone to stay pregnant? Would she want to force a 14 or 15 year old to give birth? I have actually known some very mature teenagers, some of whom did give birth. I’ve also known some 25 year olds who probably still shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street by themselves!

Obviously, yes, the girl had an abortion. An abortion is a medical procedure, and there really should not be any shame attached to it, especially in a case like this one. But one of the main reasons why I am so staunchly pro-choice is because I think if you’re going to assign personhood to a developing fetus, abortion has to be wrong in all circumstances, to include cases like this one. Obviously, I don’t think ten year olds should be forced to stay pregnant. If I feel that way about a ten year old, how can I not feel that way about everyone? I don’t like situational ethics applied in selective circumstances. Abortion is either always wrong, like murder is, or there are times when it’s acceptable. And how can we determine for another person whether or not their situation merits being allowed to have an abortion? Especially when we make it so very difficult and expensive to raise children? Why is it anyone else’s business?

I guess Catherine Glenn Foster was trying to say that abortion is a dirty thing that only irresponsible and immoral sluts do. Obviously, a ten year old child isn’t an irresponsible slut… at least not yet. So in her mind, yes, it’s permissible to terminate the pregnancy. We just won’t call that an abortion. Except that’s exactly what it was! And why does she think that she, or any other uninvolved party, should have any say whatsoever in a case like this? In his opinion piece about this event, journalist Steve Benen wrote:

In other words, the head of Americans United for Life believes a 10-year-old impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to get an abortion — because under her preferred definition, that abortion wouldn’t really count as an abortion.

If terminating a girl’s unwanted pregnancy isn’t an abortion, what is it? Is there a preferred word that conservatives would like us to use?

Let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Republicans and their allies have created a situation in which raped children will — in at least one instance, has — cross state lines in order to receive medical care. Unable to defend the legal conditions they’re responsible for, many on the right deny the legitimacy of real stories, while others on the right decide to redefine words for the sake of political convenience.

No one should be fooled. Abortions don’t become non-abortions when the impregnated Americans are sympathetic figures.

Right on, Steve Benen.

As long as I’m complaining about this, let me also add that I read an article in the Washington Post about the slim prospects of an increase of adoptable babies if abortion becomes totally outlawed in the United States. In that article, which I have linked and unlocked for the interested, journalist Sydney Trent included some of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s opinion regarding overturning Roe v. Wade. It made my blood run cold.

“… A woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home,” Alito said, writing for the majority and summarizing the views of many Americans who oppose abortion. In a footnote, he cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report juxtaposing the tiny “domestic supply of infants” in 2002 with the nearly 1 million Americans waiting to adopt.

So basically, Republicans are hoping that forcing women to birth will provide a bumper crop of domestically produced babies for people to adopt. Where is it written that people who get pregnant unintentionally must give up their babies to fertility challenged people, or people who choose not to carry their own babies, for whatever reason? This is disgusting. There are over 400,000 children languishing in foster care today. In 2019, only about 15 percent of the children in foster care were adopted, mostly by their relatives. We certainly don’t need more babies for people to adopt. People who wish to adopt a child should take one that has already been born and needs a home NOW! Foster care is no place for kids to come of age.

I’d also like to add that babies aren’t like puppies and kittens, looking to be rehomed. They grow up to be people who will experience the trauma of losing their birth families. Yes, I know that many adoptees have great experiences with the people who adopt them. But that’s not always true. Case in point, Bill’s ex wife. Moreover, even when the experience is good, the adopted child still wonders about their origins. There’s trauma for them, and most likely, for their birth parents– at least the mother. Do people really think that’s not absolutely horrifying for the birth mom, giving up a baby that she bonded with for nine months? Especially since a lot of people will look down on her for making that choice, and/or getting pregnant in the first place.

I think we’re going to see a lot more children being neglected and abused if this situation isn’t fixed soon. There will be a lot more poverty, and more incarcerations. A lot of women will die, as they are forced to be pregnant when it isn’t safe for them, medically or psychologically. That’s not how things should be in a civilized country, like the United States used to be, before this bizarre bastardization of the Republican Party got into power and fucked up everything.

Well… I think I’ve about had my say on this… at least for today. It’s time to close this post and practice guitar for a bit. Hopefully, I’ll feel better soon, and this won’t turn out to be a really bad sickness. Or I won’t hear more ludicrous nonsense from the likes of Catherine Glenn Foster, who is apparently hoping to change the definition of abortion when the person needing to have one is a sympathetic figure, like a ten year old BABY.

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social media, Twitter

The art of “talking a good game”…

July 9th is now kind of a day of infamy for me. Today is the anniversary of my father’s death, eight years ago. Since that day in 2014, the world has changed in so many ways. I’ve also lost a lot more relatives and turned 50 myself. I’m getting old… and cranky, like the proverbial old bat screaming about people on her lawn.

I’ve watched things change so much, ever since I was a young person. Nowadays, there’s so much confusion about things that used to be so simple. There was a time when I wouldn’t think twice about referring to someone as a man or a woman. Nowadays, it’s not so clear. If you say or write the “wrong” thing, you can quickly find yourself at odds with someone you don’t even know, and they might be labeling you as an “ist”.

Take, for instance a crazy Twitter feed happening on Mark Hamill’s page right now. Last week, people were sharing the “We Will Adopt Your Baby” photos. I wrote about that myself, a lengthy essay about how adoption isn’t a panacea against the need for safe and legal abortions. Pretty soon, celebrities began tweeting joke “we will adopt your baby” photos. Mark Hamill was among them. I only know this because of Ex, who is a Mark Hamill fan, and I enjoy watching her antics. I have never even seen Star Wars in its entirety, but you can’t really be an American child of the 70s and not have heard of Star Wars.

Mark Hamill’s tweet that fathered so many more tweets of shame and outrage.

Anyway, some people are pointing out to Mark Hamill that his son, Nathan, supposedly pressured an ex girlfriend to have an abortion. The girlfriend, name of Maegen Chen, refused to have an abortion and had the baby in 2016, a girl she named Autumn. That information spawned all sorts of emotional responses from strangers who seemingly had only one thing in common– interest in Mark Hamill. And before too long, people were being called “racist”, “sexist”, “classist”, and “ableist”, just to name a few.

Someone brought up that adoptive couples just want white, healthy babies. Someone else responded by asking what the first commenter thought of white couples adopting babies from Asia, and whether or not they’d call them racist. The person responded that that was more of an “ableist” move, than a racist one. And here I sit, bewildered at the preponderance of strangers judging each other and their life choices– hurling pejoratives with “ist” at each other. There’s just so much negativity and hatred. Half of them think more babies being born are the answer to making the world a better place. Half of them have completely lost their senses of humor. And just about all of them are guilty of harshly passing judgment on people they don’t know, simply because their opinions differ. Everybody has a story that colors their worldviews and informs their decisions. One person’s life choices might not be the right choices for the next person.

I wasn’t surprised to see Ex had weighed in on this controversy. She’s not one to shy away from drama, which makes her strangely entertaining to watch. Once again, I shake my head as I see her posting things that are perfectly reasonable to anyone who doesn’t know about her. Like– if I were to only meet her online, I’d probably have a pretty good impression of her. On the surface, she and I seem to agree on a lot of things. But I know what is beneath the surface, and I’ve watched people I love be badly hurt because of her. While I like to try to give strangers the benefit of the doubt, unless they give me reason not to, in her case, I know better. It’s a reminder that people are rarely exactly who they seem to be. See below.

Ex’s responses are the ones with the name redacted.

I did kind of chuckle when someone referred to her as a “heartless dipshit”. He doesn’t know how accurate that name is. It’s true, you know. She writes about what it takes to raise a child, and seems to be very compassionate and loving. Yet this is the same person who forced her three eldest kids to disown their fathers when her marriages to her two ex husbands failed. This is the same woman who made her older daughters drop out of high school, take out student loans, and give her the “change” from whatever wasn’t used on tuition. The daughters then had to pay back the loans themselves. Or, at least younger daughter did. This is the same woman who hangs out on Twitter and other social media outlets while my husband’s 31 year old daughter looks after her mother’s “severely autistic” son. Ex definitely talks a good game, but the reality is, she’s full of crap.

This is the same woman who allegedly attempted suicide to force one of her children to stay home. When did she get to be so “reasonable” and sane?

Yep… Ex really does talk a good game. She’s very good at it. That’s probably how so many people have been charmed into her sphere, only to get burned. I wrote yesterday about how I find Twitter to be a cesspool of nasty people hurling insults at each other. I find such an environment to be frustrating, because being mean to other people is not the way to change anything. At best, all it does is temporarily relieve some angst. Maybe there’s a brief surge of satisfaction when someone lobs a verbal barb that stings. But in the end, the person who is insulting is still the same miserable person with the same selfish, mean-spirited personality that eventually comes out and turns off the best people.

I see her tweeting all of these social consciousness memes and comments that make her look progressive, kind, and thoughtful. But then I remember the way she treated my husband, his family, and her own children. And I realize that if Ex can be like that, so can a lot of people. She’s not particularly special… although I would say that the fact that she gets away with the things she does is pretty extraordinary. But that doesn’t make her special, per se. It just makes her very lucky. I look forward to the day when her luck finally ends.

Anyway, Bill just called me to breakfast. We’re having cheese souffles. So I’d better end this post and get on with the day… with the valuable reminder that no matter what people say or write, good or bad, chances are that they’re just “talking a good game.” And underneath, it’s entirely likely that they are completely different people from what shows on that exterior facade. That works both ways, too. That person who called me a “fucking idiot” for being”too liberal” might actually be a pretty decent person once you get to know them. And a supposed mensch like Ex, tweeting positive platitudes and kindly thoughts about the plight of special needs children and adoptees, can be a complete monster. So keep that in mind, fellow life warriors.

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complaints, controversies, healthcare, law, modern problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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