book reviews, healthcare, law, politicians, politics

Today, in the United States of Gilead…

Special thanks to my friend “Naphtalia” (not her real name) for today’s featured photo!

It’s another very warm morning in Germany. I kind of hate this time of year in Germany, because while it rarely gets as hot here as it does in my native Virginia or God forsaken Texas, air conditioning is a rarity. That makes for some uncomfortable days when it’s high summer, even with all the shades pulled down and a couple of portable air conditioners. I never run both ACs at the same time, either, because I don’t want to run up a big electric bill. They do electric bills differently here, though. Instead of charging different amounts based on monthly use, they do a yearly average and adjust at the end of the year. But still, I don’t want to be an energy hog, if I can help it.

Bill just bought oil for our house, to get us through the winter. This year, it cost about $1000 more than it did last year, thanks to Putin’s war against Ukraine. Fortunately, we’re able to afford it pretty easily. We stay in Germany largely because Bill makes really good money over here, but also because the lifestyle is much nicer, people are saner and less violent, and it’s cool to be able to drive to so many countries. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of home often, though. Missing my uncle’s funeral the other day was another reminder that I’ve been gone a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of beloved relatives for the last time. The United States is my home, but it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. People seem to be absolutely batshit nuts.

Still, I was delighted to read about Kansas yesterday, and voters’ decisions to vote for allowing abortion access. I think that was a rude wake up call for the more sensible Republicans out there. They overplayed their hand, and they will probably pay for it with some really tough elections. I have read about some scary elections results in Arizona, though, and apparently the Trump loyalists, drunk on the stolen election Kool-Aid rhetoric, are leading the way to Gilead inspired insanity. Not surprisingly, reasonable Republican, Rusty Bowers, who heroically testified in the January 6th sessions, was defeated by his Trump supporting opponent. I watched Bowers speak about January 6th again, the other day, and noticed that he was almost moved to tears. I was almost moved to tears listening to him, even though I don’t like his politics or religious beliefs. Bowers is a man of integrity, and those types are rapidly leaving the Republican Party.

I don’t think people realize that the power mad conservatives want to enslave them… keep them disenfranchised and begging for jobs that don’t pay enough. Keeping people pregnant, especially if they aren’t financially or health wise prepared for pregnancy, is certainly a big part of keeping them poor. The abortion bans are already proving dangerous for people who legitimately need to terminate pregnancies for health reasons, that they should be allowed to keep private. Personally, I am less concerned about no access to abortion than I am that politicians will soon push an agenda that makes healthcare privacy a thing of the past.

Health information is a very powerful asset, and getting people comfortable with the idea of giving up their confidentiality when it comes to health matters is a big step toward keeping them down. I don’t believe these folks will stop with denying abortion and contraception access. They would like to tear apart legal privacy protections for the citizenry, so they promote bullshit about the “sanctity of life” as a reason to deny abortions to people who want or need them, while idiots like Colorado legislator Lauren Boebert crow about their ridiculous gun control theories. Yesterday, I watched a video about how she claims people in Venezuela are eating dogs because they can’t have guns. Seriously!

Well worth watching, if only because the guy who made this video is awesome. Lauren’s personal assets don’t include having a functioning brain.

I read last night that extremely pro-life Indiana Representative Jackie Walorski, just two weeks shy of her 59th birthday, died in a car crash. Two of her staffers died with her. I didn’t know anything about Walorski until last night, when I saw the article from Reuters. I went to her Facebook page, where she had just recently posted about visiting a “crisis pregnancy center” in Indiana. Crisis pregnancy centers are places where a pro-life agenda is pushed. The goal is to get the person considering abortion to change their minds, sometimes by the unethical use of misinformation or religious dogma.

The comments were pretty bananas, as people squabbled over their respective political views. One guy was especially disgusting toward the pro-choice women who were commenting. Only a few realized, at that point, that Ms. Walorski is no longer among the living and won’t be pushing her pro-life agenda anymore. I only hope that whoever replaces her is more moderate in their views. Like a lot of people, I am tired of being held hostage by politicians who think their religious beliefs have any place in making laws that affect everyone. On the other hand, I see some really ugly comments about her sudden death, including the one below…

No matter what I might think about Jackie Walorski’s politics, I’m sure she had many loved ones. This is not any better than the awful things conservatives say to liberals.
Ouch.

I don’t cheer for Jackie Walorski’s sudden death, but I really hope with all my heart that whomever takes her place will have more heart and sense for moderation. The country is being torn apart by extremism, and it will lead to even more very ugly things in the future, if something isn’t done soon.

Last night, I finished reading Black Beauty to Bill, and once again, I was shocked by how relevant that book is, even today. It was written in 1877, but it addresses animal rights, politics, and religion, and how politics and religion can turn people into insufferable assholes. Here are just a couple of quotes from the book, one of which I recently shared a few days ago.

“Your master never taught you a truer thing,” said John; “there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham—all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out.”

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 46). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“Well, a man who gets rich by that trade may be all very well in some ways, but he is blind as to what workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws. I dare say they’ll be angry, but every man must do what he thinks to be the best for his country.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 142). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“My boy, I hope you will always defend your sister, and give anybody who insults her a good thrashing—that is as it should be; but mind, I won’t have any election blackguarding on my premises. There are as many ‘blue’ blackguards as there are ‘orange’, and as many white as there are purple, or any other color, and I won’t have any of my family mixed up with it. Even women and children are ready to quarrel for the sake of a color, and not one in ten of them knows what it is about.

“Why, father, I thought blue was for Liberty.” “My boy, Liberty does not come from colors, they only show party, and all the liberty you can get out of them is, liberty to get drunk at other people’s expense, liberty to ride to the poll in a dirty old cab, liberty to abuse anyone that does not wear your color, and to shout yourself hoarse at what you only half-understand—that’s your liberty!”

“Oh, father, you are laughing.”

“No, Harry, I am serious, and I am ashamed to see how men go on who ought to know better. An election is a very serious thing; at least it ought to be, and every man ought to vote according to his conscience, and let his neighbor do the same.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 143). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

I announced to some Facebook friends that I was reading Black Beauty to Bill, and one of them, a British lady who used to teach school in Britain, said it would have him in tears. Sure enough, it did. Black Beauty has a happy ending, but it really is a very good book that tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s surprisingly relevant today, on many levels. I’m glad I read it again as an adult (it was never meant to be children’s literature), and I’m so glad I shared it with Bill. He loved it, and never would have read it on his own. It’s a great book for animal lovers– especially horse lovers– but I think everyone should read it. Anna Sewell was very wise. Her book promotes common sense and compassion, not just toward animals, but also toward human beings. And it’s a reminder that things were bananas in the 19th century, too.

Anyway… it’s going to be another steamy day in Germany, and I’m in the middle of changing the sheets, and will soon be vacuuming, which is not my favorite thing to do. So I guess I’ll end this post and get on with it. Let’s hope for better news in the coming days.

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healthcare, politicians, politics, religion, Trump

Putting my money where my mouth is…

Last night, I did something I’ve never done before. I donated $500 to NARAL Pro-Choice America. Just now, I donated $200 to Planned Parenthood. I decided to make my donations to these two organizations last night after reading insulting, misogynistic, mansplaining comments from men all day. It started with a guy on Twitter who mansplained the effects of pregnancy to a woman and compared it to a hysterectomy. It ended with disgusting comments from a bearded man who wrote several gleeful comments about forcing “loose women” to give birth. By the time I was ready to go to bed, I was seething, and found myself reaching for my credit card.

When I commented on a Washington Post article about abortion rights that I had donated to NARAL, more men came out of the woodwork to deride, lecture, mansplain, and again, ask me if I wasn’t glad my mom didn’t abort me. I blocked every single one of those fuckheads, as well as the women who were complicit in pushing this view that women shouldn’t be allowed to make private healthcare choices for themselves. All of them can go straight to Hell, as far as I’m concerned. This farcical Supreme Court ruling must not stand. People will die.

On Twitter, when I made this comment to the man who had “mansplained” pregnancy and hysterectomies to a woman, I got many likes. I also got a very nasty, angry, misogynistic response from a man who didn’t want me to have a voice. I blocked that fuckhead, too, as well as the ones who decided to use that discussion to make fun of trans people by asking “what is a woman?”. I don’t have time for those people; I don’t want to hear from them; and I don’t want to waste any time responding to their stupidity. They can go to Hell, too.

From yesterday…
To the guy’s credit, he did come back later with a reasonable response… but many more people than the ones reflected in this screenshot liked my post. A couple wrote that they were about to comment the same thing.

Truthfully, I’ve been wanting to donate to pro-choice organizations for a long time. I firmly believe that overturning Roe v. Wade will make American women less safe, and I feel like I have to do my part to help protect women’s rights to healthcare privacy. Women must have competent medical attention exactly when they need it, not when a lawyer says the doctor won’t be sued or jailed. I know that money is powerful. For once, Bill and I have it, and we can use it for something that might make a difference in the world.

When I posted about my donation, I noticed the immediate reactions I got from men who are happy about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Some of them “laugh reacted”. Some responded offensively. Some tried to “reason” with me. I know that their reactions cover up their real feelings that more people might do what I did. They’re counting on those of us who are for choice to be complacent, and politically inactive. Historically, I have never cared much about politics. I’ve never voted in any primaries, and I’m not a member of any particular political party. I have never donated money to any political action. I only follow a few politicians. But last night, something in me woke up. I’ve been reading so much craziness over the past few days, some of which is coming from politicians who literally want to change the United States into a theocracy.

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado went as far as to tell a church congregation she’s “tired of this separation of church and state junk.” That woman actually wants to allow CHURCHES to dictate US law! She actually said that the church is supposed to direct the government. I wonder which church she means. She delivered this speech at Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado. It’s a non-denominational church. They hosted Lauren Boebert, who is a well-known gun rights activist and MAGA asshat, and allowed her to spew her political bullshit in their church. That’s a misuse of their non-profit 501 [c] tax exempt status. I think churches that allow these kinds of political statements ought to be heavily taxed. It’s not for churches to tell people how to vote. It’s funny, too, because I just typed “IRS report” into Google, and the first recommendation was “IRS report church”.

As an American, I sure as HELL don’t want Lauren Boebert and her ilk leading my country. Moreover, she’s just plain wrong about what the Founding Fathers were aiming for when they drew up our Constitution. Not that I’m all that impressed with the “slave owners who wanted to be free” that the Founding Fathers were (George Carlin). What Boebert proposes is a Christian version of the Taliban. It’s like we’re seeing Serena Joy Waterford forming right in front of us.

From Father Nathan Monk’s Facebook page… his astute comment regarding Christianity was immortalized by an artist named panhandle_slim_

Even though I am beyond pregnancy myself, and I know that I will never be in a situation in which I will want or need to have an abortion, I think it’s important to preserve reproductive rights for younger people. My husband has a granddaughter who will be turning 3 in a few days. There’s every chance that she might need an abortion at some point in her life. Her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have all had difficult pregnancies, to include miscarriages, and in her grandmother’s case, dissociating from reality during labor. She should be able to privately access that procedure without interference from an uninvolved person. And as a soon to be member of the LDS church, she shouldn’t be forced to live under laws that are dreamed up by evangelicals and Catholics. We have religious freedom in the United States, and that’s how is should be… that means freedom to practice any religion, and freedom NOT to practice. And no one’s healthcare choices should be determined by laws that are influenced by a specific religion.

So yeah, I’m really pissed off… pissed off enough that I spent $700 to do something about this fucking mess created by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of that merry band of misogynists. And you know what? It felt really good. We won’t miss the money, and it will go to what I know is a very good cause– that of preventing power mad Republican MALES and clueless women from interfering in and invading the private healthcare decisions of women who want or need abortion care… or any other type of healthcare. Especially since we all know that the message in the below screenshot is so true…

You can count on that and take it straight to the bank. I think Panhandle_slim_ is also responsible for the above sign, which was photographed on the side of a busy street in Savannah, Georgia.
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