Duggars

Another Duggar has wed… Make way for Jed and Katey!

But this time, it seems like it was done on the down low. Jedidiah Duggar, who was being affectionately called “Twin Bed Jed” last year, as he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Arkansas State House of Representatives, has married the former Katey Nakatsu. Their wedding was an outdoor affair that took place in Arkansas, with scores of people in attendance. Jed’s twin brother, Jeremiah, was his best man. Katey’s sister, Lauren, served as maid of honor.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that this pair got married the day before Easter. Maybe it’s because Jed’s ready to “give rise” to a sex life. Or maybe he’d like his political aspirations to be “reborn”. He might be taken more seriously in the political arena if he has a home and a family, right? Especially if his wife is beautiful, which Katey certainly is.

Pickles, who runs the Duggar Family News page and group on Facebook, says that the vows the pair exchanged were traditional and full of what she calls “misogynistic” and “submissive” crap. I am not surprised, and I’m sure it won’t be long before they start having babies. Below is a screenshot:

As my college friend, Chris, would say… “R” (R stands for ROTTEN)

I don’t know much about Katey, except that she’s originally from Arizona, and her family recently moved to Arkansas, much like Lauren Swanson’s family did before Lauren married Josiah Duggar. I did read that Katey’s dad is fond of the letter “K”… or so it appears, as his name is Korey; his first wife’s name is Kim (she’s Katey’s mom); and his second wife’s name is Kerry. Also, Katey apparently has a half-brother who is gay and has his own hair salon in Los Angeles. If that’s true, I think it’s cool. The Duggars need more diversity in their clan.

I also read that Boob gifted Jed a house. It’s a 2000 square foot home located just four miles from the Duggar compound and it has three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. I suppose that’s plenty of room for the Jed Duggar family to start growing. It’s bigger than the Seewald abode, which used to belong to Josh and Anna Duggar. Jessa and Ben Seewald have been in that house for several years now. They have three kids– two boys and a girl– and another baby on the way. But their house only has two bedrooms. I think Jessa’s husband, Ben, is trying to become a pastor. Well, it’s “past time” for the pastor to get bigger digs for his growing brood. But that’s just my social worker side coming out to play.

Jed’s wedding comes a month after his younger brother, 18 year old Justin, married the former Claire Spivey. I quit watching Counting On a few years ago, because it had just gotten too boring for me. However, I have noticed that the weddings aren’t getting as much pomp and circumstance anymore. Maybe TLC has finally decided to axe this show… or they’ve just relegated the Duggars to Discovery+, which I think is a pay per view service. I don’t know… I’m so far out of the loop over here in Germany.

I wouldn’t ordinarily write about this topic, but I can’t think of anything else to write about today that wouldn’t be snarky, petty, or bitchy. And since it’s Easter, I figure it’s better to write about a religious event. I suspect the latest Duggar wedding was held outside because of COVID-19, but I’m sure it was otherwise like any other Duggar event.

On another note… have you noticed how popular the name “Lauren” is these days? Or maybe it was popular twenty or thirty years ago. It seems like there are so many Laurens out there now… and Kaylas, too. I even have a cousin named Kayla. It’s like the name “Jennifer” in my era. I know personally about “Jennifer”, because that’s the name my mom gave me. I’ve always hated it, which is why I go by “Jenny”. I only like that name a little bit more, mainly because I’m more of a “Jenny” personality wise. Jennifer is too formal for the likes of me.

Anyway, the Duggar family has a lot of ties to Laurens. There’s Lauren Swanson Duggar, who is Josiah’s wife, Lauren Caldwell, who is Kendra Caldwell Duggar’s sister, Jessa Seewald’s middle name is “Lauren”, and now we have Katey Nakatsu Duggar’s sister, Lauren. Those are just off the top of my head. There are probably more Laurens in the mix that I’ve either overlooked or haven’t yet discovered, not that I’d take the time.

I have developed an unfortunate aversion to the name “Lauren”, much like I’ve developed an aversion to the name “Sabrina”. Sabrina is the name of my husband’s ex wife, who is a skank of the first order… (sorry, seems a little petty bitchiness has slipped in, anyway). Actually, calling her a skank is being quite nice, especially after what we’ve recently found out about her. But I digress…

I know some people think I’m being awful when I “trash” Sabrina. I’m sure it seems that way to anyone who doesn’t know our story. But trust me… if you only knew the backstory and the illegal and immoral shit she’s done, you’d know I’m being exceedingly kind when I refer to her as a “skank”. She really should be in prison. That’s neither an exaggeration, nor a joke. And Easter is a special day for Bill, because it was on Easter that she demanded a divorce while staying at Bill’s dad’s house, but didn’t actually mean to get a divorce. Happily, Bill took her up on it, and here we are, 21 years later. 😀 We’re living the good life!

Well, I truly hope Jed and his new bride are very happy together, and they have many wonderful years of wedded bliss. I pray that they don’t let Boob intrude too much in their personal business. And I hope that Katey’s first roll in the sack wasn’t too painful or messy. Sorry… there’s that petty bitchiness rearing its ugly head. Must be the onset of menopause working its devilish magic again. 😉

Happy Easter, everybody. And just to show that I’m not a total creep, here’s a video I made yesterday, starring Noyzi the wonder pup from Kosovo!

I love Beth Nielsen Chapman’s songs.

There’s a lot I’d like to rant and rave about… hence the recent protected post. I wish I could make it public, but a certain “Lauren” in my life has reminded me that there are a lot of literal creeps in the world who don’t want to try to understand. Anyone who’s curious and not a creep can always request the password.

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book reviews, family

Reviewing In My Mother’s House by Kim Chernin…

I just took a lovely nap. It commenced after I finished reading Kim Chernin’s book, In My Mother’s House. Kim Chernin, born Elaine Kusnitz, died recently, which is probably how this book came on my radar. She was 80 years old. She was a lesbian, a feminist, a much regarded author with a doctorate, and the daughter of a famously communist mother, Rose Chernin. She was survived by her daughter, Larissa, who was her only child, born in 1963 while Kim was studying at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Married and divorced twice, Kim took her mother’s surname after the second divorce, as did her daughter. She is also survived by her wife, Renate Stendhal.

Kim Chernin died in December of COVID-19. Her only sister, Nina, had died when Kim was four years old. Kim owed her life to Nina, because when her mother got pregnant with her, she reportedly told Nina, then an adolescent, that she wasn’t sure she should have the baby. At the time of her pregnancy, Kim’s famous mother, Rose, was thirty-nine years old and very busy with her career as a left-wing activist. Nina reportedly promised their mother that if she would have the baby, Nina would take care of it. Sure enough, Kim was born in May 1940, and Nina took care of her. Of course, no one knew at the time that Nina would get very sick with Hodgkins lymphoma, which would kill her in 1944.

At the beginning of her book, In My Mother’s House, Rose is visiting Kim and Larissa, who was a young girl at the time. She’s asked her daughter to write a book about her life as a labor organizer and Communist Party. Kim Chernin, who was nationally known as an expert on body dysmorphia and eating disorders, agreed. It took her seven years to finish the book, which was originally published in 1983. The result is a multi-faceted book about one woman’s unusual and riveting history between two super powers, Russia and the United States. Rose told Kim about her life– quite a lot of which had already been lived before Kim was born.

Rose Chernin and Paul Kusnitz, Kim’s parents, were Russian Jews. They were born at the beginning of the twentieth century. When Rose was about thirteen, her mother moved her and her sisters from Russia to Waterbury, Connecticut. Rose became politically active as a young woman, dedicated to the idea of communism. She joined the Communist Party in 1932, three years after officially becoming a United States citizen. That year, the family moved to Moscow for a couple of years before returning to the United States. Kim’s father was an engineer educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, so he helped develop the Moscow Metro (subway) system. The family returned to the United States in 1934, six years before Kim was born.

In the ensuing years, Rose Chernin was very active in promoting communism in the United States. Kim Chernin grew up hearing about the wonders of the Soviet Union, which her mother promoted as a more humane society. Kim read works by Marx and Lenin from a very young age.

In 1951, Rose Chernin was arrested for conspiracy to overthrow the government under the Smith Act of 1940. The Smith Act of 1940 set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government by force or violence, and required all non-citizen adult residents to register with the federal government. Rose spent a year in jail, in part because her bail was set at $100,000, which she could never hope to raise. The Immigration and Naturalization Service tried to deport Rose, but were unsuccessful because of a 1957 ruling that the Smith Act was unconstitutional.

I was initially drawn into the story about four generations of women in Kim Chernin’s family because of the richness in which the story was written. Kim was a very intelligent and expressive writer, and I got the sense that she and her mother had a complicated yet loving relationship. Kim grew up attending communist rallies with her mother, who was very much a supporter of worker’s rights and tenant advocacy and an opponent of racism. Naturally, Rose’s ideas ran contrary to the ideas promoted by the U.S. government. But there was a time when Russia and the United States were allies, as both powers fought against Hitler’s regime.

Kim also went to Yiddish school, although she rebelled against the teachings there. And yet, in reading her book about her mother, I can tell that the experience in Yiddish school left its mark on her as she weaves her mother’s voice in to story. Kim had a complicated relationship with her mother, and they are said to have fought “bitterly”. However, Kim also clearly adored her, and that loving quality is liberally injected In My Mother’s House. Rose Chernin lived a very long and productive life. She died in 1995 of Alzheimer’s Disease. She had just turned 94.

I’m glad I read this book. I promise, it’s not the book that sent me into afternoon slumber. Rather, I think it was because Arran woke me up at 4:30am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I have always found the Soviet Union and Russian history very interesting. I also find Kim Chernin interesting because of her work as a feminist and expertise in the subject of eating disorders. Her trilogy about eating disorders, Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of SlendernessThe Hungry Self: Women, Eating and Identity, and Reinventing Eve: Modern Woman in Search of Herself, put her on the map as a writer. However, In My Mother’s House, is a loving and fascinating tribute to her mother, who was quite an amazing woman. It also offers a glimpse at Kim’s grandmother, a woman who never could adapt to life in the United States and was later sent to an institution, where she wrote beautiful letters.

Kim Chernin managed to impart her mother’s wisdom as she wrote in Rose Chernin’s voice, “You want to fly? Grow wings. You don’t like the way things are? Tell a story.” Words to live by… although I’m not sure I’m as good at following Rose’s advice as Kim was. May she rest in peace.

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condescending twatbags, politicians, politics, psychology, Trump

If you have to start a rebuttal with insults…

You’ve already lost the argument, as far as I’m concerned.

A couple of days ago, when riots were happening in Washington, D.C., a friend of mine named Chris posted this comment on Facebook.

From what I am seeing, President Trump has incited a riot where protestors have now breached and are inside the Capitol building. This is NOT the America I spent my life defending.

Chris is someone I knew in college. He’s spent most of his adult life as an Army officer. He’s offline friends with one of Bill’s former colleagues from the early days of his Army career. Although Bill hasn’t met my college friend himself, my college friend later friended Bill, because they have the Army and Bill’s former colleague in common, as well as some mutual friends. That old concept, Six Degrees of Separation, works especially well in the military.

Anyway, given my college friend’s military career, he has a lot of Facebook friends and they run the gamut in terms of their politics. Naturally, a lot of the military folks who are friends with Chris are politically conservative. Based on his public thread, which at this writing has over 300 comments, many of my college friend’s contacts are mostly Trump supporting Republicans.

After awhile, someone brought up the fact that Trump’s leadership style is an awful lot like Adolf Hitler’s. Personally, I agree with the similarities. But whenever Hitler comes into the conversation about Trump, many people vehemently deny the comparisons. They think it’s awful to even go there. I guess I can understand why comparing Trump to Hitler makes people squeamish. People don’t want to think they fell for electing a monster, and it’s true that Trump hasn’t committed atrocities on the same level that Hitler did. But I think if people stopped to think about it for a minute– cleared their minds of the obvious distaste most people have for Hitler and looked at the issue critically– they might see why some of us can see how Hitler and Trump have used the same playbook. And even if they still disagree with the comparison, they might have more respect for the opinions of others who do see things in that way.

Interesting thoughts from 2016.

So how is it that some people see comparisons to Hitler and others don’t? I’ve found that conservatives who don’t see the parallels tend to focus on nitty gritty details. For instance, one Trump supporter I’ve talked to about this brought up that Trump (supposedly) isn’t anti-semitic. Others say that comparing Trump to Hitler is hyperbole that is insulting to Jewish people. They all bring up the fact that Trump hasn’t murdered six million people (yet), and comparing Trump to Hitler diminishes Hitler’s evil deeds. They’re looking at specific policies and the actual things that were done during the Holocaust. They don’t consider how the German people got to the point of ignoring the barbaric treatment of Jews and others who were deemed “undesirable”, such as communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gypsies, and homosexuals, to name a few. Trump hasn’t yet managed what Hitler did. It would be difficult for him to do that in today’s world. But he motivates disenfranchised people in a way common to Hitler’s, and he has some very similar behaviors and mindsets to Hitler’s.

Americans are lazy about studying history, much to our detriment. This is pretty cringeworthy.

What these folks can’t seem to understand is that most people comparing Trump to Hitler have never said that Trump is *just like* Hitler, or that he believes in everything Hitler championed. What they’re saying is that he has a similar leadership style. Trump, like Hitler, was a mediocre person before he rose to power. Yes, Trump was wealthy and famous even before he became president, but most of his “accomplishments” came on the backs of other people. He’s definitely not a scholar, and if not for the family business, he probably never would have been regarded as a particularly brilliant businessperson. Trump made his money by screwing over and bullying other people. He is a taker. And although the role of POTUS is the ultimate government position, Trump never had an interest in government service. He had no experience as a politician and never would have been able to get a security clearance. What he is interested in is fame, power, self-gratification, and wealth, not being a leader. And those interests are what make him like Hitler, who was a similarly damaged, mentally ill person who was drunk on power.

I actually had a copy of this issue of Mad Magazine, myself… it’s rather telling, isn’t it?

Like Hitler, Donald Trump’s “gifts” are his charisma and ability to rile up people. Like all malignant narcissists, he knows what to say to motivate people. He knows how to get people energized and fool them into thinking that he’s working for them. But if you look beyond the surface, you can see there’s very little substance to what he says. And when it comes down to it, he really doesn’t care about anyone but himself and his obsession for power and money. He’s no different than a televangelist who talks people into sending him their grocery money on the promise that they’ll somehow be blessed by the Almighty. Trump ALWAYS blames other people when things go wrong, and he energizes other people, perhaps those who feel disenfranchised by virtue signaling liberals whom they think live in ivory towers, to think as he does. Of course, Trump wouldn’t deign to spend any time with most of the people who champion him. He looks down on the poor.

Hitler, likewise, was very good at riling people up and convincing ordinary Germans that his plan was what they needed to get out of their impoverished conditions. He convinced people to blame the Jews and, little by little, desensitized them to the cruelties and atrocities levied against Jewish people. Germans are, on the whole, very law abiding people, so he passed laws that enabled his campaign of hatred to go on unabated. He enlisted other people– power hungry, ambitious, cruel people– to join him in his campaign against Jews and others he deemed unacceptable or undesirable.

In 2018, Donald Trump refers to certain countries as “shitholes”… and he pushes an agenda about making American “great” again, when for so many people, it was never “great”. He clearly disdains certain people, just like Hitler did, and minimizes atrocities committed against people who aren’t like him. Not unlike Hitler.

Take a look at Trump’s policies and you might see that he similarly dehumanizes people. In his case, it’s the “illegals”. And while the practice of “caging” people didn’t start with Trump, it definitely ramped up on his watch, especially as he insisted on going forward with his idea to build as massive wall to keep out “bad hombres”. Listen to what he says about other people. He views women as objects and values them only on their beauty. But even women he thinks of as “beautiful” are still just objects intended for his entertainment and enjoyment. They are less than human in his eyes. You only have to read some of his comments over the years to see that.

When people compare Trump to Hitler, it’s not because he’s been on a campaign of mass murder. It’s his behavior and his effect on his followers that they’re addressing. It’s Trump’s ability to motivate people to go to Washington, D.C. and attempt to derail democracy that makes him like Hitler. Sadly, a lot of people never think about this and won’t consider it. They only focus on what Hitler managed to do versus what Trump has done.

They hate the media, but they get their bullshit from the media.

Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are easily impressed, particularly by those who make a lot of money. They are blinded by fame and wealth, and equate that to success. Many Americans are big believers in the “prosperity gospel”. They assume that a person’s power, thanks to wealth and fame, are a sign that they are favored by God. Most of them don’t think too hard about how someone would come into that much money, power, and fame. Sadly, a lot of people want to be in the orbit of fabulously rich and famous people. It doesn’t occur to them that a lot of really wealthy, famous people are shallow and selfish. Those qualities are often how they made their money and became powerful. They don’t care about others.

So anyway, a couple hundred comments into the contentious thread my friend Chris posted, another college friend joined the discussion. This friend is a woman I knew in school. She’s very bright and articulate, and she has a degree in history. Longwood University, particularly when we were students, has a very strong history department. Most of the people I know who got degrees in history at Longwood are very intelligent.

My friend brought up the Hitler connection, and she was immediately taken to task by one of Chris’s military buddies. This guy, name of Russ, is an author and a military officer. Sadly, based on his comments to my old friend from college, he’s not much of a gentleman. As the two sparred in Chris’s thread, I noticed that he started most of his comments with sarcasm, insults, and blatant rudeness. Meanwhile, my college friend, who like me, is an Air Force brat, responded to his comments with dignity and basic respect.

I was impressed by my friend’s comments. She’s definitely more patient than I am. I was tempted to jump into the fray myself, but I decided that I don’t like arguing with jerks, especially when I don’t know them and when it’s on social media. To me, it’s mostly a pointless exercise. Still, I was very proud of my friend for standing up to Russ and his obvious disrespect toward smart women. And then it occurred to me that Russ is not unlike a lot of people in the military– usually men– who look down on others. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of shit from people in the military community simply for daring to call my blog The Overeducated Housewife. These folks are usually the type who universally refer to military wives (and it’s always the wives, not the husbands) as “dependas”. A “dependa”, for those who don’t know, is a fat, lazy, parasitical woman who marries a military guy simply to drain his paycheck at AAFES and access Tricare benefits.

But even worse to the people who use the slur, dependa (which is short for dependapotamus), are smart women who feel emboldened to challenge them. Most of the men who act like Russ are the type of guys who can’t stand smart, outspoken, articulate women. And so, instead of treating them like equals, they do their best to try to diminish them with sarcasm, insults, and discounting. Here are a few of Russ’s comments:

He starts with this, after a third person called Trump a “Nazi” (which for the record, I don’t agree with– I don’t think Trump is a Nazi, but I do think many of his behaviors are like Hitler’s)…

Jesus, can we knock off the Nazi nonsense? Have you EVER stopped to think that such language is one of the reasons we’re so polarized? When someone invades the rest of Europe or kills 6 million people in systemic genocide, then maybe the Nazi comparison will be valid. Until then, it’s just a lazy way to tell everyone how much you hate those on the other side.

Then, a few comments later, Russ writes this:

no, it’s not like Hitler’s rise to power. Geez, when did our schools stop teaching actual history and start giving you whatever validates your personal political viewpoint? Hitler used a runaway inflationary crappy economy and hatred of Jews to rise to power and then systemically kill millions of people. Your over the top hyperbole isn’t helping; in fact, it’s part of what is inciting all of this.

You can sort feel his derisive mood in his words. He’s not responding to other posters with respect. He’s being insulting and rude and not even trying to see where the comparisons are coming from. And again, he’s focused on the “nitty gritty” of what fueled Hitler, not the behaviors themselves.

So my friend informed Russ about her background and wrote an explanation of why people compare Trump to Hitler. Below is what she wrote. The only thing potentially insulting to Russ is when she asks him not to question her education when he doesn’t even know her.

As someone who has a degree in history I feel that I have an accurate grasp on historical events and what leads to major historical events to parallel. Don’t question my education when you have no idea who I am or what I know.

Trump inflates the hatred of immigrants. There are camps with inhumane conditions that these immigrants are kept.

He uses the fallacy of America first to incite his followers to do his bidding. He can get a whole room of people to chant whatever party line he wants them to say. The nationalism he has evoked from people is blind to any thought other than America.

Having driven around this America during the pandemic I have seen many pockets of his followers and they are usually the very poor and the very rich. He preys on the insecurities of those who are scraping by and he protects his billionaire friends.

His actions are from a third world coup playbook. He does not have absolute power, there is a thing called checks and balances. He thinks he can tell congress what he wants and it will happen. He thinks he can determine how he wants the supreme court to make decisions. They all said, thank you, next and now he is pouting in the White House, on a twitter time out while people are still protesting in front of the Capitol building for a man who would easily thrust them in front of himself.

Your reluctance to see the parallels are because you just don’t want to be compared to an extreme government that exterminated 6 million souls and disenfranchised millions more. I can understand that, it hurts to have your belief system examined so thoroughly and compared to what has been declared monstrous.

Trumps actions are text book fascist, his hero is the leader of a dictatorship, how can you rationalize accepting this man as your leader?

He lost the election and now you are being asked to get over it like the democrats were told to in 2016.

This was a great opportunity for Russ to enter into a respectful and perhaps illuminating discussion about why some people are reminded of Hitler when they look at Trump. Even if my friend had failed to convince him, he might learn something from the exchange. Instead, he immediately insults and tries to bully her:

ooh, you have a pretty certificate? Well that just settles everything then, doesn’t it?

No, Trump is not inflaming hatred of immigrants. He does say we have a border that should be enforced, and I notice you left the word ILLEGAL out of your diatribe. BTW, remind me again when the cages went into service and who was President at that time…I kinda thought the American President was elected to look after America. Maybe I misunderstand the job.

If you’ve only seen very poor or very rich supporters, you need to get out more. I live among them, and they’re pretty much middle class. Or do you need to categorize them to justify your own opposition?

Which dictatorial actions has he taken? Has he arrested journalists and had their families followed? Oh, wait, that was Barack Obama…Hitler being appointed to the Chancellorship was a move aimed at appeasing his supporters by Hindenburg, so as to try and bring them into the governmental coalition. Hitler never won the Presidency on his own and only assumed it upon the death of Hindenburg. Moreover, he set about rounding up Jews inside Germany who were German citizens, and then he executed them. You conflating with Trump saying mean things is pretty comical.

BTW, remind me when democrats “got over” the election of 2016.

After I read this, I decided to take a look at Russ’s Facebook page. He evidently has a wife and daughters. I bet he speaks like this to them, too. I know the type. This is the same treatment I used to get from my father and my uncle, and other men in the family with military experience who have the erroneous idea that being rude and insulting is motivating. He probably treats the women in his family like trash. And this is a very typical attitude displayed by a lot of men in the military who can’t stand to be addressed by women.

So my friend continued with another comment, which I thought was pretty civilized.

Yes, I have a pretty piece of paper that states I put in the time to research my given field. It is where I met Chris, someone I greatly admire. I didn’t say it to brag, but to let you know I had the ability to read books, such as yours, to come up with my own educated opinion on matters.

And Russ comes up with this beaut…

so you continue your assertions based on your certificate and not on facts? I notice you failed to refute a SINGLE thing presented, instead relying on your degree to hopefully quell others into silence. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to dismiss you.

At this point, I’m pretty sure that Russ is just an asshole. But my friend addressed him again, I think quite respectfully, given Russ’s arrogant and dismissive tone toward her.

no, I don’t need to refute your position or points. This is not a debate. I am not required to defeat your ill informed assertions with a counterpoint to each point you make. My reference to my degree was presenting qualification to my argument like anyone would to demonstrate a mastery in a subject or skill. It wasn’t meant to put anyone down who does not have said “pretty paper” and I acknowledge there are many here more educated than me, some might even consider themselves overeducated.

At the end of the day, Congress ratified the electoral vote and Joe Biden will be the next President baring any actions taking place in Congress this week regarding Donald Trumps role in inciting violence.

It is easy for you, a male, to dismiss me because I don’t immediately defer to your superior opinion because, as a female, I must be stupid and not really understand how all of this works. Your bully tactics will not work on me.

As the daughter of a retired Air Force Colonel, I lived in a divided Germany and in school we were taught many things regarding international affairs, to include the responsibility of the people who fueled the ego of Hitler and how easy it was for him to rise to power.

We are in a poor economic situation. Trump is saying things that resonate in many hearts of like-minded people. Senators and congress-people of his own party support him at the cost of their own careers.

Four years go by fast. Instead of insurrection and sedition, why not form powerful election reform groups to ensure the next election is not “fraudulent.” Oh wait, if the presidential election was fraudulent, maybe the rest of the election was fraudulent and Mitch really isn’t the duly elected Senator from Kentucky? Shocker that the only election that is in question is the presidential election when every state had all offices on the same ballot. No one else on the ballot who lost are protesting like an angry dictator that there was voter fraud. They accepted the loss and said, get ’em next time.

And Russ couldn’t let it go, so he responded thusly:

I see, instead of taking on the points you quite obviously got wrong about rises to power, now it’s all about what is dangling between my legs. Why that’s not sexist at all!

I treated you the same way I treat everyone else. Stop acting all butt hurt b/c you got called out on your hyperbolic nonsense. It’s not about anyone bowing down to superiority – it’s about you being so full of rage and anger that it has tainted your judgment about how you pose historical context.

I went back, and golly gosh gee if I could find anywhere where I said Biden would not be the next President. Wouldn’t that simple fact, which everyone acknowledges, kinda undercut your Hitler assertion? Last I checked, Hitler was pretty unlikely to allow himself to be removed from power. But I get that you are wedded to overblown rhetoric that you somehow can’t see contributes to all the anger in our society today.

I see that you want to make this about the election in general instead of your Nazi reference bullshit. Biden won – shouldn’t that be enough for you to let go of this anger? Or are you intent on proving that it’s not Trump per se you dislike, but the Right in general, and Trump is merely a stand-in for that hatred?

He’s not even trying to understand where my friend is coming from. His attitude toward her was belligerent and insulting from the get go. But my friend stays on the high road and writes this:

If you felt any hatred from me toward Trump or the right I am quite surprised. He is not important enough to me to hate.

If there’s anything I hate, it’s when people try to tell me how I feel or what I think. Kudos to my friend for her even-handed response to a guy who did just that. But he couldn’t let it go. He had to lob one more missive.

your words tell a different story.

Nope, Russ. I don’t see it. But my friend offered these last thoughts, again, very classily stated.

I guess as an author you would know? Hate is something that is a visceral reaction. I don’t hate him any more than I hate you. I feel sorry for this country in being hoodwinked by the biggest con man to ever hold office and that is saying a lot because we have had quite a few in our history.

I can call someone a narcissist without hating them. I can describe behaviors as being childish without hating them. I can hold my ground on how I feel without being hateful toward you or anyone else who feels the same.

The feeling I feel is pity. I am unsure you understand why I feel pity without thinking that I am being condescending. This division is not the America I have been brought up to believe in so strongly. It is devolving into an us vs. them and I refuse to play into that role. So while you try to bait me with insults to get me to spew hate, it is not going to happen. I have many conservative friends who both support and don’t support Trump and I don’t treat them any different than any other friends. I will respectfully debate them when they want to debate and I will back off when it becomes uncivil.

What people don’t understand is the language of politics and how it is founded in civility. You explore the concept of hate in your book Schism as well as a fictionalized (which at the moment feels more non fiction given current political events) break of political parties where people are pitted against each other. You have some great reviews and I agree with one reviewer that this genre of literature (modern civil war) will be forthcoming more due to the political and civil unrest in the country. At some point, when courts, lawmakers, and other officials are saying there was no corruption, no fraud, when are the disenfranchised Trump supporters going to believe that? What do people have to do to make this be a settled matter?

I do hope my friend doesn’t mind that I posted about this… but this discussion is on a public thread and I was legitimately impressed by her intelligent and respectful responses to an apparently misogynistic bully (because I truly doubt he would have responded to a man in the way he responded to my friend). I already had a bee in my bonnet this morning on account of a couple of people insulting me on Gary Johnson’s Facebook page. One person called me “a special kind of stupid” and “selfish” because I wrote that the one good thing Trump has done is motivate people who ordinarily don’t vote to go to the polls and vote him out of office. I am delighted that Joe Biden won, simply because he’s a much more decent person than Trump is. But apparently, voting against Trump makes me “stupid” and “selfish” (looks like she deleted her comment after I called her out). Behold:

Granted, maybe I shouldn’t have called the guy an “idiot”, but I hadn’t had my coffee. We all make mistakes.

Anyway… it’s been a long four years and a long couple of days. Even if Trump isn’t entirely to blame for what happened in Washington, DC on Wednesday, he certainly had a hand in its fruition. The whole world is watching this, and Trump has not responded like a real leader should and would. It’s time for him to leave power before even more people get hurt or killed by his terrible policies. Maybe, with a leader who actually cares about others and sees them as more than just objects or weapons, America might be able to repair some of the damage. But I think we could all start by not immediately resorting to verbal abuse and insults, discounting other people’s opinions, and diminishing their accomplishments. That alone, would help make America much better… although we still have a long way to go before we’re “great”.

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family, healthcare

Instant karma’s gonna get you… UPDATED

Last night, Bill and I sat at our kitchen table, nervously watching the political headlines. We were sharing a laugh, because the other night, I got a private message from a relative who had commented on a picture I shared of our latest addition, Noyzi, the Balkan pandemic pup. He happened to be standing next to our booze cart when I took the photo and it was visible, so my relative added, “Wow, that’s quite a collection of booze, btw.”

I’m not sure how she expected me to respond to that comment. It’s true that we have a lot of booze on our booze cart, because Bill and I do like our libations. Moreover, my relative knows full well that in our family, there are a lot of drinkers, depressives, Republicans, and conservative Christians. She knows we’re not teetotalers. And how many bottles constitutes “quite a collection”, anyway? Two or three? I’d put them in a closet or a cabinet, but closets and cabinets are pretty rare in Germany unless you purchase them separately. Just having a lot of bottles of alcohol is not necessarily an indication of a problem, especially when a lot of them are still full or unopened, as is the case for us.

So, I decided to respond with a matter-of-fact “Yup. We are lushes.” I suppose if I really had wanted to be funny, I could have added this clip, for good measure. She wisely didn’t respond to my quip. I’m not sure if she was just surprised by my response, or got the message that she needed to mind her own business.

I do love my family, but this is really more me before a family gathering in which politics and religion are discussed.

I certainly don’t mean to make light of alcoholism. It’s not a laughing matter at all, and everyone in our family has been touched by alcoholism, even if most of us drink, anyway. But I think it’s rude to make pointed comments about the contents of a person’s booze cart, unless you’re complimenting it. Besides, a lot of the stuff on that cart is either a mixer or really old… or it’s a really old mixer. We have several bottles of stuff I bought about five years ago that probably need to be tossed, if only so we’ll have more space for stuff we’ll actually consume. In any case, our drinking habits are not really her business, particularly since I know she’s no angel in that department herself. At least neither Bill nor I have never been arrested or had a DUI.

So anyway, we were laughing about my relative’s comment and subsequent radio silence. Then, I decided to look up my cousin, who recently died. This relative who had been chatting with me had missed our cousin’s funeral, which had been posted on YouTube. By the way, I think that’s a great way to do funerals, even when a pandemic isn’t going on. I would not have been able to “attend” the funeral, if it hadn’t been videoed.

I thought the video was taken down, but I eventually found a link to the service and sent it my nosy relative. In the course of looking for the video, I noticed that my cousin had been journaling about her experiences with colon cancer. I decided to read her comments. The longest one was about her initial diagnosis. In her entry, she detailed how she found out that she had cancer. She mentioned that she had been experiencing pain for months, but blew it off. She had thought she was getting an ulcer, but neglected to see a doctor. Why? Because she didn’t have health insurance and was waiting for Medicare to kick in. One night, her body made it very clear to her that she was in serious trouble.

As I read her story, I felt a mixture of compassion, sorrow, empathy, and anger. Because as sad as I was to read about her diagnosis and suffering, I also couldn’t help but remember an “argument” we got into a few years ago on Facebook, when some friends and I were having a discussion about the extortionate prices of prescription drugs in the United States. I had initially written about that argument right after it happened in January 2016, when my cousin was still apparently “healthy”. She’d pissed off a bunch of my friends by lecturing us about how Big Pharma was poisoning people. We all just needed to eat right, exercise, and use essential oils. Then she proudly declared that she refused to get health insurance, opting instead to pay a fine. I thought that was crazy, and said so.

In May of last year, I found out that she’d been diagnosed with cancer and remembered that conversation from 2016 in an updated blog post. I knew that she didn’t agree with getting chemotherapy, since her parents had both had it when they got cancer. I can understand and respect that. I fully agree with people making their own healthcare decisions and living their lives. I also agree that many health conditions could be minimized or eliminated if people took better care of themselves, to the extent of their ability to do so. However, I also think it’s very irresponsible not to have health insurance if you can afford it. Nutrition, exercise, and essential oils will do little for you if you have an accident, a congenital disease or birth defect, or are just plain unlucky. And when you do need to access the healthcare system, as she eventually did, and most of us also will, your bad debt will be passed on to everyone else if you can’t pay your medical bills. And that will make healthcare cost even more across the board.

It’s true that our healthcare system is really screwed up and extremely overpriced. Health insurance is also very expensive. But we have to do something in order to make the necessary changes, and the Affordable Care Act, as screwed up as it is, is at least a step in a direction of some sort. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. I live in a country where healthcare doesn’t bankrupt people. It’s pretty damned nice!

I think if we had lawmakers who were actually concerned about serving the people instead of making names for themselves, lining their pockets, and staying in power, we might be well on our way to healthcare that everyone can access and afford when they need it. I get that conservatives don’t like it when the government taxes them or regulates businesses (which is what healthcare has become), but it’s gotten way out of hand in the United States. There’s a lot of greed in healthcare and it’s causing huge problems, particularly as people are dying of COVID-19 and healthcare providers and systems are being stretched to their limits.

Last night, I read about how my cousin had let her disease go unchecked for at least six months because she didn’t have health insurance and was waiting for Medicare to kick in. The dramatic event that led her to her sick role had occurred in May of 2019, but she’d had Medicare coverage since late October 2018. As of May of 2019, she’d experienced severe abdominal pain for over six months. Still, she’d ignored it, dismissing the pain as a potential ulcer until she was passing bright red blood rectally in the wee hours of the morning.

I’m actually surprised that my cousin agreed with using Medicare, since she was a proud Republican and a Trump supporter, and a lot of Republicans seem to think Medicare is a socialist idea. If she had seen a doctor right when the pain started, would she have survived 2020? Would she have had another Christmas and New Year’s with her family? Would she have made it to her 70s and been there to see her grandchildren come of age? We’ll never know, but I suspect that she would have had a much better quality of life and a more favorable outcome if she’d been able to see, and pay for, a doctor much sooner than she did.

Both of my cousin’s parents died of different forms of cancer. I can understand that she probably feared a diagnosis of cancer even more than most people do. She’d seen her parents go through chemotherapy years ago, and she no doubt knew what that experience would mean for her. But I’m still flabbergasted by what happened in her situation, and she felt entitled to criticize my conversation with friends about the need for reasonably priced prescription drugs and healthcare for Americans. In the end, she turned out to be a bit of a hypocrite who probably could have stayed around a bit longer if she’d had better access to affordable care and availed herself of it in a timely manner. I’m truly sorry that she died, and wish it hadn’t happened the way it did… and I hope she is in a “better place”. She wrote this in that first entry of her journal:

A lot of people who upon hearing the diagnosis “You’ve got cancer” recall being horror stricken, bowled over, in a crisis and while these are words no one ever wants to hear, I simply recall wondering, “Lord, how do you plan to use this?” 

I’m sure if any of my family members read this, they might be offended. But I hope they’ll stop for a second and consider our relative’s words. “Lord, how do you plan to use this”… and realize that perhaps her case is an invitation to re-examine their ideas about politics, particularly regarding healthcare. We all need it, and it ought to be available, accessible, and affordable to everyone. And I wish my cousin had been able to do that for herself and her family, whom I know are all missing her very much.

And… to my other nosy relatives who want to comment on my booze cart, this post should serve as a reminder that I’m not 12 anymore.

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narcissists, politicians, Trump

Donald Trump’s last gasps of desperation…

Last night, as the last holiday weekend of 2020-21 was winding down, I saw the headline flash across Facebook. The Washington Post was running an exclusive story about how Donald Trump, lame duck POTUS, was shamelessly trying to guilt, cajole, threaten, and manipulate Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, into somehow “finding” 11,780 votes and overturning Joe Biden’s win in Georgia. The Post’s story included an edited version of Trump’s hour long discussion with Raffensperger and other Georgia elections officials. They later posted the full, unedited phone call. I know at least one of my Facebook friends resubscribed to the Post just so they could listen, but it’s now been posted on YouTube, and the media has been spreading this story like COVID-19.

Absolutely PATHETIC! He needs a ball gag.

My initial response to this news was outrage and disgust. However, ultimately, I’m not surprised Trump is trying this tactic. He is desperate to remain in power. He will leave no stone unturned in his relentless quest to stay in the White House, even though the majority of people in a proven secure and fair election want him OUT! With every day that passes, Trump’s hopes of overturning the election results dwindle, yet he keeps trying to bully his way past the results. He continues to try to rewrite history and alter the truth, even though it’s clear that he lost, fair and square (as Marcia Brady would put it).

I think Trump wants to stay in charge for a lot of reasons. The main one is that he is a malignant narcissist. Malignant narcissists hate to lose, and they will stop at nothing to avoid that particular narcissistic injury. But, besides the fact that Trump is a narcissist, I think he’s also afraid of what is going to happen to him once he’s no longer enjoying the protections that come from being the U.S. President. Once January 20, 2021 rolls around, he will once again be a private citizen, and that means he will be fair game for those who would like to sue him or see him behind bars.

If you listen to Trump talk, he speaks of rumors spreading about corruption. He throws out a bunch of figures and untrue statements. I must give credit to Brad Raffensperger, who kept his cool and calmly told Mr. Trump that his comments were untrue. He wasn’t swayed by Trump’s threats and never once sounded intimidated by Trump and his brazen attempts to steamroll him. Even when Trump reminded Raffensperger that he’s a Republican– perhaps trying to demand party loyalty– Raffensperger remained unruffled. Massive kudos and congratulations to Mr. Raffensperger for his ability to stay calm and either not laugh outright at Trump, or show any wavering in his duty to report accurate and fair results of the election, regardless of his affiliation with the Republican Party.

I would like to ask Trump this… if Georgia’s elections results were improper, why aren’t other people in an uproar? What about the lower political races? Wouldn’t there be corruption there, too? I also find it hilarious that Trump is complaining about cheating when there were many signs that Republicans were doing their best to suppress voters by removing mailboxes, cutting postal worker overtime, and cutting down on the number of ballot boxes where votes could legally be collected. Despite all of these efforts, Trump still LOST! Obviously, people want him to leave office, but he won’t go without an embarrassing and increasingly futile fight. Even people in his own party are turning on him. They don’t want to be on the wrong side of history.

As I write this, I’m listening to Trump’s unedited phone call with the Georgia officials. At this writing, he’s been speaking for almost 13 minutes straight, without another person being allowed to get a word in edgewise. That thirteen minutes of him rambling non-stop drivel, alleging illegal voting practices and fraud… and not a single break in the stream of consciousness word salad to allow the officials to break in until one of them finally responds. They tell him they have recounted the ballots by hand and got the same result as the voting machines from Dominion got. But he’s still not going to back down. In fact, Trump falsely insists that he won the state, when he very clearly didn’t.

I wonder, though, what would happen if somehow Trump did somehow get the election overturned. Would people accept it? Probably the only people who would would be those who doggedly support him, despite his obvious cheating and lying. I have been around since the Nixon era, and I think Donald Trump is by far the most criminal and corrupt president we have ever had… and that is saying a lot! Even if Trump were to stay in office, he’s already lost massive respect from legions of people around the world. His staying in office would truly make the United States even more of a laughingstock than it already is.

He’s such a fucking liar!

But people are still championing Trump, and believing the ridiculous conspiracy theories, even though it’s pretty obvious Trump is a loser. They ignore all of Trump’s shortcomings and continue to make excuses for him, and his deplorable behavior. I think it’s partly because human beings hate to be wrong and have a hard time changing their opinions, even when the facts support changing their opinions. But it’s also because a lot of people have been duped into thinking that Donald Trump is a “common man” who speaks like they do and eats Big Macs. He’s certainly not a common man. He was born into a wealthy family, educated at private schools, and has never earned his own money. He’s not even a good businessman, his businesses having gone bankrupt six times between 1991 and 2009, and his best selling book, The Art of the Deal, was ghostwritten. He’s had two failed marriages, and it looks like his third could easily fail. I mean, Melania doesn’t seem to like her husband very much at all, although she might stick around for Barron’s sake.

This wasn’t the first time. She clearly can’t stand him.

I read this morning that President-elect Joe Biden doesn’t want to pursue charges against Trump’s clearly criminal actions. I can understand that. It would further polarize the American people, and right now, we desperately need to come together and conquer the pandemic. But the other side of me thinks Trump needs to be prosecuted for his obviously treasonous acts in trying to steal the election and undermining the people’s will. It probably comes from my own history of having to swallow bullying behavior from so many people for so many years. I have no more patience for it.

By the way, plenty of people in the military dislike Trump. He did not “win the military, a lot.” Historically, many military folks do vote Republican, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see an obvious conman who wants to undermine the Constitution and referred to them as “suckers and losers”. In this video, you can hear Trump ask the officials to “give him a break” and give him 11,000 votes! Give US a break and leave the White House! We want an adult in the White House who does not punish people for doing their jobs and telling the truth!

Donald Trump, YOU’RE FIRED!

Listening to Trump’s non-sensical bullshit is infuriating to me. It’s childish and stupid, and is about as factual as our ex landlady’s claim that we “dumped” a piece of shit refrigerator on her and stole her “nice” fridge (which, in fact, I purchased from Amazon because that piece of shit fridge was in the house when we moved in). Like our ex landlady, Trump doesn’t want to face facts and pay the piper. In fact, I think Mr. Trump has a lot in common with pathetic, common bullies who live among us and do whatever they can to get their way simply by dogged stubbornness, even if it means outright commiting crimes. I, for one, have had enough of it. I think a lot of Americans have. And I cannot wait to see this lying, cheating, thieving orange fuckhead escorted out of Washington, DC., once and for all.

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