condescending twatbags, politics, poor judgment, true crime

File this under winning stupid prizes…

I probably should have written about the latest insurrectionist dumbfuck yesterday, but I felt too compelled to write about that Missouri pastor who think women need to “pretty up” for their fat-assed, sexist, evangelical Christian, Trump loving husbands who smell like week old smegma. But now that I’ve written about Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark and gotten all of that out of my system, I need to move on to another Republican shithead. You know who I’m talking about…

And before I get too cranked up, I want to apologize in advance for the cursing and name calling that will happen in this post. I’m highly irritable right now, for a number of reasons… and people who think they need to be cut a break when they’ve clearly been in the wrong are people who are not getting much of my patience or sympathy these days. But I don’t like hypocrisy, even when I’m guilty of it. I often preach about civility in my blog, but this guy just makes me feel decidedly uncivilized…

Damn… I love the way Rachel Maddow talks about these assloaves…

Remember January 6th? That was the day thousands of Trump supporting chuckleheads showed up in Washington, DC, prepared to storm the Capitol. These idiots came wearing red MAGA hats, bearing weapons, and sporting bad attitudes as they forced their way into one of our nation’s most venerable and recognizable buildings. They were intent on disrupting Congressional proceedings to oust their orange hero out of office and stop his maniacal assault on the United States and its allies.

Among those morons was a sixty year old man from Gravette, Arkansas named Richard Barnett. You’d think a 60 year old man would know better, right? But no, Richard Barnett was full of piss and vinegar on January 6th. And he invaded Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office while wearing a cattle prod-like stun gun, sat in her chair, and put his fucking feet up on her desk. He stole her mail, took selfies, and basically acted like a fucking jackass, then shared his dumbassery with the world.

Well, now Barnett is sitting in jail cell. He’s really pissed off about it. And a couple of days ago, he had a virtual court hearing regarding his case. Mr. Barnett is apparently not so tough anymore, having sat behind bars for awhile. The moment he was taken into custody, Mr. Barnett campaigned to be released on bond. At this point, he’s been unsuccessful in his bid to be freed, if only temporarily. And when he had his hearing with Judge Christopher Cooper, a federal judge in Washington, DC, he lost his temper and had a full on tantrum! That’s right– a sixty year old man with balls big enough to storm the Capitol can’t hack being in prison. He says “it’s not fair”, because other people who were involved in the attack have been released.

Judge Cooper seems to have been quite polite and respectful in his dealings with Mr. Barnett, at least based on the way Rachel Maddow describes it. He says “please” and “thank you” and is courteous toward Barnett, who is in the process of replacing his attorneys. The judge says he would like a continuance until May 4th. Barnett then unmutes himself and has a bonafide fit! He screams that he’s been in jail for a month! And it’s NOT FAIR! According to The Daily Beast:

“They’re dragging this out. They’re letting everyone else out,” Richard “Bigo” Barnett yelled during his Thursday court hearing, insisting that “it’s not fair” that he is still in jail while a slew of his fellow rioters have been released pending trial.

“This has been a bunch of crap,” he added. (um… yes, crap that you could have easily avoided by not raiding the Capitol, you racist fuck.)

Barnett could end up going to prison for years for what he did. I would suggest he learn to deal with his situation. As it stands today, Barnett is facing several charges, including theft. He proudly posed for an infamous photo in Pelosi’s office, shared it publicly, and armed himself with a stun gun as his fellow MAGA morons attacked the Capitol while Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

It’s true that Barnett was one of the first of at least 300 people to be arrested for participating in the riots, and is among the few to remain in jail. But what the hell does he expect? There’s no question about his guilt. This man took it upon himself to go to Washington, DC armed and dangerous. What was he going to do with that stun gun? How would he like it if someone broke into his place of business and took selfies of themselves violating his work place? Barnett bought a 950,000-volt stun gun walking stick at a Bass Pro Shop in Arkansas five days before he traveled to Washington. That was proven by prosecutors who did some checking. What would a 950,000-volt stun gun to do a human being? I don’t want to find out.

Barnett was also bitching about how others had been let out– mainly because they were not being accused of violent offenses and judges deemed their offenses unworthy of incarceration. I don’t think Barnett was planning to be peaceful. If he was, he wouldn’t have brought a stun gun with him. Originally, the Magistrate Judge wanted to put Barnett on home confinement, but prosecutors rightly objected because Barnett was seen carrying a stun gun. They successfully argued that he might be dangerous.

Screenshot of Richard Barnett in Nancy Pelosi’s office. He ain’t smilin’ anymore, folks.

Barnett has also referred to himself as a “white nationalist”, and in another photo, was shown with an envelope addressed to Nancy Pelosi. Barnett took the envelope from her office. According to The Daily Beast, he explained himself thusly:

“I did not steal it. I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t fucking see so I figured I am in her office. I got blood on her office. I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t fucking worth it,” Barnett told one news outlet, according to the complaint. “And I left her a note on her desk that says, ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you bitch.’”

A couple of months ago, I was willing to cut Skylar Mack a break for breaking the law in the Cayman Islands. Skylar has youth on her side, and she owned up to what she did while sincerely apologizing. Richard Barnett is just a spoiled brat who doesn’t want to face the very real consequences for breaking the law. Consider the man is 60 years old, acting like a toddler. You would have thought he would have been raised better. Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes. Enjoy your time in the big house, Barnett. You earned it. Oh… and FUCK YOU.

Weird Wilbur, who probably would like Richard Barnett fine, has words of wisdom for him…
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celebrities, dogs, funny stories, music, true crime

Shit happens.

I decided to take yesterday off from writing. It was mainly because in the wee hours of Friday morning, I awoke at about 2:00am and had trouble getting back to sleep. I had been having an erotic dream. I don’t have a lot of those anymore, so I was disappointed when I woke up. Weirdly enough, I dreamt I was having sex with Wil Wheaton. I have never even thought about having sex with him, so I’m not sure where that came from. Maybe it’s because I was recently triggered on his page. He’s definitely cute, but we’re both happily married to other people, so I doubt that’s a dream that will ever come to fruition.

Once my eyes cracked open, I got up to go to the bathroom. And then– sorry for the TMI– but I got a case of the shits. After I was finished, I left the bathroom and noticed I smelled it in another room, only it wasn’t of the human variety. Arran, bless his heart, sometimes poops when he sleeps, so I thought maybe that was the issue. But I didn’t see any evidence of that, so I checked on Noyzi, who was in his bed. The smell of poop also faded downstairs, so I could tell he wasn’t the culprit. Noyzi still doesn’t venture upstairs on his own.

Then I went into my office and, though I wasn’t wearing my contacts, I could see a fuzzy, stinky, brown puddle on one of my nice rugs. It’s one that doesn’t get walked on a lot, so it’s still pretty pristine. Arran had gone in there and dropped some diarrhea. Bill got up and cleaned up the mess while I let the dogs out. Noyzi went out and pooped, too… and it was at that point that I realized we all must have eaten something bad. Later on, Bill also had a touch of the shits. My guess is was the chicken from the chicken man, who sells his wares on Thursdays. This has never happened before, so I count it as a “one off”, as the Brits would put it.

In any case, I was kind of tired yesterday and not in the mood to write. I also find that when I take a day or two off, it’s good for my brain. Gives me a chance to refresh. Gives my readers a chance to catch up, if they want to… not that many people do. Right now, it appears I have lots of folks interested in my posts about Jocelyn Zichterman, Scott Drummond, Richard Jahnke, and Erin McCay George. These are all mostly book reviews, which rarely get a lot of attention when I first post them, but later attract readers. That’s one reason why I’ve been reposting stuff from my original blog. The book reviews are fairly “evergreen”– as in they attract views and money, if this blog were monetized, which it’s not. I post the book reviews as a “service” for the interested. Sometimes I read and review books that others are interested in but may not want to buy or can’t borrow.

I spent all day yesterday watching Snapped episodes from 2013. If I were still writing my old blog, I might write about some of the cases I saw on that show. Like, for instance, Nancy Gelber’s case… I found her a fascinating subject. She’s a wannabe author who self-published a novel called Temporary Amnesia, which boasts a very complicated storyline that she claims she dreamt up when she was a teenager. She said that’s where a lot of her ideas come from– her dreams– which are apparently even weirder than mine are.

Nancy’s book is on Amazon.com and it gets terrible reviews. I would probably hate it, and I sure don’t want to spend the amount of money they’re asking for it, especially since Nancy Gelber is a criminal. However, as someone who is interested in psychology, I found her very interesting to listen to. You can tell that beneath her cheerful, chatty demeanor, she’s a hot mess psychologically. Gelber tried to have her ex husband bumped off, but “hired” an undercover cop instead of a real hit man. Then, she claimed that she hadn’t known what she was doing.

This wasn’t what I watched on Snapped… it’s another program about Nancy Mancuso Gelber.

It’s actually interesting to watch this show, as opposed to the Snapped episode. It offers more of her ex husband’s viewpoint.

What a piece of work!

Nancy says she’s going to go to hell… and admits that having her husband offed is a “horrible” thing to do, as she laughs. On this show, she seems a lot more sinister than she appeared to be on Snapped. If you see her on Snapped, she seems a lot more pleasant and normal. How scary for Jody Gelber, her ex husband. I wish I were more of an expert in psychology. She seems like a fascinating subject. I’d love to know what her DSM V diagnosis is. My guess is narcissist, for sure.

Busted! If you listen to her fake reaction to the lie that her husband has died, she sounds like a really bad actress.

This morning, after I watched the YouTube videos about Nancy Gelber, I watched a couple more about Diana Lovejoy, who in 2017, fainted when she was found guilty of murder for hire. I’m not familiar with her case at all. I just found her reaction to the verdict fascinating.

Wow…
Off she goes to the hospital… complete with handcuffs.

I probably should get back into reading more true crime, now that I’m less interested in politics. To be clear, I’ve never been all that interested in politics. I was just horrified by four years of Donald Trump and his delusional political theater of the absurd. Trump is now reportedly refusing to refer to himself as a former president. His new legal team is referring him to as the 45th POTUS, which is technically correct. BUT– their main defense in the upcoming impeachment trial is that Trump is no longer president and therefore can’t be impeached. So which is it? Rachel Maddow has a good chuckle about it in the video clip directly below this paragraph. If you ever wanted a textbook example of grandiose malignant narcissism, Trump is your guy. By the way, as far as I’m concerned, Trump was never MY president. 😉

And finally, I probably could opine about the recent uproar regarding country singer Morgan Wallen, who was caught on video drunk and uttering racist epithets in the middle of the street with his rowdy friends. He’s facing a lot of backlash… more than the idiots who stormed the Capitol last month, actually. Looks like his fans are still buying his music, even though he’s no longer eligible for music awards and his label has suspended him. I remember when the Dixie Chicks pissed off their base by dissing former President George W. Bush at a concert. They were quickly canceled by a lot of their more redneck fans and country radio. Morgan Wallen uses the n-word and many of his fans are still fine with him.

I hadn’t heard of him before this happened. I do remember reading about Morgan Wallen being canceled from a gig on Saturday Night Live because he was caught on video partying with a bunch of people while unmasked. SNL canceled him because his appearance would put a lot of people at risk. And now, they have another reason not to have him play.

I’m not big on cancel culture. I think people should have the ability to redeem themselves. Morgan Wallen, at age 27, is probably too old to be acting like a drunken frat boy, and I did see and hear the video… and there is no excuse for his behavior. I don’t know that it should ruin his career forever, but I do think that if you’re lucky enough to be able to make a living in the arts, you owe it to yourself and everyone else to realize that with that platform comes responsibility. And, sad to say, it shows an ugly side of him. Clearly, he’s comfortable using that kind of language casually, which is too bad. It’s not the word itself that is offensive– it’s the attitude and meaning behind it. And the fact that so many people are protesting about Wallen’s “right” to free speech and missing the fact that with that right comes responsibility. Yes, he has the “right” to say what he wants. BUT that doesn’t excuse him from consequences. Wallen needs to grow up.

Last night, I was listening to old school Chicago and marveling. I can’t name most of the members of that band. I’m sure being in Chicago, which has been around for many decades now, paid off handsomely for a lot of the members. It occurred to me that is a band– along with so many others– like Earth, Wind, & Fire, Blood, Sweat, & Tears, and Three Dog Night– comprised of people who are passionate about music rather than just money and fame. It occurred to me how much time, dedication, effort, and TEAMWORK goes into making that tight sound. These are very talented people working together for something awesome, not to be rich and famous. I’d like to hear much more from people like them, as opposed to privileged, clueless, jackasses like Morgan Wallen. Just saying.

Well, that about does it for today. Gotta finish the laundry and practice guitar on this dreary Saturday.

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Biden

Now the healing begins…

I was tempted to give this post a provocative title. People who know me offline, know that I often say shocking things. It’s a habit that people tend to either love or hate. Some people think my penchant for being shocking and gross is hilarious. Others disdain it and consider it a tasteless, vulgar habit. Personally, I think it’s more of my form of rebellion. I was encouraged to be classy and ladylike when I was growing up, although looking back on it, I didn’t have that many examples to follow. So here I am…

Last night, as I was eagerly waiting for Joe Biden’s inauguration, I ran across an article posted by Rachel Maddow, a journalist whose wit has really enchanted me over the past couple of years. The article was about “draining the swamp”– as in, Trump rolling back one of his very first policies from 2017. You see, when he was first installed as 45, Trump made a big deal out of a policy that would forbid “executive branch employees from lobbying any agency where they had served for five years after leaving office.” The order also instituted a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.

But then, in the wee hours of the morning– 1:07am, to be exact– Trump reversed that order. So now, people who are newly disenfranchised thanks to Biden’s inauguration can go for those lobbying jobs to their hearts’ content.

I don’t really care too much about that particular policy. It’s not something that affects me personally, except to point out, yet again, that Trump doesn’t honor his promises. That’s not a new or earth shattering revelation, though. What inspired me was the image of “draining the swamp”. It made me think of a painful, infected, inflamed, oozing sore. So I left this comment on Rachel Maddow’s page.

Phew.

I actually know of what I write. Back in 1996, when I was about halfway through my Peace Corps service, I got a very painful abscess under my arm. It was probably because I got a cut shaving under there. It was the first of quite a few somewhat serious skin infections I suffered from June 1996 until May 1998. I had cellulitis diagnosed three times, but if I’m honest, I probably had it at least five times. Twice, I didn’t go to the doctor for treatment because I didn’t have the money to go and it was located in an embarrassing place (right over my butt crack).

I’m pretty certain I somehow picked up a staph aureus germ while I was abroad. I’d get an infection. It would fester and swell, then burst and heal. Then I’d get another one. Fortunately, I didn’t get sick in either of the cases in which I didn’t see a doctor. But then one day, my luck ran out, and I finally did get an infection that made me really ill, to the point at which I had to go to the emergency room in Gloucester, Virginia. It was on my stomach. I watched as it went from being the size of a 50 cent piece to the size of my hand. I developed a high fever and was in extreme pain. It was probably the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

I remember going to the hospital in hysterical tears. I cried as I showed the nurse the infection, which was hot, red, and burning with pain. I remember her shaking her head and saying, “Oh my God. That’s got to hurt.” Not long after that, I was hooked up to an IV, getting very powerful antibiotics. When the bag was empty, I felt so much better. My fever went down. The chills stopped. The pain grew much duller. As the days passed, the infection completely cleared, and I was as good as new… at least until the next time I got cellulitis.

Cellulitis causes a really nasty, painful, dangerous infection. It forms deep in the skin and causes searing pain, high fevers, inflammation, and swelling. When it clears, it drains thick, brown, foul smelling, oily pus, that is really messy, sticky, and disgusting and leaves an empty pocket beneath the skin. Sometimes it’s bad enough that you have to be hospitalized to get over it. The second time I got it, I had it on my face. I looked like the Elephant Man, and my doctor wanted to admit me to the hospital. He was worried that my eyesight or even my life could be in danger from the infection. Fortunately, I got better without being hospitalized, but I was left with a scar on my cheek.

I got treated three times before I finally stopped getting those serious infections. The first two times, I had to take very powerful, expensive antibiotics that gave me yeast infections. But the third time, the infection wasn’t so bad and I got well quicker. It was the last time I ever got cellulitis, and I finally went on to recover for good. I remember during that time, I also finally addressed the depression and anxiety that had plagued me for years. It was the start of a much better life for me. I started to heal.

Yesterday’s inauguration reminds me a little bit of that serious infection, and finally getting the cure. I don’t tend to watch inaugurations. In the past, they didn’t interest me. Like a lot of people, I was pretty complacent about politics. I always had the feeling that the “new boss” was the same as the “old boss”. I guess if there’s one thing good that came out of Trump’s presidency, it’s that he jarred a lot of people like me out of complacency.

I teared up watching Joe Biden becoming our 46th president. It’s not because I am particularly enthusiastic about him. I have never followed his career and I don’t think he would have been my choice for a candidate. But I have to say that listening to him speak yesterday was a real pleasure. I felt kind of like I did after I got those powerful antibiotics that started to clear the infection that made me so sick. I felt like maybe healing was possible, even if we have to go through some unpleasant and expensive treatments to get there.

Of course, I’ve already lost some friends. Some of my relatives don’t speak to me anymore because I’m not a Trump fan. This morning, I lost an old friend because I expressed basic empathy for Mike Pence, even though I certainly don’t agree with his politics and would never vote for him. But if Mike Pence hadn’t done his duty and stayed faithful to his oath to support and defend the Constitution, yesterday might not have happened. If he had gone along with Trump’s wishes and given in to the threats of the Proud Boys and QAnon, where would we be today? Maybe yesterday still would have happened, but it would have been much harder to pull off. So I am grateful to Mr. Pence for doing his duty, even if I disagree with his political views.

Well worth watching.

Dr. Ramani, in the above video, makes a lot of sense… although perhaps some people think that by recognizing humanity in Pence that I’m enabling their abuser. I’m not, though. I simply recognize that Pence has spent four years trying to work with a narcissist. It doesn’t mean I excuse him for his policies or that I’m a fan of his. It means that I have some basic empathy for him and appreciation that ultimately, he didn’t follow Trump when he was under tremendous pressure to do so.

I guess losing friends and relatives is part of this process of healing. At least I know I’m not the only one, draining the festering abscess of the past few years. I know that recovery won’t be cheap or easy. But I have hope that it will finally begin, if only because we have someone in charge who is an adult with empathy. I have no delusions that the QAnon wackos and Proud Boys are vanquished. I’m sure they’re waiting in the wings, ready to strike. I’m sure Trump’s successor is being trained up and will be ready to attack when the time is right. We have to stay vigilant. But it’s nice to finally have hope.

I also know, having watched Bill deal with narcissists and having experienced dealing with them myself, that what Pence did was actually pretty brave. I know that after he refused to do Trump’s bidding and made him look like a fool to his followers, he became Trump’s mortal enemy. You can rest assured that Pence is now dead to Trump. He won’t ever be forgiven. Maybe some people think Pence deserves that treatment for signing up with Trump in the first place. But most people don’t understand that narcissists are not normal people. Pence probably thought he could change Trump or handle him. He probably thought Trump would drop out and he would take over the presidency. He was duped, like a lot of people were.

I do feel better today, even if some people don’t like me anymore. It’s not like I haven’t been through that before, though… I will survive, stronger, healthier, and maybe with a fresh battle scar or two. I know some people are sad about Biden being our new president. Some people are legitimately frightened, mainly because they’ve been misled into believing conspiracy theories. But others, like me, are very hopeful for healing, messy and painful as it might be.

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narcissists, politicians, politics, true crime, videos

Gabriel Sterling is outraged. So am I.

My friend Andrew shared the below video this morning. Well, it was probably night where he is, but it was morning when I saw it. I must say, I’m very impressed with the speaker, Gabriel Sterling, an elections official in Georgia who is outraged. Why? Because he and his staff are getting threats over the election results!

People who are just trying to do their jobs are being threatened, all because some people are angry that Trump has lost the election.

I really think this video is worth watching, not just because Mr. Sterling speaks so eloquently about how wrong it is that elections officials are being harassed and threatened, but also because the guy doing the sign language translation is amazing. He expertly conveys the outrage coming from Sterling’s words through his facial expressions and gestures. In fact, the interpreter in this video is one reason why I hope face masks don’t become permanent. He would not be able to do this work so effectively while wearing a mask.

But anyway, back to the original subject at hand. Donald Trump has lost the election. With every passing day, it’s more and more clear that the people chose Joe Biden. I know Joe Biden isn’t perfect, and plenty of people have pointed out why he’s “unsuitable” to be president. Frankly, I think Biden is leagues better than Trump is, if only because he’s not nearly as delusional or narcissistic as Trump so obviously is. I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way. Biden won, fair and square. It’s time for Trump to do the right thing and concede, but I doubt he ever will. To Trump, concession is admitting fault and showing weakness. The reality is, a strong person would admit that he lost, condemn violence and threats against the election workers, and do whatever he could to make things seamless for his successor, for the good of the country.

I watched the video before I saw any of the news articles about this impassioned speech. I hear the pain and frustration in Gabriel Sterling’s voice as he frets about people possibly getting hurt or killed over the election. I sense the total dismay and shock Sterling conveys as he implores Trump to at least say something to the unAmerican whack jobs who are promoting violence against people who are simply doing their duties. The very fact that these folks are being targeted for doing what they’ve been employed to do is one major reason why Donald Trump has to go. He’s done nothing but encouraged division and uncivilized behavior among the American people.

I know it’s not one-sided. Emily Murphy, who is the administrator of the General Services Administration, basically the person who controls the funds that would allow Mr. Biden to set up his affairs as he prepares to take over the White House, has said that people have been threatening and harassing her, too. She refused to grant Joe Biden the funds to start the transition to power in spite of mounting pressure to do her job and growing evidence that Trump’s complaints about corruption and a “stolen election” are false. Murphy finally did her duty, but sent Biden a letter complaining about being threatened. She wrote that even her pets have been threatened with violence.

I don’t remember any other election fraught with as much chaos and polarization as this one has been. It’s absolutely batshit crazy. And I don’t know how or where people have gotten the idea that it’s appropriate to threaten people with violence for any reason, but particularly over something like a presidential election. The president doesn’t have all of the power… and thank GOD for that.

What good does it do to try to intimidate people? Who taught these people that promoting violence and issuing threats are the ways to make the United States a better place to live? Do the people who have resorted to threats and intimidation really think that is what will make American “great” again (not that it ever really was, our whitewashed history lessons notwithstanding)? Is that what they would like to happen to them someday if someone disagrees with them?

I do think it’s funny, though, to see how some Republicans are finally turning on Trump. It’s like watching rats jump off a sinking ship. Yesterday, I watched a video of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey letting a call from Trump go to voicemail as he was certifying his state’s election results in favor of Joe Biden. Ducey had once bragged that he had a special ring tone for Trump and Pence. Whenever his cell phone rang with “Hail To The Chief”, he knew it was a call from Trump or Pence and he needed to be sure to answer promptly. On the video I saw yesterday, one can see Mr. Ducey signing paperwork as his phone rings with that ring tone. He doesn’t answer. Instead, he glances at the phone and ignores it. Maybe that’s what we should all start doing… although Trump has gotten so big for his britches that doing so could be disastrous. If there’s one thing narcissists can’t stand, it’s being ignored.

Yup… they are all the same, when it comes down to it. There’s no real loyalty in politics. Looks like Doug Ducey has moved on.

Well… it’ll be interesting to watch what happens as the inauguration approaches. Hopefully, not too many people will get hurt or killed by violent, unhinged, and frankly obsessed people. It’s bad enough that people are dying of a dangerous virus. Do we really need crazy Trump supporters running around with weapons, threatening innocent people who are just doing their jobs?

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movies, Trump

Are we in 1970s era Romania?

This morning, I watched a video by Rachel Maddow about a Trump administrator who has been tracking girls’ pregnancies in an attempt to force them to give birth. Scott Lloyd, the very pro-life former head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement and author of a paper entitled “Why you can’t be pro-life and pro-contraception”, was featured on Maddow’s piece revealing how, as recently as June 2018, his staff members were tracking the menstrual periods and pregnancies of girls between the ages of 12 and 17 living in shelters run by his office. I could explain what was in the video, but I really think you should watch it yourself. It’s extremely creepy. Or, if you’d rather read an article, here’s an irreverent one by Emily Alford on Jezebel.com. If you have time, you should also read this article about Scott Lloyd’s “work” with migrant families.

So how did we find out about Lloyd’s shenanigans? It’s due to the bravery and determination of a girl who had come to the United States for help. Despite being in a foreign land and not yet of age, she managed to get help from attorneys who sued on her behalf.

Scott Lloyd sought to block a teenaged rape victim an abortion. The 17 year old girl was one of many youngsters who had come to the United States hoping for asylum. She was sent alone to a shelter, run by Lloyd’s office. Lloyd determined that he would make it his priority as head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement that no girls would have access to abortions. The 17 year old had arranged her own transportation at her own expense to and from her doctor’s office, but Lloyd’s staff basically held her hostage at the shelter, trying to force her to stay pregnant long enough so that it would be illegal for her to have an abortion. Somehow, the girl managed to get herself to lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and they sued. The girl got her abortion, but only because she had the gumption to sue for the right, which is currently protected by U.S. law. In the wake of the lawsuit, it came to light that countless other girls, some as young as 12, were being forced to remain pregnant, even after they were raped.

To make things even creepier, staff members at the shelters were providing spreadsheets to Lloyd, detailing very personal information about the girls. He tracked their periods, whether or not they were pregnant and if they had asked for an abortion, how they became pregnant, and how far along they were. Lloyd also directed a staff member to read to one girl what happens during an abortion. He also tried to force them to see medical providers who subscribed to his pro-life views.

As I was listening to Maddow’s show this morning, I was reminded of a different country and a different time period. In the 1960s, Romania had a very liberal policy regarding abortion and birth control. Because many women were in the work force and there was a low standard of living in Romania, abortion and birth control were allowed. In fact, abortion was used as a family planning method there, because there wasn’t much birth control available and what was available was expensive. I wasn’t surprised to read about the abortions used in that manner. It was the same way in Armenia when I was there. I knew one woman who had seven abortions because there was no money for birth control and the men were reluctant to use condoms.

Anyway, in 1968, the Communist Party decided that the birth rate in Romania needed to be higher. They wanted Romania’s population to rise from 23 million people to 30 million. That’s how Decree 770 was created. Nicolae Ceausescu, who led Romania during that time, authorized the decree, which required all women to be monitored by gynecologists every month. Women who had miscarriages had to endure extensive investigations to be certain that the miscarriages weren’t actually abortions. All abortions and contraceptive methods were declared illegal, except for women over age 45 (later reduced to 40 in 1974, then raised to 45 again in 1985), women who had already borne 4 children (later raised to 5), women whose lives would be threatened by pregnancy or childbirth, or women who were rape or incest victims. Actually, it sounds like Ceausescu’s regime may have been more liberal than Lloyd’s policy is!

Decree 770 led to many women having babies they couldn’t afford. The children often ended up in orphanages, not because they were actually orphans, but because their parents couldn’t take care of them. The mortality among pregnant women was at its highest ever during Ceausescu’s regime, when Decree 770 was enforced. The Securitate, Romania’s secret police, kept a close watch on surgeries done in hospitals to enforce this very creepy and intrusive policy. Moreover, many children born during this regime were malnourished and suffered from physical, mental, and emotional handicaps, or were raised in horrifying conditions that led to a rise in child mortality. Many women sought illegal abortions, which were extremely risky for many reasons, legal and medical.

As I sit here listening to Rachel Maddow’s spot on this topic for the second time today, I am once again amazed at how the United States has allowed a monster like Donald Trump to run the country… and appoint disgusting, perverted creeps like Scott Lloyd to run government agencies, particularly when they have absolutely no relevant experience. All Lloyd is good for is pushing Trump’s revolting agenda.

It’s going to take a long time for the United States to recover from this disastrous administration and its attack on anyone who isn’t a white, Republican male. It’s going to take an even longer time for the United States to regain its reputation after electing this ignorant buffoon to office.

If you are interested in watching a fascinating film about abortion in Romania during Decree 770, I highly recommend the movie 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. It’s in Romanian and set in 1987, when Decree 770 was still law. Although the subject matter isn’t very pleasant, it’s definitely eye-opening… and for me, it’s a little creepy, because the sights and sounds remind me of 90s era Armenia.

If you can stomach the subject matter, this is a pretty fascinating film.

Truly, I think it’s beyond sick that Scott Lloyd, paid by our tax dollars, was tracking the menstrual periods of migrant girls who have come to the United States looking for help. It’s even sicker that he’s doing everything in his power to prevent these young girls from getting help after they’ve been raped and gotten pregnant. It’s absolutely shameful that instead of helping these girls, Scott Lloyd was victimizing them again and invading their privacy in what should be among the most personal aspects of their lives. And even though he’s been censured by the court, he was still obsessively tracking these girls’ periods and pregnancies just months ago. What a sick, sick man.

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