Monday, July 3, 2017

Twitter, Twitter, Little Tweet

“Fake news!” “Failing New York Times!” “Low rated!” “I’m the President and you’re not!” “She’s bleeding out of her whatever!!”

All of this came out of the President’s Twitter feed. All of it. Instead of using his Twitter account as a bully pulpit to push his agenda, he uses it to bash, threaten, and abuse people who have pissed him off. And how did they piss him off?

They said something that he didn’t like. The media reported on things like the connection between his campaign and Russia. Connections between his son-in-law and Deutsche Bank (which has been linked to Russian oligarchs), connections between himself and Russian oligarchs and money laundering, connections between his cabinet picks and Russians… Come to think of it… there are an awful lot of connections between Mr. Trump and the Russians, don’t you think?

Now, I’m not saying that there is a connection between Mr. Trump and the Russians fixing the election, to make sure that he was elected. Oh no, that would be bad, and subject to too much conjecture.

But it seems to me, that should anyone in the media, anyone in the news business makes that kind of connection, becomes the story, by way of becoming the subject of one of the President’s really offensive tweets.

And the media should not be the story.

The story should be about healthcare reform – Repeal and non-Replace (because let’s face it, Congress has theirs screw the rest of us). The story should be about the Russia investigation that is happening, under the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, as far as he is willing to discuss things, for now. The story should be about foreign affairs or the economy or the state of the nation or how we as a nation should be coming together AS a nation.

But instead, the news cycle spends two to three days discussing how the President has attacked them in some of the most vile ways possible, up to and including calling for violence. And if you don’t think that that the WWE video where the CNN logo was superimposed over Vince McMahon’s face wasn’t a call to violence against the press, then you are blind. And it’s not the first time he’s blatantly called for violence against the media.

The President has said that the media is “an enemy of the people”. Wait. What? Jim Wright, over at Stonekettle Station, said:
We all have that one relative, that one person we know, who just won’t shut up about some pet bugaboo. Everything, every conversation, always, every time, leads back to that one thing.
That’s Trump and the press.
It was bad enough when he was merely a candidate, but this is the President of the United States whining endlessly about the press and that should disturb every citizen.
The press was given enumerated protection in the First Amendment for a reason. The press is the only private enterprise given specific rights and freedoms in the Constitution. The press is the only private enterprise specifically protected from government interference.
This was done because the press is supposed to be the watchdog of liberty.”

So what does he mean by that? Well, let’s take a look at the First Amendment, which says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. The press, our news sources cannot be stopped from reporting what is happening in our government. Threatening the media, calling for violence against reporters, turning his supporters against reporters by calling them out by name, as he did during the campaign. And it still happens. From a Newsweek article:
On the internet, the vitriol from Trump fans continued. In April, the journalist Julia Ioffe received a barrage of anti-Semitic abuse and death threats after she wrote a critical profile of Trump’s wife Melania for GQ magazine. In October, a Trump supporter sent Newsweek ’s Kurt Eichenwald (who has been vocal about his epilepsy) a video that triggers seizures. Other Newsweek staffers have received anti-Semitic slurs on Twitter and memes about hanging journalists from trees.”

And we seem to be OK with this. He points to these misdeeds, in his tweets, making Twitter tons of money with his millions of followers, which if it had been someone with fewer followers, would have been banned from the service for inciting violence.

You have to wonder what kind of person feels it necessary to abuse others, like this. How unhappy must this person be in his or her own life, to be this bitter, this thin-skinned? At this point, it no longer matters. At this point, we need to hunker down and support the idea of a free press. We need to quit making the media the story. We need to follow the important stories – health care, Russian interference in our government and elections, the President’s violations of the Emolument’s Clause… the important issues.

Friday, May 26, 2017

What is MisBehaving?

I want to say something about MisBehaving Women, that perhaps I should have said from the beginning… I have posted a lot of political stuff here, there and everywhere and I think that people have gotten the wrong idea as to what I think that feminism really is…

The stay at home mom who advocates for her child is a MisBehaving woman.

The waitress who serves you at your favorite eatery is a MisBehaving woman.

The women who serve in the state houses and in Congress, regardless of political party, are MisBehaving women.

Women who follow their religious and cultural beliefs and wear a hijab, are MisBehaved women.

We are ALL MisBehaved women.

Why? Because we all enjoy the freedoms that have been won for us by the women that have come before us. The women who were force feed to gain us the right to vote, the women who stood silently outside of the White House, day after day, in early 1900’s, dressed in white. The women who went to jail trying to pass on information about family planning, because it was deemed to be pornographic information. Women who helped to organize unions, after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in 1911. The women who worked on the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, and then backed down when it was deemed too controversial to include women’s suffrage in the 15th Amendment.

We women are our own worst enemies, you know. We are taught from an early age to be ashamed. Ashamed of our bodies and how they work. Ashamed of how our bodies look. Ashamed to speak up and to speak out. Ashamed of asking for help, and when we do, of getting that help. Ashamed of our sexuality or lack thereof. Ashamed wanting to succeed. Ashamed of wanting to stay home or of going back to work after having children.

And we are taught to police ourselves and each other. To judge each other in the harshest of terms. We are terrified that when we look at another woman, we may be reflected in what we see.
There is no privilege in being a woman. I hear all about the “privilege of white women”, and I have yet to see it. Other than white women making a few pennies more, a single white woman with kids is still working 50+ hours a week trying to make it in this world, still being denied food stamps, still being denied AFDC and medical assistance. The highest incidence of poverty is in the white population. So… where is that privilege again?

As a group, we need to stick together. Quit letting them split us apart. Black, white, Asian, Latina, Christian, Muslim, Pagan or Jew, Gay, Straight or Multi, peach, purple or deep, right brown…. Why should we let them define our rights for us? Why should we let them define our children’s rights? Our rights are clearly defined by the Constitution. Everyone should read it, at least once in their lives. Personally, I have a copy on my e-reader, and a soft bound copy on my desk. I also have a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers (this was the “message boards” [editorials], how the Founding Fathers literally debated the Constitution, in the newspapers).

We NEED to know these things. We NEED to know where we came from to understand where we are going. We need more MisBehaved Women to understand that they are truly MisBehaved and stand up and be counted. To shout from the roof tops that they are not going to take it anymore, that they are no longer going to let a room full of men tell them that their bodies are up for grabs (literally and figuratively). That the health of their children Is more important than whether or not the Navy gets another aircraft carrier that they keep telling Congress that they don’t want. (They want money to spend on their people and training…) That funding for the Center for Disease Control is more important than the “Southern White House” and golfing trips every weekend at a million dollars a pop. That clean water and air is more important than any oil pipeline that gives only temporary jobs.
This is what feminism and MisBehaving is all about. This is what we do, collectively. This is being pro-life and pro-choice and Democrat and Republican. It does not matter. What matters is that we, as women are working together, as a group. Because this is how change is made.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Facebook Answer

Let’s start this discussion with the difference between race and culture. Race, as defined by the FreeDictionary:
A group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group. Most biologists and anthropologists do not recognize race as a biologically valid classification, in part because there is more genetic variation within groups than between them.
Bolding is mine. And there is a reason for that… which is obvious. Scientists don’t recognize race, because as humans, there is only one race. The human race. We are all genetically related, as humans. Now, are there some adaptations, stemming from where our ancestors developing originally? Yes, of course. Form follows function. Africans developed an immense amount of melanin in their skin to compensate for sun that they were exposed to. The same can be said to the Aborigine tribes of Australia. The emphatic folds to the eyes that are shared by the Asian people and the People of the tribes in America, speak to the fact that they are related.
BUT – what separates all of them, is… CULTURE. Each of these groups of people have separate and distinct cultures. Culture, in this case, the beliefs, habits, and traditions of a people, place, or time are all different, depending on the people, place of time. Even if a group of people live near another group of people (say two tribes of Peoples) live near each other, their cultures may be similar, but different.
OK… we’ve defined race and culture. Let’s talk about war. People go to war, usually, over four things – greed, revenge, resources or land. Now, you could say that resources, greed and land are all rolled into one, but that’s not necessarily so. You could want the oil/gold/uranium UNDER the land, but not want the land itself (resources), because if you take the land, then you must take the people that live on it. Greed figures into it, because you want the resources, yes, but again, there are some mitigating forces – how to get to the resources, how far are you willing to go, how long are you willing to fight, et cetera.
But revenge? Revenge is an incredibly motivating reason for a war! Someone brought up the Tutsi-Hutu war. That was a revenge war. Culturally, the two tribes were the same. Literally, the same people. “The Tutsis, also known as Watutsis, were a nomadic people who began arriving in the Great Lakes region from Ethiopia some four hundred years ago. Eventually, the Tutsis settled amongst the Hutus – adopting their language, beliefs and customs.” (PBSNewsHour, 1999)
“In Rwanda, the Tutsi and the Hutu are the same people. They are all people–large grouping or communities which go from seven regions of Cameroon to Uganda–all the way to South Africa, in the same culture,” Izangola said. “People used to be Tutsi or Hutu, depending on the proximity to the king. If you were close to the king, you owned wealth, you owned a lot of cattle, you are a Tutsi. If you are far away from the king, you are a cultivator, you don’t own much cattle, you are a Hutu.” (2)
But the power vacuum left behind by the Belgians, when they left Rwanda/Burundi/Uganda in 1963, left the majority Hutus hating on the Tutsis, because they were given preferential treatment by the Belgians. And…. You get revenge wars…. Get it?
Or the war between the Muslims and the Christians in Bosnia. Centuries of anger and hatred boil over, and WHAM! Ethnic cleansing.
The United States waged war on the indigenous peoples. Manifest Destiny, anyone? What do you think that was? A picnic? Happy days? A ride west? For the American Indian that was genocide. That is what the Indian Wars was all about.
OK… war covered.
On to headgear –
Someone mentioned that going to Iran meant that her sister-in-law was forced to wear a head scarf – The laws in Iran are specific. It is a THEOCRACY. the government is run by the Ayatollah, a priest. Therefore, the law says that women MUST wear a head covering. Now, if you go a country and the law says that you MUST wear a Mickey Mouse shirt, are you going to NOT wear a Mickey Mouse shirt? Or are you going to follow the law? I mean, let’s get real here. Yes, I get it about the “purity police”, and the beatings. But again, that IS the law. And these laws aren’t any harsher than the laws that they replaced under the Shah, when the Secret Police was arresting dissidents.
Now, do women feel oppressed about wearing a hijab, niqab or burqa? Well, I suppose that all depends on who you are asking. If you are asking women who don’t wear one, the answer seems to be an unequivocal yes.
But the women that I have talked to personally, on campus, where across the street is a beautiful mosque, in London, where I stayed in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, complete with a Halal sushi bar (yeah, that threw me too!), or anywhere else in my travels, I should say, not really. They wear them mostly out of respect for their religion, out of respect for their culture, because of modesty, because it makes them feel closer to God, or many other reasons.
“While some women might choose not to wear the hijab, most Muslim women agree that it is a woman’s choice whether she wears the hijab. Many Muslim and Arab women who have chosen not to wear the hijab are often staunch advocates of a woman’s right to choose to veil.” (What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it?, n.d.)
So, let’s explore some more…
There are women who chose to wear it, but take it off, because there are way too many hassles, in today’s society,  in wearing one . And then there are those who feel pressured by their family to wear the veil. There are women who have been attacked for wear a veil who are not Muslim, because there are other religions and cultures that expect women to cover their heads. There are men who have been attacked and killed because they “look like Muslims” (whatever that means).
But one thing that I have noticed throughout this entire conversation… is that most of the people that object to the hijab… are male. Funny, that.
So, here’s my take on the whole thing – As a feminist… I firmly believe that if a woman wishes to express her belief in her Deity by wearing a hijab, a burqa, or giant ostrich feathers…. More power to her. It is not my place to tell her that she is being oppressed, until she herself tells me that she feels oppressed. Not anyone else.
Oh… and before I forget…
To the gentleperson quoting the Bible and “Jesus said…”
1.     The Bible was written 60-100 years AFTER Jesus was killed. Those aren’t direst quotes.
2.     Deuteronomy is the OLD TESTAMENT.
3.     2Peter, Thessalonians, Galatians and Timothy? Those were letters, written by Paul to various churches – they have nothing to do with Jesus.
But nice try.

Works Cited
PBSNewsHour. (1999, October 8). Retrieved from PBS:

What is the Hijab and Why do Women Wear it? (n.d.). Retrieved from Arabs in America:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rule XIX

Rule 19 is an interesting thing. It was created as a result of the senior Senator from South Carolina saying that the junior Senator from South Carolina had fallen prey to "treacherous and improper influences", during a debate over whether or not to annex the Philippines, in 1902. This led to an all out brawl on the Senate floor, when the junior Senator called the accusations a "willful, malicious, and deliberate lie.” Apparently, the junior Senator took a swing at the senior Senator and missed, and connected with a colleague... the rest, as they say, is history.

The last time it was invoked, in 1979, was when Republican Senator Lowell Wieker called Republican Senator John Heinz “an idiot and devious”. Rather than fisticuffs erupting on the Senate floor, then Senate Majority Leader, Robert Byrd got both men to apologize to each other, shake hands, and make nice.

In other words, actually calling names, saying something specious, telling outright lies, and in doing so, doing irrefutable harm to someone’s reputation. 

Last night, during the debate on the nomination of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the Senator from the state of South Carolina and nominee for Attorney General of the United States of America, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who invoked Rule XIX to silence her in the debate, censured Senator Elizabeth Warren. At the time, she was reading into the Senate record a letter that had been written in 1989 by Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

The letter in question, written in 1989, was a statement by Mrs. King, asking the Senate to think long and hard about approving then, State Attorney Sessions for a seat on the Federal bench. That his brand of justice was not the kind of justice that was good for the country.

Now, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is the Attorney General of this great nation. The phrase BOHICA* comes to mind. And I can’t help but wonder which of the civil rights that he is going to start to dismantle first.

And this all starts with an obscure rule….

*BOHICA – Bend Over Here It Comes Again