A Jaw-Dropping Headline …

The headline:

Failed Texas Bill Would Have Made Death Penalty Possible in Abortion Cases

Say WHAT???  You have got to be kidding me?!?!?! The story …

A bill considered by members of the Texas House of Representatives this week would have criminalized abortions and opened up the possibility for women and physicians to receive the death penalty.

The bill would have allowed women who obtained an abortion or doctors who performed one to be charged with assault or criminal homicide, the latter of which is punishable by death in Texas. It would have allowed no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or when the health of the mother is at risk.

Yes, the bill failed to pass the Texas state legislature, with even some legislators who identify as being strongly “pro-life” feeling it went too far.  But I find the fact that somebody even thought of it to be chilling.

So, a young mother who already has two children, works two jobs to support them and still struggles to put food on the table and pay the rent, gets pregnant.  Knowing that she cannot possibly manage to support yet another child, she struggles, searches her soul, sheds many a tear, but at the end of the day she sees no choice.  She has an abortion.  Does anybody honestly think she should be punished at all, let alone be treated in the same way as a man who goes on a shooting spree in a mosque, or an African-American church and kills 10, 15, 20 people?  WHERE is the logic in this?

Worse yet, picture the woman who discovers, at the same time she finds she is pregnant, that she has cervical cancer and carrying the fetus to full term would likely cause her death.  Somebody in Texas thinks this woman should be arrested, sent to prison and put on death row for having an abortion in an effort to save her live?  Again I ask … WHERE is the logic in this?

Nobody can dispute that the U.S. has moved backward in terms of civil rights over the past two years.  Bigotry in all its ugly forms has expanded, obviously including misogyny.  One of Trump’s selling points in his campaign was that he would put judges on the bench who would be willing to overturn Roe v Wade, and he has placed two such judges on the Supreme Court so far.  What happens if Roe v Wade is overturned?  If we have people who honestly think that abortion is akin to murder, then folks, we are in deep trouble.

Women make up only 28.7% of all state legislatures in this country.  There are 127 (23.7%) women in the U.S. Congress.  It’s an improvement, but still not what I would define as equality.  I repeat what I said not too long ago … how would men like it if women decided whether or not they should be allowed their Viagra prescriptions?  Ponder on that one for a while.

Oh … one last thing here.  All those who claim to be “pro-life” … why aren’t they out there fighting hard for universal healthcare, for an expansion of social services to protect and preserve the lives of those who are living below the poverty line?  And why aren’t they vociferously speaking out against the death penalty?  If they aren’t doing those things, if abortion is the only area in which they are concerned about human life, then they aren’t ‘pro-life’, but rather they are misogynists, considering women to be second-class citizens.

GA. Democratic Lawmaker Drafts Her Own Testicular Bill In Response To GOP Anti-Abortion Law

I actually had another post on the schedule for this afternoon, but I saw this one by Gronda late last night (early this morning) and couldn’t resist sharing it with you! Thanks, Gronda, for the much-needed smile! 😊

Gronda Morin

I couldn’t resist sharing the following piece in full as it just hit home for me. A Democratic Georgian female legislator has obviously reached her limit in having to fight off GOP’s attempts to to control the lives of women’s bodies. She has decided to return the favor to her male colleagues who seem to be overly obsessed with women’s private parts as they attempt to draft new more restrictive anti- abortion laws, with her own legislation that she has introduced to restrict men’s testicular activities.

Image result for Read the ‘testicular bill of rights,’ one lawmakers answer to anti abortion legislation GEORGIA’S STATE HOUSE

Here’s the rest of the story…

On March 12, 2019, Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos penned the following report, ‘Georgia Democrat responds to anti-abortion bill with ‘Testicular Bill of Rights’

“Georgia Republicans are at it again, trying to control women’s bodies through the law—but this time, state Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick is replying in kind with her “Testicular Bill of Rights” showing…

View original post 677 more words

Snarky Snippets — Thoughts on Stuff

Every now and then I let my mind run loose … take it to the park, unsnap the ol’ leash, and just give it free rein to run amok.  This happened today and the ol’ mind took off at warp speed.  It was a while before I saw it again, and when it returned, it was more than a little bedraggled, and was covered in snark.  And so … tonight you get a dose of whatever came from my mind … you may want to don your pith helmets …


And the Most Admired Woman is …

Michelle ObamaThat’s right, folks … none other than the role model of class, style and grace, Michelle Obama!!!

Barack ObamaAnd to really ice the cake, the Most Admired Man in 2018 … none other than the male counterpart role model of class, style and grace, President Barack Obama!!!

I cannot think of two people more worthy of the honour.  What does gall me, however, is that Donald Trump came in second for Most Admired Man … why???  However, even so there is a bright spot, for he is only the second president not to win the top honour during his presidency … the other was Gerald Ford.  Eat your heart out, Donnie!!!


Abortion

It isn’t my intent to have another discussion on when a cell becomes a life … there are plenty of those going ‘round and frankly, each side continues to make the same points, and nobody is listening to the other side, so why even bother?  But I have some questions for those who are so vehemently against abortion based on their religion.

I want you to think about seven-year-old Jakelin Caal and eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo (shown above).  These two children both died in the past week while in custody of the United States government.  They died because of inadequate care and insufficient medical treatment.  Both of their deaths were preventable.  These were children, not fetuses.  Growing, living, breathing children in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  And yet, I don’t see people protesting, carrying signs and demanding that the children in custody of the U.S. government, children who have in many cases been taken from their parents, be treated with care and compassion.  Where is the outrage of those who call themselves “right-to-lifers”?  Whose life?  Is it only unborn white babies whose lives you will fight for?

And the next question … who or what gives you the right to determine what is right for the rest of us?  If you believe abortion is wrong and you don’t choose to have one, fine.  Don’t have one.  This isn’t Nazi Germany (yet) and nobody will force you. Have 20 children for all I care, but do not ever try to impose your values on others.  Not everyone believes in the same god you do, not everyone shares your set of values.  And … AND … not everyone has the same opportunities you have such that they can raise a child, afford food, medical care, clothing and shelter to keep that child safe, happy & healthy.  Don’t judge others’ situations using your own as a moral compass.

Adoption, you say?  Well, let see … domestically, approximately 99,900 children were adopted last year (another 35,000 were adopted from foreign countries).  Okay, so almost 100,000 kids adopted … sounds good, right?  Wrong.  On any given day there are some 438,000 children in foster care, and in the course of a year, some 687,000 children spend at least some time in the system.

My point?  Two of them, actually.  1) No single life has more value than another.  Those who are determined that a fetus qualifies as a life should be equally concerned and willing to act on behalf of those immigrant children at our southern border, the children being killed all over the world – in Syria, Greece, Saudi Arabia.  And those people should be out there advocating for children stuck in a foster care system that barely functions.  2) Freedom of choice belongs to each of us.  I will not force you to have an abortion, but don’t tell me that I cannot until you have lived in my shoes.


Statistics, statistics, statistics …

Politico published a set of year-end data that can be used to fact-check some of Donald Trump’s braggadocio.  I found these statistics fairly interesting and thought you might too.  Naturally, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of snark

  • Number of campaign rallies Trump held in 2018: 44 (Note that the next presidential election will not take place until November 3rd of 2020 … more than two years from the time these rallies were held)
  • Number of times he visited one of his golf clubs: 67 (Remember how he said Obama played too much golf and that when elected, he, Trump, would be too busy working to have time for golf?  Ahem …)
  • Number of war zones visited: 1 (And that was only because the heat in the kitchen at home was getting to be too much for him.  When he went to Iraq earlier this week, rather than a positive talk focusing on the troops, he lied to them about their pay raise, and made the rest of his speech all about him.  It was a photo op, that’s all)
  • Number of 2018 general election candidates Trump endorsed: 90. Percentage of those candidates who won: 55%.  (Some candidates, wisely, asked him to stay the hell out of their states)
  • Percentage increase in the number of tweets from 2017 to 2018: 32% (He has tweeted more than the first forty-three presidents all combined!!!)
  • Percentage increase in references to “witch hunt” from 2017 to 2018: 620% (Holy Smokes, Batman!!!  Does this dude ever w-o-r-k???)
  • Number of Cabinet secretaries who were removed or quit: 10 (And those were the lucky ones who got out while they still had at least a modicum of sanity)
  • Percentage of Trump’s executive staff that has turned over in first two years: 65% (In most corporations, a manager with a turnover rate of 65% would have been long since out the door!)
  • Number of presidents who’ve had more than one chief of staff in their first two years: 4. Number of presidents other than Trump who have had three: 0  (He certainly is a record-setting president, isn’t he?)
  • Percentage increase in U.S. trade deficit since Trump took office: 18% (Hmmm … seems I remember something about how he was so appalled by the trade deficit under Obama and he, Trump, was going to reduce it?  Perhaps I imagined it.)

Yessir, a record-setting president … too bad none of his records are good for the country, yes?


And so, I shall save any remaining snark for another day.  Have a lovely Friday, my friends!

A Woman’s Right …

It is likely that the fight over the next Supreme Court nominee will boil down to a single issue:  abortion.  Some claim that the entire 2016 election was largely about the issue of abortion and a lead-up to this moment. Now mind you, the abortion issue as per the historic 1973 Roe v Wade decision, is far from being the only human rights issue that is endangered by the threat of yet another ultra-conservative ideologist on the Court.  Same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, freedom from religious mandates, immigration, and many other issues stand to be endangered.  I will deal with each of those in the coming week or two, but the initial fight will likely center around Roe and abortion.  As usual, I have a few thoughts on the matter …

The issue of abortion is … or at least ought to be … a personal one.  Roe v Wade was not about abortion as much as about the right of a woman to have a say about what happens to her body and in a broader sense, her life.  Now here’s the thing … if you are a religious person and believe that life begins at the exact moment of conception, believe that a fetus is a sacred being, that is certainly your right.  Nobody is trying to challenge your beliefs, nobody is trying to take away your rights, and nobody is ever going to force you to have an abortion!  Your right to give birth to as many children as you wish is safe.  BUT … the rest of us have rights also, and while we are carefully not trampling on yours, we ask that you not trample on ours.  Live and let live.  Women do not choose abortion lightly … it is an agonizing decision for each woman, and one that she will live with for her entire life.  Don’t make it harder for her with your holier-than-thou protests and denigrating remarks.  Just sit down and shut up.

Why do women choose to have an abortion?  In most cases it is because they are not able to take care of a child at this point in their lives.  The reasons may be immaturity, i.e. the high school girl who was careless and found herself pregnant while still a child herself.  Financial reasons are a major factor … consider the single-mother who already has 2-3 children and is struggling to keep a roof overhead and food on the table.  In some cases the mother’s health may be in danger.  The bottom line is that none of us are in that one woman’s shoes or can know what factors are driving her decision, and it is not our place to take the decision out of her hands, forcing her to possibly endure a lifetime of hardship.

One of the things that puzzles and annoys me most about this argument is that the anti-abortionists claim to feel a responsibility to the ‘life’ of a fetus, to give it an ‘opportunity’ to live, but then once a child is born, they wash their hands of it.  It is for this reason that you will not see me calling them “pro-lifers” as they call themselves, for they only advocate for a life for nine months, after which … “oh well”. Almost every person who is against abortion is also against their tax dollars going to help support that child, to ensuring it has medical care, a home, and food to eat.  They sniff loudly, turn their noses toward the sky and claim that the mother is simply too lazy and deserves no help.  It is rather akin to adopting a puppy to keep it from being killed, and then allowing it to die from neglect and malnutrition in your garage!  I have known people who did exactly that!

Those who would take away a woman’s right to choose are fond of saying that there is the choice to put the baby up for adoption.  Obviously none of these people have gone through the adoption process at any stage in their lives.  It is a long, arduous and often painful process, not to mention expensive.  Because of the cost, it generally turns out that children are not adopted by those who most want a child, who would be the best parents, but rather by those who have the single qualification of wealth.  I do note that there are exceptions.  Children placed for adoption often end up in the foster care system that, while the intent is noble, the actual implementation is a nightmare rather than a success story. Look up the statistics of children in the foster care system who are abused or neglected.

Then there is the consideration that the world is already over-populated and it is simply unconscionable to bring into it another child that has an uncertain future.  The world’s population is growing by 1.1% per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually. From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth).

“Because of the abundance of our nation’s resources, we have long been careless about our level of consumption, but it is the precipitous rise in the U.S. population over the last four decades that has resulted in our outstripping of our national resources. We are living beyond our means and are doing so increasingly as our population expands. This is a serious problem with major implications for future generations.”Fairus

Still feel good about protecting that potential, as yet un-formed, unborn fetus?

At one point during Trump’s 2016 campaign, he claimed that women should be ‘punished’ for having an abortion.  Let me tell you something … women ARE punished for having abortions … they punish themselves every day for the rest of their lives!  We do not need the courts and law enforcement to add insult to injury, and we do not need the religious right to shame them.

If your religion teaches you that it is wrong to have an abortion, then fine, don’t have one.  But understand that not everybody ascribes to your religion. Understand that ours is a secular government and that our laws are not driven by the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Torah or any other religious text.  Jews and Muslims do not eat pork, but they do not try to keep the rest of the nation from eating pork, nor do they lobby the government for laws to make pork illegal!  Realize, anti-abortionists, that your beliefs are not the only legitimate beliefs.

Groups on either side of the abortion debate are poised to spend big bucks … tens of millions of dollars … in advertising their position in the upcoming debate over the confirmation of a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.   It is, without a doubt, the most watched issue of the day.  It is a sad state of affairs, if you ask me, that the law of the land will be determined for the next several decades based on a single religious group’s stance on a woman’s right to control her own body.  It shouldn’t even BE an issue!  It is not your right to choose for another.  It is not the right of the U.S. Supreme Court to tell me what I must do with my body.  We all need to understand that we do not live in a perfect world and that sometimes people make mistakes, but that they should not be forced by a group of nine men and women to have their lives ruined because of a single mistake.

I call on the U.S. Senate to block any Trump nominee for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.  Every woman in this country stands to lose if they do not.  Every member of the LGBT community stands to lose.  Every Jew, Muslim, Hindi, atheist or agnostic stands to lose.  We the People stand to lose.

Who is Kevin Williamson?

The National Review, founded by William F. Buckley and in publication since 1955, is a semi-monthly conservative editorial magazine focusing on news and commentary pieces on political, social, and cultural affairs.  Since its founding, the magazine has played a significant role in the development of conservatism in the United States, helping to define its boundaries, while establishing itself as a leading voice on the American right.  Though I disagree with most of its ideas, I have respect for a number of the contributors to the National Review, such as George Will, Jonah Goldberg, and Charles Krauthammer.  One contributor for whom I have absolutely no respect is Kevin Williamson.

The Atlantic, formerly The Atlantic Monthly, has a good reputation.  While its focus was once on literary and cultural commentary, it has shifted focus towards political commentary and reporting in the 21st century.  It has been around since 1857 and, as I mentioned, has a very good reputation for quality reporting and for presenting opposing points of view in a relatively unbiased manner.  “We reach thinking people — and make them think harder” is their motto.  The Atlantic just hired the aforementioned Kevin Williamson from the National Review.

Who is Kevin Williamson?  He is either one of the biggest jerks in the world, or else he is playing at being one of the biggest jerks in the world.  Either way. Interestingly, while Williamson is a virulent racist, a bigot, and an uber-conservative, he is an anti-Trumpeter.  But let us look at some of the things he has said over the years, for his words speak volumes.

  • In 2014, Williamson tweeted that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide” and “women who have had abortions should face capital punishment, namely hanging.”
  • “The fictitious rape epidemic is necessary to support the fiction of “rape culture,” by which feminists mean anything other than an actual rape culture … ‘Rape culture’ simply means speech or thought that feminists disapprove of and wish to suppress.”
  • He said that that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a “desire to see as many poor children killed” as possible through abortion.
  • “From an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote,” including “Michelle Obama’s vote,” because “the ladies do tend to flock to successful executives and entrepreneurs.”
  • “As every female police officer knows, there is something maddeningly sexy about a woman enforcing rules, and something sexually repugnant about a woman without any rules at all. Miss Manners is sexy for the same reason that librarians and teachers and nurses can be sexy: she is an authority — it’s fun to play with authority.”
  • Williamson attacked transgender actress and advocate Laverne Cox, writing that she was “not a woman, but an effigy of a woman,” because transgender identity is a “delusional tendency.”
  • “The left always needs an emergency because they can’t get this stuff done through normal democratic means.”
  • Williamson compared Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to a Nazi.
  • Williamson declared that the epidemic of campus sexual assault “is a fiction” and compared efforts to curb the crime to “mass hysteria” during the Salem Witch Trials. “There is no epidemic of rapes on American college campuses. The campus-rape epidemic is a fiction.”

In the words of Slate’s Jordan Weissmann …

“These are not views one would typically associate with The Atlantic, which has a long, unique history in American intellectual life that’s partly bound up with the advancement of civil rights — it was founded by abolitionists, published Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail,’ and helped make Ta-Nehisi Coates a leading American voice on race … He reacted to Black Lives Matter with an O’Reilly-esque rant about ‘race-hustling professionals’ and black-on-black crime that I have a hard time picturing sharing space with a TNC essay.”

In reference to a young black child, he wrote:

“Hey, hey craaaaaacka! Cracka! White devil! F*** you, white devil!” The guy looks remarkably like Snoop Dogg … raising his palms to his clavicles, elbows akimbo, in the universal gesture of primate territorial challenge. Luckily for me, he’s more like a three-fifths-scale Snoop Dogg, a few inches shy of four feet high, probably about nine years old …”

So why would a 161-year-old, well-respected publication hire such a jerk?  According to The Atlantic editor, Jeffrey Goldberg …

“The larger question is this: What am I trying to accomplish by having Kevin write for us? The first answer is this: He’s an excellent reporter who covers parts of the country, and aspects of American life, that we don’t yet cover comprehensively. I happen to think that conservatives made ideologically homeless by the rise of Trump are some of the most interesting people in America, and I want to read them whenever I can.

As our staff knows, because I go on about this ad nauseam, I take very seriously the idea that The Atlantic should be a big tent for ideas and argument. It is my mission to make sure that we outdo our industry in achieving gender equality and racial diversity. It is also my job is to make sure that we are ideologically diverse. Diversity in all its forms makes us better journalists; it also opens us up to new audiences. I would love to have an Ideas section filled with libertarians, socialists, anarcho-pacifists and theocons, in addition to mainstream liberals and conservatives, all arguing with each other.”

Diversity, an exchange of opposing views … I am all for those.  But Williamson is a first-class jerk, plain and simple … a racist, a bigot and a man with no moral filter for his words.  Many have already criticized Goldberg’s decision to hire Williamson, to which he responds:

“I don’t think that taking a person’s worst tweets, or assertions, in isolation is the best journalistic practice. I have read most, or much, of what he has written; some of his critics have not done the same. I would also prefer, all things being equal, to give people second chances and the opportunity to change. I’ve done this before in reference to extreme tweeting (third chances, too, on occasion), and I hope to continue this practice.”

Thing is, Williamson has absolutely no intention of ‘changing’, for in his farewell letter to the staff at the National Review, he commented that …

“… I will be an apostle to the Gentiles. I am very much looking forward to raising a brand new kind of hell.”

I wish The Atlantic luck with this one … personally, I will not be reading his columns.

Send In The Clowns …

circus-2

I promise that I don’t wake up every morning and decide before my feet even hit the ground that I am going to go in search of crazy people in Pennsylvania to write about.  They just drop so blatantly onto my radar.  I try to push them aside, for it does seem that I pick on Pennsylvania more than any other single state.  I push them aside, but they keep coming back onto the radar screen, begging for my attention.  My friend Herb lives in Pennsylvania, and he refers to the majority of them as Pennsyl-tuckians.  Perhaps he has something there.  So, who’s under the gun today?

shannon edwardsMeet Shannon Edwards.  Shannon is a republican (go figure) and is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Ms. Edwards is also the woman with whom Representative … former Representative … Tim Murphy was having an affair.  And oh yes, one more minor detail … Ms. Edwards threatened to kill her husband.

tim murphy

Tim Murphy

Congressman Tim Murphy had frequently spoken out against abortion … a regular right-winger standing firm in his sanctimonious ‘pro-life’ views.  But, when as a result of an extra-marital affair with Shannon Edwards, she became pregnant with, presumably, his child, he urged her to have an abortion!  The very thing he allegedly stood strongly against.  Ms. Edwards texted the following …

“You have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last weekend when we thought that was one of the options.”

Murphy stepped down from his seat in the House on 21 October 2017, and it was later discovered that Ms. Edwards was not pregnant after all.

And the real kicker … in 2016, Edwards’ husband, Jesse Sally, sought a restraining order against her on the grounds that she had made multiple threats to kill him, including saying she would use a steak knife or hire a hit man.

“In a petition seeking a restraining order dated Oct. 31, 2016, Sally wrote that Edwards had arrived home about 10:30 p.m. after drinking alcohol with neighbors and grabbed his head and pushed it into a pillow. He said he left the room and she followed him around the house. When he returned to the bedroom, she put her face “inches away” from his face and told him, “I’m going to kill you,” according to the petition, which said the two were living in the same house in Mt. Washington but sleeping in separate bedrooms. She had made the threat on multiple occasions, and three months earlier told Sally she would kill him in his sleep with a steak knife, according to the petition. “She then said she would just use a steak knife to the heart or hire a hit man,” he wrote.” – TribLive 

I … words fail me.  To think that this woman now has the unmitigated gall to seek to serve in the U.S. Congress???  A judge, by the way, did grant a temporary protection-from-abuse (PFA)  order against Edwards on Nov. 1, 2016.

Oh … a couple of other tidbits about Ms. Edwards.  She is a forensic psychologist who has worked for criminal and family courts.  And … wait for it … in the 1990s, she went door-to-door with a petition to protest the cancellation of television sitcom Full House. Of course, she was only 10-years-old at the time, but she currently points to that as evidence of her long-term ‘social advocacy’.

Saccone-2

Rick Saccone in full clown regalia

The primary for District 14 will be held on May 15th, and thus far, no other candidate has filed.  Now, here’s a twist … because, as I wrote last week,  the courts have re-drawn the Pennsylvania congressional district maps to remedy the previous gerrymandered maps. Assuming the court-ordered re-districting takes place, Edwards could actually end up running in the republican primary against another highly unsuitable candidate about whom I have written, Rick Saccone.   You see what I mean about Pennsylvania?  It must be something in the drinking water!  Thankfully, Herb drinks only distilled water!

Michael Doyle

Michael Doyle

The good news is that the incumbent for the seat is a democrat, Michael Doyle, who has held a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1995, and is likely to be a shoe-in against either Saccone or Edwards.  Especially given the fact that, according to BallotPedia, Doyle has $285,000+ in his campaign coffers, and Edwards has $630 that she has accumulated in a GoFundMe account. I suppose we should be thankful that the GOP seems to be full of clowns.

circus

Where Does It End???

Perhaps there is some confusion on the meanings of certain words and phrases.  At the beginning of Trump’s ‘Reign of Bigotry’, Kellyanne Conway, referring to the number of people who attended the inauguration, introduced the term ‘alternative facts’.  It would seem that now there is some general confusion, particularly among those tied to the Trump administration, about what words mean.  Let us take a couple of examples:

Religious freedom: the freedom to practice and observe your religion of choice, or none at all, without interference.

Civil rights: the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.

Conscience: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.

Of course, we can expand on these definitions, but these are the base, the foundation, and for the purpose of this conversation will serve quite nicely.

Donald Trump has once again found a way to circumvent Congressional approval and make law himself by creating a new division within the Civil Rights office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The name of this new division is “Division for Conscience and Religious Freedom”. It might just as well be the “Division for Discrimination”, for that is precisely what it is.  The sheer irony is that it is a division within the Civil Rights office, and yet it threatens to take civil rights from both the LGBT community and any who have had or seek to have an abortion.

severino

Roger Severino

The head of the Civil Rights office within HHS is headed up by one Roger Severino, a man who has been extremely vocal in his opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.  The purpose of this new division is to “defend healthcare workers who, on religious grounds, refuse to treat patients or take part in procedures”. Severino claims this division will “protect people from unfair treatment”.

It seems to me that health care workers are there to serve the public, not to pick and choose which members of the public are worthy of being helped.  Think about this one for a minute.  Say I had an abortion six years ago (no, I didn’t) and it is in my medical file.  Today, I wake up with severe chest pains, and I call for an ambulance.  The driver comes, checks my vital signs, then asks if I have ever had an abortion?  ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I cannot transport you to the hospital, for abortion is against my religious beliefs.’ Extreme example?  Maybe, maybe not.  I can see it happening, and that is the part that should frighten us all.

Severino says the goal is to ‘protect individuals from unfair treatment’.  I ask you, which is more unfair:  denying life-saving medical treatment to a sick person, or asking a health care professional to treat each patient as a human being, nothing more?

“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice,” said Severino.  VICTIMS???  Excuse me, but did he say victims?  The nurse who is asked to draw blood from a gay person is the victim here?  I think not.  The victim is the person who is being refused life-saving medical treatment because of his gender identity.  The victim is the one who is being discriminated against, and that is not the nurse who is simply being asked to do her job! This division is nothing more than a vehicle to use religion as a justification for discrimination.

In addition to my absolute fury over this division and its likely policies, I also have a fear about what other doors this opens.  Think about this … we have a hell of a lot of white supremacists in this nation, it seems.  What happens when they claim their rights are being violated by having to serve black people in restaurants, or white supremacist doctors feel it is unjust for them to have to treat African-American patients?  Or what about the anti-Semitic doctor or nurse who is opposed to treating Jewish patients?

Now, back to the definition of religious freedom for a moment.  If you don’t believe that abortion is right, then do not have an abortion.  That is your right, your freedom to choose not to have an abortion.  However, if I do choose to have one, it is not your right to choose for me, it is not your right to prevent me from having one.  You follow your conscience and I will follow mine.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, “Religious liberty doesn’t include a right to be exempt from laws protecting our health or barring discrimination. It doesn’t mean a right to refuse to transport a patient in need because she had an abortion. It doesn’t mean refusing care to a patient because she is transgender. Medical standards, not religious belief, should guide medical care.”

The division speaks of ‘conscience’, yet perhaps these people who are so offended by treating a gay or transgender person ought to examine their own consciences a little closer and see their own bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Yesterday, a press conference was held with a series of speeches celebrating the new division.  Severino led the event and at one point, referring to health  care professionals who refuse to treat LGBT people, he  compared their situation with that of Jews who were slaughtered during the Holocaust and Martin Luther King Jr. in his quest for racial justice. Seriously??? The Nazis, he said, had forced Jews to wear a certain type of insole in their shoes with Hebrew writing on them, “so that every step they took, they would be violating their conscience….I could see the common humanity of why someone is forced to violate their conscience with every step they take, how it’s an attack, really, on their human dignity.”

An excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath that is taken by all doctors reads, “I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings …”  Please note that it does not say “all human beings with whom I am in religious agreement”, but simply “all human beings”.  I read the entire oath, and did not find anything that indicates otherwise.

This entire scenario is surreal, it is chilling, for as I said, it opens doors to discrimination in every facet of our society, and against every group.  This, my friends, is not what this nation is, not what it was ever intended to be.  This is not a nation I recognize, as I have said more than once in the past year.  This is not a nation in which I can any longer have even a degree of pride.  Donald Trump promised to “make America great again”, but instead, he has made it terrible. Ruined it for people of true conscience, for humanitarians, for people who put others before themselves.  If Trump is allowed to stay in office beyond the end of this year, I predict there will be a mass migration out of the country, and I will be leading the way.

Note to Readers:  You may have noticed that I am slow these days in responding to comments, and have not visited your blogs as much as I would like.  Please forgive me, but I am having serious vision difficulties these days, and can neither read nor write without holding a magnifying glass in one hand.  As you might imagine, that slows me down quite a bit.  Please bear with me and keep commenting … I read them all, but simply have not been able to respond as timely as I would like. Hopefully my vision problems can be corrected soon, but meanwhile, thank you for your continued patience w!ith my slowness.  Love ‘n hugs to you all

A Conversation Starter …

Late last week, my friend Brian, who I have mentioned before as being my sensible & sane republican friend, sent me the following message:

Hey Jill.  Someone posted this on a conservative news site.  I am not sending this because I believe all this, but most Conservatives appear to have this view about the Left.  Would love to hear your views.  Again… I didn’t write this. 😎.   Please forgive the insulting name. “DEMONUTS CHECKLIST 1Let the criminals out. 2Let illegals in. 3Mainstream media 100% gospel. 4Let boys in the girls bathrooms. 5Condemn police officers. 6Don’t care about the veterans. 7Eradicate history if offensive. 8Believe Healthcare is a Constitutional right.9Kill the unborn-10Stomp on and burn the American flag. 11Accept barbarity in the name of Islam- 12hugs,love and no borders will stop terrorism. 13Protect the Sanctuary cities. 14Black lives only matter. 15Coddle the lazy.16Encourage hate crimes. 17Call for the assassination of our president, 18talk of overthrowing ourgovernment. 19Burnbusinesses, attack innocent bystanders, destroy City property, 20call for, and try to incite a civil war. 21Refuse freedom of speech on others, while  their own political and government obstructionists.”

I tried to find information about the creator of this checklist, but all I could find is that it was created by a woman named Beverly Gibbs, and a visit to the Facebook account where this originated left me feeling ill.  However, the point here is that the ‘great divide’ as I have been calling it, has its roots in this very type of rhetoric.  People like Beverly and her followers, Trump’s followers, do not truly understand what the liberal left believe in or stand for.  Perhaps the reverse is also true.  So, I took this as an opportunity to correct the views expressed in the “Demonuts Checklist” in hopes that my responses might open some back and forth conversation whereby a few people make an effort to understand others’ views.  It’s worth a shot anyway.  I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope you find some value in it.

My responses:

  1. Let the criminals out – This is rather vague, so I am unclear what exactly is meant, but I am going to assume it refers to the fact that democratic presidents historically have commuted sentences at a greater rate than republicans. Barack Obama has now commuted the sentences of more than 1,000 people in prison for drug crimes We are not talking, necessarily about releasing the prisoners, merely reducing their sentences in most cases.  And, most importantly from my point of view, these are non-violent drug offenders.  Doesn’t it make more sense to attempt rehabilitation than to keep them in prison where they may well be exposed to more violent criminals and come out with harder attitudes than they went in?  It is, of course, a slippery slope and we must ensure that violent offenders serve their full sentences.  But the guy who was caught with a few ounces of pot in his car?  Let him out and place him in supervised rehab.

  1. Let illegals in – This is one I could write a book on, so I will try to condense my thoughts. First, the term ‘illegals’ is a misnomer.  They are humans.  They may be here against the law, but they are humans, not illegals.  Now, the objections to these immigrants appear to fall into two categories:  1) that they will take jobs away from U.S. citizens, and 2) that they may be terrorists.  They are not taking jobs that Americans want … they are taking the low paying (often below federal minimum wage) jobs that Americans do not want.  And they are not terrorists.  Terrorists typically fly into the U.S. with legal Visas.  I address terrorism in #12.  Now, to the greater point as I see it.  This nation is based on opening our arms to the persecuted, to those in need of safe harbour.  The immigrants that come here from the Middle East have been living in danger, fearing for their lives, for years and seek only a safe place to raise their children and have a better life.  Granted, there must be some limits, but simply to send these people back into chaos, turmoil and danger is unconscionable in my book.  Other nations are doing their share, and we must also.  As I said, I could write a book, but the above summarizes my thoughts in a nutshell.

  1. Mainstream media 100% gospel – While the mainstream media do sometimes make mistakes, for the most part what they report is fact-based and verifiable. We all make mistakes, as we often have less than perfect information.  As a writer of political analysis, I have made my share, but, like the reporters of the mainstream media publications, I recant my error as soon as it comes to my attention.  They/we must do that, lest we lose credibility.  As a rule, reporters report facts and leave the subjective material to the OpEd writers like myself. If you do not trust the U.S. media, turn to the overseas publications like BBC, Reuters and der Spiegel or The Guardian, for they report on U.S. events as much as on those of the EU. More to the point, why are some so willing to believe every conspiracy theory, no matter how unlikely, put forth by the likes of Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk?

  1. Let boys in girls’ bathrooms – Personally, I would like to see all public restrooms be unisex. People typically go to the restroom to relieve themselves and/or wash their hands, not for wanton sex. It is the 21st century, not the 14th. I do not see an issue here, and perhaps if adults would stop being so narrow-minded when it comes to matters of gender and sex, we might have fewer teen pregnancies and therefore need fewer abortions.  Teach children the anatomical differences between males & females, teach them right from wrong, and then trust them. There are so much more important issues in the world than which restroom a person uses.

  1. Condemn police officers – Most all of us have the utmost respect for our police force, and hold them in high regard. In fact, I grew up in the 1960s when it was not at all uncommon to hear the police referred to as ‘pigs’, but I do not know a single person who would say that today. However, when police treat blacks differently, when they use excessive force and even shoot to kill unarmed black men simply because they are black, then those particular officers are not deserving of respect.  When Middle-Easterners, Latinos and African-Americans are subjected to racial profiling, it lowers our respect, for we look up to our law enforcement community, we hold them to a higher standard, one which some are not living up to.  When we condemn the police, it is for their actions, not a sign of disrespect for the badge.

  1. Don’t care about veterans – I have no idea where this notion even comes from, so I have no response other than to say that I have never heard a single person of either party disparage veterans. Having come of age during the Vietnam War, and having lost more than one friend to that war, I well remember the disdain toward Vietnam veterans in the 60s and 70s, however I have seen nothing along those lines since.

  1. Eradicate history if offensive – I assume this point is in reference to the removal of confederate monuments. Admittedly I have mixed thoughts on this issue.  On the one hand, yes, they are pieces of history, but on the other hand, we are currently in an era of growing racism and an expanding white supremacist movement that are using the existence of those monuments as a sort of shrine to their purposes, stirring emotions and creating hate.  The other point is that the monuments themselves were not erected, for the most part, immediately following the Civil War, which would have made them truly historic, but were instead erected during the Civil Rights Era as an endorsement of the “southern cause”.  The southern cause, by the way, was in fact nothing more nor less than slavery.  The compromise solution I would like to see is to remove the monuments to Civil War museums, for perhaps they should not be destroyed, but neither do they belong on public property.

  2. Believe health care is a Constitutional right – No, I realize that it is not written into the Constitution that every person should have access to affordable healthcare, but it is inarguably a human right. Would you see a child die of a disease that could have been cured, simply because the parents could not afford medical treatment?  Perhaps the right to health care should be a Constitutional amendment.  Many other nations, including the UK, and Canada have decided it is the right of all people to be able to obtain health care, so why are we willing to allow people to die for a lack of? I support universal health care for the U.S., for it is an abomination that a rich person receive nothing but the best, while a poor child dies.

  1. Kill the unborn – While I am not a fan of abortion, I do support a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. First, there may be medical issues that would threaten the life of the woman.  But on a practical side, if the woman realizes that she is, for whatever reason, incapable of taking care of a child, then to bring the child into the world is cruel.  That child may come into a life of abject poverty, or worse, be neglected or abused.  There are, on average, some 428,000 children in foster care on any given day in the U.S., with more than 600,000 spending time in the system at some point during the year. On average, 500 children are murdered by a parent each year in the U.S. And about three times that many die as a result of abuse or neglect at the hands of parents.  When parents are unprepared to be parents, the result is disastrous.  That foetus is much likely better off never being given life.  The argument about when life begins is better left to science that politics, but it is a slippery slope argument and who’s to say that the egg and the sperm weren’t already considered to be a life?  Where does one draw the line?

  1. Stomp on and burn the American flag – I find no evidence of any spate of recent flag burnings in the U.S., and since the Supreme Court ruled it legal as a form of free speech in 1989, it would be rather a moot point anyway. I have not heard either party call for flag burnings nor stompings en masse.

  1. Accept barbarity in the name of Islam – There are radicals within the religion of Islam, just as there are within Christianity. It is always a mistake to judge an entire group by the actions of a few.  Having a number of Muslim friends, I can tell you that Islam is every bit as much a peaceful and peace-loving religion as is Christianity, and it is more tolerant of those outside Islam than Christianity is of outsiders. The few radicals within Islam are the squeaky wheels that get the oil, the violent ones who act in the name of their religion, but not within its teachings.  As many Christians might say, “judge not, lest ye be judged”.

  1. Hugs, love and no borders will stop terrorism – Since 11 September 2001, nearly every terrorist act perpetrated within the U.S. has been committed by white U.S. citizens. Most Terrorists In The U.S. Since 9/11 Have Been American Citizens Or Legal Residents [Infographic]

  1. Protect the Sanctuary cities – see #2

  1. Black lives only matter – The acronym BLM stands for Black Lives Matter. The word ‘only’ is neither included nor implied.  White people in this nation have never had the need to question whether their lives mattered, but even post-Civil Rights era, black people are still treated as 2nd class citizens in many areas, including in law enforcement.  White supremacist groups, that have a growing following, have stated that they believe Hispanics and African-Americans are less intelligent than whites.  THIS is what prompted the BLM movement.  Blacks are not asking for anything more than to be treated as equals, which they are, and given equal opportunities.

  1. Coddle the lazy – Rather vague, but I am assuming this refers to social welfare programs for the poor. First, it is wrong to assume that poor = lazy, for that is not true in the majority of cases.  Poverty may be a result of many things, and we believe it is wrong to condemn people to homelessness and starvation simply because they are poor.  I have no problem at all paying taxes that help feed, shelter and clothe the poor.  Granted, some safeguards need to be built into the system to ensure that people are not taking advantage, using social welfare programs as a substitute for a job, but I would rather err on the side of humanity than to see a single child cold and hungry.

  1. Encourage hate crimes – Now I find this one quite interesting, for the Richard Spencers, Christopher Cantwells and Tom Metzgers, leaders of the Neo-Nazis, KKK and white supremacist groups are the ones inciting ‘hate crimes’ in the U.S. and to the best of my knowledge, every one of them are republicans. The point?

  1. Call for the assassination of our president – there has been no call for an assassination of Trump. There have been a few scattered threats by individuals, as there have been in every presidency since that of George Washington.  Assassination threats and plots against President Obama exceeded the norm, likely because of his skin colour, and some were even against his wife and daughters. I can find no evidence nor record of organized or politicized assassination threats against Trump, however.

  1. Talk of overthrowing our government – I am not aware of any such talk, nor can I find evidence of any. There is rumour of a republican-backed plan called the Overthrow Project, intended to radically shrink all three branches of the federal government, however I am not able to verify at this time, and I do not make a habit of speaking until I have verifiable facts.

  1. Burn businesses, attack innocent bystanders, destroy city property – This is not a practice that is condoned. Anybody who injures another human, intentionally damages property – public or private – is in violation of the law and should be treated accordingly.  Party affiliation is irrelevant in this case.  It happens … on both sides … and it shouldn’t.  I do not know of a single person, democrat or republican, who condones this behaviour.

  1. Call for, and try to incite a civil war – Every threat of a civil war that I have heard has come from the right. Jim Bakker and Roger Stone immediately come to mind, for in recent months, both have threatened that there would be civil war if efforts were made to impeach Trump.  These are both uber-conservatives.  Trump supporters and evangelical Christian leaders are the only ones from whom I have heard this threat.

  1. Refuse freedom of speech on others – This is one that requires more than a short answer. While I am a staunch supporter of freedom to speak, or the 1st Amendment, I am also a student of history, and the speeches by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups frankly chill me to the bone.  I have studied Hitler’s speeches in the mid-to-late 1930s and the similarities are haunting.  I have an internal conflict here, as do many of my democratic friends.  I direct you to a recent post I wrote on this topic for a more in-depth analysis The Argument Between Me, Myself and I

These are my opinions alone, and if any readers would like to also respond to any or all of the points, please feel free to do so!  The more who engage in this conversation, the better.

Another Strike Against Women …

I am beginning to wonder why we have Congress at all, for it seems that Trump and his administration are doing pretty much whatever Trump wants done without the approval of our elected officials.  Executive orders and cabinet-level decisions have become the norm, bypassing the legislative branch altogether.

Legislative:  having the power to make laws

By now you have all heard the news, that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “rolled back” (translation: eradicated) the ACA requirement that employer’s insurance plans cover contraception (birth control).  Now any company can refuse to provide insurance plans that include birth control based on ‘religious or moral’ grounds.  Let us not kid ourselves here … companies will indeed cite religious or moral grounds and they will indeed drop coverage of birth control, but the real reason will be because it will save them money.  General Motors is a company, owned by a group of shareholders, none of whom give a whit whether their employees use birth control or not.  But they do care about seeing the value of their stock go up, they do care about their dividend check.

I understand why some people have strong feelings about abortion.  It is, as it should be, a topic to be seriously considered, and while I fully support a woman’s right to choose, I can also see why others may feel differently.  But birth control???  In this, the 21st century, people still have moral objections to birth control? I do not believe that more than a very small percentage can actually wish a family to have an unlimited number of children that they can barely afford to feed.  I cannot believe that any thinking person wishes to see the population of the world soar, just as food supplies are diminishing due to the effects of climate change.  I have a hard time seeing that those people really want to be responsible for children being born into families where they will be abused and neglected.  If that is what the religious right are supporting, I really have to question the moral values they claim.

Does anybody besides me find it odd that there is such a hue and cry over birth control for women, yet nobody seems bothered, nobody says a word about the fact that a large number of insurance plans cover Viagra for men, a drug that has no actual medical benefit, but is merely for men’s … pleasure?  Am I the only one who sees a disparity here? Women’s economic, physical and emotional health vs. men’s pleasure.  Hmmmm … tell me again that it is not still a man’s world?

This action on the part of HHS will certainly be challenged, for already women’s health care groups are preparing lawsuits, and ultimately the issue is likely to end up on the docket of the Supreme Court.  Meanwhile, how many women will suffer? In light of today’s action, I would suggest that the Department of Health and Human Services should be renamed to the Department of Religious and Moral Services, for they have shown their disregard for both health and humans.

In August, Trump struck another blow against women’s rights when he suspended a proposed policy that would have required companies to disclose pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the purpose of identifying gender and racial pay gaps.  This action, combined with today’s announcement are a reversal of rights that women have fought for in the past decades and set a course that is disturbing, to say the least.

But the even bigger aspect, as I see, is the fact that this administration has been busily abusing its power for more than eight long months, and one must ask the question:  what next?  I think it would be best if we return to having the legislative branch, Congress, make the laws based on what is best for the nation as a whole, not merely one segment of religious zealots.

Donnie Dark Strikes Another Blow At Planet Earth … And Women

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

There are currently some 7.5 billion people with whom we share a planet.  Think about that for a minute … 7.5.  Billion.  People.  That’s a lot of people.  The point of this post is not the over-population of earth, but we need to put this into perspective.  Most, myself included, would argue that we need to control population globally, not just in the underdeveloped nations, not just in the wealthier western nations, but globally.  Is there evidence that the earth is overpopulated?

The population of our earth only hit the one billion mark in the early 1800s, and it was only in the 1920s that we hit two billion.  And today, less than a century later, we are at the 7.5 billion mark and counting – growing.  Yay us … we learned to make babies. It is predicted that, given current growth rates, the human population of the earth will exceed 11 billion by the end of this century.  Can the earth support 11+ billion people?  Most scientists think it is doubtful.  Most believe the maximum sustainable population for this planet is somewhere between 9-10 billion.

Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth’s available resources. As Wilson pointed out in his book “The Future of Life” (Knopf, 2002), “The constraints of the biosphere are fixed.”

Aside from the limited availability of freshwater, there are indeed constraints on the amount of food that Earth can produce, just as Malthus argued more than 200 years ago. Even in the case of maximum efficiency, in which all the grains grown are dedicated to feeding humans (instead of livestock, which is an inefficient way to convert plant energy into food energy), there’s still a limit to how far the available quantities can stretch. “If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, leaving little or nothing for livestock, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land (3.5 billion acres) would support about 10 billion people,” Wilson wrote. – Live Science, 11 October 2011

David Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, has a slightly different take on the issue of over-population:

“It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue – but the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption.”

He posits that since most of the growth over the next two decades is predicted to be in urban centres in what are currently low and middle-income countries, and those people consume little, then perhaps overpopulation isn’t quite the dire threat that other scientists think it to be.  While Satterthwaite’s reasoning may or may not be sound – I am certainly no scientist and therefore cannot say – it is, I believe, a rather inhumane argument — as long as we can keep the poor, poor, then we will have enough water, food, and energy for all. Either way, the earth is not expanding, nor is it likely to, and humans are expanding.

The United States is already overpopulated. As far back as 1972, the Presidential Commission on Population Growth and the American Future recommended population stabilization, saying that over-population is the root cause of land and resource shortages, ecological degradation and urban congestion. The current population of the United States is, as of this writing, 326,330,503 and growing by the minute. Granted, the rate of growth has slowed in recent years, but we still add about 2 million to our population each year.

The defenders of population growth are almost universally institutional, not individuals. The public is generally concerned about continued population growth. The discrepancy between citizen and institutional interests is clear. Individuals benefit from moderate population density, open spaces, and a healthy environment. Institutions benefit from increased membership and large consumer markets and labor pools.

I could easily write a couple of posts about the topic of human overpopulation alone, but again, that is not my purpose tonight, so let us move on.

At the end of May, the Trump administration drafted a proposal that would virtually remove the birth control mandate from the Affordable Care Act. Under current law, most all insurance plans are required to cover birth control.  If Trump’s proposed regulation is finalized, that mandate will, for all intents and purposes, be gone.  Any company, from non-profits to major publicly-held corporations, will be able to claim exemption from the rule if they simply state they have a ‘moral’ objection.  ‘Moral’ is not defined in the proposal.  This proposed regulation does not have to be approved by Congress, but like an executive order, becomes law upon being published.

We have just looked at the issue of over-population from a long-range, global view, and it should be obvious to anyone who can read and think that birth control is one means to slow the population growth rate.  But now let us zoom in and talk about it from a national, and also an individual level.  Nationwide, there are an estimated 12 million single-parent households in the U.S., half of which are below the poverty line.  These are families that do not need another mouth to feed, and they are also mothers who cannot afford to shell out up to $50 each month for birth control.

Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, when asked by a reporter where low-income women would be left if the mandate was rolled back, replied, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one. The fact of the matter is this is a trampling on religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.”  Gem of a guy, don’t you think?  And now we see why Trump selected him to run “Health and HUMAN Services”. One problem is that since the administration is comprised almost exclusively of Trump’s millionaire buddies, they have no concept of how hard it can be for a family barely able to put food on the table, to scrape up $50/month for birth control pills!

The Trump administration has a similar response, claiming that women can turn to federally subsidized family planning programs.  But now think about this one.  They are also proposing cuts to Medicaid as well as threatening to entirely de-fund Planned Parenthood!  So where are all those “federally subsidized family planning programs”???

Trump-earthTrump & Co. have already proven their disdain for Planet Earth by removing environmental regulations via executive order, restarting oil pipeline projects without proper environmental impact studies, and announcing his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.  This proposal to roll back the birth control mandate is yet another slap in the face to our planet, but also to every woman in the United States.  I understand that abortion is a thorny issue, and I understand why.  I am personally pro-choice, but I understand why abortion is a deal-breaker to many.  However … birth control should not be a controversial issue, and I DO NOT understand any moral objections, religious or otherwise.  And, for those who are so against abortion, the reality is that if we reduce women’s access to affordable birth control, we will see an increase in abortions.

Congressional-oversightThere is a reason that our Constitution calls for three branches of federal government.  All presidents, bar none, have used executive orders and such to bypass Congress when action needed to be swift.  Some have abused the privilege, but I know of none who have taken the level of abuse to the extent that Trump has.  There is no valid justification for this latest regulation which, like so many of his other proposals, is destined to hurt the very people who supported and voted for him.  Fortunately, some states are taking counter actions, including California, Nevada, Illinois, Vermont and Maryland.  Hats off to them, and I hope every state jumps on this bandwagon!  Oh, and one final note … though not mandated, and not covered at 100%, most insurance policies DO cover some portion of the cost of Viagra.  Anybody still think it isn’t a ‘man’s world’????

mans world.jpg