Simone Biles, Sexual Abuse, and Mental Health

I’m not into sports, don’t pay any attention to the summer Olympics, but during the past weeks, my curiosity has been roused as I kept hearing some very strong opinions, both pro and con, for a young Olympic gymnast named Simone Biles. I kept meaning to further investigate, but other topics have kept me busy. So, I was pleased to see Brendan’s post today about Ms. Biles, a positive view, thankfully. Thank you, Brendan!

Blind Injustice

Simone Biles. Agência Brasil Fotografias, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Content warnings: Sexual abuse, suicide

One of the major stories of the recently concluded Summer Olympics was how decorated American gymnast Simone Biles was ultimately not involved in several of the events that she qualified for as a result of her struggles with mental health. Reaction to this seemed a bit split: many praised her for prioritizing her mental health, while some critics thought of her as a quitter.

Just to clarify, I fall into the former category, not the latter. I think Simone Biles did the right thing in prioritizing her mental health, even if it meant missing some major events this Olympics. To do otherwise would’ve been a danger to her mental and her physical health, which is more important than any Olympic medal.

Yet, at the same time, it seems like there’s often been…

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Give Him The Boot

First, I would like to start by saying I hope all my Florida friends are safe as Hurricane Elsa made landfall in Florida just a few hours ago.  Keep safe and well, my friends.

I took a day-and-a-half off from my blog, from the news, just mostly read and played games with the family, in order to try to clear my head from the past several years when it seems that I have been on a non-stop rant about one thing or another.  I came back to ye olde blog with renewed energy … well, I had it for Jolly Monday on Tuesday, at least.  And then I read of the gun deaths over the holiday weekend and that pretty much shot any degree of tranquility I had managed to achieve.  And then today, I see this tweet from a U.S. Representative from my own state, a Republican and an asshole, Jim Jordan:

“Democrats made the Fourth of July controversial. Republicans just love America.”

Not wishing to be thrown back in Twitter jail just yet, I tempered my response …

“HA HA HA HA HA … You are soooo funny, Mr. Jordan!  No, you don’t love the country, you don’t even give a royal f*ck about the people here.  You just love money, guns, and power.  I hope you are voted OUT!!!!”

A bit of background for some who may not be as familiar with Mr. Jordan …

He has been in the U.S. Congress since 2007, and is a founding member of the unconscionably conservative House Freedom Caucus.  He was a close buddy of the former guy, which should tell you all you need to know, and the former guy awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a private ceremony just days before leaving office in January.  On what grounds, or for what heroic deed the medal was awarded escapes me, for Jordan … is not a good person.  The only reason I can figure is that Jordan was one of eight House lawmakers who were part of Trump’s defense team in his Senate impeachment trial last year.  Perhaps in Trump’s mind, that qualifies Jordan … in my mind, it just makes him an even bigger jerk than he was before.

But let’s go back a bit in Mr. Jordan’s history.  From 1987 until 1995, Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach with Ohio State University’s wrestling program.  During that time, Dr. Richard Strauss was the team physician.  Turns out that Dr. Strauss was sexually abusing the boys on the team, and … wait for it … Jim Jordan was well aware of it!

Ohio State opened an independent investigation in 2018 … thirteen years after Dr. Strauss had died by his own hand.  During the course of the investigation, at least eight wrestlers/students came forward and said that they had complained to Jordan, but he did nothing.  One of the students, Dunyasha Yetts, said in testimony …

“For God’s sake, Strauss’s locker was right next to Jordan’s and Jordan even said he’d kill him if he tried anything with him!”

None of the students accused Jordan of committing sexual assault, however four former wrestlers named him as a defendant in a lawsuit against the university.  Jordan refused to cooperate with investigations into Strauss. He described his accusers as “pawns in a political plot” and said he did not even hear any locker room talk about Strauss or sexual abuse at OSU. In response to Jordan’s denials, one of the students, Mike DiSabato said, “I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”

Take it all for what it’s worth, but to me … where there is so much smoke, there is a fire, and eight students claiming they told Jordan of the abuse at the hands of the doctor constitutes a great deal of smoke!

And then … he went to Washington.  A step up from being a wrestling coach, being responsible for making the laws that directly affect some 330 million people, and indirectly affect the entire globe.  One of his first moves was to use the Freedom Caucus to shove then-Speaker of the House John Boehner out of his position.  Another was to bring the equally corrupt and ignoble Warren Davidson into the House.  Thus far, in my book, Jordan is batting 0.  He is not “for the people”, he is for lining his own pockets, for increasing his own power, and will support anything that plays into those two goals.

Jordan is also a consummate liar, for in 2018 when asked by Anderson Cooper if he had ever heard the former guy tell a lie, he replied …

“I have not … nothing comes to mind. I don’t know that Trump has ever said something wrong that he needs to apologize for.”

He was one of the 139 representatives who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Congress, and to this day claims that the election was “stolen”.  He is against environmental regulations and against women’s rights.  I could go on and on, but really … need I say more?

Jordan does not represent my district, but I hope the people in his district have the good sense to give him the boot in the mid-term elections next year.  Meanwhile, I will be working tirelessly to try to convince the people of my own district to give Warren Davidson that same boot!  We do not need right-wing radicals who completely disregard the will of the people sitting in Congress taking up space, time, and money!

It’s Still A Man’s World …

There were about 125.9 million adult women in the United States in 2014. The number of men was 119.4 million. At age 85 and older, there were almost twice as many women as men (4 million vs. 2.1 million).  Women, in other words, comprise over half the population of the United States.  Now, let’s look at Congress.

  • Of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, 84 are women, or 19.3%
  • Of the 100 members of the Senate, 23 are women … 23%

So, women comprise approximately 51.3% of the nation’s population, yet only a mere 20% of our main governing body.  Does anybody besides me see anything wrong with this picture??? And interestingly, of the 107 women in Congress, 78 are democrats and only 29 are republicans, a ratio of nearly 3:1.  And this, in spite of the fact that the republicans hold a majority in both chambers of Congress!womenBut, there is something wrong with the title of this post.  Yes, it is still, as the above statistics show, very much a man’s world.  But what about this …

  • Of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, 48 are African American, or 11%
  • Of the 100 members of the Senate, 3 are African-American, or 3%

African-Americans, in other words make up only 9.5% of our main governing body, even though they comprise 12.6% of the population.  A little closer than women, but still not equitable representation.gender gap.jpgThe point being that the U.S. Congress is largely comprised of white males.  And so, is it any wonder that when it comes time to confirm a potential Supreme Court justice, and the nominee is one who is likely, given the chance, to trample all over women’s rights, we are not represented?  When said nominee is also accused of having sexually assaulted women in his past, it doesn’t matter, for those who will judge him are white males, many of whom have likely done the same themselves.  They share a wink-wink and say, “Ahhh … the good ol’ days, eh?  But that’s long ago, and he shouldn’t have to pay for what he did 30+ years ago, right?”  And once again, we are not represented.  If you doubt that there is the pervasive attitude among some, but certainly not all men, that women are put on earth for their (men’s) pleasure, just look at how many men have been brought low in the past two years by the #MeToo movement.  Look at Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer, Mel Gibson, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, and the list would take the next 15 pages or more, but you get the idea.

Remember Brock Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who received naught more than a slap on the wrist for raping an unconscious woman on campus after a party?   Even though he was found guilty on three felony counts, he got off lightly because a) his daddy had money, and b) well … boys will be boys, right — wink, wink?  The judge said he saw no reason to ruin young Turner’s life and sentenced him to only six months.  Turner served 90 days in prison.

The Senate Judiciary Committee that heard the testimony of both Dr. Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is comprised of 21 members:  11 republicans and 10 democrats.  The next day, Friday, a vote was held, and predictably 11 members voted to move Kavanaugh’s confirmation out of committee and to the full senate for a vote. 10 voted against.  Can you guess who voted how?  There are four women on the committee … all four are democrats.they-dont-careAfter the vote, retiring Senator Jeff Flake called for an investigation by the FBI prior to the full senate vote.  A noble gesture for which he is being lauded.  However, the fact is that he voted “Aye” in the committee vote speaks louder.  Another, Senator Lisa Murkowski, also called for an investigation prior to the full senate vote, leaving Donald Trump with no choice but to order the investigation.  However, he ordered a ‘limited’ investigation on Friday evening, giving the bureau only until next Friday to present their results.  I see this as paying lip-service, an attempt to appease those of us who believe that Brett Kavanaugh is not who or what he purports to be and is not qualified to sit on the highest court in the land.

angry Kav

The face of ugly

All else aside, Brett Kavanaugh has shown us an ugly side this week, vacillating between fury and whining.  Even if he hadn’t lied under oath and if he didn’t sexually molest Dr. Ford, his emotional instability and his lack of respect should disqualify him.  The behaviours he has exhibited this week would have disqualified any woman who had been facing a confirmation hearing.

My best guess is that either a) the FBI investigation will be so limited in scope and time that it will turn up nothing to disqualify Mr. Kavanaugh, or b) no matter what the investigation reveals, Kavanaugh will be confirmed anyway by the mostly male senate.  I hope I’m wrong.  I also hope that Brett Kavanaugh is not confirmed to the Supreme Court, for he is very much a partisan, and I fear will not ever be capable of being fair and impartial.  We shall see.

Vermin in the White House

It was not my intent to write about the scandals in the White House.  I did not want to touch that one with a ten-foot pole.  My reasoning in the beginning was that it was a topic better handled by the gossip rags, and that I needed to stick to policies and procedures, to what was being done today to destroy not only our nation, but our planet. My other reason was that I knew many others would dive into the story, and my voice was not needed in order for the story to be told.  I was wrong.  The deeper the muck gets, the more people are willing to turn a blind eye, saying, in essence,g “boys will be boys”, the more I realize this topic is important, for it defines the values, or lack thereof, of the people who we have placed in charge of our nation and by extension, our very lives.

How can we expect our leaders to make and uphold laws to ensure women are treated fairly and as equals, when it is clear that they, themselves do not believe in women’s rights?

In 2016, after solid evidence was presented that Donald Trump is a misogynist and an abuser of women, the people of the United States elected him to the office of president – the highest office in the land.  Then late in 2017, Roy Moore of Alabama ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate.  There is credible evidence that Mr. Moore sexually abused underage girls several years ago.  Donald Trump supported Roy Moore.  Roy Moore came very close to winning that senate seat, as some 650,436 people, 48.4% of the voters, voted for Moore.

Many have come and gone since Trump entered the Oval Office in January 2017, an extraordinarily high turnover rate, in fact.  But then just in the past two weeks, the muck got even murkier and took on a very nasty smell.

Robert Roger Porter was the White House Staff Secretary until last week when both of his ex-wives went public with  credible evidence that he had been guilty of domestic abuse.  Porter resigned his position on February 7th, but not before his immediate superior, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, tried to talk him out of resigning.  But the real kicker?  Both John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn had been aware of the allegations for quite some time … McGahn for over a year, and Kelly since last fall.  Yet, neither deemed his status as a wife-beater to have any relevance.

And what of Donald Trump, himself a sexual predator?

“He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent. So you’ll have to talk to him about that. We absolutely wish him well. Did a very good job while he was at the White House.”

And then, another shoe dropped when White House speechwriter, David Sorensen resigned amid allegations of domestic violence.  And Trump once again took to Twitter …

“Peoples [sic] lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” – 10:33 AM – Feb 10, 2018

It should be noted that the lives he is so concerned about being “shattered and destroyed” are not those of the victims, but the abusers.

There is no doubt in my mind that both Porter and Sorensen are guilty as charged, else they would not have resigned without an argument, without a defense.  But there are two bigger questions here:

  1. How many more are there in the current administration? How many more with histories of domestic violence or sexual abuse?  Supposedly background checks are performed on any who are considered for positions in the administration, especially those who need security clearances.  It should be noted that Jared Kushner , Trump’s own son-in-law and advisor, still does not have security clearance after working in the White House for more than a year, likely due to the number of lies and ommissions he has told.  This is a breech of ethics, but seems to go unnoticed.  My recommendation after the past week is that we have an independent security firm do immediate and extensive background checks on every single employee in the White House, from the maid to the president.

  1. Why are people willing to overlook these crimes against women? Are we still believed to be second-class citizens? Why did nearly half of all Alabama voters ignore Roy Moore’s obvious character flaws and vote for him to become a major decision maker for the 330 million citizens of this nation?  Why do some 40% of people polled say that Trump is doing a good job?  Have we, as a nation, completely lost our values?  Judging by this situation, it would seem so. It would seem that ‘ethics’ is a word that no longer has meaning.

Here is a snippet from a recent interview with Kellyanne Conway on George Stephanopoulos’ show, ‘This Week’:

George: …And then he talks about mere allegations, people being falsely accused. So let me ask you again, does the president believe that Rob Porter is falsely accused?

Kellyanne: The president believes, as he said the other day, you have to consider all sides. He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well. At the same time, you have to look at the results. The result is that Rob Porter is no longer the staff secretary. It is — it is — the president tells me that he learned just this week, when the rest of us did, what these allegations are, what — these pictures, the contemporaneous, police reports, the detailed information as having been provided to the FBI.

And we are all trying to process that against the person that we worked with for over a year. But this president has — I think he’s doing a great job for America’s women. We have to look at the full picture. You have 800,000 women took new jobs last year because of his leadership. You have women who work at over 300 companies now that are getting wages and benefits and capital investments happening within their own communities. We are a safer, more prosperous nation, that includes all of us, including the nation’s women because of Donald Trump’s leadership.

I call it ‘deflect and distract’.  Her facts are not even accurate, but to the purpose of this post, that is irrelevant, for Kellyanne, as we learned more than a year ago, deals in ‘alternative facts’. Kellyanne is a disgrace to women everywhere.  The larger issue is that she had no answer to the question asked.

Over the past two years, there have been many issues that should have been ‘wake up calls’ to the people in this country.  So far, none has, and I don’t imagine this one will either, but that doesn’t mean that I, or any other people who hold their values dear, will sit down and shut up.

HE Stole Our Money!!!!

I realize that this may be over simplistic, that perhaps I am being naive, but it seems to me that if a person pays off another person who is threatening to sue them, then that person must have been guilty, else why pay them off?  If, for example, you accuse me of breaking your window, I may buy you a new window and even offer an apology if and only if I actually did break the window.  If, however, I had nothing to do with the broken window, I will utter a flippant, “So sue me!”

So, when I hear of a member of Congress paying a woman a large sum of money to keep her from suing him over sexual misconduct and gender discrimination, I figure he must be guilty, yes?  In light of all the sexual harassment allegations coming out today about men in power, I cannot even feign surprise, just wonder why so many men are finding it so difficult to respect women, to keep wee willy winkie where he belongs.


Blake Farenthold

But, when said member of Congress is using our money to buy his way out of trouble, that’s another story altogether!  The person in question is one Blake Farenthold, a representative to the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Texas.  And the amount he paid to his former communications director, Lauren Greene, was $84,000 … taxpayer’s money … money that we intend to help people, build roads, repair infrastructure, educate and protect our nation, etc. But instead, it was spent to keep an already wealthy man ($5.7 million net worth) from having to pay for acting in a lewd and harassing manner toward a woman in his employ.  Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture?

By my logic, the ‘man’ is guilty, else he would not have paid Ms. Greene to drop her lawsuit.  Further, by my logic, he should immediately be removed from office for a) failing to uphold the dignity of the office, b) abuse of a woman in his employ, c) theft of taxpayer monies.  And further, by my logic, he should be tried in a court of law and, if found guilty, sent to prison for an appropriate period of time.  Case closed. However, in today’s world, where people actually elected to the highest office in the nation, a man who stands accused of sexual harassment by no less than 16 women and has been caught on tape admitting to such behaviour, my logic apparently does not apply.

Republican lawmakers do not wish to continue healthcare subsidies for those of us who cannot afford medical insurance, and they no longer wish to support environmental regulations, free public education, and many other programs that help people, yet they will not bat an eye at supporting a man’s abuse of a woman?  When did this train leave the tracks?

The lawmaker in question, Blake Farenthold, has come under scrutiny more than once …

  • This past July, he said it was “absolutely repugnant” that the Affordable Care Act had not been repealed yet. In particular, he criticized “some female senators from the Northeast,” and stated “if it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.” Whoa, tough dude, eh?
  • Last October, when FBI Director James Comey sent his now-infamous letter about Hillary Clinton’s emails, a letter that was mis-construed by some in Congress to mean that Comey was re-opening a closed investigation (he was not), Farenthold jumped on the bandwagon of anti-Hillary sentiment with “BREAKING: FBI Director just told members that the FBI is reopening the Clinton investigation b/c of new emails.” I wonder how long it took him to wipe the egg off his face?
  • In a 2009 tweet, he asked, “Why do terrorists hate airplanes? Why not the drivers licenses office or the IRS?” Okay, not criminal, just incredibly stupid.  And this guy has been elected four times to our legislative body?
  • In 2010 he attended a costume party wearing ducky pajamas and posed for photos with several scantily-clad models.  Very professional, huh?

Farenthold-pajamasFirst elected in 2010, Farenthold has been re-elected three times.  Texans … please make sure you do not return this abysmal excuse for a man to office again next year!  Surely you can find somebody better in such a large state?

Is this the only incident of such blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars?  No, of course not, though it is said to be the first one where a lawmaker used our money to pay for a sexual harassment claim, and perhaps so, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  Just yesterday, the Senate passed a tax ‘reform’ bill that gives to the rich and robs from the poor.  Every republican in the Senate except for Bob Corker voted for this incredibly abysmal bill that I will speak more about in some future post, when I stop gritting my teeth.  More than half the members of Congress today, for the first time in history, are millionaires. Think about that one for a moment. Blake Farenthold is a millionaire, and yet he stole our tax money to pay his way out of a situation he got into because he couldn’t control his sexual urges?

Are we okay with this?  I am not.  I see no reason that we should not demand Mr. Farenthold immediately reimburse We The Taxpayers our $84,000 PLUS interest of $10,568.47*, for a grand total of $94,568.47.  And no, Mr. Farenthold, we will not knock off the 47 cents, as for some of us that will buy a pack of ramen noodles to fill our bellies!

It is past time to hold our elected representatives accountable for every action that affects our well being, either physically, mentally or financially.  It is time they accounted for every thin dime of our money they spend.  Mr. Farenthold must be made to serve as an example, for if there are no repercussions for him, he will not be the last to play fast and loose with our money.  Think about it.

* Interest calculated at 6% over three years, compounded monthly

Some men in power are running scared right now

I don’t think any of use realized just how widespread the abuse of women by men with power was until the Weinstein affair, and even now, we are likely only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Friend Keith has written a timely post that I urge you to read. We need to ensure that we don’t let the culture of men in power using and abusing women become the norm. Thank you, Keith, for this post and implied permission to share.


If you are a man in power and have used your power to sexually harass or assault a subordinate colleague or third party, my guess is you are running a little scared right now. Sexually assaulted and harassed women (and men) are more empowered to tell stories that have eaten away at them for years.

Ex-judge and Senate candidate Roy Moore keeps asking why are these women coming forward now? Really? First, you apparently assaulted and harassed these women as impressionable teens and used your power as local DA to silence them. Second, you are interviewing to be a Senator of the United States. But, just read the news and you will know why these women are coming forward now.

Yet, if he did join the Senate, he will find some company in the halls of Congress on sexual assaulting and harassing women (and men). At least two have been…

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Roy Moore — The ‘Values’ Candidate

In just over a month, December 12th, the people of Alabama will go to the polls to elect a senator to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions who is now the U.S. Attorney General.  There are two major candidates, former Judge Roy Moore, who was twice thrown off the bench for failing to uphold the law, and Democratic candidate Doug Jones.  Now, if you are not familiar with Mr. Moore’s history, please take a look at my last post about him, written last month.

Roy Moore’s boat, once again, should have just sunk, but I am not so sure.  The details, according to The Washington Post

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

I will not repeat the details here, in the interest of time, space, and decency, (click the above link if you’re interested) but suffice it to say that twice thereafter, Moore behaved very inappropriately, according to Miss Corfman.  Her account is supported by her mother and two people who were friends at that time. There are three other similar accusations against Moore.

Now, ten years ago this would have been a death knell for Moore’s candidacy and he would have hung his head in shame and slithered, like the snake he is, off the campaign trail.  But this is the year 2017, the year that people in the U.S. decided this sort of behaviour in a politician is alright in their book, for the man they elected to the highest office in the U.S. has been accused multiple times of sexual harassment and was even captured on tape admitting to groping women without their consent.

So … what is the reaction to this accusation against Moore?  Let us hear first from Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler …

“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”


Even two of the biggest idiots in the upper echelons of the federal government have better sense than Mr. Ziegler …

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“Like most Americans, the president does not believe we can allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.” – Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking on behalf of Trump

“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.” – Arizona Senator John McCain

“I think it was already perfectly well stated that no one in Alabama gives a s— what Mitch McConnell or John McCain thinks we should do.” – Republican consultant Jonathan P. Gray

And what, you might ask, is Roy Moore’s response?

“Our children and grandchildren’s futures are on the line. So rest assured — I will NEVER GIVE UP the fight! I believe you and I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values.”

Prior to this story in the Post, Moore was polling an average of six percentage points above the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones.  Today?  He is polling an average of six percentage points above Jones.  It may simply be that it is too soon for the polls to reflect a shift based on the latest news, and it bears watching over the coming week or two.

The deadline has passed to take his name off the ballot. The Alabama state party could disqualify him from the election, but down in Alabama there are no signs that they wish to do so.

Roy Moore and Doug Jones were invited to a debate by a local television station, WHNT. Jones accepted the invitation, but the Moore campaign declined, saying …

While we appreciate the invitation from WHNT, the differences between the two candidates are crystal clear. Judge Roy Moore believes in cutting taxes. Doug Jones wants to raise your taxes. Judge Moore believes we should cut spending and balance the budget. Doug Jones believes in putting America in more debt. Judge Moore wants Obamacare repealed. Doug Jones wants to expand it. Judge Moore wants to rebuild the military. Doug Jones supported an administration that slashed our defense spending and put American security at risk. Judge Moore wants to secure our borders. Doug Jones wants open borders and supports amnesty. Judge Moore wants to protect our most vulnerable like our seniors and the unborn, but Doug Jones has spent his career defending violent criminals and he supports partial-birth abortion. There has never been a clearer choice: one candidate will stand up for Alabama and the other candidate will expand federal tyranny. Judge Moore will continue to take his message directly to the voters of Alabama.

Moore-1Roy Moore claims to be the candidate who stands for ‘values’.  Perhaps he defines values differently than I do.