School Week 2

School is in full swing and I can’t focus to save my life!

I have to write a short essay on the first 3 chapters of my assigned book, which normally is not an issue at all. I love reading, writing comes fairly easy to me, and it’s a topic I am interested in. I sat down today to start reading and only got 20 pages in before I realized I was not focusing or retaining any of it.

I’m hoping it’s just me being at the gym and feeling antsy. Fingers crossed I will be able to focus tonight at home after the boys are in bed.

Wish me luck!

 

“A Rebirth Of Freedom”

To my dear friends and family that voted for Trump please read this. I am not trying to change your mind or get you to denounce him, I just want you to stand up for what you believe is right. Eliot A. Cohen, the author, was a member of George Bush’s administration (from 2007 to 2009, he served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice). It is a clear-eyed, unsentimental prediction of what will happen next. As he puts it, “it may not be possible to stop what is coming. But it is still possible to declare what you stand for.”

A Clarifying Moment in American History

There should be nothing surprising about what Donald Trump has done in his first week—but he has underestimated the resilience of Americans and their institutions.

ELIOT A. COHEN

Eliot A. Cohen is the director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. From 2007 to 2009, he served as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He is the author of The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force.

I am not surprised by President Donald Trump’s antics this week. Not by the big splashy pronouncements such as announcing a wall that he would force Mexico to pay for, even as the Mexican foreign minister held talks with American officials in Washington. Not by the quiet, but no less dangerous bureaucratic orders, such as kicking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff out of meetings of the Principals’ Committee, the senior foreign-policy decision-making group below the president, while inserting his chief ideologist, Steve Bannon, into them. Many conservative foreign-policy and national-security experts saw the dangers last spring and summer, which is why we signed letters denouncing not Trump’s policies but his temperament; not his program but his character.

We were right. And friends who urged us to tone it down, to make our peace with him, to stop saying as loudly as we could “this is abnormal,” to accommodate him, to show loyalty to the Republican Party, to think that he and his advisers could be tamed, were wrong. In an epic week beginning with a dark and divisive inaugural speech, extraordinary attacks on a free press, a visit to the CIA that dishonored a monument to anonymous heroes who paid the ultimate price, and now an attempt to ban selected groups of Muslims (including interpreters who served with our forces in Iraq and those with green cards, though not those from countries with Trump hotels, or from really indispensable states like Saudi Arabia), he has lived down to expectations.

Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.

The question is, what should Americans do about it? To friends still thinking of serving as political appointees in this administration, beware: When you sell your soul to the Devil, he prefers to collect his purchase on the installment plan. Trump’s disregard for either Secretary of Defense Mattis or Secretary-designate Tillerson in his disastrous policy salvos this week, in favor of his White House advisers, tells you all you need to know about who is really in charge. To be associated with these people is going to be, for all but the strongest characters, an exercise in moral self-destruction.

For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.

Rifts are opening up among friends that will not be healed. The conservative movement of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp, of William F. Buckley and Irving Kristol, was always heterogeneous, but it more or less hung together. No more. New currents of thought, new alliances, new political configurations will emerge. The biggest split will be between those who draw a line and the power-sick—whose longing to have access to power, or influence it, or indeed to wield it themselves—causes them to fatally compromise their values. For many more it will be a split between those obsessed with anxiety, hatred, and resentment, and those who can hear Lincoln’s call to the better angels of our nature, whose America is not replete with carnage, but a city on a hill.

This is one of those clarifying moments in American history, and like most such, it came upon us unawares, although historians in later years will be able to trace the deep and the contingent causes that brought us to this day. There is nothing to fear in this fact; rather, patriots should embrace it. The story of the United States is, as Lincoln put it, a perpetual story of “a rebirth of freedom” and not just its inheritance from the founding generation.

Some Americans can fight abuses of power and disastrous policies directly—in courts, in congressional offices, in the press. But all can dedicate themselves to restoring the qualities upon which this republic, like all republics depends: on reverence for the truth; on a sober patriotism grounded in duty, moderation, respect for law, commitment to tradition, knowledge of our history, and open-mindedness. These are all the opposites of the qualities exhibited by this president and his advisers. Trump, in one spectacular week, has already shown himself one of the worst of our presidents, who has no regard for the truth (indeed a contempt for it), whose patriotism is a belligerent nationalism, whose prior public service lay in avoiding both the draft and taxes, who does not know the Constitution, does not read and therefore does not understand our history, and who, at his moment of greatest success, obsesses about approval ratings, how many people listened to him on the Mall, and enemies.

He will do much more damage before he departs the scene, to become a subject of horrified wonder in our grandchildren’s history books. To repair the damage he will have done Americans must give particular care to how they educate their children, not only in love of country but in fair-mindedness; not only in democratic processes but democratic values. Americans, in their own communities, can find common ground with those whom they have been accustomed to think of as political opponents. They can attempt to renew a political culture damaged by their decayed systems of civic education, and by the cynicism of their popular culture.

There is in this week’s events the foretaste of things to come. We have yet to see what happens when Trump tries to use the Internal Revenue Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to destroy his opponents. He thinks he has succeeded in bullying companies, and he has no compunction about bullying individuals, including those with infinitely less power than himself. His advisers are already calling for journalists critical of the administration to be fired: Expect more efforts at personal retribution. He has demonstrated that he intends to govern by executive orders that will replace the laws passed by the people’s representatives.

In the end, however, he will fail. He will fail because however shrewd his tactics are, his strategy is terrible—The New York Times, the CIA, Mexican Americans, and all the others he has attacked are not going away. With every act he makes new enemies for himself and strengthens their commitment; he has his followers, but he gains no new friends. He will fail because he cannot corrupt the courts, and because even the most timid senator sooner or later will say “enough.” He will fail most of all because at the end of the day most Americans, including most of those who voted for him, are decent people who have no desire to live in an American version of Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, or Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

There was nothing unanticipated in this first disturbing week of the Trump administration. It will not get better. Americans should therefore steel themselves, and hold their representatives to account. Those in a position to take a stand should do so, and those who are not should lay the groundwork for a better day. There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him.

You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.

Here is another great article, sent to me by a friend from home. I can not agree more with what she has to say. So from me to all the men and women who fought for me and my rights, thank you. And thank you, Brittany Fuhs, for sharing this with me.

This post is from the blogger Sleep.Eat.Write. You should definitely go check it out!

 

A post is making rounds on social media, in response to the Women’s March on Saturday, January 21, 2017. It starts with “I am not a “disgrace to women” because I don’t support the women’s march. I do not feel I am a “second class citizen” because I am a woman….”

This is my response to that post.

Say Thank You

Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have “better things to do” than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don’t feel like a “second-class citizen.” So you get to feel “equal.”

Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.

Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.

Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.

Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.

Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.

Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.

Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.

Thank Margaret Fuller for your equal education.

Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.

You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.

You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.

You still don’t have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.

You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it’s your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.

You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you’re too skinny or you’re too fat. You’re still told you’re too old or too young. You’re applauded when you “age gracefully.” You’re still told men age “better.” You’re still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what’s in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.

You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You’re still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.

You are still worse off if you are a woman of color, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanized.

Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though “boys will be boys.” Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.

You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systematically oppressed.

Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.

Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.

New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.

Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.

The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.

But don’t worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.

~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

Lyft and Airbnb

In the wake of the horrific bans being passed by this administration, there are some awesome companies doing some amazing things.

Lyft is offering to donate 1 million dollars to the ACLU after news of Trump’s immigration ban became public knowledge.You can read a full article on it here but to summarize; the two co-founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, sent an email to their customers informing them of their decision and condemning Trumps ‘Muslim ban.’

“Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values,” the co-founders wrote.
“We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

 

Airbnb is another company standing up against hate. CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky took to facebook to let the world know they are willing to provide free housing to refugees and those who are not home and denied the ability to board flights. There’s no exact information on this offer yet, but you can read the full article here.

“Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected.
Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone else who needs it in the event they are denied the ability to board a US-bound flight and are not in your city/country of residence. We have 3M homes, so we can definitely find people a place to stay.
For more details, please reach me directly at brian.chesky@airbnb.com.”

 

We need more companies willing to stand up to the Trump administration and show him what he is doing is wrong!

Do your part!

You’re probably tired of hearing this, but it needs to be said. We need to be reminded. We need to do our part.

If you are outraged by the new administration and their choices do something about it! Quit bitching on social media and fighting with your conservative family/friends.

Go to the website 10 Actions 100 Days. You can print WomensMarch postcards as well as put in your zip code and get the names and addresses of your Senators. It takes maybe 10 minutes.

Fuck, invite some friends over, let the vodka flow, and make a party out of it.

You Don’t March For Life

Courtney Hood wrote an incredible article that I had to share with you. Thank you so much, Courtney, for sharing this with the world. I couldn’t agree more, but I could never put it so eloquently. ❤

You can find her blog here.

“To those participating in the March For Life:

First of all, good for you. Raise your voices, express your concerns, gather, make signs, do your thing. I won’t call you names. I respect your right to do this, and I respect your conviction.

Second, be clear with your cause. You don’t march for life. You march for the birth of a fetus. Think about this: at what age does this life stop mattering to you? When it’s in the womb, you cry for it, you fight for it, you empathize with it, you march for it. When it becomes 1 month old, you hope the mother supports it, feeds it, and nurtures it. But you don’t support the mother in this endeavor. You think she should “work hard,” “pull herself up by the bootstraps,” and get by on her $7.25/hr minimum wage job. You vote for those who block legislation to protect its mother from violence, from making the same wage as men, from getting basic healthcare, from getting food stamps and support to care for it.

When it becomes 6 years old, you hope there’s a public school around to teach it. But you vote for those who don’t want to fund public schools. You vote for those who believe our schools are “flushed with cash” yet somehow failing. The wealthier kids that live by it are able to go to different schools, but this fetus is stuck at the public school that is overcrowded, underfunded, and it falls behind in reading and math. You feel bad for it, but you don’t march for it. You mostly blame its single mother for not doing more to be involved in its schooling. “She should do homework with it. She should read to it more. Maybe she should get it a tutor.” But she is working two jobs and barely getting by.

Now it’s 14 years old. It just had its first experience with a boy. It’s not sure if it was safe with this boy and it thinks it needs to go see a doctor. But it is scared, and it is embarrassed, and it does not want to get in trouble with mom. So it looks for a Planned Parenthood in its area, but they’ve all been shut down. But you feel no sympathy for it anymore. It’s now a slut to you. It should have made better choices, been more Christian. It is no longer worthy of your support, and you do not march for it. Because you‘re not marching for life. You’re marching for religion, and righteousness, and oppressing women with your outdated views of how they should behave.

So it gets no prenatal care. It goes on living for the next three months wearing baggy sweatshirts and hoping no one notices. When its mom finally does notice she tells it to get an abortion, because they don’t have the money to support another it, and because it is still a child trying to go to school and have a life. But again, you don’t march for this life. You have voted for making abortion illegal and you feel good, you feel “right with God,” because you saved another fetus.

This time it was given up for adoption. It joins more than 400,000 childrenin the US foster care system. If it is lucky, it will only spend the average three years in foster care. If it is lucky, it will not fall into the 78% of foster

care children who experience some form of abuse. If it is lucky, it will not be one of the 80% of imprisoned people who spent some time in the foster care system. If it is lucky, it will be one of the 50% of foster kids that graduate high school by the age of 18. If it is lucky, it will be one of the 9% of former foster care kids that earn a bachelor’s degree. If it is lucky, it will be adopted before it turns 18 and is thrown out onto the streets to fend for itself. But you don’t march for those lives.

Now it is 18. It jumped from foster home to foster home. It doesn’t have a family. It is depressed, emotionally damaged. It needs help. It could use some healthcare, but obviously can’t afford it. It could use a job, but has no clothes and nowhere to stay. You avoid it on the streets, taking the long route to your car hoping it doesn’t stop you to ask for some change. You wish it would go somewhere else, anywhere but your neighborhood. It gets too hungry. It turns to sex work, because it’s the only option it has. It starts using drugs to numb the pain of this sex work. But you don’t march for this life. This life is a burden on society to you. This life is un-Christian, unworthy of your tax dollars. This life should get its act together, overcome all odds and become a self-made it just like your granddaddy. And when this life has a new it inside of it, again you will march.”

First Order of Business

As his first order of business, the new president signed an executive order to repeal the ACA. Here’s what this means… even if you are safely covered behind employer-provided insurance, the protections set forth in the ACA (Affordable Care Act), apply to you too. And if those protections are repealed along with the rest (or any part) of the program, you will also be affected.
That means you may be trapped in a job, because your pre-existing condition may mean you will not qualify for new insurance offered by another employer, and the cost of private insurance would be prohibitive. If your employer shuts down, lays you off, or even changes insurers, well, you are out of luck. The Senate GOP voted this week that they would not require an eventual ACA replacement to protect against discrimination for pre-existing conditions, which was the standard before the ACA.
It means that you (a young adult under the age of 26) or your adult children (over 18) may find yourselves without the protection of insurance, as the Senate GOP voted last night that an eventual ACA replacement will not be required to allow young people to remain on their parents’ insurance up to the age of 26.
It means that if you have a high-risk pregnancy or life-threatening illness such as cancer, you may not be able to afford all the care you need, because you may hit lifetime or annual caps. If you have an infant born with any kind of severe medical condition, or premature, they may hit their lifetime insurance cap before they are old enough to walk. The Senate GOP voted last night that an eventual ACA replacement program would not be required to prohibit lifetime insurance caps.
It means that if you are a struggling parent who is uninsured or under-insured, you will no longer be able to count on at least your kids getting the routine medical and dental care they need under the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). The Senate GOP voted that CHIP is not required to be protected by an eventual ACA replacement.
These provisions of the ACA affect everyone in this country, not just those without insurance through their employers.
If you are not okay with these changes, call your representatives and let them know what’s important to you. Nothing has been set in stone yet, but our legislators have shown us a map of what they plan to do if constituents don’t make their voices heard loud and clear.
Please share if you feel this information needs to be passed on.