Trump’s Russia Problem

President Trump has been touring the country holding more of his campaign-style rallies, essential fuel for his all too delicate ego. I have zero time to sit down and watch him spout half truths at the mouth, what with a full time job and a toddler to nurture. But there’s this one issue – Trump’s Russia problem – that I just can’t let him get away with lying about.

Trump keeps saying that the whole Russia issue is just more of Democrats’ attempts steal the election – another of Trump’s false narratives. Trump and his son continue to hold fast to their claim that Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. only met with Putin and other agents of Russia to discuss Russian adoption.

Democrats, republicans and independents are all concerned about Russian attempts to interfere with the democratic process in the United Started and around the world. Their concern is justified. Russia does not have fair elections. Politicians, business men and others who oppose Vladimir Putin’s leadership have ended up in jail or worse. And Putin forced a change to the Russian constitution to allow himself to be re-elected again and again, ad infinitum. So no election in Russia is fair. I’d argue they have never had a fair, open election like we see in the West. And Putin is actively trying to expand his power over neighboring countries.

Concern about Russian interference in elections is a very serious issue. Because of his corrupt political dealing, Putin is the richest man in the world. He and his oligarch cronies steal money from the Russian people and launder it into Western banks to hide their corruption. That’s where Russian adoption comes in play.

Russian adoption is just a ghost term for Russian sanctions. In retaliation for the Magnitsky Act sanctions passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2012, Russia abruptly ceased all adoptions to applicants from the United States. The sanctions passed included a provision that would allow the government to freeze the assets of foreign agents suspected of serious crimes, including Putin himself. This scares Putin because he is a murderer who hides most of his money in the West. Additionally, there is now a global movement to approve the same sanction measures internationally, which would mean disaster for Putin, his wealth and his power. Putin has been raging against this reform ever since it was passed.

So collusion with Russia during the Trump election campaign is a very serious matter. A president beholden to Putin makes America weak and Putin strong. Yes, I said Putin, not Russia. If the allegations are true, Trump will have helped a dictator increase his power.

How could Putin have helped Trump get elected? (Not that he needed it.) Help Trump’s campaign by hacking the Democratic National Committee and releasing damaging emails. Help the Trump campaign by paying agents to create false news of terrible acts by Hilary Clinton. There could be many other aids Putin’s network conveyed.

And in exchange for what? You know the rules of the game: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. I’ll help tip the balance in your favour if you will discuss lifting the sanctions that have my assets frozen.

Erm….. Russian adoption, that is…

Claim the Victory, Not the Blame

Today, Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News. Women everywhere are rejoicing. Finally, after decades of excuses and backdoor rug sweeping, this sexist degenerate has been held accountable for his actions.

But we should be careful not to play into the narrative that he and his friend Trump are oh, so sure to drum out. He’ll of course deny the allegations. He’ll say he is a victim of the “fake” mainstream media. He’ll say “feminazi” groups launched a witch hunt against him. And memes that place the credit for his demise on women surely play into his hands.

Women are not responsible for taking good old Billy down. Bill O’Reilly himself is responsible for that.

Yes, it is we women who ultimately fanned the fire under the feet of Fox News leadership to hold sexists accountable for the harassment they unleashed on female colleagues. It is we women, with our buying power and market influence, who put pressure on advertisers to pull their sponsorship of O’Reilly’s show. It was a woman who decided she’d had enough, that she wasn’t going to be pushed around and bullied, and decided to go public with her story.

But it is Bill O’Reilly who is the mastermind behind his downfall – his actions determining the direction his story would take. Bill O’Reilly is the composer of his very own symphony of defeat – every pitiful stanza being a testament to his disrespect for his fellow colleagues, his hatred of women, and his disregard for the truth. It is Bill O’Reilly who took Bill O’Reilly down. And he has no one to blame for his failure but himself.

Donald Trump is an Old, White, Racist

I cannot stay quiet anymore.

Donald Trump can claim to the hills how he is not a racist. But I know he is. His attempts to garner favor from Black voters have not fallen on deaf ears. I have been listening, and I do not like what I am hearing.

Those are my aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, mother and father he is talking about when he says Black communities are in the worst shape they’ve ever been in, “ever, ever, ever.” Just. No.

And his solution? Drum roll…………..more STOP AND FRISK!

Stop and frisk (Terry stops) in every Black community in America. Donald Trump thinks emphasizing Terry stops in the Black community will reduce violence. The same stop and frisk that, contrary to Trump’s claims on how well it worked, did not yield any attributable reduction in violent deaths in New York City. The same stop and frisk that was declared an unconstitutional, illegal infringement on the rights of the minorities targeted under the policy.

No matter! Donald trump knows better than the generals! The Donald knows better than the NYPD and the U.S. federal court of appeals and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Maybe that’ll be Trump’s next real estate investment – a for-profit prison to hold all the big, “bad dudes” he locks up thanks to stop and frisk.

Because it has become obvious Donald Trump knows better than Black people what is good for Black people – the view inside a jail cell.

Interjection Dissection

I hate being interrupted.

I’m not talking about someone entering the room when you’re speaking or need privacy, or the intrinsic overlap of friendly banter. I’m talking the “I-start-to-talk” about what I’m doing and the “listener” abruptly interjects with his (supposed) countering opinion without even knowing what I was going to say. I’m talking about the rude shutdown.

Maybe people don’t realize they’re doing it. Maybe he didn’t hear me start talking. Maybe his hearing is bad. Maybe he is blind and deaf and didn’t see my mouth moving either.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I get it. I’m a young (looking) engineer. I’m pretty. I wear skirts and jewelry to work. I’m a Black woman. (WOOT!) But when did any of these attributes point to the (imaginary) place in our unwritten book of professional etiquette that says it is acceptable to disrespect me?

“Interrupting people is rude, m’kay?”

Shut up. Stop talking. Listen when someone is talking to you. You may be pleasantly surprised what comes out of the other person’s mouth.

PA Legislature Introduces Abortion Ban

A bill  was introduced today in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would effectively ban second trimester abortions.  House Bill 1948, introduced by Representative Kathy Rapp and Rep. Bryan Barbin, Rep. Bryan Cutler was introduced late to the House Health Committee Friday and this morning was fast track to the full assembly without a public hearing.

The cosponsors of HB1948 claim the bill is intended to prevent fetal pain and reduce complications of an abortion. But in this Trojan horse bill hides an agenda to ban ALL second trimester abortions.

HB1948 contains language that would rename the most common and safest 2nd trimester abortion procedure (dilation and evacuation, or D&E) as a “dismemberment” abortion and then would ban it’s implementation. Doing this would effectively ban all 2nd trimester abortions in Pennsylvania as they are currently performed.  This part of HB1948 would limit doctors’ choices concerning first trimester procedures as well, since a D&E is not uncommon choice in the first trimester. Banning the safest available type of abortion procedure would NOT protect women from complications of abortion. On the contrary, HB1948 would increase the chance of complications after ending a pregnancy.
In addition, although the bill’s sponsors claim a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks there is inadequate scientific evidence to conclude fetal brain development is sufficient to feel pain at that stage of development. The authors may cite Dr.Kanwaljeet Anand to support their claims. However, Dr. Anand’s findings have not been corroborated by any independent research; and remain an outlier in this area of study. In fact, a preponderance of the scientific evidence leads one to exactly the opposite conclusion. The majority of the scientific research on the subject of fetal brain development has found the neural pathways required to experience pain are not formed until at least 24 weeks gestation and more likely later.
Whether a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks should be a moot point in the debate over second trimester abortion. For most women seeking an abortion after 20 weeks – that’s only 1.4 percent of all abortions performed – the abortion is needed because something has gone very wrong with the pregnancy (i.e. – it is not an elective abortion).
It is clear the cosponsors’ characterization of HB1948’s purpose is insincere at best. And rather than giving the people of Pennsylvania a thoughtful review of HB1948 and it’s very real and detrimental consequences, the Health Committee passed it to the general assembly floor for a vote without even 24-hours of consideration. This is just another attempt to slowly chip away at the right to terminate a pregnancy until that right completely disappears.
It’s time to call your state legislator and make your voice heard on House bill 1948. To contact your PA House Representative click here.

**Edited to note the D&E ban would affect first trimester procedures as well.

Punish Women for Having an Abortion? GOP says YES!

Donald Trump has spent the better part of the last week playing mopping boy to all his gaffes. But there is one thing Donald said this week that – bob and weave as he may – he will not be able to dodge. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews this week, Donald Trump admitted he supports punishing women who have an abortion.

The Donald has spent the better part of the week trying to back away from his words. He’s claimed the interview was edited. He’s claimed he “misspoke.” And he keeps trying to offer an alternative to his genuine belief that women should be punished for seeking reproductive care by offering that the doctors who provide that care should be punished in lieu of the woman who decided to obtain it – as if we women are unthinking, naive victims of these money grubbing health care providers.

But I’m not buying it, and neither should you.

The GOP platform is clear about their stance on abortion. The GOP “support a human life amendment to the Constitution.” No matter then rest of their pretty words on the sanctity of life and supporting pregnant women, ratification of the “personhood” amendment the GOP so pointedly seeks means women will go to jail.

I am not just talking through my teeth about this. The evidence is clear. It has been demonstrated time after time that women ARE punished when abortion is made illegal. Take one look at the countries where abortion is illegal and you cannot deny the evidence. In countries where abortion is illegal, women go to jail for having abortions, women go to jail for having miscarriages, and women die due to unsafe abortion.

Even in the United States women have been prosecuted for obtaining abortion inducing drugs or miscarrying after attempting to self-abort.

So when Ted Cruz says he does not agree with Donald Trump’s position – that women be punished for abortion –  he is LYING to you. Ted Cruz supports a personhood amendment. He KNOWS that women will go to jail if a personhood amendment is passed. Ted Cruz supports punishing women. John Kasich supports punishing women. Mitch McConnell supports punishing women. The whole damn GOP supports punishing women.

Women and Children Deserve Better

 

It’s a common slogan in “prolife” circles: “Women deserve better than abortion.” I see these signs carried by protesters outside my local clinic on a regular basis, as if some ridiculous protest sign is going to changed a woman’s mind about something so serious.

But you know what? They are right on one point.

Women DO deserve better.

Women who live in the richest country in the world should not have to choose abortion because of economic hardship. The most expensive health care on the planet, pregnancy discrimination, lack of parental leave, no sick leave, no paid leave, and astronomical child care costs can create a situation where a woman who might otherwise choose to carry on a pregnancy, eventually give birth and possibly raise a child chooses instead to end it. It is a contingency that affects women and families across all demographics. Eliminating this situation is a commendable goal.

But there are so many points on which these anti-choice protesters are wrong, wrong, WRONG! Organizations like Feminists For Life elevate this mantra, characterizing abortion as a “humiliating, invasive procedure” that “sacrifices” a child. They characterize abortion as a violent, tragic scourge pushed upon victimized, vulnerable women. And they cite flawed research to persuade the public that abortion is dangerous, causes psychiatric distress and cancer. On all these additional points they could not be more wrong.

Abortion is not humiliating. Abortion is not tragic. Abortion is not violent. Abortion is not always a symptom of an underlying problem. And women who choose abortion are not “victims.”

On the contrary, for the woman who feels trapped in an abusive or unsatisfying relationship, abortion is a tale of liberation. For the woman with pregnancy complications, abortion is tale of healing. For the woman working hard to finish college, abortion is a tale of opportunity. For the woman who just does not want children, abortion is a tale of relief.

And, since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal and safe, the dangers associated with illegal, unsafe abortion have all but disappeared. The rates of serious complications and death from pregnancy far exceed those of abortion. Most women who have abortions go on to have healthy pregnancies when they are ready to do so. And research has shown that the incidence of mental health issues in women after abortion is no greater than that experience by women after other stressful life events.

Rather than saving the lives of the unborn, I am most motivated to protect and improve the quality of life for the living. Having compassion for the living means advancing clean energy, maximizing available resources and changing public policy to increase pregnancy safety and encourage birth. Having compassion for the living also means protecting a woman’s access to safe, legal abortion without guilt and without apology.

So, yes, women and their children do deserve better – much better – than the guilt and shame leveled at them by the “prolife” movement. Women deserve good quality of life. Women deserve choices. Women deserve respect.