Nel's New Day

December 25, 2018

DDT’s Version of ‘Merry Christmas’

Day Four of Government Shutdown: Retroactive pay doesn’t mean anything for small businesses when people stop spending for the holidays out of fear that paychecks will not be coming for a long time. No more perks like manicures or more presents. After Christmas, forget sales for clothes and other things that people load up on at the sales. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) says he won’t stop the shutdown until he gets his money. Sounds like blackmail on Christmas Day.

DDT wants people to say “Merry Christmas,” but he debunked Santa Claus to a seven-year-old girl when she called to check on Santa’s progress on NORAD. When DDT answered the phone, he asked While answering telephone calls from children tracking Santa’s progress on NORAD, DDT asked Collman Lloyd of Lexington (SC) if she is “still a believer in Santa Claus.” After she said yes, DDT said, “Because at 7 that’s marginal, right?” Fortunately, Collman doesn’t know the meaning of “marginal,” and she still believes in Santa because the milk and cookies left for him overnight disappeared. DDT, who threw rocks at other toddlers in play pens before he was three years old, just shot down Santa Claus for a lot of people.

The day before DDT tried to burst Collman’s bubble, he moaned on his Twitter account:

 “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.” [DDT’s version of “all alone.]

Earlier this year, DDT turned down $25 billion in border security, but he claims that “the wall is different” and that it “will be built with shutdown money plus funds already in hand.” He’s missed the fact that the shutdown costs money; it doesn’t increase funding. And that’s just part of the anger-filled, hateful tweets that he sent from the White House in the days before Christmas when he wanted to be cheered on with Mar-a-Lago members.

In several tweets, DDT scapegoated Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his own mistakes that led to the massive drop in stock markets during December. After a disastrous week, the Dow Jones plunged another 653 points in a half-day session yesterday. Economists have been muttering about an upcoming recession for months, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, formerly king of foreclosures who didn’t let an elderly widow escape when she owed $.27, tried to block the fall. On Sunday, Mnuchin tweeted that the public has plenty of money to borrow because he talked with CEOs of six large banks. The CEOs were confused by his tweet, and the stock market had its worst Christmas Eve in history. The other major stock exchanges dropped in equally disastrous percentages, and crude oil fell over six percent to below $43 a barrel.

DDT added to the roiling market by threatening to fire Powell, his own appointment, and asking if he has the right to carry through with his threats. Mnuchin told DDT Saturday night that Mnuchin didn’t have the right to fire Powell although the law permits the president to fire a Fed board member “for cause.” Mick Mulvaney, Budget Director/acting chief of staff, said Saturday that DDT wasn’t going to fire Powell, whose term as chair ends in 2022 and board member in 2028. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said that DDT’s war on the Fed has caused some of the problems:

“Investors are increasingly spooked by the president’s wrong-headed attacks on the Fed and the Treasury Secretary’s ham-handed efforts to convince everyone Trump doesn’t mean it and that everything is fine.”

Although DDT claimed today that he was happy with Mnuchin, insiders are saying that he is upset with him. Mnuchin may follow former Defense Secretary James Mattis out of the Cabinet.

Christmas 2018 is the date that DDT cut off aid for abused women. Funding for the Violence against Women Act (VAWA) stopped when DDT’s shutdown began. Women lose their resources to be safe just before the holidays, a particularly dangerous time for them.

DDT has cut off paychecks for about 800,000 federal workers as well as planning to cut food stamps from another 800,000 people. Upset because the farm bill did not have provisions to starve people, DDT has announced his own orders last week to circumvent a law passed by Congress. DDT follows the conservative argument that people who get benefits aren’t working because they are lazy. DDT’s proposed rule removes the 20-year-old states’ rights to issues waivers if unemployment is 20 percent over the national average or there are significantly fewer jobs available than people who need work. DDT’s order to remove waivers in areas of unemployment under 7 percent will be made worse with bureaucracy such as Arkansas’s Medicaid overhaul where no waivers can be issued even in places with proof of insufficient jobs. Less than ten percent of food stamp recipients qualify as “able-bodied adults without dependents,” and over half of them work or volunteer enough time for the 20-hour work rules.

The Fox network final salvo in its “war against Christmas” blended with its war on gender identity and came from Tucker Carlson’s diatribe against gingerbread people with his guest Tammy Bruce. She claimed that gingerbread men are “obviously… they’re men.” She did indicate that she couldn’t tell the gender, “because they’re also not wearing clothes. So, it’s hard to say what they are and what they’re doing and not doing.” She probably refers to the fact that gingerbread cookies lack external genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics. Carlson called on people to not participate in the “spiritual neutering” of cookies. Part of the outrage came from false news reporting that the Scottish Parliament had banned the use of the term “men” when referring to gingerbread cookies. With 30 percent of women in the Scottish Parliament building stating they had been sexually harassed, the bakery renamed their cookies in solidarity.

A true war on Christmas this year is the war by DDT and the GOP against immigrants both documented and undocumented, especially those seeking asylum. A Guatemalan child died in DHS custody early this morning, the second one in less than three weeks. The cause hasn’t been announced, but children are put in extremely cold rooms when first in custody, supposedly to kill germs, and experience limited medical screening only for scabies, lice, and chickenpox. Children sleep side-by-side on mats on the floor with only a Mylar blanket. All their belongings are removed. The facilities were built in the 1980s and 1990s to temporarily house migrant adults. The 8-year-old boy’s death went unnoted in DDT’s furious tweets. Felipe González Morales, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, has called for an investigation of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin after her death in custody on December 7, 2018 although the death was kept secret from Congress for almost a week.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) told DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during her testimony to a House hearing that DDT’s immigration policies are unchristian and that they would have blocked Jesus Christ and his family from their flight to Egypt:

“During Christmas, a time in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ—a Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph—thank God there wasn’t a wall that stopped him from seeking refuge in Egypt.”

DDT skipped a presidential tradition on Christmas by avoiding any direct contact with military members on Christmas Day, instead addressing some service members on safe bases. He told them that drugs are flowing across the southern border, the Federal Reserve is endangering the U.S. economy, and Democrats are planning to harass him with oversight hearings. He said, “It’s a disgrace …, but other than that, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas.” Merry Christmas to you too, DDT!

On this Christmas Day, 705 days since DDT’s inauguration, I am grateful for a safe home with food and warmth. I don’t live in a war-torn area, I’m not a refugee from violence, I no longer teach where someone could come in to kill me and my students, I have health insurance—I could keep going on and on with the privileges that many of us have, even more privileges after DDT has declared war on every minority. The best gift for my Christmas Day—for my year—is that the nation may have a chance to save a small piece of its democracy. After Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had two malignant nodules removed from her lung last week, she’s back at work in her room at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Doctors say that that there is “no evidence of remaining disease.”

September 13, 2014

NFL, U.S. Have Violence against Women Problem

Rush Limbaugh: forcing the NFL to punish players for domestic violence will “chickify” the game:

“We’re feminizing this game, and it’s a man’s game. If we keep feminizing this game, we’re going to ruin it.”

Limbaugh also said that NFL players are Democats—probably because they’re black—and no Republicans are accused of beating up on their wives.

Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends: beaten unconscious by then fiancé and now husband, Baltimore Raven Ray Rice, Janay Rice should “take the stairs.” Co-host Anna Kooiman giggled. Host Steve Doocy: “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

Fox network contributor Tamara Holder: “The anti-testicular police are coming out and just taking this guy’s b*lls and ripping them off and not paying attention to the fact that there is a family here.”

David Anthony Wiggins, a Republican candidate for Baltimore County sheriff: “Women want equality. [Janay Rice] got some of it.”

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association spokesman:  regarding his perception of Janay Rice’s lack of education, “when biblical standards of morality are ignored, people get hurt.”

People have expressed outrage at Janay Rice or dismissal of the abuse’s seriousness because married Ray Rice; others blamed her because she must have done something to provoke Rice.

Sixteen female senators expressed outrage in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the dismissal of all players who commit domestic violence. The only women senators failing to sign the letter are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Deb Fisher (R-NE). Rice had originally been suspended for only two games; his indefinite suspension came only after the graphic video footage was leaked to the public.

Before the video was leaked, Ray Rice avoided any jail time because Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain approved his entering New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention program as a first-time offender. The same prosecutor is trying to put Shaneen Allen, a 27-year-old mother of two, into jail for three to ten years. Also a first-time offender, she didn’t know that her Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit didn’t allow her to carry a gun in New Jersey. Pulled over for a minor traffic offense, Allen informed the officer she had a gun, explaining that she had been robbed twice and was afraid for her children, and showed her permit. She was arrested and refused the same pre-trial program where Rice is before losing her job.

With evidence that they had seen the video last April, NFL has asked for an independent investigation into the situation. A law enforcement official, who insisted on anonymity, reported an NFL official left him a voice mail on April 9 thanking him for the video and adding, “You’re right. It’s terrible.” Leading the investigation is former FBI director Robert Mueller who works for a law firm that has represented the NFL; the investigation is being overseen by two NFL owners. Only the Rice controversy is the focus of the investigation.

Terry O’Neill, president of NOW, said, “The NFL does not just have a Ray Rice problem; they have a violence against women problem.”  Two other players still on the field are Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, convicted of DV, and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald, accused of domestic violence. A description of the alleged violence is here. According to Slate research, the 49ers have four players who have been either charged with or arrested for domestic violence, sexual assault, or assaults against women. The Arizona Cardinals have three, with one of them on the practice squad instead of the 53-man roster and another suspended for substance abuse. The Seahawks have two, as do the Chicago Bears. The Ravens had two until the video of Rice showed up. Nine other teams have at least one player. These don’t include players like Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs who was accused of domestic abuse but not charged. There was no video.

The NFL also has a violence against children problem. Texas has indicted Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child after he “whooped” his four-year-old son. Peterson, 29, lost a son a year ago from head injuries after the boyfriend of the boy’s mother assaulted the two-year-old. After the boy pushed a sibling off a video game motorbike. Peterson stripped a tree branch of leaves and left the child with cuts and bruises to his back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. At a previously-scheduled appointment, a doctor concluded the wounds are consistent with child abuse. The boy also said that his father often used “a lot of belts in daddy’s closet” and would stuff leaves in his mouth while striking him with his pants down. Although Peterson was deactivated from the game tomorrow, he has not yet been suspended from the NFL. That means he still gets paid.

Domestic violence discussion is a long-buried issue, but Nation reported on an investigation into South Carolina’s crisis. Three times as many women have been killed by current or former lovers there than the number of South Carolina soldiers who lost their lives in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The state is among the top ten states in the rate of women killed by men for over 15 years and topped the list three different times, including last year with a murder rate for women more than double the national rate.

Factors that leading to this large number of killings in South Carolina:

Legislators don’t pass laws to protect women. The series reported that “a man can earn five years in prison for abusing his dog but a maximum of just 30 days in jail for beating his wife or girlfriend on a first offense.”

Prosecutors face challenges in getting cases to stick. These range “from overcrowded court dockets and under-trained police to victims too scared to testify against the men who beat them.”

Trusted pastors advise that staying and working things out is God’s will. “In churches that did acknowledge abuse… pastors often compounded the problem by counseling abusers and victims together—and then sending them home with the sting of their shared grievances still fresh. Back behind closed doors, the abuser would take out his frustrations on his partner all over again.”

Todd-Kincannon-twitter-photoTodd Kincannon, former director of South Carolina’s GOP, demonstrates the state’s attitude toward domestic violence. After the release of the Rice video, he tweeted, “I hope the dumb bitch who initiated physical violence with her NFL player fiancé  learned a good lesson when he justifiably beat her.”

Domestic violence problems are not unique in South Carolina, and opposition to fighting domestic violence is not unique with the NFL in sports. More than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. Since February 15, 2014 when Ray Rice hit Janay in the elevator, over 600 women have died from domestic violence. This is a cultural problem in our society.

Twenty years ago today, President Clinton signed the Violence against Women Act.  It was the first federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges. The law has been renewed three times since 1994, the most recently last year when Republicans bitterly fought its expansion to Native American, immigrant, and LGBT communities. A key part of the landmark law redefined wife beating as a crime rather than a joke. A man witnessing Rice’s brutality laughed and told his friends that Rice “should have taken her to their room first.” That’s today’s society.

Major brand sponsors are watching the NFL investigation into domestic violence. Nike and Electronic Arts have already dropped their connections to Ray Rice. Perhaps money can succeed when a sense of right and wrong doesn’t.

March 10, 2013

Women Can Change the World

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 6:05 PM
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Those of you who read my blog occasionally may have noticed that there have been no recent additions. On Wednesday, February 27, my almost-80-going-on-under-60 partner had a hip replacement in a hospital that is a two-hour drive from our home. Because she had already had bilateral knee replacement and back surgery with no problems except excruciating pain, we anticipated the same ease back into daily life. Boy, were we surprised!

The good news is that the hip is doing fine. The other part of it is that a side effect of the surgery was severe respiratory distress and low oxygen level in her blood, causing her to be moved from the Surgical Wing of the hospital to something called Intermediate Care Unit (ICU). Science is not my strong suit, but I’ve learned that the blood needs an optimum level of hemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body.

After four days in the hospital—including the day of her surgery—my partner was released, and we drove home, happy about getting on with the healing process. No such luck. After the breathing grew worse, we trooped to the Emergency Room in our small-town hospital and found her hemoglobin was about half the bottom of optimum level; she got a blood transfusion the next day. Now lungs are fine, hemoglobin count is up, and she’s on the mend.

I’m writing about her problems because March 8, last Friday, was International Women’s Day. During the past ten days, we have benefited from the care of a myriad of wonderful women—Peggi, the fabulous nurse in the Surgical Unit who knew there was something was wrong with her when others didn’t worry; Julie and Harvest, the nurses in ICU who were always there, delivering medications almost before we asked for them; Susan, Marcie, and the other aides and people whose job descriptions I don’t even know who were just fantastic. (I do need to mention Gabe, the night nurse, who was wonderfully sensitive to our needs and absolutely loves his new three-week-old daughter.)

Once we got home, more women gave us more support: Lee, who sent cards and brought food and kept my partner company; Jess, who made the scrumptious healing Jewish chicken soup; her partner, Jean, who willingly comes over to stay with my partner whenever she was called; our doctor friend Joan, who gave invaluable advice in advocating for my partner and told me what to find out to help my partner; Beth, who fixes fabulous soup and cornbread; Donna, who started out as a dog/cat/house sitter and then became a friend, ordering flowers from Hawaii; Jan, who left a card, a chocolate cake, and flowers for us; Carol, who sent what must be the funniest get-well card I’ve ever seen and added invaluable medical information to what Joan provided us.

Then there were Kathy, who saw her through the transfusion; Deb, who gently took her blood; Josephina, who got information to me quickly, and PT Karen, who has seen us through other physical therapy and will make sure that my partner will soon be walking the beach with me. Other women near and far called us and sent emails of support—Mary, Nancy, Ann, Taylor, Lynn, Kay, Alice, Jane, etc. (It’s dangerous to put in these names because I may forget some of the most important ones! If so, know that I appreciate all of you! And I can’t skip Robert, who went above and beyond to help us.)

International Women’s Day is about the empowerment of women, vital to changing the world, and these women are some of those who have made the world a better place. They are all resilient and talented—and unfailingly willing to help those around them.

Annie-Rose Strasser and Tara Culp-Ressler listed ways in which increased support for women could make the world much better: 

An increase in women’s participation in the workforce would vastly improve the global economy: According to one study, the U.S. overall GDP would rise by 5 percent with this increase. In Japan, it would go up by 9 percent. Education is vital to this increase: the Council on Foreign Relations estimates that each country’s GDP grows by 3 percent for every additional 10 percent of girls going to school.

Both companies and women would benefit with women in leadership positions: Although 36 percent of U.S. companies currently don’t have a single woman on their boards of directors, those with women on their boards outperformed those with all-male boards by 26 percent.

More politically-involvement women would mean better policies for the poor: When women aren’t outnumbered by men, they speak up more for the needs of the vulnerable and advocate for the social safety net. In one experiment that asked groups to set the threshold for public assistance, the groups with fewer women decided on a minimum income of about $21,600 per year for a family of four–close to the United States’ current federal poverty level, but in the groups in which women made up 60 to 80 percent, they advocated for as much as $31,000. In female-dominated groups, women spoke up as much as men, encountered less hostility from their peers, and ultimately influenced their male counterparts to make more generous economic policy choices.

Families would thrive with higher-paid women: The average pay disparity in the United States is 77 cents for women on every dollar that men receive. A woman could feed a family of four for 37 years with the earnings she loses thanks to pay disparity. Economists believe that closing the gender pay gap would be the equivalent of “huge” economic stimulus, and that, in the United States alone, it could grow the economy by three or four percentage points.

If more women held political office, they’d advance more pro-women policies: Around the world, including the United States, women compose about 20 percent of lawmakers, meaning that they cannot represent women’s interests and influence male colleagues. Studies show that without enforcing quotas, voters elect, on average, only 12 percent women.

If women had more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) training, they could participate in the half-trillion-dollar global technology market:  Although the number of women is improving in legal and medical fields, a 2009 study of 121 countries found that women held only 29 percent of STEM researcher jobs. In the U.S., women are so far behind in STEM that the Obama administration has made it one of their priorities to encourage women to pursue science and technology careers.

Government corruption would shrink with more women holding political power: A growing body of research has correlated a greater number of female elected officials with less corruption of power though female leaders breaking up the “old boy’s club.”

One way in which women progressed last week was the renewal of the 19-year-old Violence against Women Act by the House after the Senate passed it 11 months ago. The vote on this, however, shows the GOP opposition to supporting women. During the GOP majority of the House in 2005, VAWA was passed with two Republicans voting “nay.”

In this year’s vote, 138 Republicans voted against VAWA, over half the 235 GOP House members, showing the anti-woman position that the GOP now takes. Male GOP senators followed the same pattern with 27 Republican males voting against VAWA, again over half the 45 GOP members of the Senate.

Despite their protestations, Republicans have banded together to oppose any rights and protections for women. It’s time for women to stop them: women can make the world better! We should make every day International Women’s Day.

[I may not be back for another few days, but with so much news these days, I’ll be blogging as soon as I can!]

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