Harvey is just getting started: how you can help

Harvey slowly, ever so slowly, slammed into the Texas coast and seems to like the Lone Star state so much it doesn’t want to leave. Unfortunately, he has been a very unwelcome guest.  Far past annoying, Harvey is dangerous. It has already poured as much as fifty inches of rain into some places of South/ Southeast Texas. Houston is pretty much all water front property at the moment and thus far, there have been a known three casualties. We are very thankful many people have heeded the warnings, made preparations and, when possible, evacuated or moved to higher ground. Even with these precautions, Houston was not evacuated and the result of rising waters has meant over a thousand rescues thus far and a swamped 911 system.

The devastation is immeasurable at this time, mostly because it isn’t done. Like an old roommate who says he needs a place to crash for a couple of days, he is there to stay for the better part of a week. Tornadoes are spawning around him while the rain keeps pouring down. We will not really know until next weekend where this will end and what it will truly cost.

Our thoughts are definitely with those suffering and afraid or who have lost so much. But they need more than our thoughts. Our nation may be deep in a political divide, but today, and tomorrow, and the next day and for months to come (even years) this is a point of unity. This is where we show what is so great about our nation and who we really are when it all counts. Today is when we show the world who we choose to be. We do not leave our brother and sister citizens bereft in disaster. We reach out our hands and offer help in whatever way we can.

Whether it is a monetary contribution, even a very small one, or for those who live nearby, assistance with clean-up and rebuilding by volunteering your time and personal labor, or a donation of supplies, household essentials, clothes, or food, most everyone can reach out in some way.

It is not our arsenal of weapons but our compassion which makes America great. Empathy is how we rise together better than before. Below, please find links to many resources for assisting in the emergency aid and rebuilding in the aftermath of Harvey.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

If residents have a high-water, safe boat or vehicle, please coordinate with the : 713 881 3100 Call to help with rescues.

American Red Cross

The humanitarian organization is opening shelters, sending supplies and putting volunteers in place around Texas. You can donate money online or text 90999 to chip in $10. If you want to volunteer, read this.

Americares

The non-profit is accepting donations on its website.

Austin Pets Alive!

The organization says it has transported over 235 animals to its shelter since Saturday morning. How can you lend a hand? Make a donation, foster or adopt a pet, or volunteer. Find out more here.

Support our disaster relief efforts for  & related floods. Text CCUSADISASTER to 71777 to donate.

The hospital cares for kids in the Corpus Christi area. Learn about Driscoll’s services here. You can make a donation here.

Feeding Texas

The state network of food banks is accepting donations.

Global Giving

The crowdfunding site is trying to reach a $2 million relief fund goal. You can contribute here.

Salvation Army

We’re on the frontlines of relief. Your support can help keep us there. Donate at 1-800-SAL-ARMY or http://helpsalvationarmy.org 

Save the Children

The organization’s emergency responders are on the ground and ready to help. You can donate to its relief fund here.

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center

Blood donors are urgently needed as the state deals with severe injuries and strained resources. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center website appeared to be down Sunday afternoon — but you can find a blood drive at this page.

Image:
Children walk near downed power lines and fallen trees left in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Victoria, Texas. Charlie Riedel / AP

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief

The group has sent lots of supplies — rolled roofing, mold removal tools — and deployed volunteers. You can learn more and donate here.

Texas Diaper Bank

The organization is sending out relief kits for babies, young kids, the elderly and disabled. You can donate here.

http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/

Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group

If you are looking for a way to assist the Coastal Bend region during our long term recovery process from Hurricane Harvey. Please consider the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG).

About us:
The Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CDRG) is a state recognized long-term recovery non-profit group created to address the unmet needs of Coastal Bend area residents affected by disaster. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, areas of the Coastal Bend will no doubt be devastated and long-term recover needs of the under-served population will emerge. Please visit the website to donate. volunteers will be called as needed.www.CoastalBendCan.org/CBDRG

http://www.homelesshouston.org/

http://www.portlight.org/

https://www.hands.org/texas-hurricane-response/

North American Mission Board Disaster Relief:

  • Online donation: Click here
  • Phone: 800-634-2462 (Continental U.S. & Canada)

*Note: I am sure these are far from all the available ways to assist our fellow citizens in need. Please also look for any community support projects which may be coordinating with rescue workers and volunteers on the ground in the affected areas.

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times 

Righting history; not rewriting it.

I have seen so much animosity over the movement of Confederate statues honoring Southern generals, leaders and other war “heroes”. For the most part, these statues are being moved to more appropriate locations, museums, because of their historical significance. There is historical significance in both the person they portray and the erection of the statues, themselves, and the harm they have done to a divided nation. No, not just now. The United States has remained firmly divided since the Civil War. Sure, It has co-exited because the South lost, but the Confederacy lived on by passing those tensions down through their descendents.

We have heard all manner of illogical reasoning. Some say we are trying to rewrite history. Some say these men were noble and fighting for states’ rights and not slavery. Some claim we are trying to erase history. Some even claim the slippery slope defense, suggesting that monuments to National Heroes and the Founding Fathers will be next because they may have done something in their lives which offends someone. No, this is not about people being easily offended (unless it is the people complaining about moving these honorific monuments to museums). This is literally about what these statues represent and their impact on our society. Yes, the statues, themselves, have had an impact, a quite negative one.

Recently I responded to a post on my feed and I think it adequately addresses this.

Marquel Lavendar Truong I see some comments regarding things like Mt Rushmore and the like being torn down.  This is not actually about people who owned slaves. You can recognize that was the culture of their time, right or wrong. This is about when we, as a nation, grew a conscience and realized slavery was an abomination which just should not and could not continue. History is replete with slavery. These confederate statues represent a willful defiance to become a better nation, where all people are protected by the constitution, where all people are people and deserve human rights. The confederate states made a choice that being slave owners was more important than freedom for all, and more important than their nation. Their greed was too absolute. So no, we aren’t taking down the monuments to our founding fathers. Yes, there were atrocities. Yes there were a great many horrible and bad things and they should all be taught openly and correctly. But the confederacy was a blight. They represented slavery, fought for it and lost. They were on he wrong side and they were defeated and raising monuments to glorify them has caused immeasurable damage to our society and prevented our country from moving forward as it should have. It has kept the wounds of the south alive and bleeding. It has kept resentment stewing. It has enabled and promoted bigotry and racism. We cannot heal from the past if we are fantacizing about it like some romantic day dream. We have to stop this rewriting of history which paints the south as noble and just. It was not. I grew up in east Texas. I heard my whole life about how noble the south was, how close they were to winning, how atrocious the Yankees were, states rights, how admirable Robert E Lee was, even how well most slaves were really treated (I was taught that, not that it was true) and how many of them didn’t even want freedom at all. I heard every defense imaginable growing up. I also heard things like the N word used all the time, black men referred to as “boy”, saw black children that I knew as friends bussed to mostly white schools and stand against the wall at lunch waiting on the white kids to go by first. Belaire Elementary School in Athens, Texas when I was in second grade. I saw Brazil nuts in the grocery store, except I was almost grown before I knew them by any other name than Ni**er toes- which is what was on the actual sign in the grocery store, by the pound. Even as an adult, I witnessed people complain if a black family moved into their neighborhood. I have seen white trash using that confederate flag to degrade black people. I am so thankful for my conscience. I am thankful I did not grow to fit my environment. I am thankful I found more value in myself and in humanity than the color of skin someone has. And make no mistake, the racism I witnessed was not reserved for black people alone. Anyone who was different was labeled as inferior, told they don’t belong. That is what monuments to these falsities has caused, a lingering inability to coexist peacefully. They should never have been allowed. We should never have been taught this false history. No one is trying to rewrite history, the south did that with wild abandon. We are trying to right it so we can stop this continuation of intolerance and hate and finally heal together as a single nation. The south is still holding on to false glories of a war they lost over a hundred years ago. It is time to accept the truth and it is time to move on so we can have a better future which does not glorify some fo the worst parts of our past.”

In reality, it has literally been 152 years since the Confederacy surrendered in defeat. But in all that time, they have remained adamantly defiant. They have fought every step of the way against an integrated and equal society. They have attempted to rewrite and legitimize their history of violence and slavery. They have fought against every step forward which would make black, Hispanic, Asian and Native Americans their equal both in law and in society. Why? Because they honor and revere these remnants of their Confederate past. These statues raised in honor of their history of supremacy over other races has perpetuated the resentment of that war, the indignation felt at being deemed another’s equal.  The South has been allowed to romanticized their history to a point of myth, and like most myths, it is only rooted in a sliver of a shadow of truth. Now we have a culture raised to be proud and promote their rebel history.

Had those rebels fought for something noble, it might be worthy of praise, even in their loss. But they did not. Their leaders sent young men into battle against their own countrymen to protect the wealth and greed of rich slave owners who did not want to sacrifice their primary labor force. These are the men who taught others to be bigots for the primary purpose of growing, maintaining and protecting wealth. The average soldier may have thought they were fighting for states’ rights, but they were not. Just like Nazi soldiers were, for the most part, just young men serving their country and lied to by propaganda.

We can recognize the uneducated soldier who sacrificed honorably for a cause he did not understand, but to erect statues to their leaders is to hail and praise the very men who lied to the soldiers, who knew the difference and made a choice. Robert E. Lee was supposedly conflicted. Had he followed the part of his conscience which told him fighting for slavery was wrong, think how many lives might have been saved. Think how differently the world might look today. His conflict did not make him a better man. The fact he felt it and made the wrong choice deliberately tells us the man he truly chose to be. Much like the Nazi Generals, he deserves no monuments of honor nor praise.

The glorification of the Confederacy must stop. It is damaging our nation. We cannot ever heal nor truly become one, united nation for so long as these statues stand and are revered. They perpetuate the continuation of “us versus them.” They do not represent history in any real form when they are honored. How can someone be both proud to be Confederate and wish the Confederacy had won and be proud to be an US American? There is conflict in this. How can we abolish racism in our society when we honor the inception of it? How can we coexist in peace and equality when we hold near a resentment of both?

False history belongs in tales of myth. Its only vital importance being the effect it has had on our civilization. We have begun the process, by removing these honorific statues, of finally healing our nation. You may think the uprising it is causing is anything but healing, however, to remove this cancer, we must first cut it out. That incision, though it may hurt in the short term, is necessary. The incision will heal and the tumor will be gone, resulting in a much healthier society.

We are not rewriting history. We are righting it.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

 

Terrorist in Chief

White Nationalists are terrorists. They are not a ‘political ideology.’  They promote hatred. They promote violence. They seek domination over other races. They cannot be compared to any other activists expressing their freedom of speech because they are not seeking freedom. They are not seeking equality. Their entire goal is to overthrow our government and replace it with literal white supremacy, where white men have dominion over all other races and women. They do not love our constitution. They do not believe in the freedoms the United States stands for. They want to rule over the “lesser” races and over women. Period. That is their mantra. And they are more than willing, as they have always been, to belittle, injure or kill and promote or incite violence against all those who oppose them. They degrade minority groups. They call white people who oppose them traitors to their race. They applaud actions which will promote fear in their advisories. They are fighting a treasonous war and hiding behind the concept of the first amendment and the second amendment to do it. But they should be protected by neither. Dissent of our government or its policies is perfectly acceptable. Bigotry is a personal choice, which vile and disgusting as it is, we cannot legislate those beliefs into a person’s brain, or out of it. But, that said, conspiring against our nation and its citizens, uniting in such ways as to promote violence and fear, that is not protected. That is terrorism. Their literal objective is to cause fear, discomfort or harm to segments of our population based on race, religion and gender. Their goal is the subjugation of others. Only terrorists act in this manner. Only terrorist or terrorist sympathisers refuse to publicly denounce and call this what it is.

Over this last weekend, there were terrorist actions perpetrated by white nationalists. One man ran his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, murdering a brave young woman, Heather Heyer. Two state police officers were also killed in the incident and nearly forty people injured. To put perspective on this, when a Muslim man drove a truck into crowds in France, no one had any difficulty labeling it a terrorist attack. We need a historical reminder that there have been dangerous white, male terrorists in the world far longer than Muslim extremists. However, that was not the only terrorist incident.

While his brothers-in-arms were marching and otherwise assaulting or murdering innocent people, Jerry Drake Varnell sought to carry out a plot to detonate a car bomb near the memorial for the men, women and children who were murdered by the Right Wing Terrorist (and hero to the alt right) Timothy McVeigh in 1995.

Thankfully, that plot was foiled because the FBI had someone on him and had made certain the bomb was disabled before Varnell could attempt to detonate it. Yet, that does not change the fact that he attempted a terrorist attack.

These are not single nutcases. While one may (or may not) act individually, they are also acting as a clan, as a sub culture where they promote, praise and encourage such actions. They want people afraid. They are terrorists.

And how does the President respond? By placing blame on all parties and refusing to call out these egregious men for what they are. Instead, Trump placates them, says there is blame on all sides, hate on all sides. But no. There isn’t blame to go around. No one is trying to subjugate these white men. No one is seeking dominion over them. They do not represent the majority, not even the majority of white men.

Donald Trump will not fully and completely denounce and criminalize these White Nationalists. Why? Maybe because he is the face of that movement. He is why they feel so safe to come out of the woodwork where they have been hiding. He is their president. Trump appointed one of their biggest spokesmen to his White House, Steve Bannon. He has incited violence, himself. By not specifically calling these terrorists out, he is giving them a nod of acceptance and it is too late now to be seen as anything else. Even if he, today, came out and condemned these radicals, it would only appear he did so out of political pressure.

Pair this with his desire to give a convicted criminal and racist a pardon for his racial crimes against citizens of this country and the redirection of the Justice Department to start investigating “white racism,” and you cannot help but notice, he is not only a traitor to our country (the bells of Russian collusion are still ringing in our ears) but he is a terrorist. He, by his power and consent and lack of action, is encouraging violence against our citizens and perpetuating the growth of terrorist organizations supporting him.

He is the Terrorist in Chief.

We are one Woman, One World.

Resist.

Stay safe.

Is this really freedom of speech, or is it terrorism?

On Saturday, August 12, The nation witnessed an atrocity. It was deplorable enough to see a gathering of White supremacist bigots feeling all warm and cozy enough in today’s political and social setting to have a big, old fashioned, torch carrying rally and march, but the scene turned to true a horror of violence as anti-bigot protestors were attacked and killed. The last update I saw said more than thirty-five injuries and three dead.

Now, if anyone else had done this, besides white men, it would be called terrorism. This was the best our so-called president could muster:

 5h5 hours ago

They want to instill fear. That is the goal. In fact, that is the whole point of all those Southern Civil War monuments littering the South. Did you think it was to honor traitors who rebelled and fought against their own nation? Guess again. They were erected as a symbol of defiance to the government and a reminder to minorities of who was still in charge, that they were still the masters. They were symbolic of bigotry and a false sense of importance. They should be torn down. They were not heroes. They were traitors.
Charlottesville is proof that every single one of these monuments should be demolished. There should be no praise for terrorists in our nation. There should be no monuments for them to rally around. Their flags should be banned. Every member should be treated as a member of a terrorist organization.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was correct hen he said these Nazi demonstrators had intended to hurt people, and that they did hurt people. They killed people. It was their intent. And this intent has been brewing for some time, all across the country, as people have been both verbally and physically assaulted by white supremacists who actually believe they have a green light from Trump to do as they please. They have even promoted arming for another civil war, if necessary. These people are terrorists. These are terrorist organizations. They should and must be treated as such.
We must work decisively to shut this down, once and for all. The subjugation of races beneath a “superior race” is not a political agenda or ideology. It is a radical, terrorist plot to overthrow our nation’s government and supplant it with a system wich would mean these pieces of white trash can feel better about themselves because they are white and that makes them better than anyone wo isn’t white. That is literally what we are talking about. We are talking about people who are literally such pieces of shit that the only thing they can feel as an accomplishment is being born white.
These rallies and marches and gatherings have no other purpose than seeking to hurt others. The entire intent is the hope to harm other races. Believe it or not, taking away someone’s freedom is considered doing them harm. Running down people who do not agree with your bigotry over with a car is definitely doing them harm.
These people are not patriots. They do not love the United States. They have no belief in our constitution or our freedoms. They are worse than traitors, they are terrorists committing crimes against our people in the hopes to spread fear. That’s what terrorism is, after all, acts of violence with the intent to spread fear and thus obtain an objective either politically or socially.
White supremacists are terrorists and should be hunted down and imprisoned as such. They are promoting terror and violence among and against our citizens. This is not a protected speech. This is not a protected political or religious ideology. If you are promoting white supremacy, you are promoting terrorism against our nation and our diverse population.
For all those who march for real reasons, for women’s rights, civil right, LGBT rights, none of these are asking for more than anyone else, just equality. Women, LGBT and minorities are not asking to be treated better than white men. They are not asking to be paid more. They seek equality in education, labor and justice. Only the white supremacists seek to belittle others. Only these Nazis and Nazi-like organizations seek superior treatment over others. They have not been oppressed, they are the remnants of the oppressors bitterly seeking the control they feel has been lost.
And this is no new tactic. This is the old standard for the KKK. This is cross burnings, torches, lynchings, beatings, killings… They have always been terrorists. It is time they were treated as the criminals that they are.
We are One Woman, One World.
Stay safe.
Resist.
Be heard.

From the cradle to Putin’s hands; and we aren’t talking adoption

Last November, before the election, I began connecting dots on Trump and Putin. Primarily, I looked at why Putin would want Trump in power in the first place. Putin, being the world’s premier super-villian, cunning, intelligent and patient, had to have real reason to want Trump in office. You can recap on that post here: From Russia, with Love.

In every way I looked at it, Russia would benefit from war. And it had mutiple scenarios to make that happen. But it can’t be just any war. China is the key. China must either remain neutral or side against the United States. The angle I sited in the article seemed the most logical at the time; use Trump to destabalize our relationship with China, undermine our trade agreements or even default on our debt. Those were the most obvious angles and certainly ones Trump, himself, touted along the campaign trail.

But his Orange Highness has proven inept at leading. Congress has out maneuvered him, his own party I might add, to limit his authoritarian rise. Trump was not even capable of lifting sanctions against his good pal, Vlad. He has been handicapped by coruption, investigation, ineptitude, and scandal. The likelihood he could manage destroying our trade and debt agreement wth China is pretty much nil.

But there is another way to place China firmly against us. It is a messier prospect, but one you can see has a high chance for success. We could attack North Korea unprovoked. By unprovoked, I mean they won’t attack us first, not that their loud mouth dictator waved his fist, called us names and made idle threats.

While it may be true that North Korea now has some nuclear capabilities, they pose a much greater threat to nations in their region than to our homeland. They know full well we could obliterate them so they are not likely to be launching anything our way. North Korea wants to puff out its chest and look like a big boy country so it doesn’t have to sit at the kiddy table any more. Kimmy-boy wants to be taken seriously.

So it looks like Putin has moved to plan B to motivate war. Make no mistake, Russia will not be our ally. And once they come to the aid of North Korea, and sides are firmly drawn, they will maneuver into place and unleash hell.

Trump is a political infant, incapable of seeing the larger raminfications or possibilities of his actions. He reacts to every stimuli thrown at him and is easily manipulated. And the Putin double cross, abandoning Trump, which also had to happen, was right on cue. So far, everything has been right on schedule, pushing the world closer and closer to the brink of war. A war that benefits Russia and would leave it as the world’s dominant super power, in control of the majority of the world’s oil resources and backed by the manufacturing power and wealth of China.  A new world order. And Trump’s baby hands are handing it to him. Can we impeach this guy already, before it is too late?

We are One Woman, One World.

Be safe. Resist.