Is “compromise” really a dirty word? Since when?

Okay, I’ve been working on several articles to get out to you all, and I apologize for the delay while I prep, fact check and otherwise try to squeeze blog writing time into a cramped schedule. Believe me, I have neither lost focus nor retired my brain to complacency in a feeling of abject disappointment with humanity. I’m still fighting, just as I keep asking you to do, I promise!

While I know the world feels surreal and in a state of free fall from common decency, we must guard ourselves from becoming the polar opposites of our rivals. What does that mean? Don’t we want to be the polar opposite of a bunch of racist, hypocritical, misogynistic bigots? Well, yes and no. We want to stand up for equality and human rights, yes, but we do not want to be the flip side of an extremist coin. We do not want to take an “our way or no way” mentality and apply it to government process. That really doesn’t work. It also only strengthens the resolve of the other side. In other words, our country should not be split between Left Twix and Right Twix. We are in control of this. We have the opportunity to bring civil discord, to change the frenzied state of our nation to one of critical thought and reason. And how do we do this? How do we become the party of reason and responsibility? Well, by BEING reasonable and responsible.

Somehow, the word ‘compromise‘ has become ugly, as though it diminishes a person’s integrity to compromise on anything. I see the populace up in arms at every turn when their representatives agree to any compromises, big or small. It is ridiculous. Guess what, that is exactly how government works and how change is accomplished. Further, when someone is seen as capable of reasonable compromise to find solutions, they carry far more weight when there is an issue they refuse to compromise on. Political compromise is not only an asset but a necessity. If the left are seen as willing to work within a realm of reasonable compromise, it exposes the extremists they are up against, who refuse any compromise at all. We can show passion without extremist orientation. We want change, no doubt, but we also know the wheels of change move more slowly than our desire for it. If it were simple, it would have already happened.

For instance, yes, everyone should have healthcare and Medicare for All is the simplest solution, since it is an existing system that works. However, if we are pragmatic, we realize it isn’t a switch we can just flip. One sixth of our economy is entrenched in healthcare and related entities such as insurance. Simply shutting that down to move to a single payor system instantly would devastate our economy and cause severe repercussions and it would take decades to recover. But does that mean the move to single payor is impossible? No. What it means is that we need people who can see a long-term objective and work towards it through a series of compromises and adjustments, capable of traversing politics like a maze to achieve an ultimate goal.

Think about this: at the onset of our nation, the only people with full rights and freedoms were white, male landowners. If you did not fit this profile you could neither vote nor be elected to office. Some white men could aspire to more than their birth by making money and becoming a landowner, but women and minority groups could not overcome their existence. They could better their situation, in some circumstances, but could never have true freedom. Even today we are still fighting for freedom that extends beyond the paper on which it is written and into the beating heart of reality.

Where we can make small concessions to help move society forward, in exchange for opposition concessions, we may move slowly, but we progress. It keeps us rational and focused, therefore, when it is time to refuse concession, when something tests our values, as we have found all too often with the current administration, we can stand firm, and that stance holds more meaning.

Take a look at the recent government shut down. Democrats are being heavily criticized for agreeing to end the shut down without legislation for DREAMers. Now, legislation for DREAMers is extremely important, but at the same time, a lot of people’s lives were disrupted by the shut down, many employees stood to lose compensation they need, and not the kinds of government employees who are already wealthy, but hard-working, middle class, paycheck to paycheck people. Now, if the shutdown was based on the actual issues of funding the government, temporarily or permanently, then continuing it would be justified. However, we need to move our government away from quid pro quo politics on unrelated matters. Democrats did not “cave” as many left-leaning critics have claimed. They moved in the best interest of the people. Any DREAMer Act needs to be a part of immigration legislation, as that is exactly what it involves: immigration laws. Holding the lives of innocent people hostage to get what you want is neither good policy nor the moral high ground. It creates more of a negative impact than any positive contribution. We do not want to be the extremist Left, throwing temper tantrums and fits trying to get our way. We want to project a solid, steady core and an ability to set aside personal arguments to work in the best interest of our nation.

In the end, what I want to convey is not a message that we should compromise our values, but that we should not overly criticize compromise which helps lead us to a better place, even if a bit more slowly than we’d like. We must embrace the art of negotiation where ideas differ and be prepared to embrace policies that help our country, no matter where they originate.

So, yes, protest. Yes, demand meaningful DREAMer legislation. Yes, stand against poor policies which take our country backwards. Yes, insist upon equality and better stewardship of our planet. Yes, fight for universal healthcare and safety nets for the elderly, sick and poor. Yes, yes, yes. Do not stop letting your voice be heard. We absolutely must fight against the racist oligarchy in order to move our nation into the next generation of responsible prosperity. Just don’t forget that in reality many of those changes come slow, built upon the compromises of those we elect. Vote at every opportunity to install representatives who will work diligently towards these goals. Compromise is not failure.

Continue to fight and resist and make your voice heard and, most of all, stay positive. We get nowhere fighting amongst ourselves.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams

Trump-Don’t-Care: More than a nonhealthcare plan, it’s public policy

So, yeah, of course he did. Trump couldn’t get his crappy healthcare bills passed through the legislative process because, amazingly, there are still a few Republicans who refuse to completely sell their soul to the anti-Christ incarnate residing in the White House. So, Trump did what any aspiring dictator would do, if the democratic process doesn’t work, he’ll just make commandments from his throne. So in yet another abuse of executive powers, the poor rendition of an orange Putin imposter dismantled the ACA with a stroke of a pen. He keeps claiming it will make insurance so much more affordable, despite all the numbers which say the opposite. The CBO says it will cause insurance rate hikes as large as 25% by 2020. 2020 is not that far away, people. That is literally two years and two and a half months from now. Okay, sure if you are super healthy you might be able to buy a junk policy that does basically nothing a bit cheaper, but not by much once those rate hikes hit. And then, if you actually have to use it… goodbye insurance premiums you can ever hope to afford! Trump doesn’t care if you actually have access to decent healthcare. All the best medicine and resources are commodities reserved for those who can afford it. He doesn’t care if sick children die because they are just weak links in the gene pool. If the parents wanted healthy kids, they should have been rich. He doesn’t care if poor people die because he thinks they are stupid. His logic: if poor people were smart, then they wouldn’t be poor, would they? He literally equates wealth to competence. While there may be some merit in a self-made multi-millionaire/billionaire being a pretty smart person, that does not genetically transcend through the sperm and ovaries to their offspring who hit the conception lottery. Trump is a testament to this truth.

But not giving a rat’s skinny butt about people is not isolated to the administration’s stance on healthcare. Nope. It is a general, broad-spectrum domestic policy. Just take a look at the disasters. Harvey and Irma earned a rapid and reasonable response from the administration because those are voters who are in states with people he sees as his supporters. There were also a whole lot of white people affected and wealthy people. Can’t forget the wealthy people, with whom Trump immediately likes to identify. Further, helping these people also helped his donor buddies. Lifting the Jones’ Act immediately in order to move fuel was an economic decision that was good for his cronies. If it helped out a lot of people in need, then that was a bonus good for ratings. But with Maria, a whole different scenario emerged. Now, Puerto Rico actually isn’t that far away. A two hour flight from Miami gets you there. It takes that long to fly from Dallas to Las Vegas. But somehow Trump has tried to paint the island to be hidden in the far reaches of the ocean, or “big water,” as he sometimes calls it. He wants everyone to think it is ridiculously difficult for our military, you know, like the Navy with its vast fleet of ships, to reach. Despite knowing well enough in advance to ensure a rapid response by the military, Trump did not bother to order the USNS Comfort to the island until a week AFTER the hurricane hit. He did not suspend the Jones Act until eight days AFTER Puerto Rico was demolished. And the administration had a great response, initially, as to why they did not see a need to suspend the outdated restriction on domestic shipping. They said they felt US ships could handle it fine, we didn’t need foreign assistance and that it was not economically advantageous.

But, of course, Puerto Rico isn’t full of Trump supporters and voters. It is a poor island that the US invaded and forced under US rule, subjecting the people to citizenship, thus making them eligible to be shipped off to war, and squeezing the small economy for taxes without giving them representation in congress. Trump likes ranting about Puerto Rico’s debt and claiming their real disaster is of their own making. But the truth is that the restrictions imposed on Puerto Rico, without the benefit of representation or power to vote, has placed the territory in a no-win position of perpetual economic distress. Conservatives don’t want to make them a state. They feel it would be just handing the Democrats more electoral votes because it is a minority-majority. However, if the restraints on Puerto Rico were lifted so that their economy could blossom, without the advantage of statehood, they would likely seek independence from a nation who really does very little for them. BUT- those are nuances completely lost on Trump. He doesn’t care. All Trump sees is a bunch of poor minorities and that is a perfectly good enough reason to not care if they live or die, or how they go about doing so.

We aren’t finished with disasters, however. Pop over to the West Coast and have a gander at it. Yeah, it is pretty much on fire. Over five thousand homes have been destroyed. Businesses and communities have been laid to ashes. Forty-one people are dead and hundreds missing. More than one hundred thousand people are still under evacuation orders. While the state of California battles these enormous fires to the north, more keep popping up through the state due to unusually high temperatures, low humidity and the strong Santa Anna winds which blast through the region this time of year. But not a peep out of the wanna-be president. Why? Well too many people in California don’t like him and that state didn’t vote for him. It has also been hot spot for anti-Trump protests and its metropolises are sanctuary cities in defiance of his anti-immigration policies. So, all things considered, Trump doesn’t care if California burns to the ground and everyone dies. He took days to respond to relief requests. Those days could have meant resources which might have saved lives. Just like in Puerto Rico, Trump exercises the death penalty for those who disagree with him. While he may not be putting a bullet in their head or a noose around their neck, willful, spiteful  negligence still costs lives.

So, healthcare, disasters, what ese? Hmm? How about his war mongering? Yes, Trump’s ever pulsating need to puff out his chest and demand respect he has neither earned nor deserves, has led to social media saber-rattling, publicly insulting the leaders of other nations, threats to abandon our treaties and honor our commitments, and outright bullying of smaller countries. Yeah, that sounds like leading the free world, right? Trump has done nothing to promote diplomacy around the world. In fact, he literally scoffs at it and calls it pointless. He earnestly believes might is all he needs. He chooses threats to bully the world, but is it even listening? He has systematically turned allies into wary acquaintances. He is pushing enemies to the breaking point. Why? Probably because there is no greater distraction than war. He is pushing buttons in hopes of a war, eluding to its inevitability constantly, for two reasons. First, because he believes war unites the nation behind the banner of Old Glory and no one can criticize him because he is the Commander In Chief of our brave military. He has a ridiculous number of scandals and a very uncomfortable criminal investigation festering around him at the moment, which he blames for his low approval ratings. Actually, he blames it all on fake news and says it is all made up. I’m pretty sure Mueller doesn’t have a Grand Jury for naught, however. And, well, no matter how often he tweets, Trump doesn’t act like an innocent man and his mouth is frequently his own worst enemy. Second, and truly the most petulant, Trump wants to play with his army men. He does not see our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends as people. He does not recognize that the treasure of our military is not the bombs and guns and planes and warships, but the men and women who wear the uniform. They are the national treasure. They are the measure we use to determine the need for conflict. The test for any politician should be, “is this important enough for my child to sacrifice his or her life?” Not how much money it will cost, because money is replaceable. Lives are not. Trump’s wonton and flippant march towards conflict does not ask that question. It shows an eargerness to play with soldiers’ lives like they are expendable to his whims. He doesn’t care if they die. He doesn’t care if they are injured. He doesn’t care if they are captured or tortured. In fact, he likes soldiers who aren’t captured, as he has told us. Trump doesn’t care.

Oh, we can keep going. Education? Trump doesn’t care. Environment? Trump doesn’t care. Endangered species? Trump doesn’t care. Fair wages? Trump doesn’t care. Protecting the Social Security safety net? Nope, Trump doesn’t care. Fair tax laws? Yeah right… he thinks fair equals tax breaks for him. He doesn’t care about anyone else. Equal rights for all, nope. Trump doesn’t care.

Here is the breakdown, unless your name is Trump, and you profit from it, Trump doesn’t care. That is his broad-spectrum policy on everything. Simple and easy to remember: Trump Don’t Care.

Resist. Fight. Speak.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

Shout out to Anne Coffer, great friend and amazing colleague and author. She has a new book out, just released, that is fantastic, Edge of Ridiculous . I loved it! Get it! Read it! Then tell her how awesome she is! 

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams

To Trump: Hear My VOICE.

Trump’s VOICE is hateful and nothing more than a propaganda machine to push his divisive rhetoric. When they do not have a story for “illegal” immigrants, it will quickly turn to the “legal” ones. This will become (and in many places already has) a war against anyone who is not a citizen, or doesn’t “look” like a citizen; more xenophobia at its worst.

My husband is a legal permanent resident, since the ’70’s. He is supposed to be 100% protected from deportation. He grew up here, escaping Vietnam as a small child. Legal residents are now scrambling to naturalize into citizenship because they are afraid those promises, like the one made to him,  will become meaningless, that with the stroke of a pen, the rights and safety they were guaranteed will be invalidated.

And how long until even their right to protest or have an opinion is stripped from them? How long before their opinion of our president or his policies  becomes a qualification or disqualification for legal residence or citizenship? How long before an immigrant protesting is stripped of their legal status and deported, their assets seized? With a stroke of a pen it can happen. As those who have been illegally detained by customs officials despite the judicial ruling against the Muslim Ban can tell you, the power of the Presidency is far reaching, and most especially in relation to immigration. It has the power to effectively silence dissent in the immigrant population.

I am ashamed of a country that has caused such fear among the people who live in it, turning them blindly upon one another. I am ashamed that our promise to the world, to all those seeking opportunity, safety, hope and freedom, has been rendered a lie. It is up to us to destroy that lie, to raise our flag into the air and wave its promise truthfully to the world once more.

People should never be illegal. We will never save ourselves by hiding, closing our doors, and fearing our neighbors. Cowards are never heroes and they never forge a path to greatness. We must stand together and be brave, to resist against the clamoring of cowards lost in the nonsense of their fear. We must fight against those who spur and use that fear to their own greedy ends.

I will fight for my husband. I will fight for my neighbors. I will fight to restore the idea of what our country should be, for our hope and our future. So, if Trump wants a VOICE, he can hear mine. Because, resisting him is my birthright. I do not fear retribution. Unlike those I am willing to fight for, no stroke of his pen can take my rights or my voice away. He cannot silence me or those citizens who stand with me. Together, we can ensure a future where every person has a voice, where no one is silenced, where being alive is not a crime… Where birthright is replaced by birth and rights are inalienable.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar-Truong

photo credit: AP/John Amis

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams


Only Yes Means Yes: The Courts and Rape Culture, Redefining Consent

2016 was a seriously crappy year. In fact, if you were comparing dung piles, 2015 was like a toy poodle’s brown, lumpy work of yard art and 2016 looked like a giant Bull Elephant had an especially grand bowel movement- in your living room. So, when I say it was a crappy year, now you have a full, working mental picture of exactly what I mean.

The fact that it was an especially bitter and horrible election year was bad enough. The fact that ‘alt right’ (previously just known as racists and white supremacists) ventured into the mainstream and were welcomed was enough to make most of us sick. The fact that it was given a total pass by so many made us even sicker. Police brutality was brought to the fore with shining spotlights, caught on camera by ordinary citizens, in undeniable, HD quality; bringing to light injustice is never a bad thing. The ferocious backlash we witnessed in society against those actually seeking justice, however,  was deplorable. And we saw far too much of it. And then, there was the misogyny. Wow. just wow. Women were belittled beyond measure, from Trump’s pulpit to the courtroom. Women, and the rights to their own bodies, were marginalized repeatedly.

And when I say the rights to their own bodies, I’m not just talking reproductive choices. Yes, I am pro-choice, and if you want to know why, click here. But this article isn’t about that kind of choice. This is before that. Like the choice of having sex or not. It is about consent. It is about how consent is never ambiguous. It is about how I don’t have to say no. No is always the implied. The answer is ALWAYS no, unless a woman specifically says yes. There is no ambiguity there. To give consent for something is to say, “Yes.” Consent is not defined as the absence of saying “no.”

So, why is this so important? Why is defining this so crucial? Because 2016 proved that judges seem to be freaking morons. Because it became overwhelmingly apparent as the year progressed that our judicial branch had a serious lack of fundamental vocabulary skills, where they came to the conclusion that rape and sexual assault isn’t so much of a crime if a woman is intoxicated. In fact, an appellant court in Oklahoma ruled that sodomy without consent wasn’t even illegal if the victim was intoxicated because the law did not specifically provide for being incapacitated due to intoxication. I’m pretty sure it did not specifically provide for slipping on ice, a sudden drop in blood pressure causing someone to faint or a tree branch falling and whacking you on the head, either, or a drug induced sleep  (like anesthesia) or a host (millions) of other specific elements which could cause a person to be unconscious, aside from intoxication by alcohol. Some people chose to blame the law for being too vague. I am not of that opinion (though thankfully Oklahoma made a very quick legislative effort to correct any ‘misunderstandings’ by the courts).  The real problem is the same reason a frat boy gets a couple of months for raping a girl behind a dumpster, or a man gets sixty days of time served for repeatedly raping his daughter, because we place all the responsibility on the victim. If the victim was drinking it was her fault. If she didn’t report it, it was her fault. If she was wearing revealing clothes, it was her fault. If she has had sex before, it is her fault. If she accepts a ride home with a guy, it is her fault. If she goes to a party, it is her fault. If she (fill in the blank here) it is her fault. The courts have been attempting to define consent as not saying no, regardless of the victim’s capacity to say anything at all.

Consent is saying, “Yes.” Consent is having the ability to comprehend what you are agreeing to. The message the courts are sending, over and over again, is that women do not have ultimate rights over their own bodies, that they can be forcibly taken, that they can be used, that their safety and sovereignty as a whole human being is less important than a perpetrators whims and exploits and desire for domination. They don’t like to hear rape cases, not because because of the heinous act, but rather because it is an uncomfortable truth, distasteful and rooted in a misogynistic view that women should be chaste and pure and that loose women get what they deserve. It perpetuates this notion that men are primal and can’t control themselves, therefore, women must adhere to different social rules. That is what we are teaching these boys, that they can act on impulse, that they are entitled to act on impulse. They are being taught to, “grab them by the pussy,” just because they can. We saw privileged men such as Turner and Wilkerson and the unnamed seventeen year old assailant in Oklahoma, receive ridiculous sentences which were little more than slaps on wrist or complete acquittal because their future, their lives, their autonomy was deemed more valuable than those of their victims.  And they hinge it all on victim blaming and redefining the meaning of consent.

I suggest we stop this campaign of , “No means no.” We are evidently sending the wrong message. It is, apparently, being taken to imply that women must say no, or have the capacity to do so. Perhaps we should try a more positive approach. Maybe, “Yes mean yes.” or “Yes means consent, silence or anything else means no, you sick bastard.”  (I kinda prefer the latter).  Perhaps if we firmly establish defining consent as specific approval (which is what it seems to mean in every other aspect of law), and we continue our outrage against a misogynistic judicial system, then maybe we can stop giving a free pass to mistreat and violate women. Maybe we could begin accepting that women are whole persons in our society and that they do not exist under separate laws and separate freedoms. Our bodies, our choice.

So, while I applaud efforts to effectively update laws to be more inclusive and require harsher punishments, we need states to address the fundamental issue: make a no-excuses definition of consent to mean an individual gives absolute permission to take part in any form of sexual activity, with complete knowledge and understanding of that consent, and if they are incapacitated in any way which would otherwise prevent them from being bound by any other legal contract, then that consent is invalid, as the person does not have the mental clarity or comprehension of consequences to consensually take part in what could be a life altering contract or event. (You know, like how you can’t just get someone drunk and convince them to sign over the deed to their house or the title of their car… except this is your BODY, and you have no idea if that person has an STD, HIV, is using protection, if you could get pregnant, etc. So yes, life-changing consequences which you should be able to make a rational decision regarding.)

I know… that is pretty darned drastic! Why that would make men have to be really freaking responsible about having sex, especially if their idea of a fun night is getting a girl drunk and getting laid. Getting a girl drunk and taking advantage of her might be considered rape, especially if he intentionally used alcohol to alter her thought and decision making process so she would do something she otherwise would not have agreed to do.  Men never do things like that, do they? But they don’t consider it rape, they just think it is loosening her up so her boundaries get a little fuzzy and she is more ‘open minded.’  Is that a crime?


Now, I’m not saying men and women can’t drink and have sex. Sure they can. I am saying it is outright wrong to use a drug to alter someone’s perceptions and then use that as an advantage to have sex with them when they, under normal circumstances, would not agree. And, by the way, that goes both ways. Women shouldn’t use alcohol, or any other substance, to influence a man to have sex with them, either. Yes, girls, that is rape, too. Don’t be a predator. But between consenting individuals who want to drink and have sex together just because that’s what they like to do, have at it. And how is a guy supposed to know? Well, he can ask. He can be honest, tell her he doesn’t want to get the wrong idea and doesn’t want to impose on her. Women will just have to get over being insulted by honesty. If you aren’t interested in drinking and having sex with him, politely say no. Don’t be a bitch about it. He is being responsible and he just gave you a choice while you were still rational enough to make it. Don’t discourage him from giving that choice to someone else. Men, don’t be an asshat when you ask. Be respectful. Also remember, if she changes her mind, it is a no go, I don’t care if your pants are already on the floor.

Also, boys and girls, if you are not old enough to sign a legal contract, you are not old enough for consensual sex. I’m sorry. I know it seems like fun. I know you see it on television, the internet and the movies, but here is the thing: irresponsible sex can screw up your life. Seriously. And if you think oral sex is safe, think again. You can still get awesome things like Herpes and other STDs . If you are being pressured into sex, that is a form of rape. If you are pressuring someone to have sex with you, then you are invading their personal safety. If they don’t say yes without having to be convinced, then that, my friends, is a no.

Which brings us back to the meaning of consent. Only Yes means Yes. Period. Only a sober Yes means Yes. Only a conscious person can say yes. Forget No mean No. It does, but it should never come to that because it is always no in the absence of yes. We need to send this message loud and clear to both our judiciary and legislative branches so that there is no longer even a sliver of ambiguity. We must define consent by what it actually is. Consent is saying yes, not the absence of saying no.

We are One woman, One World.

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams


Are You Feeling Safe Yet?

Trumpaloompa has done absolutely nothing to unite this country. This country of immigrants. This country of refugees. He continues, executive order after order, to inflict his small, bigoted mind on the masses.  His Middle East ban is nothing short of a ban on Muslims, a method to discriminate based on religion. We know this because Trumpaloompa ensures that Christians will be given priority. But, hey, you alt-right so-called Christian conservatives, Trump’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. He got a Muslim ban for you, like he promised, but he couldn’t quite take it far enough to threaten his own pocket book. So, he left out all the countries where he has business ties, you know, the ones where actual deadly terrorists, who attacked the US on US soil and killed US Citizens actually came from. So, he is with you, so long as it doesn’t hurt his profits.

And in case anyone ever has any question about how I feel on this issue, here is some info for you to digest. I am married to a refugee. My husband had to escape a war torn country (that the US was at war with and lost) as a child, with his family. My husband, who is an absolutely wonderful man, was once a desperate child on a boat trying not to die, watching as others were killed or lost to disease and famine. He has been in the United Sates for thirty-seven years and he is thankful for his life here. He is a resident alien.

When I see these children, I see him. I wonder what would have been his life if he had been turned away because of someone’s unjustified fears? Are you really such a coward that you would sacrifice countless lives to hide from the fractional percent of danger that someone might pose? Is your faith that small? I would rather die today doing the right thing than live a long life cowering behind the sacrificed, innocent lives of others. And if you are not willing to die or sacrifice yourself, or even your own convenience, to do what is morally responsible and just, then you have no business calling yourself a Christian. You have forsaken your god for an idol; you have placed more value on yourself than your faith. You are a coward.

We are a nation of immigrants, a nation of refugees who came here in the hopes of a whispered promise.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

My husband’s mother smuggled her children out of a Communist won country, suffered through pirate attacks, were lost at sea and were left to die by passing ships. A last pirate attack proved they had nothing left to take, no food, no valuables, nothing but a slowly sinking vessel.  So the pirates towed them to a sand bar which allowed them to walk into Thailand, where they spent more than a year in a refugee camp. Not all of their family survived the journey. The atrocities he witnessed are chilling. Were it not for the compassion of those last pirates, he and his family, along with many others, would have died. So when I look at what we are doing today, what I see is that we have less compassion, less moral aptitude, than pirates. We truly are, collectively, cowards brandishing our chest and might, hiding our fear behind a false show of strength to disguise how hollow we are inside. Empty.

The Trumpaloompa administration has now come after immigrants. It has challenged religious freedom by attacking Muslims. Next on the slate, per released White House leaks, is an executive order against the LGBT community. Are you complacent because you are not an immigrant, or you are not Muslim or because you are not LGBT? Well, be reminded

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

We are all something. We each have something which can identify us. Women, Men,  LGBT, Minority, Religion or Atheist, Homeless, Poor, Elderly, Disabled, Middle Class, Sick, Unemployed, Under employed, Children, Veteran, Liberal, Conservative, Single Parent, Married… we all live behind labels. If you restrict anyone’s rights based on a label, it is real people who suffer and only because they are different. It becomes easier and easier to justify xenophobia. It becomes easier and easier to suppress those who are different. But eventually, you will come to realize that we are all different, when they come to suppress you.

I will not be a coward. Though I can never imagine being as brave or strong as my husband or his family, I will fight to help ensure that we remain the kind of nation which welcomes a child, seeing his or her potential, knowing their diversity gives us strength and hope. Though I know not every immigrant will be a good person, because that is not realistic, I refuse to use the excuse of the very few to justify cowardice. I will not disgrace my country by standing aside while cowards close our borders and hide, cowards who will never feel safe because there will always be someone who is different.

We are One Woman, One World.

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams



Today in cities large and small, across the United States of America and across the ocean, women, men and children have taken to the streets in a sign of solidarity against the oppression of women’s rights. Many, unable to march, are contributing by other methods: through social media, by sponsoring marches, signing petitions, writing letters, sending emails, making phone calls, or in a host of other ways. While it is true there are (too many) women (and men) who support Trump and his backwards policies, blatant misogyny, and rape culture, the vast majority are appalled. We, as women, are right to feel threatened as we watch the birth of an amoral, religious fundamentalist administration intent on revoking the rights so many have fought, suffered and, some, even died to win and protect.

Women around the world are standing today to say, “No.” We will not accept being pushed back under the thumbs of men, reduced to breeders with our value determined by physical attributes rather than our intellect and ability to contribute in society. We will not speak only when spoken to, but shout to the world, to those that seek to oppress us, “We are strong. We have power.” We are not just mothers, daughters, aunts, nieces and sisters. We are people and we will not sit meekly aside while our rights, even to our own bodies, are dismantled.

To quote one of the strongest women to ever walk this planet, who has withstood misogyny hurled at her with grace and poise and never backed backed down, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”

Today’s marches around the world are not the culmination of our protest. They are the beginning.

We are One Woman, One World.

Women’s Global March



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Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams


From Russia, With Love

There has been a great deal of activity in the world with regards to Russia, and it has not just happened over the last few months. Make no mistake, Vladimir Putin is a legendary scaled authoritarian who rules with cunning intelligence and extreme patience. The former KGB officer is well versed in planting seeds and cultivating them into opportunities. In light of so many recent revelations and testaments to Trump’s ties with Russia, it is more than fair to ask: Is Donald Trump one of Putin’s seedlings?  And it is better to ask that question today than a week from now.

I began to suspect a direct Kremlin tie to Russia some time ago, however, without enough research, it was largely speculation and a hunch. But hunch sounds a lot like super-spy conspiracy whack job theories based off the plot of a B grade movie when you start linking the Presidential Nominee of a major party, his wife (the potential FLOTUS) and his campaign chair and advisers to Cold War styled Russian Espionage and manipulation. That wouldn’t make me sound like a nutcase at all! (insert sarcasm, please).  I am actually quite a sensible and logical person, so I knew if this was really bothering me, I should try checking it out, and preferably before I told anyone with ready access to a straight jacket and a vacant, padded room.

I started out not by looking at Trump, per se. Instead, I looked at Putin. Now, when we do research, we tend to go about it by means we can understand and relate to. I am an author. I write various genres of fiction under several pseudonyms. Why is that important? Because I create worlds and in those worlds, I create villains. My favorite kind of villains are intelligent ones. I like a bad guy with whom readers can identify and relate to, ones where people can see the logic of their choices. I love a patient villain who meticulously accounts for every rational probability; who carries their own absolute sense of justice and morality. Their viewpoint is a product of their experience and it is their dedication and intelligence which takes them beyond the criminal and into true villainy. Vladimir Putin is a true, living, breathing,  embodiment of a real life villain. It would be difficult to cultivate a fictional character so well developed and honed as the leader of Russia. And I understand, where I come from, that is a seriously backhanded compliment. But the truth is that Putin cultivated his rise to power and has been putting everything in place to be exactly where he is right now for well over two decades. He does nothing rashly. Every move he makes is accounted for and to serve a purpose. He is the ultimate chess player and he is moving the world around like pawns. And what does it look like all this is coming to? What do you find at the end of almost every scenario from his actions? In almost every direction, you find war.

You may think Russia wanting war is stretching things, but I’d argue this is the easiest conclusion to draw. They illegally moved into Crimea. They continually break ceasefire agreements. They claim the area is disputed territory. They move into Syria. They increase their oil production and give OPEC a big, fat “I don’t care what you think.” They move military, masses of military, to strategic locations threatening Europe. They began practicing drills for nuclear attacks on their country. They increased state supported cyber attacks on the United States and allies, leaving an obvious trail of breadcrumbs leading back to them. They want us to know it is them. They hack government agencies. They send influxes of spies. They have even attempted, and succeeded to a large degree, to interfere in the democratic process of the United States. They have openly called ustheir enemy and even called their diplomats home. They push and push and push, ever more working the popular opinion towards one of hostility. Putin is smart. Very smart. He knows the U.S. will not go to war unprovoked, and even then, it must have the support of politicians and the public.

Well, the next question I have to ask is, Why? What would Russia have to gain from war? Well, let’s take a look at that!

Take a look at this map:


See that little red circle I drew there.. that is Crimea, you know, that chunk of the Ukraine that Russia, in 2014, just decided should be theirs, so they moved in and still haven’t left. Nice location, isn’t it?

Now take a look at this map:


This is an Historical map of the Soviet Union. This is what it looked like before the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact Nations

Now, don’t be confused because not all of these are pink. All of this area answered to Mother Russia and its Communist Party. So, in short, Russia controlled a lot more real estate. And just how does this apply? Well, if we are in a state of war, Russia can quickly sweep right through and reclaim all of this territory, before we could do much about it.

But then I wondered, why are they preparing for  nuclear attack? They certainly know we aren’t about to unleash Hell on earth. It had to be more than just instilling fear among his own population and, by proxy, the world. It had to be more than simple fear mongering. Putin is far too smart.  Then I looked at Syria.


Do you see it there? it’s the purple one situated on the Mediterranean Sea, just beneath Turkey and neighboring Iraq. If you were interested in Middle Eastern oil resources, Syria is an excellent strategic staging point.

Oh, I know, these are Muslim countries, and Russia most certainly would have learned from their disastrous attempts to occupy Afghanistan, that this simply can’t be done. And you are absolutely right, the people would fight to their last man, woman and child. But this brought me back to the nuclear bomb raid tests conducted in Russia. What would draw a nuclear attack on their homeland, almost guarantee it? Well, maybe if you had launched one, it might get other countries in the mood.

No, I do not think Russia would launch any serious nuclear attack against the United States. Why? Because we are far way and they have little to gain from it, since we have excellent defense systems. No, they would want something that gives them an advantage, something useful. Oil is useful. If you control enough of it, you can shape much of the power in the world. If you are sitting where Russia is and if you have an arsenal of nuclear weapons (far cleaner than those dropped on Japan) and you place little to no value on the lives of religious people who have been a thorn to you for decades… and you are already at war… the most strategic place to drop your bombs is across the Middle East, wiping out the would-be adversaries who are likely supplying your enemy with much needed resources. Boom. Just like that. They are gone. Within a few months, the radiation is all but gone and Russia can have people rebuilding the oil fields. The indigenous populations would be decimated. The small bands of rebels which may survive would be powerless, without funding or even a people to fight for.

Frightening prospect. And if this were the mastermind plan of an arch villain, the next question to ask is: Why Trump?

Sure, he is bombastic and easy to rile and manipulate. But that just really didn’t seem like quite enough. Oh sure, the manipulation factor is paramount, but Putin has to have something more. I can’t believe he’d put all his beans into the deplorable basket simply because he knows The Donald can be incited with a tweet. And honestly, I don’t believe he would stake his whole plan on Trump, anyway. But still, there has been considerable effort placed to influence this election in Trump’s favor and we must ask: Why?

So I started looking at the Trump campaign. Not the Russian influences that are absurdly evident, not even the ones which may be placed with ultimate finesse. (We’ll visit that one later) I looked to the Trump policies which might benefit Russia and how.  Of course, there is Trump’s flattery of Putin, which I am sure means less than nothing to good old Vlad. There is the anti Muslim sentiment. It makes a nice distraction for the United States, but doesn’t really help the Motherland. The anti immigrant policies help to weaken our stature with other countries. The isolationist ideology helps separate us from allies. Still, those seem more like perks easily overcome if needed. What else? Then I got to China. Trump wants to make serious changes to our agreements with China. Hmmmm… ding ding ding!

Now think about this. China owns a significant amount of U.S. debt. While that sounds bad to us on the surface, what it actually does is give China a vested interest in the growth of our economy. China does not wish to see the U.S. destabilized because it has a negative affect on their income. When you are talking about a world economy, sometimes a debt can be an asset. In this scenario, were Russia and the U.S. to go to war, China would likely remain neutral because they have no vested interest in Russia’s success and have more to gain selling goods as a third party with their huge manufacturing power. They are too close, especially ideologically, to side against Russia unless there is some serious grade diplomatic maneuvering going on. However, should Trump manage to toss out our trade agreements with China and default on that debt, China has more to gain by supporting Russia. This is the angle which is most productive for Putin. Trump can be goaded or manipulated into making poor foreign policy decisions regarding China and effectively handing Russia the most valuable ally on the planet. The turn around would cripple the U.S. and Western based markets, leaving us with little ability to wage any large scale war, even to bring to justice for genocide.

We would also lose the manufacturing power of China. We would rather have China neutral than set against us in the event of a war. And the only way to maintain some control over China is to play what they love best, money. For so long as they are invested in the stability and growth of our economy (expertly achieved through trade and debt agreements) we maintain a measure of control and, more importantly, safety. Don’t think for a minute that China was tricked. They weren’t. They knew exactly what they were buying into, which is why the deal had to be sweet enough for them to sign on. While people stomp their feet, wave their fists and complain about how unfair to the U.S. this China trade deal is, they have failed to think of anything beyond themselves and the true complexity of the world to understand the genius of it. This deal is what has prevented a China-Russia world domination alliance and it is because those orchestrating our foreign policy recognized a significant difference between the governments of China and Russia. Putin wants power for Russia, to be the world power. China, however, sees power in money. They know they have more people and enormous manufacturing capacity. And they care about their bottom line. This realization and the foresight to act upon it was brilliant. Yet, it only takes one orange man easily manipulated or, worse, instructed to tear that alliance apart. Should that happen, China has far more to gain from assisting a rising dominant power, who has also secured considerable wealth by taking over a large segment of the world’s easily accessible oil fields. Suddenly the balance of world power has shifted. Hint: We would not be at the top of it.

Now, I know, we have heard a lot of talk about Trump being erratic and the thought of him in charge of the nuclear codes as horrifying. Certainly he would retaliate, launch an arsenal of nukes over Russia and obliterate them. Right? Sounds plausible, I guess. But, in honesty, Trump is a bully who spends a lot of time pretending he has more power than he has, and more courage. In truth, he is like all other bullies. He is a coward hiding behind a tough-faced mask. I doubt he would launch nuclear missiles if Russia did not overtly strike us. Which they won’t. They are too smart. The nukes they are preparing for are from places like Iran, Pakistan, Israel, etc.. The West will not be overly eager to launch their nukes even after witnessing the genocide of the Middle East. They will know that if they strike, there will be retaliation and the result will be global nuclear war.

Trump, being a coward who is always afraid of altercations he cannot win and anything that puts himself at risk (draft dodger comes to mind) is far more likely to accept Putin’s terms than someone with real foreign policy experience. In fact, it may not even be left to chance. In light of the recent revelation of a former soviet counter-intelligence officer (spy) it has been claimed that Russia has had information to blackmail and has been in control of Trump for many years.

Sound far fetched? Guess again. Russia is long known for this particular technique, and it did not always work in their favor. The KGB once attempted to blackmail the Indonesian President, Sukarno. On a diplomatic trip to Moscow, he had a good time with a few Russian beauties, who also happened to be operatives posing as flight attendants, and unknowingly became the star of his own porno orgy flick. KGB agents brought him in and showed him the video, expecting a humiliated  man more than ready to cooperate with them. Instead, the foreign leader decided it was a gift and asked for copies to show in movie theaters across Indonesia. He claimed his people would be proud of his prowess.

Despite the one off scenario, a great many dignitaries and wealthy, powerful people have been subject to Russia’s blackmail campaign. If Trump were making trips to Russia, there is little doubt they would attempt to gain some leverage over him. And he did make trips to Russia. And, well, let’s face it, Trump’s known philandering and questionable (at best) morals regarding sex and women, young women, makes him a pretty easy target. The Donald would be no match for one of their elite Illegals. ‘Illegals’ is the American name for the Russia’s SVR program of elite spies specifically trained for sexual encounter operations. These typically result in some form of blackmail, but Russia would never say no to a very well placed operative.  The women are beautiful, highly intelligent and enter countries under various disguises, as businesswomen, socialites, models, and even housewives or entertainers. They were (are) typically identified fairly young and well trained both in sex and politics. While their families would not be privy to the knowledge their daughter was becoming a soviet sex spy, they would find themselves in better circumstances most frequently, and the women, in exchange, were promised a life of privilege and adventure. What did the government look for? Well, exceptional beauty, intelligence and an affinity for languages.

Hey! I know someone like that!  Yeah, I’m gonna go there.

Melania Trump, previously Melania Knauss, was born Melanija Knavs in Slovenia, which was part of Yugoslavia in 1970. Her father was a registered member of the Communist Party. In case you are not all into modern historical geopolitical science, Yugoslavia was not technically part of the USSR, but was essentially Soviet because it was heavily dominated by the Soviet Union, which controlled the ruling communist/socialist party in Slovenia until 1991. Melanija was recognized young as an exceptional beauty with the grades and linguistic talent to match. Here in the states, many people falsely assume Melania Trump is just a pretty face and hot body but seldom give her any credit for keen intelligence. After all, why would such a beautiful, intelligent woman subject herself to nude photographs and escort services? This is a woman who speaks five languages, appears to have no dating or relationship history prior to Donald, but had no problem posing for lesbian inspired pornographic photo shoots for male fantasy magazines.  And let’s not forget that upon leaving Slovenia for Milan, her first modeling agency was run by Paolo Zampolli, which just so happens to be the man who introduced Melania to her famous husband.

Now, am I saying Mrs. Trump is a Soviet Spy, one the highly select “Illegals” trained by the SVR and planted in a fantastic spot to tag along with the braggadocios, self-proclaimed billionaire who likes to rub shoulders with every truly powerful person he can manage to squeeze himself into the room with? Even without a presidential bid, Melania would be excellently placed. And let’s face it, she is entirely too smart for a man like Trump who sees nothing past her body and pretty face. But no, I am not saying she is, just that given all the unlikely circumstances, it is questionable and her parents did somehow come into a very comfortable living long prior to her hooking up with the Donald.

Aside from Melania, there have been other Russian or Russian sympathetic influences surrounding the Trump campaign, like his previous Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort. Manafort has aided Russian Sympathizers and Sympathetic foreign leaders and is reported to have been receiving money from Russian related sources even while acting as Trump’s Campaign Chair. The last allegation was the reason Manafort stepped down from that position but he remains a close adviser. There are additional advisers with close relationships to Russia, such as Retired General Michael Flynn, whose has had close proximity to Putin, and financial adviser Michael Cage. Cage was formerly the head of the Meryll Lynch offices in Moscow. And then, there is Michael Caputo. Caputo formerly worked for a Russian Media firm and is attributed with assisting in Putin’s attempts to gain more likability in the United States. Hmm,

Russia has its fingerprints, palm prints and probably even footprints all over Trump. He has legitimate, inarguable business ties , which he attempted to hide. National Security has verified that the Russian government is actively seeking to influence our election and, miraculously, against every conceivable odd, Trump–Donald Trump– is the Republican Nominee. Remember, that is despite the fact that he was never really a Republican in the first place.

So, maybe this all seems a bit far-fetched. Maybe. But everything in this election cycle is. How is any of this normal? How do we have a presidential nominee who has a fraud case and a child rape case pending against them along with 71 other lawsuits sitting in court? We can see the Russian connections everywhere, which is the purpose of this article, to question: why Trump? The potential for war with Russia can likely happen no matter who wins the presidency. Russia can back us into that corner. The real stopper for that is if we have the ability to negotiate with China on our side. Putin is smart enough to know that China must, if not allied with them, remain a neutral party. Unless that avenue is secured, it will not be realistic to move into full scale hostilities. Can Clinton manage the diplomatic miracle of making China an ally against a potential conflict with Russia? Probably not, but she certainly fairs far better than pretty much anyone else.

Note, there is nothing here to believe. It is speculation. This is not so much a conspiracy theory as it represents taking a deeper look into what has happened, what is happening, what may have occurred and what it all means, cumulatively. I have no doubts that Putin’s actions mean something. He is far too methodical a person and leader for them not to. I want to open people to the possibilities which exist, which are not nearly as far fetched as they initially appear. But the point here is not absolute truth, it is about looking deeper and trying to understand what is at play. It is easy to claim our government sold out American workers to China, but you never take the time to consider what it was that they bought. Politics are filled with complicated subtleties and finesse, with skilled understandings of compromise and an acute knowledge of the tides of power and balance. Having an outsider to the political arena sounds like a good thing, but it is a bit like asking a baker to step in for a brain surgeon.

So why bring all this up? Why bring up potential possibilities? Because they matter. Because right or wrong how a person could cope with these scenarios is a realistic part of the job of the President of the United State, as is being able to imagine them and be prepared. The point is that there is so much happening and so much more to consider in every encounter than we, as civilians, can possible imagine. And trust me, I have an awesome imagination. A huge imagination. Seriously,  the biggest imagination you could possibly imagine. Sadly, however, everything I have mentioned is well within the realm of possibility, some within the realms of established facts, and others are plausible possibilities based on current knowledge. One thing is for certain, no president has ever had such a complicit love affair with a country who calls us their enemy as a Trump presidency would. No one has taken seat in the oval office with so much potential to be coerced or manipulated. Make no mistake. A man who can be coerced by blackmail and place the secrecy of his own misdeeds ahead of the security of his country is a traitor. I don’t know if Trump is a traitor or just a man stupid enough to be easily maneuvered and manipulated by a cunning foreign agency. Either sounds absolutely appalling.

Your vote matters. It could matter more than you know. It would be terrible to look back and wonder, “if only I had voted.”

Vote. It is your right and your civic duty, it is the basis of what keeps us free, it is the premise of our equality. I encourage you to vote to keep us free, to ensure equality and to secure our safety, not through fear and deference, but by strength an unity.

We are One Woman, One World.

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!   Author Mishka Williams

Links to related sites and Research


Someone In The Trump Campaign Is Feeding Russian Disinformation Propaganda To The Donald