#metoo, and you…

I know there is a swarm of events happening right now and I have several articles all in the works at once, which has been a constant state of update, rewrite, and looking up something new as things are changing in a constant sweep of action. But I think this is important as well and something that has concerned me.

The #metoo movement, which I completely support and have shared some of my own experiences with sexual assault, is ripping open a festering wound in our nation and letting that poison drain out. It is extremely difficult to share these experiences.

We have been taught to hide them. We have been taught to feel shame. We have been taught that these assaults are somehow our failings. We have been taught it is better to protect our assailant than face the public ridicule a cry for help would bring. We have been taught there is no help. We have been taught and reassured by recent incidents that even should we come forward, if we do not have a witness besides ourselves, or a video or the confession of our attacker, then our witness means nothing.

Sexual assault and molestation have been a bedrock of male dominance in our society. But it has been dependent on our silence. It has been at the mercy of the deception perpetrated against us as women, and even boys, that it is better to suffer alone in silence than suffer public humiliation. And just as with all abusers, we are told no one will believe us. We saw enough and experienced enough to believe this as true.

The problem is that we have been looking at the wrong people. We wanted our parents to believe us; parents that were too frequently more worried about what other people would think if something like that happened in their family. We looked to police who were more apt to ask us what we were wearing and why we went went to a party knowing there would be boys drinking there. We looked to politicians for laws who scoffed and said boys will be boys; who didn’t want to hear about our abuses because they were distasteful and not polite conversation.

We were given reasons upon reasons to remain silent, and no one encouraged us forward. No one said we deserved justice. And the abuse continued. Not just against women, but against children, both boys and girls, as well. that is what silence bought us.

We were traumatized first by the person who violated us, and then again by those who we should have been able to go to for help. Those who have never suffered trauma like that will tell us we should just get over it. Or as Orin Hatch just said, “grow up.” (And Orin, we aren’t going to forget that any time soon.)

I posted a statement on my Facebook feed regarding a personal incident to me in a plea to ask the people I saw demeaning Dr. Blasey Ford to reconsider their abusive actions and explaining to them why it is so offensive. Here is that statement:

Marquel Lavendar Truong

I want to say something extremely important. For all you men, and women, who denigrate Dr. Blasey Ford you need to understand something. For us who survived sexual assault, at least for a great many of us, her testimony was painfully real. It rang with a truth born from our own experience, that isn’t mistakable and can’t be faked. And when I heard Kavanaugh’s testimony, it was blistering. he portrayed to a tee the angry, entitled defiance and the constant battering of, “no one will believe you,” that I heard so many times, that perpetuated my own abuse. I did tell. I did try to be helped. I did try to find a savior. But there wasn’t one. I was the one ridiculed. I was the one berated. I was called the liar, even though I was far too young to even have the knowledge to make something like that up. You all need to remember, whether you believe her or not, that we take this so seriously because it is about us. It is about every one of us without witnesses, without proof, without signed affidavits. It is about us who reached out and were called lying whores. it is about all of us who were too afraid to reach out. When you dismiss and ridicule her, you are doing that to us, also. Whether it is your intent or not. You sound exactly like the people who either ridiculed us if we did speak out, or the people we were so terrified of that we stayed silent. I’ve heard people who made false claims before. It is so easy to tell for a survivor because of what they do and don’t remember and how they remember it. I’m not saying everyone’s experience is the same or they react the same, but your mind functions differently in the act of trauma. you don’t recall the events like you would going to the grocery store yesterday. We are so adamant because, when she spoke, we felt it with her. I knew she understood. And when Brett Kavanaugh spoke, he sounded exactly like the young man who hurt me: indignant, angry, blaming others, and entitled. It wasn’t the exact same words, obviously, but it was the same reaction. So, when you ridicule Dr. Blasey Ford, when you make fun of her, you are no different than the adults I sought help from who ridiculed a little girl (I was in first or second grade). You are the reason abuse continued. You are the reason teenage girls who are raped are afraid to tell anyone. You need to understand that we take this so personally because it is about us. You need to understand that. You need to consider that before you get too carried away in your partisanship. This is not partisan. This is us, we who have survived, desperately trying to make our world a little safer. I don’t think it is too much to ask that you understand exactly who you are so flippantly degrading. If you have ever sat on a jury, then you will know that you are instructed to listen to testimony and that only you can be the judge of the weight that you give it. A single testimony, without any other witnesses or any other proof, is enough to convict someone if they are found by those listening to be more truthful. In most instances, a victim who can positively identify his or her attacker, and can testify to such, is considered a strong witness. I listened to both and I found her far more credible than him. And I have more experience than most to question and ascertain the veracity of her testimony. But no matter what you believe, please, show some respect to the survivors who take this very personally.

I place this here for full disclosure of what I have said in this regard. Also, because it brings to my next point. I have spoken very little to anyone about these instances in my life since learning my voice did not matter at such a young age. I do so now, and really for the first time so publicly, because of my outrage at the horrific treatment a woman is receiving for the audacity of coming forward, of sharing something so personal and making herself so vulnerable to the exact humiliation I have felt before. I know exactly what it is like to speak out and be called a liar. To be made fun of, ridiculed and called names like a cunt or a whore. Words a little girl should never have to hear, let alone have them directed at her by the very people who should be protecting her.

And because I know that pain, I also know why so many women are silent. That pain and fear are embedded deep into our psyche, and for some, they will never be able to speak of it, even in whispers to their own pillows. I get it. I really do.

While I am thankful I have come to a place in my life where I feel able to speak, where I am able to dismiss without care the sentiment of those that cared not for my safety, I want to remind everyone else who is a part of this movement, that not everyone has found that place for themselves. You may know someone who has been assaulted or molested, and perhaps even confided in you, but please do not pressure them to bring their pain forward and make it public. If they do choose to speak out, please be a bedrock of love and acceptance for them. But also remember, for some, the trauma is more than they can face on stage, under the glaring lights of public scrutiny. Yes. Scrutiny. It is a well chosen word, because that is exactly how it feels. It feels like you are confessing a crime for which you will then be judged.  It is painful and so difficult. For those that are ready, it can be part of a larger healing process. But for those who are not, to feel pressured to speak would only ensue more trauma.

So, those of us who are ready, we will speak. If you are not ready, you do not have to. Let me say that again. You do not have to share anything with anyone unless you feel you both need and want to do so and whatever reason compels you either way is just. You do not need a reason at all.

If you know someone who has suffered sexual assault, be their friend, be their sister or their brother, be someone they can trust. that is the most important thing. Do not pressure them. Do not bring it up to them. Just be fiercely accepting of who they are and if they want to talk, they will. If they don’t, love them anyway.

Those who do come forward, those who seek out justice, those who speak out, we will be the voice for the millions who can’t. Most of us won’t see justice in the form of our predator being found guilty and incarcerated. For me, that is really impossible and I believe that is true for a majority. But I will look to another form of justice, something I can be a part of. I will continue to work to try to make a better world for my children and someday their children:  A better world for myself and my friends and family and all the people I do not know and never will. I cannot change my past nor what happened to me. I can never see justice  executed. But maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else find justice of their own. Maybe I can help someone else not need to seek justice at all.

And that is an end to which we all can work, whether we share our trauma in public or keep it hidden in the recesses of nightmares. Even if you cannot share your experience, remember you are still important. You still have a voice and you can still help others. If in no other way, you can vote.

Find your peace. We love you. Stay strong.

Ann Lavendar Truong

links:

https://metoomvmt.org/

Morality of Sex is the agenda, not Sanctity of Life: further proof in the Kavanaugh ‘confidential’ documents

I have previously hit on the topic that Brett Kavanaugh was a poor choice for women’s rights. That was based overtly on what we already knew from public records. But what difference a day can make, right? I have fully reviewed the “confidential” emails released under protest by Cory Booker (and thank you, Senator, for putting the public ahead of sheer partisan cover-ups).

Now, can I just say, “Wow.”

The depth of this problem is so disturbing and it bleeds out into every marginalized group which exists. So much so, that I can literally just quote Kavanaugh as saying (or actually writing, because yes, he actually wrote this)

“The desire to remedy societal discrimination is not a compelling interest,”.

Yeah. He actually wrote that on April 23, 2002 within a text discussing the Office of Native American Affairs and then specifically Native Hawaiians.

Just a year and three days previous he penned an email against school funding to help minority communities and at-risk children receive after school reading programs. And his position there is even worse than it sounds.

He does not believe the government should have any involvement in anti-discrimination laws or fund any programs meant to undermine those practices in our society. He also doesn’t want the states, outside the influence of federal funding, to be allowed to have or fund educational programs which target reading improvement for at-risk minority children. So much for the federal government not telling states what they can and cannot do. The GOP is showing over and over again that States Rights really only applies so long as the state is doing what they want.

This is horrible. and we haven’t even gotten to the anti-women stuff yet.

Let me make this perfectly clear. There is no grey middle between discrimination and equality. There is a clear right and a clear wrong. There is no middle ground between Nazi/Alt Right/Racist, homophobic, misogynistic bigots and decent human beings. There, again, is a clear right and a clear wrong. Both of the wrongs here are leftovers from a not-so-pretty past and realities in the world we face today. But we, as a people, are the ones who can push the change in our society to denounce and ostracize those who seek to belittle or deny others the freedoms they have every right to enjoy. Brett Kavanaugh has no interest in the remedy to societal discrimination, as he so eloquently states the callousness of his true intent. However, this step-back of government involvement does not extend to religious entities, where he supports government funding of Christian entities, such as Teen Challenge, which use a faith-based approach to drug addiction. To be clear, Bretty Boy thinks it is perfectly okay to give federal money to a Christian organization so it can preach religious dogma to vulnerable children. Now, nothing against being Christian, and if you are already Christian or want to be Christian and utilize their service in that way, great, but it should not be government funded for them to preach to people and spread their doctrine. I would say it is especially egregious to do so to children suffering from addiction because both their physical and mental states make them very vulnerable to manipulation. Wouldn’t it be much more appropriate to get them sober and fit first so they can make informed decisions regarding their entire life? Just a thought. But I guess that last part is an argument for another day. Today is the problem that Brett is a-okay with tossing federal money at conservative Christian groups to help them promote their religion to vulnerable children under the guise of ‘helping them.’

This alone should disqualify anyone from holding a bench seat in our judicial system, period. But there is more, so much more that is, frankly, disturbing in ways I could not have imagined before. We had a small insight to what these emails subsequently revealed when he chose to refer to birth control contraception as ‘abortion inducing drugs.”

And no, he was not just referencing the morning after pill or medications specifically used to terminate an actual pregnancy. The morning after pill does not do that, just so you know.

This slip up was a definitive insight into the real strategy of the religious right (RR). In most instances, it is easy to paint a distinct line between right and wrong when it comes to discrimination. But the RR has spent considerable time and money promoting propaganda to try to muddy the waters around a woman’s choice and right to make decisions about her own body. They tried, with some success,  to paint a picture that would appeal to men and many women, playing on heartstrings, on our natural desire to protect children. They call it pro-life or Sanctity of Life. And just so you know, it is bullshit. Saving babies has never been their agenda. Nor has it ever been accomplished. The facts don’t lie. Evidence shows that contraceptive availability and sex education are the most dominant factors in reducing unwanted pregnancies and, subsequently, abortions. Their rhetoric is just a way to muddy the waters and try to appeal to people who have neither the time nor the desire (and until recently even the means) to dig deeper to see any underlying agenda. But it is there and has been creeping out more and more as the minority RR become more powerful and emboldened.

I’ve said it before and I will keep repeating it until there is a constitutional amendment protecting women’s rights to their own bodies, the GOP religious elite are not interested in saving babies, they want to control the morality of sex, and women, in our society. They want to inflict everyone else with their religious dogma (which so many of them do not even remotely abide by). And in the Kavanaugh emails, is further proof.

In these emails, Brett Kavanaugh becomes privy to and a conspirator in the task to persuade judicial nominees under then President G. W. Bush to participate in an:

“off-the-record, invitation-only, confidential summit meeting of leaders of about 50 different pro-life organizations.”

The “Life forum” goes on to state,

“You haven’t heard of the Forum because in its nearly 12 years of existence it has not appeared in print.”

Translation: Secret anti-woman society. But it gets more disturbing. Here is a rather scary quote tied up in the string of emails regarding their request to meet with two particular judicial nominees.

“This unofficial leaders group will be key in shaping the reaction to the President’s S. Ct. nominees and communicating in general on nominations in general.”

Now to really understand how bad that is, you have to take a look at the agenda this Christian Coalition sets out in their email request. It says,

“The group includes all the legitimate streams of the movement: educational, political and care ministries, and deals with life issues, ranging from abstinence to bioethics, all the way through what is usually considered “life”.

“Over the years, our agenda has had a recurring  item on the topic of judicial nominations. “

Did you catch that “bioethics” part. That’s where your contraceptive choices come in. They later go on,

“It is important that this group have a high level of confidence in the decision making process of the Administration.”

And it gets even better.

“I believe if the White House and the Department of Justice were to honor us with their presence, it would go a long way to building a good working relationship with this important part of the coalition.

“I would appreciate any influence you could bring to bear to speak to these gentlemen,” [referencing the two nominees] “or their deputies, to dispose them to look with favor on an invitation to the Life Forum on January 23.”

Brett Kavanaugh did not take a constitutional stand here. He did not cite separation of Church and State. He didn’t stand up for women or the law of the land. In the email string, it appears the only question is about who should attend and if deputies would be more advisable than the actual nominees.  This is a religious group with extreme views on women’s rights regarding every aspect of their reproductive decisions.  This email supports Kavanaugh’s sentiment regarding contraceptives being abortion inducing, because that is the position behind the word “bioethics”. That word can be and has also been used in the religious right’s fight against such advancements in reproductive sciences as en vitro fertilization. Many people may not recall the spit and fire rebellion of the religious right wanting the procedure banned or not approved by the FDA because they thought children conceived in such ways would be godless and born without souls. These are the same people. So, yeah, so much for the sanctity of life.

It has never been about life. It has always been about control, and more specifically, controlling sex in our society. This has implications which reach far, far beyond just women’s rights. Why do they want laws against homosexuality and gay marriage? Because it is sex they don’t approve of. Why did they try to deny birth certificates to the babies of unwed mothers with the specific purpose to prevent those children from ever being able to receive any type of government benefit? Because a child born out of wedlock is sex they don’t approve of. It certainly doesn’t adhere to the idea of sanctity of life. They did not care if the child starved. Why did they push initially in the Trumpcare agenda to remove women’s health from required coverage on insurance policies, such as mammograms? Nothing about saving lives there. In that same proposal, they moved to allow the denial of otherwise covered maternity care and childbirth IF THE MOTHER WAS UNMARRIED. How is that preserving the sanctity of life?

These are Kavanaugh’s bed partners. These are the people he represents instead of the more than 80% of US citizens who support a woman’s choice and right to decide when or if she wants to become a mother, or the private decision between a couple whether or not to start a family. These are the people who want to deny abortions for any reason, deny birth control, deny voluntary sterilization (just of women, though. I can’t find anything where they want to deny vasectomies to men, or prostate exams or even ED treatments like Viagra.) These are the people that want to overturn marriage equality. These are the people that want to allow LGBT discrimination.  Brett Kavanaugh said that Roe vs. Wade is not settled law and that the Supreme Court can revisit and override the previous rulings, and even stated that he thought that ruling was unconstitutional and outside the parameters of the court. Marriage Equality is only protected by a Supreme Court ruling, just like women’s reproductive rights, be them as they may.

You know, the Op Ed in the Times is great and all. It is good, I guess, to know that there are people trying to prevent our current POTUS from completely destroying the country with his impetuous nature and complete lack of responsibility for his actions, though if they really feel he is that unstable, the 25th amendment is the more patriotic and legal way to handle that. It is so difficult because I’m scared to death of what Trump might do without those constraints, but at the same time, it is a terrible precedent, especially when there is a viable alternative already set forth in our laws. I know the idea was to avoid a constitutional crisis, but instead, they have created one that is both larger and more damaging to the legitimacy of our government. But this appointment to the Supreme Court is equally as dangerous to the fabric of our nation. When they talk about ‘Make America Great Again,’ this is how they achieve their idea of that goal, -through stacking the Supreme Court with like-minded individuals-and it is back to a time when white men controlled everything. Contraceptives weren’t legal, abortion was illegal, being gay, period, was illegal, there were laws which even specified ‘deviant sex’ (such as oral and anal) as illegal behavior. Mixed marriages were illegal. Women were shunned as unwed mothers and their children were decried “illegitimate,” which is a term I truly despise. Racism was an accepted part of life and separate but equal was perfectly reasonable. With Kavanaugh believing discrimination isn’t important, women don’t deserve autonomy, poor minority districts shouldn’t receive extra funding to help children learn and succeed and his sentiments that Native Americans should not receive the considerations entitled to them by treaties, along with his outright failure to uphold the separation of Church and State, it is safe to call Brett Kavanaugh a like-minded individual to these secret society Life Forum members.

And this is all outside the most obvious reason for his nomination: that he suddenly has decided he doesn’t believe indictments or charges should be able to be brought on a sitting president, a sentiment he did not have concerning Bill Clinton. In fact, his views on Clinton were that he should be held accountable and face removal from office on the adultery scandal, alone, outside that of the perjury allegation. His written review rubber stamps four years of dictatorship where the POTUS can’t be held accountable for any atrocious action. Can you think of anything which encourages corruption more than making it illegal to hold every person in office accountable to the law?

If all this doesn’t scare you, it should.

I, on the other hand, am not scared. I’m terrified. With Kavanaugh confirmed, over the next year we could see a dramatic change in our lives with little recourse to fix it. The disaster of Trump’s legacy could haunt us for an entire generation or more.

Do what you can to resist this. This is not about party politics. This is about human decency and the rule of law. If you think it won’t affect you, you are terribly wrong.

CALL YOUR SENATORS. MAKE NOISE. DEMAND BETTER. AND IN NOVEMBER: VOTE

We are One Woman, One World.

Call (202) 224-3121 to demand your Senator vote NO on Kavanaugh and YES to equality for all.

A vote against Brett Kavanaugh is a vote against discrimination.

resources: 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cc4u94lgyncygn6/AABPGJkIiq5ND7KJuX7kXUX9a?dl=0

https://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a23012503/kavanaugh-roe-v-wade-abortion-inducing-drugs/

http://act.boldprogressives.org/survey/reject_trump_scotus_gwa/?source=fba-ld

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/07/bookerethics-probedocument-release-810647

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/09/06/sen_cory_booker_im_knowingly_violating_the_rules_to_release_kavanaugh_document.html

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/judge-brett-kavanaugh-should-be-impeached-for-lying-during-his-confirmation-hearings.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/09/07/brett-kavanaugh-most-dramatic-moments-supreme-court-confirmation-hearings/1221803002/

 

 

 

 

To those against investigating Trump:

Donald Trump is under investigation because he lied, and all the people around him lied, and about things like dealing with foreign agents. He is under investigation because of his actions and to ensure, one way or the other, that we know what happened. If he breaks the law he deserves what he gets. I am all for holding every politician accountable for their actions, Republican or Democrat.
Trump has filled his cabinet with swamp monsters enriching themselves at OUR expense. That is a fact. And after claiming to you that he would drain the swamp, look at who he has appointed, repeatedly. Look at how many times he has lied to YOU.
You may be perfectly fine with him lying to you all the time, but I am not. You may be perfectly fine with him lining his pocket at tax payer expense, but I am not. You may be fine with his serious violations of campaign finance law, and we aren’t talking about accidental or record keeping mistakes or a contribution that was incorrectly labeled which would just result in a fine and happens from time to time. I could understand those things. No. We are talking about actual conspiracy to commit a felony, and then committing that felony while knowingly discussing exactly how to hide his tracks on it. It was not a clerical error, a bookkeeping error, or even someone who just didn’t completely understand and filed it wrong. It was an outright intentional felony. You may not care about that, but do not pretend you are about law enforcement if you want to look the other way.
Brave men and women put their lives on the line every single day to uphold our laws. Every Day! Those laws have to mean something. They can’t just apply to the lower classes. They can’t just apply to the poor and the middle class. This isn’t a parking ticket. FFS, they are throwing people and children in prisons at our border for a MISDEMEANOR while our POTUS is caught committing felonies? If you commit a felony, what happens to you? If you are a veteran do they say you served your country so you should be let off? No, they throw your guilty ass in jail.
If we do not hold our political leaders to at least the same threshold of laws as our citizens, then we no longer have a government of the people at all. Then, we have rulers vaguely veiled by the pretense of elections. Get it? Many of you fought for this country. Did you fight for it to allow our democracy to die? Killed from the inside while an impassioned mob screams to make them great again?
Democracy doesn’t die quietly. It dies with the cheers and applause of people who think they are getting their way and will be the last to realize what they lost. So you can think what you want, but for so long as you don’t care about the rule of law, your opinion means nothing. You will just be a cheerleader for the demise of everything I hold sacred.
And I will keep fighting for your freedom no matter how much you don’t like it. No matter how much you will never appreciate or understand that.
Do you teach your children that if another person commits a crime it is okay for them to do it, too? I didn’t. So how is this considered a legitimate excuse for Trump committing crimes? There is no excuse for crimes, period.
We know for a fact our elections were compromised and that Russian agents were able to access the voter registrars in many states. It has now been proven that many of our polling locations, themselves, were at risk. The House and the Senate had bi-partisan support to fund and implement new security measures to help secure our election processes and the White House, TRUMP, came out against it without explanation. The White House squashed it, why? That is a serious question. With absolute knowledge that our process has been compromised, the White House does not want action taken immediately to circumvent it. Think about that.
Stop thinking partisan. Where is your allegiance? To our country or to your party? It cannot be both. It is not the same thing.
You can call me names, be mad, whatever you want. But I will keep working and fighting for you. For our kids. For my family, whether they appreciate it or not.
The law matters. It is why I wanted Bill Clinton held responsible for his actions. And he was. He was investigated to all ends on far less implication and a much lower standard. But I am okay with that. Hillary Clinton was investigated over and over and over again, and all those investigations ultimately came to the same conclusion. You don’t even want to hold POTUS to the same scrutiny as you held Hillary?
When were you upset about them investigating her regarding Benghazi? The first investigation? The second? The third? The fourth? The fifth? The sixth? 9/11 had less investigations. Iran/Contra had less investigations. Watergate had less investigations. Bill had less investigations. And she wasn’t even the president or even the only person making the decisions, but she was the only one investigated. Over and over. But you are okay with that over just the suspicion she might have had a what? Another motivation?
Yet we have the POTUS outright committing a felony, caught on tape, with the purpose of influencing his election and an administration and campaign riddled with contacts and meetings with a foreign government that, lo and behold, we know for a fact initiated and executed an illicit campaign to disrupt our election in the favor of Trump. How can we NOT investigate that? Especially when all these people intentionally LIED about those meetings repeatedly until they were caught. Then they just didn’t remember? Did they commit perjury and crimes to hide innocuous events? Seriously?
Take the Trump Tower meeting. Have you looked at what Trump has said about that? Really? it started out that it never happened. Then it wasn’t with Russians. Then it was about adoptions and Trump had no knowledge until after the news broke. Then it was Trump crafting the false response to the public. All along it was denying collusion. Then the emails surfaced. Now even the president admits the purpose of the meeting was to meet with a foreign agent to obtain dirt on his political opponent. That’s a crime even though he tries to say it isn’t. And the truth is, all we have is Trump’s word that no information was passed. And that has been disputed, as one person who attended that meeting states otherwise and says they were delivered a folder. Do I believe that? I don’t know. You don’t know. And honestly, it doesn’t really matter because the POTUS made it clear their intent was to take information if it was useful. That is why they were there. That is willful collusion. That is a willful criminal act against our nation.
THAT IS ILLEGAL.
Very illegal. The emails prove that they knew going into the meeting that it was to discuss Russian government support for Trump’s campaign. And they lied about that until they were caught. The story keeps changing every time they are caught in a lie. So if you think there is no reason to be investigating collusion with a foreign government, then you are intentionally and willfully ignoring our duty as citizens to demand accountability. You are a willful accomplice to the degradation of our democracy. You are a cheerleader to the demise of our rule of law. Is that your intent?
Any rational, non partisan person can see the need to investigate this. I was a moderate leaning Republican until the Tea Party take-over, when the party just went places I could not go and that I felt were counter to the base premise of conservatism. (Less government mandates on my personal decisions and lower spending) Now the Republicans spend as much or more than Democrats and they want far more intrusive laws to ensure that they only allow my personal decisions that they agree with. I don’t want to live in a theocracy. This is why I left the party. We should not be loyal to our party. We should be loyal to our nation, but that does not mean loyalty to crooked politicians who think they are above the law.
Mueller isn’t even a democrat at all. The majority of Americans want the investigation because the rule of law matters. Does it matter to you? If it matters when it comes to Clinton, then why doesn’t it matter when it is the POTUS? Explain that.
Trump’s campaign conspiring to collude with a foreign government to influence our “free” election is actual treason. Do you think Russia is offering something for nothing? Does it not, at the very least, put Trump in the position of being blackmailed by his former KGB Russian counterpart? Did you ever think about that? Have you really ever thought about that? To the veterans reading this, when you were serving and willing to give your life for this country, was it for this? Was it so the POTUS could put himself or our nation in that position? He has betrayed your service.
So go ahead, be his cheerleader. Turn your back on your country because by dismissing these things, that is what you are doing. I am supporting my country by demanding answers. There has been zero evidence that Mueller’s investigation has been anything other than impartial and a search for facts. Evidence. Not talking head conjecture. Nothing. just posturing on the part of Trump and his cronies suggests otherwise. But there is NO EVIDENCE he has been unfair, partisan or bias. In fact, he has uncovered a great deal of corruption and our nation is better served by it.
Powerful people do not have the right to break our laws. You can pick Trump’s side if you want, but my side is the American people. I couldn’t give a crap about party in this. It is a clear and present danger to our nation if our POTUS is seriously compromised by a hostile foreign government. Do you get that? This is not an issue where reasonable people can disagree. Reasonable people say let it be investigated and see what we find.
Here is a newsflash for you. There is no “version of the truth” where it is okay to commit felonies or where it is okay to work with a foreign government to undermine our election process. Despite what this administration would have you believe, truth is truth. And the law is the law. If you support the rule of law on the streets of our nation, then you should support it in the most powerful places of our government. Without it, we are no longer free. Without those laws, we are ruled and subservient. If we are unable to hold those in public trust accountable for circumventing our deliberated laws meant to keep their power in check and our nation free from undue and corrupt influences, then we have lost everything but the semblance of democracy. And it is dying at the cheers of crowds too disillusioned by promises of their own greatness to look any further than the compliments lavished upon them.
You can agree on some of Trump’s policies and still see the logic in this investigation. Liking his policy should not equate to ignoring the law or his breaking of the law being an acceptable exchange.
And to those who want to ignore Trump’s potential crimes because they dislike Pence: you are no better. I don’t like Pence, either. I am positive I would not like 99% of anything he would do. Policy wise, I think he would elect to turn our country backwards and represent only a small segment of our population. But that does not change my position on Trump. Period. If I were willing to ignore Trump’s crimes because I do not like Pence, then I am a traitor to the rule of law. Then, I am a traitor to our democracy. Then, I am a willing accomplice that we should turn a blind eye to corruption because we don’t like a political alternative. It would mean I am okay with corrupt politicians and a separate set of standards. It would mean I no longer believe in a government by the people for the people. Whether or not I like Pence is completely separate on this issue. I am not willing to sacrifice the integrity of our democracy and what that means simply because I do not like a politician. What I will do, should Pence be forced into office, is protest unjust policies. I will continue to fight for a free nation which recognizes the rights of everyone and treats all people with equal consideration under the law. That is what I will do.
So where do you stand? Why do you stand there? Why don’t you want to know the extent of this corruption? Why does that scare you so much? It should scare you, but it really does matter why. Are you just afraid it will hurt your party and its influence? Because I’m afraid of the damage which may have been caused to our nation as a result of these crimes. Now you tell me, who is the patriot? Who is actually putting their country first?
Demand better. Seek justice. We just want the truth.
Truth is truth.
We are One Woman, One World.
Ann Lavendar Truong

The Simple Truth

Hello everyone! Me again. Today I’ll be pretty quick and to the point. There seems to be much ado right now about what is truth. And I’ve been sitting, thinking, and pondering how to approach it.  Truth is, in reality many things, but not necessarily all of them at the same time.

Truth is gritty.
Truth is uncomfortable.
Truth is not always pleasant.
Truth is often difficult to hear and hard to accept.
Truth is freedom from deceit. 
Truth is impartial and doesn't care about your prejudices.
Truth has no race, religion or sexual orientation.
Truth can be difficult to speak.
Truth is simply what is or was.
Truth is stationary and has no opinion.
Truth is not a compromise because it cannot be changed.
Truth is freedom from deceit.
Truth is neither transparent nor hidden.
Truth cannot be false.
Truth is infallible and doesn't depend on how many people believe it.
Truth is unaltered by your opinion.
Truth is what happened, not how you feel about it.
Truth is simply what is true.

So, when is truth not the truth?

Never.

Don’t be confused because lies are pretty. Lies tell us what we want to hear. Lies bolster a preconceived idea and placate, rather than challenge. Lies are meant to feed you a deception you will enjoy and distract you from an unpleasant truth. But no matter how often a lie is repeated, it can never be true. It will always be a lie. It will always be a deception. The truth has no opinion. It simply is true.

Be vigilant.

Resist.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

photo credit: NBC News, Meet the Press

Pawns in the Game

Hello everyone. It’s me again. Okay, you don’t have to read that so dispondantly. Let’s try again with some pep in that mental reading voice. Hello! I’m back!

Much better.

Now we can get down to business.

There is a great deal of concern about Trumpaloompa’s Supreme Court Justice pick, Brett Kavanaugh. Some have been familiar with fighting his work for some time, while others met the announcement with a big round of, “who?” Well, if you aren’t familiar with him and are currently curled up in a ball with your favorite blanky and stuffed animal whispering, “Please be a dream. Let me wake up,” over and over again, begging the universe as a whole that you’ve been stuck in a coma-induced nightmare for the last year and half, then let me sum up Brett for you. Bad. Bad choice for women. Bad choice for LGBT. Bad choice for voting rights. Bad choice for if you would like our nation to remain a democracy that holds every person accountable to the law, up to and including the President of the United States. So, bad if you don’t want to rubber stamp four years of dictatorship after every election. But we are going to focus on the first one today. Okay, not just Bad. The bad for women one. But not in the way you think.

I’m not going to be here to bash old Brett today. He’s a crappy, ultra-conservative, far outside the mainstream, Republican. Just exactly what we would expect from a Trump pick.  We would be having this discussion about basically anyone the Ultra-Conservative, Religious Right throws our way. And that is kinda the point. The Right Wing Conservatives are not the only bad guys in this article.

Suddenly, once again, and with ever-increasing zeal, the Right has been pushing hard against women’s rights. We have seen so many attacks both through this administration and the policies they have proffered and from the empowered conservative minority. Exactly as we should have expected, and most of us did.

But who is to blame? Well, to some degree, we are. Whoa! Did I just say that? Oh, yeah, I did. Why would I say such a thing? Well, because we settled for good enough. We settled for a Supreme Court Ruling to guarantee our reproductive rights. We have had since January 22, 1973 to establish something more permanent; to guarantee our rights to our own bodies. But instead of pushing for this, we put our trust in a court, in a court whose justices would change over years, in a court where the decision could be challenged again and overturned. We left our rights thrown into the turmoil and unsolidified body of political whims. We have been political pawns for both sides of this coin.

“Both sides?” You might ask. Yes. Many minority groups have won their freedoms initially in the courts. But did they leave their freedom bound to that decision, alone? No. We enacted constitutional amendments to safeguard them. Now, women are not exactly a minority group, are they? No, they are roughly half the population. What women ‘are’ is a subjugated half the population continually told we must depend on someone to safeguard our precious, human rights or those rights could be swept away. And far more easily than they were established.

Women have been as much pawns to the Democrats as they have to Republicans. Election after election, for more than forty-five years we have witnessed Republicans playing fictitious heartstrings claiming they want to protect babies, when all they really want is to implement their so-called Biblical ideologies into the bedrock of our laws and keep firmly women in their place in our patriarchal society. But what did the Dems do, you ask? Well, their actions, in reality, are almost as bad. They have used women’s reproductive rights as part of their talking points, making it a part of their party platform to gain female votes. They encourage women to vote for them to ensure their rights are “safeguarded.” But they did not push, and keep pushing, for the only thing that could really protect a woman’s right to autonomy: a constitutional amendment.

Approximately 80% of the United States supports a woman’s freedom of reproductive choice, including abortion of non-viable fetuses, plan B, birth control, and voluntary sterilization. Almost everyone would be horrified at the thought of having to disclose their sexual activity, measures of birth control or reproductive procedures on an employment application. We have laws safeguarding the medical history and treatment of individuals which prevent employers from accessing medical records and/or using it as a determination for employment, and the potential employee must only disclose disabilities which might prevent them from being capable of performing the tasks required for the position. Those disclosures are a safety issue where people could be harmed. For instance, if you are blind, then you probably shouldn’t be a pizza delivery driver. If you have seizures, then you might not should work in a Discotheque.

But there is no equivocation between an illness or condition which could potentially result in injury or death and the reproductive choices of a woman made between her and her doctor. The latter has no affect on the employer nor other employees. But the Democratic Party has used Choice as a rally cry to charge women into repetitive battles to keep their rights. They kept us teetering on a high wire act with the constant threat of falling and no safety net.

Now we are about to fall and go splat. Thanks a lot.

But they aren’t rights, are they? I mean, they should be, but they aren’t. Women do not have freedom. Inalienable rights are something that can’t be taken away by a Supreme Court Justice, or any court. They are protected. And they do not need the election of a particular party to safeguard them. There have been plenty of opportunities to push these demands forward, to change the dialogue, and to make equality a priority. But where have they done this? Instead, they have acted in defense, constantly. While I can appreciate attempting to defend our rights, it is not the same thing as ensuring them. The truth is that the Republicans benefit from attacking women’s reproductive rights by espousing religious dogma and the Democrats benefit from the constant attack by scaring women into action. Why should the Left change this tactic if it works to energize women into voting for them? It is a built in money-maker.

It is the fact that women are still fighting the battle for autonomy of their own bodies, something men have without question, which says we are not equal. We are still second class citizens with almost, but not quite, the same rights as men.

I’m certainly not saying to discard your ballots. Nor am I suggesting to vote for those who would take your freedoms and throw them away. But we need to hold those we elect to a higher accountability. We need this fight to happen. The fact is that should Trumpster’s pick -Bretty-boy- be confirmed, the only hope for women to overcome this mess and establish any meaningful permanence to reproductive freedom will be through amending the constitution. It is the one thing no court can change.

Oh, and LGBT, you are probably next. Your rights to non discrimination, to marriage, to adoption, to your employer staying out of your sex life, those are on the chopping block, too. Any freedoms safeguarded by the Supreme Court decisions of the past are not set in stone. Those freedoms are illusions, as easily, more easily in fact, swept away as they were established.

We can no longer afford to be pawns in these political power games. Our freedoms and rights are not prizes, nor gifts. If we are going to be forced to fight, yet again, we must fight for something more than simply staying an execution. We must fight for permanence. We must fight the most difficult battle, and win it, to ensure our daughters won’t have to fight it, and theirs again.

This is a game of chess, no doubt, but we must stop allowing ourselves to be the pawns of those seeking power, when in truth, we are more powerful, we are strong; we are queens.

Resist. Fight. Demand better.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar Truong

photo credit: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/46091596162659554/?lp=true

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

AnnLavendar.com     LeeLooPub.com

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When we called the White House a daycare, this is not what we meant.

It is difficult to even know where to start on this one. I know I have been quiet a while, not intentionally ignoring the world, just working on deadlines that have consumed my time. You know, my day job. But this is so egregious I have to set work aside for a few moments. I cannot allow this to pass and be swept away by the next tidal wave of stupidity this administration throws out to consume and dull our sense of morality and justice.

It has become our nation’s policy, under the “Trump” administration, to kidnap immigrant children from their parents. The parents are told the children are going for a bath, and are carted away in horror and fear to a separate concentration camp, without the consent of their parents or even knowing if they will ever see their family again. Maybe calling it a concentration camp ruffles your feathers, feels a little too uncomfortable. Maybe you’d feel better with ‘internment camp’. Well, it sure as hell isn’t a summer or day camp. It isn’t government sponsored daycare, either.

By the admission of the administration, this tactic has been employed to discourage “mothers” from entering our country with their children. It is punishment of the cruelest form. Oh, but to hear Trump talk, he says this “law” is the fault of Democrats. If only those pesky democrats would break down and approve his wall, then there would be no need for kidnapping children.

Yes, I did say kidnapping. That’s what it is when you take a child from their parents and then demand something before you give them back. This is not the fault of Democrats. And it is not a law. This administration, and the GOP in totality for harboring them, is responsible 100% for their own actions. This is not a law, it is a policy of the Trump administration. It is a scare and control tactic. Trump behaves like an abusive spouse, telling Democrats it is their fault this is happening, if only they would give him what he wanted, then he wouldn’t have to do terrible things.

Trump is responsible. The buck stops there, with him. He most certainly can change that policy, since it is his administration which enacted it to begin with. Take a better look at reality. We were not stealing children and locking them up in abandoned Walmarts or tent camps on military bases under any other administration in our history. Oh wait… that isn’t really correct, now is it?

Our government kidnapped tens of thousands, possible many more, Native American children in an attempt to stamp out their heritage, culture, religion, and identity. But this isn’t the same, right? These are criminals, right? They broke the law, right?

There is no justification here. Who the hell are we becoming? We are not the shining city set upon the hill, the place of hope. We are degrading into a failed experiment. The GOP is responsible for this atrocity. They are responsible for holding children ransom to obtain congressional votes for policies which could not win favor on the merit of their value. This is quite literally the most appalling and disturbing thing I have seen from our government in my lifetime. There is no scandal in modern history more disturbing than the bluntness of this, the complete concession to use horror tactics directly against children for political expedience.

The United States is not, nor has it ever been, a perfect nation. We have our share of atrocities we have committed, our own form of Imperialism and Expansionism. But eventually, we began to evolve. The Great Melting Pot became the home of refugees, immigrants from every corner of the world. And though painfully slow, we began to change, to better ourselves. We took steps, sometimes teetering baby ones and sometimes giant leaps, toward the realization of a truly equal society of acceptance and tolerance. Sometimes we landed poorly on those leaps and twisted an ankle, setting progress back a bit, but overall, we kept a forward momentum.

Right now, we are no longer looking forward to becoming the best version of ourselves. Our nation has turned its back on that progress and turned firmly around. We are no better today than we were when we stole Native American children from their families and tribes. Seems like we can’t get past repeating our history of stealing brown people’s children.

If this state sponsored kidnapping of children doesn’t bother you, then you are someone I really don’t want to know. If this doesn’t bring you some element of shame, then your sense of morality is purely corrupt. I cannot fathom supporting any policy so cruel, inhumane, and deeply sinister in conception, implementation, and intent.

And Trump is trying to pretend like he has no choice. There is always a choice. You, Trump, chose this path, chose to enact this policy, and you can certainly choose to end it.

Please, please, take a moment to act, to speak out, to demand we be better than this.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar

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Echoes of warnings: so it begins

Wasn’t it just yesterday kids walked out all over the country to protest gun violence and demand reasonable gun control actions… which do not involve putting more guns in schools and arming teachers? Yeah, I am sure it was. My own son wrote a brief piece regarding exactly that and his concerns with arming teachers with loaded weapons because he simply doesn’t blindly trust every teacher out there.

Well, now I stumbled across this Washington Post article from yesterday evening. It appears that Tuesday, March 13, just one day before students walked out, a teacher, Dennis Alexander, at Seaside High School in Monterey California “accidentally” discharged a weapon in a classroom, injuring a seventeen year old student. Despite the fact the teacher is a reserve police officer and has had firearm training,  he saw fit to exhibit extremely poor judgment by first bringing an unauthorized firearm to class, second by not visually inspecting the firearm to ensure it was not loaded, then by discharging the firearm intentionally in the ceiling when he said he thought it was unloaded. Debris fell on the student and a bullet fragment lodged in his neck. The teacher further demonstrated poor judgment by not dismissing the injured student to be seen by medical staff, dismissing the class or even reporting the incident. The parents had to call the police to initiate an investigation and, after school, take their son to the emergency room for treatment where the bullet fragment was removed from his neck. The school did not notify the parents.

So, not only did this teacher exhibit poor judgment, but the entire school did as well. They did not notify the police nor the parents of the children affected. Reports indicate two additional students had minor injuries from falling debris.

In an echo of my warning from yesterday, trusting a teacher to teach is one thing, trusting a teacher with a loaded gun in a classroom is completely different. Who knows what was in his head that he thought this was appropriate behavior? Using a loaded gun as a prop in a safety class shows no trace of responsibility. If he just had to use a real gun, why not make sure it was unloaded before he brought it to school? Why not use a perfectly and always safe toy gun?

This is Exhibit 1 in why arming teachers is a bad idea. This accident could have been far more tragic. Thankfully it wasn’t, but we need to learn from it quickly. This was in the hands of someone who was trained, more training than teachers would likely receive. Introducing more guns into classrooms is just stupid. It endangers our students because we cannot regulate stupidity. We cannot regulate poor decisions and irresponsibility to the scale of every classroom in the United States.  We cannot trust every school and school district to act responsibly.

So, can we please just return to reality and have a reasonable discussion about responsible gun control measures and stop placating to the NRA wet dreams of the Old West?

Stay safe.

Resist.

#Neveragain

We are One Woman, One World.

related articles/sources:

http://www.ktvu.com/news/seaside-teacher-mayor-pro-tem-fires-gun-inside-high-school-classroom-injuring-student

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/14/teacher-accidentally-discharges-firearm-in-calif-classroom-he-was-trained-in-gun-use/?utm_term=.6eb3ec21bbff&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/us/teacher-gun-accidental-discharge.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/14/us/california-teacher-fires-gun/index.html

http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/seaside-teacher-councilman-and-reserve-officer-accidentally-discharges-weapon-in/article_d3ca5ecc-270c-11e8-9f64-6fe4cb6cbeb3.html