Election Connection: 5 Weeks: SCOTUS

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[OPINION]

I think it’s important to look at this SCOTUS nomination in its totality, and not simply whether or not we like this nominee choice of Amy Coney Barrett. I also think we need to take care not to conflate our strong feelings for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and keep our biases in check when we talk about Barrett’s personal life and instead stick to her judicial record, which is scant. I also believe a little humility is necessary by those pressing for this nominee. Whatever judicial strengths she has, she cannot compare to an icon of RBG’s stature. RBG’s work for women and first head of the ACLU’s Women’s Project steered much of the equal rights we women (and men) enjoy today. Not everyone can be a Thurgood Marshall or a Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and that doesn’t necessarily disqualify someone, including Judge Barrett.

As a matter of course, this nomination absolutely should not go forward. Even without Mitch McConnell’s blatant hypocrisy, we aren’t too close to an election – we are in the middle of an election. Over one million voters have already spoken with millions more to vote between now and the conclusion of the election on November 3rd.

I do understand Barrett’s unwillingness to step aside somewhat; the President would only choose someone else, although stepping aside on principle would show us what principles she has, as not stepping aside has already shown us.

Very simply, my opinion is clear-eyed.

This President, who was impeached earlier this year, and has now been reported to have engaged in tax fraud should not be the person to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. There are still allegations that a deal was worked out for Justice Kennedy to retire. This President admitted on tape his malfeasance in conducting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it invaded its way across our country. He failed in his stewardship, and he should not be rewarded by the complicit and cowardly Senate; the same Senate and Majority Leader who refused to work with the nation’s first Black President on any legislative agenda. The same man who let his racism cloud his solemn oath to guard the Constitution.

The Election is now. People have voted. People are voting. Right now.

When the election is certified, if President Trump wins re-election, he can then nominate someone (including Amy Coney Barrett) for SCOTUS. However, if the President-Elect is Joe Biden, then we, as a country must wait until after the inauguration on January 20, 2021, and let the duly elected President follow the will of the American people, and nominate the justice who will fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat.

Although irreplaceable, someone will eventually take her place on the High Court and that someone should be nominated by the President chosen by the American electorate.

Go to Vote Save America and see how you can help get out the vote!

Post-Election Reflection – FBI, DOJ, WH

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​Whatever you think of Rachel Maddow’s opinions and politics, put those aside and find tape of last night’s show (May 9th, 2017). Rachel Maddow makes no apologies for her very strong feelings or her liberal, progressive beliefs. However, she is one of the brilliant minds in politics today. She’s smart, honest, and educates and explains hard to understand politics with details that often get overlooked or ignored by partisan pundits. She is much more than that.

Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in public policy. She attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship and earned her doctorate in political science.

To not take her seriously or dismiss her as partisan would be at your own peril.

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Bathrooms

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As this Transgender Day of Visibility comes to a close, I’d like to share something I overheard this afternoon.

It was a discussion behind me about trans use of bathrooms in North Carolina between (what I presumed to be) a married couple in their fifties or older.

Husband: It’s not hard. Men use the men’s room; women use the women’s.
Wife: Something about trans people getting beat up in the opposite bathroom.
Husband (with a laugh): Is that my problem? If you dress like a women….. (the implication being simply to not dress like a woman.)

I didn’t hear the rest, and no I didn’t call him out. They were having a private conversation, they weren’t that loud, and I was eavesdropping.

But I will answer his question – yes, it is your problem. It is everyone’s problem when anyone is afraid to use a bathroom; when people are being persecuted and assaulted in a public bathroom because of their gender identity.

When the women’s line is too long, how many of us use the men’s room? Show of hands? Mine’s raised.

What about bringing our opposite gender children into the bathroom with us? How old is too old? Because to be honest, in Penn Station, my eleven year old is still too young to go by himself.

What about bringing our opposite gender disabled family member into the bathroom with us?

I honestly don’t understand the uproar.

The only thing I want from a public toilet is to get in, get out and have as little interaction with anyone as possible.

So yes, it is your problem unless you want to live in a society that is so prejudicial that we won’t allow people to use the bathroom.

It’s not about comfort; it’s about safety.

Roe v. Wade (1973)

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Today is the 43rd anniversary  of the Roe v. Wade decision. That’s the decision that maintains a woman’s right to choose; to do with her body as she feels; It gives her privacy. It gives her autonomy. Many people herald it as a pro-abortion decision, but any of us who have contemplated abortion know that it is not. We know that no one, NO ONE, is pro-abortion.

Read about abortions before this landmark decision for some perspective.

As a country, we’re okay with the death penalty, even in cases where the convicted party is mentally disturbed – not the Charles Manson crazy, but developmental disabilities like Down’s Syndrome and mental ages that are well below their chronological age.

As a country, we’re okay with war; perpetual war since 2011.

As a country, we’re okay with torture.

We’re okay with domestic violence and victim-blaming where women are involved. Where men are involved, we reduce them to women.

We can’t even pass a VAWA that includes ALL women.

What is going on here?

I read something recently from someone who I respect, who is pro-life, who is a good-hearted, loving, peaceful person describing abortion (in some instances) as a convenience. Women don’t want to be inconvenienced. I strongly take issue with that way of thinking; that stereotype. Women who have abortions because of economic reasons are not doing it as a convenience. These women, for the most part are living in poverty. They have children and are often single parents. There is no universal child care option for them to get steady work or they work several jobs for part time hours. They are living in abusive situations that they can’t escape because they have no control over their own money and/or bodies.

Women would choose to avoid pregnancy rather than terminate it, but increasingly this option (birth control) is being taken away because corporations are people, too, my friend. The owner of Hobby Lobby is against contraception for religious reasons and chooses to force his employees to follow his religious beliefs instead of allowing them the freedom to follow their own religion.

The sooner the people in this country realize and accept that this country was founded on the principle of not only freedom of religion, the freedom to practice individual religions by individual people as well as, and in addition to the freedom to be free of religion entirely, the sooner these arguments will be null and void. We need to stop inflicting our beliefs on others. This country was founded on our differences; we should embrace them.

When my church does their prayer of the faithful, they almost always include a prayer for life, from conception to natural death. Very rarely, but sometimes, they reference abortion directly, and my mind invariably wanders and prays for the women; that they continue to have the freedom of choice; that they have the support, the autonomy, the health care and the reproductive rights that they should have in a free society.

We should be supporting women who choose abortions instead of terrorizing them.

The most recent act of terrorism in Colorado Springs that targeted the Planned Parenthood there killed a woman, not having an abortion, but supporting her friend, a man on his cell phone on the street, and a policeman/security personnel. This is horrible, and the fact that many of us hand-wave it away as collateral damage is more than a little disturbing.

The sooner we get back to our basics of bodily autonomy and religious freedom, the sooner we can move on as a country to more important things – stopping our military involvement, the quagmire, eliminating the gender gap in pay and rights, giving Americans the right to have access to health care that is actually healthy and affordable.

Women, when left to their own devices will make the right choices and the right choice is whatever they feel is right for them, not what you feel is right for them.

In all matters.

House – Part 2 of ?: The Inspection

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A quick note: I’m going to label these posts in numbered order, but that is not necessarily a chronological order or how they will remain when they’re edited into a final form. This way as you’re reading along you can keep track of the ones you’ve read if you’re interested in that.

 

When the inspection is held depends on when your contract is signed. Our inspection was in late May. Remember in my landscaping piece (link), the outside looked fantastic. This was the naïve day when we still believed that the inspection meant something.

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Supreme Court Decides an Employer’s Right to their Employees’ Reproduction Decisions (My Opinion)

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I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with my priest before today. He is usually apolitical even though by virtue of being a priest, you kind of know where he stands on most issues. We are currently in the middle of the fortnight for freedom. It’s two weeks of daily prayer for religious freedom.

At the same time, yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Hobby Lobby case having to do with an employer’s religious beliefs. I’m a little incensed, so I’ll be touching on these and other related topics. If I’ve got facts wrong, please message me and I will most definitely look into it.

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Our Most Recent Story

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My Go Fund Page

Before I got derailed by plague, I was talking about posting a discussion about my financial situation. Right up front I will say that many of our early problems that we are still paying for are of our own making. Borrowing thinking we would be able to pay back and then not getting the amount of money we were expecting. Getting laid off with a child is an enormous financial situation and we handled it badly, especially before our landlord decided he wanted to live in our apartment and we needed to rent something for half the space and more than twice the rent. And then we had two more children, one of whom was completely unexpected. We have certainly changed our spending habits even though we are not perfect. We want our kids to have what they need, and yes, what they want when we are able.

The current problem and most pressing that we’re trying to stabilize is with our home equity loan.

When we bought our house, there were many problems. Many problems. I’m not going to get into those here because that is literally a book in the making. We bought the house and immediately replaced the furnace. The next year we replaced the windows, both of which lowered our utility bill drastically. We are still paying for the windows seven years later (although at an excellent rate.)

But there were other things that needed to be done that were above normal home maintenance, and so we borrowed money from a bank for a home equity. At the time we took out the loan, we had one income.

For the first five years, we were to pay the interest only, and then the rate would change to include the principal. We anticipated that in five years I would have a job and my husband would have gotten raises, and we’d be able to do this. But if we didn’t, it was okay.

The bank had said that we could extend the interest only payment for another five years for a $50 (but the amount might change) fee. We were not worried having that assurance from the bank when we signed the contract.

In the meantime, I became ill and did not get a job. The economy tanked. My husband’s raises were eaten up in taxes, house repairs, health insurance, gas for the car and groceries which had increased practically exponentially.

In the year before the bill was to come due, we were told that they would not extend the interest only payment, our payment would indeed TRIPLE (from $95 to $404/month), and I should look for a job. (Yes, they actually told me this despite the fact that they gave us the loan on our one income and I was ill with problems walking.)

When the economy crashed and burned, our house went down in value, almost $25.000 less than what we paid for it, $35000 less than it was appraised at when we took the loan.

I tried to get the bank to honor their verbal agreement that we could extend the interest only payments. They said it wasn’t in the written contract, no one at that bank would have told me that (I took notes, but it’s seven years ago and I don’t know where that folder is). I asked if continuing to pay the lower amount would benefit us; I was told no, only the full amount, so I used that $95 for my medication as my insurance had ceased paying for the year until my deductible was met (it never was that year.)

As it stands now, we’ve been sued (and lost with a summary judgment and possible wage garnishment* of 10% our gross income, which is more than the triple amount that we couldn’t afford before.)

We were refused the opportunity to appear in court. We would like to pay; we can’t afford to.

Now, we’ve found out that our net income has been reduced by $124.10 each month due to higher health insurance costs.

We are once again in our deductible period, and our co-payments, co-insurance and prescriptions will cost more this year when we couldn’t afford it last year. We were barely making ends meet as it were and I still owe medical bills for my children and me from as far back as 2012.

*As of this writing we were served with an income execution for 10% of our gross salary. What this means is that every two weeks, we need to turn over $194** to the sheriff’s department or they will garnish my husband’s wages through his employer (this is never a good idea – many people get laid off when these kinds of financial crises occur.)

** This was my estimate of 10% after taking out the pre-tax amount the company gives us for health insurance. It is semantics, I know, but the company calls it income, but we never actually see it. We give it all back in premiums and then some.

So, this is the gist of our story.

We know many people are in our position, and that there are many worthier causes.

I’m posting in this much detail and asking for the internet’s help once again. We’ve modified our first mortgage and hope that will keep our head above water, but with this judgment and garnishment, I’m not sure how we will survive.

We’ve also requested a reduction and/or a stay of income execution in the garnishment, but we’ve been denied everything else thus far, so I have no real hope for these options and have so far, gone unanswered.

We have a Go Fund Page, and if anyone is able to help, we would greatly appreciate it and so we are blogging our page and praying for the best. Good wishes and prayers are always welcome.

Thank you for reading and we appreciate any reblogs and donations that can be offered.

Karen/kb