Election Connection: 41 Weeks: Be Informed

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Being informed is not simply about the 2020 election although it is important to keep up to date on news. In order to do that, it is especially imperative to only glean your news from reliable news sources. This graphic should help you with that. Note the key on the right side of the graphic.

MediaBiasChart.com (c)2019-2020

In addition to using this graphic as a tool, Google is your friend. I can’t tell you how many times I correct a cousin or an uncle because what they’ve posted on Facebook is untruthful when the truth is only a Google search away. (It’s practically a full-time job.)

As you know from previous posts, I listen to several podcasts that relate to the news, politics, and current events including the impeachment and the upcoming election (which will have separate posts as needed). It is possible that you have noticed that I am a big fan of the Crooked Media group. I listen to almost all of their podcasts and follow most of the major players on Twitter even when I don’t listen to their particular podcast regularly. Joking aside, they really should put me on their payroll!

Their new one, What A Day is something that I can’t remember how I managed without it. It is about fifteen minutes each weekday morning with what’s going on in our world and some headlines with a really needed dose of humor. I do not start my day without it and highly recommend giving them a try. There is also a read-only update that you can receive nightly by email subscription.

What a Day from Crooked Media. (c)2020

While What a Day is my favorite, two others out there with a similar idea of getting you the news on a daily basis are:

Today, Explained from Vox

What Next from Slate

Current – Information on Iran Tensions and Soleimani

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There has been a lot of news in the past week concerning Iran. There has also been a lot of misinformation, unfortunately coming from the State Department and the White House. Contradictory stories, communication mistake with Iraq, and no notification to Congress as required by law. There was even reporting that the President expressed wanting to keep some GOP Senators happy for his impeachment trial and they wanted Soleimani taken care of. I’m not going to get into what’s true, what’s not, but after three years, and more than 15,000 lies from the President, I’m inclined to not give him the benefit of the doubt.

What I offer instead is a podcast that will help you wade through the noise, hear the facts, hear some analysis, and inform yourself of what’s going on with the tensions with Iran.

Pod Save the World is co-hosted by Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes. It includes news, analysis, and interviews as well as their conversations about what’s happening around the world. Both worked in the Obama Administration on foreign policy, Vietor as spokesman for President Obama and the National Security Council (2011-2013) and Rhodes as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications (2009-2017).

Pod Save the World series

Pod Save the World – Iran retaliates to the Soleimani strike This includes a very informative interview about Iraq, Iran, and Soleimani’s death with Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL from 2015 to his resignation in 2018.

A Resolution Message

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Today is the day we say goodbye to the old year, and welcome the new one.

2019, like all years had its ups and downs for everyone. A journalist on Twitter has a daughter who received a liver transplant. Whatever downs he’s had in the last twelve months don’t seem that insurmountable as they did on the last December 31st/January 1st. The same for my friend whose daughter just had her first child, a daughter, several weeks earlier than planned, premature, very low weight, but breathing on her own and doing great. They both are. Whatever comes is a blessing to her.

I’ve been thinking of President Obama. I recently finished Samantha Power’s book, The Education of an Idealist, and I am incredibly saddened by what could have been during the Obama years had the Republicans not been so power hungry, prejudiced, and obstructionist. I saw so many things behind the scenes (from her book and other staffers, but it really brought it home to me with her book), and the victories for the American people were wonderful (the passage of the ACA, the Lily Ledbetter Act, Marriage Equality (Oberfell), the Paris Accords, Cuba relations, and so much more), I also saw how much didn’t happen. I missed a lot of that in the real time that it was happening. For Obama’s eight years, I was comfortable. I slept at night. I was able to ignore politics because I trusted that we would be kept safe. And we were. In 2016, I voted, and went to bed well into the morning in mourning. It wasn’t quite like 9/11, but the trauma and the emotional toll was close. Since then, I haven’t let my fear, my anxiety, my depression stop me from speaking my mind. And as we enter 2020, the only real resolution I have is to be more politically active; in my writing, in campaigning, in my speaking out, in my truth-telling. For several months, I haven’t let feelings stop me from expressing truth and calling out lies. It has not won me any friends, but I won’t let lies win the day. There is no both sides. There is no alternative facts. And fake news isn’t an answer to dedicated journalists. I will never forget Merrick Garland. I will never forget the damage the Senate Majority Leader has wreaked on our Republic, our Constitution. Never.

I am not making everything political. Everything IS political. Politics rules our lives; from the health care system and insurance to civil rights and women’s EQUAL rights which unbelievably we still do not have. Equal protection, reproduction, bodily autonomy. Who I can marry.

2020 is a new year, a new decade, a leap year, and an election year.

It’s time to get up and promote what we believe in. I believe in one nation. I believe in people helping others when there’s no benefit for themselves. Selfless. Self-sacrificial. Faith-based, but based on your OWN faith (or absence of it).

Something else to think and meditate about coming at 11:30 and beginnings coming tomorrow, including my 2019 Book List.

Have a Happy New Year, a Blessed New Year, and think about who you want to be in 2020, and the years that follow. That is my resolution/goal/intention for the next three months.

Patriotism Reclaimed

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One of the things I’ve thought about as I’ve witnessed the Republican Party implode and become who many of us already thought their politicians were, proving their cravenness, selfishness, greed and lack of moral character, I’ve wondered how the rest of us, the Democrats, the Progressives, the Resistance, the AMERICANS can continue to have the strength to speak out and to do whatever we can to bring our democracy back for everyone, and this statement from Jon Lovett last week said it perfectly:

“We had to figure out how to love our country enough for them too.”
This is what we’re doing because this is who we are.

The next statement of his that I’m sharing summed up how I, and many more, felt after the 2016 Election:

“I think we’ll look back on this as the moment where we decided that we weren’t participating because we were patriotic; we were patriotic because we were participating.” – Jon Lovett


I start every Saturday morning (whenever that mysterious time is) by listening to Jon Lovett’s Lovett or Leave It podcast from Crooked Media. Oftentimes, he says what I’m thinking. Last week I wasn’t able to listen until Monday morning because of some family obligations, and his last rant on the rant wheel was so profound, so relatable, so needed, that I listened to it twice. Then I posted the link on my Facebook, and added one of the two comments above that really got me in the feels, and I went on.

But I didn’t delete that podcast as I would have normally done. I don’t know why I kept it in my dowloads, but I did, and each time I listened to something else and deleted it, I saw it there, and I thought, in passing, it’s time to delete it, but I didn’t. Even this morning, his new podcast for the week dropped (I haven’t listened to it because I’m on retreat and in a different mindset, but will probably listen tonight because I can only go so long without Jon Lovett’s words of wisdom) and I still have yet to delete last week’s.

I’d recommend listening to the whole thing (and subscribing to hear each one), but I’ve queued this one up to that moment he spoke directly to me, and I think he’ll speak to you as well:

Lovett or Leave It, timestamped for his rant on Patriotism

Clipped Wings

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​My passport expired on May 31st. My passport lapsed once before, but other than that very brief time, I have had a passport since approximately 1986. I remember checking it’s validity when President George H.W. Bush tapped Dan Quayle to be his Vice President. Remember potatoe? I thought we could not get anyone stupider to run our government, and then the Republicans in 2015 said, “Hold my beer!”

In looking back at my twenty-one year old self, a mere child compared to the knowledge I hold now, it was epically short-sighted and judgmental, especially towards VP Quayle. That’s not to say that I’m no longer judgmental. I do try to be a bit more even-handed in my judgment calls and personal opinions on people in the public sphere. In looking back on Dan Quayle, he wasn’t a terrible Vice President. He was non-descript. I was just out of college when he and Bush were elected, and despite my working for the federal government I really didn’t have a whole lot of attention spent towards the upper levels of the Executive Branch.

That continued for quite some time. Despite each of the following Presidents’ difficulty and shortcomings, I slept well. I trusted what was in their hearts in spite of the disapproval of some policies by them and the Congresses that opposed them.

Now, we have a malignant narcissist running our country into the ground. I’m not going to get into the legalities or the politics of impeachment or armchair psychological diagnosis of dementia or any other possible cognitive or personality disorder. We do know that anything can happen because of the President’s lack of knowledge on many issues and his pettiness and impulsiveness and I live each day in fear for myself, but moreso for my children.

However, other than the security of an escapist sense of protection; a shield against the unknown and the rising anxiety, not only in me, but in the country, the expiration of my passport is a cryptic feeling; not bittersweet, not unambiguous, a little sad, a little motivating to get it renewed, a little feeling of captivity; of being a prisoner in my own land. I’m stuck.

Now, in a country the size of the United States it’s not as though I’m trapped in a 10×10 cell or even a two acre plot of land. I have the entire expanse of the width of the North American continent, so there is definitely a bit of privilege slipping out into my bluster.

We’re planning a family vacation, and with one child already on his own, I’m not sure how many more of these will be available to us. We really love spending time with our kids, and I miss them when they’re off with their friends. 

One of the places on our list of possible destinations is Toronto, which is closer to us than many of our states. 

But… 

I need a passport to get there, to cross the border into Canada. It has never felt more like a foreign country than it does now. I traveled to Canada many, many times as a child and young adult. We had (and continue to have) family there; my grandfather and his family were from Toronto and I have many cousins still living there. For a time, I had considered moving there to go to college, but that didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. I certainly wouldn’t have needed a passport back then. Even though we are not planning on seeing family during this trip, Canada, and especially Toronto and Niagara Falls still feel like going home. While so many things change, the awe of being a tiny part of this foreign land is like breathing new air.

So here I sit, contemplating a haircut, a special outfit for my photo, and popping into the post office to get a renewal application, and then sending it in as soon as possible. I do know that whether or not I use my passport or if I just carry it in my purse, it is the freedom that it grants that lets my heart rest easy. And gives peace of mind. And perhaps, one day will lead to adventure again.

Gun Violence Awareness

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Last weekend were Wear Orange events across the country bringing attention to gun violence in this country. While I was thinking about our gun problem in this country I wasn’t able to post the resources I’ve collected until today.

Some regulation on the 2nd Amendment is consistent with the regulation on every other amendment, including the original Bill of Rights. I don’t understand the controversy.

Organizations and Twitters to Check Out:

Moms Demand Action
Change the Ref
Everytown
Wear Orange
A March for Our Lives
David Hogg 
Emma Gonzalez 
Eric Swalwell (Presidential candidate running on a gun control platform and California Congressman)

Fred Guttenberg
Gabby Giffords (former Congresswoman from Arizona)
Manuel Oliver
Mark Kelly (husband of Gabby Giffords and candidate for Senate from Arizona)

Shannon Watts (who has a new book out, Fight Like a Mother)

On Demand, Without Apology

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I listened to an amazing podcast last week from the women of Hysteria, who drop a pod every week with their perspectives on what’s going on in the news and the world. They are part of the Crooked Media family. I know, I post so much of Crooked Media’s media that I seem to be a stan, and to be honest, I am. I listen to most of their stuff, don’t agree with absolutely everything, but I always learn something.

This episode of Hysteria was called Abortion On Demand, No Apologies, and it is where I got the title for this post from. Erin Ryan and Alyssa Mastromanoco begun wuth a conversion about last week’s news and outrage and then Erin is joined by Grace Parra, Megan Gailey, and Dana Schwartz who all share very personal, and very poignant stories of their experiences with abortion and reproductive health. It is something that affects all of us every day. It’s very emotional for the podcasters as well as for me the listener. I was transported alongside them and I was touched deeply by their words.

I’m pro-choice, but that is all I will offer by way of my own opinions. The women of Hysteria really lay their experiences on the line. I’ll leave it to them to share their stories. 

One thing that was said however that I do want to share, and it stems from the Me, too movement, Times Up, Male politicians who know nothing of women’s bodies regulating them and passing laws that are not only Draconian, but also physically impossible to enforce (reimplanting an ectopic pregnancy in the uterus is one example). Whenever a man, and it is almost always a man, decides that an embryo is more valueable than a real live women, women all across this country need to rise up, protest, and in doing so are forced into a retraumatization of their original hell, whether that is rape, incest, abortion, or any other trauma faced. They are expected to bare their souls, and then they are often ridiculed and the men are often astounded that what happened to them is real, and they are sorry, but not sorry enough to let women control their own bodies.

I really don’t know which is worse – the original trauma or the reliving each and every time a politician decides that women need their help in making medical decisions. They relive the trauma, and there is no apology for them in their living nightmare.

Please hear these women.

On Demand, Without Apology Link to Podcast, originally airing May 23, 2019..