Throughout the months of the 2016 presidential campaign, much of the public and many in the media framed this odious man as a normal politician. His outrageous utterances and behavior were simply “rough politics”. His supporters were simply exercising their rights to free expression.

He is not normal. His statements and actions were and are crass and malevolent. His supporters are terrifyingly likewise.

This pussy grabbing creep epitomizes the “loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless, ignorant, and ethnocentric behavior” of an ugly American.

Congratulations. America will now have its very own ugly American president.

The question now is can he and his supporters get any uglier?

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I am disappointed, saddened and frankly, frightened by the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A large swath of American voters chose an intellectually lazy, loudmouth bully to be their president. Rather than choosing an accomplished, gifted politician and public servant who had real plans to help us move forward, 50 million Americans have dragged us so far backwards that I doubt we will see progress in the USA for decades.

Apparently, the average American citizen does not take the time to actually learn how the government works at local, regional, national levels. What we got this time for an electorate was an emotionally charge, grossly uninformed mob banging around a few convention centers with signs and tacky t-shirts and hats. Bullying and marginalizing minorities, sexism, sexual assault, racism and anti-semitism are all just fine and acceptable with those 50 million American voters.

There is nothing in this president-elect’s entire 70 year existence to indicate that he will do anything but self-serve. Once his supporters realize this, through their thick fog of fear, hate and fuzzy nostalgia, they will be beyond angry. He will enrich the elites, anger allies, slow any climate change solutions to a stop and do nothing for the average man.

The social fabric of America will dissemble. I see separatists movements, home grown terrorists, martial law, foreign investment waning, outside forces rushing in to take resources.

It is ugly, very ugly. But 50 million Americans want this. Or, they think they do.

Deplorable, despicable, destructive.

I fervently hope I am wrong about it all.

I hope you will join me and vote for this highly qualified, smart, dedicated woman. Let’s move civilization forward this Tuesday!

• I proudly support her. She is not the “lesser of two evils”. She is the sharpest, most competent tack in the pack.

• I feel optimistic about the progressive Democratic Party’s platform. Have you read it?

• As I wrote back in April, I am very excited about electing a woman to the presidency.

• I admire Hillary’s tenacity. She is one tough cookie who has had to put up with one bogus witch hunt after another.

• I am sick of the media repeating how “unlikeable” she is. If she is so friggin’ unlikeable how is that she keeps winning?

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I love this time of year. Oiche Shamhna, Halloween, El Dia de Los Muertos are all wonderful celebrations of life and death which totally appeal to me. In this short video, I talk about witches and hags and why we have reviled older women rather than give them credit for surviving past youth.

Death approves this message.

For this Montreal Minute, I chose Montréal’s distinctive metro which just had its fiftieth birthday on October 14, a couple days before mine. Lots to celebrate this October!

The entire metro system is underground. The trains are never outside. They roll on rubber tires. In fact the metro trains were the very first rubber-tired subway trains on the planet! I found that out here on this list of fun facts about le Métro. If you are feeling realy subway geeky, check out this Métro fan site for even more info.

The rolling stock is getting old so, the STM (Société de Transport de Montréal) is in the process of adding new fancy AZUR trains. I have been on the new trains just a couple of times now. They are sweet — modern, stream-lined, well-designed. Definitely an improvement.

Music is by the Mad Maggies: “Time’s Up

I was tickled to learn this past week that Planned Parenthood and I share a birthday. Yes, 100 years ago today, on October 16, 1916, Margaret Sanger opened the first reproductive health clinic in Brooklyn, New York. A few decades later, I was born at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco on the same day.

This Time magazine article describes the history behind that first clinic and the way access to family planning changed women’s lives dramatically.

This interview with Margaret Sanger’s grandson is a fascinating read.

Sanger insisted on a woman’s right to choose and dedicated her life to making that possible. And yes, Sanger was a controversial character. Yeah. So? I am grateful to her for what she started.


Why I have always loved Planned Parenthood

I was 15 years old heading towards my 16th birthday, when the subject of having sex got personal. My boyfriend was just over 18. California has laws regarding “unlawful sexual intercourse” with minors. The “age of consent” at that time was 18. I could have married him at at any age because, oddly, California has no minimum age for marriage as long as there is parental consent. But extra-marital sex, oh no. So we decided to wait until my birthday to have sex. 16 was better than 15+. Our getting some kind of birth control was absolutely the smart thing to do. I was able to get birth control pills with no questions asked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Francisco beforehand. I am eternally grateful for that.

I bought a wedding dress, a long white traditional one, at one of the second-hand stores on Haight St. We created our own ceremony including “jumping the broom“. We knew that we weren’t “legally” marrying each other but maybe having a ceremony would help if we got caught. Friends joined us dressed in “wedding party attire” and we celebrated. Then we retired to the narrow bed in the downstairs room of the foster family home I was living at at the time on Willard St. and copulated. That was my first time.

A pregnancy would have been disastrous for me. I was reeling from a crazy childhood. I barely had a hold on any kind of normalcy. Adolescence is rocky in the best of situations. And, as it often turns out, my “groom” cheated on me had sex with someone else a year or so later quitting our relationship. What if I had had a kid?! Bless you, Planned Parenthood.

Over the years I used the Planned parenthood clinics for check-ups, and routine care such as pap smears. The services were always affordable, confidential and respectful.
I happily made the choice to not have kids and I am again eternally grateful again to Planned Parenthood for providing services which gave me that option.

I have watched with consternation as the religious right, primarily with posturing by right wing politicans, has waged a war against this reproductive health clinic. A health clinic!
Public health is one, if not the, defining characteristic of modern civilization for chrissakes.

Sure, I understand how abortion inflames passions and is the ideal wedge issue to fire up bases and fundraise but essentially the issue comes down to personal choice. My body, my choice. That blob of cells is not viable without my body to grow it. I am in charge. If you are opposed to abortion, don’t get one. Now butt out of my uterus. Thank you.

I was thrilled when Hillary gave her very first speech as the presidential nominee at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Washington, D.C.. That was the first time EVER that reproductive health and justice was a subject of a presidential candidate’s speech. Wow!

“It is worth saying again: defending women’s health means defending access to abortion – not just in theory, but in reality,” Clinton said, as she called for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding from being used to provide abortions.”

We can feel optimistic about the future of reproductive justice with Hillary as president.

Thank you, Planned Parenthood! And Happy Birthday. I wish you many, many more years of helping people.

Learn more:
A response by an OB-GYN to Donald’s cruel statement that women need to be punished for having an abortion.
Hillary’s response to Donald’s cruel remarks.

Contraceptive Lawsuits: CEOs using religion to justify discrimination, deny women’s equality

The presidential campaign of 2016 is sure to go down in the annals of history as one of the nastiest ever. The sexism, ageism, malicious memes, ugly comments, false equivalences and bizarre denials of truth have taken political discourse to a new low.

And then it went even lower.

Trump’s recorded comments about how he can’t resist going up and kissing and touching whomever he wants riled me to the core.

I have had it happen to me. It is an awful experience. And it is wrong. And illegal. Anyone who apologizes for it is a (insert expletive).

The good news is that in the U.S, according to Rainn, “Sexual violence has fallen by half in the last 20 years.” So let’s keep talking about it, educating and sharing about it. Let’s shout it out of existence.

Learn more:
https://www.rainn.org/about-sexual-assault
http://www.consented.ca/myths/sexual-harassment-is-flattering/

I am fascinated by the current U.S. presidential primaries. I can’t stop reading articles by political analysts, scouring Facebook posts and video clips, following tweets, subreddits and headlines. This political battle has some great characters — tenacious female warrior, crotchety spoiler with revolutionary fantasies, billionaire bully with bad hair. It’s truly history in the making.
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What really gets me, what astounds me, is how disconnected from reality so many people are in relation to the events. Why can’t people, especially those on the left, be critical observers of the political landscape and their own political views? Why can’t they see when they are being played, misinformed or manipulated?

My mother was a petty con (which is a story for another time). I grew up watching her use charm, good looks, guilt, misrepresentations of the facts and even her own daughters to “work” people. We were poor, so I understand on one level that she was surviving by one of the ways she knew how. I share this because the experience taught me how to spot manipulators at work and what makes a good “mark”. I have a refined “con-o-meter” and a serious drive for getting at the truth. I do not like getting played.

Several weeks ago, my con-o-meter detected a distinct disingenuousness in Bernie Sanders. (I was not alone.) His campaign and his supporters kept insisting that he had a chance to win the nomination even though he was behind in popular votes and pledged delegates. That was an outright flight of fancy. He would have to win the upcoming primaries by many more points than he had ever won in the previous primaries. It was not going to happen. So, there it was. He was playing his supporters to keep contributions coming in, plain and simple. It was a con. When he declared he could win the nomination by tweaking super delegates to his benefit, his con was in full stride. Even today, despite the count, the Democratic National Committee rules and Hillary’s substantial lead, Sanders continues to bamboozle his supporters. And they, filled with burning rage and self-righteousness, continue to troll and bully any statements that contradict what they want to see happen.

Wow. What a dazzling display of deceit, misinformation and irrationality. And it’s inexcusable.
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Almost every syllable uttered, every rally, TV appearance and interview by every candidate of this primary season is documented. There are gigabytes of voter analysis and delegate tracking online. It takes seconds to Google any aspect of the campaign. Seconds. Anyone with a smart phone has more than 4.25 billion pages of information at their fingertips. The Library of Congress is a corner bookstore in comparison. There’s the official political party sites, government data, charts, historical comparisons, polls, projections — anything a political junkie could want. Heck, anyone can browse the internet to get their facts straight while sitting on the john in the morning.

Yet, people continue to sprinkle bulldust everywhere about Bernie’s chances of winning the nomination with nary a nod to actual verifiable sources. They’re guarding that sacred cow, utterly impervious to objective facts. That is not “dreaming big”, that is delusional.

I understand wanting one’s candidate to win. I understand a candidate’s desire to campaign until the last primary is held.

I do not respect a politician milking his followers for support and cash by promising them what he cannot deliver. That is a con.

For those who can’t seem to sort this out for themselves, I offer these caveats.

  • If you have a simplistic view of how things work you’re going to get played.
  • If you have big fears about anything, you’re an easy mark.
  • If you don’t regularly examine the stories you tell yourself to explain this crazy life, then you remain vulnerable to authorities or shysters who will tell you their story, usually for a price.
  • Never suspend your critical thinking, especially if you think there is a politician, pastor, guru, motivational speaker, or self-proclaimed expert who is going to save you, from anything.

There is a word that describes those who let blind bias blur their vision of reality to the point that they’re left wide open to manipulation.

Suckers.

SheelaNaGig2016 white bkgMy vagina is talking again. Listen up.

Women are grossly misrepresented in government worldwide. And the United States has sadly one of the worst records of gender parity in political office.

“There have been 46 female senators of the United States. There have been 1,919 male senators. That’s 98 percent male.

There have been 3 female Secretaries of State in U.S. history and 65 men. That’s just above 95 percent male.

There have been 4 female Supreme Court justices in the United States, including 3 now serving on the bench. There have been 108 male justices. That’s more than 96 percent male.

There have been 44 Presidents of the United States. All men. The math is easy: that’s 100 percent male.”
Peter Daou, Blue Nation Review

With only three women running for president, and just 104 women holding congressional seats, the U.S. is doing worse than Afghanistan… — Lisa de Bode, America Al Jazeera

When it comes to women rising to the top of their profession an ugly dynamic rears its head.

“A recent Pew Research Center report on women and leadership found that 38% of Americans believe one major reason there aren’t more women in top elective office in the U.S. is that they are held to higher standards than men.”
Lauren Ken, Pew Research

This U.S. election season is especially distressing. Bernie calls Hillary “unqualified” to cheering crowds with nary a whiff of irony. Crass, loudmouth “Bernie Bros” troll and intimidate, oblivious to or disdainful of the fact that the target of their contempt has more popular votes. Trump, the quintessential bully, beauty pageant owner and braggart tosses out vulgarity towards his female opponent to the delight of his fans.

Women who put themselves forward in the same assertive, confident style as men are routinely found pushy, “bitchy,” or unlikable, and professionally penalized for that, too. — Sady Doyle, Quartz

I am happy and lucky to be in a western country where we can discuss gender bias and the need for more parity. My heart goes out to all the females in countries where misogyny is enshrined in religion and enforced by theocracies. But, enough with any kind of “sliding scale” of acceptable unfairness. All denigration and mistreatment of females simply because they are females is unfair. Everywhere. Why am I even writing such an obvious statement in the 21st century?

The idea of parity has been researched and is considered a very good thing for society. Now, we need it to happen.

So, I and my vagina will vote for the woman. Not for the blustery, finger pointing, self-righteous man who has some pretty nasty sexist supporters, nor for the puffed up chauvinist who can’t control himself in public.

I am not alone.

Misogyny Rules The 2016 Election – Is the left worse than the right? — a life long socialist details the misogyny on the Left.

Berned by Bernie Sanders — a disabled woman explains her disenfranchisement by the Sanders campaign.

When Bernie Sanders Ran Against Me in Vermont — Madeleine M. Kunin – First Female Governor of Vermont