Opinion, Politics

IS HISTORY WATCHING ALL OF US?

There has been a lot of mentions of history in the last week. In arguments in favor of keeping statues of the Confederacy, history is intrinsically connected to these physical monuments, and to tear them down (or, more realistically, remove them from public spaces) would be to erase our history. In arguments in favor of removing those statues, history is also painful and detrimental to people who view those statues as relics of oppression.

History is being fought over so much, you’d think it was the First Impression Rose on a premiere of The Bachelor. And yes, that is the second time I’ve mentioned The Bachelor franchise in as many articles. It’s a cultural touchstone, people.

People are so obsessed with history: preserving it, protecting it, acknowledging it. In a Twitter statement of his response to the Charlottesville tragedies, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) admonished President Trump and mentioned history:

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Politics

A TAKE ON THE NORTH KOREA-TRUMP SITCH THAT STARTED LIGHT BUT GOT REAL DARK, REAL FAST

Header photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense 

I can’t decide if Twitter jokes about nuclear war makes me want to laugh or cry, and really that’s the best description I can think of for Twitter – and the internet world in general.

So I’m coming off working my first freelance job, and it was very exciting but a little draining for someone who, until now, has considered wearing pants with zippers to be the greatest triumph of any given day. So I almost considered skipping this, because I knew it would have to be about the whole Trump-North Korea thing and I just wasn’t ready to put on my journalist hat. But then I realized, infusing humor and drama into politics is what I do best. So I’m going to give you a Casual Cool Hip Take on the Trump-North Korea dramz.


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Politics

SCARAMUCCI IS OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE

Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci was let go from his position as the communications director of the White House at the behest of the new chief of staff, John Kelly, according to the New York Times.

Scaramucci was only communications director since July 21, during which time he missed the birth of his son to attend Donald Trump’s speech at the Boy Scouts’ Jamboree and had an expletive-filled tirade during a phone call with a reporter from the New Yorker, where he called Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, a “f*cking paranoid schizophrenic” and threatened to fire everyone in the White House until the leaks stopped. In comparison, I have done very little since July 21.

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LGBTQ, Politics

TRUMP’S BAN ON TRANSGENDER PEOPLE IN THE MILITARY

Some research on exactly how transgender military personnel play into the larger scheme.


On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump used Twitter to announce a reversal of the Obama-era policy that allowed transgender people to serve openly in the military.

In the three tweets, Trump wrote, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allowTransgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelmingvictory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

The decision caught officials at the Pentagon “off guard,” according to a New York Times article on the subject. “They had been studying, per the orders of Mr. Mattis [Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis] how transgender troops in the military affect other service members, but not with a view toward removing transgender people from the military, several defense officials said.” Mr. Mattis was on vacation when the president made his announcement, and it’s unclear if Mattis was aware that Trump would be making this decision.

Mattis, a retired general, had recently requested a six-month extension on the implementation of the plan to update “medical standards to accommodate transgender service members.” However, Mattis said that the extension did not presuppose a ban on transgender military personnel, according to a Washington Post article. 

From the track record and history of Trump’s tendency to lie (from the size of his inauguration crowd to his belief in voter fraud), the immediate reaction when reading these tweets is not to believe that this is a decision based on hours of careful, rigorous research.

So, in approximately five minutes, I was able to come up with the numbers of how exactly transgender people serving openly affects the military. Now, the breakdown.

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Politics

YES, IVANKA TRUMP IS COMPLICIT

News has broken that Ivanka Trump, the First Daughter with security clearance and an untitled job in the West Wing, met secretly with Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, in what Richards described as an “explainer” meeting. According to Politico, the First Daughter has been doing several of these meetings, having “quietly met with other leaders of the progressive women’s movement.”

 

In a recent interview with Gayle King, Ms. Trump has this to say about her critics: “If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force of good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit…I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.”

The “complicit” of it all refers to the Saturday Night Live sketch were Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka in a perfume ad (“Complicit: The fragrance for the woman who could stop all of this—but won’t.”).

Ivanka assured Gayle and the public at large that just because she hasn’t been vocal doesn’t mean she hasn’t been active. “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” she told King. “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard.” And how has Ivanka made her voice heard?

 

Since Trump has been in office, he has rescinded federal protection for transgender students re bathrooms, defended Bill O’Reilly (who is accused by multiple women of sexual harassment), accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping, voiced his support for the American Health Care Act and even tried to dispense with maternity and pediatric care as a bargaining chip, and told Planned Parenthood that he wouldn’t defund them if they stopped performing abortions.

If Ivanka Trump is truly a “moderate” influence on her father, then either she’s doing a horrible job of it, or he’s way more batshit than we think and this is him “moderated.”

Either way, make no mistake—Ivanka is complicit. Because to not be complicit would be to actively speak out for what she believes in. “Complicit” looks like secret meetings with Planned Parenthood or quietly reaching out to women’s movements—when you arguably have one of the biggest platforms in America right now, and unprecedented access to the president and the private sector.

I find issue with organizations like The Hill who tweet out headlines like “Ivanka Trump: “I don’t know what it means to be complicit”.” Yes, that is a quote, but it’s taken out of context. And in addition to being misrepresentative and clickbait-y, it paints Ivanka Trump as an idiot. And the dangerous part—she’s not an idiot. She’s deadly smart. That’s why she’s dangerous: because she’s incredibly smart and savvy and still won’t do anything. In the same way that Kellyanne Conway is portrayed as ditzy—it’s a mistake to underestimate them. Kellyanne Conway is incredibly smart—she was able to see something in Middle America that everyone else, including (and especially) the Clinton campaign, did not.

Don’t let her off the hook because in comparison to everyone else in the White House, she’s moderate and progressive. Because she’s pretty and slim and wealthy and white. Because she’s a “working woman.” She’s not your friend, she’s not my friend. She’s not with us.

Yes, Ivanka Trump is complicit because “quietly” and “secretly” meeting with progressive feminists does not seem to be mitigating her father’s harmful rhetoric and policy. Because when you’re the First Daughter (and de facto First Lady) and your husband is a senior adviser to the President, you don’t get to do anything secretly and quietly. Everything you can be doing needs to be loud and outward. Because while you quietly chat with Cecile Richards, who later blasted Trump on her silence, women are having their bodies debated over by cisgender, privileged white men, and trans kids are holding in their pee to avoid physical assault, and your father is protecting the reputations of those accused of sexual harassment.

If this is your moderating force, it’s not going that well.

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music, Politics, pop culture, Things Happening RN

IMPORTANT NEWS FROM AN IMPORTANT PERSON—Feminism, Politics, Music

So I went over to my friend’s college last night, we got out, I got turnt (away from the Lord) and so I’ve spent today just, like, chilling and centering myself and Zen-ing out and just writing in my dream journal and dreaming in my writing journal. But since I have to put out a blog every Monday and Thursday (and a recap on Friday and sometimes on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending upon the circumstances, you get it) to fulfill my end of a Picture of Dorian Gray-type bargain, here goes nothing.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Some women celebrated by not working, to show how much women contribute to our society. Others wore red. The Empire State Building in New York City went red for the evening. How do I know this? I’m very rich and I live like a pigeon in the Chrysler Building and could see it.

I found some great quotes from some great feminist writers, poets and politicians and thought I would stick some below.

“Your silence will not protect you,” Audre Lorde, a queer writer, civil rights activist, and a Black woman.
“To all the little girls who are watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams,” Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State and New York Senator.
“No woman should be told she can’t make decisions about her own body. When women’s rights are under attack, we fight back,” Kamala Harris, California Senator.
“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian novelist, short-story writer and speaker.

And I know I make a lot of jokes and cut emotion with humor, but I want to say this unironically. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the women in my life and in our world who inspire me and countless others, who use their strength to help others find theirs, who are selfless, unapologetic, and resplendent in their femaleness. Thank you for all you do, just by refusing to be anything but your whole self.

THE LATEST IN TRUMP NEWS

This probably won’t be the latest, because even as I do anything, Trump manages to punt another scandal into the media.

Also, sidebar, media: how about learning from your mistakes and instead of frothing over the latest scandal, try to look beyond the smoke at what Trump is distracting attention away from. Seems like it might be worth a try.

source

Source: Giphy

In addition to accusing Obama of illegally wiretapping his phones (oh yikes), Trump has threatened the GOP lawmakers with a “bloodbath” if the repeal-and-replace of the Affordable Care Act fails. GOP critics cite among the reasons for their dissent the new plan (let’s call it Trumpcare, to grind his gears) very similar to the ACA, but keeps Medicaid expansion (very expensive and draining) among other things, and leaves a lot of people without coverage. So this is drama.

MUSIC

Lorde dropped “Liability,” the second song off her new album Melodrama. It’s slower than “Green Light,” but is super dope.

 

TELEVISION 

Game of Thrones dropped its release date for the new season—mid-July. Real Housewives of New York dropped the teaser trailer for their new season. And the first 20 minutes of the newest RuPaul’s Drag Race season were leaked and the show (which is moving from Logo to VH1) looks amazing.

 

OTHER 

I met a lot of my best friend’s college friends, and kept referring to myself as “very hot.” No one, bless, corrected me and I want to thank y’all for that. It meant more than you will ever know.

*****

okay, I think we’re done. BYE.

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LGBTQ, Politics

ACCORDING TO SOURCES, TRUMP TO RESCIND FEDERAL GUIDANCE ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS USING BATHROOMS OF THEIR GENDER IDENTITIES

According to reporting done by the New York Times, the Trump administration is drawing up paperwork to rescind former President Obama’s order that transgender students can use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in opposition to Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the issue of leaving the choice up to the states. However, the Department of Education ruled in 2014 that protecting transgender students falls under Title IX, a federal law that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex.

DeVos, despite her family’s prominent donations to anti-gay organizations, apparently opposed the order. However, President Donald Trump sided with Sessions, who has a history of opposing the expansion of LGBTQ rights, and wanted DeVos to drop her objections.

Apparently there is pressure to move the paperwork along so as to avoid confusion with upcoming cases. The issue comes right before the case of Gavin Grimm, a Virginia boy who is transgender, will be brought to the Supreme Court. Grimm sued his school county when they refused to let him use the boys’ restroom and instead offered him a separate one converted from a janitor’s closet. The Obama White House rejected accommodation like that as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

According to insider Republicans, DeVos was uncomfortable with the idea of revoking protections for transgender students. This is in direct opposition to what Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a White House news conference that DeVos was “100 percent” on board. And apparently privately, according to several sources, DeVos is quietly pro-gay-rights.

This directive needs the joint support of the Education and Justice Department, meaning that Sessions needed DeVos on board to move forward.

According to the website, OnTheIssues.org, Sessions has a history of voting against LGBTQ rights expansion. In 2006, he voted yes on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, limiting the definition for marriage to between one man and one woman. In 2000 and 2002, he voted against adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes. He was rated 20% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record, and 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance.

On the campaign, Trump was tentatively pro-LGBTQ rights. He said that the issue of same-sex marriage was settled when it was legalized and that he would not go back on that. He famously invited Caitlyn Jenner, transgender former Olympic athlete, to Trump Tower and that she could use whichever bathroom she wanted. In April of 2016, Trump spoke against North Carolina’s bathroom ban, saying that people should use “the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” However, when the Obama administration issued guidance that all transgender students should use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities, Trump said that it should be left up to the states.

Vice President Pence, when he was the governor of Indiana, signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protected business owners who discriminated against LGBTQ people on the basis of religion. Pence was also critical of Obama’s repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying without it, the military would be a “backdrop for social experimentation.”

Even if Trump himself doesn’t personally hold any opposition to the expansion of LGBTQ rights, by dropping down the impetus to the states to decide what protections to offer transgender students is deeply troubling. These are children who are just trying to go to school. When transgender students are barred from using the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities, suicide rates increase and health issues arise—dehydration, kidney infections and urinary tract infections. The health problems alone can lead to missed days of school and increased levels of stress.

That Trump himself doesn’t bear any ill will against the queer community does not translate to protection of LGBTQ rights. He totes himself as “the least anti-Semitic person you’ll ever meet” and “the least racist person you’ll ever meet” but if you’re not taking active steps towards the protections of these marginalized groups, you are in effect leaving them to be crushed under administrative oppression and discrimination.

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