Monday, January 23, 2017

Women are coming for you, Donald Trump

Women's March
One of my favorite signs from the Women's March in Chicago. We're all with each other now.

What do you do when you plan for a Women’s March that totaled 22,000 people on Tuesday and the crowd grows to 150,000 by Saturday? Or maybe 250,000? You march on.

Just got back from the Chicago event, which was GREAT. Probably the fact that the sun was shining after a few days of rain brought people out to join in one great protest event.

The “march” part was officially canceled after the organizers realized the crowd was too big. The rally went on, but there were too many to get to the rally point, so not everyone heard the speakers. But who cares? We read each others’ signs. We passed out “SHE GOT MORE VOTES” stickers. And we knew we weren’t alone.

People still marched wherever they were, no matter what street they were on, and they were cheered heartily by the surrounding crowd. The El cars were packed on the way into the city in the morning, and cheers and applause greeted the crowds at every stop.

No pussies backing down here.
So many good signs, many with a pussy theme:

  • We need a leader not a tweeter.
  • Women’s rights are human rights.
  • Pussy Lives = 9; Trump Lives = 0.
  • Keep your tiny hands off my pussy!
  • Keep Loving Louder.
  • My mother fought for this 100 years ago. We’re not stopping now!
The crowd was mostly women, but there were lots of men, too, with signs, pussy hats, etc. Lots of pink overall, including pink hair. More of a white crowd, but racially mixed. Several Black Lives Matter signs, too. There were still Hillary gear, signs, and shirts, and lots of “nasty woman” T-shirts and buttons.

Damn straight she did.
A tweet from Joy Ann Reid said there were now 600 of these marches worldwide.

Nasty women all over.

All corners of the world

Women's March — Halifax, NS

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Payson contingent braves weather in solidarity with massive, record-shattering worldwide protest

Photo by Jim Keyworth

Despite a major snowstorm and power outages, a brave contingent of Rim Country women turned out Saturday to express solidarity with protestors worldwide to serve notice on President Trump that they are not going to stand for initiatives that limit human rights and that violate his campaign promises.  According to one of the event organizers:  "Weather did not deter the many wonderful Payson activists who showed up today. We gathered in support of our sister marchers all over the world. This is only the beginning!"

Woment's March is massive from coast to coast - may be largest protest in US history 

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21:  Protesters march down Pennsylvania avenue during the Women's March on Washington January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. The march is expected to draw thousands from across the country to protest newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

There have been large protest events in the past, such as a 1982 anti nuclear protest in Central Park that drew a crowd of a million. There have also been protests spread across multiple cities, for example, protests over the War in Iraq that put 10 million people on the streets of cities around the world on a weekend in 2003.

The Women’s March has surpassed many famous events of the past, taking it’s place as one of the greatest protests in history. While media predictions may have seemed generous at the time:
On January 21, approximately 200,000 people will convene in Washington, DC to stand up for gender equality after Donald Trump's inauguration.
The actual event has turned out to be many times larger. The crowd in Washington, DC exceeded 500,000 by 9 AM, and the crowd in other cities may actually be larger.

"We had forgotten who we were and did not know what we are."

My hope is that our twenty-nine year personal story, presented in two week intervals, about early onset dementia and neurosis will help others to understand the consequences of healthcare policies.  Part 1 described the influence of the author’s childhood.  Part 2 brings the personal to the public, describing our moral dilemma and finding a care facility.  Part 3 will discuss secrecy within the industry.  Part 4 is about our experiences with the court.  Part 5 describes our encounter with lawyers. 
Myths of Arizona Long Term Eldercare, Part2
By George Templeton
Gazette Columnist
More than one third of us will be demented by age eighty.  Nearly half of us will be if we make it to ninety.  Our free will goes when we become legally incompetent, but it remains personally present in our feelings.  Dementia classifies one as disabled and unable to earn a living, but it does not mean that society will care for us.
If we became participants, architects in Sis’ demise, would not we bear the pain of responsibility?  It is worse than the pain of loss.  We would have to live with the evolving reality and the guilt of not having tried, if we did nothing.  Involvement meant unavoidable anxiety about the future, the adequacy of Sis’s finances, and the appropriate level of care.  We did not realize that our loved one could amount to a thirty year prison sentence for us.  At what point is a caregiver’s suffering important?  Are we selfish if we put our children first?
Unlike some other states, Arizona supposedly does not require filial responsibility.  Sis had lived her own life.  She was younger than us and there was not the bond that exists between parents and children.  But what was in store for her?  Would the establishment really have her best interests in mind?  How could they?  They didn’t know her.  A lawyer said, “We don’t go there; I won’t listen to you concerning your ward’s psychological issues”.
We had forgotten who we were and did not know what we are.  We did not realize that we were creating the meaning of our lives and ourselves by choosing the way that things ought to be.  Our world would change.  We had no doubt about what Sis wanted.
Whatever will be will be
Sis qualified for Social Security disability because she was no longer mentally competent to perform her job as records clerk.  My wife agreed to accept healthcare and financial power of attorney because we knew that things were not going to get better.  Sis was still living in her home as we tried to get it ready to sell.  Her emotions were in the way.  It was like trying to hike through quicksand.
We would not let Sis get on a ladder because she might fall, but we did not anticipate that she would try to hike to the store to buy ice cream and would be hit by a car.  There was a helicopter trip to the hospital, temporary loss of speech, impairment of gait, mental incompetence, Social Security disability, insurance settlement, and unwanted mandatory appointment of my wife as conservator (not guardian and no longer financial power of attorney).  From that point onward, Sis blamed everything on the automobile accident.  She never accepted the terrible reality, that she had an incurable illness and would suffer a slow death.
I moved into Sis’ house for a year to repair the damage.  We financed its repair.  She moved into our home where we provided room and board at no charge.  I hauled dozens of truck loads to the dump and held my breath as I loaded furniture soaked with years of urine.  I replaced, repainted and repaired everything so the house could be sold.  Concrete is porous.  It had absorbed ten years of animal pee that would not just wash off.  I mopped the floor over and over and covered up the smell with ceramic floor tile.
We knew that Sis had become disabled and unable to work before the accident.  CADASIL was the bigger problem.  It was incurable, but people recover from automobile accidents.  We knew that liability cases could take years and involve us personally and extensively.  We felt that there were enough problems to solve without taking on another fight that we might not win.  We settled out of court.
The consequences of this were never explained to us.  We did not understand that her insurance settlement belonged to the court, and not our ward.  We knew nothing of the legal costs and horrible bureaucratic inertia that would result.  When you accept a conservatorship, you work for the court and are persona non grata.  Once the court becomes involved, it stays involved.  It can’t be rushed.
The law reads that a conservator cannot be held responsible for the conservatee’s financial problems, but read closer.  That applies only as long as the estate is not depleted and can be a source of funding.  All support for the ward comes from their estate.
The great real estate crash was starting.  You can image how quickly Sis would have “spent down” had we not intervened.  There would have been fees for a public conservator, court appointed guardian, guardian’s attorney, ward’s attorney, and lawyer’s fees.  We saved the taxpayer’s money and protected Sis from a highly impersonal system that cared as little as possible for her.
The first time that Sis lived with us was through her first bankruptcy and second divorce in 1988.  We learned more about her increasing quirks when she lived in our home again for another year in 2006.  Her funnel vision caused her to inflate the importance of trivia and to miss the relationship between cause and effect.  Attending to her every whim and need required our constant attention, night and day.  We had to help her bathe and dress.  Her “vegetarian” meals were all-out exclusionary warfare because she refused most vegetables, preferring cheese instead.  Her meals had to be served at unusual times of the day.  Though she had spent much of her life as a professional singer and song writer, she would no longer tolerate any music regardless of how soft.  That included Christmas carols and advertising jingles on the radio or television.  She prevented my trumpet playing.  Lights were intolerable.  She liked to sit in a dark room with curtains closed and would not come out for family events.  She had a fear of men.  Taking her out to a busy department store was out of the question because she would huff and puff like a steam engine.  She threw a fit when she saw someone smoking on the other side of the street.  She needed to have many bottles of water at bedside because she feared that she might get thirsty, but that required using the bathroom at all hours of the night.  It led to frequent falls.  Apprehension ruled our house. 
Finding a home
After a year of taking care of Sis in our home, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, we needed to escape.  We were seeking the experience of life instead of its meaning.  We had retired only months before her incapacitation and had finally straightened out her home and financial affairs.  Our plan was to retire in our forest home.  We started to act on that plan.
Facilities, who view business as a win-win proposition, realize that eldercare is a shared responsibility.  They become involved in the Medicare/ ALTCS qualification process and may have their own lawyer.  They can help with medical qualification and the ALTCS application, but this means that they will be in control.  Their motivation is to continue the cash flow.
The choice of skilled nursing should be driven by the level of medical care required.  It is appropriate for people who are in the last year of their lives.  Skilled nursing facilities cannot make your ward leave if you have applied for and are waiting to get Medicaid, but they don’t want to get stuck with bad debt.  This is the reason why they are reluctant to admit a person pending ALTCS.  It is also the reason why people try to get their loved one admitted sooner instead of later. 
Assisted living facilities can discharge your ward at any time for any reason, but they provide a quiet living situation less like a hospital and are cheaper.  They advertise a college dormitory setting, showing residents playing sports and happily partying with their new friends.  But our case was the opposite, a fifty-five year old incapacitated sister who was anxious, reclusive, crippled, and would likely need care for thirty years.
Home for Sis had to be physically convenient, somewhere that we could visit weekly.  Small care homes refused to admit our 200 pound 5 foot 4 basket of eccentricities.  Close living would require Sis to compromise, but that did not seem to be in her.  We found an assisted living center that assured us that they would help when the need for Medicaid came, but reality is influenced by the constantly increasing size of the retiring baby boom generation.  Incentives become unnecessary when there are more than enough old people to fill every opening. 
Psychologically disturbed 
Sis had her own room.  Television watching meant incessant cycling of the channels.  She adjusted the air-conditioning a dozen times every day.  She kept her door locked and justified that by claiming that the other residents were crazy.  She complained that they were old.  The facility made certain that no music played and that the sun did not shine when Sis was present.  Sis ate early because she went to sleep at 4:30 pm.  She claimed that she could not walk past that hour.
When she rode in our car, Sis would have to go within minutes but at the doctor’s office she could not go even though she wanted to because the bathroom was not hers.  Sensitivity to pain and needles was another problem.  The doctor’s office gave up on her.  We had to take her to the hospital to have blood drawn for testing.  You can imagine the look on the waiting patients’ faces when they heard her scream.
Sis kept two dogs that she had not toilet trained.  They were afraid of the outdoors.  We took one and left the other with her, anticipating future problems.  In the beginning the dog provided a way for socially interacting with the other people in the care center, but it was not long until Sis was failing to walk her dog.  Feces accumulated in the facility, as it had when she was a home owner.  From then on, we took both dogs and left them with her when we regularly came to town.  This was Sis’s reality for eight years and more than a quarter of a million dollars spent.
As luck would have it, a new corporate owner acquired the care facility only a month before Sis was broke.  They needed more profit.  They would not accept Medicaid and knew of no care facility would without an undefined family supplement.  We were the only family.  We did not feel that it should be our responsibility to pay out of our own pocket for someone who had lived a financially irresponsible life.
Legacy preservation
Gifts, transfers of titles, and trusts are strategies of wealth preservation.  If you have not transferred your house to your children five years before the nursing home, the government steps in.  But do you trust your children’s judgment?  Do you trust that the state will believe that you were not deliberately avoiding financial responsibility when you transferred wealth shortly before requesting the state’s financial help?
ALTCS fails to protect the truly poor individual who has no assets or family.  The system throws such a person in with the gamers.  Seven percent of the Medicaid recipients in nursing homes account for more than two thirds of asset transfers.  It distorts the intent of Medicaid and robs the taxpayer.
In Finland, Germany, and Japan, the taxpayer funds your nursing home stay and you can retain your assets.  However, most developed countries suffer from insufficient immigration, an aging population, and resulting economic decline.  They have the honesty to let you know that you will not qualify.  They do not play the game of brinksmanship that will ambush you and hold you hostage by virtue of your loved one.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Despite Roundup's claims, former SLE member says "ASU campus in Payson is still illusory"

ASU mascot Sparky sticks a fork in plans for Payson campus.

Dear Editor,

In December of 2011, I resigned from the board of the SLE that was purposed with bringing an ASU campus in Payson into fruition.  At that time I articulated my belief that such a campus was not imminent.  The Payson Roundup had consistently reported the contrary, and there were some angry responses to my statements.  It was presumed I was a naysayer, and that I did not want this campus to happen.  The opposite was then and continues to be true – it would be wonderful for Payson to have an ASU campus.

I write this follow-up today because I fear the promise of an ASU campus in Payson is still illusory, at least in the near term.   Though land was purchased from the Forestry Service with money paid to the Mogollon Health Alliance from the sale of the Payson Regional Health Center to Banner for this purpose, ASU has still not committed to it.  The amount and focus of student demand is not fully researched, negotiations with ASU have not started in earnest, and even if a proposal does make it up to the Regents, approval is not something that is either speedy or inevitable.

The question people have asked me over the years is what has propelled leadership to so often assert an imminent start to a project that never materializes.   Concerns about nefarious self-deals and evil intent abound.  I cannot guarantee that such impropriety is absent in the equation, but I can think of other reasons why the myth is kept alive.

Some people genuinely believe that the dream itself has value irrespective of whether it manifests. I have heard that the mere promise of a campus boosts home values and attracts business.  Although it is not generally a good idea to build the future on a false foundation, hope is a strong motivator.

Also, it is not uncommon for people who make bold assertions to stick to their story, no matter how unfounded their claim.  The reasons for that are not always malevolent.  Wishful thinking causes many of us to self-delude.  This campus is something we all want – we all hope it can happen.   Many may choose to believe it is around the corner based on wishing it to be so.

I wish very much for this campus to become a reality, but I respectfully disagree with the assertion that we will soon have a deal with ASU to start building.  We may get there eventually, but nothing indicates that we are getting close now.

Suzanne Cummins

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What Trump Taught America About Sexual Assault

This is assault. (photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
This is assault. (photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
By Christina Cauterucci, Slate
02 January 17
hen Republicans nominated a crude misogynist to oppose a candidate who looked like she might be the nation’s first female president, the 2016 election seemed like it would be, at least in part, a referendum on America’s entire record of discrimination and abuse against women.

The results of that referendum were clear: proud admissions of sexual assault, an inability to see women as anything but sex objects, and a penchant for sexual humiliation were not enough to keep the country’s least-qualified major party nominee in history out of the White House. For anyone who voted for Donald Trump, bald-faced racism and sexism were not the deal-breakers they should have been. Hatred of women was on the ballot in November, and it won.

But there is a thin, tarnished silver lining to the platform Trump gave to his misogynist worldview this year. As both the president-elect and his alleged victims described the uninvited sexual contact he regularly imposed upon women, mainstream observers were made to consider that the more minor violations they described—forced kisses, gropes, and grabs—belonged on the spectrum of sexual assault.

Though reports of Trump’s abuse have been around for years, the public conversation about his alleged crimes began in earnest in October 2016, when the Washington Post published a 2005 clip of Trump saying he grabs women “by the pussy” and “just start[s] kissing them” without waiting for consent. Once that video dropped, more than a dozen women came forward to allege that Trump had done exactly what he’d bragged about. A People writer wrote that Trump shoved her against a wall and pushed his tongue into her mouth during a reporting trip to his Florida home. Former Miss USA pageant participants said he’d purposely walk into their backstage dressing room while they were changing, ogling half-naked women and girls as young as 15. (Donald Trump has admitted that he’s done this.) Several women detailed similar accounts of Trump ambushing them with his hands on their breasts, butts, and genitals.

These incidents were not rapes. They were all-too-common sexual violations that are often brushed off by perpetrators, bystanders, and victims alike as misunderstandings or harmless, standard male behavior. Most women have experienced violations like these; not all of them have filed the memories away under “sexual assault.” Hearing the disturbing details of Trump’s alleged assaults and zooming out to see his pattern of exploitation caused some women to reevaluate abuses they’d previously written off. Trump reminded women of their abusers; long-buried recollections rose like zombies. Calls to sexual-assault hotlines surged.

It’s a traumatic experience to realize that what once seemed like petty instances of boys being boys were actual sexual assaults diminished by a rape culture that normalizes unwanted touch. But confronting the real harm of these violations—and the misogyny and entitlement to women’s bodies that undergirds them—is a necessary step toward establishing a safer world for women.

The Trump allegations also gave non-victims not already taking part in contemporary discussions of consent an occasion to expand the boundaries of what they consider sexual assault. It would take a hardy capacity for self-delusion to read the particulars of Trump’s gropes and grabs—“his fingers slid under her miniskirt, moved up her inner thigh, and touched her vagina through her underwear”—and still brush them off as misguided flirtation. I wrote a piece in Washington City Paper about being groped on the street in 2014, and I’ll never forget one comment an anonymous man left on the online version. He wrote that the article had made him rethink his definition of sexual assault. The detailed questions the D.C. police detective asked me about the incident, which I included in my article, did the trick, he wrote:
As a straight dude, I admit that my first thought was “Some drunk guy on 18th Street grabbed her ass. It's boorish, it's fucked-up, it's illegal, but it's not exactly ‘sexual assault.’” Wrong. I was wrong. It was the detective's questions that really drove it home: “Which hand did the perpetrator use to touch me? Was it a pinch, a slap, or a rub? How many fingers were on me?” It makes my skin crawl.
Accounts of Trump’s alleged forced kisses—“within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat. … I was stunned”—may have the same effect on mainstream Americans. Surprise kisses have long held an idealized position in American romance narratives. (See: “V-J Day in Times Square,” the famous photo of a World War II sailor grabbing a nurse he didn’t know for an uninvited kiss.) Conventional wisdom holds that a kiss doesn’t warrant affirmative consent; that it is the moment at which consent can be given or denied. Unwanted kisses may cause a moment of discomfort, the thinking goes, but since they don’t count as sexual activity, they don’t count on the spectrum of sexual assault.

Trump’s pattern of unwelcome kisses, an integral element of his alleged sexual exploitation, casts a shadow on that justification. America learned this year that Roger Ailes, too, made a habit of using his position of power to coerce women into kisses and worse. Megyn Kelly has said her former Fox News boss repeatedly tried to kiss her, and several women told the New York Times they’d endure his forced kisses and hugs to avoid upsetting him or losing their jobs. Ailes and Trump offer proof that an unwanted kiss isn’t harmless on its own—it’s a violation of the victim’s right to decide who touches her body and how. These cases also show that forced kisses usually go hand in hand with other, more serious sexual abuses. A man that ignores a woman’s bodily autonomy in one regard isn’t likely to respect it in another.

Of course, not everyone got on board as the mainstream definition of sexual assault expanded in 2016. When porn actress Jessica Drake accused Trump of grabbing her and kissing her without her consent, the president-elect pooh-poohed her protests.

“She’s a porn star,” he said. “Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before.” Betsy McCaughey, the Trump surrogate who made the myth of Obamacare “death panels” happen in 2009, said the allegations against Trump were nothing but “man-shaming,” making a big deal out of stuff men do because they’re men. The Weekly Standard asked Sen. Jeff Sessions (Trump’s anti–civil rights, pro–racist language pick for attorney general) about what it would mean if Trump had actually grabbed women “by the pussy.” “I don't characterize that as sexual assault,” Sessions said. “I think that's a stretch.” Dave Chappelle said Trump’s boast that his fame let him exploit women with impunity (“when you’re a star, they let you do it”) meant that the women, too taken aback or intimidated by Trump’s power to protest, consented to his alleged abuse.

2016 was also the year a sexual-assault survivor’s letter to her assailant, Brock Turner, got more than 11 million views in four days, becoming BuzzFeed’s most-shared piece of content since the Dress. Turner’s violation, described in heart-wrenching detail by his victim, was easy to identify as criminal sexual assault, unlike some of the alleged wrongdoings of Trump and Ailes. But the survivor’s statement reached far beyond the circles of people who normally read and think about sexual assault, undoubtedly driving unsuspecting readers to contemplate why a firm verbal “no” shouldn’t be a perpetrator’s only signal to stop. The letter painted a powerful image of the horrors that ensue when unresponsive silence is taken as a “yes.”

The same rule should apply to unsolicited kisses and touches, though those are rarely prosecuted as crimes in court. If Trump’s and Ailes’ accusers taught the nation that a stolen kiss is its own kind of violence, Turner’s victim gave a follow-up lecture on the damage sexual assault leaves in its wake. This might have made for an effective one-two punch of a lesson for our country on the importance of affirmative consent. Instead, in 2016, America’s young women and men learned that survivors get dragged in the press and perpetrators get to be president.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Carl Bernstein blasts Conway: She's Trump's 'propaganda minister' and expert 'anonymous source'

Carl Bernstein

It started with Anderson Cooper of CNN’s 360 calling out Kellyanne Conway Wednesday night as she tried once again to deflate and deny the truth. It’s her thing. But it’s been a trying time for Conway especially after the latest information regarding her boss’s Russian ties leaked out this week. The special  counselor to Donald Trump (who specializes on how to be a better liar) is quite good at her job.

But her gig seems to be getting harder as the media’s intolerance for her bullshit grows.

Later Wednesday night, Cooper talked with Carl Bernstein who along with Bob Woodward investigated and ultimately broke the Watergate scandal which ultimately caused former President Richard Nixon to resign in shame.  Bernstein would like to see the same happen to Trump.  When Kellyanne Conway’s name came up Bernstein let loose.

Carl Bernstein: “Let's talk about what reporting is. It's the best obtainable version of the truth. That's what that story is — the best obtainable version of the truth is that the chief intelligence officials of the United States of America saw this material, thought that it deserved investigation, thought that it ought to be brought to the attention of the President of the United States, and to the president-elect. That is the best obtainable version of the truth.

And another thing about anonymous sources, one of the great anonymous sources of our era his Kellyanne Conway. She does it every day. She has been an anonymous source for the last 10 months, particularly during this campaign when it suits her. And it's time to talk about what we do as journalists and what propaganda ministers do. And that is what she is is a propaganda minister, and what we've seen here tonight is a deconstruction of the journalistic process. And we did our work.

And you can deconstruct it and it comes down to, ‘Look the chief officials of the United States intelligence community believed they had something urgent enough to bring to the attention of the president and the president-elect of the United States. ‘That is a story.’”
Again, thanks to Carl Bernstein — and all those who exemplify reputable and truthful journalism. Can’t get enough.