How did a probate judge get the power to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

With all of the hypocritical right-wing pearl clutching over ‘activist judges’ making law from the bench, it’s shocking that newly elected Madison County, AL Probate Judge Frank Barger felt like it was in his limited judicial purview to grant an aborted fetus the right to have an estate and an attorney in an obvious underhanded ploy to overturn Roe v. Wade. What’s equally stunning is that Barger doesn’t even have a law degree because it’s not currently a requirement to hold the position. But, he has somehow decided that he can upend centuries of precedent and grant legal rights to an aborted fetus in a clearly misguided attempt to prosecute a woman who simply did not violate the law when she decided to have a legal abortion.

What makes this rogue Probate Judge’s actions so despicable is that he’s using a recently passed Alabama ‘personhood’ statute to justify his blatant, religiously-motivated overreach.  The obviously unconstitutional Alabama law that was passed during the last midterm elections states that a fetus and mother have equal rights under the law and it was a highly partisan political attempt to make abortion illegal in the state in direct defiance of Roe v. Wade. In this particular case, the suit was filed two years after the abortion occurred which suggests that, again, this is a scheme designed to circumvent established constitutional law and precedent.

Sadly, this could lead to an enormous amount of very negative legal consequences if this absurdity is upheld. In short, it implies that all abortions are murder and because murder has no statute of limitations, it would open up legal liability to any woman alive who ever had an abortion. That’s just wrong in every way imaginable. But, that’s been the plan of extremist conservatives all along.

That’s what’s terrifying about Trump stacking the Supreme Court with ultra-conservative white bread frat boys who view their position on the high court as a chance to infuse their religious and extreme conservative beliefs into lasting legal precedent. This is dangerous and this must be stopped. Women should never be criminalized for exercising their right to choose or for making decisions about their own bodies.

The biggest outrage in this pathetic ploy is how conservatives have branded themselves for decades as the ‘law and order’ party, yet they continue to show no regard for the Constitution when it serves their political advantage. Whether it’s equal rights or equal pay for women, extremist Republicans have continued to try to pass laws that ensure women will be treated as second-class citizens. This latest bizarre and unethical plan is just another example of what conservatives and their religious zealot base thinks of women.

It’s time to demand that Probate Judge Frank Barger be impeached for his ignorant judicial malpractice. It’s also time to demand that Probate Judges in Madison County actually have a law degree as a pre-requisite to holding office. Next, people should demand that Alabama rescind its unconstitutional abortion laws because they are in direct conflict with existing federal law. After this horrific fiasco, Republicans have no right whatsoever to utter complaints about ‘activist’ judges.

In this unfortunate case, the woman who had the legal abortion deserves our sincere support She does not deserve public censure, not vengeful prosecution, and certainly not mountains of legal bills so that rabid Republicans can throw more red meat to their far-right religious base as they try to out-conservative each other. This is simply a travesty.

Let’s stand up for women and fight this judicial overreach. Probate judges shouldn’t be making any type of decisions in a legal matter such as this. Shame on you, Probate Judge, with no law degree, Barger. We can only hope you’re looking for another job in the next trimester.

Anti-vaxxers Ignorance Causing Irreparable Damage and Needless Deaths

Jerry Waters, Contributor

One of the unfortunate consequences of the modern conservative movement’s war on science and facts is that it has given credence and legitimacy to people who think that they shouldn’t be legally required to vaccinate their children from diseases like the measles. It’s part of the bizarre, deep-state conspiracy, politically evangelical mindset that believes that climate change is a hoax and that the acceptance of scientific facts are dependent on one’s personal beliefs and religious convictions. They believe their rights supersede the common good and they are causing irreparable damage and needless deaths, especially as they spread false and inaccurate information about the safety and effectiveness of medical vaccinations.

Right now, we’re seeing the effects as their actions are directly responsible for the enormous spike in measles cases (200 and counting) in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. It’s getting so bad that a state of emergency was declared by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

This has happened because medical geniuses like model and horrible B-movie actress Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah in 2007 to claim that the MMR vaccine caused her child’s autism. Other celebrities with no medical background like Alicia Silverstone, Rob Schneider, Robert DeNiro, and Charlie Sheen have spread similar misinformation. Well, if you’re taking your medical advice from Charlie Sheen, you’re in for a bumpy and ride that may leave you with a burning, itching rash that just won’t go away!

To address these false claims and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, the scientific community has done tons of research to determine the validity of these claims. Without the smallest doubt, numerous studies have shown that the anti-vaxxers are simply wrong. The most recent longitudinal study followed 650,000 children over a span of years and showed no correlation between MMR vaccinations and autism. In fact, they found that unvaccinated kids were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than vaccinated children.

Yet, people are still taking the word of Charlie Sheen and Jenny McCarthy over studies that rely on facts, the scientific method, and rigorous, professional peer-review. Sheen, who thinks he’s made of, um, tiger blood, once said about his life, “It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.” Isn’t this the guy who lost his sitcom job in an epic drug-fueled meltdown and then announced he was HIV positive? Is this a guy who should be using his celebrity to dispense medical advice? In all fairness to Sheen, he’s gone a year sober now and he’s not making an embarrassing spectacle of himself anymore, but his misguided public remarks on vaccinations have already caused serious damage to public health.

This is why educated, fact-based leadership matters. The right-wing is guilty of giving the anti-science crowd a platform with a megaphone and the devastating effects are becoming palpable in public policy and health.

The Trump administration’s war on science is destroying our environment and remains largely silent on important issues like vaccination so that they don’t lose the ignorant, bat-shit crazy folks that make up their cult-like base. It’s also a wink-nod approach that’s designed to line the pockets of their donors who have no sense of ethics or public responsibility because they prefer short-term profit and political power regardless of the human cost.

It’s time to start publicly denouncing these ant-vaxxers and to enthusiastically support science and facts. The stakes are too high to ignore these fools who do their damage daily on social media.

If only we had a vaccine that prevented ignorance and idiocy. Oh, wait, we do- it’s called education.

‘Repeatedly and brazenly’- Republicans’ disdain for the law

Franklin, Contributor

While more details emerge about the decades-long white-collar crime spree of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller just released a heavily redacted 800-page memo advocating harsh federal sentencing for Manafort due to his deliberately, ‘repeatedly and brazenly’, violating the law for decades. Repeatedly and brazenly.

It’s a recurring and despicable theme in the dark era of Trump. If you’re a rich older white guy, the rules just don’t apply to you. It’s what happens when extreme capitalism conspires with Machiavellianism whilst having an obsessive affair with status-inspired vanity. It’s the only sensible explanation for Manafort’s $15,000 ostrich-leather jacket or his insane expenditures of over $900,000 in five years on designer suits.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

This outrageous disdain for the law and Constitutional norms is evident in every one of Trump’s appointments or picks for senior level positions. It’s obvious in his bullshit declaration of a national emergency on the southern border; yet, his previous declaration of a national emergency on the American opioid epidemic was simply flaccid and clearly inadequate. It was brash and shamelessly apparent in Trump’s tax plan that shifted more money to those sitting on mountains of cash at the expense of the working-class and poor.

Repeatedly and brazenly; rinse and repeat.

When Republicans consciously and intentionally decided to be Trump’s bitch, they prostituted their party and ideals in a way seldom seen in political history. They did it because they believe crap like Joe diGenova, former U.S. attorney and Kool-Aid drinking Republican, said recently to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “We are in a civil war in this country. There’s two standards of justice, one for Democrats one for Republicans. The press is all Democrat, all liberal, all progressive, all left. They hate Republicans, they hate Trump. So, the suggestion that there’s ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. It’s not going to be. It’s going to be total war. And as I say to my friends, I do two things – I vote and I buy guns.”

Repeatedly and brazenly, they espouse a bizarre amalgam of greed, white supremacy, entitlement, privilege, and xenophobia. And it’s happening because Trump is literally the extreme conservative icon’s dream of an ideal president, as articulated in 2012 by Grover Norquist, who claimed the ideal president would be “a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.” Republicans sold their souls for a debaucherous grifter, man-child who could do just that to advance their perverse political agenda.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

As we endure the constant and startling atrocities of Trump and his ilk, we should somehow remain optimistic that our nation will survive this assault on our sacred norms and proud institutions. Surely, Republicans are not genuinely proud of Trump or the immoral swamp he represents. Certainly, they will repent and regroup as the inevitable indictments fall and the ugly truth of his corruption and moral bankruptcy is irrefutably exposed. And not just Trump’s, but all his cronies who have engaged in the same type of reprehensible and obviously illegal behavior. We must remain steadfast that they, indeed, are not above the law.

Don’t think that Democrats or others aren’t prone to this sort of repeated and brazen illegality. The difference is that we hold our own responsible. Just ask Al Franken. And, true, there are those like former President Clinton who got away with egregious misconduct, yet liberals can still claim the moral high ground by committing to doing what’s morally right, particularly as we move forward. It matters that Democrats, in spite of their failures, continue to adhere to the highest ethical standards. If we don’t, we become them.

Repeatedly and brazenly and wittingly.

It’s time to remember that the goal of public service isn’t power, it’s all about making our nation a more perfect union. Our adherence to our American values is the only thing we should be doing repeatedly and brazenly.

Oh, and fuck all those greedy, immoral self-indulgent traitors like Paul Manafort… He truly deserves what he’s about to get and we can only hope it’s repeatedly and brazenly in federal prison.

The Sublime Crime of ‘Executive Time’

Contributor, Clete Wetli

In another unsurprising leaked and humiliating revelation this week, some disgruntled senior White House staffer disclosed Trump’s actual presidential work schedule to a salivating media. It turns out that Trump devotes the majority of his day and a good deal of his legendary stamina to a mysterious category called “executive time.”

Alrighty, then. What, pray tell, is this sacred time? Now, the word ‘executive’ is defined as a person having the power to put plans, actions, or laws into effect. In Trump’s case, that may be true in the most superficial of ways. So, maybe, the word ‘executive’ should be looked at in terms of its root word- to execute. That is, to kill. Killing time. Sleeping in and killing time until it’s time for that one afternoon appointment. Can’t let anything interfere with tweet time.

No wonder this got leaked. Anyone who actually works in any sort of real job would be pissed that this tanning bed addicted imbecile gets to just lay around on the clock for over half the day chugging Diet Pepsi and nibbling hamberders while calling his fawning buddies. I mean, this clown barely shows up for work and seems to spend most of his time murdering grammar on Twitter while watching Fox and Friends. But, “executive time” sure sounds a lot better than letting America in on the big secret that our Commander in Chief is simply fucking off all morning.

Well, I asked my boss for some executive time and didn’t get any response except an email from HR that advises me to attend some mandatory seminar or find other employment. Whatever.

Well, we all understand that being POTUS is very demanding and that there should be some flexibility in scheduling and hours. But, folks, Trump is making a mockery of the institution in every way imaginable. Whether it’s the outright violation of the emoluments clause, the shady profiteering and cronyism, the disrespect for traditions and norms, or his juvenile and stubborn refusal to listen to his own intelligence chiefs; it has become clear that Trump is derelict, incompetent, lazy, arrogant, and selfish in the most infantile of ways.

Some pundits have vociferously expressed gratitude for Trump’s excessive use of executive time because they believe it diminishes his preternatural and uncanny ability to harm and embarrass America. They may have a salient point. Yet, others like Cliff Sims, Trump apologist and founder of the propaganda machine Yellowhammer News, are trying to say that Trump’s executive time is just a style choice that is somehow key to his effectiveness. Yeah, right. Ok. Effective at what, exactly? Being an asshole and manufacturing imaginary crises? Making the rich richer and poor poorer? Bring back a bajillion coal jobs? Oh, I guess not so much.

What Trump is doing in the White House would get him fired in any other employment setting. He continually shows that he is purposely ignorant and bent on nothing more than confirming his own prejudices whilst indulging his base desires and instincts. It’s sad that a euphemism, ‘executive time’ had to be created to mislead people about what this deliberately ignorant lazy man-toddler is really up to. We laugh at the covfefe and hamberders, but it’s only because laughing prevents us from rioting in the streets and demanding wholesale revolution. Somehow, we’ve survived half a term with this charlatan.  Hopefully, Mueller has discovered enough to help forcibly remove him. If not, let’s pray that voter’s have had enough of Trump’s malarkey and that they quickly show him the door.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know if people get ‘executive time’ in prison… asking for a friend… wink, wink.

Attack of the Democratic Cannibals!

Well, it’s looking like there’s going to be literally scores of Democratic candidates running against Donald Trump in 2020 and the race is already a fascinating study into why we can’t have nice things.  You could see this clearly when California Senator Kamala Harris announced her candidacy in front of 20,000 adoring supporters because it drew immediate, puerile condemnation from the Bernie-bots on social media. Notwithstanding the obvious irony that Bernie Sanders is not really a member of the Democratic Party, the attacks on Harris were disproportionally vicious and extreme.  Sadly, this scenario will continue to play out as more and more candidates announce their intentions to run. The Democratic Cannibals have been awakened and they are ready to eat other Democrats that fail their fickle tests of ideological purity.

They can’t wait to eat Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard. They drool when they hear O’Rourke. They can’t wait to rip them to shreds, especially if they have changed their minds on a hot-button issue.

And it’s not just the Democratic Cannibals that are fanatically devoted to a particular candidate who seem to be engaged in eating their own kind. In some cases, it’s the actual candidate that’s ready to eat a pound of liberal flesh and wash it down with a little chianti. In the case of ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, it may be a venti chai latte that he guzzles after metaphorically poisoning his liberal colleagues. Pathetically, that’s all Schultz has rhetorically to draw attention to his lukewarm, no-message, vainglorious, not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell-of winning candidacy.

The funny thing is that it’s the Democratic Cannibals that are responsible for bringing us the Orange Stain that is currently occupying the Oval Office. They did it by loudly chewing on Clinton, especially when their candidate didn’t win the nomination, and they spitefully cast their votes for Johnson and Stein. It felt so good to eat other Dems and Liberals, didn’t it?

Look, I’m not saying that Democrats shouldn’t be able to criticize other Democrats, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t have a shared philosophical frame. But, the Democratic Cannibals have taken their derision and divisiveness to a new destructive level. Often, the choice to kill and consume their brethren comes from disagreement over a single controversial issue like abortion, healthcare, or taxation. Instead of engaging in intelligent discourse or debate, they rage and cause indiscriminate damage.  The Democratic Cannibal is the anthropomorphic symbol of political extremism.

So, as we gear up for 2020, let’s try to remember who the real opposition is. Let’s focus our energies on getting a Democrat elected and saving our democracy, not to mention our place on the world stage.  This isn’t the time for us to have an intraparty food fight or to throw support behind people that we know have a zero chance of winning. The stakes are way too high in the aftermath of the Trumpocalypse. We can’t afford to eat our own.

We want a Democratic Party that doesn’t march in lockstep, but we also need to understand that there’s time for debate and a time to be unified. Lately, there’s been no clearer example than Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to unite Democrats when it really counted. Yes, there’s also room for upstarts like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even though there are stark difference in substance and tone between the freshman congresswoman and party leadership. Yet, when the chips were down, Democrats effectively united.

So, if you’re going to be a Democrat, then be a loyal member of the Democratic Party. If you can’t play nice, go join the Donner Party, but please quit talking with your mouth full… well, how about just quit talking… hey, have you met Howard Schultz? He’s got a chai latte with your name on it…

No! “Both sides” are not to blame for the shutdown!

Republicans are doing everything they possibly can to convince a disgusted American public that Trump’s partial government shutdown is somehow the result of “both sides” failing to come to an agreement over Trump’s insane border wall.

It’s just not true.

Republicans and Democrats had come to an agreement over government spending that Trump refused to sign only after he succumbed to the influence of right-wing nut jobs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh at the very last minute.  In fact, Trump’s legislative gimp in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, wouldn’t have allowed a vote on the legislation if Trump hadn’t already said he was going to sign it in advance. Alas, all was going well until Ann Coulter opened her moldy, hateful pie-hole.

Trump wants this shutdown because it’s an effective tool of mass distraction from the Mueller investigation- an investigation that is slowly and surely revealing the many illegal activities of the Orange Imposter and his band of money hungry, ass-kissing sycophants. Trump also knows that his racist base loves that he’s shutting down the government over a border wall because that’ll keep those bad brown-skinned hombres out. Facts don’t matter, they love the symbolism of the wall to keep out rapey, gang-member, drug-dealing, criminal, disease-carrying, every-bad-thing-you-can-possibly-imagine foreigners and don’t care if a bunch of free-loadin’, overpaid federal government workers are hurt by the shutdown.

No! Both sides are not to blame. The blame lies solely with Trump. Well, maybe a little with gimp Mitch for having no human adult gonads. Yeah, this shitstorm is all born out of Trump’s moronic tantrum. Trump can’t find a way to resolve this now because no one in either party trusts him anymore. Trump’s already walked away from other, better deals and, in fact, he’s the one who turned DACA into a huge mess in the first place. Add that to the fact that the Republicans have zero interest in solving the immigration problem because it’s such a useful tool when it comes to firing up their racist, hateful base. If you don’t believe it, just look at how Alabama Congressional mouth-breather Mo Brooks uses it whenever he needs a media jolt to remind his drooling base that he’s still a shill for all things Trumpy.

But you should be enraged by all of the inane commentary that tries to paint the shutdown situation as one in which both sides are being unreasonable. Um, no, not at all. Sorry, the Democrats have been exceedingly reasonable and generously flexible. They just know orange bullshit when they see it and they’re done negotiating with a man-toddler who revels in orange bullshit.

It’s high time that people stop being lazy in their commentary and observations regarding politics in the age of Trump.  It’s okay to assign credit and blame appropriately even if turns out to be disproportional because the facts bear that out. However, it’s terrible to continue this stupefying chant that demands a pox on “both your houses” because both sides are to blame- it’s simply not true and its damaging net effect is to increase voter apathy and/or suppress meaningful civic engagement.

Just because we ended up with reality tv president doesn’t mean we have to lower our standards or pretend that he bears any semblance to his intelligent and opposable-thumb-wielding predecessors. Trump is hopefully an anomaly, a malignant tumor on our democracy that will soon be excised if there is any divinely inspired justice in the universe.

So, let’s follow the lead of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and start telling some inconvenient truths as if we have no more fucks to give! Let’s quit saying both sides are to blame when it’s perfectly clear where the blame lies.

This is Trump’s mess and Democrats are not going to clean his shitty orange diaper- that sounds like a job for Mitch the gimp… if you can find him.

The Disconnect is Real

twentytwentynews, surreal times, trump, politics, climate change

Jerry Waters, Contributor

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling pretty disconnected lately. Disconnected in the sense that I don’t understand the hostility and self-righteousness and fear that’s screaming at me from conservatives. I used to be able to disagree without it becoming personal. Hell, we used to be able to find some small middle ground on which to discover mutual respect, but that’s nonexistent now.

Normally, I write about science and the environment. Usually, those are safely nerdy topics that don’t generate a tsunami of political heat. But lately, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been threatened and ridiculed over things that I never imagined would be controversial politically. I mean, clean air and water? Space exploration? Conservation of natural resources? Yeah, I get that there are conflicting sides and different interests at stake, but I don’t understand the vitriol from the right.

We all still live on the same planet, right?

I mean, why is the head of the EPA hell bent on rolling back every regulation that protects the beautiful country we live in? Do people really want coal ash, fracking byproducts, and other chemicals in their drinking water with no legal means of recourse against the companies doing the polluting?

Why, again, are we drilling for oil off our coastlines? Why are we unnecessarily hastening environmental reviews for major construction projects destined to kill endangered species and lay waste to natural landscapes?

More importantly, why are Trumpsters and conservatives so mad at me for caring about the environment or worrying about the consequences of space exploration and research? They love to hurl insults and threats, but they’re very thin-skinned if you push back at all.

I’ve been amazed at watching them make excuses. The “tax cut” fiasco which explodes our deficit and exacerbates wealth inequality. Ignoring the fact that the Russians definitely and calculatingly interfered with our elections. Their stunning failure to fix healthcare and their laughable plan to repair our nation’s infrastructure. They worship Trump as infallible and excuse his every ignorant, crass, and dangerous remarks. They live in a toxic, mind-numbing, non-permeable bubble of misinformation and propaganda.

Perhaps, I’m not the one who is so disconnected after all. Indeed, “the Russians are laughing their asses off” because we suffer such an ignoramus, who is systematically dismantling our government and squandering our diminishing natural resources for his own profit and self-aggrandizement.

I will continue to write about the environment and science, but I had to get that off my chest. Each day, I’m sickened that Scott Pruitt is in charge of the EPA and that our children’s education is in the comically incompetent hands of Betsy DeVos. While we were distracted by the dizzying displays of perpetual White House scandal, Trump presented a budget that eliminated funding for public broadcasting and for NASA’s education programs. I mean, this shithead wants to get rid of the TVA and defund any efforts to produce renewable energy.

It’s exhausting keeping up with Trump’s destruction of our beloved country. It’s heartbreaking watching this greedy buffoon and his cronies get rid of necessary environmental regulations and reviews so that they can make a few bucks in the short term.

I’ve no doubt that America will survive this, but it’s clear that every day that Trump is in office that our nation becomes diminished, sicker, and unstable. The anti-environment and anti-science fervor that has swept the Republican party must be stopped in its tracks because the consequences will be deadly.

Forgive my rant, I’ll get back to writing about the things I love, but in the era of Trump I find myself banging my head on my desk regularly.

Saudi women can drive but have a long way to go

saudi, woman, driving

Jerry Waters, Contributor

It’s beyond comprehension that the other day was historic because Saudi Arabia’s king finally decided to let women drive automobiles. Until the royal decree becomes effective in a few months, Saudi Arabia will still hold the ignoble distinction of being the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving. Check your iPhone X and tell me what year this again…

Before you start celebrating a huge victory for women’s equality, it’s critical to note that women are still undoubtedly second-class citizens in that country. Saudi women still must adhere to a strict dress code and aren’t allowed to make their own decisions. They may soon be able to drive, but they have an incredibly long road to travel before they achieve anything remotely resembling equality.

The country’s conservative Wahhabi Muslim establishment is not at all happy about this blow to patriarchy and they see this as a sign that country is about to become a sin-filled Hell hole. They said the same thing in the past about educating women and letting women watch television. To them, women will be driving on the highway to Hell.

Hearing this news really put the issues that women in America face into sharp focus. In the US, we are still dealing with pay inequality and women’s healthcare issues. Although we are not as oppressive as the Saudis, we’re still a patriarchal society. American oppression just takes more subtle forms. Look at how we treat women in business and politics. Look at all the double standards we have that are embedded in our culture.

Yet, Americans love to believe that they are so much more advanced. It wasn’t really that long ago in the history of our nation that women fought men for their right to vote. We never quite could pass an Equal Rights Amendment. Although Obama was able to pass the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Trump is doing everything he can to try to tear it down. Abortion may be legally a woman’s choice, but with all the restrictions imposed by states, good luck finding a clinic or insurance to cover the procedure. Women still don’t have equal representation in any level of our government. Only a sparse handful are CEOs.

Women are routinely discriminated against in America, but we like to pretend that we’re past all that now. Just like having a black president made racism magically disappear.

Globally, young girls are forced into sex or marriage every single day. They are tortured and abused and sold. In some countries, women who have been raped are stoned to death or murdered by family members in “honor” killings.  The ones who aren’t killed often end up disfigured or seriously injured for life.

So, let’s not spend a bunch of time congratulating an asshole king for deciding that women could finally be allowed to drive. Don’t pop the champagne corks thinking that this means that radical reforms in religion and government are coming rapidly to usher in an unprecedented age of equality for women around the world. The Saudi king took a baby step and it’s a very small step in the right direction. But let’s be real, it’s unbelievably overdue and it’s miniscule when compared to all the other changes that will have to be made for women to have true freedom and liberty in that country.

Here in the US, we’re electing misogynist clowns like Trump who will do everything in their power to roll back all of the progress women have fought for and won. Make no mistake, there is a real war against women.

Soon, Saudi women will be driving and that’s a great thing. Let’s not lose sight of the goal and let’s remember how much further we have to go. We’re still not anywhere close to where we need to be.

Not your Mother’s Brand of Feminism

feminism, equal pay

Elizabeth Dawson, Contributor

I grew up with an odd view of the world. My mother was a 60 and 70s era pantsuit wearing feminist but she struggled with addiction and mental health issues so I grew up in my grandmother’s house and she had a very old world view of the woman’s role in society. I came up always wanting to be feminine and I wore vintage clothes before vintage clothes were cool. I harassed my grandmother into giving me money and I would hit the garage sales in the neighborhood and buy the most ridiculous, crazy dresses and sport them around like I was the coolest person on the block. Of course I was the scorn of my friends because I was odd and my family just scratched their heads and put up with it. My grandmother enjoyed it though because at least I liked to dress up. At least I was feminine. I was the antithesis of what my mother stood for and yet I was very head strong and had a very particular view of myself in this world. That view of myself did not include marrying well or allowing a man to support me. I rebelled against both my grandmother’s views and my mother’s version of feminism. I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t alone in this new take of feminism.

As I hit the workforce, I found my mother’s version of feminism quite a bit. Women that wore pantsuits and thought that being a female in a man’s world was literally trying to be a man. I don’t scorn these women. They paved the way for my generation in the workforce yet it wasn’t my style. I did everything a man could do in the workplace and then some but I did it as a feminine woman. I was happy to don the dresses that my predecessors had scorned. I was a millennial feminist before that label was ascribed to my generation and yet I learned some valuable lessons both in my personal and professional life.

Because I didn’t have that nurturing mother type in my life, I learned the value of work and money early. I knew that I would always have to support myself because that safety net didn’t really exist. I did have my father and he helped me but my strength and my resilience came from tough lessons learned. I had men in my life that felt it was an acceptable course of action to remove money I worked for from my accounts to the detriment to myself and my children. I found out first hand about the inequity in the wage gap for women. Though these issues are tough, these are first world problems. I have traveled quite a bit for my job and personally. This experience has shown me that most of the world’s poor and starving are women and their children. Poverty is sexist as Melinda Gates has said and even though here in the United States, we make $.80 to a man’s dollar, outside of the U.S., conditions are far worse. The women of the world make our clothes, our technology and earn a starving wage to do so. I realized then that the millennial feminist cannot just be a state of mind, a law put into place for workplace equality or some heartfelt resistance movement. The real power for us women is in cold hard cash.

The new brand of feminism needs to stand for economic justice and the rest will follow. Martin Luther King said that “civil rights means nothing without economic justice.” So we as millennial women salute our predecessors and their fight for equal rights. We salute the suffragists. Our next fight is the end of slave wages. Women do not need charity but rather understanding. They need the means to invest in education, health care and well-being for their children. If this fight is fought now and won, we as women will have the power to improve the rest. So I implore you to find your own way to fight to improve the global wage gap. Buy products only from companies that pay their employees properly. Purchase with your conscious. Fund non-profits with this purpose in mind. The change will occur by economic means and this change cannot just occur for American women. It must occur for all women.

Protesting is more American than apple pie or the NFL

american, apple, pie, flag

Clete Wetli, Contributor

While the Idiot-in-Chief was visiting Huntsville, AL last week to support Bigly Luther Strange for Senate, he took a moment from his usual and meandering cacophony of self-adulation to encourage the NFL to fire players who engaged in the political protest of kneeling during the National Anthem. Although most Americans use that anthem time to down another beer or have another bong hit before the game begins, Trump thinks that kneeling during the anthem makes athletes traitorous, un-American enemies of the state.

The crowd cheered loudly when they heard Twitler make his proclamation and screamed in approval when he advocated harder hitting in professional football. Perhaps, his supporters already have traumatic brain injury in common with many veteran players and feel that if they must live with it, so should everyone else. Like all of Dolt 45’s experiments in extemporaneous speech it was replete with juvenile insults, fictitious assertions, embarrassing machismo, and enough non-sequiturs to qualify for any number of pathological psychological diagnoses.

However, it was his stance on peaceful protest that had America shaking its head. Of course, no one expected the dolt buffoon to be familiar with laws that explicitly prohibit the President and other government officials from trying to influence the personnel decisions of private companies, like the NFL. The Orange Menace barely speaks in coherent simple sentences as it is. What was amazing was that he didn’t understand why protesting is a sacred constitutionally protected right in our democratic republic.

It never occurred to The Drumpf that America was born in protest. That our country’s greatest achievements are the product of peaceful protests and demonstrations. Protest is the oxygen of our democracy. Some attend rallies and hold signs, some write, some sing, some paint, some seek public office, but protest against politicians and the government is the very real and necessary expression of freedom and independence. More so, when it is a minority opinion or deeply unpopular view.

Tragically, many cities across the US have passed a myriad of ordinances that restrict the right of peaceful protest by charging permit fees and imposing other undue burdens designed solely to quell freedom of speech and expression. Regularly, people seem increasingly ready to advocate censorship if it means being exposed to an opposing view. This is a dangerous trend that diminishes public discourse and threatens our freedom and independence.

For its part, the NFL responded to Trumpzilla by standing in solidarity with the players who chose to take a knee. Many in the NFL may not have the same political views as the protestors, but at least they understood the importance of protecting their right to express themselves.

Ironically, the outrage that’s being expressed by many on the alt-right is humorous since they amass weaponry under the protection of the Second Amendment in case they feel they need to take up arms against the government. That’s patriotic to them, but protesting institutionalized racism and discrimination merits termination from your job?

Too many people believe that because they can block someone on social media that it should be the same way in real life. They also love the algorithms that ensure that they are only fed content that they are sure to like. But that type of groupthink isn’t what makes a representative democracy strong and vibrant. It’s antithetical to progress and growth. Instead, we should be listening to opposing views even more and protecting people’s rights to expression. If you disagree with professional athletes taking a knee during the anthem, then make your case on why they are wrong. We’d love to hear it. Firing them or banning them is what they do in dictatorships.

Protest is as American as apple pie and the NFL. Well, apple pie is as American as French Fries, but that’s another story. In the meantime, Trump really needs to shut his French-fried apple pie hole and figure out a way to keep his soul-mate in bad haircuts, Kim Jung-Un, from starting World War III.