Monday, October 15, 2018

Warren's native American heritage generations back is not unusual in Oklahoma

Elizabeth Warren and I both have eastern Oklahoma roots:

I, too, am from eastern Oklahoma, though neither of my parents were from there. In my school classroom in the late 40's and early 50'nearly 2/3 were native American on tribal rolls and nearly everyone else could report somewhere in their backgrounds were native American ancestors, and told so by a grandmother.. The native Americans there were moved by Andrew
Jackson from the southeastern US. in the 1840's. While Warren's DNA was not weighted enough to qualify for the tribal rolls, it did not negate the fact that her grandmother believed she had Native American in her heritage and now she has strong evidence it was so. Check out

Elizabeth Warren never claimed she was on the Cherokee tribal rolls nor did she rely on Cherokee heritage for job applications. However, her DNA contains a bit of Cherokee in her. To be on the tribal rolls (per the Cherokee nation web site)" To be eligible for Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship, you must be able to provide documents that connect you to a direct ancestor listed on one of the Dawes Final Rolls of Citizens of the Cherokee Nation. To be eligible for a federal Certificate Degree of Indian Blood, you must demonstrate through documentation that you descend directly from a person listed on the Dawes’ “by Blood” rolls. This group of census rolls were taken between 1899-1906 of Citizens and Freedmen residing in Indian Territory (now northeastern Oklahoma). If your ancestor did not live in this geographical area during that time period, they will not be listed on the Dawes Rolls."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released the results of a DNA analysis showing she has distant Native American ancestry, which could pre-empt further questions and attacks should she run for president in 2020.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The GOP is swinging wrecking ball at affordable health care insurance and coverage of pre-existing conditions

A verson of this was published in the Sky Hi Daily News October 15-16, 2018

 If Donald Trump has failed to make good on at least one of his campaign promises, "cheaper and better health insurance for all" is the one.  In fact his party and his administration  are hell bent  to  make health insurance cost more and  even become  out of reach for families  on a budget.  Worse, some of their actions, if successful, would end all affordable coverage including  treatment of pre-existing conditions.  The GOP has tried before to either subvert the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or completely destroy it. Now they have some new stealth tactics and they just might succeed.

 The part of their   scheme already implemented  is to let the healthy go scott free without insurance and soak those who need it.  The Trump administration did this  to placate the better heeled who made too much money to qualify for subsidies and  did not want all of the bells and whistles and  those who felt confident they would never get sick and were never hurt in an accident.  With an executive order the  Trump administration  removed the requirement that all must  have health care coverage whether they were  healthy or not or pay a penalty. Trump reduced the penalty to $0. Most insurance plans covering casualties  mix those they think will not ever use their coverage with those who think or know they will. This varied  pool spreads the risk around and keeps premiums to all lowered. This order makes the pool left with more of the sick in it who file expensive claims, raising premium costs or deductibles  for everyone.

Another GOP backed action would  kick  budget conscious families where it  really hurts. It  would jeopardize  affordable coverage of  pre -existing conditions as it takes down the entire the ACA (Obamacare) with it,  premium subsidies, Medicaid expansion and all,  leaving 17 million unable to afford health insurance.  They are doing this  through a law suit in the courts to try to declare the entire ACA unconstitutional.  The Trump administration has announced it  will not defend the ACA   against a GOP initiated  Texas  court case  that seeks to declare the entire  ACA unconstitutional.  Twenty GOP state attorney generals have jointed in the suit. That case could make it to the Supreme Court, now firmly dominated by  GOP conservatives.

The Colorado Attorney General  race on the ballot Nov. 6 has no incumbent , but the Democrat, Phil Weiser, is committed to defending the ACA. His GOP opponent, George Brauchler, is vague, leaving the ACA up to Congress.

Particularly angering  voters is the GOP engineering the loss of pre-existing conditions coverage. 27% of Americans  between 18 and 64 have pre-existing conditions.  Under the ACA provisions, those with pre-existing conditions do not pay more than those who do not have them. Pre-existing conditions range from cancer and heart problems to  high blood pressure to pregnancy. 

Both GOP legislators and Donald Trump pay lip service to retaining coverage of pre-existing coverage. The Trump administration argues  that only the portion of health care pertaining to pre-existing conditions would be removed by the Texas court case.  Some  GOP members of Congress propose to  "save" coverage of  the   pre-existing conditions part of the ACA if it is destroyed and the rest of the ACA is left standing by the Courts. That bill  is a deceptive and useless  ploy.  Not only does their bill  not tell at what price you will be charged for coverage,  it does not  require insurers to cover treatment.  it would  still permit higher premium costs for factors such as age,sex and where you live.

What if the Supreme Court agrees in total with the unconstitutionality of the entire ACA? Seventeen  million consumers will return to   the olden days before the Affordable Care Act with nothing to replace it .I had been an executive with a consumer credit counseling agency then helping people get out of debt. The most frequent cause of bankruptcy and dire financial problems  were medical bills.  Family finances were being destroyed by high cost of health insurance.Their  choice was to go without insurance or  risk no one in their family would get sick,  relying on emergency room and charity and nothing left for cancer screenings or annual checkups or prescriptions. Many gambled and lost, destroying their family finances. I recall constant fund raising in Grand County to cover medical bills of such and such a person who desperately needed help to fend off life threatening illnesses.   That is not a time you would ever want to revisit.

Monday, October 8, 2018

It is possible neither Dr. Ford or Brett Kavanaugh were lying: Here is my theory

I have heard at least two reports, one from a friend, women who reported being raped when they were younger, yet could remember all of the details.Here is what I did reply to my friend in a text exchange.  It is possible neither Dr. Ford nor Kavanaugh were lying.  Here is my theory:
 Dr Ford never claimed she was raped; it was an attempted rape, so this is not exactly a parallel situation as my friend's.   Both do not believe Dr. Blasey Ford because they say it was  a case of mistaken identity. That theory was also not corroborated and had been thoroughly debunked.    They think Kavanaugh was speaking the truth. There was no one who could remember or corroborate the incident; therefore Blasey Ford was just mistaken. I have already posted my sarcastic thoughts on the sham of the treatment Ford got in another blog posting (Hell hath no fury than women scorned), An FBI extra interview of only those witnesses permitted to be interviewed by the White House  made sure nothing was corroborated that helped Blasey Ford, not her psychologist, her husband, and now a new witness coming forth ...all fingering Kavanaugh as the assaulter before he was even the nominee on a short list...2015 to 2016.

Kavanaugh was adamant he did not do it and the carefully picked FBI interviews could find no one who could recall anything...even the only eye witness Mark Judge or the attendees in the downstairs at the event.

There was no mistaken identity if one takes time to review the testimony of Dr. Ford.  She indeed know Kavanaugh. She was introduced to him by her boyfriend. traveled in the same social circles. She described in vivid detail the house layout and where it was: between the country club and home.
She remembered he was already drunk when she arrived. The stairs, the bed location to the right of the door in a room across from the bathroom, into which she was shoved as she went upstairs to a toilet. She was not raped, only thought she was going to be, screamed, hand over her mouth, and when Judge jumped on them both, she ran terrified after she locked herself in the bathroom and heard them ping pong down the narrow stairs. She remembered their laughter as they assaulted her. There was no semen...nothing to prove anything. This was not a rape.  She just fled. That she did not remember how she got home is not unusual in a situation like this as psychologists will testify.  At age 15 a brisk walk for ten miles could have gotten me home in those days easily.
That is a positive ID if there ever was one, and the trauma she suffered for 36 years was true. I remember an incident that happened to me sixty years ago in equal detail, though the incident did not rise to attempted rape. I describe that in an earlier blog post: "A personal story: why I took Donald Trump's mocking Dr Ford so personally".

So how could both be telling the truth? My theory. The victim is the one who is traumatized..not the attacker, who, if not too drunk, is likely to feel pleasure or glee, as Dr. Ford recounts their laughter at her expense, and forget the entire incident. What guys get out of it is not what victims feel. Kavanaugh was also telling the truth. He was  drunk to some degree  and not the one traumatized, so being the frequent party guy he was, this was just another party among many, and not particularly a memorable one.

This theory has a benefit:  It avoids having to prove the  charge that Kavanaugh drank until he blacked out. He did not need to drink to that extreme to forget that particular party. It gives Dr. Ford the benefit of any doubt in all aspects, including the positive identification of her attackers, and eliminates the strange acceptance of some conspiracy theory  of mistaken identity that had zero corroboration to explain away doubts about Kavanaugh.  It also underlines the different reaction between  of the lasting  trauma to the victim and the sexual release of the attacker that is not traumatic and  may not even be memorable.


Friday, October 5, 2018

Hell hath no fury like women scorned

Revised: October 6, 2018.
Want to know why so many women are outraged with the GOP's engineered process in confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  Let me spell it out.
Here is the message the GOP has sent women: "yes, we will listen to you with mock respect".  Young women, here is my grandmotherly advice.Just make sure as you are being sexually assaulted in an attempted rape that  you have a trusted  eye  witness friend of yours that is not a  friend of the attacker who can stand up in court or before 11 GOP old men and be the kind of witness that might give them the proof that would satisfy them. Otherwise you will just be dismissed with a mock sympathetic pat on the head, ignored, and sent on your way as a confused woman who mistook the identification of the wannabe rapist. Then, as you flee after fighting the attacker off, run through the rest of the party goers crowd who are  somewhere  else in the house for whom this was just another unremarkable one of many  usual beer drinking gettogethers, screaming  as you flee that so and so just tried to rape you..    Make a mental note of how you got home. Oh, by the way, text everyone you know, too, immediately.. The attack may have stuck in your brain, but just make sure it stuck in others' brains as well. You may never know if this will ever come in handy.

 As in the case of Dr. Blasey Ford, the core issue with women reporting sexual assault, what they are asking,  is that  frequently those  who are reporting such incidents are assumed to be lying or are somehow assumed to be the guilty party or are confused and mistaken. Women are demanding that those who are victims reporting sexual assault should be treated with respect and their allegations impartially investigated and fairly.

Sen.Susan  Collins (R-ME), the critical vote,  made a judgment call based on an assertion that Dr. Ford mistook an identity and there was no corroborating evidence.. Anyone listening to Dr. Ford's testimony heard her say  she traveled in Kavanaugh's  social circles and knew him from previous social gatherings.  including information about the person who introduced her to Brett Kavanaugh.  Collins joined the rest of the GOP in subscribing to a conspiracy theory that had been debunked weeks before that someone else was the attacker, with no evidence of anything.. Just a theory. No corroborating  witness, no individual proved to be that mystery man.  That  must have made those supporters of Brett Kavanaugh feel much better about themselves to believe him since it gave them the luxury of expressing their belief in the rest of Ford's  story and offer their sympathies, Yet at the same time they dismissed the key accusation, the positive I.D. 

Senator  Susan Collins gave a detailed argument of why she concluded there was no corroborative evidence and thus there  no preponderance of evidence to support Dr. Ford's accusation.. Brett Kavanaugh's testimony was more believable to her than Dr. Ford's... So in a future" he said she said situation" does that mean the  bar of preponderance of evidence will now be the new standard in an attempted rape case.?  Presumption of innocence is certainly a rule in criminal procedures as well as "beyond a reasonable doubt". as the GOP likes to assert.  However, this Senate action on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation  is not a criminal procedure.It does not even rise to the preponderance of evidence burden placed on an accuser  in a civil case  that Sen Susan Collins cited  as her standard for drawing her conclusions.based on the evidence. Come now.  It is a matter of fair treatment to get at the truth before conclusions are made.

 Dr. Blasey Ford was not fairly treated nor was there an honest effort to get at the truth..  
While bemoaning the unfairness of the  attack on Brett Kavanaugh's reputation, an nth hour  left wing surpise,  the GOP Senators  engineered a process that was even less fair than the storied similar case in 1991 of Anita Hill's treatment in her complaint about Court nominee Clarence Thomas. 
Hill was afforded an FBI investigation before her appearnce and testimony, not a sham one after it, plus she summoned 22 witnesses.  Neither Kavanaugh nor Dr. Ford could call on witnesses, even  her therapist and husband,  she had told about the attack years before Kavanaugh was even a potential  Court nominee,  nor could she even have the person who adminstered her lie detector test testify.  Another complainant alleged that in Yale an out of control, drunken Kavanaugh had exposed himself  to her and she did have witnesses. They were not interviewed, either.. The FBI, working under the direction of the White House and from the GOP staff list did not interview any of those witnesses that could have corroborated the women's testimony. They  contacted only those they suspected or knew remembered nothing.  Therefore, since there was no corroboration, voila, neither women had a credible case.   Besides, the FBI only had a week. Of course, the week was an artificial deadline, as well, which could have been cured if the the GOP were willing to extend the time period.. 

In any case, had Kavanaugh been proved to be a liar, I suspect  the GOP was set to confirm him anyway, since the attack on Kavanaugh was some left wing conspiracy to spring Dr. Ford on him and besides, the sins of a 17 year old should not be visited on a 50 something year old, whether lies were involved later or not.  It was just the way men functioned. Boys will be boys. Assaulting girls they got drunk is not a big deal to them.  So what if  it is a big deal to their victims.  

Trump then turned this victimization upside down, telling young men these are scary times. You could be ruined by such accusations lose a big corporate job, he opines. . Sleep easy. First, the standards for a seat on the Supreme Court are much higher than usually required for positions. Sometimes a frat boy mentality is actually considered an asset in some business sectors.Second,the cards are stacked in your favor, boys.. Kavanaugh's confirmation is proof. Besides, what were you doing indulging in under age drunkenness and trying to assault girls, anyway.  Maybe a dollop of fear is not a bad thing. 

That Mitch McConnell referred to the women demonstrating in DC as "mob rule" in his remarks on the floor debate  is  a fundamental misreading by the GOP of the anger women are feeling and that will haunt the GOP for years to come. Those demonstrating were channelling the anger for many women who could not be there. In a poll taken Oct 3-4, only 36% of women approved of Kavanaugh's confirmation and did 55% of men per an Axios/Surveymonkey poll. That is a huge gender gap.  
Another poll: "A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Wednesday found that 45% believe Ford to be telling the truth, while 33% believe Kavanaugh. Both of these figures mark an increase from a poll taken ahead of their respective testimonies, but the jump is more significant for Ford: up from 32% who said they believed her, and 26% for Kavanaugh.The hearing also had an impact on Americans who had previously been unsure of whom to believe, dropping from 42% before the hearing to 22% in the week after."The GOP must think women can be taken for fools so easily. Hell hath no fury like women scorned.

 Strangely enough, confirmation of Kavanaugh  may be the best thing that could happen to Democrats in Nov 6 and 2020... The Trumpsters will feel less is now at stake in Nov 6 since they won and the non-evangelical suburban women will really be angry since they lost. It will also free Democrats to concentrate on health care and consumer issues...issues which are their strong voter appealing issues..  That theory is yet to be tested since the final vote did not take place until October 6 a month before the midterms and two years before the next general election. Polls taken now will not reflect what women are thinking after what has happened to them has soaked in.

. Justice Brett Kavanaugh will have much to prove

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News 10/10/18

This is a revision and update  of a prior post, but under a new title

Update 10/12/18

Confirmed to the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh will have much to prove. He will have a challenge in gaining the respect  he believes he deserves. His confirmation by the Senate was approved by one of the narrowest of  margins in recent history, including Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation.   An Axios/Survey Monkey poll October 3-4,  showed him with a 50% disapproval of voters. Only 36% of women approved of confirming him indicating problems down the line for the GOP already suffering from a 20 point gender gap.

Many of his Yale and Harvard peers, once supportive, opposed him after his angry testimony in rebuttal to Dr. Blasey Ford's credible accusations before the Senate Judiciary. Even those related to Kavanaugh's  religion ,  a Jesuit publication , reversed its endorsement and  urged that he not be confirmed. . These are  "no left wing dark money groups" and their opposition is based mostly  on his non-judicial temperament. While much of this arose from his heated appearance before the Senate Judiciary committee, others date to 2006 when the American Bar Association downgraded his evaluation in 2006 because of his dishonesty and temperament, later giving him glowing approval,  and then supporting  the extra FBI investigation after his appearance before the Judiciary committee..
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican,  added his voice to those opposing his confirmation. In 2018 on the eve of the confirmation vote, 2,400 law school professors opposed him because of temperament .Yale drinking buddies attested to his extreme drinking problems.   800 Harvard Law School alums pressured Harvard to drop him as a lecturer . The National Council of Churches opposed his confirmation,too.

When a political operative with an ideological agenda enters the Supreme Court, will the Court be damaged? Politics and party affiliation have always been involved in Court confirmations. However,  Brett Kavanaugh's partisan rant at the hearing, embracing extreme conspiracy theories ,unmasked his real political self. Coupled  with a record of extreme views  on executive powers, birth control, and choice expressed in writings and addresses to various groups, he was not just any Republican, but a hard core ideologue with beliefs about specific issues that are likely to come before the Court.  Particularly un- judge like was  his threat of revenge against his attackers ("what goes around comes around"). Sen. Susan Collins claimed  of  his rulings in lower courts  she reviewed they did not reflect that extremism; let us hope that continues while he is on the bench.  The challenge  for Chief Justice Roberts will be how the Court will  maintain a legitimacy in the eyes of the public as an impartial arbiter of what is and what is not constitutional. Or will the Supreme Court  become  seen and dismissed as a tool of  like minded ideologues who see the Court as a way to implement their policy agenda?

Sen.Susan Collins (R-Me), the critical vote in his confirmation, believes Kavanaugh will not try to overturn Roe v Wade. He views that as settled law, a precedent to be honored, he told her. However, to overturn Roe v Wade was the top priority of Donald Trump's base. How does that work? At least 70% of voters polled by Pew Research oppose overturning Roe v Wade.  Will Roberts prove to be the swing to keep the Court's reputation. as an impartial arbiter, or will Collins have  been fooled? What will happen if the Mueller investigation implicates Pres. Trump and the Court will have to rule on whether a president can be subpoened or if he can pardon himself?   How will Kavanaugh rule, he who even does not believe a sitting President should be the subject of a criminal investigation.  Roberts will find his leadership  sorely tested if he wants to keep the Supreme Court a respected  and legitimate institution.  (The FBI in their extended investigation refused to interview them)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A personal story: why I took Trump's remarks mocking Dr. Ford so personally.

As Donald Trump mocks Dr. Blasey Ford...I was outraged. Not only was it orated by a President who is the  model of male bad behavior, but I took it personally.  I have been baited on my personal Facebook page  this week by some male trying to demonstrate that a rape victim, a victim of sexual assault is lying if she cannot remember every little detail.(He was not a Facebook friend, but this was in the sub remarks of another Facebook friend's posting.) .Unlike the insinuation of Trump at the rally, Dr. Ford  knew her attackers because he was a friend of a friend and they often attended the same social events .Her descriptions were in vivid detials of the event itself:  of upstairs, the layout of the house, the attendees who did not witness the attempted rape and and those who did, the approximite location, and the general date and time.  Obviously her drunk attacker was not traumatized and those downstairs were likewise not traumatized because they did not know what was going on upstairs. Kavanaugh's best defense was he was too drunk to remember, but he had painted himself as a virgin choir boy on TV and that he sometimes drank too much, but not to the extent as to black out.  It is his lies later that are the issue here.

 The exchange from the baiter went like this:
Male: Do you remember what I did to you 40 years ago?
Me: 40 years ago I was 40 years old (the baiter obviusly did not know me personally)  and no, I do not know you or anyone with your name and whatever you said you did was not much of a trauma, if you did it. When I was 40, I was worldly wise and not easily traumatized.  However, let me tell you what happened 60 years ago: I was in a work place in New York City...It was my first job after college, a dream job, writing story lines in early television.  As I was writing, my boss in the next room with the door open began doing what creepy ..we called perverts..used to do in the back tables  of the main  hall in my college library..making sure I saw him do it.  I remember what he looked like, what he was doing in detail, the color of his desk, how he had swiveled his office chair around so I could see it, and how my desk and chair were positioned. I remember his name (he  is long gone from this world).I do not know what I did, but I turned my back. I do not know how I got home; I do not remember anything more, other than I was frightened.

 I was supporting myself at the time.  I could not afford to lose a day of pay.  I called my employment agency.   My answer: I quit my job and found another one, in a typing pool.  It paid more, but was truly below my education level and used less than a fraction of my skills and education.  However, I had a woman boss and I was the only female in the pool. She protected me from the dirty jokes of my fellow workers, telling them to stop it.  We, my husband I ,moved to Denver.  I landed a job in one of Denver's daily newspapers  in the  advertising department. I became pregnant and I was fired immediately once it was obvious by a boss whose name I remember, too.  Those were the days.

I told no one about any of this, but thanks to Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh, I began to talk about it recently.   I am sure there are many like me whose horrible memories in the past have been dredged up and for whom these past weeks have been a nightmare.  My outrage at Trump's remarks are guttural and visceral.

Further maddening remarks for Trump was saying this was a very scary time for young men since what they did when they were younger could be fired because women lied about an encounter who could not remember any details, etc etc.This is decidedly not the case in Dr. Ford's testimony.   Most men like Brett Kavanaugh are not being vetted for the Supreme Court where character counts..and the standards are the highest in the nomination is for a lifetime. If he is  confirmed by the Senate to the court, every time he rules against the interests and rights of women, horrible memories will be a flashback. Since one out of three women have been a victim of worse than what I experienced described in this blog and more than 60% will not have reported this to authorities, that will be a large number of women whose traumas will be revisited. 60% of those young men committing such crimes will get away with it scott free, no blot on their resumes, and the women reporting it will go through the same indignities that Dr. Ford has experienced, probably mocked and disbelieved.    That the character standards are being lowered and such behavior is ignored  is a travesty and an insult to the Supreme Court.