Saturday, January 28, 2017

Firehose!

According to the Urban Dictionary, the phrase drinking from the firehose means to be overwhelmed (with information, work, etc.); to do something intensely; to be inundated.

I may be misunderstanding, but I think Tom Reed was using this idea in reference to Trump after the gathering of Republicans in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The Hill reports this:
"Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), a key Trump ally, summarized Trump's action-filled first week with one word: “Firehose.”

"It's refreshing and it's energizing," Reed told The Hill right after Trump spoke at the joint congressional GOP retreat. "I think it's not only the nature of the president and his new town, and his bringing to the office a private sector-based mentality. It's also unleashing the power of the American people. 
"For so many years, it's been a hamstrung by the bureaucracy of Washington and we're cutting that red tape to empower the American people again.""

Tom ReedTom is energized by Trump! He's refreshed by the racism and xenophobia! He's delighted by the prospect of billing taxpayers for a massive wall to shut our neighbors out!

Truly, it must be gratifying to suddenly feel the freedom to grab women whenever and wherever you feel the urge. To mock disabled people for their differences. To ignore the majority of citizens and just do whatever the hell you want. That must be what he meant by Firehose- just douse the opposition with lies and hatred and give the power back to American people with KKK and Nazi tendencies.

I might be wrong in my interpretation of Tom's words, but seeing as he hasn't come to Ithaca to talk to us about any of this, well, his words will have to speak for him.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Preoccupied with Size

As we all know by now, Trump has not acknowledged the Women's March on Washington, or the millions of people worldwide who came out to stand for women's rights. Yet he is obsessed with the number of attendees at his Inauguration, and is demanding more photos to prove his was bigger. Well, we all know the male preoccupation with size.

Image may contain: 27 people, people smiling, people standing and indoorTom Reed seems to be following Trump's lead because today Tom acknowledged the small group who stopped by his office in Washington, who were in town for the March for Life.

Tom writes on Facebook, "We always appreciate when constituents stop into our Washington office. Here is a shot of a great group from the Southern Tier that came to visit before the 2017 Official March for Life."

Yet, nowhere has Tom acknowledged the tens of thousands of people who marched in the 23rd District last Saturday for women's rights, human rights, gay rights, immigrant rights, and racial and environmental justice. Tom has not acknowledged the many phone calls and emails he is receiving from his constituents. Tom has not acknowledged that citizens in Ithaca and surrounding areas want him to hold a town hall meeting in Ithaca. Tom does not seem to want to hear our voices. I suppose it's easier to ignore those who didn't vote for you than listen to and work with them.

But since this is what our government seems so concerned with these days, let's compare the above photo of Southern Tier marchers for life to the marchers from Saturday's March on Ithaca:

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And another:

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And in case there is still uncertainly, one more:

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If you too are preoccupied with size, check out this gallery of images from the march. And this is a great gallery of images from the Women's March on Seneca Falls, also a part of the 23rd District, where another 10,000 people marched.

Tom said he appreciates when constituents show up at his door. Well, I'd call that an invitation, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Resistance and Self-care

After an amazing Saturday at the Women's March on Ithaca, it is becoming a very difficult week. A week where so many of my core beliefs are being demolished one by one by this new government. It is painful to see how this administration is already placing gag orders, preventing the people from hearing and receiving information, living in a bed of hypocrisy, and censoring its departments and the media. I can barely keep up with the news coming out of the White House. I'm scrambling to make sense of upcoming Bills, and educate myself on the Congressional process, and encourage my family and friends to call Tom Reed, and capitalize on the power I felt at the March, and figure out what I want this blog to focus on. All of it is utterly overwhelming.

I know others are feeling the same way. I hear it all over Facebook and in my friends' voices. People are doing the good work of calling and emailing and showing up at the doorstep of their Representatives. We cannot give up, and we won't, but it sure is easy to want to. When the government has become everything you fear in a 1984, Brave New World, Hunger Games kind of way, it's easy to want to slip away into the forest and just save yourself.

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But I have to remind myself, and you too, that this is a long game we are playing. We are not going to halt every Bill, or prevent every bad act, or stop all the suffering that will inevitably arise. Indeed we must do all we can, little things and big ones, but we also must remember to breathe and care for ourselves. If we neglect to look after our own needs, we'll end up causing ourselves to expire from exhaustion.

One thing I am focusing on is that while I have no control over this political world, I do have control over my response to it. I can choose how to face the horrors that are coming. I can choose what actions I will take. I can choose to find ways to be calm and centered. I can choose to love, rather than to hate.

And truly, it's okay to take a night off from protesting, or watching the news, or calling Tom Reed. Because, guess what? We're not alone in this fight. While I am pausing to look around and catch my breath, I see others stepping up to the front lines of action and carrying on the fight. Those others are strong and good, and they inspire me.

People like the creators of Indivisible of NY's 23 District. Our local guide to fighting the right-wing agenda.
People like my mom who proudly told me that she wrote to her Senators today and got a whole roll of postcards stamps so she could write to her Representatives often.
People like the AltUSNatParkService tweeter.
People like the RogueNASA tweeter.
People like NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who is voting against Trump's inexperienced, unqualified appointees.
People like the Greenpeace activists who hung this massive sign above the White House today.

And then, when they are tired and need to rest, I'll slip back up to the front to keep up the good fight for us all.



Release Trump's Taxes

IRS LogoThis morning Tom Reed posted to Facebook that we citizens can get all our tax forms on the IRS website. Perhaps we ought to recommend he pass this information along to Mr. Trump.

Or perhaps you want to just give Tom's office a call and demand that he pressure Trump to release his tax information. Email and phone numbers for Tom are on the right side of this page.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

H.R. 7

Tonight, Tom Reed posted this on Facebook  - "With my support, the House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. This legislation makes permanent the #HydeAmendment and blocks taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions."

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This is what I wrote about earlier today. 

Reed and the other republicans just took a HUGE step forward for the anti-abortion movement. One more way for the men in Congress to limit women's access to abortion and family planning, to deny us our right to control our own bodies, and to really punish poor women.

H.R.7 means that government funding cannot be used by any facility to cover abortion. And that government facilities cannot provide abortions. Most despicable is that now when women purchase health insurance, they can either pick a plan that offers coverage for abortion, OR they can receive the government subsidy appropriate to their income level. Most poor women (and men) get some amount of subsidy, but now if they want that lower monthly premium, they won't be covered if they need an abortion. Women also won't be able to use Medicaid money for abortions. Women who work for the government, military, or live in DC will now also be prohibited from receiving insurance coverage for abortions. And even further, there is a TAX on small business owners who provide insurance which include abortion coverage. 

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They'll all just need to scrape up the money to care for their bodies and defend their choice somewhere else. Or not. And poor women will be further impoverished by having children they can't care for, while the baby daddies bail out. Where are the bills attacking fathers who desert pregnant mothers? Where are the bills forcing prospective fathers to pay for the cost of abortion or pregnancy? Where are the laws and enforcements requiring men to face up to the fact that they too are involved in the creation of a pregnancy? The men of our Congress, including Tom Reed, don't seem to think these things are worth fighting for. They'd rather send a clear signal to women that our choices, needs, concerns, and lives simply don't matter. 

I'm pissed. I though I should try to not swear too much on this blog, but man, oh, man I sure want to. That Tom Reed voted for this is a direct assault on me and my rights, the rights of my stepdaughter, my cousins, my friends and their families. I will not stand for it. His vote does NOT represent me, and I am NOT okay with this action. 




Find more details in this MotherJones article.
And at Bustle.
And at NARAL Pro-choice America.
And the NARAL fact sheet about H.R.7


Here is part of the Republican committee's statement about H.R.7-- 
"H.R. 7 codifies policies enacted for more than thirty years on a case-by-case basis that prohibit federal funding of abortion including health insurance subsidized by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)....
H.R. 7 prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion or health plans that cover abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. H.R. 7 prohibits abortions at facilities owned or operated by the federal government, and prevents federal employees from performing abortions within the scope of their employment.
H.R. 7 prohibits premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) from being granted for health plans that include elective abortion coverage. H.R. 7 also prohibits small business tax credits authorized under PPACA for health plans offered by an employer that include elective abortion coverage."

Oh, YEA

Yesterday, a Representative from Wyoming brought a bill from committee with recommendation to provide a full report to the House.

Today, Tom Reed Voted YEA to H.Res.55, agreeing to hear that bill and set up the rules for debate and consideration of it. H.Res.55 is called Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 7) to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions. It pertains to H.R.7, which you can call “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 for short. It means pretty much what you think it means and some of the details of the bill go like this...

"No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for any abortion.


“None of the funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.


"No health care service furnished—

               “(1) by or in a health care facility owned or operated by the Federal Government; or
“(2) by any physician or other individual employed by the Federal Government to provide health care services within the scope of the physician’s or individual’s employment,
may include abortion." 
There is a second part to the Bill, which I am struggling to understand, related to the application of this Bill under the ACA. It states, "DISALLOWANCE OF REFUNDABLE CREDIT AND COST-SHARING REDUCTIONS FOR COVERAGE UNDER QUALIFIED HEALTH PLAN WHICH PROVIDES COVERAGE FOR ABORTION.—"

I'm new to all this Congressional jargon stuff, and likely will get some of this wrong. But I suppose I've got time to figure that out. 

For now, it's enough to know that Tom Reed, and every single one of his fellow Republicans, is happy to hear more about this Bill which will continue to weather away the law that protects a woman's right to choose. Not much more I can say except, oh, YEA.

Citation:
“H.Res. 55 — 115th Congress: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 7) to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.” www.GovTrack.us. 2017. January 24, 2017 <https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hres55>

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gag Order

Today Donald Trump signed an executive order, one of the first of his term, which cuts all funding of US Foreign Aid to any overseas health provider organization which informs, educates, or mentions abortion or family planning to its patients, OR if the organization advocates for abortion rights in their country. The order also prohibits giving these organizations funding if they accept money from any other source, for family planning or discussion of abortion.



What does this mean?

It means that there will be a major cut in the $600 million that the US currently gives to international organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation and other NGOs (non-governmental Organization). It means that in countries which rely on US aid, like Nepal, Kenya, and Ethiopia, clinics will close and the approximately 27 million women who rely on these clinics will not have access to birth control or other health services such as HIV and AIDS health care. It means that without guidance and education, the World Health Organization's estimate of 21 million unsafe abortions worldwide will rise as more women turn to unsafe abortions, which in turn will lead to more women's deaths.

It means that Donald Trump does not care about women or our rights. It means that Donald Trump has not read the studies and evidence that equate education and access to birth control to fewer abortions. No big surprises there, but it also means he is putting his words into action, with dire consequences.

On this day when I feel the need to gag, as men force women one more step backward, I'm starting a blog to give my attention to Tom Reed, the Representative for New York's 23rd Congressional District. Reed is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and his policies. My goal: to unseat Tom Reed in the next election, 2018.

Much more information to come here, but this is my start. My way to focus on what these men are doing and use my power to shine a light on their stupidity and arrogance.

Above information comes from the New York Times.
And the Huffington Post.
And NYMagazine's The Cut.