Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kittisplace: THE POWER IS US.

Kittisplace: THE POWER IS US.

Suddenly the news is that women and their supportive men have won another battle toward freedom of
choice.  As the VP of the Susan G Komen Foundation steps down in defeat after announcing that the
Foundation would no longer fund Planned Parenthood. In the Fundie fight against the freedom of women
to choose their own future the oppressors  have lost another round. Women have been fighting for forty
years for this right to choose, and have gradually gained some power against the old white men
personified by Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh; incidentally Limbaugh coined the misnomer “feminazis”.  For
all the years of this fight women have won small victories, but have done so at great cost, always moving
one step forward and two steps back. The loss of the effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment lost in the
same period that the first female Vice President was running on the Democratic ticket; Josephine Ferraro
also lost the election. Since that time things have changed in society with the advent of subsidized day-care
Title Ten and Pell Grants. It has been a slow climb for women, aided by the availability of effective and
available birth control. Planned Parenthood has contributed much to this change, by offering affordable
health care, including birth control to women and girls. Mothers take their teen-aged daughters to Planned
Parenthood at the first sign of sexual activity, cutting the incidence of teen-aged motherhood for white,
middle-class girls, though still leaving the daughters of poor families, Latinas, and black teen-aged girls in
the cycle of poverty and single parent families, but  also cutting the incidence of abortion. Rather than
seeing this as a positive step the men and women who would control women and girls see it as a threat to
the status quo, and unleash all of their power against this positive trend. Sexual politics has accelerated to
an alarming degree, as the Tea Party voters, largely dominated by right-wing-christian-
fundamentalists….or, in the word coined perhaps by gifted blogger  astra navigo, “Fundies”, changed the
playing field by giving dominance in the Congress to this group, who, with their aggressive overreach have
wakened a sleeping giant. Not content to keep their own wives and daughters subservient through a
generation of home-schooling, they decided that they could use their newly gained power to force every
family into that mold.  They did not take into account that there were new weapons in this war, and they
were weapons in a battle that they didn’t anticipate or understand. The first skirmish in this was the virtual
uprising of the women in Mississippi who, along with supportive men defeated the first “Personhood
Amendment” in a state that has an overwhelming number of Fundie voters; they were not ready to give up
the freedom given them by the availability of birth control, and with this defeat the other Republican
governed States were warned and did not risk the same defeat. The leaders slowed their offensive and
looked for other ways. One Tea Party Congressman, drunk with power, instigated an investigation of
Planned Parenthood, which signaled the Fundies in the Susan G Komen Foundation to use the investigation
as an excuse to refuse to give their customary 700,000 annual grants to that organization. This would have
been a point at which the leaders on the board of SGK could have used the Rick Perry exclamation
“OOOPS”.  In 24 hours, assailed by liberal leaning members of the Social Network organizations Facebook
and Twitter, they reversed this decision The world is changing exponentially and they are losing ground and
losing “face”. But, and this is a billboard sized “BUT” they now have Rick Santorum in the fight to unseat
the man they hate: President Barack Obama, by using the power given them by the Supreme Court to enlist
those who have the most to lose in the 2012 election, the billionaires in the 1%.
It is no accident that the right defeated Al Gore  by using the conservative Catholic Justices to rule for
George W. Bush, who appointed a Conservative Catholic as Chief Justice. In the Robert’s Court the Citizens
United decision gave power to the 1% whose “good old days” are the Gilded Age that preceded the Great
Depression. This is the most important election of my lifetime since Franklin Roosevelt and in all the
elections since the one lost to Reagan in 1981 for most of you who will read this.
Don’t worry about the President defeating Mitt Romney; worry about the dark-horse, the guy in the
sweater vest: Rick Santorum. A Fundie Catholic who thinks we are losing power because the birthrate in
the U.S. among white, middle class families is too low. The Gingrich money will now flow to him, not just
from the Casino mogul but from those who have an “anyone but Mitt” mentality. The Koch Brothers come
to mind. The power structure in the Republican Party will rise up in his support, more attacks from the
Party and from the extremists on the Left, including those who want to see Hillary trade jobs with Biden,
will mean a narrow defeat for the President….but a defeat nevertheless. The strangest of all strange things
is that the rank-and-file Catholics are not necessarily Republicans, and 98% of all Catholic families use birth
control. Watch closely and be ever alert to changing trends. The fight that still goes on is not just for
women, but for all who seek a level playing field and a just society. But now we have a weapon that we
must not give up to the enemy: Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wars Of The Early Twentieth Century: 1898-1918

For my children: I have been working on a blogspot post in my 20th Century History series and here is the research I have completed and written about but not posted. But since your comment on Multiply I am trying to pull it together. Here are notes that will help you answer the questions of your in-laws....about the early involvements of the first two decades of the 20th century. No wonder no one really is aware of these foreign entanglements that were reluctantly entered into by the Presidents...they were wars of empire, in my view.

My father and his 5 wars: (Not really wars but he had Battle Ribbons for each, and got a pension for the Spanish-American War.

Spanish-American War

Enlisted in Regular Army in 1898 at age 20. He had to have his father's signature to enlist. I have the enlistment document.
1900 Census he was at the Manila Vaccine Station. I have a copy of this census
Philippine Insurrection.
The Phillipino natives did not want the U.S. occupation force to stay once the Spanish had been removed; the Maori fought an insurgency against the American troops.


China Boxer Rebellion

The northern peasants in an attempt to overthrow the Dynasty which had ruled China for 250 years, began a geurrilla war against the Dowager Empress and with an additional purpose of removing foreign influence in China, slaughtered both foreign Christian Missionaries and Chinese Christians as they moved toward Peking (now Beijing) they besieged the so-called Imperial City trapping Europeans and Americans in the city. Eventually the Dowager made peace with the Boxer's. An Expeditionary Force landed in early 1900 of Sailors and Marines, but failed to breach the city where the foreigners were trapped.. Regular Army including Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry left Manila and landed on the China coast, then marched toward the city fighting against roving bands of Boxer insurgents along the way. They entered and occupied Peking, rescuing the trapped foreigners. The invading force included Russians. Australian, Japanese and Europeans. Each country's forces were assigned a gate to enter what had previously been known as the Forbidden City. The Russians besieged the gate that had been assigned to the American forces, but failed after setting the gate on fire; the Americans scaled the wall and using artillery blew a new gate in the wall where Reilly's Battalion, a force from Manila entered The President did not want to enter this engagement, but there were already Army forces in the Phillapines and the Navy near Japan so with a "coalition" (sound familiar) he ordered the Army to join other countries in a "rescue" of the foreign civilians that were trapped by the Boxer Rebellion....There is an old movie about this called "44 Days in Peking". I have read Military History to find the basic information of the root of this rebellion.

Maori Uprising

The Army unit he was in returned to the Phillipines and continued to fight against the Maori Insurgency until it was pacified and the country was secured for the U.S. occupation.

Mexican Insurgency

My father's battalion returned to the San Francisco Presidio in 1913, where he had first served. The Army under Pershing was defending our SW borders against incursions by Mexican bandits under Pancho Villa across the border into New Mexico and Texas, and as a member of the Regular Army who had been vaccinated against tropical diseases, he was attached to this force. The Army continued into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa as far as Vera Cruz....Villa was never captured but the Texas/New Mexican borders had been secured against Mexican incursions.

WWI 1917-1918

After the Mexican Insurrection in 1917 the U.S. entered WWI which the British had been fighting since 1914. Though my father by this time was 38 years old he remained in the Army and trained new recruits who had been drafted.

Your Hunt grandfather had joined the Army in 1917 and been at the Argonne in a long and terrible conflict where he was badly wounded in the leg, and had a partial amputation of his left leg in a battlefield hospital. He was also exposed to mustard gas which damaged his lungs and caused vision problems. He was 100% disabled. He endured two more amputations of the left leg until finally he had lost the whole leg up to his hip. He was 31 when he married your Smithson grandmother; my father married your Reeves grandmother, my mother, when she was 22 and he was 39.

My nephew Dennis has ribbons from the Spanish-American War, the China-Boxer Rebellion, the Maori Uprising, the Mexican Insurrection, and WWI.
Whether you would call each of these a "war" is perhaps a question of semantics but American military members were killed in each of these, and those who served were given a medal/ribbon for participating.

My Childhood

Indianapolis, Indiana 1929
The tall, unhappy looking girl in the picture is my sister Aileen; I am the little girl sitting on the arm of the setee: I was two years old, and in the next year we left our home in a 1929 Model T Ford to move to California, a trip that reportedly took eleven days. My father's brother lived near San Francisco with his wife and son, and had convinced my father through correspondence by letters exchanged that we should move there because of the mild climate that was recommended for my sister Etheldella, (in the spectacles) who had Rheumatic Fever and was frail; she was nine, my sister Aileen was eleven and my brother Warren was six. My father was a policeman on the Indianapolis Police Department and we lived on Spann AvenuIndianapolis, in a two story house of which I have fleeting memories of dark woodwork and warm stoves. My only clear memory of this time was that I wore one piece underwear called a "union suit" that had garters attached that held up long stockings. I hated the high top shoes and the long stockings itched. According to family stories my father quit his job, they sold their house, and auctioned their belongings, anything that did not fit in a Model T was father mourned his books and my mother mourned her china. She had somehow managed to find room for a small porcelein tea set that was decorated with a technique called Copper Luster that had belonged to her mother and was marked with "Nippon" on the underside of the saucers and teapot...I don't know what happened to that set, but I was not there when after her death her few belongings were divided by my older sisters.
So begins the memories of my life in the Twentieth Century, a defining time in the history of the nation; defining because of the rapid changes that began with the industrial revolution and gradually changed the country from an agrarian culture into an urban culture, a century that began with gas lights and coal furnaces and ended with electric illumination and efficient air conditioning, from "coolers" and root cellars to freezers and refrigerators, a country that wrote letters to a country that sent messages over the internet, and a country that traveled by horse and buggy, horse drawn street cars, trains and steamships to one that had thousands of miles of freeways congested with automobiles, airplanes crowding the skies and rockets to space. Change was so rapid that I went from owning a Commodore 64 with floppy disc storage and MS-Dos to owning an IBM laptop with Windows Vista within less than fifteen years. This was my century, and my memories and observations are many and varied and mostly of a full and rewarding life, a life of adaptation to changing conditions, and purposeful observations that led to a gradually changing philosophy.
The country is again at a vital cross-roads, the pendulum of political opinion swinging from one extreme to another, and at a point of precarious balance that causes me to fear for my great-grandchildren. It is for them I want to share my personal history and offer them insights and strategies developed over my 84 years. I hope their children will not be communicating with cave paintings.

Indianapolis, Indiana 1929

Monday, September 5, 2011

Another View of the White House

"The GOP that sabotaged Reagan into the White House with the October Surprise and got away with it, created the talk radio monopoly and impeached Clinton, stopped Clinton efforts at single payer, sold us Bush, got us into Iraq, Swiftboated Gore and Kerry and stole those elections while keeping Americans out of the streets is just getting better as the Left ignores the Right's best weapon and gives that same talk radio monopoly a free speech free ride to kick internet ass beat the crap out of another Dem president right under their noses. this is as good as it gets and the left's best chance right now is to work inside the Dem party, which is already set up.

There is NO organized opposition to the right's best weapon - Right wing talk radio- and until it does the Left collectively can not say it got or is getting their candidates or their Reps backs. a lot of individuals did a lot to get Obama's back but collectively the left is pitiful at it."

Comment posted to Truthdig by trank

This is pretty much where we stand in 2011, while the Left Dreamers promote the idea that a Socialist Bernie Sanders, or a thrice failed has-been Ralph Nader can overcome the galvanized Right candidate, whoever he or she may be, by splitting the ticket and running AGAIN an opposition candidate from the Left. I have shed the tears of defeat as too many losers tried this. The comment by trank is the position I take in the 2012 election. These same Left critics of Obama have sunk the chances of a Progressive 20th Century with their "dream candidates"...Over many years of being a liberal I have learned to forget the impossible and do the possible. Obama is the possible. Bill Daley needs to go....

In a blog titled "It's Past Time for Bill Daley to Step Down" blogger karoli shares a Fox video of Neil Cavuto interviewing the spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce Kennedy who alludes to the fact that he and Bill Daley have a close relationship.....Bill Daley works for the opposition! The rat named Rahm Emmanuel has left what he considers the sinking ship of the Obama Administration and retired to friendlier climes in Chicago.....taking Chicago style politics with him. With friends like Bill Daley, who needs enemies.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


As a long time enrollee in the Medicare program I have insights into the reason that Medicare is facing problems. It is not that the program is not well designed, but that it is abused. Until recently I had AARP Medigap insurance that cost me $180 a month, and covered all deductibles and co-payments so that in twenty years I have never paid a cent out of pocket except for that policy. As a survivor of a deceased disabled veteran I now have ChampVa which covers costs that were covered by the AARP policy. It also pays for 75% of my prescription costs.
At age sixty-six I had breast cancer and had radical surgery to stop it. I declined the very, very expensive Tamoxifen, not because of cost but because I didn't trust it to be a safe medication. I have a personal conviction to refuse any medication that has not been on the market for at least five that time all of the deadly side-effects have been reported and that is how long it will take the FDA to recall it. It appears I was right as many women on this therapy have encountered uterine cancer, one of the reported side-effects. I have been fortunate to avoid a recurrence of the cancer...for 18 years. I had also refused to take estrogen therapy for menopausal symptoms, also a cancer causer. Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs, so that is not a cause of the problem, but Medicaid does, and I have seen in my own family that doctors prescribe name brand drugs when they could easily prescribe a generic....just a personal history that might be useful to consider. Here is the problem as I have experienced it.
Doctors and hospitals abuse the program and for whatever reason patients allow them to do this..they order tests that are done in their offices and cost a very lot of money and are paid for by either Medicare or Medicaid. A nurse at my doctor's office told me that I "needed" to have a bone scan. This is a very expensive test that detects osteoporosis, a condition of aging that for many centuries has not had a treatment, but now does. I had this scan about 8 years ago, and of course I do have the condition; it is not a disease it is a condition of aging. The treatment is a very expensive once a month, or now, once a year pill that reportedly not only prevents bone loss, but also reverses it. This medication has some very troubling side-effects so I have refused to take it. So, for what purpose would Ihave a bone-scan? To enrich the doctor. I am 84, of course I have is a function of aging. When I say I don't want the test, the nurse looks at me as if I have lost my mind: with pity. What percentage of people do you think refuse medical tests? It would be difficult to find out. Among the people in my age group (not many left) I have known, I have neve known a single person, of either sex who refused a medical test. This adds up to billions of dollars in costs to the program. Mammograms; that is indicated. That is one test, not very expensive, that I have.
I have never had more than three doctors: a primary care physician, basically a pill pusher and medical test purveyor, a gynocologist, and an eye doctor. I see two of them once a year, one of them three times a year. Frankly, it is too much bother to be going always to a doctor's appointment. But women I have known have as many as six doctors they routinely go to see, and often. It is like an insurance policy against disease, and from each they have a test that is routinely taken, and a medication. The tests are the biggest expense for Medicare...My husband was a disabled veteran of WWII, and had VA doctors. But when he had an urgent medical need he had to go to the local emergency room, and if necessary then be taken by medivan to the distant VA hospital. He observed that whenever he went to the emergency room at the local hospital the first thing they did was order a chest x-ray and blood tests. His problem was not related to his lungs so why a chest x-ray? Why extensive blood tests before a doctor had even seen him. The same reason my doctor wants me to have a bone scan: revenue. In the last couple of years of his life he had at least four chest x-rays. This cost Medicare, as he paid for Medicare Part B, which this year cost a little more than $100. a month.
I entered the hospital a few years ago because I was suffering from shortness of breath. They called a cardiologist who ordered a chemical stress test, of course a chest x-ray, an echocardiogram, and many blood tests. My heart and arteries were not involved in my breathing problems. The final diagnosis was bronchial asthma...and I was given two inhalers and sent home. Why didn't they rule this out first? No money in it.
Over the years I have seen many, many friends, made anxious by their doctors ordering tests and referring them to specialists, who have agreed to all manner of expensive tests and procedures. Would they have agreed if they were themselves paying for them? I very strongly doubt it. Medicare is too generous with its reimbursement for tests and procedures, doctors are too prone to order tests and procedures for unlikely illnesses, and Medicare is hostage to all of these. Insurance companies go too far in denying tests and procedures, and I am not suggesting that Medicare go that far, but there should be the same oversight of tests and procedures offered that you would exercise if you were paying yourself.....
Oh, and another thing: diabetics get one pair of free shoes a year. OK. It is important that diabetics wear well-fitting shoes, as an ulcer can lead to eventual amputation if left untreated. But shouldn't there be a means test for this? Shouldn't people who can afford to buy shoes pay for them? Just askin'. There is an industry built around this benefit: shoe companies that provide at a cost of about 300 dollars, plus the cost of the doctor "fitting them", shoes that could be easily purchased for half that. I have a pair of New Balance walking shoes that I paid 159. dollars for. They fit perfectly. I just bought a pair of Easy Spirit clogs for 79 dollars that also fit perfectly. Why does Medicare pay upward of 300 dollars for shoes? because they are provided by a Podiatrist who supposedly fits them to your foot configuration, and yet, they are just shoes; not custom built to your foot's paramenters, and usually the person fitting them is not the doctor, but a young woman who probably makes minimum wage.
This is turning into a rant, and it is because the prospect of having what was a valuable program for needed medical care has turned into a scam....a scam that may well cause it to be killed. I don't want it killed; I have children approaching the age when they will qualify for the program; I want it to be available for those who are very sick, who need surgery or chemotherapy, in short, I don't want to see it die by grift. Why are medical costs and so Medicare/Medicaid costs rising so high? Because no one is paying attention, and every year a new benefit is added. My mother died of colon cancer: it was well advanced by 1965 when Medicare was signed into law by LBJ; had she had access to a regular doctor who could have detected it early she would have lived longer. I do not want to see this program gutted by Republican zealots without conscious, but I do believe it should be reformed. President Obama has promised to do this; I trust him.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gardening in the desert.

Living as I do in the Foothills of Yuma, AZ I find it interesting that the Yuma area, especially in the lower levels along what was once the river bed of the Colorado River before five dams were built, is a main source of vegetables in the winter and spring. When we came here in the winters we always planted flowers in our RV space which was on the banks of the river and were pleased with the beautiful little garden we had with almost no effort. When we bought a house we came to the Foothills area, about ten miles east of the town and really a suburb of the town. My husband and I landscaped with a style called xeriscape, using native materials that require very little water. We removed the inappropriate trees that were actually dying of sunburn, leaving one large laurel tree that Yumans call Ficus trees, and ten palm trees.
We went on the road again in 2005 and leased our house to a couple from New Jersey, who after two years became homesick and left. We decided to move back into our home. We have tried gardening, planting melons and strawberries but our advanced age made it difficult to maintain and the resident doves ate the fruit as fast as it came on the plants. My husband died in the fall of 2009 and my son and grandson moved into my house with me. My grandson kept the yard neat and the pond my husband had created free of algae, but he was working and didn't have time to do any landscaping.
When he was laid off his job, (the unemployment rate in Yuma County is 12.5%) he got interested in planting a garden. He began with landscaping plants around the pond, then created flower beds, built a grape arbor and planted grapes. He became interested in the growing and nurturing of grapes and found that roses planted near grape vines attracted insects that would otherwise feed on grapevines. So roses were added. Then for further insect control marigolds were added and chives. Early in the year he planted a variety of flowers and shrubs in beds he created. This was a young man, raised with his sister by a single father, who had always lived in apartments. He has now become an avid gardener, searching horticultural sites on the internet for information and isnpiration. So far we have besides the grapes and flowers, watermelons, canteloupe, strawberries, blackberry vines, corn and sunflowers. We are eagerly watching the new leaf growth on the grapevines (we planed three Thompson Seedless and one Red Flame) and monitoring the strawberries and melons as they begin to grow. We now have two resident cats which should solve our problem with the voracious doves.