520 Comments
May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

Joe is feeling it. Turn up the heat — more. Announce executive orders to combat grotesque price-gouging. Make baby formula a centerpiece. Paint the Republicans as what they are — shills for big business and obsessed with greed. Tell Americans that government has no right to control women's bodies. Warn them, explicitly, what the end of Roe v. Wade portends. Time is running out, and voters are distracted. Screw the illusion of bipartisan. Fight as if the fate of the country depends on it. Which it does.

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We think alike, Michael. The first word that appeared to me like a lit billboard after reading Stefanik’s remark was “SHILL”. Perf description of Voldemort also. That his 11 point plan is the Republican agenda now while Junior Rubio, not to be completely outdone in Florida, splutters total nonsense, just about covers it for the week. Fox News is hitting splutter level also.

Rev it up President Biden. I see the glint in your eye. And we are revving it up this weekend.

United!

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Christine, oh don't you get me started on Stefanik.

Goodmorning !

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The moment I laid eyes on Stefanik (impeachment 1 I seem to recall), I knew what we had here. A home grown attack dog of the correct gender. I hated the optics then, and I hate it now. She represents the worst of our national level lawmakers. New York voters - wake up!!

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Jay, she’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, but slightly better-spoken.

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

Holly McCormack, pro-choice Democrat, is running against Greene. Check her out and tell everyone you know. Marcus Flowers is also running against Greene and getting more press than Holly. I don’t know his politics. But I’m putting my money (literally) on Holly.

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As far as I can tell, Flowers is the only one who has been posting state-wide ads and expressly calling Greene out. I don't know anything about McCormack. Flowers is African-American, a veteran, family man, ticks a lot of boxes for Democrats. However, I question if that very conservative region of the state--just to our west--is ready to vote for a Black representative (they elected Greene, after all, nota bene...), but we'll see. Greene still has a comfortable lead. Nobody there seems able to mount a solid opposition campaign against her. Here, we have our own extremist, Andrew Clyde, who is frequently allied with Greene on the wacko-meter (his campaign posters have an AK-47 under his name, as he's a gun dealer). I believe that this year's re-districting has put him in the district next to us--down toward Athens--but I'm not sure. Anyway, I voted last week, straight Democratic ticket!

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James, she is everything you saw at the Impeachment hearings and more. I've had the displeasure of sitting at the same table at several events in the North Country (NY) with her.

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Stefanik is such a hypocrite. When she ran for her first term, she presented herself as a moderate who would work with Democrats. What a load of B.S. She's in the district next to mine and at one point it looked like redistricting would make her our member of congress. Thankfully that didn't happen.

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Stefanik is a known turncoat now. She ranks high with Murkowski and Collins. We have our own too: Manchenema!

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She’s the witch from Hansel and Gretel. Ewwww.

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Ugh…sympathy for you!

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Marlene, thank you. It was brutal

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I know, Linda. I could hardly bring Rubio’s name to print. The line is getting long at the woodshed.

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Val Demings, a pro-choice Democrat, is running against Rubio. She’s also supports “common-sense” gun reform. Not sure exactly what that means but I’d vote for her over Rubio if I lived in Florida. Please get out the word if you haven’t already.

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Fl people on this forum are pro Val Demings. Excellent lawmaker. Puts Junior Rube to shame.

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Here's an article about Demings and gun control. She has a strong record in Congress of supporting enhanced background checks. https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2021/12/13/val-demings-gets-backing-of-giffords-on-guns-issue/

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Demings was on the committee during the first impeachment trial. She always spoke ***very*** forcefully and eloquently.

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I would vote for Demings for any office she ran for, including POTUS.

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Thanks, good to know.

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We feel exactly the same about Val Demings over Rubio and we live in Florida. We support her.

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Great! Do you think she has a chance against him?

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And I will from TX, Rubio is a worm

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Love your name for Scott. He reminds me of a zombie. And of course every time I see him, I think fraudster. I hope Deming can retire the sputterer. Here in Oregon ballot return has been slow. The primary is on Tuesday and I hope it picks up.

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"Love your name for Scott." Me too! I laughed out loud when I read it. But seriously - he is a dangerous character. How do people like him find votes? And too many like him. How do they find the votes? In the end, it's the American people who have given them their power.

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Splutter! Perfect description.

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Fox has always sputtered/spewed bull schitt

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I’m honestly a little surprised that no one else has noted this here but Nestle remains a top producer (worldwide) of baby formula. In how many ways did American and other Western activists castigate the bejesus out of Nestle in the 80’s and 90’s for their marketing efforts to sell formula in third world countries, particularly Africa? More recently, my fellow environmental activists have asked people to boycott Nestle products because that company has stolen and bottled millions of gallons of water in places around the world including California - where, you know, epic droughts have changed everything. Is it possible Nestle seeks to help Republicans regain power? 😎

I see corporate collusion to put a Republican “regime” in place so they can do whatever they want while too many folks are just trying to keep body and soul together. I breast fed as long as I could but pumping at work was not easy. And some women just can’t. Let’s focus on electing good Dems. Biden’s speech was a good start!

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...and let's not forget that Nestle is the largest water seller in the world and believes ALL water should be bought (from them, of course.)

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I have avoided Nestle products for years. They are pretty up front about how ugly they are.....water is not a right or something like that from their CEO.

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They are commercial monsters, sort of like Charmin

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I just made the same observation about greedy corporations last night as another story about inflation rolled on. I actually muted it because I am tired of this being front and center without an explanation about why it is happening.

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Exactly. It gets all the headlines, as does Biden’s “low numbers”, without explaination, and allows listeners to just assume it’s his fault, instead of giving the reasons of worldwide inflation, and unprecedented propaganda attacks from the right and from foreign actors. In the past, people have come together to support whoever is the president, at least to some degree-but now the division fueling the authoritarian takeover is meaning that Americans are turning against their own democracy.

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Oh, I think they are turning against a fight. We are remarkably comfortable at the higher economic levels of this culture and at the lower levels we are too desperate thinking about the basics of survival to pay any attention to. the politicians, like Biden, who are quietly doing their jobs. To get the attention of those who need to hear what we have to say the most requires a lot of noise and a touch of ugliness. The Republicans have a lot of both. I don't think Americans are necessarily turning against our democracy as much as they/we are reacting with confusion to a genuinely insane situation. It's classic, really. We turn against whoever seems to have the power to feed our children or get our jobs back, see that our kids stay hungry and our men and women stay home because there's no work, and we hear the voice of the carnival barker promising everything we want. Thanks for bringing this up, Wendy. It's a real horror show

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

And I believe Nestle is also the culprit in Michigan’s clean drinking water problems.

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Yes yes yes, Sheila, thank you for the reminder. I’ve been boycotting Nestle since learning in the 1980s that they were sending “professional” appearing reps into hospitals worldwide to encourage women to use formula instead of breastfeeding.

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Exactly, Michael! No more Mr. Nice-Guy, Joe! Come on, Joe! Turn out all the stops! Go all out! Also, Democrats and Progressives, pull up your pants and back him with all your might. No more wishy-washy retorts. Throw Manchin and Sinema out if they don't fall in line! Enough already!

We can't win back this country without strong leaders. Take a lesson or two from Bernie's savoir-faire! Show the GOP what's what and put the vim and vigor we're made of on display. And we, the people, will VOTE. VOTE. VOTE!

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You are on fire today, Michael.

Baby formula a centerpiece? Let’s add this suggestion.

You know, here’s my conspiracy theory about baby formula. Just another corporate manipulation to support MAGA crazy minority base. If breastfeeding is only “option” for nourishing a baby that Republicans “insist” and legislate be born, then that puts women right where they want them. At home, out of the corporate work force, and labeled with the the only moniker that they slyly approve of. Female human cow with teats.

May I point out what women from past gens did to make formula before Similac was even a reality on shelves?

Carnation evaporated milk, Karo syrup, water. And plenty of humans thrived.

Honestly, one thing that the MAGA party will never be able to do? Outfox women’s intuition, integrity, resourcefulness, and problem solving abilities.

I believe that is what, in today’s minority crisis, will lead the way. Whether it’s feeding our children or freedom.

Salud! United! 🙋🏻🙋🏼🙋🏽🙋🏾🙋🏿🗽

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I’ve been waiting for one of you to bring up what we used for our twins in the early Sixties: Carnation evaporated milk and Karo syrup. They thrived! Why isn’t that being suggested now? Maybe if it were reintroduced to the public, Nestle’s and the other formula companies could get their comeuppance.

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Nestle, at one point in the 80’s I believe, acquired Carnation and its products. Then sold back to original family in 2000’s, I think.

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Carnation Evaporated Milk is a Nestle product. And why is there need to add a sweetener be it Karo syrup or another sweetening product. Seems to me that just sets up a baby with a "sweet tooth" before teeth even erupt.

This is an interesting article about evaporated (condensed) milk.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/evaporated-milk-nutrition

This article is very interesting and reveals when & why sweeteners were added to cow's milk. Read on to the section on the invention of Evaporated Milk.

"Thomas Morgan Rotch of Harvard Medical School developed what came to be known as the "percentage method" of infant formula feeding, which was popular among medical professionals from 1890 to 1915. He taught that because cow's milk contains more casein than human milk, it must be diluted to lower the percentage of casein. The process of dilution, however, decreases the sugar and fat content to less than that of human milk. To correct these deficiencies, cream and sugar were added in precise amounts." https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/view/concise-history-infant-formula-twists-and-turns-included

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It was probably Pet Evaporated Milk and as a new mom at 22 I followed the directions of our pediatrician. They thrived and, bonus, we could afford it.

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Aaargh, except Karo is a corn-based sweetener with negative nutrition value. Other than that, you are so right.

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Yes. There are other sweeteners now like agave and others that might work.

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I still have the formula mom used:

11 oz Pet Evaporated Milk

18 oz water

1.5 Level Tablespoons #1 Dextri-Maltose

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Brava, Christine! I can vision the right wing sharia cabal salivating over such a possibility!

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I remember my oldest sister making this kind of formula for her children. They turned out just fine.

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Carnation is a Nestle product.

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What's wrong with breastfeeding? Maybe baby formula manufacture SHOULDN'T be a "key industry" much less a centrepiece!

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That's a pretty tough line to take for the working mom whose milk has dried up, despite her best efforts at pumping. You try raising a healthy baby on thin air, then tell us how access to formula - the right kind of formula, mind you, isn't absolutely central to your life.

Your privilege is showing, and zo is your ignorance.

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And my second child had a cleft palate. This meant she could not nurse. The cost of formula was a strain on my budget.

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Ugh, so sorry you had to go through that 😔

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Agreed.

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Actually, I'm neither ignorant nor privileged. I've lived somewhere around the poverty line much of my life. I've also had three kids, all of whom, for various reasons were bottle babies and looking back on it, I kind of regret not having had the opportunity to breastfeed them. I fully understand the necessity for baby formula for some women, but I also feel that there is a lot of reluctance to breastfeed in America because of the embarrassment surrounding the exposure of the female breast - an embarrassment which possibly dates back to America's Puritan roots. The baby formula industry is almost certainly cashing in on this reluctance.

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To make ends meet, many women must work at jobs that make it difficult for them to keep up a pumping routine. Many employers are not sympathetic or helpful to breastfeeding employees. I feel lucky that I was able to work at home as a freelance editor, which made it easy for me to breastfeed both of my babies. Not every working Mom is so fortunate as I was.

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

You mean like Amazon warehouse workers? one of the fastest job growth areas in the US? Yep.

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It’s a job but not anywhere near an ideal job unless you’re in one that has a true union.

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Well, Amazon gives birthing parents 20 weeks of paid leave, which is far better than most U.S. employers. But pediatricians recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for 6 months and subsequently breastfed with supplemental foods until they are a year old or longer. So, yes, I had Amazon warehouse workers in mind, among many others.

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Wow. That’s insensitive to the working class families that depend on the mom to support them. Don’t you find it ironic that as they’re subjecting women to less reproductive rights, they’re not addressing the needs of children, babies, mothers? Horrible maternity leave, no healthcare support, dismantling education. George Carlin was perfectly right, as always, they use the rights of the unborn because it’s easy, then you’re out in the cold once you’re born.

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Well, they don't have to worry about feeding and sheltering an embryo or fetus, it's on somebody else.

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...which is why they are the party of death and not about life at all.

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Not everyone can breastfeed. Do not punish mothers.

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From a mom who tried desperately to breastfeed for almost a month before realizing it just wasn't going to happen, that stings, Talia. I will always, always remember the tears falling as I tried and failed to feed my hungry baby. It was awful and painful (physically and emotionally) as well as costly as I tried every therapy and option myself and my lactation doula could think of. Plenty of moms who use formula would love to breastfeed instead. It isn't always convenience that drives the decision. And docs in the US and other Western countries have been promoting breastfeeding for a couple of decades as the best option, and regulations have been cutting direct marketing to docs. Dig back in older news about companies promoting formula over breast and you'll find the bigger influence was in poorer countries where cost and access to clean water were huge issues for parents who believed they were doing the right thing to trust the companies and doctors telling them formula was better.

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Natalie-you are exactly correct. Back in the early 70s Nestles went into poor indigenous areas of Mexico and gave free samples of baby formula to mothers promoting it as being better than breast milk. When the mothers’ breast milk dried up the free samples of baby formula was gone and you know the rest…

I once had a job where the supervisor timed your trips to the rest room and you had to get permission to go. If you took too many trips or too much time your pay was docked. I didn’t stay long at the job.

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Sounds like the 1970’s. I too, had to be right at my desk before the bell rang at my job. Guess where thst was? GEICO!

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Early 70s it was

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

Agree on breastfeeding. But for many reasons, many women can’t or choose not too. Desperation among them is real.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/10/us/baby-formula-shortage.html?referringSource=articleShare

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Ever breastfed Michael?

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Your snark aside, I'm very well aware of its benefits — our healthy son, now 16, is a prime example. He was breast-fed for two years. When his mom returned to work, she used a breast pump and stored bottles of milk. Guess who was in charge of cleaning the pump and the bottles?

And where is my wife at this very moment? Scouring store shelves for baby formula to help her very distraught coworker, who can't breastfeed and whose infant has allergies to certain formula.

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Have her look for goat’s milk instead. May be even buy directly from a goat farm. It will contain all of the nutrients a baby needs. A female goat has two teats and produces colostrum just like women.

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I maintain this stance as do many women. We cast a wary eye when men have opinions on our bodies. And I promise you that helping is not the same. The intense and immense biological changes that occur when a woman conceives are impossible to imagine for any man.

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Did I say it was the same? Don't be absurd. As a member of a family that had a baby (despite some major challenges) and helped in many ways, can I voice an opinion? Of course. And when did I express an opinion on women's bodies in this discussion?

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That is a WTF statement! ABSOLUTELY NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS IF SOMEONE BUYS FORMULA. THE POINT HERE IS NOT

SHOULD OR SHOULDN'T, IT'S PRICE GOUGING!

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And No Paid Family Leave and no more child tax credit. Judd at Popular info has a great letter explaining. I highly recommend giving it a read.

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I agree Pam, it's price gouging! We can recognize it because of all the other price gouging schemes like fuel.

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It’s a shortage due to lack of productivity due to an Abbott plant in Michigan being shut down due to contaminated formula due to the FDA not getting on top of the the problem due to the Trump Administration gutting the FDA. A whistleblower called it out back in Oct of 2021. Judd at Popular Info spells it out. And price gouging. Of course, we are not hearing these details on the MSM.

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Actually, I just heard about the Abbott plant shutdown on MSNBC this morning. Nothing, of course, about the gutting of the FDA contributing to the Abbott plant shutdown.

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Right on Pam. And another thing, why in the sam heck does any woman have to DEFEND her choice to breast or bottle feed????? Dang. What in the world? Butt out armchair judge and juries. I’m sick of it. It’s always on women to defend every independent choice. Like…. Oops, sorry, got out from under somebody’s thumb for one hot minute. Pretty soon we will have to put in a request to the male boss to wear pants/slacks to work.

Shut It.

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O God...I remember those days. Believe it or not, I even remember when the male members of the church had to vote on whether the women could finally vote! Not that long ago either...around 40 years ago. I'm NOT going back!

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I hear you loud and clear, Sister!

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My thought exactly. I breastfed all three of my babies and never bought a single can of formula. But back in the late sixties and seventies the La Leche League was a truly great support movement that helped new mothers relearn the knowledge that had been distorted and suppressed by mainstream doctors and the baby formula industry.

When one of my daughters-in-law was having problems breastfeeding her newborn 13 years ago, I suggested the La Leche League. My sister-in-law who was a former LLL leader put her in touch with the local chapter where she lived. My d-i-l then learned that the LLL had been told they had to stop ‘practicing medicine without a license’ and requiring them to refer mothers who were having issues (most of which could be easily solved) to lactation consultants at $250 a visit. Too bad for mothers who couldn’t afford a ‘professional’ and would in many cases give up and turn to chemical-filled formula sold by a giant industry.

It was sickening and sad to learn of that weakening of a truly wonderful women-led movement ,and I’m sure the formula lobby had a lot to do with it.

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My daughter’s best friend had a double mastectomy at age 33 due to breast cancer; a year later she had her first child. Breast feeding is not an option for every mother.

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Your ignorance is showing and your comment is shameful.

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And so meanspirited. And some of the Men who have commented here. There are no words

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Agree with you Joan. Lack of sensitivity has manifested itself amongst many of us since the beginning of mr maga's campaign. I see those comments here being pretty smartly (as in, ouch!!) dealt with.

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Breast is best, it’s ideal for the baby’s development, and it’s cheap! But not every mother can do it, so formula sells, and parents freak out when the supply runs low.

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Back in the olden days when bullies didn't get all the attention, there were nursing rooms where mothers could go. Other modern countries have generous maternity leave for moms to nurse and bond. President Biden is right that huge monopolies are causing problems and remember that magats think regulations and regulatory agencies are--boo hoo--unfair and unnecessary. Look at what FDA is doing to protect the safety of infant formula. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-important-steps-improve-supply-infant-and-specialty-formula-products. It's almost as if someone thought "we did toilet paper already. What can we do now to panic them and criticize Biden? Let's start hoarding!" And elect the guy who said the government is not a shipping clerk!

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Nothing wrong with breast feeding but for some women that’s a luxury they can’t afford.

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The issue is maintaining the choice to do what is best for you.

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There is nothing “wrong” with breast feeding. Did someone say not to breastfeed? It’s not the answer for everyone. What this comment says to me is not only are women going to be forced the birth they will be forced to breast feed for a an entire year. Breast feeding was a total failure for my first child, it work perfectly for my 2 and 3rd. I had to double pump on my 25 min lunch break as a teacher and on my conference period. That got old fast. I lasted 6 months. It’s a personal choice, at least for NOW.

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Do not fall into the trap of the breast milk vs formula debate. It’s a kind of dog-whistle. Draw upon compassion instead. People caring for an infant may or may not have the choice for all kinds of reasons.

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Politics Girl (Leigh McGowan) podcast from yesterday. Clear outline, succinct reasoning, and what we can do. Now, today, and ongoing. We the People. Always the majority. Salud!

https://youtu.be/BdUsD3WA9I0

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I love Politics Girl!!! She really “tells it like it is”, in easy to understand ways. I wish my (*legacy) Republican friends would listen to her. Maybe they would wake up.

* people who vote for a party because their parents did, and they always have. No need to bother with current issues; easy peasy, just vote for the party you always have 😡

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Yes, price gouging ! Why is the media afraid to beat that Tom-Tom? In an article criticizing Gates’ pandemic plan, the writer notes that the number of billionaires increased by 30% during the pandemic. Price gouging … the public likes sound bytes…say price gouging every time someone complains about inflation …..price gouging!

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The media is lazy and will follow our lead if we tell compelling stories.

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What he needs to do is end the freaking filibuster.

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

And how do you suggest that the president, head of the executive branch, end the filibuster in the Senate? It's a Senate rule that only senators can change. And at least two Democrats (in name only), Manchin and Sinema, oppose the move.

I'm ready for protracted Spring rains to end. Why in the hell won't Biden do something?

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Hahahahahahahaha.

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Mr Biden, you did the right thing in walking out of Afghanistan, that 20 year mess where the generals and conservatives consistently argued for another year, another chance at creating a modern Afghanistan, Bipartisanship is our Afghan War. Tell your party to get on board NOW or your ass is toast. We do battle now to achieve our goals and take no prisoners. Time to tell the knuckle dragging Republicans (and Manchin and Semena) to come to the table and get thing done or get out of the way. The battle for our nation has to start now. We are Ukraine. Now, Joe. Use your rhetoric to launch this American war. Use the powers of your presidency to spread the pain for not being on the right side of history. As HCR said it, the Republican Party is no longer an American institution promoting goals or efforts that improve the people, all thee people. (That felt good, and I know I paraphrased HCR.)

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Sometimes I think Manchin was planted by MAGA. If he's "answering to his constituents" then his constituents are Republicans. What a domineering disappointment he is.

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Mr Biden should ask Kamala to take him outside behind the Capital and have a serious talk with him about what is at stake. Just saying.

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Please if only! This is like watching train wreck in slow motion

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Well said, Michael!!!

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Michael you’re 110% correct! The ultra MAGA’s malignant fringe has to be defeated…for those that don’t realize it…America is fighting for it’s life like no other time in it’s history and by an internal enemy…many of it’s own subversive and self serving politicians! I can’t believe that a large number of American’s well being is being threaten by bullies and they are completely ignorant of the facts! Are they that dangerously naïve or just stupid?

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

Does everyone relate to baby formula? If not, I wouldn’t make it the centerpiece though it’s a serious and current issue to young parents.

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Trainwreck in slo motion

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Come on friends, get out the vote, in your neighborhood, on the job, every conversation must energize all of your contacts to GET OUT THE VOTE…make friends, make noise, get out the VOTE.. start NOW…talk to everyone as if your life depended on it! Our lives, our way of life, our sanity and independence of thought & action must be so vital to each of us that we COMMIT to one another, GET OUT THE VOTE!

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Politics was never a topic of conversation among my friends and acquaintances until 2016. I now realize that I live in a DEEPLY RED community, and if I try to discuss what is happening to/in the Republican party I will lose all of my friends, and I do mean all. We have agreed to leave politics “off the table” when we are together. This leaves me feeling frustrated and helpless/hopeless.

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I’m quite lucky to live in MA where most people are progressive democrats (in varying degrees). It’s also true that the friends I’ve accumulated over my lifetime are those who share my values. With all due respect, I suggest you might want to look for other friends and/or look into ways to engage in honest conversations with your friends on the right. There really are ways to discuss things that are near and dear to your heart with others. The key, I find, is to ask them honestly why they believe as they do, listen closely, share what and why you believe as you do, then talk together about whether there’s a way to live together that acknowledges both of your realities.

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Cult nuts really respond to reasoned discussion, in what world??? Asking questions is good, but sit down for the answers

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There are definitely some people not worth engaging with. I was referring to those who still have 1 foot in reality. The crazies, the ones who drank not just one glass of Kool-Aid but a whole gallon, they are really lost to us.

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Unfortunately, the SCOTUS holds the "keys to the kingdom" with life time appointments and with a 6 to 3 composition we are doomed for a very long time :(

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Article III: The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior...

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The bumper sticker on my car says "Re-elect No One". Today, a moderate traditional Republican said she agreed with me on that. Since I printed a number of the bumper stickers and buttons, I gave her both. Re-elect No One is a slogan that starts a conversation with almost everyone Independent, R or D, agreeing with that our government is broken and members of Congress shouldn't stay there for life. Term limits like we have on the Presidency is very popular among all voters. Vote Out the Old Guys. Re-elect No One. Yes, make an exception here and there. There are some members of Congress who are working for their constituents. But the majority have been bought by the legalized corruption of Citizens United. They put Party and Patrons over Country and Constituents. That must change. NOW. Abort the Old Incumbents. Bring in the Next Generation.

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Thanks for this great call to action.

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Keep in mind that limiting the terms of elected officials essentially passes the power to the legislative staff who have no term limits. As new members of the House or Senate begins learning the ropes of the processes, they typically rely on existing staff members who hold their own political philosophy that could be used to shape legislation.

While it may be a relatively quick study for some, for most new members, this legislative education and understanding takes a year or more to understand the nuances and practicalities.

Granted, there are always elected members who clearly have scant knowledge of what is required of them to participate in the legislative process or are driven primarily by their own importance rather than listening to their constituents for their input, or who have other frailties with understanding the legislative processes. And, yes, it can be difficult for voters to oust those with limited qualifications, especially with no limits on campaign financing.

At least the voters have a say in who they want representing them with the present system.

Term limits limits the voice of voters.

My observations based on several years as a political and investigative news reporter, state senate legislative staff member, and a four-term member of our House of Representatives many years ago.

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Don't forget the lobbyists, who grease the wheels.

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Good point, I like elect integrity, albeit subject to the mind warp of MAGAts

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

I agree, Mike. Be aware of the implications of bumper sticker politics. If it only were that simple. I vote to elect people with the intellectual and moral integrity to do the hard work, years out, to make progress. I hope I never vote for someone who share all my ideas. I know my limits. Governing is not for the temp.

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Thank you for this perspective…constant turnovers even in a small agency leads to a lack of consistency and competence and institutional knowledge

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Regular turnover also helps avoid what has become known as "regulatory capture". It's not an easy choice, any more than arbitrarily ending an effective legislative career after a set number of terms.

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How about term limits with a provision that 2/3 of eligible voters could override the limit in particular cases?

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Dave, I understand the thought. There is the 'however'. 2/3rds of eligible voters are nearly impossible to achieve. First, not all voters turn out. Even obtaining 2/3rds of those that do turn out is a daunting and challenging task. My take is the best way to resolve this issue is radically changing the way money flows into campaigns.

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Thanks Mike. The "however" is precisely the point; any legislator worth keeping should be able to motivate 2/3 of the eligible voters in their district to vote to keep them.

I agree on the need to change the way campaigns are financed and will support the necessary Amendment whenever it gets written. The way it's run now, most candidates and pundits give the impression that money equates to votes and that's only true after they're elected.

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That is the way it is in Ohio with legislative term limits. Voting is the best way. Don't like the guy, vote him out and work like hell to convince your friends to do the same.

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I agree.

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We need to change the requirements to serve in Congress.

Requirements to Become a U.S. Representative

According to Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, House members must be:

at least 25 years of age;

a citizen of the United States for at least seven years prior to being elected;

a resident of the state he or she is chosen to represent.

In addition, the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any person who has taken any federal or state oath swearing to support the Constitution, but later took part in a rebellion or otherwise aided any enemy of the U.S. from serving in the House or Senate.

And

Requirements to run for Senate

At least 30 years old

A U.S. citizen for at least nine years at the time of election to the Senate

A resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate

In addition, the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any person who has taken any federal or state oath swearing to support the Constitution, but later took part in a rebellion or otherwise aided any enemy of the U.S. from serving in the House or Senate.

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Well that was blown sky high with the likes of Lil’ Girl Lauren and Marjorie Three Names!

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Some judge ruled Greene could run even after her involvement in January 6 and her rhetoric.

We have got to tighten up the requirements. Psychological evaluation?!

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That evaluation must come from independent sources but I agree.

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In 2011 Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum published That Used To Be Us, How America fell behind in the world it invented and how we can come back - recognizing that China has better rails, Singapore has better airports and China has the fastest supercomputer on Earth - that used to be us... yet... all things have fast deteriorated to the present and our nation and the Earth are in our crisis, approaching a tipping point that may doom life on the planet as we are unable to alter course in any way that matters. Start there. Ukraine is a disaster and a metaphor. North Korea redux. The answers are clear. The crisis is real. Humans are destroying the planet. Our manifest arrogance and abject stupidity combine. What’s not failing will teach us without moving us.

We are in trouble.

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Russia is a disaster. Ukraine a catastrophe. Both distract from the real work at hand, the overarching reality of the anthropocene extinction. Yet we argue about what color to paint our maps - red or blue. Mostly, the world has a thinking problem, not a resource or knowledge problem. If we can spend trillions to save a few crooked financial institutions, we can do the same for the planet. We already know how. Quelling the fears of those who will listen, and removing from power those who won't - that is the task needed to create the conditions to do the real work at hand. Only a free, fair people can do this.

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

Or being the key food producing country, Ukraine should focus us on why we need not strengthen oil producing Authoritarian regimes as we approach a warmer climate, acidified Oceans and threatened planet.

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Incredible, indeed!

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“If we can spend trillions to save a few crooked financial institutions, we can do the same for the planet.“ Amen to that and everything else you said here. Amen. Amen.

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Teacher Steve, I had to look the following up (hint):

'anthropocene', the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

'The absolute numbers of all extinct animal and plant species have so far been comparably low. In the last 500 years, just 1-2 percent of all species have disappeared, and this value refers to the 1.9 million known species.'

'Even today, new species are being discovered almost every day somewhere in the world. Estimates of the actual number of species range from 3.6 million to well over 100 million. 1-2 percent loss of known species appears to be rather small compared to 75-96 percent loss in the previous five mass extinctions.'

IT'S THE EXTINCTION RATE – AND IT'S DRAMATIC

But is it that easy? Is it possible to compare the historical mass extinctions with the ongoing and expected losses in the Anthropocene? As for the role of human beings, another value is crucial: the rate of disappearance of species, that is the extinction rate.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN):

"THE RATE OF EXTINCTION IS CURRENTLY 1,000 TO 10,000 TIMES THE VALUE OF THE NORMAL RATE OF EXTINCTION."

'The normal value is the rate that would occur without the influence of man. Usually, up to five species a year a being lost forever. Currently, a dozen species disappear from our planet – every day!'

'According to recent studies by Dr Gerardo Ceballos from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the situation is dramatic'.

"UP TO 50 PERCENT OF ALL INDIVIDUAL ANIMALS, BOTH ENDANGERED AND NOT ENDANGERED WERE LOST OVER THE PAST DECADES."

'Ceballos claims that a third of all species currently losing population are not listed as endangered – a „biological annihilation“.

'Whether or not the sixth mass extinction is already underway or about to start, it is clearly man-made, scientists agree, therefore claiming the dawn of the Anthropocene.'

'BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IS KEY TO OUR EXISTENCE – AND ECONOMIC ASSET AS WELL

The massive extinction of species is undermining the biological diversity and, thus the fundament of life on our planet, including us, humans. If we don't want to destroy what has been evolved over billions of years on earth and be responsible for what we created the term genocide, we need to act without further hesitance.'

'The task is difficult as it relies on a complex set of measures which concern our economy, our social behaviour and ethics - on both, global and local scale. It is a race against extinction facing the dilemma between our current understanding of economic development and preserving nature and species.' Links below.

https://www.amnh.org/shelf-life/six-extinctions

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/lesson/sixth-mass-extinction/#:~:text=The%20Anthropocene%20Epoch%2C%20or%20the,%2C%20perhaps%2C%20even%20our%20own.

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Hi Fern! There is debate about just when the Holocene ended and the Anthropocene began (the Holocene, a period marked by climate stability, began ~11,600 ybp). Some say when agriculture began, some say at the start of the industrial revolution, some say when industrialization really took off ~1945. The upshot is this: we now have CO2 levels present in the atmosphere not seen for the last 800,000 years. The rate of CO2 rise is unprecedented in geologic history. Up to now, human caused extinctions have mainly been via habitat degradation, habitat loss, or over hunting. Soon, very rapid warming may take over as the main cause of extinction. That human civilization emerged during the climatically stable Holocene is no accident. The Anthropocene will not have such climatic stability, I fear. If you want an informative, entertaining background to the geo-science behind some of this, start with 'Prehistoric Road Trip', a 3 part series on PBS.

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

So glad to have prompted you out and through the CO2 to serve up some more. Thank you Steve, I fill my cup. A hug and Salud!

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Great recommendation re "Prehistoric Road Trip". Anyone who is a PBS member can watch the episodes on their own time: https://www.pbs.org/show/prehistoric-road-trip/

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Steve Abbott, read Countdown, by Alan Weisman. author of The World Without Us.

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Thanks for the rec: Countdown, by Alan Weisman..!.

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Start with Without Us

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Okay.

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PO Box 77

Cummington MA 01026

USA

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Yes,

China is well ahead of us in technology now. WAY ahead in public transportation.

BUT, Garbage Collection is still an area we have an edge. China is filled with trash everywhere just like India.

Maybe that is what we will look like when our population gets to 1.4 Billion too.

Just like "Idiocracy".

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Garbage spreading is destroying farmland and ocean floors, saltwater bodies floating plastics..

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“By 2050, the Oceans will have more plastic than fish.” More. Plastic. Than. Fish.

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Did someone count?

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“If you don’t measure it, how can you improve it.”

Yes, the counters are called Marine Biologist, and while they can’t literally count every piece of plastic, they can use science to make accurate estimates.

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It's horrifying.

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I can agree

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Watch WALL-E. I'm serious.

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Loved it! The kids totally get it. Maybe better than a lot of adults.

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And way behind in vaccines for Covid.

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Great post Sandy. Mediocracy begat by greed.

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We are becoming a “shithole country” at the speed of sound.

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Succinctly profound.

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Yes, we are Sandy.

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Yes, people are caught up

in the details and have lost sight of the big picture!

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Utterly terrifying, and for those of us not in the cult, another in a string of mass trauma events unfolding around us. I’ll keep doing the work—because what choice do we have except to rage, plan, strategize, and act—in the face of such madness. But I am near despair.

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As am I, Linda. As am I.

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As am I, Linda. 😩

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Three words for GOP, America's Hezbollah:

Compulsory Institutionalized Ignorance.

You could make a mile-long banner with synonyms.

A winding sheet...

The pillory -- even a bulletproof pillory -- is too good for these narcissistic perverts.

A zoo would be too flattering.

Freaks for a 19th century freak show...

Mystery: how human beings can be taken in by appearances: well-(or weirdly)-coiffed hair, teeth, dark suits...

Heaven help us!

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Sad but true Peter - only, those are pretty BIG words - might go right over the bowed heads of the gilded norm ...

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Kathleen. Exactly. Like, for example, "zoo".

:-)

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Heaven is responding, Peter. Always does.

Light! 💫

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Don’t forget orange skin and yellow straw hair…the ugliest “specimam” that history has ever had to mention

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Yuk...

The problem ain't the freakshow specimen itself.

The problem lies with the psychopathology of the millions upon millions that it trawled.

A mystery quite beyond my limited understanding. But maybe not so hard to fathom after all -- a dimestore embodiment of GREED years beyond its sell-by date...

Greed makes men stupid.

Greed rules the world.

So, why be surprised when we're ruled by ugly idiots?

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Brainwashing via their rallies and propaganda machines is how this cultification operates...and probably in certain churches, I would imagine.

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You may drop the "probably" in that sentence.

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Yes, just trying not to paint with a GIGANTIC paintbrush!

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

I just published my first blog post for the group I have helped found. I organized a Mother’s Day March to show support for the idea of women as people—and for the interlinked notion of motherhood as a choice.

https://www.utahalliancecoalition.org/post/es-mothers-day-march

I’ll be posting this evening’s letter as a comment—after all, you actually know what you are talking about.

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Well done Eleanor!

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Eleanor, wow! THANK YOU! Your essay on all the people and cultural factors that deny women’s personhood, rights, and autonomy is brilliant. It’s thrilling to learn that you are speaking out and organizing marches and a political coalition for women’s autonomy in _Utah_. Brava!

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Bravo!

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Rick Scott has a plan to rescue America? The same Rick Scott whose company defrauded Medicare aid $300 million and was fined $1.7 million has a plan to help make America great again. God help us!

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I know! Why does this half of this country insist on celebrating and electing criminals???

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The GOP supporters who aren't ultra-MAGAs need to wake tf up. They STILL think it's simply the party of low taxes, never mind that "low taxes" was wrong in a dozen ways, too.

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Wow, good information on Rick Scott’s criminality! The Lincoln Project should run an ad about him!

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Go to NYT & read Linda Greenhouse’s Guest Essay, May 5, 2022, to dive into Justice Alito’s ‘Invisible Women.’ Read and carry bits & pieces in your conversations as you build your neighborhood, your workplace, your life for the next 5 1/2 months to Encourage Everyone To Get Out and Vote.

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Thank you for the link, Ms. Kona. Read the article with great interest and agreement.

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Here's the unlocked link and the final paragraph: "In the wake of the mortifying breach that the leak represents, there has been much talk of the Supreme Court’s “legitimacy.” The court has a problem, no doubt, one that barriers of unscalable height around its building won’t solve. But if a half-century of progress toward a more equal society, painstakingly achieved across many fronts by many actors, can be so easily jettisoned with the wave of a few judicial hands, the problem to worry about isn’t the court’s. It’s democracy’s. It’s ours." https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/05/opinion/abortion-alito-discrimination.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuomT1JKd6J17Vw1cRCfTTMQmqxCdw_PIxftm3iWka3DIDm4fiOMNAo6B_EGKbKBkfccy2DLeTdtALLhqSP1pxfVeOk1rQhWppZ3CmIgAJ299j7OPaV4M_sCHW6Eko3itZ3OlKex7yfqz70iPaGHuXbjegX0kOAph88d6Jlmg0WhfxfjHFrNxiIR53fcxF9stE2d7ESqPtvbvDBR-MczXLU2Pr1lrBJwKHG3bjtWe6LkfcQlNCVmgT3l34Ww06No0K8pAde-kbEZmIJyi9O1XXm94L46pBIkzQJzXl9hqs73Oqx-Pyamm1tJitEeMGhgEAZwtXR-JHIc&smid=url-share

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Links do help! Much obliged, Ellie.

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Dear HCR; what I am reading from today's letter; The Republican Party no longer represents moderate conservatives, whether traditional Republicans or the conservative side of the large independent voter contingent (some have estimated independents to be as much as 40% of the electorate). Since you have to be a party member to run as a Republican, where are the politically inclined amongst those moderate conservatives who can no longer abide the political label of Republican? There is clearly a progressive element in the Democratic party that wants to pull it's axis to the left, leaving a gaping hole in the center, center right and center left. What is a centrist, or someone whose political sensibilities hew closer to the center than the extremes? Our ballots are well protected, so how one votes may or may not follow party lines. Still, the large voting block that abhors being labeled by party is somewhat disenfranchised by a system where parties define almost all of the options for voting to any public office of interest to the major parties. Perhaps the only means to exercise the power of a centrist block of voters is a centrist Party. I always thought of myself as slightly conservative on the fiscal side and moderately liberal on the social side. Is that a paradox? Could one even find a centrist platform of such a gemish of political sentiments? I'm left to believe that the rich will always be able to care for themselves under almost any style of governance, so my vote belongs with the little people who need laws to protect them from exploitation. I want to be in the party that believes that opinions on either side of the center need to hammer out acceptable compromise in the business of making policy and law for the nation. That absolutely rules out the Republican party under McConnell, et. al. When one party refuses to sit down at the table, the other party is left somewhat powerless to enact anything other than absolute consensus issues, where an opponent other than one another is identified. I remain convinced that there is a large voting block of center-right voters who have to hold their nose when saying the R word, who would vote for less extremist candidates if they could. However, the moderates are all running scared for one of a number of reasons. Biden gambled on finding that silent center-right contingent amongst those with an R on their letter jackets; they either no longer exist in congress, or they're running so scared that they cave in to the Party megaphones. The gamble mostly failed in the 50:50 Senate. How is it POSSIBLE that tfg managed to lose the executive AND both houses of congress and STILL wield such power with what is clearly a minority of the electorate under his command? Money, braggadocio, mafiosa style politics is apparently enough to overpower the more ethical few.

I'm still looking for incontrovertible evidence that a block of disowned, disheartened center-right voters actually exists and that they might consider voting on the other side of center rather than continue to align with the radical right. That means of course, that the liberal side of center can't drift so far left as to be abhorrent to the centrists.

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May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

" I always thought of myself as slightly conservative on the fiscal side".

I have always been puzzled why people who considered themselves fiscally "conservative" or "responsible" voted Republican?? A true mystery.

Ronald Reagan, after lying about being a fiscal "conservative" added a massive TWO TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT (5.1 Trillion Dollars in todays dollars) during his 8 year gigantically irresponsible spending and tax cutting spree. Same thing with Bush II. GIGANTIC debt PLUS crashing the entire economy.

Same thing with Trump. His corporate tax cut added 4 TRILLION dollars to the National Debt.

Reagan began with a post WWII LOW in total government debt of around 1 Trillion.

Jimmy Carter had previously, for his four years, continued, like all Presidents since WWII in paying down the debt.

In fact, Jimmy Carter was the LAST fiscally responsible and conservative President of the post WWII era. The only other President that even tried to be responsible was Bill Clinton. He left office having turned Repuiblican's upward debt trajectory into a flat graph with very slight downward direction. But, Bush II saw that hint of responsibility immediately began massive debt spending on and off the books to reward Haliburton.

The Republicans and their lies about "cutting taxes will bring in more money to the treasury" are the very definition of IRRESPONSIBLE.

Yet, despite the data, to this day, people use their imagination to tell themselves lies that Republicans are fiscally responsible.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Just google the National Debt and overlay that graph with all Presidents since WW II. Easy to see that Republicans are out of control spenders and highly irresponsible.

But, people will "believe" what they want. Reality seems not to ever intrude on the Republican mind.

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Didn't Bill Clinton leave office with a decent economy and a surplus in the budget? Carter, bless him, wasn't the only Dem who paid down the debt.

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Yes, Bill Clinton left office with a slight surplus that Bush immediately trashed.

I have amended my post. Thank you.

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We don’t talk enough about how OPEC lowered production after Nixon took us off the gold standard. The oil shortages and high price of oil sunk the 70’s economy, and ruined Carter’s re-election campaign.

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All recessions in the last over 100 years happened under Republican administrations. Every one. Per JJohnson2u on twitter

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These recessions usually follow as if on que when oil prices go to high, and when Republicans hold the office.

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KISS. Keep it simple stupid .The original bumper sticker, brought to education. Followed by political affiations like Centrist or Independent or Conservative or Originalist or some other gingoist attribute that says it all and says nothing. My favorite now is Inflation, a measure of economic activity that some think government or Mr Biden should be blamed for. It is a complex measure of conditions influenced little by party or policy or fault assigned. Like daily stockmarket numbers that deal with investor perceived risk in publicly traded companies, it is a measure of churn, not a good measure of the economy. Aside from being the tail of a dog enjoyable to watch with an evening cocktail, I suggest inflation is a measure of the performance of capitalism and most affected by supply, demand, greed, and amoralism of those with a firm grip on capital. Simple in its beauty, able to fit on a label, and keeps us distracted while we feel smuggly all knowing as to our choice of who to blame or why 85% of people get screwed and struggle again to make ends meet and have their angst directed toward some batch of talking head politicians.

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There's what one says and then there's what one does. Fiscally conservative should be about balanced budgets, debt reduction, restraint in spending on dubious social experiments, but also caution against unconstrained military spending. I'm obliged to avoid spending what I don't have or my income can't support. I don't see why the same principle shouldn't apply to our government. Personally I don't think there's a disconnect between fiscal responsibility and a socially liberal outlook. One simply shouldn't spend profligately, whether on guns OR butter.

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I'm struck by a couple things that you say here. I believe that the axiom "the truth is in the middle" when talking about two "sides" to any "story" is pretty accurate (at least from my non-empirical research in interviewing witnesses to/parties involved in the variety of situations a street cop is asked to investigate.) Your post seems to say to me that there is a center body made up from elements to the right and left of a midline that is larger than either edge. Kind of like a bird, which really needs both of its wings to fly.

I have talked with far, far more men than women who identify themselves as "socially liberal and fiscally conservative" and what it boils down to is keeping their money while enjoying their personal liberty; I suspect that women being paid 77 cents on the dollar compared to men may have a bit to do with that, as does the responsibility for pregnancy and childbirth.

In one set of my friends and associates, I am a "raging liberal" while in another set of friends and associates I am a "hard-line conservative" while expressing THE SAME VIEWS AND OPINIONS. I believe I lean much harder to a liberal perspective, if one where women are equal to men in every regard is a "liberal", along with the funny notion that BIPoc and LGBTQ+ are equal to Cis Het White people is defined as liberal, and that a person's religion is their personal choice, and should not be foisted upon anyone else.

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I’m with you, although more center left at present. Would be Noam Chomsky in a different world.

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Thanks for always determining what is really important the history leading up to it and opening our eyes to the facts of today Scary times and people Thsnks

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I find it very hard to understand when you write after a year of Joe Biden saying he could work with Republicans…after eight years as Vice President clearly never opened his eyes. Or Obama’s. Ludicrous following being obstructed for eight years, which gave way to a trump presidency he would fall for that for a second. Or to quote Robert Frost, “A liberal man too broad minded to take his own side in a quarrel.” With all that we’ve done to have the presidency and the house we’re losing badly. Pelosi and Biden running around talking about how we need a Republican Party we can work with feels like a kick in the gut.

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As bad as the Republicans were back during the Obama Administration - and they were - they were nothing compared to this collection of clucks who get crazier by the week.

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It doesn't look as though their opposition has done any better since either.....plenty of "clucks" on both sides, dumb and otherwise. The Republicans at least kept their senses alive and saw and seized their opportunity to get what they wanted regardless of what anyone else thought or wanted. This might be considered a "strength" in a political party regardless of what the issue was which all should perhaps share. Whereas their opposition.......played the three wise monkeys while looking at themselves in the mirror it would seem....while wringing hands and bewaling the nastyness of the other during which time the Republicans constantly stole their bases setting up themselves up possibly for a grand slam strike.

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TC, you mean like Adam Kinzinger who now openly talks about "targeted assissinations" as if he is not walking around in the open?

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See final copied/pasted paragraph below.

Excerpt: "GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois warned that the US could enter another civil war while discussing the country's partisan division and his censure by the Republican National Committee for taking part in the House January 6 commission.

Speaking on ABC News' "The View" on Thursday, Kinzinger said "we have to recognize" the prospect of civil war, adding: "I don't think it's too far of a bridge to think that's a possibility."

"We're identifying now by our race, by our ethnic group, we're separating ourselves and we live in different realities," Kinzinger said. "And I think we have to warn and talk about it so that we can recognize that and fight hard against it and put our country over our parties, because our survival actually matters."

"In the past, I've said, oh, we don't want to talk about it, because I don't want to make it likely," Kinzinger said of a civil war. "Well, let's look at where we are."

He said such a conflict would not take the same form as it did in the 1860s, with pitched battles between armies.

Instead, he said: "It's going to be armed groups against armed groups, targeted assassination and violence. That's what a 21st and 20th century civil war is." https://www.businessinsider.com/adam-kinzinger-civil-war-possibility-rnc-censure-2022-2?op=1

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Good for Kinzinger. We need to take a hard look at where democracy has faded and stop the bleeding, not just in Ukraine, but everywhere, and here.

I would have never thought it possible till Jan 6th. I still might not, but our current events, and having read a lot of history of Ukraine, the Maidan in 2014, and then novels about it, "It Cant Happen Here" by CS Lewis, "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth, and analysis "Civil Wars and How to Stop Them" by Dr. Barbara Walters who studies and indexes commonalities in countries that slide from stable to instable, to civil war.

Kinzinger is right. Armed individuals, whipped into a frenzy by their mystic demagogue get into a spat at a rally or crash and upset a peaceful protest, the violence escalates to groups on groups violence. Pollical assassination's. Police feeling themselves as victims, identify with the extreme right, unwilling to serve and protect all, side with the radical right and turn their backs on their oaths ( rittenhouse syndrome). The invitation by some Police to deputize Paramilitary groups like the 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, or Proud Boys.

So much damage done by the Orange Orangutan. It is really unfortunate. The only fortunate thing we do have are people like Dr. Richardson and others who sounded the alarm early enough for some of us to open our eyes.

I can see how it could happen. All the signs have revealed themselves:

Growing Inequality

Historical Wealth Gap between the most wealthy and regular people

Polarization/growing friction between the haves and have nots

Rise of Paramilitary Groups ( 10,000's Tim McVeighs now? who knows?)

No attempts or goals of political "reconciliation" only owning your enemy

Belief that all political enemies are "others" different from "my" group

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