Category Archives: Politics

The Martha Mitchell Effect Documentary Review

In every era, there are heroes that are recognized for their bravery. Then there are other heroes who are only acknowledged for their contributions long after that time has passed.

Martha Mitchell is one of those heroes who, unfortunately, is only starting to be seen and respected. The new Netflix documentary, The Martha Mitchell Effect, dropped recently on the streaming channel. In the early 1970s, she was married to John Mitchell, who was then the Attorney General for Richard Nixon. Not exactly known for being the meek and silent type, Martha was quick to blab to the press about her husband’s legally and morally dubious work. Silenced by both Nixon and her husband, she was made to believe that she was crazy.

I wish I had learned about her earlier. When we talk about second-wave feminism icons, Martha Mitchell is a name who rarely comes up. After watching this movie, I felt like she should be given a second look by modern feminists and historians. She dared to take on a corrupt administration and tell the truth when many stayed silent.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Martha Mitchell Effect is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, Politics

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings Book Review

School used to be a place in which we nurture the minds and futures of the next generation. It has in recent years, become a place of death and heartache.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings, by Loren Kleinman and Amye Archer, was published in 2019. Inspired by a text sent by one of the students who survived the Parkland shooting, the book follows the history of school shootings. Interviewing survivors and family members of the victims, the reader is taken into the emotional heart of the experience and the reverberations that last long into the future.

I really enjoyed this book. It hit me in the right place. I was both angry and sad. I was angry about the lives that were lost. I was sad for the families who would never see their children grow up. What struck me was that most, if not all of the shooters fit into a certain type. They are mostly angry white males who have a grudge and turn to violence to get back at those who they feel have wronged them.

The aspect of the book that has stayed with me was the responses from those who survived Columbine and the other shooting that occurred in the late 1990s. Many of us who were on the verge of adulthood back then are now parents. Though it has been decades since they were nearly killed, hearing the news immediately took them back to that day. It is a reminder that trauma of this kind never truly leaves us, regardless of how many years have passed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings is available wherever books are sold.

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The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem Series One Review

Family is complicated. Marriage is complicated. We can only do our best and hope that it is good enough.

The new Netflix series, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, is based on the novel, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem: A Novel, by Sarit Yishai-Levi. The first series is set in the 1920s and 1930s. It follows the women of the Ermoza family, a Sephardi Jewish family living in Jerusalem. Gabriel (Michael Aloni) is in love with another woman but is forced to marry Roza (Hila Saada), by his mother Merkada (Irit Kaplan). He tries to be a good husband and father but is not exactly dedicated to his family. Almost twenty years later, their eldest daughter, Luna (Swell Ariel Or) is growing up in a time of political tension and struggle.

I don’t recall if I read the book, but the first series is fantastic. Set against the backdrop of British-controlled Palestine (i.e. pre-1948 Israel), the emotional conflicts within the Ermoza family collide with the heady and complicated world events of the era. It is fantastic, immediately grabs the viewer, and does not let go until the final credits roll. If nothing else, it reveals a side of history in this region that is not often talked about in the mainstream press.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The first season of The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is available for streaming on Netflix.

P.S. The second season is scheduled to be released sometime in July. I eagerly await its arrival.

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Filed under Books, History, Judaism, Netflix, Politics

It is a Sad Day in America: Roe V. Wade is No More

A few months ago, we celebrated the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. When I wrote that post, I still had hope that the right of anyone with a uterus had the right to decide their own fate. That hope died this morning.

By lunchtime, the federal government had washed its hands of the issue. It is now illegal to have an abortion in America. Each state can now decide if the procedure will be allowed and to what degree. In many states, this means that will be either completely against the law or limited to saving the life of the pregnant person.

American women are officially back in the dark ages, depending on where they live. Thankfully, both my home state of New York and New Jersey are among the handful of states that put the life of the pregnant person over politics. But not everyone is so lucky.

How many women will die from back-alley abortions or putting foreign objects in their bodies? How many females of any age will be forced to give birth to their rapist’s child or carry a dead fetus to term? How many women of color who are already living under hard conditions will have another proverbial plate spinning in the air?

The overturning of Roe is the beginning of a slippery slope. According to Judge Clarence Thomas (who I loathe with a passion), this decision opens the door to taking a second look at other rulings.

Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion released on Friday that the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

In a similar vein, Loving v. Virginia could also be overturned. That means that his marriage to the equally loathsome Ginni Thomas could be viewed as illegal.

If they thought we would go quietly into the night, they have another thing coming.

Courtesy of Facebook

We can donate to pro-choice organizations (Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc). We can march and let our voices be heard. We can vote in November and more importantly, vote blue. Though it is dark, the sun will rise again. We just need to fight for that sunrise.

P.S. Congress finally passed a gun control bill. It speaks volumes about this country that we confer more rights on a weapon than a living, breathing human being.

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The SCOTUS Ruling on the NY Gun Law is Wrong and Dangerous

To say that gun control is a divisive issue is an understatement. Where one stands on whether or not firearms should be regulated speaks volumes.

Earlier today, SCOTUS ruled that the highly restrictive concealed-carry handgun law in New York State was unconstitutional. In laymen’s terms, the judges said that licensed gun owners can carry their hidden weapons into public spaces.

The majority ruling stated the following:

“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,”

This decision is both wrong and dangerous. At the end of the day, gun reform is about safety. The 2nd amendment is as solid as it ever was. We shouldn’t be afraid of completing day to day activities ( i.e. going to school, grocery shopping, seeing a doctor) because some politicians are beholden to their NRA donors.

The majority of Americans want reasonable gun control. The problem is that until those in power listen to the people, we will continue to lose our loved ones to unnecessary violence.

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Can Mike Pence and Liz Cheney be Redeemed?

In politics, reputation is everything. That reputation, whatever it may be, can make or break your career.

The reputations of two specific politicians, Mike Pence and Liz Cheney are going to be made or broken by the time the January 6th commission hearings are over. Will they be redeemed or go down in history for their misdeeds?

In any job, the ability to work with anyone within the organization is important. But there is a difference between knowing when to respectfully disagree and kissing ass. The former Vice President is the latter. For the entirety of the Presidency of you know who, Pence was a lapdog who did his boss’s bidding without (at least in public view) questioning his actions and motives. The only time he developed a backbone was when he did not go along with the lie that the election results were fraudulent. Now that he is back on the election circuit, Pence now claims that President Biden is one who is lying constantly.

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I have a feeling that Pence’s place in American history will not be a good one.

Liz Cheney is the American political royalty. The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, she has been a stalwart Republican for decades. Between 2016 and 2020, she consistently voted along party lines. Then January 6th happened. Cheney is one of two members of the GOP on the committee (the other being Adam Kinziger). Though I disagree with her on many things, the fact that she has put country and the saving of our democracy over party speaks volumes.

What will future historians say about Cheney? I think the jury is still out.

We cannot predict what posterity will say about this era. But I hope that we will remember those who stood up for our nation and those who didnt.

P.S. Who else wanted to reach out through the screen and hug Wandrea “Shaye” Moss and  Ruby Freeman? The treatment they recieved is digusting, immoral, and in my opinion, unAmerican.

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Cutting SSI & Medicare Benefits is the Wrong Decision For the GOP (Unless They Want to Lose)

As we get closer to the 2022 midterm elections, politicians and those around them need to make smart decisions to ensure that they either maintain their position or win their election.

Possibly cutting SSI & Medicare benefits in five years is not a smart decision.

Last week, Senator Rick Scott of Florida proposed a bill that states that Congress has to reauthorize SSI and Medicare benefits every five years. His rationale is as follows:

“Force Congress to issue a report every year telling the public what they plan to do when Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt.”

Of course, Senator Scott is a member of the GOP from Florida (why would he not be?).

Historically, Americans of a certain age are known to vote in larger numbers than younger citizens. If these benefits are cut, how many of our elders would be on the streets and without access to medical care.

Potentially cutting off these programs is practically handing the Democrats a win in the fall. If they want to shoot themselves in the figurative foot, that’s their decision.

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Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power Book Review

To be a woman in politics is to have a backbone made of steel. It requires courage, strength, an incredibly brilliant mind, and the ability to navigate through the bullshit.

Nancy Pelosi has done this and so much more. She has broken barriers, become a controversial figure, and stood toe to toe with some of the most notorious political figures of our era. Her biography, Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, by Susan Page, was published earlier this year. Pelosi was born in Baltimore, the youngest child, and only daughter in a prominent Italian-American family. Though she was raised in an era in which girls were boxed in, her mother encouraged her to color outside of the lines.

Moving to California after marrying, Pelosi only got into politics after her children were grown. Starting at the local level, she climbed up the ladder with a shrewd mind and an understanding of the game. Page spends most of the book examining her career and the challenges (especially when going against you know who) that she has come against. Diving into the details of the last few decades, the woman we meet is one who does not shrink when coming against a man who thinks that he knows better than her.

I enjoyed this book. The reader is introduced to Pelosi as the whole woman, not just the image on the evening news. She is thoroughly human in a way that I found relatable and inspirational. Pelosi may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you cannot deny that what she has accomplished is exceptional and admirable. We need more women in this world like Nancy Pelosi.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power is available wherever books are sold.

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Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook Book Review

It’s not hard to become pessimistic when it comes to politics and world events these days. With everything that has happened over the last few years, cynicism is not an unexpected response. But if we want a better world, we cannot be pessimistic or cynical. We have to believe that change is possible.

Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook, by Christopher Noxon, was published in 2019. Using the Civil Rights era as a playbook, Noxon explores how today’s generation can build on what our elders fought for. Using beautiful watercolor illustrations and referencing important leaders such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., Noxon inspires readers to get off their proverbial behinds and step up to the plate.

I loved this book. It is the inspiration that is badly needed now. It is written in such a way that it would encourage anyone that they can make a difference. I also very much appreciated that he highlighted the fact that women were as much were not given the spotlight or the respect they deserved.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook is available wherever books are sold.

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My Takeaway From Last Night’s January 6th Commission Hearing

History does not happen in a vacuum. There are events that inform the present and guide us to hopefully learn from the mistakes made in the past.

Last night, more than twenty million Americans watched the first public hearings of the January 6th commission. For two hours, viewers were presented with evidence and interviews in regards to the riot that nearly broke our democracy more than a year and a half ago.

As I see it, the information is damming. There are also four important elements that both the mainstream media and the voting public must face head-on:

  1. The former President is an egotistical, two-faced, lying, con artist who cannot understand the concept of the word no. He is not above throwing his own daughter under the bus or potentially sacrificing former VP Mike Pence to the wolves.
  2. Any politician or government bureaucrat who has supported you know who in the service of their own career must either be voted out and/or revealed for the traitors that they are. A two-party system only works if both sides can work together, even when they don’t always agree.
  3. The right-wing media’s lies must also be revealed for the hypocritical bullshit that it is. In a move that surprised no one, the hearing was not broadcast on Fox News and other media companies of their ilk.
  4. Anyone who was involved that day must be brought to justice. If they are not, that sends a message that what happened is acceptable and normal.

Fifty years ago, Watergate changed the politics of this nation. Looking back after half a century, we can now see the damage that the scandal caused. My fear is that if we do not face this problem head-on, we will look back in another fifty years and ask why we did not do something when we had the opportunity.

We have one shot to correct this wrong. The question is, do we have the nerve to do so or will the American experiment that is our democracy die in a haze of violence, hatred, and choosing power over the needs of the people?

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