When hatred takes control

By: Barbara Fariña

I’m not sure how to begin to write this without ending up fighting with someone, or perhaps with everyone. Normally I believe in taking a position regarding conflicts, but on this occasion , and far from wanting to play at being Switzerland and staying neutral, I do not think it’s a good idea to take such a radical position in the light of events.

I’m about to lose faith in humanity. When I say humanity, what I mean is that thing that makes us human. Apparently, some people, when it comes to a war like what is happening in Gaza, forget that when they take a position that their are people on the other side as well. Conflict is not one-sided. Nobody wins in a war. There are all kinds of losses on both sides, and if we cannot understand that, then we were not paying attention to history.

Let me tell you what I can see: HATE. Israel hates Palestine. Palestine hates Israel. People from other countries choose a side and end up hating who does not think like them. In social networks you can see how people clearly choose to support a country without stopping to think for a 10371399_10203982522740604_5823333519523048300_nsecond that’s what happens on the other side. It is easy make a comment when you do not have to live in conflict on a daily basis. The crack is deepening and the divisions between human beings is getting bigger. The authorities of the countries involved make supporting releases on Twitter because each one attacks the other. And that ladies and gentlemen is called write the story. The story of war, the horror, the absurd justification that they believe they have the right to kill another person. Hatred seems to be contagious. At least some people seem very vulnerable to this feeling.

It’s scary to think how this will end, in what will be transformed. I do not care what religion they are, whatever their economic interests, nor what their boundaries. This time, I abstain from laying position by either party, but I’m going to set my position and that of many others. Perhaps we are a minority but we still have a voice. I say enough war. Enough death. Stop killing and stop deleting a newborn generation from the planet. I want PEACE!!

The only fight we should be carrying out should be for Peace. Some concepts we should always remember are freedom, justice, human rights, humanity, peace, kindness, love, life, mercy … and so on. A society based on the principle of destruction will never survive.

Personhood – If abortion is murder, so too is male masturbation

Mississippi is at it again with another drive toward personhood. A few years ago, the initiative failed, but now, they think they have the wording that will sway opinions and push a new bill through assuming they can get the 100k+ signatures needed to appear on the 2015 ballot. I don’t live in Mississippi. I’m biologically incapable of producing more children. It’s a year away assuming it makes the ballot.

So, why do I care about this?

Because it’s bad. It’s bad on multiple levels. It’s bad for prochoice women. It’s bad for right to life women as well. It’s potentially bad for pregnant women and it could be a massive game changer for women trying to conceive that need a little help. Potentially, it could be disastrous for doctors. It could rip families apart in a irreparable manner. Plus, I don’t understand how anyone using a shred of logic cannot see this proposed bill for what it is – forcing religious beliefs on everyone – believers and non-believers of this particular flavor of faith alike.

If you don’t know what personhood is, or the exact definition of it confuses you, get in line. In some cases, personhood states you become a person once a pregnancy test is positive. That is a rarely used definition these days because it is seen as antiquated 1950’s stuff. More often, it defines life as beginning at fertilization. In more extreme cases, it defines life as beginning at ovulation. Some go a step further and define life as beginning 1-2 weeks prior to a menstrual cycle beginning. That would mean an egg that is not even in play yet already has the rights of a human being.

Think about that.

That’s what this is really all about – when is a human a human? Usually, I’d get hot and heavy on this., but I want everyone to step back…. take a breath… Have a cup of coffee maybe. Let’s just consider, what a world in which personhood, which defined as a human is a human as soon as an egg is present (fertilized or not), would be like.

A couple has failed to have a child after years of trying. They decide to go the IVF route. But wait, they can’t. Why? The egg is a human with full rights of a human under the 14th amendment. Nothing that may endanger it’s “life” can be done to it. That includes freezing it. It could include harvesting eggs as well as there are scattered minimal instances in which n egg is damaged. Assuming you could go through the procedure in a manner that met personhood laws, the odds of success are significantly diminished. Without freezing, eggs are implanted to a traumatized uterus. If it fails to survive, is that murder?

It’s a serious question. The possibility of it being considered a murder would drive insurance rates for fertility specialists through the roof and make the few that would chance offering a service for only the richest. It’s a massive chance they would be taking.

Now, let’s look at this another way – a simpler. A woman has an ectopic pregnancy. It’s not that rare – about 2% of all pregnancies are ectopic. Working of the latest stats which peg pregnancies, worldwide, at 208 million, there are about 4.16 million ectopic pregnancies annually. Here’s where it gets even scarier, because this is an implantation problem and not something the right vitamins or a fat ban account cures  – pregnant women have no rights regarding how to handle an ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancies are life threatening. It’s basically a hemorrhage and if untreated it is too often fatal. About half resolve on their own, but that means half don’t as well. Under personhood laws, the fetus has done nothing willfully wrong, even if it’s existence may kill the host mother, therefore, back to the 14th amendment, it cannot be removed. Even if the fetus has a 0% chance of survival, it has the rights a human has and as an ‘Innocent” it’s rights actually trump those of the mother.

Now, let’s say you are pregnant and you have a glass of wine once every few weeks. Even if your doctor tells you, as so many do, that an occasional glass of wine is okay, under personhood, it isn’t. Why? Well, one reason is because there is a minuscule chance it could harm the fetus. On the side of what we’d assume is ridiculous, but not so much in light of recent news and this possible legislation, almost anything you do could be said to harm your fetus. Refuse pre-natal vitamins? That could be harm. Jogging? Someone could argue that is harm. Work long hours? … Harm… Don’t sleep 7-8 hours each night? Harm. Indulge in spicy food too often? Harm. Standing on a chair to dust cupboards? Harm. You might fall!

It’s so ridiculous, that about all you can do is sit still and act as incubator. But then again, not exercising at all could be deemed harmful. See how this could easily spiral out of control? Consider that woman who didn’t even know she was pregnant – and skied and fell – found out in the hospital she was 6 weeks along – and was charged with child endangerment. She didn’t even KNOW yet! It was only 6 weeks along….

One last look at this. No matter what the circumstances are – under personhood, you can NEVER abort the fetus. Or endanger an egg. EVER! No matter if the mother will die. No matter if the child will die upon delivery or even in-utero. No matter if mother and fetus will die. No abortions ever, for any reason. Period. Dr. Clifton W. Story who is a personhood advocate stated he believes it is more important to save the fetuses than the mothers that would die without legal, safe access to abortions. Of course, he bases that on his religious beliefs as do most personhood activists.

Here’s my question. If it takes a man and a woman to fertilize an egg – where’s all the laws that are restricting the reproductive rights of men? Where are they? Just as an egg is nothing without sperm, a sperm is nothing without an egg. Yet for some reason, we focus on the eggs. We focus on the mother. Yes, she does carry the fertilized egg to term – no argument there, but the sperm donor is 50% responsible for there being something to carry.

So if we want to be fair and equal, no masturbation for men. Every time they masturbate, they are abandoning potential children. The sperm become non-viable and die. Male masturbation is murder! Let’s start legislating that. Let’s start saying that since men are half of fertilizing an egg, why aren’t they charged with child endangerment when they drink alcohol? Or smoke pot? Or wear underwear that is too tight or do ANYTHING that can decrease their sperm count or potentially make them non-viable or damaged? And if they want to do all those things —- snip snip bitch! Get snipped and do whatever you want. And to go a step further, since men are responsible for fertilizing a woman’s egg, and if the fertilized egg is a person, if the woman is charged with ANYTHING that potentially endangers that child, the father faces the same charge. A good father looks after the humans he helps create so there ya go! He should have been paying attention to what his baby momma was doing!

Does that seem fair?  If it doesn’t, why not? Because we’re used to a world where the woman carries the child and the man can walk away whenever? Creating a child is a 50-50 proposition and good or bad, EVERYTHING should be split 50-50. If you can legislate a woman’s reproductive rights, so too should we be able to do to men.

Exceptional Is All Around Us

By: Amanda Fox

I want to take a second to talk about being exceptional. It’s not something we usually cover here – usually we have rants and raves and we tear it up, but sometimes, you just have to stop and take a second to look at life from a different perspective. You have to remind yourself of the good in the world and the good in yourself even.

 

exceptionalEach day, we have the opportunity to be exceptional. It would seem that it’s so much easier to just sit back and bitch and moan or leave being exceptional for someone else. Who has the time? Who has the desire? Who really cares? We care… We all should. And we all can be exceptional because being exceptional really takes very little effort when you look at it with fresh eyes and true desire.

 

When we think of something exceptional, we tend to think of the seven wonders, the top athlete, high earning performers and things like that. But exceptional is often, and can be, small things repeated over and over and over again.

 

Exceptional is the teacher that takes the time to work with each of her students that need the extra help and support.

 

Exceptional is the parent(s) that constantly sacrifice to make sure their children have the best opportunities possible so that maybe, just maybe if they want to grasp it, they can have a better life and in turn do the same for their children.

 

Exceptional is the person that does the thankless but necessary jobs in life that we all depend upon to function, not only with a  smile, but to the best of their abilities because they take pride in what they do.

 

Exceptional is the person that stands up and defends those who need to be defended. Whether that be a soldier, the kid (or adult) who stands up to a bully and the many millions of voices who each and every day make their voice heard so that one day all people can be true equals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any factor.

 

Exceptional is someone like Jim Rienstra who is “Pedaling for Pennies” on a 15,000 mile Pan-America bike tour in order to raise money for cancer research.

 

TheDifferenceBetweenAverageAndExceptionalExceptional is all around is! It is people we meet online sometimes. It’s people we grew up with. Sometimes it’s a family member and it should be each and every single one of us! It can be each and every one of us.

Doing the right thing, whether it seems big or small, whether anyone is watching or not, whether credit is attributed or not is always a BIG thing and always the RIGHT thing. Sometimes it isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t popular. Regardless, it always makes a difference in the grand scheme of things, sometimes far greater than we may ever know.

Be exceptional today and everyday!

Right to live … but just as I say

By: Barbara Farina

As usual Amanda Fox got me thinking. This time a bit by accident but it is always a good thing.

 

Vladimir_Putin_12015We all have different views and visions about Putin’s participation in the alleged solution to the problem with Syria.

 
But among all this mess, suddenly I could not help but notice that to Putin, it is okay to hide the facts regarding discrimination in his own country.

 
Why is he being hailed as part of the solution to the conflict with Syria while discriminates against the gay community? Not that bringing peace is a bad thing at all, but why not bring peace to his own people as well?

 

 
3fd83112In further evidence of intolerance, Russian President Vladimir Putin sanctioned in July of this year a law which, among other things, prohibits alleged gay propaganda. Whether in person, internet or any means of communication, if the government sees some nontraditional sexual propaganda that could potentially wind up in front of children (so says the law), that person will be punished with fines of between 100 and 125 euros for each of these events. Now, if these acts of free speech, or as I think it would be correct to call, HUMAN RIGHTS, are carried out by legal entities fines would be around 20,000 euros and if they are done by a foreign person, they would be expelled from the country.

 

 
Most troubling about this situation is that 80% of Russians are in favor of this law, and 40% agreed with prosecution and punishment homosexuals. Why? Well, I can think of several good answers and none of them say much good about Putin or the 80% of Russians in agreement with him.

 
Remember, we are in the 21st century. It would be stupid to just say “get with the times” as an argument, although it is quite obvious that he still acting like the old Soviet Union leaders. We can say that the development of education, tolerance and freedom are still issues to improve in Russia.

 

 
In 2014 the Winter Olympics will be held in Russia, more precisely in Sochi. Of course to not allow any person who is homosexual to participate which generated quite a stir in the world, is an insane concept, it is presenting a serious dilemma for many. Both in the Americas, and Europe, marches and protests are held over this, as many of us believe in the fact that we are all human. Personally I do not care nor is it my problem whom wants to get married to who, or who dates who, or who you want to sleep with.

 
I’m from Argentina and in my country, as in many others in the world, people of the same sex can marry and have the same rights as any heterosexual couple. And the reality is that there is no reason to be otherwise since we are all human.

 

 
At least of course unless you’re a bigot, fascist, retrograde thinking that homosexuality is an illness.

 
So Putin has several problems these days. The differences between him and Obama on this issue is just one of many. And for some of us that he wants peace in Syria while pursuing all those who think differently to him in his own country is at least one big warning more trouble is to come.

Religion vs. common sense

By: Barbara Farina 

As many already know a few days ago a girl only eight years old died on her wedding night in Yemen. The name of this girl was Rawan, her parents arranged a marriage with a man that is 40 years old. On their wedding night, her husband took his wife, again, his 8 years old wife, and decided it was good idea to consummate the sexual act as they were married. The result of this was that Rowan died on her wedding night. According to the doctors who examined the cause of death, it was a uterine rupture and tearing of his genitals. Probably, she bled to death.

In both Yemen and in many other parts of the world, it is normal arranging marriages between children and adults. This is not the first case and certainly not the last, since the laws of Islam approve of such practices. In my humble opinion, savage customs which violate all rights and both adults who marry these children and families of children who marry them off to adults should be tried as pedophiles.

I can I respect all religions. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want, but I think we all know what is right and what is wrong. An adult that has sex with a girl or a boy is wrong, and that is common sense.

If you do not mind I’ll relay a little history.

In 2009 a 12 year old girl was forced by her parents to marry a man twice her age, after three days in labor, the girl dies.

In 2010 a 13 year old girl dies after being raped by her own husband as this was the need to prove his manhood. I guess the murder and rape would have seemed the best way. For him of course.

Two months ago 11 year old girl ran away from home to avoid a marriage of convenience. Suffice it to say that whoever was to be her husband also was an adult.

These practices are common in Yemen and the government approves this for religious issues, and again I wonder what about common sense? What about the sense of what is right and what is wrong?

I insist this is not only happening in Yemen. Under the laws of Islam, and sorry if someone feels attacked, millions of children die every year worldwide.

As a mother, I cannot help but ask myself what the hell her parents were thinking when they agreed to this? Or why some parents allow this to happen? The religious beliefs are one thing, but too many of these girls are bought from their families to be wives for a few dollars. The deficiencies in some areas are such that some families, especially in rural areas, accept this for money. Personally I think some people should not have children. The children are not possessions.

Every time something like this happens, what comes to my mind is everyone should combat the sexual abuse of minors and adults, human trafficking and a recurring question – What are we talking about when we talk about morality?

Adoption Is Great, But It Isn’t The Answer To Abortion

I recently read a blog post titled “Adoption is not a ‘cure’ for abortion”  which primarily addressed the statistics and impact on the women making this decision. It is a worthwhile read and I do encourage you to look at it, but I would like to take a look at another view – the view of an adoptee. Specifically, my view as an adult adoptee.

 

I’ve been quite vocal in the past when I have stated that I fully believe my mother should have had the right to a legal abortion when carrying me. I know she didn’t really want to carry me. I know she had valid reasons for this. Don’t get me wrong – I am glad I am alive, but had I been aborted, I wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t know the life I have now. I couldn’t magically see into the future while in the womb anymore than I can now. For all I would know then, assuming I had any form of logical thought, that could have been the natural life cycle.

 
Rather than derail on that tangent, let me refocus this. Adoption truly is not always a good option versus abortion. I have seen the arguments that so many people want to adopt, but there are already so many more kids awaiting adoption than people looking to adopt. How does adding more children to that wait list that is never satisfied help anything? Understand me when I say this, and I don’t care if you think it isn’t PC or want to scream I’m being a racist, but here is a simple fact:

 

There is a shortage of “acceptably adoptable” children versus adoptable children as a whole. What is a”acceptably adoptable”? Generally, it is seen as being a healthy white baby. Don’t believe me? Explain then why the greatest PROPORTION of children making up all completed adoptions are those of non-Hispanic white children by a HUGE margin?

 
Let’s look at this another way … Take a look at kids in foster care that are adoption eligible. 51% are African American compared to 32% that are non-Hispanic whites. Non-Hispanic white kids spend less time in foster care on average. They are generally adopted at younger ages. They are adopted into more minority households than other races. If you don’t believe me, just Google the the numbers from the census, your own state or pretty much any adoption organization. It’s such a problem, even many private adoption agencies offer deep discounts to adopt minority children. What does that tell you?

 
Now … I was one of those non-Hispanic white kids. I was placed in foster care immediately. I was legally adopted in 9 months by my first and only foster family. I was very lucky. I was born drug addicted. I had obvious physical problems. I went through a string of surgeries, both corrective and cosmetic, well before I was 9 years old. I was in leg braces and a back brace and I had so much wrong with me I actually was thought to be nearly un-adoptable.

 

That would have been the case except for one thing – my parents wanted to adopt a child really bad. They had been waiting, but my mom had health issues. They were an older couple. They weren’t ideal by the standards of the time, but then again, neither was I. The one thing they had going for them was they had money. A lot of money and a lot of stability. I was the only chance they had at adopting a child at that point in all likelihood. They could have adopted a child of a different race with no problem years earlier when they began the process, but to THEM, that wasn’t an acceptable option. They would rather have had a child of their race even if it meant having a child that was pretty messed up.

 
Over the course of my life, I have looked back and wondered what if. What if I wasn’t adopted? What would my life have been like? I would have been in foster care, which let’s be honest, would not have been ideal for me. I wouldn’t have had tens of thousands of dollars poured into childhood cosmetic surgeries. I wouldn’t have had the BEST orthopedic surgeons working on me. I wouldn’t have grown up in a home where all needs were met without batting eye and luxuries were the norm.

 

I would have most likely been passed from one foster home to another. I wouldn’t have been an “easy” child to care for. I would have grown up with legs that were a mess. A back that was all out of sorts. A misshapen cranium and ears that were quite frankly a horror show. I may have suffered brain damage due to my skull not growing in a manner that allowed for proper brain growth. That doesn’t even address emotional issues I still deal with which include schizoid episodes and auditory hallucinations. We won’t even get into the issues surrounding my homosexuality. Life would have pretty much sucked in all likelihood until I killed myself.Under the best of conditions, I had suicidal ideations at 11, do you think that would have been any better under worse conditions? I really don’t?

 

Because I KNOW how incredibly lucky I got and what kind of perfect storm of events it took to land in that ideal situation, I also know how bad it all could have gone if just one event in that chain had changed. I know that kids born as I was have lousy odds of adoption, and I will make no bones about saying if I wasn’t white, I likely NEVER would have been adopted. Certainly not by the adoptive parents I had at least.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I believe in adoption. Adoption is a wonderful gift for everyone under the right circumstances. I’m glad I was adopted. But just because I got lucky doesn’t mean that all kids do. We know this. Saying that adoption is a perfectly viable sensible option to abortion in all cases is naive and asinine. It’s not.

 

Whether you agree with me or not or like what I have said or not really makes little difference to me. Deep down, we all know it’s true. We know the bulk of the people screaming adoption is always an option to abortion have no real idea of that. if they did, we wouldn’t have ANY children awaiting adoption. All those people trumpeting it as a panacea would have adopted all those kids awaiting a permanent family.

 

But they haven’t. And those kids are still waiting on families. Our saying we should add to that glut is irresponsible and insensitive. Saying that doesn’t mean I like abortion. No one likes abortion. But the fact is, we need the option to exercise that choice. We need the ability to make the best choice for all parties involved.

 
Given the option of living a life in which I was physically and emotionally challenged, bounced from foster homes to group homes and all through the cycle again and and again until being turned out on my own at 18, assuming I didn’t take my own life prior to that … I’d prefer to have been aborted. That’s harsh, but that’s the truth.

Speak Up Or Suffer The Consequences Of Someone Speaking For You!

Ladies, sometimes we are our own worst enemies. It’s true. We can’t deny we sometimes hold ourselves back as much as anyone or anything else. I hate saying that, but we have to get real.

middle-fingersI recently witnessed a group discussion in which almost every woman involved rolled over and let a man that may have an 8th grade comprehension level (seriously, no higher than that) start dictating a discussion on abortion. He jumped in expressing his opinion that abortion was the lazy way out of responsibility for women. Abortion would never be necessary if women weren’t sluts because only sluts need abortions because they can’t stop putting out. And what was sad was this guy truly believed that.

Being the way I am, I made two mistakes – I tried to be rational and I used words that had three or more syllables when trying to argue the counterpoint. I asked the fellow what role men played in pregnancy process and he informed me that although I was right it takes a sperm and egg to create life, if a woman gets pregnant it’s God’s will and that is the end of discussion. he also added that God would toss all abortion sluts in a pit of fire because they are loose.

So what is my point in all this? Of all the women involved, no one even bothered to try to correct him. He took their silence as agreement. Now, even though we were dealing with someone that is in all actuality categorized as mentally “dim”, silence was not the way to go. Sometimes you have to speak up!

hillary-what-difference-does-it-makeAfter the fact, some women responded that they didn’t say anything because “what difference would it make?” By remaining silent, they silently assented to a view they didn’t agree with. They gave the impression they agreed with the viewpoint. It’s not about changing the mind of the speaker of statements you disagree with so much as it is about openly stating that you disagree. It’s about showing there are two sides to every coin.

The same thing happened In a recent discussion on FGM in which a man came in and equated circumcision to FGM. Almost no one would speak up because they took the view of “What good would it do?” I could go on and on …

The thing is, silent assent is dangerous. It emboldens those who have radical ideas to sometimes become even more radical because they are never challenged. They are never forced to provide rational explanations. Debate is how learn, grow and sometimes change. Debate is healthy. But in order for it to really mean anything, you have to get involved! It’s not about walking away saying “I won!” or “I showed them!”, it’s about saying that people are responsible for what they say.

I-challenge-you-to-a-duelThis is my challenge to everyone – At least on time this week when you see something you don’t agree with, open a dialogue with that person. Find out how they reached their conclusions and explain the how and why of yours. Show the other side of the coin! Civil debate is healthy. If it devolves into name calling, you can always walk away, but at least others can see that someone stood up and tried to make sense of a situation. Maybe they pick up where you left off.

Use your words and speak up for what you believe in, because trust me, no one is lining up to speak for you that really has your best interests at heart.