Pink Politics is a learning lifestyle company focused on creating a community of progressive “Pinks” through getting personal about politics. We believe with Pinks in politics there is power for real change. I have been focusing on writing and organizational skills on developing this new blog. You can visit us at pinkpoliticsllc.com
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month: This year’s National Sexual Violence Resource Center campaign theme is “Engaging New Voices.” We definitely need more voices to fight President Trump’s budget. Trump proposes eliminating the Justice Department’s Office on Violence against Women. In the U.S.an estimated 1 in 4 women will suffer severe physical abuse in their life-time. About 3 women a day are murdered by someone they date or are married to. The highly publicized killing of a teacher and student yesterday (April 10, 2017) was by an estranged husband. The President’s proposed cuts would reduce services to at least 260,000 victims of sexual assault and violence annually (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-budget-domestic-abuse-victims_us_58cc2184e4b0ec9d29dbd9f7)
Melania Trump Thwarts Her Husband’s “Made in America” Campaign: Mrs. Trump’s official portrait was released last Monday (April 2, 2017). Rather than showcasing an American designer, Mrs. Trump chose a tuxedo jacket from Italian luxury house Dolce & Gabbana. Mrs. Trump’s choice of European designers for a majority of her appearances seems in direct conflict President’s Trump’s emphasis on American manufacturing and inflammatory rhetoric on imposing limits on global trade. Mrs. Trump looked stunning in a blue outfit by American designer Ralph Lauren for Trump’s Inauguration. Obviously, if she chose to highlight American designers, she could be very influential in selling American haut couture around the world. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/03/politics/melania-trump-white-house-portrait/
Trump’s Tweet Wars Continue: Syria may have provided President Trump with the opportunity to demonstrate his willingness to take dramatic military action. His tweet action continues unabated. Since being elected he has waged tweet wars on the Australian Prime Minister, an acting Attorney General, seven predominately Muslim countries, a “so called” federal judge, Sweden, “Fake Tears”, Chuck Schumer, Saturday Night Live, the FBI, the un-American leakers in the intelligence community, the City of Paris, Mark Cuban, John McCain, millions of protestors, Lindsey Graham, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Cuomo, the University of California at Berkeley, ratings “disaster”, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nancy Pelosi, the “Traitor” Chelsea Manning, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Barack Obama, the City of Chicago, Susan Rice, among many, many others. While Trump pounds out alarming negative tweets about most people, he was call Bill O’Reilly a “good man”. This was at the very time Fox News is hemorrhaging from paying off sexual harassment law suits and loosing advertisers for O’Reilly’s inappropriate treatment of women. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-on-trump-the-destroyer-w473144
Ivanka Trump, A Goddess in China and Featured as Complicit on SNL in America: Ms. Trump’s daughter entertained Chinese President XI anad his wife when they visited Mar-a-lago April 6 and 7. Ivanka was called a “Goddess” on Chinese social media. This post was one of the most read, shared and discussed posts from NYTIMES.COM last week. Ms. Trump recently became a federal employee and top advisor to the President, without pay, formalizing a role she had been undertaking as a volunteer. Here in America, Saturday Night Live has spoofed Ms. Trump for her failure to defend women’s issues by naming a perfume “Complicit” for her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7o4oMKbStE
Confusion Reigns in Trump White House while Trump Poll Numbers are Lowest in History: Trump is still in his first 100 days of office, a honeymoon period for most presidents. But Trump’s approval rating of 40% (Real Clear Politics) are the lowest of any President in history at this stage in their Presidency. Karl Rove in a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal argues that White House staff needs more structure (https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-presidential-honeymoon-from-hell-1491434155) Recent leaks about infighting in the White House suggest that President Trump is unable to assemble a team with a coherent strategy. This weekend was particularly alarming when Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations stated on national TV that the U.S. was committed to removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria while Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, argued that defeating the Islamic State (ISIS) is the Trump priority. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, explained the two differing statements as essentially the same thing. Trump is committed to developing a national strategy which protects Americans. Spicer has to have the worst job in American, trying to make sense out of chaos. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/10/politics/syria-russia-iran-missile-strikes/
* Dr. Julia Robinson’s blog “My Private Idaho” will be going dark on May 1, 2017 for six months. Dr. Robinson has been asked to write for Pink Politics LLC . P squared was created to provide a social media platform for progressive women living in red states. Primary activities include a weekly blog synthesizing national news with links for people who don’t have time to keep abreast of changing stories or don’t have access to informational resources. Below the Radar is a second weekly blog on topical information that is not headline news. Commentary and inspirational blogs will also be published by various authors on the Pink Politics page along with a podcast. Starting May 1, 2017 look for Pink Politics on facebook and twitter @Pinkpoliticsusa. Pink Politics logo is P2 pink x politics = power
On August 10, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, an official apology to the Japanese people living in America for the creation of Japanese internment camps during World War II (WWII). Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Manzanar,California, one of the relocation camps, now a national historical site. At one time Manzanar, existing on windy plains on the eastern side of Sierra Nevada Mountains, was home to more than 10,000 Japanese families. Experiencing the camp through a movie with survivors telling their stories and participating in an interactive housing display was sobering.
Japanese internment camps were created by President Franklin Roosevelt through Executive Order 9066, signed February 19, 1942. This order led to the loss of property and incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese, two-thirds American citizens. The relocation camps existed from 1942 to 1945. Those sent to the camps were given several days notice before being evacuated to the camps. Each person was allowed to take only one suitcase. These Japanese, our fellow neighbors, had committed no crimes, had no trials or convictions and yet they had to leave their homes and businesses. These individuals were incarcerated simply because they were Japanese. The majority of those relocated to camps were identifiably Asian from the West coast.Some had sons who fought for the United States and lost their lives while their parents were interned. The Japanese camps were motivated by racial prejudice, war hysteria and failure of political leadership. Executive Order 9066, included Germans and Italians but very few of these groups were ever relocated because their ethnicity is not as visible and because racism in America has long roots.
The internment camps were surrounded by barb wire, had guard towers and armed guards to keep the Japanese separate. The living quarters were drafty barracks. Group showers and latrines made privacy impossible. Despite the desperate conditions, the Japanese in Manzanar remained committed to America. No Japanese in a camp was ever accused of conspiracy.
Manzanar provides an instructive lesson on America’s journey from right to wrong in the area of civil rights. When we feel threatened as a people, we can truly become ugly Americans. The hope of the Japanese who worked to pass the Civil Liberities Act of 1988 was to provide an apology to the Japanese American children who experienced the camps and to try to ensure that public policy mistakes like Executive Order 9066 are never repeated.
President Trump has opened his administration with a flourish of his pen and a flurry of Executive Orders. Manzanar is a vivid reminder that Executive Orders have the ability to dramatically change lives with a pen stroke. The Japanese internment camps were created by a Democratic President. Public policy mistakes are not the providence of one party or the other. Democracy demands transparency and public scrutiny. One person should not be able to take away the civil rights of an entire group of people through administrative fiat.
“A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.” Thomas Jefferson
“The Intuitive Mind Is a Sacred Gift and the Rational Mind Is a Faithful Servant” Einstein
Intuition is the art of knowing without rational facts. Implied in the definition is that what you know is correct despite the facts you have before you. For example, you meet someone and you immediately know that they are a good person you can trust. Later over the years, you find out this assessment is true based on repeated interactions with this individual. Recent research, published in Live Science, May 2016 found that people do use intuition to make faster, more confident, and more accurate decisions. In other words that feeling in your “gut” is worth listening to. Intuition is a perception that happens in the present, is very fast but this momentary perception can be swept away by cognitive analysis. Unfortunately, in our society based on technology and rational thought we often over-think our initial response
Women are attributed with having stronger intuition than men. Research has clearly shown that women are better at reading facial expressions than are men. Thus, women are more likely to pick up on the subtle emotional messages. Psychology Today suggests this skill is a direct outgrowth of women having lower social power than men. Women have had more opportunity to study their male supervisor’s response and learn to adapt in order to either stay in their positions or move ahead. Women’s special intuitive skills may in fact be a direct outgrowth of surviving in environments with “emotionally clueless men” (Riggio, 2011)
Einstein suggested that intuition is a gift. Some people have more intuitive talent than the rest of us. We call them clairvoyant, psychic, or prophetic. Many times we are fascinated by these individuals’ ability to see more than one can know based on natural vision or rational reasoning. At times in throughout history, this ability has frightened us. We have labeled women with special sight witches and burned them at the stake. We have looked askance at fortunetellers in carnivals believing their skill was probably trickery.
While our culture focuses on technical rational thinking, other cultures, such as India, embrace sensory experiences. Neither approach is right or wrong but by cultivating our intuitive side; we open up our creative mind. Creativity requires being willing to move forward embracing uncertainty and doubt. Some of the greatest discoveries in science come from scientists being willing to follow their intuition about how to solve a problem.
An individual’s intuitive skill can be improved. I took a class on intuition this week. The emphasis in the class was on opening yourself to listening to your intuitive sense. This personal awareness requires the ability to be still, breath in and out in a settled position, and listen to the air. The prophets in the Bible heard messages from God as whispers and in dreams. We can’t become attuned to our inner-most thoughts if we are constantly in front of screens, have ear plugs on and spend our lives multi-tasking.
Take the time this week to take advantage of your sacred gift of inner knowing. Spend some time by yourself but with yourself.
In 1988, “Gorillas in the Mist” was a big hit. I went with my boyfriend, now husband-Pete, and our friends, Teri and Jack. The movie is the true story of naturalist Dian Essey, protector of hunted gorillas. Blood is featured prominently throughout as gorillas are hunted for cash, gorgeous animals with huge hearts attacked for no reason, their hands sold as ash trays. Essey lived and died among these rare creatures. The last scene is especially bloody. Essey’s throat is cut. Viewers see the knife slice and blood dripping from her neck. Her assailant is never identified.
As we stood up to leave the movie, I realized I could not speak. Unbeknownst to me, the movie had touched some hidden well-spring releasing a huge surge of darkness that engulfed my senses. The only two bright spots were: 1. I knew something was terribly wrong and 2. I was surrounded by supportive friends. By morning I was able to talk but dark shadows were still hovering like ghostly cobwebs in the corners of my mind. I would not wish that catatonic blackness on anyone. I understand some people can’t surface on their own towards the glimmering light of reality as I had. Trapped in that blackness for a significant period of time, I would find the experience unnerving, unbearable and ultimately unlivable.
While the initial depressive episode was almost 30 years ago, I was reminded of the experience this week while visiting Wyoming friends in Colorado and Arizona. While I was in Colorado, my friends Teri and Jack drove down from Cheyenne to see me. We laughed about our many shared good times, i.e. Like when their cat, Tiger, stole the pork roast, bigger than he off the table as we were sitting done to eat. We don’t talk about how I couldn’t get to their wedding in Jackson even though Pete was the best man because I was struggling to keep the darkness at bay and wouldn’t travel for an extended period of time. I had lunch in Phoenix with my dear friend, Holly. During my mental health struggles I would camp out on Holly’s couch for the night to make sure I wasn’t alone. Excellent counseling, medication, funds to pay for it, and a strong support system of friends helped sweep my blackness away though I still watch for triggers, such as no depressing movies. I am always thankful for the light.
My friend Holly in Arizona
Jack and Teri in Wyoming
I have been planning a spring break trip to California for my daughter and her friends to tour universities the last couple of weeks. She wants to go because her brother and his friend made the trek with my sister and I six years ago. The circumstances of that trip were very different than the one we are contemplating now. When I planned the trip in 2011, I didn’t know the challenges we would face. The week we were to leave I received a call from the friend’s father. He told me his wife had killed herself the night before while the family was in the house. I told him we would the cancel the trip but he insisted we go.
Right after the mom’s funeral in a Boise Episcopal church filled with Juniors in high school, we started out to California. We wound our way down the California coast, touring Stanford, UCLA, Santa Clara and finishing in San Diego. We turned home driving through Yosemite. After the park, we drove straight home, a week away in La La land resulted in my son’s friend beginning to come to terms with his mother’s death. Understandably, he wanted to get home as quickly as possible. I was so pleased this December when my son’s friend, a first generation college graduate crossed the stage at University of Idaho. After such a tragic beginning to his college career, his success gave all of us in our family a spurt of joy.
Over the years, mental health issues have grabbed more of the spotlight. The Affordable Care Act(ACA/ObamaCare) now about to be repealed requires that insurers pay for behavioral health treatment at the same level as other medical services (the technical term is parity and insurance payment for mental health is a recent development). I am an example of the success of having access to resources. Unfortunately, treatment still carries a stigma unlike cancer and too many people can’t access appropriate care either because it isn’t available or they are unwilling to admit they need help. Idaho has one of the worst community mental health systems in the nation. Our suicide rate is too high. We can strive to do better as a state. As individuals, we can all be supportive friends to those in need. My friends kept me going when I was surrounded by darkness and despair. Thirty years later whenever I’m with them I bask in their light.
When I was 28 years old, I purchased my first home in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The home was tiny, 900 square feet on the main floor, 2 bedrooms, one bath with a one-bedroom, one bathroom, basement apartment complete with outside entrance of about 600 square feet. The purchase price was $27,000, a princely sum at the time for such a tiny piece of real estate. The big draw for me was the basement apartment. I had an executive job which required a lot of travel. I knew I could rent the apartment to airmen at Warren Air force Base. The house was only a couple blocks from the base. In fact over the years I owned Baby Blue, I only rented to two different young men. They obviously liked it and stayed for long periods of time. I never advertised to rent the apartment. I simply called the base and asked them to post a notice. The military personnel are great to rent to. If you have any problems with payment or destruction, you can simply follow-up with the base Commander. I never had any of these issues. Instead, I had a steady roommate, I never saw except to say, “Hello!” The agreement was that the renter would help with snow removal and lawn mowing for reduced rent.
I bought Baby Blue without consulting anyone. My boyfriend at the time broke up with me because he felt it didn’t show that I had a long term commitment to our relationship. My mother spent time explaining to me how difficult housing could be to sell and it could mean I was rooted to Cheyenne and/or singlehood forever. My boyfriend was probably right about my lack of commitment and mother was dead wrong. I think my mother’s real problem was that single women didn’t own homes of their own at that time. I purchased the house because my accountant had suggested it for tax reasons but more importantly I wanted pets. Identifying rentals that allowed pets was extremely difficult. I had a cat. As soon as I had my own place with a fenced yard, I got my first sheltie, Ginger Rogers.
When I bought the house, the outside was yellow and brown. The interior was carpeted in a magenta shag rug. There was flocked wall paper in the main bedroom that proved extremely difficult to remove with plaster beneath. Because the house was small, major changes were relatively inexpensive. I could do some of the work myself or beg others to do it for me. The first thing I did was paint the outside blue with white trim and added black shutters. The color and shutters remain to this day so that choice was obviously a good one. I’m sure it has been repainted many times in the 40 years since I first acquired Baby Blue.
I pulled out the shag carpet and reinstalled it in the basement apartment bedroom. I was lucky to discover beautiful hardwood floors throughout the upstairs. I talked my brother-in-law and a friend of his into installing a fancy European wood stove which remains to this day. I stripped all the wall-paper myself and did all the painting. I remember my mother came over one day only to discover me sitting on my bedroom floor, covered with plaster, glue in my hair, crying because the yellow I had picked out for the room was a horrible mustard shade instead of a bright sunshine yellow. My mom said, “Julie, it’s only paint. You can do it again.” Of course she was right. I learned a major lesson for all the future paint jobs I would do. Test small cans of paint first.
The kitchen was laid out strangely. One winter day when I was snowed in with a beau, he took a chain saw to the lower cabinets to make room for a rolling dishwasher. While the remodeling approach was impetuous and terrifying the end result was not too bad. It did, however, lead to another break-up. The next boyfriend helped me repaint the wood cabinets yellow and white and put on decorative wood molding and new hardware. Steadily moving through boyfriends, the final boyfriend helped me lay new flooring in the basement for the basement apartment. That boyfriend was a keeper. I’ve been married to him for 27 years. But then that is another rather long story. My husband and I dated for 10 years from when we met until we married.
I sold the house for about $40,000 (The County Assessor appraises it today at about $130,000). Obviously, I made a good return on my investment. I moved to another house in Cheyenne by myself. My next house was in a better neighborhood, all brick, larger, with an attached two car garage and a basement apartment. But I never loved it as much as Baby Blue.
I will always have fond memories of Baby Blue. Home ownership allowed me to assert my independence as a professional woman, provided a financial base from which to start investing since owning the home with a rental was cheaper than paying rent, allowed me to have pets who significantly improved my life and in the end allowed me to move up to the next home— following the American dream.
My husband and I talk about downsizing now. Our home is about 3200 square feet and worth a King’s ransom. If we ever downsize, it won’t be to get money out of the house because smaller houses closer to town in Boise are going for more than our house. Downsizing would be about the convenience of living small in walkable communities. Small homes are easier to maintain and not being in the suburbs appeals to my small town upbringing. For now, we are staying put until my daughter graduates from high school and my son finds a job (hopefully my son’s job hunt is successful before my daughter graduates next year).
I feel like I have one more adventure in me. I watch International House Hunters and fantasize about living in a tiny apartment with a balcony on the coast of Spain. Sometimes, I dream of buying an adobe house with land for a tiny horse in Sante Fe. For now Ashtree Way, folds its arms around all of us whenever we walk in the door. I have the same sense of being home as I did when I would walk into “Baby Blue.” Home truly is where your heart is.
I have an adopted Chinese daughter, Kayla who is now 17. We have been celebrating Chinese New Year sometime during the traditional two week celebration since she was a very small child to honor her heritage. Unlike New Years in the United States the Chinese date moves around from year to year. This year Chinese New Year began on January 27th (the eve of the lunar New Year) and ended with the Lantern Festival Feb. 11, 2017. We chose to celebrate with friends and family on Sunday, February 5th. We always go to a local Chinese restaurant, owned by a Chinese family to celebrate. This year we were greeted with a red menu with Chinese New Year specials in an almost empty dining room because of the Super Bowl. But because of our trip to Australia and the great skiing in McCall, we had to double book activities to get in our annual Chinese dinner (we saw the first half of the Super Bowl and recorded the last half. The two halves were like two different games).
Our dinner this year was both smaller and larger than we planned. Smaller because two of Kayla’s friends who usually join us along with my sister were sick. We had invited our neighbors down the street who have a Chinese daughter and have joined us before. Sadly,their family was smaller this year because the husband/dad, a big man with a big personality to match had died two weeks before. Our party was larger because our neighbors added in a third family with a Chinese daughter who we had not met before. Our final group included three beautiful Chinese girls, all adopted from orphanages as infants, and their families for a total of nine.
I brought along red envelopes with money for the girls. Red envelopes filled with fresh new bills are the traditional gift during the Chinese New Year celebrations. A red envelope bestows happiness, blessings and wishes for another safe and peaceful year. As we enter February, I have high hopes that we will have happiness and peace this year despite national divisions. I would be remiss not to give a “Shout out” to the 9th Circuit Justices for recognizing how important it is to allow people from far away to travel to this country when appropriately screened and carrying approved documents–a judicial blessing as we begin the New Year.
One-fifth of the world’s populations celebrate Chinese New Year. More than 200 million Mainland Chinese travellong distances for these holidays. Billions of red envelopes are exchanged. While our daughter and the other two Chinese girls celebrating with us that night are a minority in Idaho, Chinese make up the largest ethnic group in the world. Having a Chinese daughter and having visited China, has helped me understand that there are simply not enough Americans, no matter how well armed to take on the majority of the world alone. Globalization requires a commitment to understanding other cultures and learning to value the traditions of countries along with our own.
This year, the two week Chinese News Years celebration welcomed in the year of the Rooster. The Chinese zodiac has 12 animals representing different years. The year in which you were born is your zodiac animal. Kayla is a rabbit. Rabbits are frank, straightforward, ambitious, hard-working, but slightly reserved. Rabbits tend to be gentle, quiet, elegant, and alert; quick, skillful, kind, and patient; and particularly responsible. Female rabbits are pretty and pure of heart. These words definitely describe my girl.
My husband and son are dogs. Dogs are loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent. Due to having a strong sense of loyalty and sincerity, dogs will do everything for the person who they think is most important. These adjectives describe both my husband and son well.
My husband is a Fire Dog making him particularly intelligent, hardworking, and sincere. Anyone who knows, my husband knows these adjectives describe him to a “t”. At 70, he still gets up every morning at 6, heads out the door by 7 and returns home around 7 from the hospital where as a palliative care physician he has spent the day treating people who are dying or suffering from severe chronic pain. He doesn’t need to work but his work is his passion and defines who he is.
My son is a Wood Dog, sincere, reliable, considerate, understanding, and patient. My daughter would say these terms are a bunch of hooey when used to describe her brother. But one can always hope as he moves into the world of work he will demonstrate his “ good dog” qualities.
I am a tiger. People who know me would say the animal is a great characterization of me. I am known to be fierce, ambitious (before I retired) and sometimes off-putting with my strong opinions. Tigers are enthusiastic, brave, competitive, unpredictable, and self-confident. They are very charming and well-liked by others (some people who know me might not find me to be sooo charming). But tigers can also be impetuous, irritable, and stubborn. Believe me, my husband would say he has experienced the angry, impetuous tiger more than once in the 27 years we’ve been married.
At our house, we have four dogs, two cats, a rabbit and a tiger, quite an eclectic mix. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The Koziseks found blessings and joy in 2016 and I hope those gifts will extend into 2017. As I age, I realize how fragile life is and how we must celebrate together when we can.