Former Presidents Gather for One America Appeal Because Trump Just Can’t Even with Hurricane Victims Anymore

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Last night, five former U.S. Presidents joined together in the One America Appeal to raise funds for the victims of hurricane-devastated cities while President Trump appeared via video message, proudly reading his fifth-grade level book report. Though it was clear that certain words slowed down the Commander-in-Chief, he did not make any obvious mistakes in pronunciation and delivered the speech at an agreeable pace. At the very least, Mr. Trump made a tremendous 10 out of 10 effort.

Throughout the evening, the grown-ups fundraised for a humanitarian crisis affecting residents in multiple states and Puerto Rico–a territory of the United States, despite Donald Trump’s insistence that it is a sovereign nation. We assure you, it is not.

One by one, each former president spoke to the crowd about One America Appeal, and how we, as a nation, had the obligation to come together as a whole to support and champion our fellow neighbors. And one by one, each former president received applause from the crowd. We can only imagine how miffed Donny was when Obama received the most enthusiastic (read: raucous) round of applause; other ex-prezzies looked on in jealousy and admiration when the Father of the Nation spoke.

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It was reminiscent of high school graduation when the prom king/quarterback crossed the stage. Sure, Kevin the valedictorian heard a murmur of applause and cheering, mostly from his parents seated in the upper-hand corner of the local civic center, but the QB? Nuts. The only difference: Nobody cares about the QB anymore now that high school is decades in the past and he’s probably balding. But everybody still loves Obama.

Other things of note: We’re pretty sure One America Appeal was the first and only time a bunch of East Coast liberal elites have ever attended a country music concert. Lady Gaga also performed and wore a white suit which was, like, super suffragette of her. George H.W. Bush is getting wayyy up there–so up there, in fact, we’re not even sure if he knew where he was. Former First Lady Laura Bush (and former Democrat) still looks like she feels guilty about marrying a Republican. And mostly, thanks to all the “we really needed this” tweets, we now know just how badly the entire country needs a world-class therapist who specializes in PTED: Post Traumatic Election Disorder.

Editor’s Note: You should probably not be a heartless b*tch, so go donate some coin to #OneAmericaAppeal

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To Run or Not to Run: Cynthia Nixon for New York Governor

[sg_popup id=”1″ event=”onload”][/sg_popup]When Cynthia Nixon appeared on The Today Show a few days ago to discuss her latest film, The Only Living Boy in New York, New Yorkers found out that there may be a new name on the gubernatorial ticket in 2018.

Cynthia Nixon, known for both her contributions to television, movies, and stage, and for her work for social activism, has repeatedly denied rumors that she is thinking of running against Governor Andrew Cuomo next year, as is routinely done this far in advance, but we at the Warblr hope she is serious about it, and here are some reasons why.

A True New York Gem

As a New York native and a mother of three, Nixon has experienced the New York public school system as both a student and a mother, and she is well aware of the inequality in funding and opportunities to students in lower income schools.

“We’ve got a real problem on our hands in New York state. We are 49th in terms of equitable funding—that means there’s one state that’s worse than us, and that’s Illinois,” she said.

“Governor Cuomo likes to say we spend more per pupil than any other state, and that is actually true, but the only reason that’s true is because we spend so much on the kids in our wealthiest districts. . . . Between our 100 richest schools and our 100 poorest schools, there’s a $10,000 gap on what we spend per pupil.”

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Cynthia Nixon as LGBTQ Activist

Cynthia Nixon is an activist for the LGBTQ Community, which she joined in the late 2000’s when she became romantically involved with her now wife, Christine Marinoni, an education reformer.

In February, she spoke outside of a Stonewall Inn rally: “As LGBT people, we know how important coming out is, but I would argue that our coming out has never been more important than it is right now,” she said. “We need to come out not just as queer, but as people who know all too well what it feels like to be put in a box that says ‘other,’ less than, easy target if you’re looking for someone to bully, harass, discriminate against, demonize, beat up, even kill.”

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A Governor for Real Healthcare Reform

As a mother, a career woman, and a breast cancer survivor, Cynthia Nixon is a fighter for women’s issues, specifically those in healthcare.

“Motherhood is a primary part of my life, which is precisely the reason I fight for reproductive rights. That’s why I also fight for free birth control and comprehensive sex ed.”

Overall, Nixon has been an active participant in New York’s political universe for years, serving on an advisory board for New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, speaking at rallies across the city, and attending fundraising events for various causes.

And let’s be honest here, out of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, which would you want to see in the Governor’s seat?

Maduro v. the People: WTF is Happening in Venezuela

It is no secret that the country of Venezuela is in a crisis. With the nation divided into two groups with vastly different agendas, it has proven to be the hate towards President Nicolás Maduro that has seemingly brought the population back together.

A Nation (no longer) Divided

Venezuela Maduro

The Chavistas is the name for the group of Venezuelan citizens who support the United Socialist Party (or PSUV). The Chavistas always supported candidates from Maduro’s side, particularly his predecessor Hugo Chavez. However, Maduro’s popularity has plummeted recently, and even his avid supporters in the PSUV have taken a stand.

The lack of popularity for Maduro stems in large part from the management of Venezuela’s rich oil fields. Hugo Chavez was and is still praised for his presidency; he used money from oil to raise Venezuela’s poverty line and reduce inequality in a struggling nation. Since Maduro took office, however, oil exports have fallen. For a country that relies so heavily on the success of the oil trade, this has hampered Maduro’s presidency considerably. Oil in Venezuela accounts for roughly 95% of the country’s export revenues and had funded multiple government programs, some of which were responsible for providing millions of Venezuelans with homes.

Fuel to the Fire

As if the failure to manage Venezuelan oil wasn’t enough, tensions only became worse between the citizens and government. The Supreme Court announced in March that it would be taking over the opposition-controlled National Assembly. The Court tried to argue that the Assembly was in contempt from previous rulings; however, even after the Court ultimately overturned the ruling, the clearly dwindling Separation of Powers between opposition and government was not going to be ignored. Distrust only grew.

The anti-government protesters had their demands, but two of these held clearer importance.  The first of these was to remove the Supreme Court justices who made the March 29 ruling to take over the National Assembly. The second was to push for general elections in 2017. Protests became a daily routine, and the Venezuelan people made their demands clear.

Maduro Strikes Again

Nicholas Maduro

Maduro felt a significant move was necessary. He was unwilling to grant early elections and instead decided to create a constituent assembly. Maduro felt that thepeople were trying to illegally overthrow his government, and felt that he needed to draft a new constitution that would “neutralize the opposition.”

Nothing good can come out of the constituent assembly for the opposition. It would prove to delay general elections even longer–further weakening the National Assembly–and continue to tighten the circle of the people that were calling the shots in Maduro’s government.

The Controversial Vote

Voting began Sunday on the new constituent assembly, the 545-person group that would have the power to “rewrite the constitution, dissolve state institutions, [and] bring peace to the struggling country,” according to NBC News. With the beginning of the vote also began a ban on anti-government protests until today; however, this fueled the fire even further.

Violence broke out in the capital city of Caracas between the opposition and the police. This resulted in the deaths of dozens, as well as multiple explosions that severely injured a group of police officers. The opposition essentially abandoned the vote, blockading streets and leaving a mere 7% of the population with tallied votes.

The U.S. State Department spoke out after the attacks, condemning the election. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeted out that the election was a “sham” and was just one step closer to a dictatorship.

Further Unraveling

It was confirmed last night that two Venezuelan opposition leaders have been arrested. Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma were re-arrested and taken to Ramo Verde military jail in Miranda, Venezuela. The two were under house arrest for violence during protests back in 2014, and the Supreme Court reported that they received intel that they were trying to leave the country. In a government so corrupt, the intelligence has every possibility of being bogus. The international condemnation of the arrests was inevitable. Online footage shows López taken from his home by authorities.

Although López and Ledezma played key roles in the 2014 protests, their roles were much less significant in Sunday’s protests. Maduro is in a very difficult position. The opposition is still absorbing the blow of losing two leaders for their cause. It will be very interesting to see the latest updates coming out of Venezuela.

Two Women Republican Senators Persisted Against “Skinny Repeal”

The Heroines of the Senate

“Nevertheless she persisted” persists on with Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) standing their ground while facing threats from their male colleagues. On Friday morning, the senate voted on the Health Care Freedom Act, a.k.a. the “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act. The floor was rocked and shocked when Senator John McCain voted “no” against the act. Though his vote was surprising and newsworthy, especially after flying in post-brain tumor diagnosis, his vote would not have mattered without the two women who remained loyal to their contingencies.

The two women stuck true to their votes, despite men in their own party and the President openly threatening them. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) told MSNBC that “somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass.” For those who do not speak this vulgar language, “snatch a knot” means “to hit.” Likewise, Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas said if they were men he’d challenge them “Aaron Burr style.” And like many of Farenthold’s archaic beliefs, it may come as a shock to him that it’s 2017 and people don’t civilly duel with firearms anymore.

Both women said they could not support any bill that would leave millions of people without health insurance. Also, they opposed provisions to defund Planned Parenthood. In an administration full of men that insists on creating laws over female bodies, it’s no shock the women, though in the majority party, are not behind these bills.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a deeply red state, opposed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act simply because Alaska benefits greatly from Obamacare insurance. A majority of the state, a state with some of the highest health care prices, would be left uninsured and in dire danger. And still, despite receiving a call from Secretary Ryan Zinke saying her vote “put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy” (that sounds threatening), she persisted. For this, Murkowski received a personalized tweet from Donald Trump.

In response, Sen. Murkowski said, “My vote yesterday was from my heart for the people that I represent. And I’m gonna continue working hard for Alaskans and just focus on that.”

Ironically, Trump showed his appreciation for Sen. McCain a few days earlier:

Yes, maybe now, we CAN deliver great health care to all Americans!

Still, McCain is labeled the hero of the day, and indeed, his vote was pivotal. Though we love him for riding in on his white horse and shining knight armor, let’s not overlook the Queens. The brave women senators who have kept in touch with the people from the start. Cheers, Senators Murkowski and Collins, persist!

Put These Women in the Governor’s Seat in 2018

In a time where the President of the United States thinks and acts as if he can do anything he pleases, the Governor’s office has become more important than ever, and this year no less than 7 women are running. Considering reproductive rights are under attack, electing them to office has never been more crucial. Today, a woman’s right to have an abortion is decided by each state, rather than by the U.S. government.

Here are the stats

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1977: Women taking part in a demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women. (Photo by Peter Keegan/Keystone/Getty Images)

21 states provide varying access to abortions
3 states provide access with restrictions
26 states either do not provide or make it almost impossible for a woman or couple to get an abortion.

Here is another stat to think about

women in politics

Out of fifty states and five U.S. territories, only six have governors that are women. So how is it democratic, exactly, that the most important woman’s issue is decided by mostly men?

In 2018, two women will be up for re-election, Kate Brown (OR) and Gina Raimondo (RI), and five new faces will be running, Stacey Abrams (GA), Gwen Graham (FL), Cary Kennedy (CO), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), and Gretchen Whitmer (MI).

Here’s why it is important that we elect them

women politics

President Trump, whose views we have all come to know and cringe at, has flip-flopped on almost every major issue, leaving the rest of us nervous and guarded against his ever-changing whims, but one thing we can count on from the Trump/Pence White House is that women’s rights are under attack.

The Trump/Pence ticket ran on a passionate pro-life platform, championing the view that no woman has the right to kill an unborn baby.

Donald Trump was pro-choice around the same time that he was a registered Democrat cheering for Hillary Clinton, but when the 2016 election came up he sang a very different tune.

Mike Pence, however, has been pro-life for his entire political career, even signing a measure into Indiana law last March that required aborted or miscarried fetuses to be buried or cremated, as if they were living, breathing, fully-formed beings.

Talk about cruel and unusual.

The Trump/Pence White House also has a personal vendetta against Planned Parenthood, an organization that does so much more for women than provide abortions (a service which comprises only 3% of their work). But let us all ignore that glaring fact for a moment.

To kick it up a notch, President Trump is dedicated, not only to defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they offer abortions to women, but to withholding U.S. funds to clinics around the world if they even whisper the word abortion.

Talk about inhumane. Thousands of women die every day from complications during childbirth and from botched (illegal) abortions, especially in developing countries.

Which brings us to the next round of gubernatorial elections in 2018.

One thing we can be thankful for is that President Trump is all for states’ rights, which means we absolutely have to elect people who will protect us from harmful trends coming out of Washington D.C.

We have a responsibility to force change when change is necessary, and that force comes down to one thing: the vote.

We saw last November what happens when people stay home instead of voting, so please,

Rock the vote for reproductive rights!

To learn more about abortion laws in your state, please visit Pro Choice America.

Sen. Harris Calls for Reform on Policies that Hurt Incarcerated Women

On Tuesday, Senator Kamala D. Harris (CA) delivered a speech to the Justice Action Network’s “Women Unshackled” Conference, which was geared towards the substantial increase in the number of incarcerated women here in the United States. Most forward in her remarks was her emphasis on prevention and humane treatment for women before, during, and after their periods of service.

Cosponsored with Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Dick Durbin, The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act strives to address some of the issues discussed here, namely, that we should be trying to give people the tools they need to stay out of prison. It also addresses the need to take care of and rehabilitate the women who do end up in prison.

“Law enforcement has such a profound and direct impact on the most vulnerable among us,” says Harris. “It has a responsibility, then, to be a voice for the most vulnerable and voiceless. And in the process of giving safety, there is also a responsibility to give dignity.”

To begin, here are the numbers she cited:

  • 215,000 women are sitting in prisons and jails in the United States today.
  • The fastest growing group of incarcerated persons in the U.S. is women.
  • Nearly one-third of all female prisoners in the world are prisoners in the U.S.

That’s crazy. And a clear sign that, as Senator Harris says, we don’t need to be harder on crime, we need to be smarter.

Education, mental health services, and community building are the first of many options that Senator Harris spoke of yesterday.

During her time as DA in San Francisco, Harris noticed that there was a direct correlation between education and one’s likelihood of committing a crime.

“Out of twenty of our homicide victims who were under the age of twenty-five, 94% of them were high school dropouts.”

She continues.

“Eight out of ten women in the criminal justice system, the data tells us, have experienced some level of abuse. A large number have experienced abuse at the hands of someone who was in a position of trust, taking the form of child sexual abuse. A lot have faced abuse then and then later in life around domestic violence.”

And many turn to self medicating as an alternative to seeking professional help, making themselves susceptible to the hands of predators.

It is important for law enforcement to acknowledge harmful patterns and to introduce means of breaking these patterns, rather than supporting them with indifference.

And then there’s the downright questionable. 

Adverse conditions limit the ability of incarcerated women to live healthy lives and to transition back into society after they have served their time. Instead of learning valuable skills and treating past trauma, they learn shame, violence, and further trauma.

Many of the U.S. facilities do not provide basic hygiene or reproductive health, making it difficult for these women to stay healthy and positive.

Incarcerated women are subject to the possibility of encountering sexual violence by male guards who supervise them in the bathroom or in the shower.

Pregnant women in prisons or jails are often shackled, and in some states, they are to remain shackled even while giving birth.

“These are human costs to this system,” Senator Harris reminds us.

“But the impact does not stop there. An incarcerated woman means that a family will be impacted. And its effects can be generational. What impacts a mother, impacts a child.”

Nearly 80% of incarcerated women are mothers. Most, 65%, have children who are under 18 years old.

It affects how the children will grow up in more ways than one. Removing a parent not only affects the stasis of a home on a personal level, but it drastically affects the economics of the family, and possibly their ability even to travel to see their family member, which makes the whole thing that much worse.

“Half of the incarcerated women in our country are more than 100 miles away from their families. Let’s talk about what that means in terms of the ability to maintain the relationships with visitation and be clear about this, these prisons aren’t on the Acela line. They’re not on a commuter line, it’s not easy to get there.”

And then there’s the other money issue.

  • It costs tax payers an average of $33,000 a year to house and support one prisoner.
  • In the state of California, it costs about $75,000 a year.
  • Drug treatment on average is about $4,700
  • And $10,000 for community mental health services.

It just makes sense. Cut the waste, and take care of seemingly small issues before they become bigger issues.

Prevention, redemption, both possible.

“At the heart of that point is this. We will all make a mistake, and for some of us that mistake will rise to the level of being a crime,” says Harris. “And yes, there must be accountability and consequence. But is it not the sign of a civil society that we allow people the space and the ability and the resources to earn their way back?”

Is it not the sign of a civil society to believe in second chances, with justice and liberty for all?