Friday, July 14, 2017

Leisa's 2017 Haiti Journal #1 -- "Norm's Place"

Dear Friends,

Emergency medical services in Folsom, CA are 3,180 miles away from the seaside village of Labadee, Haiti that sheltered me at Norm’s Place a few years ago, but it may as well be light years away. The contrast in care came crashing into real life this week as we tended Grandma Toby during her emergency surgery in Folsom.
            I told Grandma my Labadee story, in part to distract her from her pain and in part to remind myself of the 50+ Haiti boxes Luke just dragged up from storage today, the first step to packing over 1,000 lbs. of medical, sports and school supplies that our Children’s Hope 2017 team will hand-carry into Haiti later this month.
            I started slowly earning her attention as more details came flooding back. “Oh, yes, ‘Norm’s Place’ – that’s the place that Norm runs up in Labadee. He’s about your age, Grandma, an American, who once in Haiti fell in love with it and with a woman there. So, he just stayed.”
            Her interest grew as I described Norm. And though I was on a daybed next to hers, our air-conditioned hospital room faded as I told her about Labadee that night. Over my shoulder, she had a12-foot picture window view of oak woodlands from her $40,000 hospital bed, but now, it was as if she were watching me in Labadee, Haiti that night.
            Though I had been to Haiti previously doing human rights work, that night was the first time I was given the ok to get into the Caribbean water “free of floaters” (here they don’t have to push raw sewage directly into the sea).
            I jumped at the chance, literally. Leaving my clothes in the boat we “borrowed” to get to the village, I dove off the back of the dingy. The nearly midnight moon danced on the cove’s gentle waves, washing the salt and sweat and grime of the day to the bottom of the sea. Glorious, warm water…never had a swim felt so free. For a few moments, the squalor of nearby Shada slum faded. It was just me and the moon.
            A bit sheepishly, I made my way up the village path to Norm’s Place. What would he think of me and my long wet hair dripping all over his place?
            “I just couldn’t resist,” I offered.
            “Now that’s my kind of girl,” he said, handing me a shot of rum and a tiny lĂ©mon (lime).  We toasted.
            My friends, Maco and Sasha found their way to their rooms while Norm and I chatted. He asked about my medical bag and my picture based book, Where Women Have No Doctor. As a sociologist I have no medical training, but, bit by bit, (or tipa tipa), I have evolved into a deliverer of such supplies, I explained on our second shot of rum.
            Just then, Norm’s wife escorted some villagers begging transport for a young relative into the room.  The girl kept her eyes downcast, and except for her furtive hand resting on her belly, I would not have known she was in labor. The village’s Cuban doctor was away and the midwife felt she couldn’t handle this life-threatening delivery...           

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Voting Processes

California Voter’s Choice Act: Call for Applicants for Two Advisory Committees

Sacramento, CA – In 2016, the State of California passed Senate Bill 450, allowing select counties to conduct elections by vote-by-mail ballot while also providing regional Vote Centers to be open 10 days prior to Election Day through close of voting on Election Day. On June 6, 2017 the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved this new voting model which will provide the most voting options for Sacramento County voters, making voting more convenient and accessible. With this new process, all voters will receive a ballot in the mail 29 days before Election Day. Voters may mail back the ballot, or return it in the secure envelope to one of over 50 drop-off locations. Or, a person may vote at Vote Centers in Sacramento County over the 11 days prior to and including Election Day. To enhance accessibility, Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Department is seeking volunteer committee members to serve on the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) and the Language Accessibility Advisory Committee (LAAC).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Donald Trump Jr. Is One of the Russian Connections

All along, the truth was right there in the emails — Donald Trump Jr.’s emails, that is, which he releasedpublicly on Twitter Tuesday morning after learning that The New York Times was about to publish their contents.

In language so blunt and obvious it would make a Hollywood screenwriter blush, the emails confirm what the president, his son and others have denied repeatedly for more than a year: that top members of the Trump campaign met with representatives of the Russian government in the expectation of help in damaging Hillary Clinton and getting Donald Trump elected.

On June 3, 2016, the younger Mr. Trump received an email from Rob Goldstone, a former British tabloid reporter and music publicist, telling him that a Russian government lawyer had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”

Mr. Goldstone went on, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

At this point, any halfway competent and ethical campaign would have contacted the F.B.I. That’s what the Gore campaign did in 2000 when it mysteriously received confidential debate materials belonging to the Bush campaign.

In President Trump’s world, ethics is for suckers. His son wrote back to Mr. Goldstone, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer” — when he probably assumed it would do the most damage.

Choosing Democracy: Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of the ...

Choosing Democracy: Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of the ...: Bill Fletcher

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tell No Lies

Defense of democracy is necessary.

On every one of his first 40 days in office, Trump made false statements in public. They ranged from assertions that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, causing him to lose the popular vote, to claiming that the United States has a $17 billion trade deficit with Canada. (We had an $8.1 billion dollar trade surplus with Canada in 2016.)

The New York Times has compiled a list of his lies and provided fact checking sources.

This is a great service to the public.  I encourage you to read the list.
I, along with the Moyers Report think the Times should receive a Pulitzer Prize for this public service.