What in the World is Going on in Dubai?

 A Tale of Princesses, Fabulous Wealth And Unimaginable Human Rights Violations

Princess Haya of Jordan, for many, is a feminist icon. She, along with her sister-in-law Queen Rania of Jordan, and her step-mother, Queen Noor of Jordan, is often referred to as one of “the Supermodel Queens of the Middle East.” The Princess’ 2004 marriage to the ruler of Dubai has been portrayed to the public as a modern-day fairy tale-until now. On August 4th, 2019, the Princess appeared in court requesting a “forced marriage protection order,” presumably on behalf of her daughter, and a “non-molestation order,” on behalf of herself. (1) The following day, news sources around the world proclaimed that Princess Haya and her children had barely escaped from Dubai with their lives, and now remain in hiding, seeking legal protection from the British government.

Born to King Hussein and Queen Alia of Jordan in 1974, Princess Haya has lived in the royal spotlight since the day of her birth. Following the death of her mother in a tragic helicopter crash, the American-born Queen Noor of Jordan stepped in and continued raising the young girl. Princess Haya ultimately grew into an Oxford-educated, horse-riding champion, participating in equestrian events around the world. As a result, she signified the very best of Islam, and how the women of this religion can still be independent, intelligent, successful and even beautiful.

In 2004, at the age of twenty-nine, Princess Haya traveled to Dubai, as a special guest of its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Al Rashid Al Maktum. Shortly thereafter, the pair celebrated their marriage in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Following the celebration, the world-wide press revealed the already existing marriage of Al-Maktoum to his first cousin. In response to this apparent criticism, Princess Haya stated that at the time of her mother’s marriage to King Hussein of Jordan, he had actually been married to his first wife, the British born Princess Muna. As a result, Princess Haya indicated that she felt quite comfortable being a second wife. The pictures of their Highnesses at Royal Ascot appeared to echo this sentiment, as they moved easily in the rarified air of fancy hats, designer dresses and smiling faces.

Eventually, the cracks started to show in the perfect facade of the Al Maktum family. Problems appeared to begin in March 2018, when one of Al Maktum’s daughters, Latifa, released a video in which she described her torment and the torment of her sister, Shamsa, at the hands of their “ego” driven father. (2) Latifa discusses in the video her intentions of escaping, and that if people are watching the video, she has likely been captured and perhaps even murdered. (2) Shortly thereafter, reports came in that Latifa had indeed attempted to escape, and been violently apprehended by armed guards in India. (3) The following December, the former President of Ireland and former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, traveled to Dubai and visited with Latifa. Following the meeting, she indicated the Latifa did not appear to be in any danger but also described her as a “troubled young woman.” (4) Just as the dust appeared to be settling on this issue, reports emerged in August that Princess Haya, herself, had fled Dubai with her children, barely escaping with her life. Shortly thereafter she appeared in court, and now is in hiding.

Most troubling of all appears to be the online smear campaign being launched against Princess Haya. Some online sources claim Princess Haya simply left Al Maktoum for another man, while others claim he actually caught her in bed with a bodyguard. (5) From there, the articles degrade, with remote websites asserting Princess Haya has been a woman “of extreme liberty” since her youth, who is “perverted” and “on drugs.” (6) Some even accuse her stepmother, Queen Noor, of drugging her since childhood. (7) Such claims are completely unsubstantiated. On January 5th, 2019, Princess Haya publicly stated she would cease defending her husband and leave if she found evidence of truth in Latifa’s story of abuse. (7) Shortly thereafter, Princess Haya ceased appearing in public, and all of her social media accounts fell dormant. With her silence and subsequent estrangement from her husband, Princess Haya essentially confirmed the allegations of her step-daughter, Latifa.

The reality is that Dubai is a country wrought with human rights violations. It’s fantastic wealth has not advanced beyond a culture that is still, in many ways, stuck in the Stone Ages. The fact that Princess Haya’s marriage to Al Maktum broke down should serve as a wake up to us all that the world is not always a friendly place for women, and to many, we are still property, or worse, even slaves. Furthermore, all royal marriages are not fairytales, even if that initially appears to be the case. The court case of Princess Haya versus Al Maktoum promises to lay bare the truths of life in Dubai, in full detail. Only time will tell how deeply the corruption runs and how many people have been hurt.

  1. https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/30/europe/princess-haya-dubai-forced-marriage-protection-gbr-intl/index.html
  2. https://www.google.com/search?q=video+of+sheikha+latifa&oq=video+of+latif&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l3.6853j0j4&client=ms-android-verizon&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/mar/05/dubai-princess-latifa-escape-uae-tiina-jauhiainen-one-year-on
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-46697867
  5. https://www.weeklyblitz.net/news/princess-haya-asks-her-lover-to-wait-few-more-days-for-a-life-long-happiness/
  6. https://www.weeklyblitz.net/news/since-childhood-princess-haya-and-her-brother-were-drugged-by-their-stepmother/
  7. https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/07/10/the-fairy-tale-is-over-for-dubais-royal-family/

Why Are Females in Professional Soccer Paid Less Than Their Male Counterparts?

After a great deal of research into this issue, here is the bottom line.

Under the U.S soccer team’s new collective bargaining agreement, the members of the women’s team are paid a guaranteed salary of $100,000 per player. This salary is the same, whether they win or lose, play or don’t play. In contrast, their male counterparts are paid $5,000 per game played, whether they win or lose. However, they must play. If they don’t play, they don’t get paid. For example, if both teams lost every game in a season (there are twenty games), and every male player played every game (this is not required for the females), the players would make identical amounts-$100,000 a season. In contrast to the women, the men are eligible for bonuses paid based on how many games they played, and how many games they won. Overall, this leads to a pay discrepancy of about 11% in favor of the men. However, the greater the risk, the greater the reward. In essence, the women have traded the opportunity to make 11% more, for the guarantee of being paid $100,000. Is this such a bad trade-off?

Another aspect of the pay discrepancy between male and female players is caused by the prize money awarded by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) for a team winning the World Cup. For the 2018 Men’s World Cup, FIFA awarded $400 million in prize money to the winner, compared to the Women’s World Cup, where FIFA awarded $30 million in prize money to the winner. Why is the difference so incredibly vast? At this point in time, there are more men’s leagues paying into FIFA, than women’s leagues. As a result, the prize money available is subsequently unbalanced between the genders.

Another part of the pay discrepancy exists because of how the games are watched. YouTube broadcasts the National Women’s Soccer League, while the major TV networks broadcast men’s Major League Soccer in a multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement. This difference is subsequently reflected in the bonuses paid to the players.

The bottom line is, U.S. women make less than U.S. men in competitive soccer, because

  1. Women make a guaranteed salary, where men are only paid via bonuses.
  2. FIFA has greater prize money for the men’s World Cup than the Women’s World Cup, based on money that funnels into them from soccer clubs around the world. At this time, there are more male soccer clubs than female soccer clubs paying into FIFA.
  3. Multi-million dollar contracts on a broadcast TV present the opportunity for greater male player bonuses. Similar national broadcast agreements have not been negotiated for the women’s team.

Regardless of the success of the women’s team, the female players will not be eligible for more money unless they waive their guaranteed salaries, and begin being paid via bonuses like their male counterparts. Additionally, more women’s teams around the world need to become paying members of FIFA, at least approaching the level of memberships experienced by male teams. Furthermore, the business people promoting the women’s games must negotiate similar agreements to the men’s teams with broadcast television. Until these factors are changed, the pay gap will most certainly continue and even possibly worsen. Any criticism of the situation that is not focused on these key issues is merely displaying lip-service, and not actually focused on viable solutions.

An American Duchess, the Fourth of July, and Living Between Two Realms

HRH Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, represents an individual existing between two realms. Becoming a member of the British royal family is essentially one of the most British things a person can do. On the other hand, being born in America is also, arguably, one of the most American things a person can do. This then begs the question-what should an American member of the British royal family do when the Fourth of July appears on the calendar? Well, the Duchess of Sussex celebrated July 4th by supporting her American friend, Serena Williams, at Wimbledon. To many, this seemed an entirely appropriate way to spend this most American day, as Her Royal Highness straddles life as both a “former colonist” and a royal.

Like many people across the United States, Her Royal Highness spent the Fourth of July holiday among friends. Lindsey Roth and Genevieve Hills, both friends of the Duchess from Northwestern University, sat in the Royal box at Wimbledon beside her. Some have speculated that the arrival of her close friends actually serves a dual purpose-that is, spending the Fourth of July with Her Royal Highness and acting as godmothers to her child, Archie, at his christening on Saturday. Unfortunately, we will likely never know for sure, as the royal couple has opted to keep this information private.

This is not the first time Her Royal Highness cheered on Williams at Wimbledon. Last year, she and her sister-in-law, Her Royal Highness, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, cheered on Williams together. However, this moment occurred back when the media appeared poised to admire two strong women concurrently, and before the appearance of any ludicrous feud rumors. Arguably, this bygone time represented a golden age of feminism.

The Duchess of Sussex has actually enjoyed, as of late, quite an American week in the United Kingdom. For instance, this week began with a surprise visit to the UK from the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Both teams recently landed in the U.K. to play their first ever British game. They also, jointly, gave the Duke and Duchess of Sussex baseball paraphernalia for newborn Archie. Most significantly, the Duchess appeared ecstatic to be, once again, among her native countrymen.

Presumably, Her Royal Highness is quite happy with her new life as a member of the British royal family. Nevertheless, at least every now and then, an American Duchess needs to return to her roots. What better compromise could we have than Her Royal Highness cheering on Serena Williams at Wimbledon, on the Fourth of July, no less?

The Border, Immigrants, and Humanity

As an American, I am well aware of the issues with immigrants and the border. I have heard on the news every day, recently, that concentration camps exist there. As I am from German ancestry, and a person, I am well aware that concentration camps are unacceptable and inhumane, bringing misery to humanity. I am also aware that the Germans perpetrated a huge disservice to mankind, and as a result, lost the right to have a standing army. Concentration camps are wrong.

As an American, I am aware that native Americans existed on the American continent long before we did. As a result, I am also aware of the argument that they, therefore, have more of a right to this continent than we do, as we are simply the descendants of European immigrants.

In 1776, the American colonies of Great Britain broke away from the motherland and declared a new country. Subsequently, we became the United States of America. To some, we represented freedom fighters; to others, we represented usurpers of land from an indigenous people. In reality, we represented a group of individuals in need of food, land, and resources. Royalty did not move to the Americas-starving peasants did-and starving people will do just about anything to survive.

Effectively, immigrants stole land from the native Americans, and created a government by the Europeans, for the Europeans. Usurpers stole land from an indigenous people and created a most excellent form of government. It is so excellent, in fact, that indigenous people from other parts of this continent wish to move here and benefit from its trappings. They too want the benefits of land ownership, capitalism, and freedom. But how can an indigenous person claim that they want to benefit from their conquerors? Does this not create a conflict?

The reality is, starving Europeans conquered the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Whether in Vermont, Seattle, or Texas, we conquered them. Native Americans have subsequently received a raw deal in the USA, and they will continue to receive a raw deal when other indigenous peoples attempt to come here from Middle or South America. We conquered the original peoples of this land and created a country called the USA. They wish to come here because it is better than the governments they themselves have set up in Middle and South America. What we have created is very special, regardless of its legitimacy or fairness. It is so special, in fact, that, the indigenous people from surrounding areas wish to partake in it.

Today, Mexico and South America are in turmoil. Socialist experiments, like the one in Venezuela, have led to civil war. The violent cartels in Mexico have led to individuals wanting to leave their country, and move to America, where the cartels have little to no power. After all, America is, for many, a dreamland of unlimited resources and freedom.

Regardless of our ominous beginnings, as conquerers, who created a government by the people and for the people, we should take better care of individuals seeking asylum. Putting them in concentration camps, separating children from their families, and failing to provide food and water to individuals in need is simply inhumane. Regardless of the sins we committed in the beginning of this country, we owe our fellow human beings seeking asylum at least the basic necessities of life. Anything less is simply shameful. After all, we have created the wealthiest country in the world.

As the descendant of European immigrants, I feel empathy for the plight of Middle and South Americans seeking asylum here. I feel very sorry that they are starving, or the victims of violent and inhumane drug cartels. But I am a part of a group of people who came here out of desperation, and who conquered the indigenous people of this continent. I am not German any longer. I am an American, and I love this country. It is all I know, and in order to protect this country, we must have borders. However, this country can have borders and still be humane. Hopefully, our current administration will begin practicing the empathy that we as Europeans failed to receive from our original home countries, so many years ago.

What is White Privilege and How Can Our Society Overcome It?

White privilege is a complicated truth in our society. To some, it is seen as direct advantages given to Caucasians over other ethnicities. These advantages can exist in the business world, the medical field, or everyday life. Some believe that white people are given more opportunities to prevail because of white privilege. While white privilege may not be intentional, it is nevertheless a very real issue. Throughout our country’s history, it has become embedded in our society, and it is only through the acknowledgment that such an issue can be overcome.

Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the term white privilege generally referred to both the systemic and legal advantages provided to white people within the United States. Examples include the right to purchase a home in the neighborhood of one’s choice, citizenship and the right to vote. The persistence of discrimination after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act led to “white privilege” being interpreted as something more psychological—a subconscious prejudice bolstered by white people’s lack of awareness of holding such power. White privilege could be found in daily transactions and in the ability of white people to navigate their professional and personal environments with relative ease. (1)

Contemporary dictionaries define “white privilege” as “inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.” (2) White privilege is often perpetuated in a nonchalant manner by perpetrators who are often unaware of the motivations or results of their actions. Essentially, it seems to just happen, making the existence of white privilege very difficult to prove, much less overcome.

How do we as a society bring the issue of white privilege to the forefront, when people are not even aware they are abiding by it? One simply can not assume that a person’s achievements are because of the color of their skin. Additionally, It is often incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to confront individuals when one suspects it is happening. The more complicated truth is that white privilege is unconsciously enjoyed while consciously perpetuated. It is simultaneously embedded into American life while also overtly on the surface.

There are no straightforward answers for how American society can overcome white privilege.. However, one can start by acknowledging it within oneself and one’s own actions. White individuals can begin by analyzing their own actions and motivations when providing favoritism or privileges to those who are a part of their world. This one small step can then lead to larger social changes over time.

White privilege represents a complicated societal truth. Some view it as direct advantages provided to Caucasians at the expense of other ethnicities. White privilege while not necessarily intentional, nevertheless encompasses a very real issue within the United States. It is interwoven into our society, and as a result, its machinations are invisible to many. As a result, one can assert that acknowledgment represents the first step in overcoming this issue. This one small step can then lead to a giant leap for mankind.

  1. https://www.tolerance.org/
  2. https://legacy.drphil.com/videos/suggested-solutions-for-overcoming-the-white-privilege-problem/

Should Birth Control Be Available Over The Counter?

AOC, Ted Cruz, and a Bi-Partisan Solution

The internet went abuzz today with news that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ted Cruz bipartisanly agreed to lobby for a bill that would make birth control pills available over the counter. This is significant because these two individuals represent different parties with very different philosophies regarding reproduction.

Ted Cruz represents the Christian right. He asserts that if a woman falls pregnant, the child she is carrying is ordained to be here, regardless of the circumstances leading to conception. He argues that abortion is out of the question, and the child must be born. Solutions include giving the child up for adoption, or caring for the child oneself. As a conservative Republican, he doesn’t feel that the government should pay for the raising of unplanned children. Instead, he advocates abstinence or birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies before they occur.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a feminist who represents individuals who are left of center. As a result, her belief structure advocates the rights of women over unborn fetuses. Consequently, she is in favor of women taking over their reproductive systems and preventing or terminating pregnancies as they wish. Under such a philosophy, women are the masters of their reproductive systems, dictating to their uteruses what will occur, and not the other way around. Such power allows women to plan to have a family and keep their careers. Furthermore, it advocates women becoming the architects of their own lives, with something as significant as having a child not being left up to chance.

Despite their party and philosophical differences, AOC and Cruz agree on one thing- that it is preferable to prevent pregnancies before they occur. They have found common ground in advocating a bill that allows the availability of birth control over the counter (OTC).

The question then presents itself-why would anyone be opposed to the birth control pill being available over the counter? As an informed consumer, I am well aware that the medical doctors of this world have fought very hard to faze out alternative forms of health care, including OTC remedies. Resultingly, those without health care insurance or money to pay the doctor’s bill for an abortion either end up continuing a pregnancy without doctors supervision, or having an abortion at the hands of an unlicensed provider. Both of these alternatives are unfortunate. It is when faced with such an unfortunate lack of choice that bipartisan options begin to present themselves. In this case, the most obvious bipartisan option is OTC birth control.

Why is over the counter birth control the most obvious bipartisan option? The answer is because it’s affordable, effective, and overwhelmingly easy to implement. If women are easily capable of obtaining OTC birth control, the need for abortions will exponentially go down. The controversy regarding whether life is being ended becomes largely irrelevant, because the OTC birth control solution, in many cases, will prevent unplanned pregnancies from occurring in the first place. It truly represents a win-win for everyone.

OTC birth control represents a bi-partisan solution to the abortion controversy. In short, it will prevent many unplanned pregnancies from occurring by providing a cheap and effective birth control solution. Ted Cruz and AOC represent two often opposing parties joining together to agree upon a meaningful and effective solution for women. Should this bill pass, it will represent a coup for all women in the USA, regardless of their political affiliation.

Corporate Taxes, Tariffs, Democrats and Republicans

How the Proposed Mexican Tariff Reveals the Hypocrisy of the Left

“Tax the rich!” has been the rallying cry for the Democratic party for many years now. Many of them argue that, by selling goods and services, the rich are not only exploiting the labor of the poor, but also overcharging for goods that should be provided as a right! Taxing the rich is the Democrat’s way of leveling the playing field and giving the money back to the poor the money that they effectively argue is already rightfully theirs.

On the same token, the majority of Democrats are opposed to corporations outsourcing labor. When American corporations outsource, they are taking jobs away from American citizens for the purpose of benefiting their own bottom line. Goods and services are often cheaper in foreign countries, mostly due to the lack of regulatory agencies such as OSHA and the EPA. In purchasing goods and services abroad, corporate leaders are effectively bypassing US labor laws and regulations, at the expense of Americans.

President Trump has been in the news most recently threatening to impose a 5% tariff on all goods coming in from Mexico. Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan argues “the Trump strategy does little to address the illegal flow of migrants, and it will only hurt workers in American states.” (1) “The Michigan Democrat says he’s especially concerned about Detroit automakers that have major production facilities in Mexico.” (1) This senator is concerned that an additional corporate tax will place an undue burden on corporations, leading workers to lose their jobs. But is this not what Republicans have said all along-that taxing the rich does not benefit the poor but instead hurts them?

By opposing the tariff, Democrats are playing right into the Republicans’ hands. Republicans typically oppose additional taxation on corporations, arguing that doing so overall hurts the economy. Regarding the proposed Mexican tariff, which is truly a corporate tax, Democrats are revealing that they feel the same, and instead favor a more laissez-faire economy.

Trump, who ran for President as a Republican, used to be a registered Democrat. His move of placing a tax or tariff on Mexican goods is undoubtedly a Democratic one. So then why do the majority of Democrats disagree with it? One can argue that any proposal made by Trump at this time will be opposed by the Democrats merely because of his unpopularity with them.

The Mexican tariff proposed by Trump reveals the hypocrisy of the American Left. How can a party, supposedly based on supporting the laborers of the USA, oppose a tariff that would almost certainly create more American jobs? How can a party that advocates heavier corporate taxation, vehemently oppose a proposed corporate tax on Mexican goods? The answer most likely lies in the supposition that they oppose it simply because Trump proposed it. No matter what Trump proposes, he simply cannot win with Democrats. By opposing Trump on the Mexican tariff, Democrats are essentially playing right into Republican hands, and asserting that they too believe in a more laissez-faire economy. If this trend continues, one can assert that the only two parties truly dominating the American landscape are not Republicans and Democrats, but instead, those who are for or against Trump.

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/05/sen-gary-peters-sees-bipartisan-opposition-to-trump-mexico-tariffs.html

Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Our Families and Workplaces

Causes, Solutions, and Signs.

With the news putting such an emphasis on autism and autism spectrum disorder, it is perhaps appropriate to discuss another disorder permeating our families and workplaces- Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).NPD is described as:

“A personality disorder with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.” (1)

Symptoms of NPD include:

  1. “exaggerated feelings of self-importance,”
  2. “excessive need for admiration,”
  3. “lack of empathy” (1)

Much like autism, the origins of NPD are currently unknown. However, unlike autism, there is also no known treatment. It is often said that, in families with individuals suffering from NPD, it is the only disorder where everyone is in therapy except the person actually suffering from the disorder.NPD causes marriages to fall apart, siblings to become estranged, and younger children to be left behind, without adequate levels of attention or care. In workplaces, it can lead to horrible bosses, toxic workplaces, and mutinies by the staff. But, this then begs the question of, why does this disorder exist and what, if anything, can be done about it?

Interviews with parents of children with NPD provide some insight into the disorder and its origins. The parent of one child with NPD stated, “****** was born wild. From the day I brought her home from the hospital, she was always getting into trouble, and it was never her fault. For years, all I wanted was a baby, and then I got ******. Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” (2) Further discussions with this subject point to the disorder only worsening with the passage of time, leading to the mother’s estrangement from other mothers in the neighborhood, and subsequent problems in her marriage. Interviews such as this point to biological causes of the disorder, completely non-dependant from the environment, diet, or other factors. (2)

If one rules out environment and diet as causes of NPD, then only biological factors remain. Recent studies have identified “a structural abnormality in the brains of those with a narcissistic personality disorder, specifically noting less volume of gray matter in the left anterior insula” and as well as “reduced gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. The brain regions identified in the above studies are associated with empathy, compassion, emotional regulation, and cognitive functioning.”Subsequently, individuals born with less grey matter have “a compromised capacity for emotional empathy and emotional regulation.” (1) In short, children with NPD are born with this disorder, and literally, nothing can be done to correct the issue within them.

If NPD has biological causes, and there is no cure, where then does that leave the families of individuals with NPD?Or workplaces with an individual who has NPD? Families with children suffering from autism often go to therapy together and learn how to function as a cohesive family unit that takes into consideration the special needs of its members. Workplaces encompassing autistic employees often make special considerations for them, such as quiet offices or individualized tasks. Can similar steps be taken for individuals with NPD? Unfortunately, the answer is currently no. While psychological treatment has been attempted via psychotherapy and group treatment strategies, no long-term treatments have been subsequently identified. Unlike autism, where special considerations can be taken that lead to positive benefits, NPD has no such solutions. Unfortunately, families with children suffering from this disorder really have no other effective option other than to separate the child from the rest of the family, via placing the child in a special needs group home or giving up custody of the child to the state. Workplaces with individuals suffering from NPD are sick, and the only cure is to remove the person with the actual disorder. This solution may seem impossible to implement, but in the end, it is truly the only effective option. In cases such as this, where the welfare of others must truly become paramount, the health of the family or business must be saved, even to the detriment of the person with NPD.

Removing the person with NPD from families and workplaces is often not only for the well-being of others but also for their own well-being also. While studies show that individuals with NPD are arguably more likely to commit crimes, one can argue that they are more likely to become the target of them. In the absence of a cure or real solution, frustrated victims may lash out by harming their perpetrator. The best thing one can do, if faced with a person suffering from NPD, removes them from the family or work unit, or leave themselves.

Following are warning signs that a person in your family or workplace may suffer from NPD:

  1. Success At Any Cost. A close inspection of past relationships may show a failure to treat people kindly for the promise of a grandiose, yet superficial success. Beware of flaunted expenses, especially if there is a lack of people to share in the enjoyment.”
  2. Narcissists may be hypersexual, often in relation to power and control. Incest is frequently reported as well as a lack of regard for partner and boundaries.”
  3. Incessant Blaming. A lack of personal responsibility is a key sign. Often a narcissist will play ‘the victim’ even when he/she has hurt someone else.”
  4. Violence. Since their ego is so fragile, to begin with, any criticism received feels like an attack. They fight back much harder than what is doled out. Someone who uses violence frequently demonstrates a lack of impulse control and may also have multiple addictions.”
  5. Manipulation. Pitting people against one another for the ultimate goal of loyalty is often used by narcissists. In this case, loyalty often means isolation.” (3)

Individuals with NPD have been found to have less grey matter in the parts of the brain that are associated with empathy, compassion, emotional regulation, and cognitive functioning. (1) Unfortunately, at this time, there are no known effective treatments for this problem. As a result, it is important to learn the signs of NPD and to disassociate oneself from those with it. Failing to do so can lead to grave consequences in oneself place of work, family, and overall life. Perhaps in the future, other solution will avail themselves, but in the meantime, there truly are no other known options.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder
  2. Interview by Katherine Fry of an anonymous subject, Dec 26, 2018
  3. https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-ties-between-crime-and-malignant-narcissism/

A Brief History of Womens’ Reproductive Rights in the United States

Apothecaries, the AMA, and Female Reproductive Empowerment

The history of reproductive freedom in the United States is a long and complicated one. Most people would say that the United States illegalized abortions until the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. However, in reality, this is far from the case. Women would seek out female apothecaries to aid with their reproductive systems’ needs, especially in times of unwanted pregnancies. This tradition only changed when the male-ruled American Medical Association stepped in and decided women needed “proper” supervision. While women today once again get to control their reproductive systems, it is still under the watchful eyes of the AMA and threatened by the United States government.

Contrary to popular belief, colonial governing structures and their laws did not prohibit abortion. In fact, colonists divided pregnancy into two distinct stages, much like we do today,-“unquickened”, or non-moving, and “quickened,” or noticeably moving. Women in this time period often ingested potions or pills before the point of “quickening” to end early term unwanted pregnancies. The word “abortion” only referred to the termination of a pregnancy after “quickening.” Terminating a pregnancy after quickening proved much more difficult, and as a result, occurred only very rarely-much like today’s late-term abortions. (1)

None of the U.S states recognized abortion as a major criminal offense until 1860. During this time, the newly created and male-only American Medical Association (AMA) decided to monopolize the medical field by eliminating apothecaries as competition. As a result, most states made apothecaries illegal and, subsequently, the use of pregnancy-ending potions and pills. The criminalization of all forms of birth control soon followed, with most states prohibiting them under federal obscenity laws.

In 1938, following a great deal of activism on the part of birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger, a federal judge lifted the US ban on birth control. As a result, diaphragms emerged as a popular method of avoiding pregnancy. In 1960, for the very first time, the US Food and Drug Administration approved an oral contraceptive. In 1965, the Supreme Court gave married couples the right to use birth control, ruling that the Constitution protected its use under the right to privacy. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that all unmarried women also had the right to oral contraceptives. In 1973, the Supreme Court established a woman’s right to an abortion, as long as a physician belonging to the AMA performed it. (2)

Today, although abortion and birth control are legal, they are still only allowed under the watchful eyes of the AMA. Apothecaries are still illegal in most states, and this ban prohibits the majority of nurses and physicians assistants from providing any sort of meaningful healthcare. Some areas of the country, however, have taken steps in allowing midwives to assist women before, during, and after birth, in place of a physician. However, the monopolizing reign of the AMA still endures. Furthermore, some of the states have once again reared their heads, attempting to strictly regulate female reproduction. So far, on a federal level, their attempts have been unsuccessful.

Controversial aspects of female reproductive health have not always been so controversial. Women apothecaries, who understood the female body, would assist other women with their reproductive needs. Only after the dictation of the male-run AMA did abortions and forms of birth control even became illegal. Today, because of the advocacy of individuals such as Margaret Sanger, women once again have control of their reproductive systems, but only under the supervision of the AMA. Furthermore, female reproductive freedom still currently faces threats from various states, who are attempting, once again, to prohibit and/or strictly regulate certain aspects of female reproductive health. Only time will tell how far their efforts will restrict the access of women to the tools necessary for their reproductive empowerment.

  1. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/roe-v-wade
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_control_in_the_United_States

Straddling the Divide

Bernie Miller, Ethnicity, Commonality and Peacemaking

In “Uneasy Lies the Head,” King Hussein of Jordan discusses straddling the divide between Jordanians and Palestinians, as well as Muslims and Jews. In doing so, he discusses life on the edge, straddling conflict, and ultimately discovering a role of biblical proportions-that of a peacemaker in a region torn apart by religion and ethnic conflict.

Like King Hussein of Jordan, Pastor Bernie Miller of New Covenant Fellowship Church in Chattanooga, TN., has taken on a similar role, in the ethnically and religiously conflicted area of Chattanooga, TN. Spurned on by census data indicating the multiple ethnicities living in the area, Pastor Miller left a successful career in the music industry to follow his calling of creating a multi-ethnic congregation in an area often torn apart by hate.

Pre-civil rights movement Chattanooga encompassed ethnic as well as economic inequality. As stated by former Congressman Moses Freeman, “Survival was really important back then. Black families made less than half of the income that white families that did the same job. My mother made $3.00 a day plus car fare for a bus ride to go to and from work. She couldn’t get a job that paid decent wages working as a secretary or a clerk. Whites who had the same level of education as my mother could go and get those jobs.” (1) He goes on to state, “You were always aware that you could be stopped at any time by the police; which happened very often. We were subject to what they called fee grabbing where African Americans would be required to pay the person who stopped us. That person was sometimes not a police officer or county official.” (1)

The Chattanooga of today is one of great ethnic diversity, but with a news cycle overwhelmed by black on black crime. While segregation is over, many young black Chattanoogan’s still experience inequalities arguably attributable to their ethnicity. Drugs have contributed to the break-up of black families, and, as a result, “many young African Americans are dropping out of school to join gangs. Many blacks can’t get good jobs because they either have felony convictions on their record or they don’t have the foundation of pride that was once the staple for African Americans who lived through segregation.” (1)

According to Miller, the Chattanooga of today is plagued with a lack of trust, often divided along the lines of one’s political persuasion. He goes on to state that these political lines often, unfortunately, find their way inside church walls. Some pastors have resorted to preaching their politics and making the grave error of thinking that everyone sitting in their congregation, black or white, agrees with their point of view, when this is often not the case. This dangerous assumption has contributed to congregations becoming conflicted and sharply divided, often cutting across lines of race, gender and class. (2)

As a harbinger of peace, Bernie Miller unites his congregation by simply preaching the word of God, as it is expressed in the Christian Holy Bible. “It is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.” By preaching the word, it is easy to discover “the motives of man’s heart.” (2) Miller reflects on two years ago, when the presidential election encompassed Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump. Amongst his own congregation, Miller personally witnessed nasty posts making their way onto Facebook and other forms of social media. Despite the rhetoric, Miller refused to be drawn into the conflict. However, he did warn his church members that once an opinion is expressed on social media, it is essentially in the public domain forever. (2)

Miller witnessed a huge divide in his church, as well as Chattanooga as a whole, during Barack Obama’s tenure. He goes on to state that Obama’s policies did not hit the Bible Belt well, creating a very real conflict, again surpassing race, gender and class. Division within his congregation manifested itself along political lines, and members felt they had to take a side regarding the conflict. In regard to this issue, Miller states that while Obama showed great compassion for the LGBT community, he failed to show that same compassion toward the Christian community. Miller points out that while Obama shined the rainbow colors on the Whitehouse following the legalization of gay marriage, he did not lower the American flag when Muslim terrorists killed Christian martyrs around the world. This lack of compassion toward Christians led many African Americans to abandon the Democratic party-the only party with which many of them had ever felt any sort of affinity. (2)

Miller argues that Hillary Clinton is initially to blame for fueling the African-American hatred toward Trump. He points out that, following her defeat in the 2016 election, Hillary sent her campaign manager down to meet her throng of supporters, rather than coming down to speak with them herself. The night of the election, Hillary’s supporters waited for a concession speech, which they never did receive. This lack of closure, Miller argues, led to her supporters funneling their hatred toward Trump. As Miller states, “They needed Hillary, their champion, to come and speak to them-not her lackey.” To this very day, Hillary’s failure to personally concede to her people has led to a lack of trust and hatred amongst Americans. Charges of racism against Trump have proven to be untrue, asserts Miller, and are merely fueled by the vacuum created by Hillary failing to face her supporters following the defeat. (2)

The political minefield of American politics has brought many controversial issues to Miller’s doorstep. As a peacemaker, however, he feels his job is to find common ground amongst his congregation members. (1) In regard to the death penalty, Miller turns to scripture where it states, “‘Take a life, and life shall be taken.’ Once a court has sentenced someone to death, it is no longer important what I want.” (2) In regard to abortion, Miller states, “I am pro-life and pro-choice. However, I wish more people would choose life.” (2)

During his tenure as a pastor, Miller has personally witnessed how race affects one’s class. He states that the average black person needs to have double the education of his or her white counterparts, in order to compete for the same type of job. He also asserts, however, that this is not something about which people are necessarily intentional, or of which they are even aware. The divide begins, Miller argues, in the university setting, and is fueled by the fact that blacks and whites often share increasingly diverse backgrounds. In many ways, Miller asserts, this defeats the purpose of such individuals even being at a university since these universities so often lack an exchange of diversity. (2)

The diversity in Miller’s congregation is intentional and purposeful. Miller is very intentional about being diverse, and helping members of his congregation find common ground through their faith and in their lives. Diversity is a broad theme, and he aims to find commonality between genders, races, movements, and political beliefs. Feminists have a place in his church, as do more conservative individuals. As a peacemaker, Miller feels his job is to unite all of these different groups together through the word of Jesus Christ. (2)

Our world has, throughout time, witnessed peacemakers who enter a society, uniting individuals through a common theme. In Jordan, King Hussein united warring individuals through his simple humanity. In Chattanooga, Bernie Miller has united warring factions by finding common ground in teaching the word of God, as it is expressed in the Christian Bible. Racism, sexism, and politics fail to hold a candle to the loving inspiration provided by a peacemaker in modern times. As Chattanooga grows and changes, the intentional congregation created and fostered by Bernie Miller will continue to assist the people of this area in finding their way to a more meaningful, united future. (2)

 

 

  1. https://wdef.com/2015/02/24/black-in-the-day-a-close-look-at-black-history-in-chattanooga/
  2. Interview, Bernie Miller by Katherine Fry, 4/30/2019