You Want More of This…?

As we move closer to election day, we continue to hear more alarming things come out of Trump’s mouth on an almost daily basis. He’s setting the stage for a coup, to enable himself to become the dictator of the Trumpian States of America. Amazingly, there are people who believe this is a fine idea, because why not? These last four years have been a grand ride, why not do this all the time?

Folks, you really aren’t seeing the long view, are you? Once one piece of our Constitution is broken, it all can go. We are guaranteed to have free and fair elections, and a peaceful transfer of power. If Trump removes that and declares himself the winner either by having the senators determine the electoral vote, or simply by not leaving, then what is to stop him from telling us the rest of the Constitution is null and void as well?  You know all the screaming you’ve done about having your 2nd Amendment rights violated, and that a candidate from the Democratic party is infringing on that? Or how awful you think ‘Obamacare’ or the ACA is? Or what about the fact that you’ve been able to speak up at all? If you haven’t thought about that, well, now is the time.

All you need do is look around you at life under other dictators, and it’s pretty easy to see that what you think of as being a pleasure cruise, will become just another nightmare. Gun rights? Gone. That freedom to speak your mind, travel where you want to and stand in front of a government building, throwing fire bombs, smoke bombs or just f-bombs? Gone. (Not that those were good ideas in the first place.) Want to work where you want to, or do what you want to? Gone. Don’t think the rules of the ACA are right, or that it should even exist at all? Then I imagine you’ll love government run Trumpcare, which will determine what benefits you have, and how much money is allocated for those benefits. If they don’t put enough money toward it because this year Trump doesn’t want to, then either you pony up out of pocket, or you just don’t get that medicine because you aren’t allowed to. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’re on the side of anarchy now, doesn’t mean you get any kind of a pass later. No, you’ll just be Citizen No. 12657390. Just as likely – perhaps more so – to get tossed in jail for activities against the state. Think not? Check these out…

Gun laws in Dictatorships

Russia: According to the Library of Congress, “Individuals are not allowed to carry guns acquired for self-defense; a license only serves as a carrying permit for hunting and sport firearms when these guns need to be transported. Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.”

In North Korea, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law.

In China, Civilian ownership of firearms is largely restricted to non-individual entities such as sporting organizations, hunting reserves, and wildlife protection, management and research organizations. The chief exception to the general ban for individual gun ownership is for the purpose of hunting.

Cuba: In Cuba, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law, and civilians are not allowed to possess pen guns, cane rifles, rifles with a calibre greater than 5.6 millimeters, machine and sub-machine guns of any kind, home-made firearms, shortened shotguns, firearms that have been modified with devices to make them more efficient, and certain types of ammunition. Private possession of fully automatic weapons is prohibited, and handguns (pistols and revolvers) are permitted under license. Civilian possession of rifles and shotguns is regulated by law.

Healthcare

Russia does guarantee free health care, 48% of expenditures comes from government sources which primarily come from medical insurance deductions from salaries. While there appears to be private insurance there, the state insurance improved during the 90’s and 2000’s to be very competitive, then it’s quality significantly declined. Due to the Russian financial crisis since 2014, major cuts in health spending have resulted in a decline in the quality of service of the state healthcare system. About 40% of basic medical facilities have fewer staff than they are supposed to have, with others being closed down. Waiting periods for treatment have increased, and patients have been forced to pay for more services that were previously free.

In China, about 95% of the population has at least basic health insurance coverage. Despite this, public health insurance generally only covers about half of medical costs, with the proportion lower for serious or chronic illnesses. In urban areas, insurance isn’t free either. And in rural areas where it is, the quality of care varies widely.

North Korea claims to provide universal health care with a national medical service and health insurance system. North Korea claims that health services are offered for free. However, this claim has been contrasted by North Korean defectors, who claim that patients must in fact pay for health services, that the upper classes have access to a higher standard of healthcare than ordinary ones do, and that “how much money a patient has determines whether they live or die”.

Cuba’s national health system is made up of multiple tiers: 1) the community containing individuals and families, 2) family doctor-and-nurse teams, 3) basic work teams, 4) community polyclinics, 5) hospitals, and 6) medical institutes. The Family Physician and Nurse program is made up of physician and nurse teams that serve individuals, families, and their communities. Polyclinics are community-based clinics that house primary care specialists, and exist in every Cuban community. While preventive medical care, diagnostic tests and medication for hospitalized patients are free, some aspects of healthcare are paid for by the patient

Freedom of Speech

Cuba: The Cuban constitution recognizes the freedom of the press, and prohibits private ownership of the media. “Only 25 percent of Cubans use the internet, while only five percent of homes are connected”, making it one of the Americas’ least-connected countries. The Internet is censored; a number of websites are blocked, and access to information is scarce.North Korea: Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and nations such as the United States have asserted that, in practice, there is no right to free speech, and the only media providers that are deemed legal are those operated by the government.

China: The only people in China who can publish criticisms of, or opinions contrary to those of, the Communist Party, are senior members of the Communist Party. Academics and editors of China’s state-controlled publications are afforded somewhat less leeway than Party officials, but still more than the average person.

Russia: In 2019 Russia introduced new regulation commonly called “fake news law” which criminalizes publications containing “unreliable” information as well as opinions that show “disrespect for society, government, state symbols, the constitution and government institutions”. The law was criticized for vague wording allowing selective application e.g. against political opposition. Since 2009, the practice of the law enforcement agencies (most notably FSB) was to abuse newly introduced anti-extremism laws to suppress freedom of speech, including corruption investigations. On 31 March 2013, The New York Times reported that Russia was beginning ‘Selectively Blocking [the] Internet’.

That’s a glimpse of life under Trump as ‘president’ for life here. So, all those ‘rights’ you keep harping on, well, don’t worry, you won’t have them because we won’t have a Constitution. No Constitution, no rights. And if you think it can’t happen here, think again. He’s already trying to set the stage, with declaring the media “enemies of the government”, and “fake news” (hmm, look familiar?), telling us what he wants us to know around COVID-19, hiding his tax returns, installing his family and flunkies in positions of authority, and making us all question each other. It’s not too late to keep it from happening.

Vote on November 3.

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Why Dan Patrick (and the GOP) Are Wrong

I heard Texas Lt Governor Dan Patrick say something a while back on a news bite that made me stop in my tracks.

“There is no reason — capital N, capital O — no reason that anyone under 65 should be able to say I am afraid to go vote,” Patrick, a Republican, said in an interview with Fox News. “Have they been to a grocery store? Have they been to Walmart? Have they been to Lowe’s? Have they been to Home Depot? Have they been anywhere? Have they been afraid to go out of their house? This is a scam by the Democrats to steal the election.”

What? Is he serious? Unfortunately, he was. And he’s dead wrong too.Screen Shot 2020-06-06 at 6.49.13 AM

There are many reasons why people under the age of 65 are afraid to go and vote with a pandemic. Anyone with a compromised or suppressed immune system is at very high risk of catching – and dying from – coronavirus. Their immune systems are just not able to fight off infections, either because the disease they have has made their body not able to fight off infections or because they are taking some kind of medication that has chemically suppressed their immune system. This could include people with different types of cancers either because of the disease, or because they are receiving chemotherapy, anyone who has HIV or AIDS, and anyone that has received an organ transplant. It could also include some people with psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, because some of the medication they take suppress the immune system as well. Heart disease? Check. Lung diseases like cystic fibrosis? Check. Crohn’s disease, having your spleen removed, bone marrow ablation, genetic immunodeficiency, diabetes and chronic kidney disease are also on the list. Guess what Mr. Patrick? All of those affect individuals of all ages.

Add to the group above everyone in their households, because if a spouse, significant other, child or parent brings home the virus, then the immunocompromised person could get it from them, and if they do, they will probably die because their immune system is unable to fight off infections. For some of them even a common cold means the risk of pneumonia, and getting a flu shot each year is critical. So, when coronavirus became a “thing”, and the CDC said “wash your hands”, they did. When the CDC said “wear a mask”, they did that too. And when their medical providers said “it’s not safe for you to work and be around so many people”, they either quit or took a leave of absence and thanked God for unemployment (if they had a state that wasn’t a complete cluster about it) and the stimulus.

How do I know this?  My husband was blessed 29 years ago with a kidney transplant, making our household one that is immunocompromised, thus we take many precautions to keep him safe. We wash our hands – a lot. We wear masks if we go out, and use hand sanitizer. I wipe down the groceries before they come in the house, and as a rule, I don’t go shopping for them in the store. I order them online, then go through the drive though that my grocery store offers and have the loaded in my vehicle. I order everything I possibly can online, trying to respect the delivery folks as much as possible by bundling my orders up and having a single delivery day. Neither of us has had a professional haircut in months (I’ve learned to cut my husband’s hair, and it actually doesn’t look too bad!), unlike you Mr. Patrick, who is freshly shorn by a stylist. I no longer enjoy luxuries I used to indulge in because they aren’t safe, like manicures or dining out. I wipe down surfaces in our home with bleach, as well as my car on the few occasions I do go out. I’ve seen my mother four times since March, and made her wear a mask each time. We do still attend church, but online. I will admit having gone to Home Depot but I don’t wander the aisles. I order what I need ahead of time when I can and have it waiting for me at customer service so I can get in and get out or have a plan so I am in and out quickly.

Now, maybe they don’t have these problems down in Texas, with folks getting sick or needing dialysis and transplants, or maybe Mr. Patrick, like so many members of the GOP is just so out of touch with real people and real problems that he’s just clueless to the realities of life. Of course, we’re now learning there is a third option, which is the public message they say on camera or through their Twitter feed, and the private message when they think few are listening. I suspect he knows the truth even if he won’t admit it publicly, and there isn’t one single thing he – or anyone else – can say to me to convince me to take risks that would endanger my husband’s life.

We’re under the age of 65 in this household, and have plenty of reason to NOT vote in person, Mr. Patrick. (And if you live in the Washington, DC area, as we learned this week you might have some new reasons for not voting in person, as POTUS and FLOTUS mutual COVID -19 diagnoses are the gift that keeps on giving.) Fortunately for us, we live in a progressive state that allows absentee voting without an excuse, and we are exercising that right. Neither you, your ignorance not your great desire to align with a man who believes that  herd mentality will save us, are going to put that at risk. And contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence of any kind that mailing in your ballot promotes voter fraud.

Note: Your vote counts. To find out if you can vote absentee in your state, and what the rule are, go to  Vote.org. If you are concerned, like many of us are, about Louis DeJoy and the efforts he has undertaken to undermine the ability of the USPS to deliver your vote on time, please look to see if there is a location near you in your county with a drop box for your ballot. In ours, there are a number of them where ballots can be dropped beginning weeks before the election, so we don’t need to rely on the post office. If you live in Texas, you won’t be so lucky as the governor there has restricted drop offs to one location per county.

Vote. It could be your last chance.

 

 

Thank You For Your Service

For the past 18 months, I’ve had the incredible honor of working in a role that supports members of the military and their families. Like many of you, I know that when you serve in the military, you might be stationed overseas, your spouse might be deployed not once or twice but multiple times and that while challenging, the benefits in serving are great. In spite of having family members who have served in the military as well as a number of friends and even a neighbor or two (thank you for your service, Uncle Denny, Uncle Al, Tim, Mark, Mary, Dave “Superstar!”, Stephanie, Bob and many others) and having a great uncle who was MIA in WWII and never came home, I never really appreciated what that meant before this job.

These people – the active duty members of the military and their families – sacrifice more than any of us can imagine. They miss birthdays, holidays, first steps, first communions, last days of school and last days of life. If stationed stateside and working in support roles, they might be fortunate enough to see their families every day, and are home for dinner. If they’re stationed what is referred to as OCONUS (Outside of the CONtinental US) then consider that the family packed up what they had and moved, perhaps for the umpteenth time, to a country where they may not speak the language and settle into a house that is probably not new, with appliances, fixtures and carpeting that have perhaps seen better days and no option to replace them because they’re living in military housing. They have to find an English language school for their kids, doctors, places to shop and then just about the time they get it all figured out, they have to pack up and do it again. For those that are deployed, family stays behind while the soldier is serving somewhere around the world, perhaps in a place that the family can’t even know about. When they can call home, they might be limited on the number of minutes allowed for the call and have to call at odd times of the day depending on where they are at, just to make up the time difference to call at normal times for their families. They do this without complaining and with amazing grace and dignity.

They are in service to our country. Think about what that means for a moment. They do what they do, so we can walk freely, speak freely, love freely. They keep us and our democracy safe. It’s selfless, the stress is unbelievable, and when they are serving in places like Afghanistan, Iraq or Kandahar, they don’t know if they’ll come home and hug their spouse or kids, their kids, in a coffin, or at all. I heard retired Major General Paul Eaton speak on TV two nights ago, and he said “our solders are taught to trust their commanders, to go where they are told and to fight for their country without question, because they trust that no matter what, their country will bring them home.” His voice was so full of passion and emotion, it was almost overwhelming to hear. Click here and watch his message on Twitter, and to see his interview with Rachel Maddow, click here. (The link goes to YouTube, the first part is an equally powerful interview with a Gold Star mother, and well worth watching. Eaton’s interview begins around the 12:50 mark.)

We are lucky here in the US. When we have an emergency, we can call 9-1-1 from any phone and help will come. If you call from a landline, they’ll even know your location without being told (unfortunately, that technology doesn’t exist with cell phones, so make sure to provide a location when calling from a cell phone.) When the military and their families are overseas, and an emergency arises, if they need an ambulance they may not be able to simply call 9-1-1 because not all countries have that. Some countries have other emergency codes, some have none at all. Imagine being in a country where you don’t speak the language, and have no way to pick up the phone and call to get an ambulance when you need one. How would you handle it?

I have no frame of reference what it would be like in combat, but would imagine it’s terrifying, regardless of how much training you’ve received, never knowing if the next step results in stepping on a hidden trigger device, or if you’re in the crosshairs of a gun and all the while having the sound of constant bombardment everywhere, day and night. How long would you last? Are you willing to put on battle fatigues, learn to follow orders without question, pick up a gun, and do what you’re told in cold, ice, snow, rain, sand, and desert heat, combined with unrelenting noise all the time, constant shelling and bombs everywhere?

My respect for the military  and their families is beyond what I can put into words, and it is my greatest honor to be in a role where I can continue working with nurses who support and help them every day. We try to make life just a little less difficult for them and from the comments I see and hear I know we are successful in doing that. This week, hearing Donald Trump call those in our military who were wounded, or didn’t come home “suckers” and “losers” makes me sick to my stomach and angry. Our military and their families do NOT deserve to be disrespected and invalidated like that.  A commander-in-chief who, according to a report in Vanity Fair

In one account, the president told senior advisers that he didn’t understand why the U.S. government placed such value on finding soldiers missing in action because they had performed poorly and gotten caught and deserved what they got, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

His disdain for our military is such that he and first wife Ivana said if their kids joined the military they would be “disowned in a second.” Let that sink in for a moment. Their message wasn’t “we don’t want you to do this because we’re afraid something will happen to you”, it was “we think so little of the military that we will kick you out of this family and it’s money if you become a part of it”. This is who you want leading your troops?

My grandmother watched every day at her kitchen window for years, hoping that would be the day she would see her baby brother come home from WWII. It wasn’t until many years later that she learned he had died in France, and how. We’ve never recovered his remains, and in the last year my mom started working with an agency that matches DNA to unidentified remains still there, in hopes we may still be able to bring him home. Mr. Trump, my Uncle Ches was NOT a sucker or a loser. He was a young man who unlike you, believed in serving his country and defending her against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. He did so with honor, and yes, he, along with all the others who remain missing, deserve to come home and be buried on US soil.

One of our greatest gifts as a democracy is belonging to any political party we want to and then exercising our right to vote for our candidate of choice and to do so in private. That means you never need tell anyone who you voted for. (This is HUGE!)  However part of being a responsible voter is to evaluate what a candidate stands for, regardless of their party and vote for them based on their platform. What is their record? What have they done, not just what do they say? It’s not only OK to belong to one party and vote another, it’s acceptable, even responsible. You’ve already heard the phrase “Country over party” many times these last 4 years, and it means more now than ever. Please, regardless of the party you are affiliated with as a registered voter, vote for someone who respects and supports our military troops. If you aren’t a registered voter, please get registered. If you’re worried about voting with COVID, go to Vote.org and find out how you can vote absentee in your state. (Whatever you do, don’t try to vote absentee and then in person. It’s probably a felony in your state. )

It’s that important.

It Ain’t a Game of Concentration

I’ve intentionally not commented on candidates this election cycle for a number of reasons, even though there has been plenty of fodder from one in particular as far as I am concerned. And while I do so now, and realize it’s at my own peril, I’m not trying to start a conversation on the merits of one political position over another, one view over another and I hope I don’t get excoriated online, but I realize I’m opening myself up for exactly that. This isn’t about red or blue, Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal. Contrary to popular belief I actually vote the person, not the party, and that’s as much as I will say about it. Having said that….

We have only a short time left until the election, so consider this carefully: A large number of business today follow the hiring model in HR of “past performance is the best predictor of future behavior”. While there may be some debate in it’s value from a psychological profile tool, businesses seem to agree that as an initial evaluation tool at the time of interviewing a candidate, Behavioral Based Interviewing provides more information and context than simply asking “did you do this?” or “can you create that?”

So within the context of past performance being the best, and perhaps only predicter of future behavior that we have, consider the following:

What if you’re the one that Donald Trump is talking to? Not a beauty pageant winner from 20 years ago, but you? You’re in the crowd, front row and he looks at you and singled you out as an example of:

“Fat”. “Pig”. “You really are an eating machine”.

“Unattractive”. “Flat chested, you’ll never be a ’10’ “”Too old, you’re over 40”.

Maybe you and your spouse hit a rough patch, even separated? Maybe it was over another person, or even over something else? You’re in that crowd, and Trump singles you out and says “adulterer!! cheater!! enabler! you’re both pathetic.” “You can’t keep your marriage together” and other nasty things. Is this ok when it’s you, calling that out in front of your friends? Coworkers and neighbors? He seems to think that because he’s been married ONLY three times, and ONLY had one ‘affair’, that somehow he’s better than others. But here’s the thing: He’s bragged openly about the number of married women that he’s slept with. I don’t know about you, but folks, in my book, even if he wasn’t married at the time, that’s still having an affair.  So, are we now OK with a serial adulterer in the White House? If so, then you certainly can’t hold any of Bill’s past against Hilary, now, can you?

What if….

He really IS friends with Vladimir Putin. What REALLY happens then?

He uses one of the nukes that he thinks he should be able to use, since we have them? What happens then? Are you seriously ready to die?

He really IS friends with David Duke, and the white supremacists? You remember them, right? The ones he had trouble disavowing…What happens then? If you’re even a small percent African-American, Jewish, or some other less than perfect non-perfect caucasian, maybe it will be welcome to either the resettlement camps in America, or the deportation lines at the airport.

And about those tax returns. He says he’ll release them after he’s no longer under audit, which is likely to be after the election is over. I’ll go one better. Using logic and if-this-then-that thinking: He’s been under audit continuously since, what 1995? He says he knows people as wealthy as he is who never have been audited. Ponder this: Why does the IRS audit? 1 – Random audits or 2 – They found a red flag. For over 20 years he’s gotten randomly audited? I doubt it, so for over 20 years the IRS has continually found red flags in what he files in his tax return, so much so that they feel is alarming enough for him to be audited every year. Now here is the kicker…why can’t you see the returns from 2013, 2012, 2011? Because they are part of the 2014 audit. What happens when the 2014 audit is done? He’ll be audited on the 2015 tax year. Guess what? He won’t release 2014 then either, because it will be tied up with the 2015 audit, because the IRS will find another red flag. And so on, and so on. You will never see his tax returns. Not until hell freezes over. 

What I really don’t understand I guess, is the support that is given to him by the Evangelicals in this country. Back in June, James Dobson said that Trump had accepted Christ as his savior, referring to him as a “baby Christian”. Now as a Christian, I’m not one to proselytize, I don’t get up on rooftops and wave my faith around like a big flag at Perkins. That’s not my style. I’m more like my dad…I prefer to be more in the background. And I know that we’re all perfectly imperfect, works in progress. We makes mistakes, lots of them, all of the time and I’m no exception. But here’s the thing…as Christians, we do have to try to not repeat them, and to not make them intentionally. When you make mistakes, you apologize genuinely and make it right, then move on. And try to not it again.

Ahem. To the Christian Evangelical political leaders in this country:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Perhaps you’d like to have a little chat with Trump re: 1,7,8,9.  His repeated attacks on individuals regarding their character, their abilities, their skills, their bodies, his shady business dealings, his lack of respect for others, the laws of our country, our military, our veterans, simple things like not interrupting another person when they are speaking (oh heck, I learned that when I was 3!) just aren’t lining up with the commandments, and aren’t indicative of someone who is supposedly espousing Christian values. Aren’t we taught that lying is wrong? Yet this man not only lies, but then reverses it, and refuses to acknowledge the first lie, or worse, goes out and finds some conspiracy theory website as his “source of fact” without really doing any true due diligence, then spews hurtful rhetoric. This is someone you want representing you? Why aren’t you all denouncing this horrible, un-Christian behavior? And don’t turn and point the finger at Hilary and give me that “well she’s no better” bull. She might be, she might not be. Listen to me well. Whatever she is or is not, has no bearing on what he is. Did you hear me? 

His behavior isn’t erased by hers. He doesn’t get a pass, there is no “oh look, a Democrat sinned so we’ll let the Republican get a pass for a free sin too.” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. As believers, when we die we believe we’ll go to heaven, and face our Father, and have to account for our life. I don’t think He’s going to have my sins laid out like the card game “Concentration”. Remember that one from when you were a child? Where you laid out the deck of cards one at a time, face down, then picked them up and tried to match them. You’d look for a pair of 2’s, or a pair of 10’s, and when you found a pair, they were discarded, until the entire deck was gone. I don’t think God is going to say “Beth, we have to find matching sins among your family, friends and peers for all of yours before you can enter heaven.”  I have to answer for myself.

Trump needs to do the same. So does Hillary. But it’s time to stop saying “yeah!” to him every time he refuses to offer contrition for his wrongs, or apologize without bringing Clinton’s name into the conversation. Make him answer for what he does wrong, tell him to stop bringing Clinton’s name into everything as a tool to try and deflect. Until he can take accountability, and learn contrition, well, there’s that old parable about the camel and the eye of the needle.

 

Who Cares?

“It’s a helluva day at sea, sir” the Coast Guard spotter said in the movie, Overboard, and that aptly described Monday’s RNC (and Tuesday’s and today’s for that matter but that’s a whole other dish of blog fodder.) The world waited with baited breath – sort of – to see if the current Mrs. Trump would be able to deliver, or fall flat on face. Given that English isn’t her first language, and no one has really heard so much as a peep from her this campaign season, it was anyone’s guess what would happen. Surprisingly, she was articulate, charming, somewhat disarming, and understandable. Then it all went to hell.

Portions of Mrs. Trump’s speech were plagarized from Mrs. Obama’s. If this is news to you, yikes, sorry to be the bearer of this news. Go and catch up. Camp Trump spent far too much time not only denying the obvious, but Mrs. Trump tried to also make us believe she wrote most of it herself. All of this was bad enough, but hey, it’s Camp Trump…do any of us really expect anything different?  Then along came Newt.

Yep, old Newt Gingrich, potential VP choice, and ‘presidential wanna be has been’. Remember him?  Repirmanded by the House in 1998 for an ethics violation, and other questionable dealings over time. Good old Newt opened his mouth and this came out:

“Who cares? Who cares?” Gingrich told CNN’s Jamie Gangel. “The fact is Melania gave a good speech. She is stunningly attractive. She is stunningly articulate. Most of the people criticizing her can’t speak five languages. She’s a bright person.”

Who cares, Mr. Gingrich? Well, let me tell you who. Everyone who is affiliated in any way with education does. From the first paper you write in High School, through your last one in Graduate School, students are taught that plagarism is wrong. At my alma mater, Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN the student handbook states:

Allegations of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty are also subject to investigation and additional conduct sanctions under the Student Conduct Code Policy #1020 and Procedure #112.

Not impressed by my little school? Maybe something a little more prestigous is needed. From Harvard:

Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including requirement to withdraw from the College.

From Yale University:

Plagiarizers suffer serious consequences in Yale College—including suspension or expulsion from school

And from the Purdue Online Writing Lab

A charge of plagiarism can have severe consequences, including expulsion from a university or loss of a job, not to mention a writer’s loss of credibility and professional standing.

Who cares, Mr. Gingrich? I do. I worked damned hard to earn my Master’s degree, taking one class at a time, working full time while doing it, not incurring any debt, and completing all of my coursework as assigned to me. With my skills, capability, time, energy and research. I didn’t ‘borrow’ from anyone, I didn’t use anyone else’s words inappropriately. If I quoted them in any papers, I also cited them appropriately and fairly. None of my papers were marked down for failure to cite something.

Who cares? All of us should, every single one of us that’s ever written a poem, a short story, started a novel, taken a photograph, hummed an original tune, sketched a picture. Plagarism is about the loss of your intellectual property. No one has the right to claim your creativity as their own. According to Wikipedia, Mr. Gingrich has written or co-authored 27 books. As an author, shouldn’t he also care about plagarism? I find it incredibly difficult to believe he doesn’t, but maybe it does that mean I can take passages from his books, and change a word or two, and now it really isn’t plagarism, and use it in something I craft, because really, who cares? I mean, isn’t that what he just said?

Honestly, I resent his cavalier dismissal of the plagarism of Mrs. Obama’s speech as if it doesn’t matter. It does matter. This stupid, backbiting bullshit being slung about during the campaign season so far proves only one thing: No one has the grace or character needed. Not one, but then five-year olds generally don’t.