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Giselle Minoli
I write literary nonfiction, design fine jewelry, and fly small planes.
I write literary nonfiction, design fine jewelry, and fly small planes.
Giselle's posts

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BECOME THE MEDIA: Make Trump Toast Again

In 2005 at a New York City Film Festival, I accidentally bumped into Michael Moore after a showing on 42nd Street of Sabina Guzzanti's Viva Zapatero, a film about her 'conflict' with Silvio Berlusconi who, like TROTUS, was determined to control everything the media (including comedy) in Italy had to say about him.

I had bought tickets to the festival and at the top of my list was Viva Zapatero, something I now think of as prescient (though unconsciously) because when TROTUS decided to run for POTUS (an acronym I will never use for TROTUS) I started to refer to him as the United State's version of Silvio Berlusconi (replete with dyed hair and tanning-bed skin). Because he is. Plain and simple. Just as corrupt. Just as slimy. Just as much of a bully.

Cut to the festival and Viva Zapatero, which is worth trying to get your hands on, Sabina's appearance on stage to talk about the film (in Italian), leaving the theatre with the friend who accompanied me, and walking East on 42nd Street late at night talking about it.

There was a man shuffling down the street ahead of us, moving more slowly than we were, and as we got closer, I recognized him, grabbed my friend's arm and practically screamed, "That's Michael Moore!" We walked faster and basically stalked him, she on his right, me on his left, and we walked several blocks on 42nd Street talking to him about the movie, politics in the United States (the slow road to Fascism) and what he was currently working on. He was as approachable, warm, friendly and engaged as a (famous) filmmaker could possibly be.

In answer to what he was working on, he said, "I'm going to the gym a lot, trying to stay healthy..." and disappeared down the subway and into the night all by himself. Michael Moore. The most important political/social documentarian in America. Hands down.

Behold, Michael Moore's Ten Point Action Plan to Thump Trump

1. Make a Daily Call to your Congressmen/Women and Senators
2. Make a Monthly Visit to the local office of your State Representative/Assemblyperson, and State Senator.
3. Create a Rapid Response Team in your own life
4. JOIN Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, and ERA Action
5. Remember that Women's Rights are Human Rights
...and The Women's March Will Never End
6. Take Over the Democratic Party
7. Help Form Blue Zones/Regions of Resistance
8. Run for Office
9. Become the Media
10. Join the Army of Comedy and never stop mocking TROTUS

Michael Moore in TrumpLand

Viva Zapatero:

#MichaelMoore #ThumpTrump

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On the road again...just can't wait to get on the road again...
Inspirational words and music by Willie Nelson. DNC break-ins, espionage and treason by the GOP and Vladimir Putin. Directed by Donald Trump. Produced by The Apprentice, an American Game Show. Theme Song: For the Love of Money. All Rights Reserved. 

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John Oliver's Genius Plan to Teach TROTUS the Difference Between Facts and Fiction

Would that John Oliver were either a) the White House Press Secretary, b) TROTUS's Chief of Staff, c) TROTUS's Senior Advisor, d) Secretary of State, or e) President of the United States. 

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"Have we come to this?"

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the town where I grew up, Jewish blogger Marc Yellin receives threatening anti-Semitic messages on the contact page of his website. "Have we come to this?" he asks. Anti-Semitism seems to be everywhere, in some places quite overtly out in the open, while in other locations, like New Mexico, the sting of hatred is rare, camouflaged perhaps, and therefore easily ignored, by the blinding beauty of the state's stunning Southwestern landscape.

As a child I was accustomed to my mother's diverse coterie of friends - an Arab couple who comforted her after my father died, the city's first African American doctor, a Santo Domingo Pueblo Indian couple, men and women of various faiths, Bahá'í among them, a female shop owner who dressed like a man, and two women who lived together, I thought, merely as 'friends.'

But slowly I began to discover the differences between the Hispanic and Pueblo Indian people we knew - whose histories, traditions, food, languages and cultures were as etched into daily life as the outline of the Sandia Mountains against the blue sky - and men and women who had migrated to New Mexico, like my parents, from places far away.

Certain people had irrefutable and unmistakable physical identities - the broomstick skirts, squash blossom necklaces, velvet shirts, and hair wrapped in chongas of Pueblo Indians. So, too, the skin color of our African American doctor. I proudly thought I was like them. I was a girl, an obvious fact, and therefore I assumed it was perfectly evident to everyone who and what I was.

Until slowly I discovered my mother had Muslim friends. 'What's a Muslim?' I asked.

And that her female friends who lived together were lesbians. 'Mom! They're lesbians?!'

And that another friend was Jewish. 'Mom...what does it mean to be Jewish? How come you didn't tell me?' Which was met with the inevitable, 'Tell you what, exactly? Some people simply be left alone.'

Thus my slow awakening to the difference between that which is obvious and that which is hidden. To the difference between that which is unprotected and that which needs to be protected. To the difference between assimilation and non-assimilation. To the difference between someone who cannot hide who and what they are and someone who wants to hide who and what they are. To the safety of groups and the aloneness of individuals.

To the mysterious complexity of a gorgeous landscape that seemed to welcome everyone...some of whom I discovered were less 'knowable' than the native peoples who historically and culturally defined the Southwest.

What is the difference between the Albuquerque in which I grew up and this Albuquerque, in which a Jewish blogger receives hate messages on his website? Or is there, really, any difference at all? Except for the obvious fact that back then there were no bloggers, no websites and no online life that could attract lurkers dropping hate bombs into someone's life in the middle of the night.

The bald truth is that there is no difference between this present day Albuquerque and the Albuquerque in which I grew up, suffering as it did from a post-War fear of Communism and reeling from a world torn apart by...anti-Semitism.

I think back on all of the incredible people my mother knew when I was growing up, men and women who were simply looking for a place to live, in peace, and to be themselves, and I understand looking for a beautiful landscape in which to hide.

Yes, Marc Yellin, we have come to this.

#MarcYellin #AntiSemitism

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And the legal reining in of TROTUS begins. I envision a country in which repressed and discriminated against groups of people come together in unity protect one another from this madman. Wouldn't that be a welcome Silver Lining?

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"Everyone should be able to take time off with their families." - says Sheryl Sandberg, COO of FaceBook. Why then did it take Sandberg, inarguably one of the two most high profile business women in the United States (the other is Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's CEO), NINE YEARS after joining FB to implement a family leave policy at a social media platform that was effectively BUILT on the support of the very people who make up families - Moms, Dads, Sisters, Brothers...Grandkids?

In addition to writing LeanIn, Sandberg has penned several essays (co-written with Adam Grant) for the New York Times about women's issues - equal work for equal pay, gender discrimination in the workplace, the difficulties of balancing the demands of marriage and children with those of the workplace, to name just a few of the issues they have written about together (all links below).

Yet Sandberg has also admittedly teetered on the edge of discriminating against women herself, which she openly discussed in her well-known TEDTalk, Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders (link below).

Still, given her appearance of solidarity with the Women's Movement since the very public publication of LeanIn, cut to the Presidential Election 2016 and Sandberg once again teetered on the edge of full bore support by being notably Missing in Action and Voice when Trump rolled out his anti-women policies during his campaign, and she fell equally silent and invisible during the entire two and a half month run-up to the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, an absence which she has since admitted was a mistake.

Then last week Sandberg spoke out against Trump's NGO Gag rule, pointing out how the welfare of women and children all over the world will be hurt by TROTUS's anti-abortion, anti Planned Parenthood siege (link below).

And finally, yesterday Sandberg announced that FB will give 6 weeks of paid family leave to all employees, as well as three days of additional time off for employees caring for a family member with a short-term illness and 20 days of bereavement time off.

"Sandberg, who is widely known for leading the conversation about feminism and women in Corporate America, also seemed to be indirectly responding to critics who noted her absence from the women’s marches that took place immediately after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. She’s been asked repeatedly to take a stronger stance against Trump, even as she’s publicly opposed several of his policies."

Why didn't Sandberg formulate FB's new policy when TROTUS was battling HRC over these issues in their debates? Why didn't she speak out about the important work Planned Parenthood does for women and children before the election? Why didn't she join Gloria Steinem on January 21st, Pussy Hat perched atop that beautiful head of hair, and let it be known that, billionaire though she is, she is on the side of American women, children and families?

Answer: because Sandberg doesn't want to be called a Feminist or, Heaven forbid, a FemiNazi.

She doesn't want to be perceived by the powerful men with whom she works in Silicon Valley as putting forth policies that might interrupt the flow of work and money through the hallowed halls of, well, work and money.

She doesn't want to be perceived as for women but against men.

She doesn't want to be perceived as someone who can't handle the demands of the workplace and needs special consideration for pregnancy, birth, tending to ailing parents, or young children.

But the primary reason it took her 9 years to speak out is because the reality of life - about work/life balance, about being a woman without a partner - after her husband died has left her with the decidedly feminist label of Single Working Mother (billionaire though she is) and there's ultimately no way out of admitting and dealing with what that means: it's hard and TROTUS's policies are intent on making it harder still for women.

It is easy to hide behind money. It is easy if you are a powerful woman to shield yourself from the issues that women without power face. It is easy if you have a supportive partner, as Sandberg had in husband Dave Goldberg, to figure out how to juggle it all, have it all, and own it all.

But once one single element of that tidy package falls through the cracks - a catastrophic illness befalls a child, one partner loses their job, or one of the parents ides - then balance becomes imbalance and it isn't so easy to smile for the camera anymore.

Unfortunately, reading about other people's problems doesn't seem to be enough to shift empathy in their direction. It seems to be human nature that we have to go through something ourselves in order to fully understand what it means.

As for Sheryl Sandberg, I would never want for any woman or man to lose their spouse. Nor would I ever want any child to lose a parent. Nor any family their source of financial support.

Yet if there is any silver lining in Sheryl Sandberg's particular story, I hope it will be her willingness to speak so openly and honestly about her own mistakes - discriminating against women, not having the courage to stand in front of the podium no matter how uncomfortable it might make the men around whom she works - and her own very personal sorrow in losing her husband.

Nine years is better than never. Late is always better than never.

Sheryl Sandberg Comes Out Swinging Against Trump's Gag Rule:

Sheryl Sandberg Blasts Donald Trump: We know what this will do:

Sheryl Sandberg's Women's March Regret:

How Men Can Succeed in the Bedroom and the Boardroom, Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

Speaking While Female: On Women Doing Office 'Housework,' Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant:

Madame C.E.O.: Get Me a Coffee: On Why Women Stay Quiet at Work, Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant:

When Talking About Bias Backfires: On Discrimination at Work, Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant:

Why we have too few women leaders, Sheryl Sandberg:

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Listen to the LIVE oral arguments on TROTUS's Immigration Order.

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Melissa McCarthy's skewering of White House Press Secretary is a Work of Impersonation Art.

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Stephen Bannon, Chief Strategist and Senior Counsel to TROTUS, is in control of the White House, aided and abetted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, spinless Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, former United States Republican Senator Rick Santorum, and, channeling J. Edgar Hoover, Republican FBI Director James Comey, along with disgraced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie...and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Strap yourselves in...

Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals:

How Jared Kushner Won Trump the White House:


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Sean Spicer shall I say it? Stupid. Stupid people with power are the most dangerous. Which is the reason this isn't funny. I wonder if there is a farm somewhere, deep on unsurveyed land somewhere the United States, where the GOP is actually growing these people, and then when they are ripe for the picking they are harvested especially for TROTUS - a little extra know...breakfast of champions - and Voila, we are given the likes of Spicer and Kellyanne Conway and Steven Bannon, to name just a few.
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