#18: your knowledge is your power

reclaim your knowledge and experiences.

a theme i’ve been thinking about a lot in my life — and trying to lead with — is intuition. it’s really challenging to follow your gut when what’s in front of you doesn’t seem clear, life doesn’t follow your linear projection, or your goals get clouded by external factors which you cannot control.

only you know what fuels you — you can read a plethora of health gurus online, follow someone else’s diet, or try to to replicate their lifestyle into your own. it’s like trying to cram a puzzle piece into the place that it wasn’t made to fit.

and i’ve fallen trap to that insecurity of comparison as well — i’ve tried to go out every weekend, eat like how i *think* other girls do, etc. just to feel like i’m living how a 20 year old girl should be in new york city.

but none of it feels good, none of it fuels me.

once you reclaim your intuition, you will learn what serves you and what kills your energy.

i know that i love grocery shopping, listening to podcasts, going to bed before 11, going on walks alone, moving my body every morning, helping out the planet, etc.

my power is in my own knowledge — something which no one can take away from me. to know yourself is your greatest power. my intuition will always be there for me and guide me to carve out a life for myself, on my own terms.

i know that i feel my power when i seek out bigger things to change in the world, fight for others around me, and follow my passions to try to create a more just society.

for all of the girls out there feeling like they’ve lost touch with their intuition, remember that your knowledge is yours to own. reclaim that shit back into your life.

enter newsletter #18: your knowledge is your power.


The Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court is back, baby. On Monday, the Court has opened up for a new term — which many legal scholars have noted will be a time for the Supreme Court Justices to brush up against political questions, for which justices *try* to avoid resolving within their “apolitical” branch — or defer to Congressional intent.

Just a fun little note on gender: RBG was visible on the bench, after four bouts of cancer, while Thomas was at home with the flu… I’ll leave that there.

Abortion, Gun Rights, LGBTQ+ Issues, Religion, Immigration – will all be heard in the upcoming term. Listen to NPR’s Nina Totemberg describe the legal issues ahead on the NPR Politics Podcast, here.

Depoliticization, Finding “Common Ground”:

Last time – in newsletter #17 – , I talked about the myth of a moderate voter, the complexities around identity in America, and how craving a sense of ideological centrism is dead in our politics.

Yet again, I’ve been seeing conversation circulating how we all simply need to sit at the table and talk to those who hold different beliefs.

This negotiation is an oversimplification, it is an epistemic tool to gloss over violent histories, toxic beliefs, and comfort those privileged bodies who do not feel the pain from the reality of politics. I refuse to adhere to this “common ground.”

I will not be sitting down and simply hearing out a white supremacist — it only validates their beliefs as a viable opinion to hold, instead of a violent ideology that needs to be rejected on face value.

In one context, many legal commentators are looking to the Supreme Court, – trying to paint an apolitical history of how conservative justices have ruled on key issues that have impacted marginalized communities who have been fighting for recognition in our common “we.”

Chief Justice Roberts has sided with special interests over women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, etc. Roberts is the extreme, right-wing leader of an extreme, right-wing majority, which is rapidly turning the court into little more than a partisan extension of the Republican Party.

These conservative justices are political actors, created by the Federalist Society and other right-wing think tanks, not neutral heroes in history who are simply calling balls and strikes. They are umpires rigging the game.

That brings us to the George W. Bush / Ellen DeGeneres situation. I’ve seen numerous retweets, shares, etc. celebrating Ellen for how she considers former President George W. Bush as a “friend.”

For one, he proposed a constitutional amendment that would outright ban Ellen’s own marriage.

Here’s a quote from a lovely New Yorker piece which gets it right, in my opinion, on this cultural controversy.

“There are people in the world, after all, whom it is better not to befriend. Consider, for example, the person of George W. Bush. Tens of thousands of people are dead because his administration lied to the American public about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and then, based on that lie, launched a war that’s now in its 16th year. After Hurricane Katrina struck and hundreds of people drowned in New Orleans, Bush twiddled his thumbs for days. Rather than fire the officials responsible for the government’s life-threateningly lackluster response to the crisis, he praised them, before flying over the scene in Air Force One. He opposed basic human rights for LGBT people, and reproductive rights for women, and did more to empower the American Christian right than any president since Reagan.

George W. Bush’s presidency wasn’t just morally bankrupt. In a superior reality, the Hague would be sorting out whether he is guilty of war crimes. Since our international institutions have failed to punish, or even censure him, surely the only moral response from civil society should be to shun him.”

Ellen’s apology is merely performative act of civility, one that only rich people like Ellen can partake in, to abstract from the consequences of a brutal history rooted in oppression, racism, and imperialism. She is kind to the powerful, those who have changed the rules of the game, instead of being kind to the powerless.

“It’s about avoiding messy social confrontations and awkwardness by being nice to those who have made the world a worse place.” (As found here in Vox.)

Bush isn’t your Republican neighbor, but a 8-year imperial President who inflicted massive bouts of violence upon communities around the world.

Back to the Supreme Court, a branch which conservatives have taken over since the 1970s. Our courts are stacked against progressives which I want to pursue law to reshape the future of the judiciary. Listen to an extremely helpful podcast by Vox called Progressives’ Supreme Court Problem.

LGBTQ Rights:

There’s a thing that conservatives like to hide behind when curtailing individual rights of marginalized communities through law. It’s called Textualism – it’s a style of jurisprudence, a way that judges read what’s written in law to apply to the circumstances of a live case or controversy. Textualists claim that their rationale for applying law in a certain way is rooted in the text of the Constitution. Many conservative justices hide under this view when having to rethink how the law applies to groups that have been marginalized and erased from history’s narrative.

In two upcoming Supreme Court cases on LGBT rights, these decisions may reshape the future of anti-discrimination law – and who the Constitution protects. Read about the legal showdown, here.

The petitioners are arguing that the word “sex” as written into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should extend protections to the LGBTQ community.

“Such a decision could also undercut other civil rights protections that the Supreme Court already recognizes — including, potentially, safeguards against sex stereotyping and sexual harassment.”

The problem is that the fate for these communities will be dictated by a conservative Supreme Court. In Tuesday’s oral argument of the case, Justice Gorsuch held onto his particular affinity for upholding the *true* textual meaning of the Civil Rights Act.

It is quite ironic that conservatives, who tightly grip the original text of the law, are now shying away from reading the word “sex” to extend protections to transgender individuals… who are being discriminated “because of sex.”

You can read more about Textualism here — Understanding the Role of Textualism and Originalism in the LGBT Title VII Cases.


During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, the talk of losing Roe v. Wade was almost a rallying cry amongst liberals. Senate members like Susan Collins were pushed by liberals who saw her as an ally to vote against Kavanaugh because, quite frankly, Kavanugh quite bluntly wants to take away the right to abortion (as expressed while he worked in the Bush White House).

He was created and bred by conservative ideologues within an insular ideological prism… there’s no question where his vote will sit on overturning Roe.

And it’s a ripe time to be a conservative Supreme Court justice in America. The Louisiana case June Medical Services v. Gee is set to be heard by SCOTUS, and it brings up the concept of “admitting privileges” in abortion clinics – which is not a direct threat to the circumstances in Roe, but gives the Supreme Court Justices significant leeway to strip back at abortion rights.

Conservatives have been implementing trap laws – states that make it really hard for women to access abortion – since Roe. These laws are a specific mechanism designed to not explicitly raise the question of Roe, but implicitly chip back at the legal right to abortion. (What are Trap Laws? Planned Parenthood)

The circumstances in Louisiana resemble the 2013 case of Whole Women’s Health – which struck down an abortion restriction unless it served a valid purpose to advance women’s health and safety. The only difference between 2013 and now… Kennedy is off the court, Kavanaugh is on. (Gorsuch filled Scalia’s vacant seat during this time, but it doesn’t shift the SCOTUS makeup.)

You can read about the possible pathways for the future of legal abortion here, by law professor Leah Litman.

Roe is in danger.

2020 Election:

Hi again. I’m here to inform you that Warren is officially the frontrunner – for the first time in this Presidential election cycle.

She’s leading in RealClearPolitics Poll. And in the Quinnipiac Poll.

You can read the 538Politics team’s slackchat on how the media is covering Warren, here.

Fired for pregnancy?

Circling on right-wing news sites, perhaps as a smear or naivety to the reality of woman’s role in society, there was an article on Free Beacon that suggested that Elizabeth Warren has been lying that she was fired for being “visibly pregnant” as a teacher.

This piece implied that Warren has been using this in stump speeches as a talking point to lie about her reality in her first year of teaching.

Warren pushed back against this conservative smear, speaking to the reality of her experience as a teacher and woman.

Discrimination is often coded, implicit, and it is normalized in many aspects of modern society. While pregnancy discrimination is illegal in the United States, women are still sharing stories to display that our individual rights — even when set in stone by law — are up for constant negotiation as a by-product of living in a male-dominated society.

Income Inequality:

Cancel Billionaires? I think yes – wealth inequality is anti-democratic and antithetical to a government that works for all of us.

Politicians like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, AOC want to enact a wealth tax — which is quite evidently sharing billionaires, tech execs, CEOs, and Wall Street — but it’s not just about funding social services in the United States.

“A growing body of economic and political-science research demonstrates that Gilded Age–type inequality does not just mean having too many with too little. It is warping the very social fabric of the country, stifling mobility, innovation, investment, and growth, and putting the country at political risk.”

What has caused this massive income gap between the top 1% and everyone else?

A lot of factors cause inequality, but most come from a post-Reaganomics era to deregulate finance, reward corporate greed, and cut back on funding programs which help average families in America.. who no longer can follow that illusion of an “American Dream” we’ve been brought up to believe. Read more on the really Rich, here.

Climate Change:

Just 20 corporate firms are fucking over the next generation’s future, as revealed here in the Guardian. Their emissions are disproportionately skyrocketing the CO2 emissions we’re seeing now, whereas you and I have a limited capacity to reduce our planet’s emissions.

“The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price – in the form of a degraded planet – so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits. It is a great moral failing of our political system that we have allowed this to happen.”

Read this piece in The New Yorker, which unravels the role of banking and finance in perpetuating the planet’s overreliance on fossil fuels.

“At the moment, the planet is on track to warm more than three degrees Celsius by century’s end, which one recent study found would do five hundred and fifty-one trillion dollars in damage. That’s more money than currently exists on the planet.”

Greta Thunberg, always doing something incredible: using her privilege and amplified voice in the climate movement to support the work of Indigenous communities.

How are we going to curtail climate change? Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that.

Warren’s climate policy is rooted in environmental justice, cutting into the concentration of power in the fossil fuel industry + takes from the Green New Deal’s overarching vision, but it signals a bigger shift: Democrats are voting on climate. Read about it here in Data for Progress, which releases really important data on the popularity of progressive political platforms.

I always turn to use DFP’s data when I get pushed back by centrist voters who think that some plans like the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, etc. are too ambitious. Data for Progress polls voters on these progressive policy visions, finding often that most Americans want these policies implemented in their real lives.

Plus, we miss you Jay Inslee.


Know what’s good for our health, happiness, and the planet? Working less.

On Four Day Work Week… “A 2012 study found that a 10% reduction in work hours may lead to declines in ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and CO₂ emissions by 12.1%, 14.6% and 4.2% respectively.”

Can You Age Backwards? Intermittent fasting, sleep cycles, hormonal regulation, 10,000 steps of walking — Dr. Mark Hyman sits down with Dave Asprey (an expert in biohacking) on how to reverse aging. I took a lot from this podcast as I get stuck in toxic loops, too. Though deep down I know that working out more, drinking coffee, etc. will only increase my cortisol, sometimes we feel like we keep have to do more or else we’re failing so it’s good to have reinforcement to slow down from experts in the health industry.

Keep your eye on the driver of destruction: fossil fuel. Try to unlearn the strategic individuation of responsibility that corporations want you to fall into to stay distracted as to what they’re causing in the world.

To those feeling burdened in a sea of consumer guilt, to those trying to do the right thing for the planet, to those feeling frustrated by the greed and concentration of power in the fossil fuel industry to create this in this fucked up state of the world… I leave you with this.

“The big polluters’ masterstroke was to blame the climate crisis on you & me. [W]e are embedded in a system of their creation–a political, economic & physical infrastructure that creates an illusion of choice while, in reality, closing it down.”

Thank you as always for reading! The film photos were from the Climate Strike, taken by @alex_stearns.

Sign-up to receive the next installation of my newsletter here, and follow my Instagram for more frequent updates! Love you all.

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