Things That Matter

A US-Backed Opposition Leader Has Declared Herself President Of Bolivia Amid Outrage At Her Comments About Indigenous Bolivians

Bolivia is unrest. Following the ultimate expulsion of former President Evo Morales, after allegations of election fraud swept the nation, and Morales’ eventual flee to Mexico, conservative opposition leader Jeanine Añez declared herself interim president. Following her announcement clashes and protests from both supporters and detractors filled the streets. 

The country has been struggling to find a successor to Morales who was forced to step down after a marginal win in Bolivia’s presidential election triggered a recount. Morales shut down the recount and declared himself the victor, but after an Organization of American States reported there were irregularities and possible fraud, he resigned. 

Jeanine Añez declares herself the president of Bolivia.

Añez claimed the position of Senate leader which would put her next in line for the presidency and make her interim president. The move came after the three people ahead of her quit.

However, at the time she did not have a quorum (the legal minimum necessary to make it official) present due to a boycott by Morales’ Movement for Socialism party. Although it is unofficial, she stood on the balcony of the presidential palace wearing a presidential sash and holding a copy of the Bible — which had been banned from the building by the Morales administration. 

“My commitment is to return democracy and tranquility to the country. They can never again steal our vote,” Añez said after declaring herself president. 

Añez quickly got to work appointing cabinet members and leaders of the armed forces. She insisted in her first address that her role is strictly “provisional.”

“This is a transitional government,” Añez told CNN. “Obviously, as soon as we can, we will call general elections so the Bolivian people can have a president elected by us in a democratic manner.”

Protests break out in protest of Añez’s declaration.

Protests broke out in La Paz, Bolivia’s main city, to oppose Añez’s presidency. The demonstrators were confronted by riot police who used tear gas while they retaliated with smoking containers and rocks. Morales, who is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, insisted those who opposed Añez were his supporters and a part of anti-colonial struggle. 

“We energetically condemn the coup d’etat in Bolivia, perpetrated by the army and oligarchs opposed to the government of our brother President Evo Morales,” said Rigoberta Menchu, an indigenous rights activist said. 

Although Morales did benefit indigenous folks by reducing poverty rates, he rewrote Bolivia’s laws to run for a second term and then did so a third time claiming his first term did not count. He would reign for 14 years the longest in Bolivia’s presidential history. Many felt he was becoming increasingly authoritarian despite some wins for indigenous peoples. 

Indigenous folks have a right to concerned about an Añez presidency.

“This coup d’etat that has triggered the death of my Bolivian brothers is a political and economic plot that came from the US,” Morales said.

Although Morales may not have been best for Bolivia, detractors of Añez have valid concerns as well. The conservative is married to the leader of a “Colombian conservative party with historic ties to paramilitary groups,” according to The Nation. 

“The potential return of a conservative government after Morales’ 14-year rule has brought with it a resurgence of a virulent strain of anti-indigenous hatred with deep roots in Bolivia, reminiscent of the country’s ‘gas wars,'” the publication notes. “The toppling of Morales’s government threatens a potential return to anti-indigenous violence.”

The United States and Bolivian officials recognize Añez.

The United States extended its support to the new government as did Bolivia’s military and courts.

“We will guarantee the security of the constitutional government,” Army General Orellana Centellas said in support of Añez. 

According to the New York Times, Añez’s presidency was backed by Bolivia’s Constitutional Court. United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement. 

“The United States applauds Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez for stepping up as Interim President of State to lead her nation through this democratic transition, under the constitution of Bolivia and in accordance with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” Pompeo said. 

“We look forward to working with the Organization of American States, Bolivia’s civilian constitutional institutions, and the Bolivian people as they prepare to hold free, fair elections as soon as possible. We call on all parties to protect democracy during the coming weeks and to refrain from violent acts against fellow citizens and their property.

 Whether Añez can garner support from political allies is unclear. Bolivians, on the other hand, have engaged in violent protests to defend their addled democracy, without their support any future candidate will have to face their ire.

Researchers Say That You Aren’t Gaining Weight Because Of Your Birth Control

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Researchers Say That You Aren’t Gaining Weight Because Of Your Birth Control

@tanzacochran / Twitter

Like anatomy in general, birth control can be intimidating, confusing, and even a little scary. But it doesn’t have to be! While there are endless ideas about how birth control affects the body (it gives you acne, it makes you gain weight, it changes your moods, lo que sea), the truth is that everyone’s experience is different. For some, all of these claims might be true—and for others, none of them may be. Yet although each form of birth control impacts individuals in unique ways, there are definitely certain trends to watch out for. So if you’re curious about how birth control might affect your body, get ready for some seriously helpful—and possibly surprising!—information.

For years, many healthcare providers and users of birth control have believed that hormonal methods can lead to excessive weight gain. While bodies fluctuate and weight gain happens naturally for lots of different reasons, people often avoid this type of contraception—which includes the patch, the pill, monthly shots, and some IUDs—in order to avoid that alleged extra poundage.

However, many decades of research seem to dispel the myth that hormonal birth control leads to weight gain.

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A 2014 review of 49 trials comparing 52 different birth control methods led to the conclusion that neither pill nor patch caused significant weight gain. Although “the evidence was not strong enough to be sure that these methods did not cause some weight change,” the reviewers found “no major effect on weight.”

Some studies focused on the combined pill (a version of the pill that contains many different—and often synthetic—hormones), while others investigated pills containing real progesterone, a hormone that our bodies naturally produce. The result was clear: no matter the contents, neither type of pill has a side effect of weight gain. Why, then, do we associate a higher number on the scale with the use of contraception?

According to Maria Gallo, an endocrinologist at Ohio State University who co-authored the review, the notion of weight gain as a symptom of birth control is rooted in a natural human bias.

Credit: Womenshealth.gov

Gallo suggests that when people are influenced by certain ideas or patterns (for example, if a small number of people report gaining weight after starting a new medication), those ideas seem to manifest in real life—even if the data doesn’t support those observations.

“It’s the same reason why there’s this idea that vaccines can cause health problems,” says Gallo. “If you give them to a population, you’re going to have some people who have health problems, whether they’re linked to the vaccine or not.”

In regard to the connection between weight and the pill, Gallo acknowledges that adults of both sexes gain roughly a pound each year, beginning in our early twenties. She points out that this is also the age when people start using contraception. Yet while Gallo asserts that the pill-weight connection is ultimately a myth—and that weight gain is likely attributed to different external factors—she confirms that the pill definitely does change the body in other ways.

Reviews indicate that birth control can change a body’s shape and composition, affecting muscle growth, fluid retention, and overall fat distribution.

Credit: Pinterest

A 2009 study showed that women taking a pill with a certain type of synthetic progesterone were unable to achieve their desired muscle gains. The fake progesterone, it turns out, was competing with a natural hormone called DHEA, which helps promote muscle growth. The impact of the synthetic progesterone kept women from meeting their desired fitness goals, because without a certain amount of DHEA, their bodies were incapable of supporting new muscle development.

On top of that, another study found that different hormones have different effects on fat cells. Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for feminine features, like wide hips, breasts, and booty. The fat that lives on these parts of the body is called subcutaneous fat, and it contains a large number of estrogen receptors. So, the study demonstrated that pills with higher estrogen levels often resulted in more subcutaneous fat and, therefore, a more “pear-shaped” silhouette.

And finally, the puffy feeling we all know too well—bloating—may also be a symptom of the pill. While we might feel bloated after un par de tacos or a big bucket of movie popcorn, that sensation is different than bloating caused by hormones. Estrogen impacts the way our bodies metabolize water, so high-estrogen birth control methods can make the body retain more fluid. Sometimes, this fluid seeps into fat cells, causing them to swell and create the illusion of weight gain. This means that while we may not actually be gaining weight, our clothes might fit differently, and we may feel sort of uncomfortable.

All in all, birth control can absolutely impact the way your body functions—it’s designed to do that! The trick is understanding your own body and finding a method that works for you and keeps you feeling healthy.

Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

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Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

@newsmax / Twitter

Kellyanne Conway is as famous for being a counselor to the president as she is for her bizarre word-gymnastics. Who could forget her infamous coining of the term “alternative facts” when arguing about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd in 2017. One thing Conway is not well-known for, however, are her jokes.

On Monday, Conway made an appearance on the popular cable news morning show Fox & Friends to discuss the impeachment hearings that President Trump is embroiled in. Conway, being who she is, arrived on the program with a veritable vault of sound bites ready to be dispensed at the right opportunity. One of these unfortunate soundbites was a hybrid Christmas/impeachment joke that was lame enough to make the dorkiest of dads cringe.

“For all the incredible buying power in this Trump economy, you know what Americans are not buying this holiday season? Impeachment,” she quipped. 

The joke was in response to a question a Fox & Friends co-host posed about whether it was a “tough decision” for Trump’s lawyers to refuse to participate in the impeachment hearings. After insisting that it was “not a tough decision”, Conway launched into a lengthy diatribe, denouncing Trump’s impeachment as “an unconstitutional, illegitimate engagement”. 

Usually a receptive audience, even the Fox & Friends anchors didn’t seem to be impressed with her attempt at word-play. But Conway didn’t stop there. She continued her amateur stand-up routine by likening the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to Inspector Clouseau (the star of “The Pink Panther” franchise).

“If [Nadler] knew what the charges were…we would already know what were in the articles of impeachment,” she told the morning show. “Why is he playing a game of Inspector Clouseau secret squirrel?” 

And as if that weren’t enough, Conway continued her tirade against the House Judiciary committee, virtually filibustering on the illegitimacy of the impeachment. Conway claimed that Democrats were making Trump “a victim to lots of Americans” who just want to “get on with the business of the country”. Conway posited that if Democrats were so convinced of Trump’s guilt, then “why in the world do [they] spend fifteen hours on Saturday and Sunday trying to figure out what the strategy is for today?”.

Conway, never one to back down from some screen-time, continued on her tirade even when a co-host tried to cut off her rambling speech. “Were [the Democrats] at soup kitchens?” she asked, becoming visibly more unhinged as she continued to speak. “Were they at districts putting wreaths on veteran’s graves? Were they there telling seniors how they’re going to lower their prescriptions drugs? Were they there covering the pot holes? Getting the 5G broadband to kids who don’t have it in rural America? No! They were huddled here in the nation’s capital on your dime wasting your time on more impeachment…”

For all the jokes Conway made at the expense of Democrats, if there’s one person who’s not laughing this week, it’s President Trump.

According to Trump’s lawyers, they are refusing to participate in the impeachment proceedings due to the lack of “any semblance of a fair process” by the House Judiciary Committee. As a refresher, The House Judiciary Committee  decided to move forward with impeaching President Trump after releasing a 300-page report detailing the relationship between Trump and Ukraine. This makes Trump the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached.

As for what many people on Twitter weren’t “buying”, it was Conway’s misrepresentation of the facts.

Conway always has  a way of spinning reality, but nonetheless, it’s still irksome to hear her spouting “alternative facts” on national television.

This person didn’t seem to agree on Conway’s assertion that Americans don’t agree with Trump’s impeachment:

Her claim that Democrats are making Trump a “victim” in the eyes of the American people is dubious, at best. 

This person took issue with Conway calling the impeachment “illegitimate”.

 https://twitter.com/Slartyb63689892/status/1204281120679854081?s=20

It’s not easy to impeach a president. Considering the many scandals that Trump has been involved with since taking office (and before as well), many people would consider the impeachment is a long-time-coming.

This person was skeptical of Conway’s polling data, when there is public evidence suggesting the contrary. 

According to aggregate polling site fivethirtyeight.com, 47.4% Americans support Trump’s impeachment while 45.6% oppose it.

This person coined a new term:

Although we’ve never heard the phrase “Impeachmas” before, we agree that it has quite a nice ring to it.