More Issues That Seem to Keep Prevailing in This Country

I don’t know if I can make this post, or any post for that matter, short because I know how much we all find political stuff boring since it feels like we’re just repeating the same thing over and over. However, I’m going to outline some bad experiences I’ve had on several social media platforms and sometimes in person, and some remedies I came up with right on the spot to try and combat them.
About six or seven years ago, I was out and about late one week night in the down-town area of the metropolis. I had previously gotten left behind because I didn’t know that my group had evidently left, nor in which direction they had gone. So, not knowing how bad things could get, I eventually made my way (with some assistance) back to the dorms. On the way in, however, this rando stopped me and grabbed onto my left shoulder and spoke to me gruffly. I felt very vulnerable at that point because there were several of them just hanging out on the porch, probably beyond drunk, stoned, high, or whatever. I’ve heard horror stories about harassers and predators on the news, and, to my dismay, my phone had previously gotten wet, so I couldn’t use it for gathering evidence. Although I’ve only had one near miss, I sometimes tighten up inside every time I’m walking and hear guys shouting and swearing angrily, which hasn’t happened all too often fortunately. Still, being in the vicinity of guns and fireworks sometimes scare me and I end up getting paranoid.
About three or four years ago, I’ve read some books featuring fictional victims along with a connection to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). There were some things that I particularly found fascinating, especially after I read another series later on. If you remember from my earlier post about how babies slowly develop consciousness, and how they mostly operate on autopilot until that happens, sometimes I wonder if an abusive experience could be so traumatising to the point the brain would be able to suppress it completely. It’s absolutely true that when a person is traumatised, they can’t remember a lot of details except for the main ones, which suggests that the brain uses a network of neurones to store gross details and eliminate fine ones. By the way, the two books that I first read were Hopeless and Losing Hope, good choice of words! Then I later learned about a series that was set in my home state of Oregon, called The Programme. Sometimes, especially when our brains are capable of remembering everything as we get older, we let our experiences eat away at our inner core. Still, you might never be too old to suppress a bad experience. But, knowing what I went through nearly three years ago gives a perfect example of how dwelling on it can really change your brain chemistry. I’ve heard researchers trying to invent a prototype that was similar to the one used in The Programme, including using light-sensitive proteins to guide them in mapping out memory cells.
When I went to attend a festival over at Gala Choruses in Denver, Colorado, I came up with a brilliant idea that it was a wonder how it had slipped my mind when I could’ve done this a lot sooner. This was of course if I could make it work legally. Fortunately, many laws have this loophole. My idea was to keep a daily record of my activities in audio form, and sometimes video, if it were warranted. I call it the #RecordYourDay campaign. Now, in almost all states, you can say that at least one person must consent to the recording, which can be constrewed as the person making the recording. Unfortunately, Oregon is not one of them. Here’s why. I once read an article about how the military was concerned that Furbies had the ability of recording or eavesdroping on their conversations. That’s why I believe in recording police brutalities, especially when dealing with unarmed people of colour. Or, why victims of bullies should wear body cams and stuff when the bully turns around and pretends to be the victim to get the real victim in trouble.
Anyway, last year sparked a lot of high-profile controversies about whether famous cisgender heterosexual male celebrities had been taking advantage of certain minority groups in the entertainment and legal industries. This was probably caused by the aftermath of the 2016 election, though it could’ve just as well been caused by a completely unrelated incident. At any rate, a new trend started popping up on social media called the #MeToo movement. Although this is slightly extraneous, I came up with an idea for an invention back in 2015, but when I looked it up, I saw that it was already being considered. I was going to call it an anti-rape device, but surprisingly, someone else had beat me to it. So, for those on my Facebook who were in abject defeat following the approval of a new judge in late 2018, I knew I had to think fast on how best to respond. We should all have the right to be righteously angry. However, it always amazes me (and not in the good sort of amazed) that people truly think we want to make these things up, that we truly want to say that someone (or someones) said or did disgusting things to our body (which could prompt other people to say or do those things), and now they say that women and transgender people need mental help because we’re angry all the time. Screw that. They truly think we want to risk mockery at best, ongoing harassment, job loss, and physical violence at worst? They truly think this? Yeah, I think they do…because they believe the way the media has sensationalised narcissism and other personality disorders, and they’re more than ready to slap those labels on people who are saying things they don’t want to believe are true. I believe it is bottom-of-the-barrel despicable for the president of the United States to mock anyone at one or more of his disgusting ego-building rallies. His mockery is a symptom of the problems plaguing our country from the top down. Anger is important as it motivates us to keep fighting. I also dislike it when some women are like, ‘Oh, well just don’t bother him when he’s drunk’, or ‘If you had just kept your mouth shut, this wouldn’t have happened.’ Seriously! Why do they let these guys walk over them, and then blame you afterword? That is seriously demented, and if anybody says it was just nothing, that those guys were just paying you a compliment, screw that, too!
Some time in September 2018, a new supreme court justice was nominated. However, someone decided to hault the progress by testifying in front of the congressional committee. You can see the testimony for yourself.

People have a right to believe or to not believe, and that is fine. However, everyone was blaming her for coming forward after 30 plus years. But, nobody seemed to be blaming the males who came forward after 30 plus years regarding priests molesting them, like in the recent Catholic church scandal. So, if nothing else, it’s  a double standard. Some people think he’s lying and others think she’s lying. There is absolutely NO irrefutable evidence. All any of us have is her word and his word. It’s the same with Stormy. You probably don’t have any proof, it just rings true. The same goes for Roy Moore. I think one or two of those women had something happen to them by Moore. But then, all these cockroaches come out of the walls and dilute the real accusations. Cosby was found guilty, and I think that was the right verdict, but he had evidence presented in the court of law and was found guilty by his peers. Presumption of innocence is mandatory. It’s the constitution. RAINN has some pretty good information on the topic. Sometimes, this thing about treating people as innocent until proven guilty is so warped that you might as well be treated guilty until you were proven innocent. This has happened one too many times with framings and other things.
Since a lot of attention by the media is chiefly focused on the alleger, I think it is equally important to consider how the alleged person might be feeling, even if you don’t think they are worthy of consideration. If that is how you feel, then you are probably biased towards that person. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience and found it easier to sympathise. This is a huge problem in this country when one is attempting to select an equitable jury panel for a high-profile case. Although the media is free to impose upon such cases based on the first amendment, I believe there should be some restrictions to prevent the media from covering these things until a vertict has been reached and the case was at an end. Of course, no one can stop any juror from seeking information from outside sources. However, if you stopped for a minute and really thought about it, then why in the world would you expect Judge Kavanaugh not to be emotional and pissed? Just once, think of what it must be like to have someone lie about you to the world. The whole entire world. Because that’s where he’s coming from. Unless she had clear, concrete, and consistent evidence, that went all the way through, along with reliable witnesses, I cannot find any legal basis to accredit Ford’s testimony. That is not to say that I am invalidating her unsubstantiated and uncorroborated story; I just don’t see any way she could’ve won. She couldn’t tell you when it happened, where it happened, who was there, how she got there, how she got home, and who the people were at the party… well, except Kavanaugh. She could only tell you what happened, and of course, only fate knows why. So, we are to take this as the adequate burden of proof. This is America. Due process is a fundamental principle of our nation when the constitution was ratified. This witch hunt was orchestrated by the Democratic National Committee and nearly destroyed a man, his career and his family. Of course he was pissed. This stunt could’ve made him lose everything. You can say what you want about ford’s and Kavanaugh’s testimony–her story stinks to high heaven, he could’ve been pummeled with death threats, her accusations had no merit, and so on and so on. My point here is that I want to convince people to really think with an open mind and stop jumping to conclusions because of how the media portrayed a certain group of individuals.
I’ll give you another example that someone had expressed on the same platform. It was evident by this person’s demeanour towards Kavanaugh that they were influenced by information that could only be described as hearsay. What supposedly happened was that Kavanaugh had made some decisions regarding pregnant women with developmental disabilities, and how he encouraged their guardians to consider abortion. Of course, many disability rights advocates would argue that no matter how severe one’s mental capacity was, that person still had a right to speak their opinion in whatever way possible. Others would argue that it was medically necessary because the person was mentaly or developmentally unstable. My point here was that this person had gotten this story from a a media source, and since they generally tend to be extremely biased, I suggested that said person call the courthouse directly and purchase an audio record of that case, so as to get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This article, as well as this second article do a pretty good job at explaining how we should choose our battles in life.
Now, here’s another perfect example of why we have such high standards in this country, and why it is further exacerbated by instant gratification. About a year ago, someone told me that they had read an article in which a female had consensual sex with a male, but for whatever reason, she disliked him to the point she fabricated stories in order to slander and defame his character by claiming that he had raped her. Of course, you’d expect everybody to immediately sympathise with her. Still, there are no words to express how the behaviour of so many is causing such anguish. There was a time when we all depended on our fathers and forefathers, our grandfathers, our husbands, boyfriends, or any other male-identified figure to fight for our freedom. A freedom to love, to work and worship as we please. Now Now to hear that our own disgusting leader flagrantly mock a somebody who had the courage to tell their story, to listen to a contemptuous crowd egg the mocker on, to basically be told that women don’t seem to matter? As you say, to daily see the way the disabled are disregarded? I just cannot fathom this.  I am not a cynic, (or I try not to be), but there are just times that sicken me.  I know that the higher power will make things right in the end, but being patient is so hard. I completely and totally agree, which is partly why I bothered writing a post about it. It’s to raise awareness. It’s to call out bullshit. It’s to let people know that this ugliness happens, and women–or at least anyone who identifies as female–aren’t going to take it silently any more. But You know what, some conservatives label liberals as entitled. The truth is, it’s the conservatives who are entitled, especially the white, straight, cisgender men. They are entitled to act and speak as they please with impunity. They have been taught from day 1 that no matter what they do, they’re at the top of the food chain, even now when they are the minority. It’s no wonder why they are feeling threatened. This country, not to mention the majority of our societies, are extremely patriarchal and male-dominated. And, part of the reason I don’t really like feminism is because although they claim to advocate for equality, the truth is that they only want to advocate for female domination, and they end up turning misandristic. So, what would happen if we had the same male gender, but of a different type? What if we had more gay men lead the nation?

Before I conclude this post, I’d love for you to all head over to Pete’s campaign and sign up to become a volunteer and a donor. We need all the support we can get if we are to help him reach the next level.
Stay safe and until next time!

An open letter to friends and family who are shocked to discover I’m a liberal… [reshare]

Not my words! Before I share this with you all, I wanted to let you know that I added some comments to better illustrate how liberals can agree on the same thing but from different angles.

I’ve always been a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does.
Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

You got that right! So, what exactly does liberal mean? The dictionary defines it, as well as its origin, to be free from restraint, liberation, and progression. It is believed that the more one is informed about the advances of science, the more progressive one will be. Being conservative basically means keeping onto things like traditions and customs, conserving moral values, and often not keeping up with the sciences.

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilised when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as ‘I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.’ This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes ‘let people die because they can’t afford healthcare a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. *Canada and the UK seem to have little problem with this. Why?*
  3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt. *Many countries let you study core classes that pertain to your field. This is much like how homeschooled children would be taught. Teachers need to teach because they really want to teach, not because they want to collect a paycheque.*
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, get access to universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist. *I believe in a classless society where truly disabled people can get the help they need, while those with manageable disabilities or inconveniences can get the support needed to be successful. It’s like a scale; if you’ve got too much on one side, you can simply remove some of the weight until it was balanced. Then again, perhaps hierarchising disabilities might not be the best approach by all means.*
  5. I don’t throw around ‘I’m willing to pay higher taxes’ lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare… *or feeding our inmates who might as well be given the death penalty. We seriously need to get our government out of debt, or make it file for bankruptcy and start anew.*
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live. *In order for that to happen, though, we need to fix our economy.*
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. By the way, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognise my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not ‘offended by Christianity’ — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine. Just like it is illegal to sacrifice a person, it should also be illegal to impose restrictions that would be detrimental to human civilisation. *That obviously includes making so-called laws and policies that are unfavourable towards a minority group because of your religious upbringing.*
  8. I don’t believe that LGBTQ2SIA+ people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the same rights as you. *The same applies to all other minorities; that’s why I believe in the #AllLivesMatter movement.*
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re ‘stealing’ your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I’m not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). *There are certain Green Card eligibilities that pertain to skills in the science and art, as well as those seeking immediate refuge under the Violence Against Minorities Act. Besides, what would be the point of building a massive wall across the Southern border? It not only shows that you are discriminating against Mexicans, but it’s a largely flawed idea. Determined people would find ways over, under, and around it.*
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products, practices, etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation. We are actually doing much worse than we are for future generations if we continue destroying this planet. *But, George Carlin said that this planet has been through times much worst than we have. If you watch Legally Blonde II, or as I call it, Politically Blonde, you can get a good taste of how strong corporations are, and what could happen if we made animal testing illegal unless they were ethical, or what could happen to the economy if we outlawed cigarettes. It’s a wonder why we make so many laws that are favourable to corporations, but not so much for the consumer. Just look at net neutrality! That’s why we need to come up with alternative practices that are moral and ethical, and obviously something that will benefit everyone.*
  11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past. *My question then is, why do some people still believe in the confederate flag? What would happen if we had a dictator who was extremely smart and ethical?*
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, cisgender male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalised. WE must also have a fighting force that is open to everyone. *That includes making compulsary military service the same as jury duty–no one person should be given preferential treatment because of their assigned sex or gender. Similarly, if anybody tells you that they don’t like white Africans (those who talk ghetto), well, I’ve got news for you, buddy. All of us, our entire species, actually originated in Africa, at least by evidentiary record kept by scientists. So, whether you are white, Asian, or anything like that, then you are still an African, and so am I, because we are Africans by origin; we just moved around every few generations.*
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine). *I am thinking of requiring tests the way driving and ham radio do, but owning a gun is currently seen as a right, not a privilege, so having guns out in public would put others at risk. However, that is not to say that you have the right to use your gun in public irresponsibly without some training. I also proposed the idea of having smart guns with advanced sights and tracking, but many people have strong oppositions to the government spying and encroaching on their privacy, not to mention that they are supersticious about the mark of the beast because I suggested we use biometric sensors.*
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness *and euphemisms.* I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate or less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? *Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, take a moment to feel it from another person’s perspective.* How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person? *I always like transparency. I do not want to use words that are vague or misleading, or that tend to screen out a particular group of individuals, which is why I will explain why you should say this instead of that. I know what some people will say..stick and stones will break my bones. Not always true! Also, I am extremely opposed to using gender exclusive language and will do whatever it takes to eradicate it, even if I have to make sacrifices for the way I approach the issue. This means that you cannot say things like he or she, he/she, s/he, etc. unless you also included a gender-inclusive pronoun. You will also not say men and women, women and men, unless you also said and those in between. So, beware, you have been warned!*
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else. *Yeah, why don’t you do us a big favour and get an amateur radio licence, so you can just learn how to build your own self-containing life support system? As a matter of fact, that’s what the International Space Station is using for their power source, plumbing, food, and air supply. Go here for the perfect example.*
  16. I believe that women (cisgender and transgender) should not be treated as a separate class of humans. They should be paid the same as everyone else and who do the same work, should have the same rights as everyone else and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be? *What about including our nonbinary folks, i.e. those who identify as neither male or female? We should also be using more harmony-based vocabulary, like saying reproductive choices instead of abortion, as Pete Buttigieg once said. I’m sure he said this because some trans-men may not like the term abortion, and because abortion generally has unwanted connotations. Also, don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t want anything having to do with feminism. I personally find that term as arrogant as the #BlackLivesMatter. If you really want true equality, consider using the term egalitarianism or equalism.*
  17. *And, speaking of abortion, I have my own outside-the-box views on the matter. I think we need to consider medical abortions, i.e. abortions that are medically necessary as a human right, which would therefore make non-medical abortions a privilege. I also believe that as artificial wombs are further developed, we could transplant the foetus without killing it. If the government only funded medical abortions, then it would be your responsibility to cover a non-medical abortion. If you can’t afford it, too bad! Consider adoption, instead. Yes, I know that some people used to end pregnancies using coat hangers, but I would strongly discourage such practice. Also, think about it this way. If you let yourself get knocked up at a party without protection, you have made an irresponsible decision that will irreversibly change your life forever. The baby didn’t ask to be brought into this world or give consent, it was your own carelessness that did it! So, you might as well enjoy your work, or consider adoption. Now, if you were raped in the legal sense, you might have a different story to tell. Bottom line is. I believe in pro-choice, not pro-life or pro-birth or whatever.*

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.
So, I’m a liberal.

Some thought-provoking thoughts on our political system

Hello, my faithful readers.
Today I thought I’d give you all a quick reality check regarding our current political dilemma by sharing something I saw on Facebook a couple months back. After you read this, feel free to watch the supplemental video.

Civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, ADA, social security, it’s all a hustle. They happened because lawyers insisted the LETTER OF THE LAW be followed, and judges and congress went along. 
Word, the constitution, bill of rights, and the declaration our republic was founded on were not built for all y’all. The words written were of, by, and for the people who wrote them. They were the elite white, Christian cisgender heterosexual males with money, status, and power. They looked around the room at all the other household names, people with servants and concubines, people who could sign for anything they wanted, people with so much land they’d likely never seen it all in some cases, and they built a country for themselves. 
That they ended up hoisted by their own petard, their descendants forced to share a little of the great bounty of a continent was not what they expected.  It was a clever game taking advantage of the rule of law. 
They didn’t build it for us. They built it for themselves, and their natural heirs, names you know, people with jets and metric shit tons of money.  Insisting on equality against such a backdrop  is as foolish as the child who insists on having their own money. They pat ’em on the head and give them a quarter to make their bed, something they made them do anyway, then charge them thirty cents for lunch. 
Until and unless we confront the very nature of the republic, we are still playing a game, running a con, hustling the hustlers who set the whole thing up. 
If we are to have equality of opportunity and equitable allocation of resources, we must first call the game what it is, then rewrite the rules. Otherwise we make our beds and go in debt for lunch, and the adults snicker behind our backs and pat us on the head.
I hear you.  The more I peel this onion, the more I realize it is, like an onion, the same all the way to the core. 
Western and middle eastern cultures, those based on abrahamic traditions, are sorting systems through and through. I don’t know enough about eastern religion to comment too much on those. 
When your culture is based on a sorting of “us vs them”, damned vs saved, when that is a basic tenet, you’re pretty screwed to build an inclusive society in anything more than name only. 
I’m kinda an oddball. I was 11 years old when I questioned the catholic dogma of salvation through baptism and confession. It was 1967, and I’d seen the iconic photographs of Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire in protest of the war. I asked how it was that obvious martyrs very like those I’d learned about in my catholic school were not going to heaven because they were not catholic. That seemed so arbitrary and immoral to my 11 year old self I couldn’t accept it. I
Left the church soon after, convinced that arbitrary sorting based on the luck of birthplace and what church your parents take you to was nothing I could honor. 
Though a working class kid, first in a small town then out in farm country, I learned the redneck code, and the ethnic sorting of the mill town, where Italians and polish  and Puerto Rican’s and blacks had their own neighborhoods, yet a half Irish, half French Canadian and Mohawk kid didn’t really belong in any of them. In the rural area I learned the Methodist and baptist churches looked down on one another, and both derided Catholics. They only all agreed on one thing, those who were not members in good standing of one of the above were “lowlifes”, to be avoided. Hello, present and accounted for. Now watch me dust your asses on the regents exam. But I didn’t get many party invites, don’t ya know. 
Military service and college and living in different parts of the country and later in the Caribbean, exposure to cultures from around the world, working in industries as varied as teaching “educable retarded” to running a literacy agency, to my own shooting sports accessories business, to working as a contractor, I’ve worn all the shirts and hats, spoken the lingo, and followed the party lines, all the while aware that I was an imposter, a chameleon, the devil walking among them. 
In my quiet times I wrote a fair bit, never too deep, lest I blow through the veneer. 
What I learned is this. If you’re looking for GOOD people, there is no magic formula. You can get stabbed in the back in a sanctuary or university conference room as easily as in an alley. They just use different tools. 
I’ve learned to live my life loyal only to one race, the human race, without regard to anybody’s version of who the cool kids are. I’ve been treated well and badly by about every stripe of people you can pigeonhole. If they’re consuming energy and oxygen, they’re somebody, and have value. Some do terrible things they get locked up for. Some get to live in houses on top of hills after committing atrocities. Good people are where you find them. Any effort to stratify and exclude based on unearned characteristics is bullshit, only works for the chosen as long as they can keep it, and is unfair on its face.
For those of us by definition less able than the fully fit, understanding  where we fit in the mindsets of the dominant culture is a survival skill. If you don’t know what they’re thinking, how they allocate resources when it gets tight, you better be good looking, talented, and lucky.
Words are stunningly versatile things.
They have the ability either to create or to destroy, to lift us or to level us, to give us wings to crush us beneath their weight, to inspire us to reach
the loftiness parts of our nature or to drive us to the depths of our blackest darkness.
We know this from the way other’s voices have shaped us in both redemptive and debilitating ways.
The words of others can become for us the language for all we harbour unspoken in our hearts; every unfulfilled longing, each unhealed wound, every beautiful
aspiration, all the catalogued defeats, each perceived wrongdoing.
And the words of powerful people become catalysts for revolutions; hubs around which multitudes gather in tribes of affinity to create the world they dream
of, whether hopeful or horrific. Religious prophets and pop stars and political leaders all tap into the hearts of people in order to move those people’s
convictions from heart to hand—to move them.
Cesar Sayoc is the logical manifestation of the language of this President.
He is the sum total of his every reckless insult, irresponsible untruth, and calculated attack; the disfigured Frankensteined monster, made from every
factless conspiracy theory and incendiary rally rant, each corrosive verbal attack on people of color and immigrants and women (cisgender and transgender) and the media.
Cesar Sayoc is the clear accumulation of a seemingly endless Presidential Twitter feed, filled with nonsensical ramblings, spewed from the head of a man
who feels no accountability for the collateral damage of his words—either on those who are his targets—or those weaponised by him against them.
The words of a President weigh more than perhaps anyone else’s. There is a gravity to the voices of our leaders that corporately shape us in ways few things
do. They have always determined the trajectory of our nation, carried us through unthinkable tragedy, clarified who we are as a people, driven us to reach
for dreams that we believed were beyond us.
The words of a President, when wielded responsibly and with decency, help us to tap into our shared humanity; to remind us of our interdependence, of our
commonalities, of the responsibility we have toward one another.
But when tossed around carelessly, the words of a President (like this President), ratify people’s phobias, stoke the fires of their bitterness, sanction
the violence they cultivate in their heads, legitimise their irrational bigotry toward their neighbours.
Cesar Sayoc isn’t a surprise.
He may be an terrifyingly extreme extension of this President’s words, but he finds himself on a long and growing continuum of millions of angry, scared,
unloved, people who believe the world has wronged them—and now have someone (the most powerful someone), to tell them that they are right.
Whether it’s in racial epithets screamed at strangers in traffic, xenophobic signs posted near voting booths, venomous racists social media diatribes from
grandmothers, xenophobic outbursts at holiday meals, or vans plastered with anti-media propaganda—monsters are being made by this President’s words.
Yes, words make things and they kill things.
Cesar Sayoc is the kind of monster this President has helped create in unhinged campaign rants and social media tantrums and “lock her up” chants” and
dehumanising rhetoric—and the worst of it all, is that he seems oblivious to his culpability, defiant in his outrage, and determined to double down, no
matter how many people he places in harm’s way.
He refuses to use his words for anything but division and injury and enmity, and so those so desiring war, those seeking consent, those who share his heart—find
licence to be horrible.
 This President is a monster-maker.
It’s time we admitted it.

Prepaid, Postpaid, Loans, Credit Cards: What They Are, and Why You Should Care

As I mentioned in my last post, I said that I would briefly explain the main differences between prepaid and postpaid. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding between the two models, and why there are pros and cons to each approach, or why you should even bother with them. I endeavour to approach this rather complicated world of investments and loans by using analogies that even a sixth grader can understand.
Okay, suppose you went to McDonalds, and you ordered a meal. They tell you how much it is, and you pay for it. Then you eat your meal and you are done. In this example, you paid before you got your product or service. Pre means before. That is the case for the majority of transactions you will be familiar with.
Now, suppose you went to a fancy restaurant or a bar. You get a menu of items, and you tell the wait staff to get you what you want. They give it to you, and you eat it. Then, the bill arrives, and you have to pay for it. In this example, the staff trusted you to pay for their product or servivce after you had used it. This is because with this, you are paying after you had eaten your meal, not before. Post means after. This is a slightly less common type of transaction you will see on a daily basis. Note, with the advent of worldwide delivery apps in today’s today’s technology, this will gradually dwindle. But, why would a restaurant use this approach in the first place? Traditionally, restaurants were made so you could choose what you wanted from a menu. The food would be prepared, but since it is not fast-food, it had to be done pretty slowly. While you ate, you could request more items until you were satisfied. All that required a means of keeping track of what you had and for how much. Additionally, some guidelines were made about how to properly tip the person waiting on you. If you couldn’t afford to pay for your bill, you had to work it out by washing dishes in most cases. Some hotels wouldn’t let you have a room without paying for it in advance if you didn’t have any luggage with you.
But, I digress. So, how does all this apply to loans, phones, credit cards, and stuff like that? Lots! Using our two examples, here are just a few more analogies.
If I went to a store and asked to get a prepaid phone, the first thing I am going to look at are the prices, and whether it is on a monthly value plan, or pay only as needed. A monthly value plan is when you pay for the service every month before you actually begin to use it. However, if you’re one of those people who don’t always use a phone every month, you can set up an as-needed arrangement. This is when you manually add credit to use the service whenever you need it the most. Since you’re paying for the services before you actually use them in these two examples, they are both called prepaid. Now, here’s what happens if you don’t pay for the next month, or if your minutes or whatever runs out. Since it is prepaid, they won’t charge you anything, since you had used something which you had paid for in advance.
So, now you might be thinking, why would I still have unlimited calling or texting if it was prepaid? Let me explain. We’ll use the following example. Let’s say that you purchased a package to go swimming at a pool for one month. The service is unlimited. It costs a hundred dollars. You handed that over to the cashier, and they gave you a pass. If you have that pass, and if it is still within the month, you will have unlimited access to the swimming pool. When the month runs out, you’ll no longer have access to the pool. You don’t have to pay anything, since you’ve already paid everything in advance.
Here’s another little concept that people usually don’t tell you about. Let’s say you found a really neat gadget that you just had to get, but it was way out of your budget. Normally, a post-paid arrangement would be made. But, did you know that you can sometimes pay the amount in smaller chunks and then get the item? Well, that is actually possible. This is called a layaway. The downside to this is that you will most likely have to pay a deposit to ensure that the seller will not give the item to someone else. It’s much like reserving your place at a hotel. The good news is that if you approach this carefully, you can also do this with some medical and cosmetic procedures not covered by insurance.
Now, here’s how postpaid really works, because it has some unique properties that are not found in prepaid concepts, whether this applies to limited or unlimited services. Think about it this way. Calling, texting, and data are all considered services that rely on an underlying infrastructure. A plan is a set of one or more services. You have a plan consisting of all three, unlimited calling and texting (within the US), and three GB of data). Before we get onto the slightly confusing concept of postpaid products and services, though, here’s a bit of a history lesson on how the credit industry began.
First of all, what is credit, anyway? Well, credit means to lend, in a way, with complete trust. If you do something amazing you want others to give you credit for your achievement. So, when I credit you something it means that I am taking your word for it and that I trust you or have belief in your accomplishments. That’s pretty much what the origin of the word means. If you remember from an earlier post, I talked about how civic virtue was a requirement, not an incentive in ancient rome, and how the government collapsed because of that.
There was a time when people would walk into a little general store, though it would usually be a well-known acquaintance or public figure; someone whose shopped there for many years. They often made purchases that were generally large enough to a point they couldn’t keep track of how much money they had. So, they would say, ‘I’ll pay you to-morrow if you’ll take my word for it.’ That was an extension of credit. The store credited the amount, which meant that the buyer had a debt, or debit, of said amount. Debit, by the way, comes from debt, but it has slightly different meanings depending on the context. When you debit a certain sum, you are basically saying that you are removing this amount from a person’s bank account.
Soon, charge accounts were started, and that was later followed by investing, which we won’t cover here. So, people asked the merchants to put the items on their charge accounts, and every month a bill or invoice would be sent to the debter until it was paid off. This continued for a number of decades or centuries until around the 1950’s. Until then, this was about the only way people have done it, and then came along a gentleman by the name of Hilton. we all know of him because of his hotels. He started buying all these credit accounts from stores and eventually became so widespread that businesses were in on the deal. Soon after, the credit industry was born.
One of the first charge cards were called the Hilton International card. Then came along the others, like American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Interestingly enough, the Chargers football team got their name and a lightning bolt for their symbol, not because they wanted to charge across the field, but it was because they were representing people who charged these cards. so, naturally, we needed to develop a system of knowing whether you or I were credit-worthy. That led to the formation of a credit repository that later became known as one of the three credit bureaus; Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.
So, here’s what’s going to happen when you first go to a postpaid company. They will ask your permission for them to collect some information from you, so they could check you out via a small background check using your personal information such as your name, date of birth, social security number (usually the last four digits) and your address. Since this company is risking itself with you, they have to make sure that you are a responsible borrower. I’ll explain why in a bit. So, they’ll use your social security number and other demographic information to identify you through those credit bureaus. The most common credit scoring system is called the Faire Isaac Company (FICO) score. It generally ranges from 350 to 850 points. There are other scoring models that are sometimes used, like Vantage Score. Think about it this way. Your credit score is basically like a GPA in school. It measures how responsible you are with people whom you borrow money from, or what grades you tend to make on average.
Let’s say that the following statements are true: You were someone who borrows money from me because you needed to cover an unexpected expense that you couldn’t afford to pay off. So you and I agreed that you would pay me back in full within six months by giving me a small portion of that sum. Let’s say I gave you six hundred dollars. You would pay me a hundred every month for six months, which adds up to the grand total. Let’s say that you’re very good at keeping track of this, so I am very confident that you will pay me back. As a result, you would have an A or B in borrowing money. So, your credit score would be around 750-850 points if it were an A. A B would be around 650-750 points. A C would be around 550-650 points, a d would be 450-550 points, and an F would be 350-450 points.
Many young people face a problem with not having credit, but there is hope! If you have a zero credit score, you have no grade, so lenders won’t know what to do with you. As an example, let’s say that I gave you the six hundred dollars. And let’s say you only paid back two hundred dollars, one each month, but after that you went off the radar, and you didn’t pay me back the rest. That’s a risk that all lenders have to face. So therefore, we would have to work out a form of security. The security is called a collateral. What kind of things do you have that are really valuable and are willing to give me if the amount of money you ask me is equal in value? Let’s say that your Cassio WK-1800 keyboard was pretty valuable and appraised it to be around $400. I gave you the four hundred, and you gave me the keyboard. The keyboard is worth the same amount I loaned you. Now, let’s say you paid me back only two hundred and went off the radar after that. Since you agreed to give me the keyboard, I would sell it to make up for the other two hundred that you failed to pay off. However, if you do manage to pay everything the debt in full, I will return the keyboard back to you. But, there is a catch. It not only cost me four hundred dollars, but I needed to be compensated for the loan as well. This is called an interest. This is how a lot of pawn shops work. Of course, you can always sell your items outright if you’d like. You can recognise pawn shops by their unique symbol.
As another example, let’s say I gave you a meal consisting of a Subway sandwich and a bag of chips. I gave them to you in advance, since you are really hungry. I would say that the meal is twelve dollars. But, let’s say you wanted more chips, so I got more of that for two dollars. Unfortunately, you only have twelve dollars with you, but because I got you another bag of chips, the total would be fourteen dollars. So, now you would owe me two dollars, since you already paid twelve dollars for the sandwich and first bag of chips. But you would still owe me the two for the extra bag of chips I gave you. So, you and I would work out a payment arrangement so that you could pay me back fifty cents a week. Note that this is just a hypothetical scenario that is very unlikely to happen. Let’s say that you agreed to pay me back by next month for four weeks. When that time arrived, and I still haven’t received anything, I might start charging you five cents for every day that you fail to pay me back after that. This is called a late fee. Sometimes it is also referred to as an interest rate, though this is usually fixed by something called an annual percentage rate and usually occurs when you only pay the minimum amount due. So, if $100 was the minimum amount for the loan of $400 that I gave you in the previous example, then I would charge interest, so you would be paying a little more than $100 per month.
Some time after credit cards came out, debit cards were introduced sometime between the 1970’s and 1990’s. Here’s an article that explains more. Generally, a merchant will be asked to collect money from a credit card transaction and be deducted a fee for doing so. If you charge a debit card as if it were a credit card, the transaction will show up as pending in your bank account. However, if you used a pin to conduct the transaction, then it becomes instant. Since most people say credit cards to assume all cards are either credit or debit, and since we don’t really know that, maybe saying bank card or payment card would make no distinction between the two.
One really good way to begin your credit history is to get a secured credit card from a bank or credit union. A security deposit is the same as a collateral. So, if you want a credit card with a credit limit of three hundred dollars, you would have to deposit three hundred dollars into a savings account, which will be held for you (usually for about a year) and then they will allow you to convert your account to an unsecured one. If you do well in about six months (in most cases), you can optionally choose to increase your credit limit by depositing more funds into the account.
Now, let’s say I just met you for the first time, and I didn’t have any prior information about you. Before I loaned you anything, I got permission from you to run a credit check, or hard enquiry. This will generally knock off a few points from your report. Then, to my amazement, I would see that you’ve had an impressive work history and that I would have no reason for denying you credit. That’s right! Employers and schools report information about you to all three credit bureaus, and there are more, but the more common ones are the big three.
But, what if you belong to a low-incidence disability population that is chronically underemployed? Fortunately, besides getting a secured credit card, there are a couple options. You can ask a trusted family member or close friend to add you as an authorised user. Although you will be making the payments yourself, it will still be their legal responsibility if you cannot afford to keep up for whatever reason. If you’ve heard of a cosigner, it doesn’t refer to cosign in math. Rather, it refers to someone whose credit is better than yours and has agreed to add their signature alongside yours. This is usually done with several types of loans.
Anyway, with postpaid services like cell phone or MiFi carriers, cable or satellite providers, etc. you usually have to agree to a two-year contract, which simply states that you will stick to it and pay for any extra usage of a limited service that surpasses the agreed-upon plan, and that you would pay for any late fees or things like that. You also agree to pay any early termination fees if you decide to break out of contract for any reason. Except in rare circumstances, the fees cannot be waived. As an example, I’ll tell you a true story. This was a few years ago when I was first starting to understand all this stuff. I was still unclear on it, and it resulted in major issues. So, my mother gave me the internet service, and I started using it non-stop. After a few months, my mother started getting bills that were way over the agreed contract. We didn’t find out why until I made excessive and pressured enquiries, and that’s when they finally told us that we were only limited to ten GB of data each month, but I kept going up to twenty or thirty instead. That’s why you have to be careful when choosing a service. You don’t want to be stuck with something when you know that you would most likely end up needing more than what you thought you needed. So never go beyond your limit if you know you won’t be able to afford it later. That’s why when I went with Sprint, I wanted to make sure that they were completely honest with me. As a result, I now have thirty GB of data. When I first signed up with them in November, after the prepaid company I have been with shut down, I got a twelve GB data plan. Unfortunately, I found out that it was too little, so I called in to see if I could have my plan changed. I told them that I tend to average around twenty-five to thirty GB every month, and they finally located a good fit for me.
As long as I stay within that limit each month, I’ll only have to pay one hundred twenty dollars each month, since that’s how much the plan costs. Back in December, when I first got my computer, I downloaded a lot of updates. And since it was early in the month, and I had already used twenty GB, I had to stop using the internet by the mid-part of December. But by the end of December, I couldn’t help it. I needed to use some more internet. So as a result, I’ve gone over my included GB by five, So I had to pay off two hundred sixty dollars, along with the original one hundred twenty dollars that was agreed upon, for a total of three hundred eighty dollars. Fortunately, though, I had that money squirreled away in a safe place, so I arranged to have that paid off by next week, and it worked, so I basically cleared it off right on the spot. After that, I started making sure that I never went over that limit again.
So, the last thing that I will mention here is what’s called a rate. If you remember from basic arithmetic class, a rate is a change in quantity given over another quantity. For example, your heart beats at a rate of eighty beats per minute. So the rate is beats per minute. So let’s look at that more closely. For every minute, there are eighty beats. Over two minutes, it would be 160. So your heart rate would be 160 beats per two minutes. When studying ratios and proportions, they will ask you to simplify that rate, so you would divide the top by the bottom, so 160/2=80. That will give you the end result for every one of whatever you’re measuring.
So, now let’s go back to the rate of usage. Suppose you went over your included limit of 3 GB by seven. Let’s say that the rate was five dollars for every GB spent after you’ve gone over the limit. So, to find out how much you have gone over, you would take the total number of GB spent, in this case, ten, and find the difference by subtracting your actual limit, which is three. The answer is seven. So, they would say something like, you’ve gone over your included gigabytes by seven point zero. Since the rate is five dollars per GB after you’ve gone over that 3GB limit, you would multiply the difference (seven), and the rate ($5), for a total of thirty-five dollars. That’s how much you would have to add. Let’s say that your agreed contract bill was twenty-five dollars per month. Since you went over your GB usage by seven, and because the fee is 35 dollars, you would add 25, which is how much you’re billed every month, and 35, which is the fee for the extra usage altogether. So 25+35=60. So for that month, you would have to pay sixty, plus any additional taxes and hidden fees that you were not aware of. That’s why it’s important for you to get a breakdown summary of the entire bill, so you know exactly how much you’re paying for, and for what.
There are a number of web sites that allow you to monitor your credit score for free, or add some optional features for a reduced fee. However, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) poses some restrictions on a credit bureau’s ability to sell credit reports. So, once a year, you can review your credit report for free by going to Annual Credit Report. Please keep in mind that not all these web sites are accessible to people using screen readers, so make sure you do your research with care. Random fact: credit bureaus keep public record information about you for approximately twenty years.
If your creditor tells you that your billing cycle starts on the eighteenth of the month and it ended on the fifteenth, it doesn’t always mean that they will report your balance to the credit bureaus on those days. For instance, my creditor reported on the last day of the month. It’s always best to use thirty percent or less of your overall credit limit. So, if you have two credit accounts totalling $1000, and you used two hundred in one and a hundred in the other, you have withdrawn $300 out of $1000. If a lender denies to give you credit, they will almost never tell you the exact reason why you were not approved because if they did, it might cause you to think of ways to work the system better, so they want to keep you guessing.
One thing I forgot to mention: if you failed to pay off your debt past the due date, you will get several notices letting you know that your debt will be handed over to a collections agency. Then a bill collector will try to get a hold of you in different ways to get you to settle the debt. If you default, which means that you fail to pay it off, that will cause severe impact to your credit score. If your debt is far greater than what you can afford, you might not have any choice left except to file bankruptcy. This usually involves having to go to court and possibly seeking legal help. If your only source of income is through things like Social Security or Social Insurance Disability benefits, creditors cannot force you to pay them back because that money wasn’t obtained from a job, and therefore, it’s not considered an asset. So, unless you won the lottery, you are technically judgement-proof.
If you are currently enduring financial hardship, help is available. You can start out with the National Foundation for Credit Counselling. Additionally, you can get in touch with a debt management programme like the one I’m on. Simply click here to visit their web site. If you decide that your debt is still manageable, the programme will ask your creditors to lower the minimum payments in exchange for closing the account to further purchases. In case you die, and you don’t have a will available, your debt will be processed by a probate court along with any assets you might’ve owned.
Let me know if there are any additional questions you may have. Feel free to go over this several times. It might be helpful for you to absorb everything word for word, instead of looking at everything at once. Feel free to ask someone for help, such as a family member or a friend.
Good luck, and happy budgetting!
Sources
My favourite web site for learning about anything relating to credit cards, loans, and mortgage is Nerd Wallet. http://www.nerdwallet.com/
How phone contracts affect your credit score: https://www.thebalance.com/does-my-cell-phone-payment-affect-my-credit-score-960537
Should you use your debit card as credit, and what is the difference, anyway? https://finance.yahoo.com/news/happens-swipe-debit-card-credit-113015478.html
The difference between a loan and a mortgage: https://www.diffen.com/difference/Loan_vs_Mortgage

What happened to me? The Agony of my Recovery

If you remember from my testimony, I told you that I am living with a very finnicky brother who doesn’t like certain people if they give off negative vibes, doesn’t like using public bathrooms, and hates boarding other people’s cars. I’d like to talk a little bit about how one of his best, and probably only positive experience my brother had in school.
If I upload the court case audio recordings, all the parties identities will be posted for everyone to see. This wonderful man was a teacher of the visually impaired for my brother and me. He was the one who had sued the North-West Regional Education Service District in July 2012. While litigation originally commenced in 2011, the actual trial was held a year later. I purchased the court records from the courthouse on Monday, 5 March 2018. He previously lost his vision for about two years, but a cornea transplant had restored his sight. Then he met somebody else who was blind, and it interested him. He took up music, journalism, and something else I can’t remember while he was in school. When he went to study at Community College, he helped a student who was blind get through chemistry, because the professors were claiming that a blind person wouldn’t be able to take that class. After that, he moved out of state where he married and adopted three kids. He and his wife applied to become foster parents, and over the next five years, they adopted fifteen foster kids, mostly kids with developmental disabilities caused by drug use during pregnancy, and others due to brain trauma. They kept the last child because they had reactive attachment disorder, and they wanted to give that child a good home so they wouldn’t feel so abandoned. Losing his job with the regional education service district really put a toll on his family, especially this child.
Anyhow, he had an opportunity to come back to Oregon to work at the Oregon School for the Blind in 2008, and he learned that the legislature was planning to shut the school down because they were claiming that there were only twenty or thirty students going at a time. He and the rest of the OSB staff testified at a few hearings, trying to convince the legislature not to shut the school down unless they had a plan on how to transition these kids, and help the rest of the students, even if they never attended the school in the first place. All the things they had told the legislative members fell on deaf ears, and the staff eventually looked for employment elsewhere. To try and make the long story short, this teacher was asked by the vision service coordinator to work at the ESD in fall of 2009. When he arrived, he was given a caseload containing eight or fifteen students, I can’t remember how many. He asked which city or county he was to be working, but all his supervisor said was that he was to be working around 185th. That didn’t make any sense, so he asked specifically where he was to be working. They finally explained it to him, and he started working accordingly. That is when I happened to find out that I was on his caseload, and that is how we ended up striking up quite an acquaintance.
When our teacher was hired, he thought he was hired to help the ESD spend the $2.985 million that the legislature had set aside. Instead, he was told by vision service coordinator’s supervisor that someone else was already in charge of that. Well, over the course of that year, he noticed that the ESD wasn’t doing anything more to enhance the level of service that these students were entitled to according to the new law. He went to numerous staff meetings, and talked with parents and teachers, and wrote up several letters to his superiors. Instead, he was written up multiple times, complaining that he was edging over the boundary lines from service to one of advocacy. They had also said that the ESD was not there to serve students. They were there to serve the districts.
‘In a meeting with [the vision services supervisor,] I was told that “We are an education service district. That means we serve districts.” I objected to this and told her that I do not serve districts. I serve students. By doing my best to serve students I fulfill my role as an ESD employee, and the districts are served as well. I won’t change. This is what you got when you hired me.’ He wrote these daring words as part of a four-page rebuttal letter, which he handed over to the HR department, in response to a letter written to him by his superiors if he continued to do what he was doing, he would be terminated. Everybody knew that making statements like this were guaranteed to be protected by the first amendment, and they knew they couldn’t fire him on these grounds. Once they found their first opportunity when the TVI had let his teaching license lapse for a month, they did.
While all of this was going on, he had an opportunity to meet my older brother. He and I were in twelfth and tenth grade, respectively, and he and I were in the same school. On the first day, he saw that my brother was raging and angry because he needed something, and in this case, he just wanted to go to the bathroom. So the teacher tried to find out if my brother knew how to say that he needed to go to the bathroom, and within a few days of coming in each morning, and signing to him that this was the bathroom, it became very clear to him that My brother could communicate what he needed. Before that, the teachers were making him wait until they said it was okay for him to use the bathroom. Nuh-uh! When nature calls, you’ve got to answer it, otherwise you’re going to end up with a very nasty message. He simply told the teachers that if my brother wanted to use the toilet, nobody should stop him. Just make him say where he was going. Over the course of the next five months, The TVI worked with my brother extensively, teaching him about thirty signs, and utilising a calendar system to help him develop a concept of time, choice, and sequence. Once My brother’s days became predictable for him, his acting-out behaviours were dramatically abated. The TVI was also directed by a deaf and hard-of-hearing consultant as to which signs were appropriate to teach somebody who was both deaf and blind. Because casting someone with multiple disabilities aside in the bureaucratic world is unfortunately not too uncommon, my brother never had a specialist who knew how to work with prelingually deaf-blind people.
The TVI once recalled a time when My brother was told that he should finish the task first before he could play with the cassette player and put it directly over his ear. I don’t know if he could hear a little bit, or if he liked the vibration, but My brother signed ‘no’, and moved the tape player to the ‘now’ position in the calendar tray. Rather than forcing My brother to finish the task, The TVI congratulated him, and told him ‘Good job!’ My brother told him so clearly that he didn’t want to wait, he wanted to do it now.
In mid to late January of 2010, his supervisor came to do a surprise evaluation on The TVI’s teaching skills, and when she saw him communicating with My brother using sign language, she waited until that was over before asking him why, if he was a teacher of the visually-impaired, he was teaching somebody sign language. He wasn’t a teacher of the deaf, and it was only the teacher of the deaf’s responsibility to work with that student. The TVI said, ‘Well, I’m not an English teacher, but I communicate with my students in English. I know German, and if My student could only speak German, I would talk to him in German. Why need I be a teacher of the deaf to communicate with a deaf person using signs?’ In other words, he was objecting and saying that anybody who happened to know another language besides English should be entitled to use that language to communicate effectively with that student. I had always thought that when employers hired you, they want you to have great skills. I wonder what would’ve happened if The TVI had said in his resume that he was proficient in American Sign Language. Well, I can understand to an extent why they had a problem with this. They didn’t want someone who wasn’t certified to teach my brother flawed sign language.
In March of 2018, I spoke with the supervisor’s successor, who held the same attitude that his predecessor had held, mainly that a licensed teacher should be the one to communicate with a deaf or deaf-blind person. He also told me that I should look at his former IEP to find out if they had specifically indicated why My brother was not eligible to receive services for the deaf and blind. It was likely that he was declared incompetent, and unwilling to learn, and they didn’t want to spend a lot of time working with him. Instead, he was transitioned to a three-year day programme at a place called ARC. It stood for Association for Retarded Citizens. Nobody taught him sign language while he was there. They just had him work on basic occupational skills during that time.
When My brother started getting used to not going to school every day from 2013, he started getting things his own way. He went about the house totally naked, and he refused to put on certain clothes, and more recently, any pair of shoes. He was able to wear some clothes when we went out, but now, he only wants to be naked as a way of saying, ‘if I don’t put on clothes, I won’t be able to go out. If I can’t go out, I won’t have to worry about where the bathroom is or deal with things that do not make sense to me.’ In mid to late August of 2016, we discovered that My brother would not let himself be coaxed to get inside my aunt’s friend’s van. Our minivan’s steering column had malfunctioned, and we needed to get home. My brother whined and squirmed, trying to get away. He flat-out refused to get in. So, my mother was obliged to leave him and take me home, then go back to walk My brother home in the heat.
So, on March 9th, 2017, the van broke down a second time in front of the store, and since My brother had demonstrated that he didn’t want to get inside another person’s car, he was obliged to walk home in the rain. Since my mother was now deprived of any means to get more food, that left me having to do everything I could to survive. As I had already deposited three hundred dollars into the secured credit card, I had no other funds available, so I had to overdraw my bank account to get more food from nearby fast-food joints. My card arrived a week later, one day after my birthday, and I was able to cover the overdraft. I was able to get some food for the remainder of March, and I thought things would get better come April. I was using Lift, as in the Uber and Lift app.
For whatever reason, probably due to a technical error at the bank, I paid off my credit card when, I had no funds available to pay it off, so I ended overdrawing my bank account to over three hundred dollars. I knew I couldn’t pay it back until May, so I began looking at other funding sources. I finally managed to get approved for a second credit line at PayPal for $500, and I used it to cover the overdraft. Combined with the secured credit card and the credit line, I was in $800 in debt.
I knew that summer and the hot weather was fast-approaching, so I had to think about what I could do to reduce my anxiety and stay cool. I was able to get a prescription for Clonazepam, which was also not covered by Care Oregon. I started taking 0.25 MG once or twice a day, and at first, I didn’t find it helpful, but the more I used it, the more relaxed I felt. On the first warm day of the year, which was my teammate’s funeral, Wednesday, 3 May 2017, we reached the eighties. I took 0.75 MG throughout the entire day, and as I was riding home from bowling, I felt extremely sleepy, and I was able to get through the next day without problems. My doctor also prescribed an antidepressant called Sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It wasn’t meant to be used to treat anxiety, but they also wanted me to not get addicted to the benzodiazepine, so I began taking that regularly.
I was paying approximately five hundred dollars to both of my credit accounts, and since I wanted to boost my credit scores as much as possible, I continued to make payments every time I charged my card. I was caught up in a cycle of paying my debts and then immediately creating new debts. It wasn’t easy, and I realised that I would have a much better chance to get out of debt when I got my deposit back in March of 2018.
In November of last year, I went to the bank to increase my credit limit, but because I was using a secured credit card, I had to deposit another $100 to increase it to $400. Combined with my PayPal credit line, I then owed $900. Since PayPal did not report anything to the credit bureaus, I only paid my secured credit card in full each month, while I only paid part of the debt to PayPal each month.
I was desperate to get food during the time that the van broke down that I reached to as many agencies as I could, and I eventually made a connection with the Helen Keller National Centre. The representative from the Seattle regional office came out to our house and heard testimony from my mother, My brother’s case manager, The TVI, and me. The representative and I worked throughout that summer and fall of last year and part of this year to see how we could get funding to bring two staff members from New York, of different genders, to work with my brother and train the new staff member and my mother on how to communicate effectively with him. In February of this year, I made a connection with the executive director of Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind. That is where I did my sky-dive four years ago. The TVI donated $120,000 to them as part of his settlement. This person was a past district governor of the Lions Club, and they agreed to help us raise the funds to start work on saving my brother’s life. Click here to donate. They were also very incensed by the attitude the ESD had held towards people like my brother. They told me that the ESD didn’t want to admit that they had failed duly in their duty, and that’s why the new vision service coordinator told me what I told you. It is quite embarrassing when a large entity, corporation, or bureaucracy loses to one individual in a civil case as this. Still, I can sort of understand to an extent why they strongly objected to this.
Well, since I couldn’t go back to school for several reasons, I decided to try my hardest to get the services my brother is entitled to, since our mother doesn’t seem to be well-informed about the resources that are available to her. She, speaking only Spanish, and having attended but five years of school so she could work in the farm, was never prepared other than what God had given to her. The problem is that she and I have different viewpoints about how my brother’s needs are to be met, and we can never come to an agreement. My mother thinks my brother’s needs are fine just the way they are, whereas I think she’s sheltering him too much, and not disciplining him enough, and that she’s spoiling him. She argued by saying that I am wanting attention and food, and that My brother is stubborn, and not willing to accept anybody else other than his mother. True, everybody needs attention, and everybody needs food. I like different foods that my mother and My brother usually eat. So, I often must show my mother how to prepare things for my liking. It is also true that when a sick or disabled family member gets all the attention, their siblings would feel left out and might feel as though they were less than what they really were.
At the suggestion of the HKNC representative, I went to seek mental health therapy at a nearby location, and it is through they that I came up with a plan. My therapist had asked me what part of my experience that happened to me in Arizona did I take with me that I had turned it into something much bigger than it actually was, and something that was least likely to occur, and let it control my quality of life. I don’t have a clear answer to this question, but I do know that this is just one of many negative things that have happened to me in the past, and I guess, as sort of a self-defence mechanism, I avoided similar situations so I wouldn’t have to deal with another experience. And yet, I should learn to prepare for something like that in case it does happen so that I have a plan to make sure someone will be there when I need them. I told my therapist that I was afraid of losing my balance from the constant rocking sensation, or that I would be trapped in a hot and stuffy place, with no way to cool down, or that I would faint, and nobody would help me. I was also afraid that there wouldn’t be enough food. I also related to my therapist about how, when I came back, I’ve had frequent flashbacks and nightmares of either biting my brother back whenever he bit me severely, or how I called 911 every time I felt dizzy and had an out-of-body experience, sleep paralysis, or astral projection. I’d feel as though I were struggling to pick up my iPhone so I could hold down the home button and tell Siri to call emergency services. In my dream, I was a frequent 911 caller, and the dispatcher had assigned me an account number so that I wouldn’t have to tell them what I was dealing with every time I called. Usually, the dispatcher would tell me to try to stay calm, and if I were feeling dizzy, that I should try and get water until they could come to rehydrate me. These dreams stopped sometime in late March, and I haven’t had any since then, except for maybe one or two ambulance rides that occurred once or twice in 2018.
So, here’s what I think. Our brains hasn’t gotten used to the changes in our culture. Our brains perceived something as a threat, so we get physical symptoms that alerts us of danger, and we are prepared to run or fight. The older we get, the more sensitive we become of our environment. Think of the heat in Arizona as a threat. My brain was like a watch person. It kept making sure I was staying alive all the time. When we take anti-anxiety pills or anti-depressant pills, we’re telling the brain to stop keeping watch temporarily and pretend there’s no danger. Make sure that neurochemicals like serotonin stay in the brain longer, or create more serotonin to stabilise your mood.
Some people may say that a simple heat exhaustion is not itself traumatic. But I disagree. Anything that can cause you to change your entire brain chemistry is considered trauma.
I did some Google searches and found that I’m not the only one who has agoraphobia and panic disorder, and who has had a past history of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. I’m sure there are others like myself who are wondering the same thing.
Well, once I was through working out the negative experiences I had in 2016, my therapist and I talked about how all of my plans have been put on hold because of the massive amount of time I had to put in recovering from that ordeal. As of this year, things are slowly getting better–slowly but surely. I feel now that the best times for me to travel is early in the morning and late at night during the summer. Otherwise I feel fine travelling during the late fall to early spring. It’s been a while since I started dealing with these life-altering symptoms, and I want to resume a normal life, free of ringing in my ears, dizziness, and imbalance.
Now that it is 2019, I helped my mother get the things needed to have a central air conditioner added to our furnace last year from Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning, and it has worked wonders ! I decided to work on how I could cool the rest of the house down. I was confined to my bedroom in all of Summer 2017 because I was using a window air conditioner.
I had said before that I wouldn’t be able to get out of credit card debt until March of 2018, and that was true. However, due to some not so favourable changes in my income, I had to enroll in a debt management plan that was licenced by the National Foundation for Credit Counselling. That’s why I’m doing everything I can in my arsenal to fight back by publishing my manuscripts, creating and monetising podcasts and other things. In addition, I sold some stuff on eBay and a local pawn shop, as well. I had literally lost enjoyment of life because of what I went through, and I made some enquiries as to whether I would have a reasonable cause of action for personal injury because of all that I went through, but my lawyer told me that there were no reliable witnesses, and it’s possible that I might’ve signed a waiver, which I don’t remember doing.
Well, I think this has been a rather long enough post. I hope that you have found everything to be informative. So, my current goals are to start venturing out again in small steps. I already began this by attending a retreat at a political advocacy programme called Catalyst, and start learning how to make pottery on the wheel. In addition, I’d also love to learn how to build a brick-and-mortar ham shack or studio. But, these things cost money, which is why I’m going through all this trouble to get the life I need and want. So, I began looking at investment opportunities, and I learned about Edward Jones. It is through them that I now have a mutual funds account.
In the next post, I will be talking about what you can do if you want to build your credit history for the first time, and what you should look out for, so that you don’t end up making the same mistake I made.