What is a Pre-existing Condition?

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There has been a lot of talk about pre-existing conditions, what they are and if people who have them can be denied health insurance, or be made to pay more for health insurance.  A pre-existing condition is anything medical that happened before a person’s health care policy went into effect.   In the bad old days, before the ACA, health insurance companies could refuse to sell policies to people who were sick, or who had been sick.  There were companies who did sell policies to these people, however the cost was much too high for the average person to pay.  With the ACA, these people were able to buy policies for about the same price that the average “healthy” person could.  With the advent of TrumpCare, these pre-existing conditions don’t need to be covered by insurance companies.  Here is a list of some of these conditions that no longer will be covered.

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As you can see, a lot of people have these conditions.  For example, I was born of with a heart murmur and I have had asthma in the past.  Heart murmurs, as I understand it, can be a crap-shoot.  It’s a 50/50 chance of needing a medical intervention.  I never even knew I had one until I was pregnant, then I was told that I’d had it all my life – go figure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMNOvVX8e4I

What do you think about these pre-existing conditions?  Are you in danger of losing your health care?  If you do lose it what will you do about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

“Fight Club”- FOAK and What it Means

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The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks such things as hate crimes, terrorism, and white supremacists.  They are a well-respected organization and committed to dealing with facts.  As most of us know, there are a lot of white supremacist organizations throughout the U.S.  What a lot of people don’t know, is that there is a lot of talk within these organizations about military operations against various groups of U.S. citizens.  All a person has to do is look at some recent events to see that this is true.

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However, the specific issue at hand is the formation of a new group, by Kyle Chapman (I am leaving a link below where you can see who and what Kyle Chapman is) which will be a “highly masculine” group called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (otherwise known as FOAK’s) which is going to be formed for the express purpose to “bring the fight to the streets”.  Recently we have seen an uptick in the violence that protestors are being met with, not only from the police, but also from these groups of the extreme right-wing.

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I am not going to regurgitate the links that I’ve provided.  Instead I am encouraging you to read them, and educate yourself.  With the fear of being seen as a lunatic conspiracy theorist, my thoughts are leading to this:  What if, with all the new violence, the President declares Military Rule, Democracy is suspended and we have a dictator?  I know, it sounds insane, however, don’t these various groups vowing to “fight” against protestors (and others) sound a lot like the Nazi Brown Shirts?  Let me know what you think.

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http://nypost.com/2017/04/27/alt-right-group-tries-to-build-small-street-army/

https://www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/state-of-white-supremacy

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/24/white-supremacist-who-traveled-to-new-york-to-murder-black-men-followed-extremist-racist-online-groups-who-support-trump_partner/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/26/opinions/white-supremacy-is-terrorism-ifill-opinion/

 

Why is Science Important?

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This past weekend there was a march in Washington, D.C., along with other marches around the world in support of science.  We actually needed a march to support science.  I still can’t wrap my head around that fact.  The marches were in support of evidence, fact-based and peer-reviewed science.  This is needed since the administration in Washington is against both science and peer-viewed research.  Research needs to be peer-reviewed, since anyone could claim to be a scientist, publish a “study” and claim anything.  We already can see that happening, so it needs to be stopped.  Science is actually one subject that can be proved correct.  Just because someone doesn’t like what is scientifically proven doesn’t mean that they have the ability to claim it is false.

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For those people who think that we don’t need science, do you like using your technology?  Phones, laptops, t.v., all are science-based.  Should funding be cut, so will your technology.  How about “cutting-edge” health care?  All those new life-saving surgeries are based on science.  Do you like your new medicines?  Those too come from science. If funds are cut so will your health, since there will be less money spent on keeping you healthy.  Science is life-saving.  It affects all of us in every part of our lives.  Support science, your life may very well depend on it.

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Unity

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The only way to fight injustice in the world is make sure that we fight for all who are in need of it.  That means that we need to stand up not only for ourselves and our own concerns, but we must stand up for all the others who are marginalized.  We must stand and resist together.  It’s the only way change will occur.

 

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Are Facts Important?

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Imagine if you will, a world without facts.  Nothing anyone says can be proven either true or false.  There are no facts, therefore there is no science nor mathematics, engineering or medicine.  Anything anyone says is equally true, so there is no right or wrong.  Where would we be?  If everything has equal validity, how does the world work?  Will buildings stand, airplanes fly?  How does it work if there’s no more knowledge of gravity, physics, medicine?  If everything someone simply “believes” is considered a fact, how do we know what is a true fact?

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What do you think?  Is there a place for facts in our world today?  Should there be?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Diversity

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I love diversity.  There is nothing more boring than only seeing what you’ve already seen.  Or heard, read or experienced.  I’ve spent some time in those “retirement communities” which are almost never diversified, and can attest that they are the most boring places as far as I’m concerned.  Usually everyone is exactly the same, with much of the same life experiences and world-view.  It’s also interesting to note that to me, they seem like high school all over again, with the “popular kids” and then everyone else.  So, when I see and hear random people talking about how much diversity hurts the America that they want to make great again, I just don’t understand it.

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One of the best things about Netflix (and I admit that I’ve definitely been a binge watcher), is that I can watch movies from all over the world.  Some of the best movies I’ve seen have been made by Turkish, Iranian and Iraqi directors, writers and/or producers.  I also read novels that have been written by people of many different cultures, with a completely different world-view from myself.  I’ve learned more things by reading novels written about different countries and cultures than I ever learned in school.  I’ve learned about the ancient traditions of Chinese cooking, and the symbolism of different dishes from Chinese writers.  Even though, as a Vegan, some of the cooking descriptions were uncomfortable to read, I gained a respect and understanding of Chinese cooking that I didn’t have before, and it made me look at the dishes that I prepare in a new way.  That’s just one example.  When you read a novel, or watch a movie told from another point of view, you often sympathize with the characters and gain a new way of thinking, and looking at the world.  Your world-view becomes more diversified, and you grow as a person.

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Diversity is wonderful just for those reasons.  But, most importantly, it helps people to see that even though there may be differences in culture, religion and life-experience, we are all the same. These differences should be celebrated.  We should enjoy learning new things, eating new foods, watching different movies, listening to other kinds of music, and reading different novels. No matter where you live, who you worship (or don’t worship), what you believe, in the end different peoples are all alike in the basics.  We all want love, family and understanding.  That, I believe is the reason some people claim that diversity is evil.  If we gain understanding of the “other”, there will be no reason to keep ourselves separate.  How can you “hate” the other if you understand them?  In keeping citizens divided, individuals can regain (or maintain) control.  A house divided cannot stand, nor can a nation divided.

 

Corporations vs. Citizens

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I don’t know if any of you have been following the Dakota Access Pipeline story, but here is the story in a tiny little nutshell.  Energy Transfer Partners is building a pipeline that will extend thousands of miles across the U.S.  The problem is that these pipelines have a long history of leaking and exploding, and then, of course destroying the environment.  (I will be leaving links to news stories that prove this point at the bottom of this post.)  In this case, the pipeline is being built extremely close to a river, with the potential (and given the history of these pipelines) the distinct probability of polluting the river and groundwater.  As a matter of fact, the pipeline was moved from close proximity to the town of Bismarck to where is being built now, due the environmental fears of the mostly white citizens of Bismarck.

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Oil pipeline spills since 2010

What I really want to discuss today is that since the Native Americans have begun peacefully protesting, the reactions by both Energy Transfer Partners and the police have been excessive in their use of force, criminalization of peaceful actions, and cruel in their treatment of arrested protesters.  While I often listen to NPR, I have been disappointed by their reporting of this, since they do indeed take money from the oil industry (Constellation Energy Group, Vanguard Group, and CITGO Petroleum Corporation) are just a few of these donators.  Therefore, coverage of this story has been spotty at best.  But, I’ve also noticed that there has been little in the way of coverage in the largest newspaper in my state.  I can only assume that not that many television stations have been covering the story either, however I can’t say that for a fact, since I don’t have cable.

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Tonya Sands after being pepper sprayed for swimming across a creek to gain access to Indian Land.

The one news source that has been on the ground since the first days of this story is Democracy Now, and they have been stellar in their reporting.  I don’t know if any of you have been looking at some of the videos that have gone viral, but if you have, I hope that you are worried for your own safety as well as the safety of the protesters.  If peaceful protesters are being assaulted with various weapons such as pepper spray, tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and sonic devices what does this say about our ability as citizens to peacefully protest?  Energy Transfer Partners have also used dogs to bite the protesters.

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If these actions aren’t worrisome for you as citizens of the U.S., maybe being arrested, stripped and kept nude overnight might be.  Or, if not that, perhaps having numbers written on your arm (reminiscent of an infamous Nazi regime), and kept overnight in a dog kennel after being arrested for peaceful protest might be a little disconcerting.

This behavior by police and corporate-backed security is unsettling.  In the U.S., we not only have a right to protest, but our constitution requires us to do so.   https://www.loc.gov/law/help/peaceful-assembly/us.php

If you want to look into this matter more yourself, I suggest Democracy Now, as their reporting is extremely well-informed.  What do you think of these actions by the police and private corporate security forces?  Do you think that Native Americans (as well as all Americans) have the right to peacefully protest?  Have you seen other videos of peaceful protesters being pepper sprayed directly in the eyes by police officers, and what do you think of that?  Let me know in the comments below.

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http://www.alternet.org/environment/white-tribes-onslaught-against-native-americans-isnt-history-tale-its-alive-and-well?akid=14682.302291.avRCV9&rd=1&src=newsletter1064310&t=10

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/27/1587590/-ND-police-and-National-Guard-currently-using-LRAD-sonic-device-weapon-to-disperse-Water-Protectors

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/7/1591511/-Standing-Rock-Update-Rubber-bullets-500-clergy-represent-matriarchal-leaders?detail

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixEKJ0oo-dk