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When Life Becomes A Preexisting Condition

Life As A Preexisting Condition

In the new guy’s version of life in this country, preexisting conditions should be allowed only for those who can pay for them. And one foolish congressman even went so far as to suggest that the sickest among us should be paying more than people who have remained healthy as if chronic illness or cancer, for example, are due to someone’s irresponsibility or negligence. He probably didn’t like it when the smart girl blew the curve in school either.

But here’s the thing. We live in a country where income inequality is the norm and that translates into not enough money to eat well. Most people don’t grow their own food anymore so they have no control over the pesticides used on the crops or whether or not the seeds used were genetically modified into something our bodies don’t recognize.

Instead, we’re put on the treadmill of chronic disease, beholden to the medical community, although well-meaning, who focus on symptom treatment in lieu of actually figuring out how we became sick in the first place. Other than doctors in functional medicine or herbalists and naturopaths, most don’t consider diet, mindset, emotional issues, or environmental factors that could be at the root of chronic illness preferring instead to prescribe this pill or that injection.

I suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for over thirteen years, but it was for that length of time that it was severe. Nothing the doctors did relieved any of the pain, inflammation, fatigue, swelling, or fluid retention that I experienced. Instead, I seemed to stay in one place, severe. When a commercial came on television selling a medication for RA they would always say it treated moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. I would look at my husband and remark that someday I hoped my RA would be moderate. It was one of those moments of dark humor that got us through those years.

And now that I’ve been in clinical remission for the last six years and off the last of the prescribed drugs since September 2015, my doctor did some blood work and lo and behold, the daily coffees my husband makes that would make a barista blush have affected my glucose level. I got a call from her nurse and she told me that my doctor wants to schedule an A1C test to screen for diabetes. No discussion, or even the glucose number, just go have a test.

Perhaps they didn’t notice in my chart that my primary care doctor when I was so ill had prescribed Metformin after doing a glucose tolerance test and endless A1C tests, diagnosing insulin resistance when my glucose numbers stayed elevated. After becoming a cannabis patient in June 2010 and making my own concentrated medicines at the end of that year, two and one-half months later I was in clinical remission. I began discontinuing several of the prescribed drugs on my own that I could safely do, but when discontinuing the Metformin the same primary care doctor who initially prescribed it helped with that. A change in diet has always been the way to get my glucose number to come down but instead of having that conversation first, it’s test time.

Now with the republicans in the process of destroying health care in this country, the last thing anyone needs is to have a diagnosis of something that’s situational in nature that can then become a preexisting condition. You’d think if Congress wants to go this route of endangering the citizenry so that the wealthiest among us become even more wealthy, they’d legalize cannabis. The tax revenue alone would be staggering. Prescription drug costs would be considerably lower, our collective health likely improving overall, but then the drug companies who line lawmakers’ election coffers might not be so generous at the next election. So the struggle for truth and dignity continues.

Apparently, rape is now a preexisting condition if this monstrosity is signed into law. Does this also apply to children who are raped by their fathers? Will they be punished with a preexisting condition if they report the abuse? The congresspeople who voted for it, my own congressman included, exhibit an astonishing level of moral bankruptcy and have clearly lost their fundamental compassion for humanity. One wonders how they sleep at night, but after today’s kegger at the white house in celebration of their victory, I’m sure they’ll sleep like babies.

If this passes the senate, then women like my daughter-in-law won’t have their pregnancies covered. Medicaid will be trashed and Medicare is next. They’ll leave everyone hanging and people will die as a result. There has never been a clearer example of us versus them ideology than what we’re seeing now. It’s destructive and unsustainable, but it’s full steam ahead anyway.

Even if this doesn’t pass the senate, as members are signaling that it will not, today’s vote gives us a window into the mindset of the people who believe the death of our citizens is an acceptable outcome. But when we finally have health insurance that we can depend on and republicans want to either take that away or make it completely unaffordable, something tells me that our response will be greater than the republicans can imagine let alone survive.

The republicans shouldn’t have targeted women and children in this bill. They shouldn’t have targeted veterans, seniors, or the chronically ill. Because when a mother finds that her child with asthma or cancer can no longer get the care she so desperately needs, trust me the ground will open up around them and shit will get real. Women, mothers or not, are sick of the government’s interference in our lives and as republicans continue their destructive behavior, we’ll pay close attention and then we’ll vote their sorry asses out of office.

I sat by the new hives out in the apiary today watching the new bees become acclimated to their new homes. They exist in unified presence with each other, each one valued and necessary. They work together to feed the brood and to protect their queen. Everything is about the survival of the colony, a notion of family that escapes republicans now in control. None of this surprises me, however, now that the fascist floodgates have been flung open. The cruelty present within the republican mindset is breathtaking. It’s nasty and to think they celebrated with a beer after it was done.

So now we await the Senate’s response. I won’t be holding my breath. Besides, in the process, I’d probably develop another preexisting condition, irresponsible person that I am.

Just ask Mo.

Update: got my blood test results and after Jerry’s insane coffees it was only 114. Now I see why she neglected to mention the number. I wouldn’t have mentioned it either lest I be laughed off the phone. Now ADA recommends <100 even though the test range is 74-106 for fasting 12 hours except that I probably only fasted for 7 or 8. Why does the number keep going down? My theory: it puts more money in the pocket of Big Pharma as more prescriptions are written. Still not drinking anymore of that coffee even though it’s yummilicious. 

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Conversations With My Mother

Conversations With My Mother

I remember one afternoon listening to my mother telling me how it was in the work world. I was still in college and although a management position was open at the grocery store where she worked that she was more than qualified for, she told me that she wasn’t permitted to apply for it. I was floored.

My mother had reached the hiring ceiling at the store. She was a department head, but any assistant manager or store manager positions were reserved for men. Their attitude was that men had familial responsibilities that women didn’t share. I pointed out that she was now a single mother with a daughter in college and a younger son who was deaf. But that fact, she was told, was her problem.

She would go on to remind me of the fear she had when attempting to get credit in her own name when newly divorced from my father. That was only two years earlier. The only credit she had was based on my father’s. That’s how it was in those days. But she persisted, established credit in her own name, and eventually bought a home.

She had divorced my father in 1974, requesting only $200 per month child support out of fear of his reprisal. Even the judge was shocked at her request, but my mother convinced him that $200 was enough. My father had threatened her with the warning, I’ll give you more if you let me live.

When I moved into the city to be closer to the college I attended, he increased the amount he sent to $300 per month. She sent me half for the final two years in college to help pay for some of my living expenses. Upon graduation, he stopped sending any child support at all for my brother, only thirteen at the time.

You see, it was possible to get ahead on the books back then. And by increasing the child support on his own without an order to do so, he in effect paid it forward. She could do nothing. My father knew exactly what he was doing when he did it. He manipulated the situation to his advantage like always. But then life was always about him and always by his design.

So it wasn’t surprising in the least to read about Senator Pat Roberts’s snarky mammogram tweet. In fact, I expect nothing else from Republicans. Their jihadist fervor surges while gleefully taking this benefit and that program away from the most vulnerable among us. But mammograms? Do Republican men not realize that men develop breast cancer? Now we can argue how many and how often we need such tests, but there should be no argument that insurance should cover them. Jenna Amatulli reports in an article from The Huffington Post:

Republican leaders are reportedly discussing whether their legislation should abandon Obamacare’s essential health benefits rule. The rule requires insurance plans to cover services that include emergency room visits, hospitalization, outpatient services, maternity care, mental health and substance abuse services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, lab tests, preventive care and pediatric care.

Another reason Roberts’ response is off-putting is that many men get breast cancer or need mammograms. This year, an estimated 2,600 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and an estimated 440 will die from it. If a man has certain gene mutations or a family history of breast cancer, screening may increase the chances of early detection and successful treatment, according to the Susan G. Komen foundation.²

And now I read that these pissy people want to give a new mother only sixty days at home with her infant, forcing her to find a job or lose her benefits. Let that sink in. From Christine Cauterucci in Slate:

The worst provision in the manager’s amendment is a Medicaid work requirement that would allow states to revoke Medicaid coverage from new mothers who haven’t found a job within two months after giving birth. Medicaid currently offers essential resources for low-income women and their children, including screenings for postpartum depression, in-home educational visits, and check-ups, all of which help babies survive and mothers thrive. Forcing women to job hunt in the weeks immediately following her baby’s delivery—a crucial period for infant care and physical recovery—would be both shockingly cruel and counterproductive as public health policy. Even if Republicans don’t believe that every person deserves basic health care, regardless of income, they should recognize that the government has an interest in keeping children healthy. Healthy children become good students, responsible citizens, and productive workers. Cutting off health benefits from a mother in the first several weeks of her infant’s life sets both the mother and the infant up for a cascading set of impediments to physical and financial health.¹

I have to believe even the so-called new guy’s supporters are watching this travesty unfold in as much shock and horror as the rest of us who knew better than to ever trust this guy in the first place. Everyone suffers under the Republican’s death care bill. Well, apparently not the wealthy among us who can afford a membership at Mar-a-Lago, but then that’s a given.

My mother died from COPD and congestive heart failure in 1996, one month before her sixty-sixth birthday. In fact, as I write this, the twenty-first anniversary of her passing is in a couple of days. She had plans for her retirement and her condition prevented any of that. Within four years of her forced retirement, she was gone.  Had she been alive now and experiencing what she did, she’d no doubt be in a panic over what coverage she was losing and need endless breathing treatments just to be able to, you know, breathe, talk, remain alive.

Even back then, representatives from Medicare told me that their only concern was that she could ambulate from her bed to the bathroom. All she wanted was a smaller liquid oxygen tank to take to the store with her. They had delivered a concentrator instead of liquid tank set-up and left her with a portable E-tank to take with her. The problem was, it was too heavy and awkward for her to use so she would go into the store without it and nearly die in the process. They didn’t care and refused to replace the concentrator with a liquid tank.

When we moved her from the Portland area over to Central Oregon for the final year of her life, her experience was better. For some reason, healthcare over here actually was patient-focused and not whatever that other nonsense was she experienced and she received everything she requested. Actually, I arranged it for her, insisting that she sit down before telling her what I had done. She was so thrilled to discover that she would no longer be confined to the house. They were leaving her not just one but two small liquid “backpack” tanks that would allow her to be away from her home for eight hours if she chose. It made all the difference for her in that last year.

At the heart of this is compassion for all. If we can send people to war, we can fund universal health care. To suggest this shouldn’t be a right for all who live in this country speaks to hearts hardened through a fundamental disregard for humanity itself. We’re viewed as less than, in the way of furthering their agenda.

She would have turned eighty-seven on May 8th, had my mother lived. She would have voted for Hillary and called me daily to rail at what the Republicans are now doing. She despised men like the so-called new guy. She’d had her fill with men like him early on in life, and thought he was a fool back in the day, so voting for him would have been out of the question.

The photo above was taken at my wedding in 1979. I was twenty-one and still had brown hair. I miss you, Mom and I love you beyond measure. You would have been as bereft as I over the outcome of the election, and hearing your outrage would have been so welcome now!

 

References:

  1. Cauterucci, Christine. The AHCA Would Force New Moms on Medicaid to Find Work 60 Days After Labor. Slate. March 22, 2017.
  2. Amatulli, Jenna. GOP Senator Sorry For Joking About Mammograms, But Still Won’t Cover Them. Huffington Post. March 23, 2017.
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Insurance Coverage For Medical Cannabis

Insurance Coverage For Medical CannabisI read an article in the National Memo describing how judges are beginning to issue orders regarding insurance coverage for prescription medical cannabis. It’s interesting that the rest of the world moves on while the Federal Government digs its head further into the sand on this issue. The rollout of cannabis legalization in states like Oregon has had mixed results. Colorado seems to have figured out the process even with the banking issues but I don’t live there so I don’t really know first hand what patients experience in their state. Washington State apparently has its own set of problems.

The Oregon legislature, on the other hand, decided to rewrite the law that we voted into place so that what we have now doesn’t exactly resemble that original measure. People invested in land to grow cannabis only to discover that the legislature voted to allow areas to ban such grows if they so desired instead of allowing the original law to stand as written. The original law allowed for that possibility but by a citizen vote every two years and not by city governments. It wasn’t the best situation to invest your money in given a potential ban written into the law as far as I was concerned, but at least cannabis growers would have some time to get started. But with the legislative changes how many growers were dead in the water after investing everything they had?

Retail outlets are only now opening with dispensaries fulfilling their role in the interim creating potential headaches for patients. A report was issued to the committee governing cannabis in our state regarding the black market aspect that still exists and of course, the blame was placed on medical growers going rogue. Never mind the position the Oregon Legislature has put everyone in, growers, patients, business owners alike, by changes we didn’t vote for and the over-regulation of everything. It’s the medical growers. Right.

Many cannabis users become excited at the thought of legalization without realizing the problems it creates. We’re essentially asking for a plant to be legalized that should have never been criminalized in the first place. By legalizing, we validate what the government did all those years ago instead of standing firm on the truth that cannabis is safe to use in whatever manner an individual chooses.

Hemp was made illegal at the same time as cannabis which was ridiculous at best but made the cotton and paper products industries happy. Paper should be made from trees and clothing should be made from cotton. Hemp could be processed into fuel or into manufacturing supplies of all kinds, but the federal government decided that it was better to protect some business owners over hemp farmers. Instead of using corn which strips the soil of its nutrients in the production of gasoline, hemp could be used, a better option given it actually nourishes the soil where it grows. But, no.

Although medical cannabis is expensive to buy in dispensaries, and insurance companies covering medicinal cannabis would go far to defray that cost, in truth, cannabis should be readily available in all forms in the produce department as well as the organic food and supplement section of your local grocery store. We shouldn’t need a prescription that needs to be reimbursed by an insurance company in the first place.

Cannabis should be freely grown, purchased or used by anyone who wants it with no restrictions whatsoever. Again, doing anything else validates and gives cover to the government’s initial decision to criminalize a plant that was safe and part of our country’s pharmacopeia. They lied. It’s as simple as that. And people have gone to prison for that lie and suffered from ill health when they could have used a herb that was safe.

The current Attorney General is as backward on the issue as he could possibly be and it’s difficult to believe any sane policies will emerge from his office. But as insurance companies may find, until a judge determines that the cannabis laws are unconstitutional, they along with the rest of us will have to put up with federal and state controls that get us nowhere.

 

References:

  1. Short, April M. Should Your Insurance Company Pay For Medical Marijuana? Judges Are Starting To Rule That Way. The National Memo. March 20, 2017.

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Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

It felt as if my body wasn’t my own. I had retained so much fluid that it felt as if I was sloshing about in boiling hot water. My thirteen-year nightmare with rheumatoid arthritis was surreal. It exploded into my life preventing any further training in Kenpo. Although my husband and I had closed our school, as a Black Belt I still trained daily, but that was over when the debilitating fatigue and pain began. I still had no idea what was happening to me but it was clear that something was terribly wrong.

I began to walk slowly, experiencing excruciating pain in my feet. I had always been a high energy person so this was concerning. By the time I saw my primary care doctor, my hands were also painfully swollen but his response was less than supportive. I would discover much later that I was experiencing all of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but on that day, my doctor diagnosed nothing. By his estimation I was fine.

Eventually, I would be diagnosed with RA and prescribed drugs that only made my body even more toxic. Disease modifiers, anti-inflammatory drugs along with two different injectable biologics were my primary medications until I became insulin resistant and needed another prescription for that. I was on blood pressure medicine but it wasn’t enough to keep my blood pressure in check given how much fluid I was retaining. It wasn’t until my blood pressure skyrocketed after seven or so years after beginning treatment that a second medication was added, this one containing a diuretic. Along with my blood pressure normalizing, the diuretic caused so much fluid loss in the first two weeks that I woke up one morning engulfed in a flare that would go on to last slightly longer than one year. My C-Reactive Protein test was 46.5; normal, I was told, is 5 or less. The medications weren’t helping me. I was a mess and only getting worse.

My husband had been encouraging me to become a cannabis patient throughout my treatment. He had been researching the success others had using cannabis to treat all sorts of conditions and begged me to apply for my OMMP card. I resisted for some time but when the year-long flare began, I was so ill at that point that I really didn’t believe I would survive, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply for my card, receiving it in June 2010.

While my cannabis grew I used raw leaf in my daily smoothies. From my research, I learned that raw cannabis contains plant acids that transform into other compounds through the drying process. Plant acids are healing and patients were reporting success including raw leaf and bud in their self-treatment so I did that as well. When my harvest was done I began making concentrated medicine. I infused dried bud into coconut oil for capsules and made glycerin tincture to use in tea. At the end of December 2010 I began my own treatment plan using raw cannabis, tincture, capsules, as well as smoking for pain relief and by the middle of March of 2011, I had achieved clinical remission. Just like that.

I never told my rheumatologist at the time what I was doing. He wasn’t interested in signing off on the application so I decided it was none of his business. I began slowly discontinuing the medications I had been prescribed, waiting for symptoms to return. They didn’t. The last prescribed medication I discontinued was the biologic I was injecting twice monthly. I had reduced that to once a month with no return of symptoms. Since I’m also a herbalist, I was supporting my remission with herbal tinctures I formulated, so I felt comfortable discontinuing the biologic in September 2015. To date, I’ve had no return of symptoms and the only change I’ve made with my cannabis medicine along the way was adding actual cannabis oil to the mix. That’s the thick, sludgy oil that’s so helpful with cancer, Crohn’s and other issues. I use a small amount now to keep things in check.

I was expected to buy into their program and not think for myself. But if I had continued along that path, I believe I wouldn’t be writing this now. And now we have a president and an attorney general who seem to want to put my life and the lives of other patients at risk again by suggesting that cannabis is dangerous. The new attorney general apparently believes that it’s almost as bad as heroin addiction which is ludicrous.

The entire west coast has legalized recreational cannabis and over half the states have legalized medical. The tax revenue alone has opened the floodgates to legalization across the country. Seniors opting to medicate with cannabis are discovering that they can reduce the number of prescriptions they’re taking, a concern of Big Pharma I’m sure. But that’s too bad considering what this new regime plans to do to everyone’s healthcare. We must have options when they seek to give us none.

I know first hand how well cannabis replaces any number of prescribed medications. If the destructive health insurance changes the Republicans are insisting upon are voted into law, seniors will have even greater difficulty purchasing their medications. If cannabis can replace those medications then they need safe access to that without fear of arrest.

Veterans, my husband included, need safe access as well to help relieve the crippling effects of PTSD from which so many suffer. Because if the Republicans have their way and privatize veteran’s health care, safe access to cannabis will become more important than ever. These men and women served us honorably and with dignity. Their return home should reflect the same commitment and respect they gave our country. The last thing any of them needs is to face uncertainty over their healthcare concerns.

To say the government lied about the safety of cannabis is an understatement. Lives have been ruined through incarceration and for what exactly? To preserve a lie told long ago? How many people would be alive and well today if they had cannabis as a treatment option? Ideally, raw cannabis should be considered as a dietary staple, available for purchase in any produce department. I’m convinced that had my mother had access to cannabis oil, she might still be alive instead of dying at sixty-five from COPD and congestive heart failure. Children who have survived cancer using cannabis oil go on to live healthy lives. A boy in Colorado with Crohn’s has become a vocal advocate for healing with cannabis and is living a happy and healthy life. Families move across the country to live in states with medical cannabis when it’s the only thing that will save their child.

Cannabis is safe to use medicinally or for recreation. Research from around the world supports this truth. CNN did a three-part investigative series where Sanjay Gupta discovered the truth about the efficacy of cannabis in treating so many conditions. But Congress, the DEA, and the new attorney general have other ideas. Truth matters not to these people, but the stakes are too high to give up now. Too many of us have had our lives saved by this blessed plant and we’re not going away anytime soon. We’ll stand up to the nonsense because as we all know, healing with cannabis is definitely worth the risk.

So give it your best shot, Mr. Sessions. A veritable cannabis army awaits, many of us silver-haired and not done living yet.

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What Does It Take To Hate?

What Does It Take To Hate?

What does it take for someone to hate another? I mean, really hate another. I’ve said on more than one occasion that I hated one thing or another but it was meant as hyperbole, not that I actually hated anything or anyone. Because to hate someone or a group of someones I believe it takes the ability to see them as less than otherwise how could it happen? Moreover, what does this level of hate cost them in the end?

It appears that the so-called new guy and his regime are hell-bent on turning our country into a rich white nation. It involves culling the herd made possible by removing significant portions of the social safety net that some in our country depend upon for their very survival. The guy from the OMB, who probably should have called in sick that day, was foolish enough to suggest that certain social programs which didn’t yield results such as higher grades in school, for example, should be eliminated. And for that, we should be grateful, that defunding these programs is the most compassionate thing we can do.

Apparently not dying from lack of food doesn’t count as results in his book.

The Speaker of the House reportedly said that destroying Medicaid was a goal from back in his college kegger days. I can just see him sitting around with his Ayn Rand support group, drunk on his ass, boasting how he would one day take Medicaid away from the most vulnerable among us, dancing on their graves as he does so. Except not all poor people can afford normal burial costs so who knows what will happen to them.

The middle class is gone, never to return if these people have their way. People finally have health insurance, and while I’m certain the real answer will be single-payer, the ACA is a welcome relief for those who couldn’t afford insurance. Removing the threat of pre-existing conditions as a disqualifier for coverage enabled families to survive intact instead of losing everything if a life-threatening illness occurred.

Republicans are positively salivating over destroying the lives of Americans. The election of the so-called new guy (no, I still can’t call him president) has given these people the cover they’ve needed. No longer are blatantly racist comments and policies off-limits. Instead, they’re to be embraced, disseminated, and signed into law while those who actually care about people watch in horror.

This is not the country I grew up in and while change is inevitable, how we got here is beyond me. We have been manipulated and divided by the machinations of others and are in the process of being conquered by people who have only their own financial interests at heart. The so-called new guy cares nothing for the plight of the American people and if his policies are allowed to proceed unchecked, in this almost sixty-year-old woman’s opinion, he will do irreparable harm to our country and quite possibly the world.

Republicans in Congress lack the self-control to impose any checks and balances on their arrogance and right now they’re the equivalent of a runaway freight train in their attempt to destroy as much as possible before the 2018 midterms. The only real control we have now is to keep the pressure on and convince them that they will lose their jobs if they continue down this destructive path.

I promise that the best feeling ever is when you care about another. No strings attached, just honest compassion for another human being. I would rather see my tax dollars go for programs that reflect compassion than to build a wall of hate that keeps people out. With all the wealth in our country, our focus could be on elevating everyone so that each one of us can pursue our dreams, a focus based on benevolence and community instead of oppression and hate.

We all matter. I’m sorry the current version of the Republican party doesn’t understand this simple truth.

We All Matter.

Blessings to all

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Respect Seniors: Increase Funding For Meals On Wheels

Respect Seniors: Increase Funding For Meals On Wheels

We don’t respect seniors in this country let alone make certain that they survive that portion of life. I used to work for an Area Agency on Aging where we were charged with administering various programs for senior and disabled persons in our local area. Meals on Wheels was one such program. We received both federal and state funding along with donations from wonderful supporters of this incredibly necessary program. But now that program is in jeopardy along with low-income heating assistance and other programs from the budgetary cuts the so-called new guy is recommending. Our agency was also assisted a sister agency with processing heating assistance requests for low-income applicants during the winter months. These people were our neighbors and friends, not people that should ever be thrown away like this. It gets cold on the High Desert in the winter and folks receiving this assistance couldn’t stay warm without it.

Listening to callous comments by someone named Mulvaney made me sick. My mother received daily meals when she returned home from a hospital stay one time until we could make them ourselves and bring them to her. We lived one hundred and fifty miles away and while I was at work at the Area Agency on Aging, my husband was home making individual meals for freezing along with cookies and other food for my mother until she could begin cooking for herself. But for the first few days that she was home, the local Meals on Wheels folks took care of her, taking that worry from us. We loved them for that.

She appreciated the meals she received when she arrived home from the hospital as well as the kind words and support from the Meals on Wheels volunteers who delivered them. These people fill a vital role and they are desperately needed. What we don’t need is a President who understands nothing about the lives of the frail elderly in this country while he vacations at his Florida golf course and his wife and son live in a golden tower. Respect for seniors shouldn’t be a bargaining chip in our budgetary process.

You see, we thought we would lose her on more than one occasion. She had COPD along with congestive heart failure and it was only a matter of time until she wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore. She lived long enough, however, to move to Central Oregon from the Portland area so that we could be closer to her when the final day arrived.

I saw a picture of our first lady twirling a strand of diamonds as you would spaghetti. It’s not just tone-deaf, but cruel given her husband’s shameful attitude. And she did herself no favors by suggesting that children can heal through nature when her husband wants to take health insurance away from the very people who need it the most. Not that I don’t support that line of thinking given that I’m a herbalist, but it demonstrates a disconnect from the realities we all face. All of us except for guys like him.

As more and more reductions in spending are brought forth, the tax burden is merely shifted over to the wall and war sections of the government. As if we need a wall between the US and Mexico or more war. There’s little cohesion within this new regime. It’s as if they’re grabbing this and that out of their collective asses to scale back our government to the point of no longer functioning. While some might argue that our government hasn’t been functioning well for some time, what’s happening now is unprecedented and will accomplish nothing but harm.

My local congressman, Greg Walden, has an ad running on television extolling the virtues of his boss’s new health insurance travesty. It’s sickening to listen to him as he lies about the destructive effects of this abusive bill. The east side of the state is more rural and local hospitals and clinics are worried about how they will not only serve their patients but whether or not they’ll be paid for doing so. If this bill passes, everyone is at risk because it appears clear now that it’s only the beginning. If the so-called new guy has his way, America will look nothing like it does now as he puts everyone at risk with his white nationalist policies.

Because that’s what all of this is about. Making our country white again. Not that it ever was, but that’s beside the point. Now those in power are about racial purity. It’s impossible to achieve, but they’ve deluded themselves anyway. Whatever drives this delusion will be their undoing but until that happens our very way of life is threatened.

The question then becomes: will we let them get away with it?

Blessed Be

 

 

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Dear So-Called New Guy: So It’s The Military’s Fault? ~ Presidenting Is Hard Edition

Dear So-Called New Guy: So It's The Military's Fault?

Memo to the So-Called New Guy: Yes, presidenting is hard.

And now you’ve decided to blame the military ² as well as President Obama for the failed raid in Yemen which killed a Navy SEAL along with numerous others. The SEAL’s parents refused to meet with you when their son arrived home, and rightfully so. I’m not sure I could have held my tongue if one of my sons died because of a raid you ordered, but perhaps their choice left a greater impact on you. But then we’ll never know that.

I guess calling you the commander-in-chief doesn’t exactly fit. You authorized the raid but couldn’t be bothered to go to the Situation Room while it happened, preferring instead to bother people on Twitter. Yes, that’s what a small minority of voters did to all of us. They elected you as our so-called president, an overgrown man-child lacking any impulse control. Fabulous.

During the campaign, you stated that you love war. Really? You received five deferments so that you didn’t have to go to Vietnam, so how do you know? I mean a bone spur can be painful. And didn’t we all hear that you told Howard Stern that sleeping around and contracting sexually transmitted diseases was your personal Vietnam?¹ You really believe that’s a fair comparison? You demean every soldier’s experience with that comment.

When we taught karate, we had a student who had been a combat medic in Vietnam. He and my husband bonded over shared experiences and he was a lovely man. But he also suffered from PTSD from his experiences over there. He would wake up after a recurring nightmare wiping his buddy’s shattered skull and brains off of his hands and face. This went on for years. But STDs are inconvenient, aren’t they?

So I suppose it stands to reason that you’d be tweeting instead of monitoring the raid in Yemen. And you shouldn’t try to speak to the parents of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens anymore. Leave them to their insurmountable grief and to those who actually care about what happened to them. And if I were you, I’d stop blaming the military when it’s customary for the commander-in-chief to accept full responsibility for the military actions he authorizes. It’s part of that surreal job you’re supposed to be doing.

Our military doesn’t have to like its commander-in-chief. But it does help if they can stomach following that individual’s orders. How will that be possible now that you’ve taken the coward’s way out by blaming the military for the failed raid? Our military will no doubt behave professionally, but to throw them under the bus for a decision that was deemed risky at best is shameful. What’s wrong with you?

My husband and I just returned from the VA Hospital in Portland where he had another dental appointment. He’s getting an upper denture and it’s been six months since the process began and he’s not done yet. Only one staff member was behind the desk in the office to help veterans which is tough when the check-in kiosks don’t work. They do a great job there but they need money with which to operate. Fund them.

He saw his primary care doctor last week at the local VA clinic but they were short-staffed as well. It’s an ongoing struggle for them to take care of veterans properly without the funding they need. We’ve seen what happens when my husband seeks care locally. No one wants to accept the fee schedule the VA allows. So the veteran either pays out of pocket or s/he waits to be seen by a VA clinic. If the GOP has its way and veterans’ care is privatized, it will be disastrous for them.

It takes a certain strength of character to be a president. It’s clear that you don’t have that. You should have stayed running your businesses and playing with your Russian friends and not upset everyone so. But that’s not what happened and here we are with letter number two. The presidenting is hard edition.

Pucker up, buttercup. It’s only just begun.

Sincerely,

The Crone in Residence

 

References:

  1. Mak, Tim. Draft-Dodger Trump Said Sleeping Around Was My ‘Personal Vietnam’. Daily Beast. 2/16/2016.
  2. Carter, Phillip. Trump just blamed the military for the botched Yemen raid. That’s a disgrace. Vox.com. 2/28/2017.
  3. Eder, Steve; Phillips, Dave. Donald Trump’s Draft Deferments: Four for College, One for Bad Feet. NY Times. 8/1/2016.
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A Graceful Presence ~ Tarot for 7 Feb 2017

A Graceful Presence

It’s difficult to retain a graceful presence when the so-called new guy is running amok, potentially sending us all off the cliff while he vacations on a golf course after only two weeks in office. Calming our emotions can be difficult during these unsettling times, but as much as we all need to stay calm, it’s really the out of control antics by the so-called new guy that are the most troubling.

In today’s tarot reading the Empress sits serenely on her throne, the Goddess in her Mother aspect. A waxing crescent moon depicting the Maiden appears on the top left while a crescent moon that’s waning appears below on the left depicting the Crone.  A swan sits on her nest looking lovingly at her chicks. A double eagle appears on her shield to her left. The Empress is our Earth Mother, her swollen belly pregnant with new life. The blues and greens of the card suggest serenity and alignment. The 3rd card of the Major Arcana serves as the significator for the reading depicting the synchronicity of mind, body, and Spirit.

The Ace of Wands, 4 of Swords, and both the Princess and Queen of Cups comprise the reading itself. Fire, Air, and Water are specifically represented with The Empress providing the Earthy feel although she embodies all elemental energies. The numerology of the reading is 8, representing cycles, inner aspects, and triplicities.

A pattern initially emerges between The Empress and the Princess and Queen of Cups. Emotional and psychic or empathic presence and control are at issue in today’s tarot reading evidenced by the colors shared by the cards. The Princess of Cups simply flows in graceful emotional presence. She is imaginative and full of inspiration. The Princess holds a large shell, a tortoise peeking over its edge. A swan floats overhead and a fish and lotus blossom appear on either side, her lavender dress casting loving intention.

The Princess traditionally represents the student or message-bearer full of undeveloped potential. But the Thoth tarot takes a different view of the Princesses in the deck, believing them to be the culmination of the Aces, and view them with complete devotion. There’s such energy with this card along with the promise of something new.

The Queen of Cups stands above a pond, like the reflection of herself barely seen in the water. She is a natural witch, the empath, intuitive and psychic. She observes all, this loving Earth Goddess, and is loved beyond measure. Considered the watery part of water, her qualities are easily reflected in others. She can be ruthless when aware what others would keep hidden reflecting back to them who they are. Nothing is hidden from this Queen and no one can hide who they are around her.

Looking at both the Ace of Wands and the 4 of Swords, they appear to illustrate bringing our emotions into alignment by balancing our catalytic and creative presence with our intellect, creating a more aligned mind, body, and Spirit. A fiery wand arises, flames bursting in all direction, greenish lightning bolts extending behind. Aces are considered the root of each suit and essentially contain all the suits’ qualities therein. The Ace of Wands embodies our creative expression in all its catalytic expression. It’s the beginning of passion and courage, power and energy exploding from its center.

Unlike the projective or masculine nature of the Ace of Wands, the 4 of Swords signifies truce or a time of reflection representing a more feminine or receptive response. Four swords point to the middle of a mandala-like flower suggesting retreat and reflection. Chaotic thoughts expressed by the random star like designs appear in the background, away from our awareness as we go within to achieve alignment and to heal.

Emotions are running high these days with the recent election and unfortunately, it’s not an overreaction. The so-called new guy’s authoritarian and dictatorial attitude coupled with his extreme gullibility will in all probability create a long lasting negative impact but he’s on a roll and running amok and unable to see the true effect of his actions. Balance is sorely needed but out of his reach given his extreme reactions and lack of impulse control. He’s above it all and doesn’t seek advice from anyone who actually understands government and the world at large and his decisions reflect that arrogance.

It’s not that the world doesn’t need a reset. It does. Those in control have forever kept us in the dark as to how our world truly functions. We believe we have a voice in what happens but clearly, if this election tells us anything, we don’t. In time we’ll come to know how all of this happened but it’s clear at this juncture that manipulation is at its heart.

Instead of a Commander-in-Chief, it appears that we now have a Fleecer-in-Chief as a new report surfaced the other day discussing a lawsuit filed against a media outlet from his wife. I really can’t refer to her as the First Lady because it sure appears like his daughter is filling that role. A Washington Post article stated in her filing that:

 

An attorney for first lady Melania Trump argued in a lawsuit filed Monday that an article falsely alleging that she once worked for an escort service hurt her chance to establish “multimillion dollar business relationships” during the years in which she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.”

The suit — filed Monday in New York Supreme Court, a state trial court, in Manhattan — against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, said the article published by the Daily Mail and its online division last August caused Trump’s brand, Melania, to lose “significant value” as well as “major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her.” The suit said the article had damaged her “unique, once in a lifetime opportunity” to “launch a broad-based commercial brand.”

“These product categories would have included, among other things, apparel accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care and fragrance,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Trump’s behalf by California attorney Charles Harder.¹

 

“…during the years in which she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.”” Let that sink in for a minute. It’s a little disgusting to think these people are only there to make money off the taxpayers. One of his sons just went to Uruguay to the tune of $100,000 on OUR dime and it’s costing us in upwards of a million a day to protect his wife and son in their golden tower in New York City. I couldn’t vote for her husband because of the allegations of predatory sexual assault. But even without that, his campaign rallies sickened me to the point that I would change the channel anytime they came on the television. I can’t listen to his voice or anything that comes out of his mouth. I believe this man constitutes a clear and present danger to all we hold dear in this country. He’s conned his supporters into believing he won’t abandon them but he’s doing that on a daily basis. His spokespeople lie continually and are being lampooned by everyone. He hasn’t even been there a month and protests are occurring daily.

The Resistance is in full swing and it’s only getting started.

So let’s keep our heads about us, observe and then when the time is right, act in unison to stop this man at ever turn because evidently, a graceful presence is beyond him.

We cannot let a fatigue-fueled clown destroy us. He has a choice to make every second of every day. Does he serve only self or does he live in loving service to others? So far, the answer is clear.

Blessed be to all in the struggle to restore sanity to our nation

 

References:

  1. Melania Trump missed out on ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to make millions, lawsuit says
  2. Court Filing

 

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The New Guy Isn’t Smart At All

Respect Seniors: Increase Funding For Meals On Wheels

Although it’s apparently difficult for the new guy to understand this, the American people actually care about human rights. Not mentioning Jews in his Holocaust Remembrance comments because other people died too is shameful and insensitive at minimum. Holding up every stinking executive order he signs undoing our country is childish. And putting a white nationalist on the National Security Council should get him impeached. And then he issued a ban on Muslims from certain countries. Certain countries and not all because he does business in some of these places, so we’ll let those people in. Can’t affect his bottom line, after all.

And then the most amazing thing happened. Scores of people went to airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban. Attorneys from the ACLU went to court and overturned part of it at least. Members of Congress went to various airports and spoke with immigrants, making every attempt to help them enter the country. On social media, soldiers who served with Muslim interpreters, etc. posted pictures and comments telling the new guy that he’s only making things worse. That he’s actually causing more harm to this country. He wants ISIS contained and stupidly believes this is the way to do it.

Yes there are terrorists that want to hurt us, but evidently this ban won’t affect them, hurting instead people who are here legally. It’s unbelievable really. I’ve never understood the distorted thinking of people like the new guy. It’s the throw the baby out with the bathwater approach to problem solving. Get us involved in two wars and then refuse to fund the Veteran’s Administration because a black guy was our President. Then say because veterans aren’t getting appointments in a timely fashion it’s time to throw the baby out with the bathwater and privatize veterans’ health care. Never mind what this will do to veterans.

The Muslim ban illustrates the same sort of distorted thinking reflecting not truth but an agenda of Islamaphobia. We’re looking like the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, with government scientists forbidden from speaking to the American people without running everything through people like the unkempt white nationalist on the National Security Council who is regarded by some as the real president, the new guy more of a tyrannical emcee or game show host. The media has been all but shut out with lies becoming the norm, alternative facts now, which honestly may be their just desserts given their behavior in the run up to the election. Still, we need them to do their jobs and now they’ll actually have to go out and gather facts and such instead of relying on pressers and the like. The new UN Ambassador is already threatening people telling them to get on board or she’s taking names. For what, exactly? Does she want mine?

A mosque in Texas was set on fire and hate crimes are happening all over the country which is awful, but people turned out tonight to welcome immigrants to the United States. People turned out.

You see..we turn out for family. We turn out for justice and truth. We turn out and stand up particularly when oppression comes from the highest office in the country.

We turn out. We stand up. We will send the new guy and his minions packing and we will be victorious!

Blessings to all!

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Regrouping For The Coming Struggle ~ Tarot for 28 Jan 2017

Regrouping For The Coming Struggle

Today’s reading gives the feel of everyone off doing their own thing, as if regrouping for the coming struggle. The 6 of Wands depicts a young knight returning home from battle. The crowd receives him with cheers as he carries his flag of victory. The crystal tip of his spear reflects the sun’s rays as they radiate over the crowd. Six represents the sacred layer of the Holy Spirit within. It governs our emotions, balance, harmony and love. The knight’s battle has been long but his victory is received with love and an sense of community.

The King of Cups has a different feel to it. The King sits off by himself, on a throne emerging from the ocean. A dolphin jumps out of the water while the King sits in quiet reflection with waves crashing and roiling about. A calmer ocean scene appears at the bottom of his robe suggesting a calmer emotional presence. He wears a fish talisman around his neck as Neptune’s trident adorns his crown.

Cups represents our emotional presence and it appears that the King is taking some time to regroup and reflect on his life. He seeks an emotional balance as evidenced by the yin/yang symbol on his chalice. The difficulty with this particular man is that he can be passive/aggressive in his interaction with others, so time in reflection may be what he needs to come to the center with his emotions.

The 9 of Pentacles finishes out the reading with a woman wandering in the garden with a hawk on her arm. As she picks some grapes, she smells the fragrant red roses along her path. An ornate gate rises up behind the garden, with eight pentacles arching over with the ninth pentacle crowning the top.

Pentacles represent our material presence in the world, the wealth we build, and nature. The woman’s clothing reflects a luxurious lifestyle, a sense of order surrounding her. She lives her ideals, enjoying the peace a solitary existence allows. The gate as well as the hawk’s hood suggest a retreat from the chaos of the world, in harmony and balance with nature. Nine represents completion and the alignment with Source Presence.

It’s the weekend and time to let go of any stress felt over events from the previous week. Not the easiest thing to do, but as we can see, we need a break from the chaos. Each individual depicted in the reading is involved in their own activity, their own process, and not involved with others. Even the knight stays on his steed, moving through the crowd instead of dismounting and visiting.

The numerology of the reading is 6 and as we know from above this represents the Holy Spirit within. The chaos brought about by the new guy and his minions won’t get better any time soon and we may find that impeachment is the only solution. But until then, aligning in Source Presence seems to be our only choice lest we allow reaction to rule reason.

The last week has given us all so much to think about and process. The new guy is causing an extreme level of disruption that doesn’t seem legal but in the interim lives are put in jeopardy nevertheless. Millions are closer to losing their health insurance, legal immigrants are in jeopardy, and veterans are getting the shaft once again.

But we’re getting a multi-billion dollar wall between us and Mexico, one that only a few of us seem to even want. Science oriented agencies have taken to alternative Twitter accounts to get out science facts since the new guy has insisted that they can’t talk to any of us anymore, at least not without running it by all the so-called smart people in his administration.

In the meantime, a mosque in Texas was set on fire and Jewish people are being harassed by neo-nazis in Montana.

It’s a new day, folks. Time to regroup for the next battle.

Blessings to all and by all means, feel free to hunker down, perhaps for the next four years.