Sunday, October 28, 2007

NFTN 21: Nanny for the Jewish Family

Out of respect for a measure of respect they gave to me, I am not going to use their real surname. Instead, I am going to call this family: The Goldblatts. There were problems with the Goldblatts, but anyone living in a small house with their employees will have them. Eventually, they tried to get more out of me than we agree to in the beginning, but it was not this way to start.

That said, I will continue my story.

On a brisk day in October 1993, I was waiting from my room, watching out of my bedroom window at the Thebault's. I was waiting for my new family to pick me up.

I told them I wanted to work for a family that treated me like a human being, and they told me they had a 10 month old baby girl, and that they both worked. They lived in Livingston, New Jersey, and were Reform Jews. They said they tried to practice some traditions but were not kosher. The father, Ken, had a small computer office where he helped fix problems as, I believe, a network engineer. He had a degree from Columbia. The mother, Mary, worked downtown, in NYC, at a large advertising agency, as a project manager. Mary had formerly been Catholic and converted, and they celebrated the Jewish holidays and Sabbat.

I thought it all sounded very interesting. I didn't care who they were and what they did, as long as they respected certain boundaries.

At last, I saw a silver-blue Toyota Camry driving down the the long driveway towards the house. I bounded out of the door with my single suitcase in hand. Ken was going to get out of the car to help me with my luggage but I asked them to stay in the car and pop the trunk--I couldn't get out of there fast enough and didn't want to delay. Ken had an apprehensive look on his face. Both he and Mary were dumbfounded, staring in silence at the estate. The first thing Ken said to me when I was in the car, before he even drove away, was, "Are you sure you want to leave this?!" gesturing towards the house. He said, "We don't have anything like this...I'm not sure you're going to like...We just have a small house..." I cut in, and said firmly, "Yes, that will be fine." Ken looked around, "I think you're nuts! I wouldn't leave this!" He drove around very slowly. While he laughed, he was clearly nervous. Mary was quiet, but I saw her look at Ken with her eyebrows raised. They were looking up and down, and left and right, as they drove away, trying to take in what they were seeing around them.

They didn't understand. I didn't even look back as we drove away. I said hello to Danit, their baby girl.

A half hour later, after winding around some roads, we came to the Goldblatt's house on the "mountain." They told me they lived on a mountain, but it was a small hill. It was a neighborhood with trees and sidewalks, American and Japanese cars in the driveways, and simple one or two-story houses, averaging about 1,500 sq. feet.

The Goldblatts had a one story with a daylight basement. It was decorated in a JC Penny's modern style, with upholstered furniture patterned in geometric blue, purple, black, and grey. I really didn't like the decor at all. It felt like an office and the colors were cool. My room was in the basement and there was a small partial window. It was the same size as my bedroom had been in Bedminster, or larger. A double bed with a grey and blue comforter. The only other rooms downstairs were the bathroom, which had only a stand-up shower, and the family room, which came with a bar and large-screen TV. Upstairs, there was a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, and 2 bedrooms. No pets.

The Goldblatts told me they had a housekeeper who came in once a week to clean and that they only wanted me to do a little vaccuming, when I could, while Danit was napping. They said running the vaccum now and then would be enough, or starting a load of laundry, in addition to simply picking up after their daughter.

The Goldblatts were talkative. While they were somewhat introverted socially, they talked a lot at home. They liked music, with a large CD collection, and had a subscription to Off-Broadway and Off-off-Broadway plays in NYC. They subscribed to the magazines The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and the newspaper The New York Times. We sat around the same table and sometimes discussed politics.

Livingston was a community where the most prominent religion was Judaism. It was also well-to-do, and there were a lot of arts offerings. The Riker Hill Art Center wasn't far away, and there were local theatrical groups. While the Goldblatts did eventually exploit me by forcing me to do more housework, gradually, than we agreed to, they did respect my hour "off", at least almost always. Therefore, I was able to develop a life outside of the house to some degree and had many adventures: with the Irish-Catholic guy, the son-heir to the owner of a major NYC advertising firm, the Biker Nanny, and with my friend Kelly; I worked PT at the Riker Hill Art Center and tried out for a play as well. I learned more about music by listening to the Goldblatts CD collection, and I read all of their past issues of The Atlantic Monthly and followed the New York Times. I learned to ice-skate and I went to plays in NYC. We spent a week at a cabin in the middle of a ski resort in Connecticut; I went skiing. And I heard more stories, from other nannies, about their employers.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

NFTN 20: Leaving the The Thebaults

After my first attempt at church on the East Coast, the Thebaults forbade me to go to any church that was outside of a 5 mile radius, and I was trapped. They forbade me to speak to the only other woman on their property, Maritza.

I was so bored, I went to a craft store one day and spent my entire salary and some of my savings on craft supplies, and stuffed them in my closet, to use for entertainment on my own time. I let the kids use some of it too. I didn't buy the kids presents, but I did use my own money to buy stickers and some craft and art supplies for them. One day, Brian peered into my closet and said, "What is this?" My tiny closet was stuffed with bags of ribbons, buttons, glue guns, oil paints and brushes and paper, and poupourri. Brian said it smelled like a floral shop. I wrote in my diary and kept it well-hidden. Every pen in the Thebault house disappeared somewhere in my room. The Thebault's had an ancient computer they said I could use, but I was afraid they would be able to monitor what I wrote, so I didn't touch it. I did find Lisa Thebaut's high school yearbooks, in a drawer near the computer, and read them. Other than that, I was really not nosy. I don't remember ever being in Lisa's room longer than 1 minute. Once Maritza asked me to put away some 34 B bras for her and I did, and I noticed, when I pulled open the drawer, that all of them were folded in this peculiar manner, and were all shades of taupe, white, and black. How boring, I thought. I didn't see one piece of lingerie, although Lisa's bedroom was a kind of boudoir.

Lisa slept separately from Brian. They each had their own bedroom and I was told it was because of Brian's working hours. He got up earlier and had to make noise. So, separate bedrooms with separate bathrooms.

Lisa's bedroom was at the end of a very, very, long hall. Lisa told me once that this house was what she'd always wanted. She said she wanted a house with a very long hallway. There were bedrooms lined up on the side of the hall, and a playroom. Brian's room was austere, with neutral tones and a lot of chrome or silver in the bathroom. Lisa's room was elevated, on a kind of platform. At the end of the halls there were small steps that led up to her room. She had a King size bed and a butterfly motif. Everything was butterflies, everywhere.

The bedroom on the platform gave it a kind of "I am the Queen" feel. I could imagine Brian approaching the Great Throne to inquire whether Lisa would let him in. Or maybe he just barged through the veil after a hard day and night at the office. I couldn't decide whether it was the lair of a concubine or a Queen.

As stated before, my bedroom was about 6 x 8 feet. It was a closet and the closet was even smaller. Right next to my room, which was at the other end of the hall from Lisa's room, was a large spare room and an adjoining bathroom. They were empty. Another nanny told me I should take the other room, but I didn't dare. The Thebault's wanted me in the closet.

The kids' rooms were down the hall from mine. Lauren had a crib in a small room, and Christie and Philip had larger rooms. Lisa had samples all over, and the interior decorator was often at the house. Christie's room was painted in bright versions of pastels and Miami colors. Soft pink with a vivid bright rose, forest green and turquoise to accent the bright yellow walls. White painted wood. I don't remember the colors for Philip's room. He may have had a sailboat motif but I cannot recall. They were working on Christie's room and the library at the time I left. There was a playroom/exercise room on this floor as well. It was a drab and boring room and no one, including the kids, wanted to play in there. There was a treadmill in the middle of the floor.

The bathroom I used was also very small. The former nanny had left behind a huge jar of Queen Helene's Placenta for the Hair.

There was an elevator going from the first to the second floor. No one used it. It worked, I believe, but it was slow, and gated with iron.

The kids and everyone else spent the most time in the kitchen, which was the warmest place in the house. The house was rather large for the children. After waking, we went downstairs, where there was a country-french kitchen in hand-painted tile, a rec room with a TV, a bathroom to the side of the rec, a "ballroom" or entertainment room which was bare, a library, a cutting room for flowers, a little parlor with old hand-painted murals of trees and birds, french-style, on the walls, and another bathroom. The bathrooms didn't have regular terry towels but only embroidered fine-linen hand towels.

There were vaults, which I knew of, but I won't write about their locations. Even at the house on the Shore, Lisa seemed paranoid someone would steal from her, and I think she even worried I would. Once or twice she left gold earrings out in the open and when she discovered her error she gasped. I think she left a diamond ring and diamond studs out, once, as well. She couldn't find them one time and asked me about them, with this "look" and then she found them. There were probably other vaults besides the ones I was aware of.

There was a garage for the cars, and Brian had a driver who took him to work and brought him home. Brian sat in the backseat.

I roamed the house and the grounds, taking photos, when I knew I was going to be leaving. I called Joan with the agency and asked for a new family. She said she didn't blame me for wanting to leave, and she refused to refund the Thebault's money when they asked; it had been their fault, not mine. Joan sort of liked being filled in on the gossip while I worked there. She wanted the scoop. But I just wanted out. I told Joan I wanted a family that would treat me with respect and honored their agreements; I wanted my time-off when it was my time off. I told her I didn't care how rich they were.

One day Lisa told me she didn't think it was "working out". Well, she didn't say that exactly...She said "You don't seem happy." I think this was after the time I burst into tears about Philip and how the kids needed more attention from their parents. I smiled. Had she been listening to my phone conversations with Joan or my mother for the last several months? I think they knew I was leaving because I'd been interviewing with other families. Maybe they had thought that I was using their car to go to interviews, much earlier, when I was only trying to go to church. I don't know, but I didn't use their car to go on interviews until after I gave my one month notice. I had wanted to stay a year, out of determination to be true to my contract. But they had already violated our contract a number of ways, by forcing me to work longer hours without compensation, and they had also lied about themselves before I ever flew out. I had specified I wanted a non-smoking family and they smoked. I caught them in the den shortly after I'd arrived. I didn't hold it against them, the smoking, because the house was so big I couldn't even smell it, but it was one of a number of little lies. They also said they were Protestant, and I never specified any religion but perhaps they thought I would be more comfortable working for a family of the same background, given the strength of my own religious convictions and history of involvement in church. They were Catholic, but I didn't even find that out until years later.

I made the most of the last month, putting everything into the kids, and determined to make the most of it. After I gave my notice, it was as if a great weight had come off of my shoulders. I was free!!!! I was going to be free! I was so happy about it, I began singing during the day, and played harder with the kids, and talked to my friends from home and my fellow nanny Kelly, on the phone, laughing. Lisa and Brian looked uncomfortable.

I thought about a birthday party for the kids that I and Maritza had been required to help with. Lisa's friend from the private school ordered us around, actually clapping her hands together as if we were horses, to "Ladies, get the forks please!" She instructed us on how to cut the cake, and to take off the kid's muddy shoes, all the while, making these sharp and short little "clap-clap", pronto, gestures. Maritza looked at me and rolled her eyes. In the back, Maritza made a perfect imitation of the woman and then when I was laughing, said, in her familiar way, "Can you beleeeeeve these people?! UNbeleeevable!" Lisa had this to say about her demanding friend, "Oh! So-and-so really knows how to handle her help!"

I realized my determination to "stick it out", from the beginning, was sheer stupidity. On the other hand, had I not stayed as long as I did, I would not have these things to write about.

A couple of weeks before I left, I was accused of not supervising their daughter Christie who had run around the corner outside with Philip and the servant's boy who was 7 years old. I had been outside with them the entire time, and then Lisa came to the backdoor and asked me to watch Lauren too. As I was taking Lauren, the other kids ran around the corner, playing tag, and Brian drove up. I guess he witnessed Christie flashing her privates to the servant boy. Lisa yelled at me, "He could have molested her!!!" I looked at her, a little surprised, but I said nothing. I let Lisa yell, and I listened and nodded. When she was done, I explained she had just given Lauren to me and that this was the only reason I had been distracted as to the child's exact whereabouts at that moment. They didn't live on a farm with machinery that could injure, and they didn't live anywhere near civilization. They were in the country and the most immediate dangers, I guess, besides the servant's little boy, were the river and the pool. I was always nearby around the pool, fountain (which had a shallow pool), and river. I was standing by the pool, which was surrounded by a latched gate, and the river was half a mile away, and I was also near the fountain. It was unfortunate that I had not seen Christie go around the corner with the boys, but I could hardly be blamed. The children were out of control and their own parents undermined my authority. If I had asked Christie to come back, she would have stuck out her tongue at me, told her mother, and then Lisa would have given Christie a lollipop after reprimanding me for interferring in her child's play. I remembered the incident where I asked Philip to eat at least some of his dinner before ice cream, and what Lisa's response had been. But it was my fault that the servant's boy had had a look at their daughter. That little 7 year old was the "inappropriate" and "unsuitable" playmate who would have attacked their daughter, right then and there, had Brian not intervened. If anything, I had the impression that the boy was an innocent bystander. He hadn't pulled her pants down himself. And I thought too, didn't they realize kids sometimes are curious at that age, even their daughter?

In the two weeks before my stay was over, Christie flashed the servant's little boy, and Philip ran to his father, complaining that I had hurt him "on purpose" when I was trying to kick the soccer ball back at him.

I had been shocked at what a good player Philip was, at 7 years old. I didn't know if his athletic talent was a natural gift alone, or partly because of his private lessons, but he was good. I played with him for about an hour and could hardly keep up. I have no idea what happened now...I can't remember if the ball hit him the wrong way, or, more likely, I accidentally kicked him in the shin while we were fighting for the ball up close. I tried to be challenging for him, because he was already better than I was, but Philip howled and then ran off. Brian had been watching us from an upstairs window. We were playing on the grass in the back of the house. Of course, Brian gave me "the look" again, when I went back into the house. At that point, I didn't even care. I did my job, I did a good job, and I was getting the hell out of there.

There are more details I may save for a book, such as the day Lisa told us all about "lunching" with a soap opera star, and hearing about the neighbors (Forbes, Delorean, and Whitney Houston), going to the horse race/show with the elite tailgate parties, and about being told I could not meet the relatives in Connecticut (Beau and Christian and the rest), but for now, this shall suffice.

When I left, I cleaned my room and bathroom thoroughly, finding about 30 pens in the process. THAT's where all the pens in the house had gone! I left the room exactly the way I found it, vaccumed and with the bed made. I looked out the windows with the iron bars once more and said farewell to the house. What secrets were there...If the walls could only speak...I put the 30 pens in the little drawer on the nightstand. I knew Brian and Lisa would find them. I could have taken them downstairs, but I thought it was more fitting that I leave them there.

Once Brian overheard a "letter" I wrote for Maritza to give Freddy, her husband, when we were at the Shore. Maritza said it was really good, and she had asked me to write a love letter for her. Brian read it and blushed, saying it sounded like a romance novel. He looked at me and said, "You're a writer." Or something like that. I was actually very surprised that he would notice anything about my writing. It was only a page long, and it was dramatic. I didn't think it was very good at all. But I suppose perhaps Brian is something of a writer himself if he noticed, and could write his own blog one day. I suspect the Thebault's style would be to ignore me altogether and I don't think I would be included in a book they wrote. I was only one out of 7 or more nannies. Probably many more, as I was told they'd have 7 nannies in just the one year before ME. And Brian had told me he could give me a job in his "factory" if I wanted to keep track of my hours working. I was a number.

They were my first experience, however, with "the real world", out of high school. And, my first extremely negative experience with the very rich. So, those first several months are a part of my life story. The next family I worked for was very different: liberal, poor (by comparison), and Jewish. My next family was certaintly more talkative. They called my former employers "the WASPS" and called me one too. I didn't even know what a WASP was, until I worked for a Jewish family.

Blogger: Deleting Posts

I wanted to delete some posts that are cluttering up the blog, but I only find a "Delete Blog" option. So, here's to...more clutter.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Since I'm on the drug topic...I'll write about my experience with Adderall. But I have to make it short, because I took an Adderall today and it turns me into a zombie. I asked my doctor if I could try it a month ago; I thought it might help with fatigue. I read that sometimes stimulants are prescribed to counter the drowsy effects of narcotics, and it made sense to me so I asked. When I asked, though, I threw in, "Oh, someone once told me they thought I might be ADD" because I thought it would help me to convince the doctor to let me try it. I didn't lie, someone DID say this, but I know I'm not ADD. I am able to focus for longer periods of time than most; my powers of concentration are not lacking.

So, what do I think about it? I think it's terrible. At least for me. Without fail, every single day I took it, I struggled to write or didn't write at all. I had other things going on as well, but even on evenings when I would normally write, I couldn't. Right now, I just want to go to bed. List of side effects:

headaches (many tension, some that went into migraine),

extreme fatigue after a brief "alert" phase,

mood swings,

tears (sudden, and without reason)

I had short-acting 10 mg. tablets. One a day. The first day I took one in the morning, and I got a ton of things done that day and was focused and energized. The next morning, or that evening, I felt sad. I haven't been sad forever. I mean, there is a difference between sadness for a reason, or upset for a reason, and this "feeling" of sadness, for no reason, striking without warning and lasting only a half hour. Very weird.

I actually called the pharmacist and asked him if Adderall causes depression. He said no, but I read online that it CAN when people stop taking it. I had been very stable feeling for over a year, having appropriate emotions for circumstances-only, and the first time after I tried Adderall, I felt an unreasonable sadness. And I couldn't write. Which isn't normal for me. Even when I'm sad, I can write.

So then I took half a tablet in the morning and a half in the afternoon. That was better, but then at night I was still more fatigued than usual. If I took it closer to evenings, I could stay up late into the night, but for whatever reason, I couldn't WRITE. I would go online and surf the net, and didn't have the energy or inspiration to write anything.

Adderall helped me get the housework done once or twice, but it only helped me "focus" on mundane tasks, and robbed me of inspiration and my creativity. My arms feel like lead right now, and writing isn't a joy as usual. I had wanted to write tonight, and to finish writing up about the awful Judge Harmon and how she was flat-out prejudiced and didn't even attempt to hide it; she insulted my SON verbally, and attacked me as well--it was really quite unbelievable...So I have plenty to say about that, and am motivated to put it down on the blog, but I can't do it tonight because I tried, again, the Adderall, and want to save that post for tomorrow, when I have some spark.

I have some concern too, that Adderall hinders growth. I'm done growing, yes I know, but that sounds like a pituitary gland effect--something that affects horomones and the brain. I'm very careful with what I do with my brain as I've only got one and I happen to like the one God gave me.

I can see where Adderall could be addictive--when I take it, I sometimes have a short burst of energy or feeling of well-being, like I've had a great cup of coffee. But it doesn't work that way.

I have been more spontaneously teary than I was in the first months of horomone-crazy pregnancy. I cry about sad things, nothings, and sentimental/mushy things. Not long crying spells, a bunch of very, very, short 2 minute interludes. And it never happens when I'm still ON the Adderall, or within the first few hours after taking it. So I know it's the Adderall.

The times I quit, I felt my energy come back. I'm more sluggish overall, but it's a steady sluggish and I can still write, and feel inspired. With Adderall, it's a stop-and-start fatigue thing, mini-bursts of tears, and inability to write.

But I don't feel "depressed" at all, in general. It's the Adderall and I can't wait to get back to normal. I'm turning into a ball of mush the longer I take it.

I cannot imagine what it's like for someone to take it a LONG time and then quit. THAT must be hell.

Oh, and the headaches. I've had to go through more NARCOTICS just to keep them at bay. I've had a lot more headaches--some minor and some bad. The narcotics, taken daily have actually helped to reduce the mind-blowing severity of my migraine/clusters, but I still need a whopping something-extra to abort them or not feel disabled by them. But the chronic narcotics have helped a lot of things. I seriously feel they are a blessing. I feel the closest to the way I was before--the closest thing to normal--with just the narcotics (and added over-the-counter stuff too).

When I took the Adderall, I noticed I drank less coffee. So, they do help with fatigue in a way. Yet it's sort of a false security... I had to compensate in other ways with the side effects.

Well, goodbye're getting the flush from me.

I'm glad I got to try them.

More tomorrow on resident witch Harmon.

...I first wrote this a week ago and now I'm adding to it...I decided I may still try it. There were a couple of days I really did get more done, when taking it, but there was a catch 22 on the fatigue. On Adderall, I didn't need to nap with my son as much and could stay up later at night, but was tired in the morning until I took it again. When I'm NOT on it, as I've not been for 2 days, I'm tired at night, need coffee during the day, and yet have more energy in the morning after I've slept. Sometimes it seems slightly beneficial at the 5 mg. dose but it's really hard to tell. Because I don't know for sure, I asked for a refill, but I'm in the middle of court matters and other things, and feel it was probably unwise to try something new during this time as I don't know what the side effects will be and they affected me. Any change or disruption to regular medications is potentially a set-back. I've been off of the Adderal for 2-3 days and I bought Red Bull. That stuff used to work, but it didn't as much.

All my side effects, I read, were typical with Adderal. I think the very bad tension headaches were some of the worst. I had them all the time. If Adderall is so great and helps people to focus, and Ivy League students use it or abuse it to give them an advantage, why isn't it available like coffee is? The warning label says it will cause birth deformations if you're pregnant, and in kids, it can inhibit growth. If it keeps kids from growing, that is something that's affecting the brain--maybe pituitary gland? So if a stimulant actually gets hyperactive people to calm down and sometimes allows students to study into the night, why does it slow down a body's growth? Is this drug/medication actually sedating? or a kind of sedative? I know it's supposed to be a stimulant, but maybe it initially acts like a stimulant and yet is working on organs or the brain in a way that results in a kind of sedation and slowing of growth and brain activity.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


No, I'm not manic-depressive. I posted a lot one month, and then it quit because of certain circumstances beyond my control. I write when I can and if I'm too disabled to write, there are other things going on in my life. I have to write at night, mainly, when my son is sleeping, and I'm often too tired. When inspired or angered enough, I am able to write more. If I realize my or my son's lives are at stake, and that I am at risk because of political situations (more on that later) I force myself to write to document the truth. But there are a lot of things going on, and if only the right people knew...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

When the Drug Dealers Are "The Good Guys"

The weirdest thing happened. I wrote a post mocking the "apple a day keeps the doctor away" proverb, for serious chronic pain, and then a few days later, I'm at a clinic for a narcotics refill, and I'm looking at posters on a board for upcoming conferences. One was entitled: "Let Food Be Your Medicine!" and gave details about the benefits of good nutrition. The seminar was run by a nutritionist (I believe) and was open to people with chronic pain, and conditions specifically listed were "fibromyalgia", "chronic fatigue syndrome", etc.

Let Food Be Your Medicine. Okaaaay...I was just reading an article about a woman with such severe and painful fibromyalgia, she drove 9 hours from Washington state to Oregon state, just to get her 3-month prescriptions for narcotics. I'm mispelling fibro, but I'll fix it later. I really don't know enough about either disease to comment, but I have heard that these conditions are constantly undermined by doctors; patients are doubted, and told it's in their heads. Is the problem diet? I wonder how many of those with chronic fatigue or fibro, are health nuts? And still have problems anyway? While good food and proper nutrition are essential to well-being, should we really "let food be (our) medicine"? Or become members of the Church of Science?

If someone is a major couch potato, or has no understanding of nutrition, and eats only junk, I think this course would be excellent, whether someone has fibro or not. But I sort of felt the ad implied a suggestion that these people with fibro and chronic fatigue were sick, of their own fault, because they were junk-food junkies.

I know quite a lot about nutrition. My mother is a health nut and I am as well. I know about homeopathic medicine too. Hot peppers for colds, tension headache, and metabolism stimulation; garlic for colds; apples for longevity and mental stimulation; chocolate for seratonin and as an antioxidant (dark choco for antioxidants/milk chocolate for brighter holidays); kelp and apple cider vinegar as tonic and metabolism aide; salmon for omegas; nuts for minerals and omegas; oats for energy.... I could go on. You name the fruit, food, or beverage, and I will name, on the spot, its health value and even some arguments for and against the theories. When I was a little girl, my mother read (before she entered real estate) books on health and nutrition, horses and dogs, and romance novels. As a teen, I foraged into her Victoria Holt "gothic-romance" novels (enough to know this author wrote under another name) but found nutrition and natural remedies a more fascinating read.

Besides knowing all about foods, I am well-educated in minerals, herbs, and aromotherapy, color therapy, and art therapy. I've used epsom salts in the bath; boiled peppermint and lavendar leaves during a migraine attack; sniffed out a good Aveda oil, and painted the walls in my house: gold (for wamth), orange (for energy), and bright periwinkle blue and dark green (calm and inspiration). During a time of particular stress, I didn't want to drop out of college, and instead rearranged my classes to include my own mixture of "art therapy"--graphic design, oil painting, and poetry, and I played guitar. I am creative and open to experiment, using one thing for another. For example, pouring the boiling peppermint and lavendar mix into a foot bath with scalding temperature, to draw the blood down from my migraine head. I have also put egg whites on my face, honey in my hair, parafin wax on my nails, and made my own leg hair wax from sugar and honey (and it works! a middle-eastern woman gave me the recipe). I began educating myself on these things when I was 11 years old, telling my mother to use sunscreen when she was outside, and buying a natural Henna for my hair. I have always been into preventative care, maintained a healthy lifestyle, and tried all kinds of natural "biofeedback" treatments for pain. I suppose I was even experimenting on others...even on a psychological level...I sang my childhood slumber friends to sleep at night, and in the 2nd grade I devised a "nurse station" at the jungle gym on the playground. If a kid got hurt, they came to me, and if it was an injured knee, I would apply pressure to his arm until there was minor discomfort, drawing his attention away from the pain of the knee. Kids would jump around saying, "It worked! It worked!" and I was hero-nurse until I bored of the game and moved onto something else. I knew about principles of "distraction" and biofeedback intuitively, and later read up on it for myself.

Not only have I good eating habits, I have been an athlete most of my life. I won the Presidential Fitness Award in jr. high, for doing more pull-ups than the boys. I ran hard, and took cross-country/track/cheerleading and dance. My best race (the one I was good at) was the 800 meters and it's a killer. I hated it the most (it wasn't over quick enough and you still had to sprint the whole way) and yet it was the one I was good at. I easily picked up skills (skiing, windsurfing) and I was the most flexible person on any given track or cross-country team. I stretched out and warmed up right. I also took swim lessons while I was young and wasn't bad on a swim team. Until I was seriously injured, and even afterwards, whenever possible, I've been an athlete.

And yet it doesn't matter how much granola I eat, water I drink, or races I limp through at a walk (now), I need medications and narcotics specifically, to come close to alleviating pain for my particular symptoms (which will at least partially remain a mystery to some for now). It has nothing to do with addiction, it's not psychological...I've TRIED everything else. There are plenty of other people in my shoes, whose symptoms and reports of pain are not understood or are suspected as "in their head".

The few times I went to physical therapy, they showed me exercises I already knew, from sports coaches. The only manual or physical therapy that works for me is deep tissue massage, and asking for that from an insurance company is like asking for coverage of manicures. In the same way, I'm shocked by how many doctors "don't get" narcotics for chronic pain. It's almost viewed as the worst evil, when it has done me and plenty of others, the very most good! Narcotics have a better safety record, with fewer side effects, than most newer medications for pain or problems (ex. Topamax--save a seizure, kill a brain). Prior to injuries, I wouldn't even take aspirin. No one in my family has substance abuse issues, and my parents never even had alcohol in the house. We're a bunch of Puritan Protestants, on both sides of my family, all the way back. My parents are professionals and even drive newer Lexus SUVs. I'm from sort-of-working-lower-middle class.

But the minute a doctor meets someone they don't know personally, from church, family, through teachers or town, in Washington state, and especially in Eastern Washington, anyone who requests or needs narcotics is suspect. Worse than suspect--condemned and guilty criminals. If a doctor hasn't known you from birth, or your family, the only way most will trust you is if you're driving up in a Mercedes, or hold an influential and respected position for work. I've never had a problem, or a "past", and never smoked a joint or did drugs or abused prescription drugs. I've been directly offered drugs once in my life. There is NO ONE who could come forward with a claim they gave or saw me do any kind of illegal drugs.

Once I told a nurse that I had to "borrow" a couple of pills from someone-- (5 mg. Vicodin) for a severe migraine when I was out--and I told him that I "gave them back" when I got my refill. The nurse freaked out, as if I'd admitted to killing someone and burying them in my backyard. The nurse freaked out about this, and FORGOT that several times I had left whole bottles of narcotics sitting on the pharmacy shelves, when I didn't need them, and was able to pick them up months later when I did finally run out. I was given narcotics for very severe pain inside my lower back (left side) during my pregnancy. I was complaining of my symptoms for almost a month, and the pain got worse. Even after the narcotics, it worsened. I had to go to ER because of the pain, where they found out I was in preterm labor, almost 2 months early. I was having contractions. I went in because the pain was so bad in my back I couldn't even walk. It was the same pain I'd reported forever, which grew worse. The labor and delivery people didn't know what it was from, and finally had me give a urine sample. Ooops. Suddenly I was on an IV with treatment for a serious kidney infection, kidney stones, which was so bad it had started my labor. I didn't WANT to be on any narcotics during pregnancy, but I was finally in such pain I had to ask. The doctor looked at me and said every woman feels "back pain". After I was treated for the kidney infection, the pain went away. Almost immediately I was better, and within a week, it was absolutely gone. I told the doctor about it the next time I went in to see him. What did he say? He told me the baby's head must have changed position. I reminded him that the baby's head had been engaged for quite awhile, and he'd confirmed it. He tried to write out another big prescription for narcotics. I told him no. He kept pressuring me to take the narcotics. I looked at him like he was nuts (which, I later found out...he is!) and stated clearly that my pain had been from the kidney infection and now that it was treated and the pain was gone, I didn't need the narcotics. And yet, my doctor told people I had substance abuse issues (he told doctors I'd taken "narcotics" during pregnancy) after I delivered my son and forced me to speak with a social worker. This was Dr. Malcolm Butler, medical director for Columbia Valley Community Health. Only 2 or 3 months after the traumatic delivery of my son, I was questioned about an innocent situation which was no big deal, after I started asking serious questions about the cover-up of my traumatic delivery and my and my infant son's very serious injuries (my son and I BOTH have confirmed permanent injuries because of the childbirth. The doctor and hospital knew ahead of time--I was begging, crying, for hours, for a C-section, telling them there was a problem. I had given my doctor and midwife prior notice that the first time I saw a Gyn, she told me it would be impossible to have children naturally because my pelvis was too narrow, and that even carrying would be high risk. The docs said maybe things would relax with horomones in labor, and when they didn't, and I knew it, they forced me to push for far too long, tore me up manually for hours, broke my bones, forced my son's head past the bones and injured his head/damaged his teeth enamel formation, and I was left with severe and permanent prolapses and broken tailbone and pelvis. My son has had two different pediatric dentists confirm he has enamel dysplasia, which they said had to have been caused by childbirth trauma, or severe illness such as the jaundice my son had because he couldn't break down all the blood cells from his broken head--my son had to be placed under bilirubin lights and 3 months later, his bilirubin count was 5.--something...Five-point-something, and THAT's only the HALF of it!).

I have been refused narcotics before, when I've been in very severe pain. After the birth of my son, which was horrific (and a tale on its own) I was seriously injured and suffering. The same doctor who refused to take responsibility for the cause of my preterm labor and "back pain" retaliated against me when I told him I felt he'd been dishonest with me and I had to find a new PCP. This doctor immediately cut off all prescriptions, on the spot, and told everyone I was "drug-seeking". He knew I was suffering and was injured. This doctor also told the ER not to treat me for my migraines (I had a pain contract for morphine injections); told my counselor not to see me anymore (kicked me out of the counseling clinic); and kicked me out of the WIC he was in charge of. He and some of his friends, fellow doctors, contacted every member of the Board of Directors with my insurance company, about ME. When I changed insurance companies, doctors from Wenatchee then contacted my next insurance company to prejudice my care. Dr. Butler contacted new doctors I went to, to defame me further. It was so bad, I couldn't get anyone in Wenatchee to give me narcotics, and when I begged each clinic and the ER for an X-ray, I was refused. A simple X-ray is covered by my insurance. I requested one from both clinics, ER, 2 new PCPs from Wenatchee, the medical director in one clinic, and my insurance "exceptions" nurse. I was refused. I told them all that I wanted an X-ray because I believed my tailbone was broken during childbirth (among other things). I only noticed it so bad after my PCP cut me off of narcotics and defamed me. It was very, very, bad. I couldn't bend over, crouch, sit (of course) or do the simplest things without pain. I read online that a diagnostic was pressing in on the bottom tailbone, if it moved, it may be broken. Mine moved, and the ER doc felt the same thing, and denied it moved at all. It did NOT just stiffen up during his 2 minute exam. I had to go to Seattle, and get an X-ray from the ER. It showed a broken tailbone, with not just a "fracture" but a whole piece that was off, in an unnatural part of the tailbone, which was clearly unstable. This X-ray also showed "sclerosis" of the sacrum, which is calcification and is an attempt by the body to heal from fractures. I had fractures of the sacrum in addition to everything else. I was so injured that I couldn't sleep at night, for several months, because of the pain, and that was WITH narcotics.

Prior to childbirth, I had other injuries which sometimes required narcotics, but the main issue was very severe migraines/clusters. Now they've been diagnosed as "clusters" but I don't know for sure. The pain level fits clusters, but the rest of it sort of fits migraine diagnosis better, from everything I read. I was forced to suffer with these, and many people witnessed the levels of my suffering and that it was genuine.

Yet people who don't have migraine or clusters, or are very close to those who do, don't understand. And even if they do, they may still suspect YOU don't really have them, if you're low-income (and therefore, must be of a criminal nature). Anything people can't see on the outside, if it doesn't involve blood or a visible broken bone, may not be believed. I am glad I don't have chronic fatigue or fibro, in addition to everything else, and I can sympathize with those who fend off assumptions that it's in their head, or they are somehow responsible for their "lack of energy" or pain.

Food for medicine? How about...some Food For Thought? Will apples, ginko, ginseng, salmon, cod liver oil save the day? Or will it be education, education, education, education. But then, wait! These doctors, all throughout Eastern Washington who are so hard on people about narcotics, they have been educated, and still are suspicious. It's almost like healthcare in the dark ages over here. At this point, I don't think people will be safe or secure in their health and pain prevention unless they, we, organize ourselves and demand respect, and stick up for our rights.

What is sad, is that some people are NOT having any problems whatever, getting narcotics. These are the people who know the doctors, are connected socially, who have two cars in the garage, two kids, and they probably don't have near the pain levels that someone else, who is poor, maybe uneducated, and not as socially connected, does, who is refused medication. I feel very sorry for anyone who had issues with substance abuse in the past, who NOW has legitimate pain, and yet is refused help based on a record from a previous life. I think those who have been treated badly, who are refused narcotics and need them, should start by getting a petition, making calls, and connecting people to eachother.

I know my problems are not just about "the narcotics laws in Washington". My problems and the refusal of treatment, has been mainly political and retaliatory. I have medical documentation that most people would gasp at, and my chronic narcotics needs do not come close to the levels at which patients are required to see a pain specialist. When I can't get an X-RAY from anyone in town, you know it's political.

In the meantime, I always hope that something I write will help someone else, and I do believe we need to organize wherever we are, to be heard. Doctors should not be allowed to hide behind this pretend shield of "laws and regulations". There are a few doctors who are truly afraid of getting monitored, but more often, the basis for refusing prescriptions is prejudice and discrimination, plain and simple. Where there is prejudice and suspicion, there is pain and a Dark Ages mentality. The wrong people are making the rules. Doctors need Enlightenment. If anything, after how I've been forced to suffer, sometimes by doctors who smirk and seem gleeful when they are telling me they won't help me, I believe new laws should be in place which make it illegal for any doctor to REFUSE narcotics when they are warranted. The burden of proof should be on the doctor. If the doctor refuses to help someone, they should be required to have the burden of proof, not the other way around. A doctor should have positive proof that someone has been selling their prescriptions, or doesn't actually have an injury. I have all kinds of records of injuries and even THEN I'm denied treatment! A doctor takes an oath to "do no harm". Refusing narcotics to people who really need them, causes great pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. The laws need to be changed, to protect THE PUBLIC, not the doctors. Instead of having a concern or false excuse of "being prosecuted" by the DEA, doctors should fear complaints of criminal conduct on the other end of the spectrum--for discrimination, prejudice, and refusal of treatment to those who need it most.

So, drug dealers are the "bad guys"? Here's an ethics question: If doctors abuse their positions, by refusing treatment, and leave someone to suffer...If that patient has gone to great lengths to get past prejudice or politics, and is still suffering, and they have exhausted all remedies, is the drug dealer who gives them a prescription for the very same medication their condition REQUIRES, are they the "bad guys"? Who are the "good guys"? Are doctors always the good guys? Are pharmaceutical companies the "good guys"? which overcharge and abuse their positions of holding the "cure" or "remedy" in their hands? Unlawful distribution...? What about unlawful withholding?

I have heard stories about regular people, who are petty dealers, who have more sympathy and genuine concern, than the medical professionals. Yes, some people are addicts. Yes, if you don't have any pain, you will probably become an addict with chronic use. But the evidence is in: those who have genuine do NOT become addicted, even at higher levels of narcotics.

Sometimes, the king is a carpenter; sometimes the saviour is a baby; sometimes a doctor is is a killer; and sometimes a drug dealer is...a healer.

Imagine this: A woman is being harassed and abused. Her husband has threatened her with a gun. She runs, tries to buy a gun. It's against the law to own a gun unless you have authorization from law enforcement. Not just for a quick gun or concealed weapon--it's flat-out against the law to own a gun, for any reason, without first going to a gun specialist, and law enforcement for a permit to even own one. The burden is on the woman to prove she "needs" a gun. She can't prove it all the time. She doesn't always have documentation of harassment, phone calls, threats. She has never been physically abused with marks, but the threat and need is still there. She is denied a gun. They tell her she hasn't proved herself, and has no evidence, and that this entire situation is in her head. They tell her she needs professional counseling. After she's tried this, and everything else, they still refuse to give her a gun. They point out she's had a history of mental health issues and state she has a history of counseling needs. The woman cannot sleep at night. She loses her job. Now law enforcement believes she is "unstable"--further reason to refuse her a gun. She is afraid that her ex will find her on the job or somewhere else. She is told to take on a new name, but they refuse to give her means to protect herself. Her life is at stake. It is only a matter of time before she is murdered--dead, long before her "time". She had the right to be happy and feel safe and protected. It was her RIGHT to own a gun. There was a lot of talk about accidental overdosing--oops, accidental misfires and gun accidents. Now there were rules and regulations. And, it just so happens, that her ex is a police officer...Who do law enforcement believe? Him? or her? Her ex sabotages her every attempt to get a gun, going ahead of her to prejudice his peers in law enforcement.

In this situation, is the black market dealer "the bad guy"? Who is the bad guy, and how are the laws helping or harming this woman?

This is an analogy of what people who are in pain go through every single day--prejudice and regulations that hinder treatment--by even doctors themselves. Some people abuse drugs, and some doctors abuse their authority. There are always active and passive ways to harm someone. One may tell a outright lie, and another may omit the truth. One doctor may sexually assault a person, and another may refuse treatment, leaving the patient to suffer. In this town, Wenatchee, aside from the political personal problems that prevent my access to care, I hear of problems some others have...where a doctor would rather NOT be "The Good Samaritan" and is eager to take the "I don't have a safety mask on and am afraid of getting AIDs" cop-out. The Good Samaritan is an excellent comparison, for a parable, because when the Good Samaritan happens upon the injured person in the road, the Good Samaritan doesn't know the person at all. These days, doctors are refusing the call to be a Good Samaritan, sometimes, out of self-protective concern they might get AIDs... or, uh, wrong acronym!...DEAs. Does a doctor have the right to refuse narcotics because of the fear of potential personal scrutiny, or only the potential of diversion by the patient, without positive proof the person diverts or is an addict?

And what is positive proof? If someone is found to have a blood test "positive" for TCH, if the person is never told about it, and not given the opportunity to retest or have other tests done to rule out a false positive, can that one sample be held against someone?

I bring this up, because when I moved to this area, I had to go to ER for migraines. They wrote me up as delusional and drug-seeking, and when I found out, I said it was slander and that I'd never been accused of this, and had been refused reasonable treatment. The next time I was in ER, a blood test was taken, which I wasn't aware of. It came back from a lab, positive for THC and I was written up with different diagnosis', one of which was "Cannabis Abuse". I had a PCP during this time. I had even complained to this PCP about being denied reaonable treatment. When I came back to the PCP, and 3 months afterwards, I was never told of the "finding" ONCE. No one in ER ever told me about it, because I would have certaintly perked up and demanded a retest on the spot. I would have perked up, because never in my life have I smoked, inhaled, chewed, or even sniffed marijuana. No one has ever given it to me, EVER. I was never even offered it, until I was 28 years old, and had to stay with a female bartender one night when my car was towed in the middle of the night by police. There was nothing in sight for miles, except a bar, and I was so distressed I couldn't remember any phone numbers (my family had recently moved to a different state). I had to stay with this bartender and she offered me marijuana. I told her, "Hey! I always wanted the opportunity to "just say no!"" and she laughed. This was the only time in my life I was even around it. So I would have noticed, if someone told me in ER that they found "cannabis" in my blood. What was strange is that not only did no one from ER tell me, my own PCP didn't tell me. I found out when I got my records, 3 months later, and then I was so shocked I called all the rehab and drug enforcement people in town, asking about THC and how I could test positive when I'd never done it, etc. They basically told me, the police, that it doesn't hold up in court. Period. To have a confirmation or positive proof, a series of other tests have to be run which would eliminate 18 possible triggers for a false positive of THC. So it's not foolproof, and yet urinalysis is done all the time. I believe I've had this little document held against me and used, as some kind of "proof". My PCP, and the medical director, Dr. Butler, told me to forget about it and that no one would ever notice. The hospital, when I called, said to forget about it and what was the big deal if it were true?. Then they both turned around a few months later, and told everyone in town that I was "drug-seeking" and faxed medical records to other doctors and clinics. This is the God-awe-ful truth.

I hope and pray that my suffering is not for nothing--that I inspire or help someone else with my testimony. I have documentation to prove what has happened. .

Harassment By Wenatchee's Judge Harmon

I filed a defense to a ticket for expired tabs. It cites profiling, for which there is proof. It also cites unlawful actions taken against me by a now-retired Judge, Judge Warren, whom I discovered had contacts with lawyers in Oregon, where I had litigation against the Catholic church. Judge Harmon replaced Warren. There are some complications to their backgrounds, which I won't elaborate on right now. Suffice it to say I made some connections to the connections.

My case was assigned to one pro-tem Judge, and I wasn't notified that he was replaced by Judge Harmon, last minute. I had several matters going on which affected my ability to conduct discovery, and I hadn't received important discovery (such as, a videotape of the incident, where I was pulled over for something I didn't do, and then cited for another thing).

For one thing, my receipt of medications through my insurance had been disrupted, and I was harassed by them, actually put through to afterhours messages, when they were not closed, over an hour before closing, and from one state to another, all the way to headquarters. I taped all of this. I wrote about this, and submitted it to the Medical Director of Wenatchee Valley Medical Clinic, to explain some situations with insurance which affected other things. I gave the letter to a nurse, Alison Kuske, who said she gave it to Richard Bennett, who gave it to Dr. Freed. Only two days later, the morning of my hearing before Judge Harmon, I tried to call District Court to request a continuance. I began calling at 8:30 a.m., when their offices open. I was put through to afterhours recordings. I called every 5 minutes, up to 9:00 a.m., and was put to afterhours messages all this time. I thought it very strange that right after my insurance company does this to me, and I wrote about it, Wenatchee's District Court does this?

I called Superior Court to get through. I was given the runaround. When I then tried calling District Court again, I finally got the morning recording options. So I asked a clerk if they'd had problems that morning, October 23, 2007, with their answering service, or if they'd been receiving calls. I was told people were calling in without problems. Everyone was getting through except me? That didn't make sense. It was also strange that this happened right after others knew my insurance company had done this to me purposefully. Later that afternoon, when I tried calling right before the hearing again, I got the "all circuits are busy" for an entire half hour. Which may have been the case. The part that is odd is the afterhours messages stuff.

I went to the hearing, even though I had not had notice the Judge had been changed, and without notice that the time had been changed. The court never mailed me anything, and didn't speak to me on the phone. I found out from my grandparents, that the court called THEM, only two days before the hearing. I went to the hearing to request continuance because of these things, and the fact that I still needed discovery and other things were going on.

The hearing should have been 15 minutes. I had every right to a continuance. And, as I had contested the hearing, I had the right to a separate hearing, separate from group arraignments. The time the hearing was changed to disrupted my son's nap schedule, and I didn't have proper notice to contest it. Then when I arrived, at 2:30 p.m., I discovered we'd been thrown into a group, and Judge Harmon, knowing I had my son with me, made us go last. She told us to appear at 2:30 p.m. and then my son had to wait 2 hours before we could have our hearing.

Then, Judge Harmon harassed me AND my son directly, and demonstrated prejudice by her remarks before she made a single decision. ...To be finished later this day...

My son was very patient. He'd been woken from a nap and had only slept about 10 minutes or less and usually took a good 2-3 1/2 hour nap during that time of day. He had become fussy about 5 minutes before it was our turn. While we were waiting, I went to the board to look at the schedule. I saw that we had originally been scheduled for another group, all contested hearings, with representation by lawyers. They were status conference hearings. I had been moved to a different group of people who were taking plea bargains. Mine was the only contested hearing in this second group.

Judge Harmon almost immediately began to yell and insult. My son was reaching towards the mic, and barely touched it, and we were told not to let him touch it. I nodded, and brought a motion for continuance to the other lawyer and up to the bench to give to the Judge. When I was handing it to the Judge, there was a different mic at the desk, and my son reached for it. Judge Harmon was already angry that I had a motion for continuance, and then she YELLED, "DON'T allow your SON to touch our equipment!!!" I believe she said something about allowing him to destroy their property. My son, after being made to wait so long, had made a playful reach, probably thinking about our kareoke machine at home with our mics, and she yelled so loud he became upset. I went back to the desk and said, "He was only reaching for the mic; I don't know if you have children...". My son is 18 months old. His actions were normal and natural and the Judge, either then or a few minutes later, decided to say on the record that she was concerned about my parenting skills and that I couldn't control him. She kept going on. Then she tried not to accept my motion for continuance. She tried to argue about it and get my responses without my being sworn in. I repeatedly asked to be sworn in so my testimony and arguments would hold up as evidence in court. Reluctantly, she finally did.

After this Judge read a list of reasons why I needed continuance, one reason which was because of disabiltity and disruption to my medications in the previous month for chronic pain, and two other reasons were because I had not received a videotape of the incidence in question, and had also not received all discovery requested from the Prosecuting Attorney's office. The other lawyer was the District Attorney, Alan Blackmun. My motion was a page and a half long, and the reasons were written succinctly, and I had added other reasons, describing other disrutpions that were out of my control within the last month. Judge Harmon read this and said on the record: "I don't see any need for continuance. This is just information about your LIFE situations." At that, I said, "You just read this motion, which has listed my disabilities and the lack of receipt of crucial pieces of evidence and you purposefully don't mention these, and claim there is no good reason? You're prejudiced already." She looked surprised as if she didn't think I would catch this. She had admitted and expressed her prejudice and inability to preside over this case, before she made a single decision.

I also stated on the record that we needed continuance because we had not received any notice of change of time for the hearing by the court, and that I'd only found out a couple days prior, from my grandparents who said the court had called THEM. I asked why my son and I had been told the hearing was for 2:30 p.m. when we had the right to fair and full hearing and we were made to wait hours and then just tacked onto the end of a long line-up of other people. I asked why we were last. I also stated that I hardly believed even the people before me, who HAD representation, had had a "fair and full hearing". You can't have a fair and full hearing when people are getting 15 minutes per case, I said. Judge Harmon began to squirm in her seat and turned red in the face. She said I was to argue my case, not for others.

She kept yelling and using a terrible tone of voice, which SHE knows cannot be caught on a transcript. My son picked up on it and began to cry. Not only was he in need of a nap, she was harassing his mother and HIM. He threw a temper tantrum, after I wouldn't allow him to leave, and I had to hold him while he arched his bad and screamed and cried. Judge Harmon got a smirk on her face, and when he stopped, she insulted us further, saying how I wasn't fit to be a mother and, "Your son is so out-of-control I was afraid he was going to injure himself..." and she went on and on about how terrible my son was and how I had no parenting skills. Then she added, "...And I do have children." I looked at her and said, "I have worked over 6 years as a professional nanny; I could babysit YOUR kids before you could babysit MINE."

I asked for continuance and she refused. I kept stating my son needed his nap and this was unfair. I said I'd tried to call earlier but had had some "interesting" experiences that morning with their phone system. This Judge saw how badly my son needed a nap, and that he was 18 months, and knew how patient he'd been, and she went on the record to harass us, and claim that his actions were because of my "bad parenting" and not the fault of the court for giving me enough notice so I could call in and cancell or reschedule, or otherwise accomodate my son's needs. So Harmon says she will give me 2 weeks to get the rest of the discovery and demands to know which company has the surveillance tape. I didn't want to give her that information. Then, she tells the District Attorney that she will PROCEED with their side of the testimony!

Judge Harmon saw me, just about 5 minutes earlier, gather my bags and things and appear to be readying to leave. I couldn't stay there while being harassed and my son had to listen to it. But I knew she wanted me to leave, so she could give the other party a decision in their favor. So I stayed. When she saw me settle back down, she decided to prolong things. Instead of just granting continuance, she wanted to drag this on and hoped my son would act up again. My son finally settled down, but I knew he was NOT okay. His eyes were wide open and he was staring at Judge Harmon. He had his thumb in his mouth and his other hand was holding my finger and caressing it. He does this when he's very upset or afraid. To have my son sitting there, while he was worried and unhappy, and needing comfort and nap, went against my grain. I felt very sad for him that he had heard an adult, a grown-up, insult him and his mother, to his face. And she was yelling.

I stood up. I said, if the other side was just going to give their testimony, could we go? I didn't care to stay for it, and they could get their testimony in before the judge without me. She had already stated I had a continuance for 2 weeks. I knew that wasn't enough time and so did she, but I knew, based on her prejudice, she would rule against us, no matter what. I asked if we had to be present for the testimony. I knew we did not. But she stalled, clearing wanting us to suffer more. My son began to cry again the minute she spoke. THEN, on the record, this Judge accused me of "baiting your son" to cry. She began to talk fast, obviously wanting to make a statement and description of events for the transcript to distort reality. She started giving a narrative of how I had "stood up" and my son didn't cry, so then I "baited him" by "slamming your keys on the desk" to get him to cry. I had not slammed my keys on the counter, and it was clear this Judge was NUTS. What kind of twisted mind thinks a mother would "bait" her child to cry? Only one that does that sort of thing to kids herself.

I realized she didn't want the transcript to read my son was crying, when I was stating over and again that he needed a nap. The whole situation was HER fault. She claimed my son had been sitting there quietly and I'd baited him. My son had been sitting there passively, with worry, and I wasn't going to expose him to Judge Harmon any further. He needed a nap in his own bed.

Then, Judge Harmon threatened to rule against me if we walked out the door. She yelled, for good measure, a whole list of things about how she questioned my parenting skills, and that I couldn't handle him, and THEN she said, "Your son ATTACKED OUR MICROPHONE! and went on to state I had stood by as "HE WAS DESTROYING OUR PROPERTY."

She was seriously, mentally ill. This entire hearing had been about one person: Judge Nancy Harmon. She had been prejudiced from the start and didn't do the right thing in recusing herself. Then she shot herself in the foot by recording her hateful statements on the record. The only other person in the room who was smiling was the District Attorney. Some of the guards looked sick to their stomachs. I said, "I feel sorry for this county, and town of Wenatchee, that they have YOU for a Judge." I saw Judge Harmon and the DA look at eachother and break into snide smiles. They knew I was leaving and she was going to have an excuse to rule in their favor. I left.

As I left, I felt liberated. I knew I could contest the entire thing and appeal, based on prejudice. I later found out there were other personal reasons for her prejudice. I didn't know her background and other things, until after the hearing because I hadn't been told Judges were being switched and she was going to preside.

I felt sick, but I also knew I did the right thing. I had also stood her down in court, not allowing her to walk all over me. I was polite and did not raise my voice when she yelled. But I didn't allow her to harass me without throwing it back in her face and walking out on her.

I was the bigger person, and I knew that Judge would not be in her position for very long. She could enjoy it and make the most of it while it lasted. I feel sorry for the public in the meantime. If I had sat there, after her tirade, and harassment, she would have won. But I didn't allow fear of her position to influence my decisions, I followed a moral compass.

Welcome, Internationals!

Many people view my site each day. The number of profile views is different from the visitor counter, and then even different from searches made from within my site. Most people are from within the United States, but also, from Mexico, Malta, Phillipines, UK, Australia, Singapore, Greece, and some eastern european countries as well. The Mexico visitors were new and interested in my post about the "Marijuana Mafia". All I have to say is, "Welcome! ... "Don't shoot the messenger!"

I'm glad this blog has international appeal. One of my favorite jobs was as a tutor and facilitator of conversation groups for ENNL students (English As a Non-Native Language) in college. I heard the most fascinating stories from people all over the world. Hopefully, something I have to say, about or from my life, will have special meaning to somebody, even if my "life-story" has hardly even begun.

Bear: Keys to My Heart

Hello Little Bear,

Don't worry. Don't let them get you down. You will be stronger than I am one day, wiser, and I believe you are going to do great things. My heart was broken today, for you. And yet, I am stronger and wiser than I have ever been, because of you. Yesterday was my birthday. All I could think of was that you are the best present, and I thanked God for every day with you. Tonight, you saw the moon, round and full, after searching for the moon for the last few nights. When it caught your eye, you shook with excitement, wiggling your legs (sort of jumping) and pointing to it, looking at me and saying, "Moooon!"

You know the moon is special. I remember exactly how the moon looked when I made a wish. I didn't wish on a star. I made a wish to the moon. Your grandmother loves the moon, and used to take long evening walks by the light of the moon, until she had to use a cane. She loves the night, as do I. I also used to go running at night, wrapped in the darkness, close to the center, invisible to the world, free and unafraid. The last time there was a full moon, we were at Granny & Grandpa's, and you, me, and Granny, admired the moon from inside and then walked outside to the garden and basked in the nightglow.

You are so alive. Today you picked up a pen with fake flowers on the end, at the courthouse, and you inhaled deeply. Silly. You looked at me and smiled. In a fairytale, I can imagine you would bring such things to life by your charm.

I noticed, today, that you held the car keys the same way I do, with a thumb and forefinger around the main VW key for the car, letting the rest of the keys fall slack. You must have noticed that whenever I grab the keys, I take hold of the car key and have it pointed in my hand. You've noticed! You wanted to do it the right way, just like mama does it.

Ever since you've watched The Indian in the Cupboard, you have been trying to insert keys and other stick-like objects, into keyholes. You try to unlock doors of all kinds, and open and shut doors to see whether something changes when you do. I think you believe there really is such magic, that by turning a key, something will come to life after you open the door. You watched that movie all the time at first...absolutely loved it. I had to fastfoward past two death and shooting scenes. Once, I forgot about one of the scenes, and you came over to me. I was right about which scenes would bother you. You didn't cry--you just came over to me with your thumb in your mouth and wanted to hold my hand. You did this today in the courthouse too, after you witnessed a judge harass your mama, and YOU. This judge thought you had "quieted" down but I knew better. Your eyes were wide, and you stared at the judge, with your thumb in mouth and hand curled around my finger, stroking my finger for reassurance.

I bought a kareoke machine for you which has two microphones on it, about a month ago. One of your favorite games is to play music and then you grab a microphone and I grab the other one, and we sing along. You tend to put it in your mouth and make the noise, and then you laugh out loud loudly. It gets you giggling, and I laugh too.

When we go swimming, you are secure enough now, to stand from the side and then free-fall jump into my arms. At first you were nervous, but I always caught you. You have no fear anymore.

I will always catch you, protect you, laugh with you, comfort you, play with you, sing with you...And your mother, will outsmart the fox that tries to steal you from the nest. I will run when we need to run, fight when we need to fight, and I will always stand up for YOU and YOUR RIGHTS. I am your mama and you are mine.

Most people can see something different about you. You are well-adjusted, happy, secure, free, and intelligent. You kiss the little white rat, at the preschool, carefully on the nose, and everyday you shower your kitty cat with attention, love, and play. Today, you were happily helping a woman, at the courthouse before a hearing, open the door by pressing the handicapped button, and then you helped her with the elevator by pressing that button. When I was near and no one else was around, you didn't press the handicapped button for the door. I was sitting down and not going anywhere. But as soon as this woman came up, walking towards the door, with clear intentions of going through, you ran over and pressed the button for her.

I love you sweetie. You are patient, and you have the biggest heart of anyone I know. I am glad you also have a little bit of fire (at 1 1/2 years!) because some people will be jealous of the recognition of your good character, and of your good looks, intelligence, and kindness. You are a leader.

Love you,

Friday, October 19, 2007

Up Next

up next... bear update (locks and keys, swim jump); when the drug-dealer is the good guy!; healthcare in hell pt.2; clarification to healthcare in hell pt. 1; nftn

The Marijuana Mafia (Cashmere-Wenatchee)

I have only lived in the Cashmere/Wenatchee area since 2004-2005 and during one of those years, there were news articles about the discoveries of very large marijuana farms. If I remember correctly, at least 2 were in Cashmere (one closer to Wenatchee), and 1 was further up on the pass. The marijuana was grown under thick forest coverage, with sophisticated sprinker or drip hose watering systems and organized rows of plants... Sort of like something a former orchardist, orchard worker, or vineyard keeper would know how to do.

When the farms were "found", what did police do? They burned them, wasting no time at all. The quick announcements went out, that marijuana operations had been derailed.

Ummmm....Did anyone else have the same questions I had?

If it was clear someone had to tend to the plants, police would have known that individual(s) would be coming back. If police staked out the place, or put hidden cameras up, the caretaker could have been discovered, followed, and then his phone lines tapped and his contacts under surveillance, leading to the "owner" or main founder of the farms. But the police didn't do this. They immediately burned the marijuana, and there is no way they didn't know that burning the stuff would alert the caretaker and people involved. Did the police use blankets to make smoke signals too? Or were they too giddy from the fumes...

The police did not do this once, they did it about three times. It wasn't a mistake. Why would police do this, unless someone in charge had an interest in protecting the kingpin? It would be interesting to find out who issued the directive.

I believe someone in the police department knows the entrepreneurs personally. Money and politics are involved. When a citizen stumbled across the farms on a hiking adventure, and gave the police the tip, police knew they had to do something. But they burned the evidence to sabotage any chance of a real investigation. Can't catch the "bad guys" now!

In the meantime (I love the irony), petty dealers are booked and jailed left and right, and citizens caught with even a small possession too. Think about the time and county money that goes into just one investigation, prosecution, and sentencing for a minor drug offense. Add that up times 5. I don't know the actual rates, but imagine the time and expense for the prosecutions and public defenders for just 5 individuals every, say, two weeks. Yet they let the big fish go.

When I moved here, a family member I didn't know well, but whom I believed, who had once been a dealer themself, told me the town was messed up. In 2004, they said one of the judges for Chelan County was a buyer, and a probation officer too. They wouldn't give me names. I was also told a big business owner, involved in a lot of politics in the area, was in on one of the "plantations". This family member had dealt firsthand and didn't have a reputation for exaggeration, and while they were moved to speak about the hypocrisy when I tried to draw them out, they refused to "snitch". At that time, they believed even that much info, would stay with me, and didn't know about my activist/whistleblowing ways. They were not trying to expose anyone by telling me.

So who ARE the police protecting, and what are they getting out of it in exchange?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Healthcare in Hell...Er,...Wenatchee (Part 1)

"Welcome to Wenatchee! Apple Capital of the World." If you are thinking of moving to Wenatchee, thank God for the apples. You're gonna need 'em over here.

Wenatchee is currently taking applications for any new resident who is healthy, rich, conservative, and, did you see the ad in The Wenatchee World?

"...Must enjoy hunting, gossip, and be willing to tow the line. We are looking for residents who will be mutually beneficial to our town, who will support the PUD, the CWH, and the NRA.

There is a small space for protestors of the War in Iraq, whose placard 5 gatherings on the corner of Mission have greatly reduced the need for speed enforcement Wednesday nights. When former City Dwellers brighten up and honk their horns, we tolerate the blast as we support the right to be heard, and find horn honking to be a fundamental right. (Don't tell anyone...but...we have even been known to import Seattlites to be "hippies for a day", who dance and beat drums in tie-dye during the protest, to appease our fringe sect of Democrats).

There is also plenty of room for migrant workers, in certain parts of town where housing is more affordable, as well as diverse!, as our registered sex offenders help to keep costs low. Some migrant workers find they prefer our orchard cabins over proximity to the thriving nightlife, and still others find economical rates at our county jail. (Please note, any overrepresentation of migrant workers in jails to the total population is only evident after apple-picking season is over, in the Winter, and before it's begun, in the Spring. We do our best to give migrants the chance to get fruit off of the trees, and are able to fill empty beds, in Summer and Fall, with citizen DUIs and cagefighter flesh.)

Those who believe they may fit our requirements and preferences, are welcome to call our City Hall hotline and fill out an application. Once your application is received, if you are in our higher income bracket, we will file your application and you are free to move on over. If you are in the lower income bracket, we will coordinate a meeting between selected leaders and officials from the town, to answer any questions and go over your Care Contract. The Care Contract is an agreement between your family and our town, that states we have agreed to enter into a relationship, which, if it ceases to be one of trust or mutual benefit, may be terminated at any time, whereupon your family will receive a 30 day notice to find a new provider town. Those with applications from the middle income bracket will be decided on a case to case basis."

In Wenatchee, the largest employers are the Hospital and medical clinics (medical community), and the PUD (Public Utility District). Everyone needs healthcare and utilities. There is little competition among the healthcare and utilities providers. As Wenatchee is not part of a sprawling metropolitan, but is isolated, residents are at least 1 hour away from the next even smaller town, and over 2 hours away from a small city (Spokane or Seattle). Residents have little choice in healthcare providers, and the providers stick together or are pushed out of business by the majority. It is an extremely conservative town, with a predisposition to gossip and disregard for rules that protect civil rights. Those who were not raised here are regarded with suspicion.

Wenatchee is not so small that gossip and rumors are finally replaced with the truth, where a newcomer is in constant contact with others who must accept the facts. Wenatchee has a small town attitude, but has grown, so that the "inner circle" is preserved and certain newcomers are selected to join, while other newcomers are in the periphery and have only specific and select contacts, and are therefore hardly "known" by others on a day-to-day basis. In this situation, what begins as gossip mutates into a gross "truth" that is believed by the majority and transmitted to all, and to other newcomers as well. Once an opinion is formed, it is nearly impossible to contradict that opinion, especially if the opinion is held and communicated by one in a position of authority or influence within the community. Others, who are on the outside even if raised here, are tolerated somewhat better than newcomers, and yet all who are lower income are susceptible to discrimination, arbitrary prejudice, and stereotypes. In such a town, the town becomes entwined with the most important businesses, one which happens to be the medical community, and this has far-ranging implications for those who question anyone or anything. One doctor's word over that of a patient is sufficient to add a patient to the town blacklist, and if contested or questioned by the patient, other doctors can be depended upon to support the first doctor, mainly out of the hope the favor will one day be returned. The Good Old Boys Club, in Wenatchee, WA, is the most popular and influential church. I would then say the Catholic Church is probably second.

My experiences with this Club, have been so shocking I had hoped to draw it out at a later date, when I have more energy to devote to writing. And yet, when my rights are being trampled this very moment, right here and now, AGAIN, when I have already tolerated quite a lot from this medical community, I am compelled to give my account for what goes on here, for others, and of course, with my specific experiences. Right now, I am in serious danger, with regard to my healthcare. It has ceased to be healing, and I am being harmed. I had thought I was past that, as I had a few months of relief and life quality. But I have been thrust into the strangest position again, and I know it is unethical. While my situation may be on the extreme end, I know others experience similiar things, and some cannot write about what happened. I can't imagine.

A major part of my bad experiences and harm now, directly involves chronic pain,--the treatment in this town, and state of Washington, and what kind of inhumane leverage can be weilded by doctors and medical staff who abuse their authority and privileges", and the politics involved.

Everyone knows the saying: "an apple a day keeps the doctor away!" I find it amusing, to think about this proverb, and the abundance of apples in this town, and the lack of quality care. If only I could cure my injuries and disabilities with apples. My pain issues and injuries, were not the result of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or substance abuse. I was injured by direct trauma and "accidents" involving automobiles, sports, and malpractice. I was never the driver, and I was not able to control events in any situation. Yet, I am punished for having pain, and medical professionals, who are fully aware of legitimate documentation of my injuries and pain, have attempted to prevent my access to pain relief, at every turn, knowing this causes harm and distress. Part of this is due to the fact that some here were responsible for some recent injuries incurred. The convient excuse is that I am not targeted and that this is only about recent laws in Washington regarding narcotics. In my situation, personal and political agendas are pursued by manipulation of laws, slander of me, and unethical excuses for violations of HIPPA. In many ways my situation is unique, and in other ways, it is one example of how healthcare and health professionals can prejudice ones care and harm their patients.

If I could eat an apple to treat my pain, and was not dependent and reliant on narcotics, I would not be at the mercy of others. Because I am in need, dependent, and must rely on someone else to write a prescription, I am vulnerable. I am disabled further without painrelievers that work, and discriminated against for my disabilities. And this information and knowledge has been used against me, by those who have taken an oath to "do no harm".

While I know my situation is political and I am harmed by those who know better, in general, I have even wondered...About this area, in Eastern Washington, which is so paranoid about prescribing narcotics (not for the rich, just the poor)...I think, if an apple a day keeps the doctor away...what about narcotics? what if narcotics everyday keep a doctor away? Perhaps when all the doctors refuse to prescribe, there is more business--more office visits with people complaining of their pain and injuries, and more business for everyone too. If someone is turned down by one doctor, and the doctors know they're all going to turn the person down, it's one visit after the other. Also, there is a high rate of malpractice in this area. And a high percentage of cover-up. If someone needs narcotics, or diagnostics for a surgery, or a surgery, if the doctors band together and refuse these things, that patient is unable to discover how bad it is and build a record or chart to take to a malpractice attorney. By refusing narcotics, a doctor could also be attempting to prevent documentation of new damages and pain and suffering.

Some paranoia is because of misinformation and lack of education or lack of personal experience with pain. Other paranoia is possibly legitimate, regarding patients who divert their prescriptions and doctors who get in trouble when they are innocent.

But the doctors here in Wenatchee are way overboard, and specifically prejudiced against those who are poor or don't have the best social connections. I've heard many stories, by people who are afraid to share, because they don't want to get cut off from their prescriptions. When doctors have power to prescribe, knowing a patient is reliant on them, and especially when it is made SO difficult to find another doctor, they have absolute control. If they get mad, they can punish the patient by cutting off the prescriptions, and then claiming the patient was found to be drug-seeking. Usually, people believe a doctor and not the patient, unless the patient has high social connections and in that case, a doctor would never dare do such a thing. When one finally finds a doctor who will prescribe narcotics, in this area, and the person is in a lot of pain without them, they will do almost anything and tolerate injustice to get what they need. They will see malpractice and look the other way. They will witness deaths that could have prevented, and refuse to testify, because they have already seen others being punished for speaking up about things, and don't want to get cut off. They will endure abuse even, some will, to keep their prescriptions. For the 2 people who died in Washington last year, from narcotics overdose or abuse, how many thousands suffer in severe pain? Lets face it, if the rich have pain, they are believed and they get a prescription. If on a rare occasion, that's not the case, they can pay out of pocket for a dealer and have some of the better and best connections in the drug rings. The poor are not getting "connected" to high profile dealers or kingpins. But the rich are. And while the rich have a substance abuse rate that matches lower class, or is actually higher, the media and medical professionals distort reality and focus on the poor who are not as savvy in methods of concealing their use. Some of the biggest users I've known, who I only knew because I'd known them in high school, now have their own private law firm. In one case, his brother is an officer working for state police, and knows about it. Nice how that works out. I was offered money by a former boyfriend for my leftover Oxycontin after a serious and painful knee injury/operation/graft. Did I do it? No. I believe I flushed them because at that time in my life, only a few years ago, I was hopeful I wouldn't need them anymore. And yet some of the biggest users and dealers I"ve known personally, the ones who even brag about concealing it from police, have no problems with their medical care because they are "professionals" and not poor. I, on the other hand, have a history, prior to injuries, of refusing to take even aspirin, prefering to "tough it out". But I'm considered, along with every other lower income person, to be "at risk". Instead of cutting poor people off of prescriptions, because of a cultural bias, the doctors who so appreciate the prestige of caring for the rich patients, need to take a second look at where the "diversion" is really happening. Doctors are not afraid of offending the poor, but expect to see cocaine powder on a nose before they risk offending the rich.

I have been rambling. I'll have to get into the facts in the next day.


I haven't written in the last week because I've been forced to attend to several matters while having bizarre problems with insurance and some medical professionals and am having to fight for coverage of medical prescriptions I need on a daily basis. I am physically disabled without them, and the stress of having to scramble to find out what's going on and get coverage has not helped with my emotional state. It's distressing to know providers discriminate against a person simply because they are poor. More on that. Also, considering the fatigue and other problems I've had with health, surrounding asphalt fumes, I wonder if I've been suffering from poisoning (albeit low-grade) from the exposure. I wonder if, before the big industrial accident Sunday, there were things going on that led up to it, which affected those breathing the fumes. I've missed some important appointments with all this going on, mainly, well, entirely because of health and disability. So I'll have appeal on everything.

I just found a couple of leftover pills from my prescription so I'm comfortable enough to write, and feel I need to write about what is going on, before it gets worse. I'll have to do it later this afternoon when my son is napping.

Wenatchee's Recent Asphalt Plant Industrial Accident

On Sunday, I was sick to my stomach. My stomach hurt and I was breathing asphalt fumes again at 4 a.m. I looked outside and opaque smoke was coming from the Basin Asphalt plant. I went outside and got photos. Then, being a weekend, there was no one to call except an EPA emergency line. The guy didn't realize it was that bad. He thought I was complaining of regulation problems or a little smoke, and told me they only respond to immediate accidents. I told him this kept happening at this plant, and that last time, the smoke was worse, after the "bags blew" and no one shut down the plant and didn't fix the problem until days later. The EPA guy gave my number to an organization that handles fines.

I also left a message with the State department of Ecology.

I got a phone call yesterday from Ecology. He said it had been a big industrial accident and the fire station responded. They now had to show a plan that would describe how they were going to protect against this in the future.

Jerod told me he'd received numerous complaints, even coming from across the river. He said that when he got so many calls, he knew something was wrong. He seemed to think the other things I'd complained about, were no big deal, because there were not a lot of calls. I told him maybe people were just aware of things now and keeping a better eye out.

I told Jerod that the smog had been even worse when the "bags blew" and that I had felt worse, and almost passed out, and had headaches for weeks when the fumes were going, before the "blow" and after, and nausea as well. Last Sunday, my stomach hurt badly, from the fumes.

Jerod didn't want to do anything about investigating why the plant hadn't shut down and replaced bags immediately.

I told Jerod that the "opacity" I'd witnessed coming from that plant, at night, a few months ago, was much thicker and voluminous than what I saw yesterday.

At this point I'm pessimistic. Cars/trucks were going by when I was taking my photos of the "industrial accident" on Sunday. Perhaps that's the only reason someone actually did something about it, like call the fire station, where they would otherwise try to keep the whole thing under wraps.

At any rate, my call to EPA on Sunday, to that emergency line, was appropriate afterall. I don't know why the guy didn't believe me--he actually said something about how they wouldn't go out unless there were dangerous or high levels of emissions. There were, but he thought I was just some neighbor complaining about the smell.

Jerod told me if something like this happened again, to seal off the house. He acted like this "accident" of only a few hours was a big deal, but ignored the fact that when the "bags blew" the smog could be seen from downtown Wenatchee, and it went on for days, and the fumes were leaking even before the bags suddenly and completely gave out. I know, because I was nauseous for months before the "bags blew", whenever I could smell the smoke. After they replaced the bags, late, and the "scavenging system", even when I could smell the fumes, I didn't get headaches, or nausea.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wenatchee War on Drugs Next

Note to self: blog on Wenatchee "war on drugs" --burning of massive marijuana farms instead of waiting for caretakers, to follow and trace back to kingpin and yet people thrown in jail for minor possesion offenses...who is behind the farms and why are police protecting the owner and punishing the petty dealer?

other matter--"war on prescription drugs" and discrimination/stigmatizing of the disabled (those who require painkillers for chronic pain) as "drug-seeking"...Wenatchee example, washington state example & initiatives, and insurance matters + caps on punitive damages against doctors for malpractice. punishing the vulnerable and poor and protecting big business.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Civil Rights Watch By "JT From Connecticut"

I received comments to a post I made, which I feel deserve their own post. I hope in doing so, they are more visible and accessible to someone reading the blog. JTfromCT shared news about important recent protests and current events on the East Coast, and his participation and observations. See below:

JTfromCt said...
Although I never thought that the day would come that I might say or write this, we need more attorneys. Those civically minded in any case. Better still may be your suggestion to teach this at length while in school. This thought has occurred to me as well as I see so many, myself included, waver a bit on exactly where the lines are related to civil rights. Just when are people being taken advantage of by law enforcement, our own government(key word OUR)or others. The past few months alone we have had to sue our government for our right to protest in Washington. More than one person has been harassed, threatened or tazared even! by law enforcement for speaking out. It is our right to do so. One woman on a plane was required to fly with a blanket wrapped around her dress because an airline attendent requested this. The dress was not remotely inappropriate (although legally this should not matter either) the flight attendents request was a violation of the womans rights. The airline was Southwestern. We no longer have the right, as of this year, to watch news directly from other states and sometimes even other counties within a state. The local broadcast. The news must come from one of the major networks. A law passed prohibiting cable and satellite companies from offering this option and we were never informed! These are the smaller abuses but they chisel away at all of our rights and lead to the larger ones. This makes protecting our rights, if one can find and afford an attorney, that much more difficult. Why? Who's running this country? The people supposedly have elected a government to do the job and gaurd our rights?So yes, I very much agree that our rights and other legal issues including more in depth information regarding the workings of our governments, federal, state and local should be taught and made very clear as early as possible within our education system. Without being overly dramatic, many people have died over many years defending these rights and they are being challanged and stripped away without nearly enough protest. We have a responsibility to teach them to everyone. What a great post and great idea.Thank You!
October 6, 2007 7:50 PM
Mama said...
Hello JT, Thank you so much for your informative and encouraging comments. I didn't realize some of these things were going on, right now, in Washington (I assume you mean Washington state and not D.C.). As you say, small rights add up. In regard to the media and the new law passed in Washington, preventing cable and satellite viewers from seeing other state or county coverage...I found out about this in a roundabout way. I moved out to this orchard, and one has to have cable or satellite for television access (no reception otherwise). I was looking into getting Barney, a kids' show, for my son, and it was available through PBS but not locally, only in Spokane. They told me I could have local PBS from King county and Yakima, but not Spokane. I thought, how odd, that we are restricted by location, and wondered the same thing, about current events...How could someone trying to follow current events in Oregon or Spokane bypass this regulation? I was told I would have to apply for a special "exception" from the PBS group itself, in Spokane, if I wanted that program or station. Who knows how much that would cost, if it could even be done. I do think it's strange that the public were never notified, and secondly, that we have no choice but to be isolated from news of current events in other areas. There's news online, but not everyone has a computer in their household; the mainstream public still gets their news from television. Which means, an attorney, or public analyst, for example, who may wish to follow events occuring in another area, and examine the reach of the media on a topic and the public reaction, cannot do so. One could go online and get some news, but they would remain uninformed as to what the mainstream public, in another area, are absorbing through their local television. Being isolated from eachother is never good, and especially where civil rights violations are concerned. So in your small example, about a small right, it actually works in a variety of ways, to deprive the public or those who would serve the public, from access to information, not to mention depriving them of notice or right to protest in the first place.I absolutely agree with your views, and thank you for your input. It inspires me to again consider the possibility of going to law school myself, in the future.I also appreciate your emphasis on "OUR" government. I have, at times, like so many who do not see the point of voting, distanced myself and given up; or become angry at the system and felt "anti-American" as an American who has experienced the hypocrisy and civil rights violations firsthand. But I should remember that #1., I am not alone and should not act alone in this struggle--, and #2. WE really do have power to make changes, as it is OUR government. Isolation, apathy, and lack of information keep us from organizing.
October 6, 2007 11:26 PM
JTfromCt said...
Hi Mama,The protest was in Washington D.C.100,000 people from around the country marched from the White House to the Capital in protest of the war on September 15th. At the steps of the Capital people volunteered to lie down and be arrested, over 3000!, to symbolize those soldiers that have died in Iraq. A much smaller number were actually arrested. It was an incredible day. Very few knew this march had even occurred. Not a good sign. And, in part, due to the limited televised coverage of this event on a national scale and the inability of the public to view this through local broadcasts. If the protests, voices, are not heard in a peaceful demonstration -it was peaceful- what might we expect to happen next? Timeliness for such issues is very important but at some point I will post photos. Men, women and children marched holding signs, some very creative, some that carried a message that quickly hit home because they rang so true. Some humorous and directly to the point. A memorable moment - of which I greatly wish that I had the opportunity to collect more detailed information, it was not appropriate at the time - included a protestor of the war, a gentleman of middle eastern decent that had lost his son as a result of the war, and an anti anti- war protestor who appeared to be of military background. There were not too many pro war protestors that day. They argued loudly with their opposing views to the point one might expect a more physical confrontation to occur. Then, the pro war protestor stopped. He recognized this middle eastern gentleman's grief over the loss of his son and instead reached out to comfort him. He said that he understood his loss. The middle eastern gentleman broke down and the pro war protestor comforted him, became very supportive and literally hugged him. I have no idea if the pro war gentleman had suffered the loss of a family member or a comrade. I have no idea if this middle eastern gentleman's son was a citizen in Iraq, though it did not appear that his son was in the military.What was clear, abundantly so, was that war and death effects everyone equally on both sides at the level of the soldier and civilian. Particularly, those who have actually suffered a loss. The common people pay the true cost. Our politicians, who may occasionally visit the entirely secure areas of a war zone, are a world away from whatever comprises a front line today and in most case have absolutely no fear of bodily injury to themselves or their families. It becomes easier from such a perspective to justify and clearly prefer a preemptive strike (absurd in itself) rather than discourse as a first choice in resolving differences. These gentleman appeared to know the true cost of such a decision. They chose to find common ground in their grief or differences, back off from the shouting that resolved nothing and reach out instead. An incredible moment. Why the pro-war gentleman would argue against the anti war protestors to begin with I will never know. Perhaps he did indeed lose a son, daughter or friend during this confrontation and to believe that it may have been an unnecessary loss, the war may not be justifiable to begin with,would be too difficult to acknowledge. Perhaps he has yet to realize, as with many of us, that we may have been very mislead regarding the true level of threat to this Nation that Al Queda or any terrorist organization actually presents. Has anyone actually seen an Al Queda member in their backyard? (There was not one Al Queda member involved with the 9.11 attack. Al Queda did not yet exist.) As importantly, other than to secure or borders, there will be little more that we can do militarily to prevent terrorism should one or a group be willing to sacrifice their lives to take the lives of others. Perhaps the pro war protestor simply realized that this was a real person before him that does not induce the level of fear that government propaganda has suggested. Our politicians, specifically the members of this administration and those that support it, have prevented the public from viewing the death and destruction and kept the results of a 'military conflict' (coffins of our soldiers) well hidden. This has allowed, intentionally, the public to develop a laissez-faire attitude towards the war and made it easier to sell the notion of fear. Terrorism. We, the public, have caught on however and the greater percentage of American citizens no longer support this effort. It has taken far too long to come to this conclusion but we have been intentionally mislead. Just maybe, we realized and protested in time to prevent escalating the violence into Iran without the proper discourse, sanctions if necessary and world support if possible first. Although it may seem that I have drifted off on a tangent from our topic of civil rights, I have not. We have the right to demand that our government does not mislead us, we have the right to be properly informed, we have the right to be heard and acknowledged more timely than from one election to the next and we have the right for our informed opinions to weigh in more immediately on the decisions being made between elections. Regarding your comment ‘WE really do have power to make changes, as it is OUR government. Isolation, apathy, and lack of information keep us from organizing.’You are absolutely correct. I might add complacentcy as a key factor. Our lives have become so busy that we have allowed our government to continue on unchecked and we have assumed, taken for granted, that whoever may be in charge is actually acting responsibly, with our best interest in mind and in a fashion that represents the views of the mojority of our citizens. For the most part, this has not been the case. This is our fault. We looked away. We allowed this to occur.It will not be easy, but We can also correct it.It has been my experience that the far greater percentage of people (98%+) are not vastly different from one another. They have many of the same core beliefs and values. The differences within the states of our country, within the people of those states and the people from state to state is a perceived difference not an actual one. We may vary in opinion, that’s a good thing, but we are not nearly as divided as our Congress or that our Congress may suggest. Education, accurate information, defining and taking steps towards common goals with the ability to compromise along the way and a willingness to get involved will again make America a land of the people, allow us to refocus and point US in the proper direction. Your comments also recognized that the inability to view the news broadcast from other states only further separates us and may lead even to apprehension of one another. The ability to watch may reveal differences that, once identified, may lead to common ground. Or it may show that we are all far too much alike! It is clear that this was done for a reason and the reason can not possibly be good enough to counter balance the harm that may be caused. The pessimistic side of me believes this to have been done so as to reduce communication throughout the states. For example in Connecticut not too long ago we 'ousted' our Governor for illegal activity. We held him accountable. This is a much more difficult thing to do in some areas of the country. This may plant ideas that some may not want planted. At the same time the news from some places in the south that has become public nationally has resulted in a public response and, I believe, in the best interest of these areas. While it is true that the larger events MAY be acknowledged in the news at a national level, why wait for the larger events? Why not address the smaller issues before they become larger ones? It appears to me that some states have managed themselves into a position similar to the one that we see at a national level. This position being that the Government is running the people and not the other way around or the Government is acting on behalf of a small (although often very noisy) percentage of the population and not acting in the best interest of the whole. It appears to me also that our current administration has brought with it the thinking and ‘the way things run’ from one state and attempted, far too successfully, to impose this at a Federal level without this way of doing things being accepted at this level. It will be the internet and bloggers such as yourself that raise the questions, present the ideas and make the connections that may lead to linking us, is linking us, together throughout the U.S. like never before in our history. The internet and its effect on America is nothing short of the effect the Pony Express or the Continental Railroad had on National unity. It has the capacity to coalesce our thinking and bring us together.Oops! Guess I should start my own blog! Your comments have prompted so many thoughts it becomes difficult to stop writing!Will be watching for your next comments.Thanks again for your response.JT
October 8, 2007 8:05 AM