Democratic Debates Thoughts & Opinions

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Did you watch any of the Democratic debates the last two nights? I watched and thought I’d share some of my thoughts and opinions. Most of my feelings of who I already somewhat liked (Bernie, Yang, Gabbard, Warren) haven’t really changed, even though I think some of them did better than others at the debates. Yang didn’t get to speak much and wasn’t high energy, so didn’t stand out to me in the debates, but if you listen to his longer interviews or read his book, he has some very important issues to bring up whether you agree with UBI (universal basic income) or not.

Bernie was Bernie as he always is. I think he did ok, although I’m not sure I entirely agree with just scrapping all medical insurance at once and forcing people onto Medicare. I think most people would choose Medicare over their high priced commercial insurance, but I don’t like the idea of forcing people to give up their insurance if they actually do like it.

I personally prefer the idea of a public option beginning the transition to (hopefully) a single payer system eventually. If you try to force Americans to do something, even something for their own good, many will likely hate it. Getting medical insurance off the backs of companies would be a good thing though and hopefully lead to higher wages if the companies don’t have to shoulder the health insurance burden.

Warren did ok too. I like Warren some, but she often comes across to me as one of the weakest leftists who too easily bows to the pressure of the system. I don’t trust she will fight for us like Bernie would, although I hope I am wrong, especially if she does somehow end up with the nomination.

I thought Gabbard and Harris both came across well in the debates. I like the show of strong women. I do have issues with Kamala’s past record on poor criminal justice reform and her support of the private prison system. If it weren’t for those things, I would likely warm up to her more. She does seem intelligent and confident, which is appealing.

Biden didn’t do himself many favors, at least in my opinion. Part of the problem of having such a long history in politics is being held responsible for your past actions and words, which can often make Biden look pretty bad. The accusations of past support of racists were especially interesting (coming from Kamala). Biden’s involvement with the Obama administration can be both good and bad, depending upon the subject, but since I don’t buy into the “Saint Obama” narrative, I see some issues there too.

I did feel bad for a few of the candidates that barely got to speak, but I know they try to give the most time to those who are polling higher (or who the establishment wants to push). Do you have a favorite of the bunch?

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I’m Livestreaming on YouTube

I’ve started livestreaming on my YouTube channel just for something to do and another way to connect with people. I’m doing most of the streams on my personal channel, rather than my toys and books channel. My personal channel has a lot less subs (around 200 compared to over 3,000), so if you are a YouTube watcher, please consider subbing to my channel! Here are a couple recent livestreams if you are interested:

The YouTube playback for the livestreams is a bit blurrier than normal vids, but I’m working on that! You probably want to watch them in the highest quality available to minimize blurriness.

Bad TV Show Depiction of Ehlers Danlos

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I love the tv show House. This medical drama, based around the character of a doctor with Sherlock Holmes mystery solving abilities is often smart, informational, and amusingly ridiculous. The main character (House) is often a total asshole, but he is so lovably grumpy, enormously flawed, and irresistibly outrageous that I can’t help but like him.

Last night I finally caught their episode that features an Ehlers Danlos patient, an episode I had been looking forward to seeing for a while. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed with the portrayal. First off, very little of the episode actually had anything to do with the woman with Ehlers Danlos. It focused more upon her husband for the first half at least.

When she was finally introduced into the storyline, she was presented as someone with a horrible mental illness (hoarding), which a casual viewer could easily think was due to her forthcoming Ehlers Danlos diagnosis. The last thing those of us with EDS need is to be confused with mental illness conditions even more.

Also, the only symptoms that are even discussed to be related to EDS in the show (and thus lead to the official diagnosis) are the fact that the woman’s heart responded badly to some medication and she had suffered several miscarriages. That was it. Yes, EDS can contribute to miscarriages, but it is far from one of the hallmark symptoms of many EDS sufferers. Nothing was mentioned about hypermobility, chronic pain, dislocations, joint issues, gastrointestinal issues, autoimmune issues, bruising/scarring, loose skin, etc.

Overall, a very disappointing experience as a viewer and EDS patient.

Fluoride Fears

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Sometimes I worry about fluoride…specifically ingesting too much of it. Too much fluoride can cause a condition called skeletal fluorosis, which is often mistaken for arthritis or fibromyalgia. Most people know our toothpastes and other dental products often contain fluoride, but many don’t realize all the other sources of fluoride we ingest every day.

There is fluoridated water of course, which has been a point of contention for years. Should the government put fluoride in the drinking water? Is it necessary? Especially when most Americans use toothpaste with fluoride anyhow? Did you know that both green and black tea (two of my favorite drinks) are a high source of fluoride? It often has way more fluoride in it than the water, often over the “safe limits” established by the government (which are still debatable).

Because our water is fluoridated, almost everything made with water stands a chance of being fluoridated too – all our drinks, alcohol, soups, fruits, grains, vegetables…even our meat! (Often our food becomes contaminated with fluoride more due to pesticides rather than our water, and our meat gets contaminated because animals eat food with these pesticides in them.)

Some people claim antidepressants like Prozac can contribute to fluoride poisoning, although this is definitely debatable. I’ve heard scientists argue that because of the way the chemicals bind together in the drug that the fluoride should all get washed out, but who knows for sure?

Maybe I am just an anxious, sometimes paranoid person (all true), but maybe this really is a problem that is often ignored or overlooked. After all, fluoride is still a poison.

Abecedarian Writing Exercise – On Climate Change

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While reading a book called “Flash! Writing the Very Short Story”, written by John Dufresne, I came across the writing form called a abecedarian. This writing form is where you write a story or other form of creative writing where each new sentence starts with a new letter of the alphabet, going sequentially from A-Z of course. I thought it sounded fun and tried it myself, with a creative writing piece I call On Climate Change:

Another world is not an option. Before we give up on this one, let’s at least put up a fight.

Clean up your mess. Don’t think you can cut corners. Everyone has to learn to work together. Failing to do so, may lead to the annihilation of us all. 

Give up the fossil fuels. How? Imagination – learn to use yours. Join together, share ideas. Keep trying. Let no temporary failures steer you off course. 

Make clear the risks we face. None of us live alone, quit acting like we do. Open your eyes, open your mind, open your heart. 

Practice makes perfect, but persistence wins the game. Quit fighting each other and fight the corrupt system. Right the wrongs that have persisted too long. 

Stop worshiping consumerism. Turn your trash into treasure. Undo the damage our selfishness has created. 

Voice your appreciation for the strong, proud nature of our mother planet. Watch how she rallies to protect her own. X-ray her heart and share the joy you find within. 

YOU hold the future in your collective hands. Zealously protect and celebrate your beautiful home while she is still beautiful.

I hope you liked this little writing exercise. It was indeed fun and I think I might try it again sometime and maybe do a fiction piece.

 

Is Freemasonry Sexist?

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I’ve always been fascinated by secret societies and any organizations that tend to have “secret teachings”. The Freemasons specifically have always been an object of curiosity for me. I have always been tempted to join the Freemasons and work my way up the 33 degrees of their Scottish Rite path, because I would love to know what they actually teach for myself. However, because I am a woman and have a vagina instead of a penis, that isn’t allowed.

I knew that Freemasons have a history of excluding women, but wasn’t sure where they stood today, so I reached out to our local Freemason branch to see if they have any programs for women and received this in reply:

“We do not allow women to join our fraternity. We have always been a fraternity which, by definition, is for men only.

There are so-called “co-masonic” groups which you could research on the web. But we are not in any way related to those groups nor do we recognize them as Freemasons.”

How can a religious group with so much influence and power in our world entirely exclude women? This isn’t just some little college fraternity – look into the history of the Freemasons and see their influence and scope! This organization was enormously influential in the formation of our country and many of their symbols reside on our money and other government institutions to this day! They claim to possess important esoteric knowledge, and yet refuse to share any of that with half of the human species?

I hope this doesn’t seem petty or stupid to you guys, but it seriously annoys me. I know other religions are sexist. In the Catholic church, a woman still can’t be a priest (although they should rethink that, perhaps women priests wouldn’t molest all the altar boys), but at least they allow women to be Catholics in the first place!

Can Abusers Ever Be Reformed?

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This is a question I struggle with myself on a regular basis. Can abusers really ever change or is it just theater to try to pull you back in so they can mistreat you again? Should you ever let a prior abuser back into your life if they seem to have changed for the good?

None of these are easy questions and there are certainly many contributing factors that should be considered as well. Perhaps abusers who once had drug or alcohol addictions and have now gotten clean for a significant period of time will have changed enough to give them a second chance.

What about those who lived for years with undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and finally get the help they need? How much of the abuse was who they truly were and how much was the influence of the untreated mental illness? This scenario is one I personally have experienced to some extent with my own family. How much responsibility should they hold for the abuse, especially any times they may have actually dipped into psychosis?

I know many abusers find religion at some point in their lives and claim to have been completely changed. I must admit I am suspicious of this claim. Perhaps religion truly does change the hearts of some, but much of my personal experience has taught me that if someone is a bad person before they find religion, they will likely be a bad person after they find it. Superficialities may change, but does their behavior/attitude/actions?

Unfortunately, I have no real answers to the question of whether abusers can ever change, but I hope that they can. I would warn everyone to be cautious in extending an olive branch to anyone who has deliberately hurt you again and again, but I do understand the desire to believe in the power of change.