General Discussion and Updates

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by DutchessMaria on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:31 pm

Actually, it was an attempt to downplay the lack of knowledge in my opinion James. Fact is Jae does not understand the workings of our legal and legislative systems. There is plentiful evidence of her posting  examples here. Instead of admitting she was wrong, which is the grown up thing to do,  she did not even bother to either research and/or admit she was wrong and reacted emotionally rather than with rationale and logic.
And in order to address any injustice, you must address the ignorance on the process first and foremost.
There are zillions of people throughout the political spectrum who don't even know or understand the principles of our system which is the PRIME CAUSE for injustice in this country!!!


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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:36 pm

I would like to discuss Brexit more. We are so focused on Trump we forget about rest of the world.

Dee, glad you met Laura.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:37 pm

Maria what was your route as a flight attendant typically? Like what part of the world? That is why I was wondering what you encountered in terms of stereotypes and perceptions of Americans by those abroad.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by DutchessMaria on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:52 pm

I do understand the human side people bring to political issues. By all means, I fight injustice daily with my daughter and have been for the past 10 years.
Yet I have come to realize that I must stay rational and use logic or I will run on empty emotionally. Many parents who have disabled children are divorced and have ruined lives. I plan on keeping mine together and we have managed and are doing fine because I am not giving up on fighting nor having it affect my life to the extend I lose everything, which is easy to do.

That being said, Dee, of course I understand the human side of these tragic events. However emotions are always exploited to get agendas implemented which leads towards distraction. It is also imperative to put things in perspective. As I said , 01% is NOT an epidemic. 0.066% of gun deaths are perpetrated by citizens. 0.033% by police. Is it too many? YES. But we can definitely bring those numbers down by being smart instead of emotional without having to surrender inalienable rights that have nothing to do with killing people purposely!

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by DutchessMaria on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:56 pm

I flew a bunch of different routes James. Of course Europe was one of my main destinations. I flew Asia, like Hong Kong and Japan, Taiwan. South America and I did some domestic flying around the country for a year and a half and have been all over the US as well. On my own I have traveled to other parts of the world.

As for stereotyping, I don't know. I think Europeans have a false impression of America and Americans  as Americans have a false impression of Europe and Europeans as well. I am stuck in the middle here seeing false perceptions on both sides.


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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:57 pm

DutchessMaria wrote:I do understand the human side people bring to political issues. By all means, I fight injustice daily with my daughter and  have been for the past 10 years.
Yet I have come to realize that I must stay rational and use logic or I will run on empty emotionally. Many parents who have disabled children are divorced and have ruined lives. I plan on keeping mine together and we have managed and are doing fine because I am not giving up on fighting nor having it affect my life to the extend I lose everything, which is easy to do.

That being said, Dee, of course I understand the human side of these tragic events. However emotions are always exploited to get agendas implemented which leads towards distraction. It is also imperative to put things in perspective. As I said , 01% is NOT an epidemic. 0.066% of gun deaths are perpetrated by citizens. 0.033% by police. Is it too many? YES. But we can definitely bring those numbers down by being smart instead of emotional without having to surrender inalienable rights that have nothing to do with killing people purposely!

Ditto. I agree.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by DutchessMaria on Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:15 pm

Thanks James!

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:49 pm

I think that Maria and Jae should meet in person and spend some quality time together (at least a solid twelve hours--better yet, take a road trip together) Wink You are both relatively close are you not?

Jae, how is the job going? Is it still the same shit?

Maria, conversations back in the day were always so fragmented due to nature of volume. Did you move to the US as a young adult and meet your husband over here? Or did you move here later in life? Was it an adjustment or something you were reluctant to do?



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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by DutchessMaria on Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:05 pm

I think Jae and I live about two and a half hours apart. I think our main difference is not necessarily our stances on issues but more how we deal individually with the human side of these issues.

One of my own stunning personal experiences is when I contacted our local news paper to report of systemic abuse in Special Education in our School District. I did a two hour interview to bare all with the News Paper. Other parents were always complaining to me knowing I had successfully cleaned up the special ed program when Katya was in elementary school and not just for my daughter but for all students.

Yet when I asked those very parents, who always were seeking my ear and input, to anonymously talk to the News Paper, only 3 did.
The News paper was very interested in the story but when parents retreated and did not even want to talk anonymously to the paper, it died.

While we are still in litigation, we did secure educational re-reimbursement for our own daughter however I would have rather seen the program being cleaned up for all students.

However I realized that I cannot make other parents advocate or band together to bring change. This is why I am now solely focused on getting justice for my own child.

I would love to publish a book with all the overwhelming evidence and have it written in such a way that it draws national attention and the attention of Congress. Special education is failing our most vulnerable students as is regular education failing minorities. ( I was thinking Laura would be a perfect candidate to write this book since she has a Masters in English and a law degree Wink )

Anyway, the herd control is stunning. Certain parents who are vested into the system by either being employed by the School District or Non profits, don't want parents like myself taking the lead because they get special privileges other parents don't get. So some parents get special treatment while others don't get anything. This is typical Divide and Conquer and it took a little while to figure out how both parents and the District prevent real change and improvement.

I truly think my only chance in hell to make a difference is to make all the corruption public in publication of some sort. Maybe it can be written in a more humorous way as to get people to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and trust me, as bad as things have been, I did have a few laughs at the stupidity of some of these situations because when you reflect back on them, they are beyond stupid and hideous.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by DutchessMaria on Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:09 pm

I met my husband in 1985 James in Crete!

We dated for 2 and a half years and got married ( in Europe) and I moved to the STates in 1987.
My husband lived in Europe for a year after we met so that is how we build a relationship. We traveled Europe together at the time.

I had all my education in the medical field and worked at the local hospital before getting hired with Delta. I did find a job immediately after immigrating to the US at the local hospital. Me being hired with Delta was a mere accident. They desperately needed people that spoke languages in 1990 when they started to expand into Europe and someone I knew told me I should apply since I was so incredibly homesick at the time. I did and was almost hired immediately. At first it was a stunning change, going from compounding drugs to serving people food and I thought I was only going to do it for two years just to try.

But the pay was so good for the time I actually worked. I got paid $40.000 for 6-8 days of working flying the most senior schedule in the system because of my languages and being able to be a full time parent at home 18-21 days a month while seeing my family and friends in Europe weekly!

It becomes a way of life and the diversity in people and places is magic. At least it was for me at the time. I kept my job at the hospital per diem which was nice too.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:30 pm

That would be an awesome gig getting the best of both worlds. I kind of regret coming back to the United States (my anecdote about the kid who brought a gun to my daughter's school is a case in point of my frustration with US culture or lack thereof). At the same time, the medical research in Houston made it imperative: cutting edge chemo eradicated my wife's cancer, and by the time we got in for treatment, she was on a good day awake and cognizant a whopping five hours. We're able to take photos again because her neck no longer looks like a softball is stuck in it.

People are really fickle. That is something I have learned about people to be universally true. Only a few people have the guts to fight for change.

Lol, yeah Laura should ghost write your book, between her dphil, MA, and law degree, she should be able to manage.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:35 pm

Did you just randomly meet your husband in Crete? I met my wife at a bar at a hotel in Jordan. Thirteen years later....here we are.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by laurav on Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:02 pm

All these posts, and yet we are still only on page 35. Is anyone even giving new page awards out anymore?

Dee, it was very nice to see you and Chromie as well, and I am glad we could make it work.

Iceland has spectacular natural beauty--incredible mountains, volcanos, and coasts. Certain members of our rather large group were not happy campers for most of the trip, and kept clashing with each other or complaining the entire time. So I won't be doing large, family vacas anytime soon.

Our real estate deal fell through more or less, so we're hanging out in Canada for next few days.

I feel like we've flogged a dead horse at this point as far as the gun control debate both on here and nationally.

Frankly, I don't have a lot of optimism for the future of the United States, as I have voiced before. The platforms are polarized, we are far too behind in areas of social progress than we should be, and we've been on a steady path towards a surveillance/police state for decades now.

I have oodles of clients who are Trump supporters. While I understand, I think, why in their mind they reach the conclusions they do, it is unacceptable. A country as large, diverse, and expansive as ours should be moving forward, not grinding our gears in endless, muddy arguments that show little signs of translating into positive action or momentum.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:58 pm

I think we could all agree we are at the very least stagnating?

Tackling health care would be a good (even vital first step). Regardless of the negative versus positive rights debate, there ought to be a established right to minimum health care access, as both Obama and Sanders have advocated.

This might be controversial, but the middle class gets way more screwed than the poor and rich on healthcare right now. The premiums for Obama care have been rising and employer health insurance really varies both in cost and coverage.

One of the reasons I work a job as a government contractor that I really hate is because it had great coverage above and beyond VA (which did help my wife anyway), which with my wife's condition was great.

But assuming I did not have that job, I would have been screwed. My wife does not qualify for anything under the VA programs.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:52 pm

What does everyone think regarding Spain's situation right now?

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by laurav on Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:36 pm

I watched the interview of Assange and the Greek author.

While I think Assange raises some good points of thought or interest, his comments were inaccurate because they were gross over simplifications of the European refugee crisis. I am not saying he is wrong completely, but that his statements are incomplete.

I think there is evidence that Germany profited from its bail out of the Greek economy but Greece was not exactly a victim--tremendous financial mismanagement and incredible levels of government corruption contributed. I agree the stereotype of the lazy Greek has also been wrongly disseminated by Europeans. Granted Greece could no devalue its own currency because it was on the Euro to encourage foreign investment, but by the time it got to that point, poor GDP growth, tax avoidance, lack of credibility because of corruption (rising cost of risk insurance on credit default swaps) had all led to a refusal to invest in Greece by other European and foreign countries.

To return to Assange, Libya's largely unguarded coast makes it a logical choice for the thousands of Eritreans, Somalians, Syrians, Sudanese and other North Africa and Middle Eastern countries. There is a lucrative smuggling industry out there.

But the problem, among many, is the EU made a horrendous and unethical deal with Turkey, allowing Greece to return asylum seekers to Turkey, where the Turkish government returned the migrants to Syria and other counties, and even started killing them. This deal is a cold, hard fact. In March of 2016, the EU gave Turkey six billion euros, visa free travel for Turkish citizens, the acceleration of EU membership talks etc on the condition Turkey start taking them back.

There is another issue. The dangerous and chaotic influx of refugees, where young children and civilians are drowning in mass numbers --(not to mention the human trafficking, kidnaping, murders taking place when refugees arrive in Libya) -- could be resolved by allowing the refugees to apply for Asylum where they are (in Syria, Jordan, sub saharan African countries) versus making them entrust their lives for smugglers.

Still, the EU has not done this. The conviction on the EU used to be that Europe was stronger and safer when its economies and countries were independent and the borders fluid. Obviously many Europeans no longer feel that way (in large part due to propaganda, an oversimplification and exaggeration of the problems).

This deal with Turkey does nothing to stop the young men who grow up in Europe and then travel to Syria from being lost in the shuffle and returning to perpetuate the bombings in Brussels and Paris. It actually encourages that to occur.

Europe (and frankly the US) needs to share the burden to ensure better processing. More funding, staff, and equipment pledged from other EU states to Greece. This would result in better background checks and ensure that refugees are then moved to new countries that are best suited to take them.

But the refugee crisis has become so politicized and distorted that EU leaders are struggling to rally fractured Euro zone countries to get the political support to make such moves.

This has the result of now channeling all of the refugees through and off the coast of Libya, and those that actually survive will continue to as desperate choices to get out of the refugee camps and into the more prosperous Western countries.

The Euro zone countries cannot complain that refugees do not integrate into their cultures when right wing groups intentionally make it impossible to integrate and demonize Africans and Middle Easterners. And as far as the Muslim bias, never has such a large group of people been held responsible for the actions of so few...

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by laurav on Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:52 pm

I agree that there are a lot of stereotypes both ways between Europeans and Americans. Europeans are sometimes fairly hypocritical in terms of judging Americans to a higher standard than they hold themselves (the inherent and institutionalized racism in Europe is perhaps a prime example).

Honestly, one of the struggles of my life is never being considered completely American but never being considered European either, leading to a permanent sense of being an outsider. But as my mentor has said, to understand the world, you have to be at the peripheries,looking in and observing. To some extent, I think everyone on the Forum past and present were outsiders in some way, leading to the convergence online.

Also, Americans would benefit from traveling more and getting more exposed to other cultures. I think that would also go a long way to fostering better relations.

As far as the other parents bailing on Maria, in my cases that can be a common trend. Clients often give me a list of people they think will testify to support their position, and then those people start vanishing or hanging up the phone when we call them. So I have developed the slogan : 'real friends testify in court for you.' Smile

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:07 pm

Ditto on outsider thing. People can make the mistake of thinking I'm a good ol' boy contractor and them be surprised when I delve into the history of Iranian-US politics.

The resurgence of right wing ideology seems to be the result of a vacuum historically speaking. It is essentially regressive to adopt illogical and harmful opinions based on race, fear of the 'other,' but when people feel directionless, they grasp on easy messages that falsely appear as lifelines to them.

European identity is no longer stable. Identify period is no longer stable it seems, so people reach for whatever they can, which is normally their smart phone--and 24 hour news and soundbites, discouraging engagement with tough topics and ideas.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:08 pm

Maria, what do you think of Mark Rutte?

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:08 pm

Dee, how did the visit with Laura go? What did you all end up doing? Was it weird meeting in person? Laura, likewise?

My guess is Laura typically comes across as way more mild mannered and unassuming than you'd necessarily expect if you were just going on the written medium.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Dee S on Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:56 pm

Admin wrote:...so people reach for whatever they can, which is normally their smart phone--and 24 hour news and soundbites, discouraging engagement with tough topics and ideas.

I must admit that our forum has made me more become involved in discussions of topics that aren't usually discussed in polite company. I was always ready for religious discussions. Hell, I've been justifying my choice of faith for 10 years now but I've always liked discussion varying theology. We seem to go into other topics here, like politics, which I'd stayed pretty much on the fringes until this election cycle. I was mostly supportive of Obama's administration but stood firmly against the use of drones and indiscriminate bombing near or in population centers where innocents were harmed. For example, I do not believe, with our technology, we need to put innocents at risk any longer. I'm fed up with nation building. Take care of the mainland and territories, then worry about others. I can understand helping another country if it is foundering financially or overrun with "bad guys" but the UN has it's function, as does the World Bank. The US isn't the one mandated to help member nations. That's NATO. .... and I'm rambling.

Today I had to take steps to get power of attorney for Ella's health care. I'm being kept out of the loop of information due to HIPPA and her dementia. The PATH agency she attends (Life Circles) is in charge of her medical care but is not helping the root issues because she either cannot explain to them what's bothering her or their treatment isn't what's needed. She had a knee replacement in the late 90s. It's never been right. It's always caused her pain. Lately she's unable to sustain weight and the entire leg is swollen. She can't lift it even to get it on the bed. Weeks ago they said they were sending her to an ortho to have the knee evaluated. INSTEAD the clinic doctor looked at the xray and decided there's no issue with her knee and she just needs to strengthen it. So they put her on a bicycle yesterday. This caused her horrible pain and made it even more swollen. She's 79 years old now. Her dementia has been slowly getting more noticeable and "I forgot" is more often in her vocabulary. Other than her leg, dementia and laziness, she's pretty healthy and has a lot of years left in her - IF they address this properly. I talked to her case worker who has to talk to the social worker to get the paperwork going so that they can communicate with me via a notebook rather than relying on her communicating back and forth what's going on. I get partial stories or flat out fabrications from her.

Have any of you faced caring for an elderly person as they decline? I cared for my grandfather with Alzheimer's until his needs exceeded my abilities (I was a full time working mom with 2 small kids - he needed 24/7 care). I cared for Ella's son until he passed in 2004 and her husband in his end stage of lung cancer here at home until he passed. He went so quickly in the end there wasn't even hospice care set up. It's HARD. Thank God that we have a great in home aide who truly cares for her and for keeping her as able as possible. I've put her in nursing care a couple of times over the past few years. She doesn't do well in a nursing home. She enjoys the socialization. She's a true social butterfly. But the nursing care, the health side of it, she fights them tooth and nail. And the being unable to leave if she desires, is like a prison for her. I don't even take my respite weeks because the last time I did it she cried every day on the phone that she wanted to come home. It broke my heart.
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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Dee S on Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:06 pm

Admin wrote:Dee, how did the visit with Laura go? What did you all end up doing? Was it weird meeting in person? Laura, likewise?

My guess is Laura typically comes across as way more mild mannered and unassuming than you'd necessarily expect if you were just going on the written medium.

[color=#990099]Well I loved meeting her and her husband and sweet Zoe. They were all horribly jet lagged and still in Icelandic time but we had a nice visit. We chose a mall and food court with a nice bouncy play area for Zoe. I had to use my walker, so it was a bit challenging but once we got settled in we had interesting conversation. I'd forgotten she wasn't a hugger and possibly put her off with a bear hug when we met outside the building. clown

There was a nice selection of restaurants to choose from and we all got along well. I'm kind of sad that their real estate deal fell through but hoping another one pops up. I'd surely cross the state again to visit with them.

Here we are in all of our awkwardness

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:08 pm

That's cool, Dee! Glad you had fun. As I am sure Laura did and will confirm. It would be cool if we could all meet one day, although perhaps very unlikely.

I still think Maria and Jae need to take that extended road trip.

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:44 pm

Maria and/or Jae, what is going on with the wildfires? Do they affect or are they at risk of affecting you? The news was saying at least 21 dead and hundreds of people missing?

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:29 pm

So Friday night. Exciting. What is everyone up to?

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Re: General Discussion and Updates

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