What Will Pass at NFB 2017: an Overview

Dear Readers,

The NFB has done an average job of resolving differences and issues here. There is the obvious need to make tech affordable and accessible, but there are other things. The Air Carrier Access Act is mentioned twice, so I’m not expecting either resolution to pass because of redundancy, but there is a need to train airline personel. Inaccessible software and Sharepoint were also covered, but once again, the only social issues the NFB could have covered were not even given a word. NOt a word was spoken about the trafficking of folks with disabilities under guardianships by family and well meaning strangers, etc., and once again, because of comorbid disability, I’m not being listened to. The NFB seems to have the right foot forward regarding discrimination and tech, but social discrimination and civil rights of all individuals is not being given enough attention. The Droople web service was commended for being accessible, but there’s one thing I hope we are more aware of. Ziosk in restaurants were mentioned, things like Olive Garden and Chili’s have them. Trenton and I usually tell the wait staff we can’t use the software, and they end up having to do things the old fashioned wait on your dinner way. Olive Garden is quite expensive, but still great. I’ve not had problems with wait staff insisting I use Ziosk, and the operating system is indeed inaccessible, so this is what the NFB really wants. A completely accessible home, but what is the point of accessibility if we can’t be socially accepted? What would be the point of ChromeVox and Narrator if I can’t buy the technology or if someone has the gall to claim that I’m not able to use it because of a social dislike? The NFB has good intentions, but the grade for resolutions will have to settle for a B minus, at least in my book. I’ll look at ACB stuff, and try to be balanced, but a B minus for the NFB is the best grade I can offer. The biggest problem that the resolutions have is the social unacceptance of blind people with comorbid mental or physical conditions, but the resolution of sorts ealing with emergency broadcast access for deaf blind people is reasonably good. Now we need to give blind people access to a better life, a better town with better social acceptance. Not a little town where a blind woman is accused of leaving a mark on someone she did not or where a blind man has a history of sexual offense. We need access to coping materials or recovery stuff, whatever the weather. The NFB wants to be the leading organization of the blind, but it can’t do social acceptance. B minus is the final grade because there are just a few things a leading consumer group should be advocating for, and they got the Braille thing in the bag and all the tech too.

NFB Resolution Time Will Be Delayed

Dear Readers,

Usually, I write an analysis of the NFB resolutions, and ACB just ended its conference and convention. The NFB convention resolutions, at least the ones proposed, at least for this year, will go up on the Agenda later on. The agenda will have all the usuals, but I’m clearly looking forward to the following:

A resolution condemning Greyhound for its use of inaccessible sites and apps for blind travelers, thus a lawsuit is being filed.

A resolution further stating that blind parents should be protected. This is serious. Buck V. Bell is outdated and stupid, so the NFB should rule on this fairly.

A resolution condemning guardianship regardless of disability. Guardianship is a way of trafficking human beings for their rights due to their handicaps. The NFB doesn’t seem to give enough attention to the problem of blind adults constantly under attack for their rights and finances by their parents. I know some blind adults whose checks fall into the hands of their parents. One is very abusive toward females, as stated further below, and should be monitored around other females. Blind men seriously need to learn to keep themselves under control, especially at convention times or times where a female friend or professional is present.

A resolution condemning rape of females anywhere who have disability, regardless of home status or even in the NFB centers themselves. After being banned from the NFB listserv for students because I tried to paint a real picture of who the blind males are, I have resolved that a resolution should be adopted and passed because females who are blind do not need to become the vessels of men’s losses, whether sexually lost or morally lost. Blind men are just like sighted men, but tend to be disenfranchised more often because sighted women often feel they have to mother or baby the men, which isn’t right at all. There are good blind males out there who are married, have kids, etc., and don’t go having extramarital affairs. That is to say that for the same tokens and coins in the game, there are blind males who do worse. But because these guys are blind, they think they can lay the finger on other women or the woman’s consent more so because these guys are blind. Blind predators do exist, I know a few. And the NFB is doing nothing, I repeat nothing, about it except kicking them out of the centers and not acknowledging their existence. There are a few Johns who have raped Janes at centers and parties related to the NFB, and I want to see a total cleanup of this, not a cleanup of the CCB big kitchen, not a cleanup of the curriculum, though it would be nice to see an addenda on sex education for all adults and young minors thirteen to eighteen. Why? Because people need to know that predators exist among us, and they’re worse than the sighted ones. The sighted ones may try to take advantage of blind females, get them pregnant, etc., but at least they get prosecuted for the crimes they commit. One young man ruined his life at CCB by having a threesome with two girls who I won’t name here, and this guy, this guy had to be prosecuted. But no, he’s successfully employed? Where’s this picture wrong? Successfully employing a man who is not smart with women and smooth talks them into his bed is a wrong choice unless he learns to cope, gets the right treatment, and joins a sex offender group registry class where he can learn about grooming, safety plans, etc. Those things are important. Grooming, by the way, is not the act of combing one’s hair or shaving one’s beard in this case. Grooming behavior is what I’m talking about, and it is defined as luring a child or adult female victim after approach. I know this stuff because I read a book about it … like a million times. Predators exist in all facets of life, but particularly for the blind, this is devastating.

A resolution acknowledging that not all tech apps can be accessible. Let’s face it. The My Little Pony games, Mario, and thousands of others are not going to be accessible by voiceover or talkback. Trenton and I do not play many games except the ones marked accessible, and there are a few. However, game creators are simply not able to make their content more accessible. Nintendo is a Japanese owned gaming company, and boy their games reflect the game needs of all people, well, except for blind ones. In Japan, the blind are not considered often for jobs or places in life, and females who are blind are often trained as itako, like fortune tellers on the side of the road, etc. Sadly, this mentality translates to Nintendo’s inability to make their game consoles and games themselves accessible and fun for blind individuals. I can understand why sighted people would put up a fight about Mario, besides there are too many fast and quick snap visuals in a lot of the Mario levels. Trenton could not even get past a certain game level himself. Plus iOS and Android are just mobile phones, don’t capture the retro game coolness that a Nintendo console could. The WII fit could work, if given some nonvisual menu prompts, but demanding that all the world be accessible is a wrongheaded notion that will get the NFB no further than the executive offices of a prosecutor who may say no to a lawsuit against Nintendo. Some blind people play nintendo no problem, but for someone without light perception, total, the whole bit, playing certain kinds of videogame can be a challenge and on the phone apps, can be near impossible. I know some guys like my buddy Jessie who play Mortal Kombat, and he’s good at it. I don’t know why or how, but then there’s Killer Instinct. I just wish the NFB would see this and either build on it, or accept defeat and move on.

The NFB convention is to start next Monday, July 10, 2017, in Orlando. So if you’re there, send me an analysis of the resolutions and what you think.

The ones who send me resolution analysis should also let me know if their favorite passed. Any ones that are not adopted will be noted in the next entry.

Letter to the Britons: Stop the Killing of Infants and Persons with Disabilities

Dear Readers, especially readers in the British sector,

Imagine for a moment you are a mother. You’re lying on the birthing table, and the child comes out. What a surprise, your child has a rare mitochondrial disease. This happened to one British couple. I’m infuriated as I write this, but the British courts have sided with a hospital where the child is staying, and this hospital wants to kill the child because in their eyes, there’s no hope. I have a few British friends with disabilities, may not be rare ones, but if we kill little Charlie Gard, we may end up with profiles like Charlie’s coming up for blind and paralyzed people, people with mild epilepsy, and people with other types of disability. LEt me introduce a few of the friends I know.

Ben Breen is a blind man who loves playing videogames. He’s also very musically talented, and plays piano like nobody’s business. Ben was born blind, but did his parents give him up for adoption or say he needed to die? Absolutely not.

Aaron Danvers-Jukes is a resident of the Isle of White, a blind guy who loves cosplaying stuff and Comic Con and other sorts of nerdy things. He is friends with Breen and loves to do some pretty interesting things. He was also born blind, but did his parents give up? Nope. The parents are proud to have Aaron as their son, and he is still alive and kicking. Should Aaron’s future wife bear a child with a disability, Aaron will have the resources to teach the kid about comic books, good manners, some other sorts of things, and a good dose of nonvisual uses of stuff in the kitchen.

Samantha is a young British woman with blindness and a mild epilepsy. She was born with disabilities, but did her parents do the unthinkable and give up? No. She’s still alive, and still hangs around on FaceTime when she needs to talk to someone. I like Samantha’s humor and wit as she approaches her disabilities. She wants to be a neuropsychological doctor of some sort, and that’s cool. She also sings, and she’s a really good mezzo soprano. Maybe a high soprano, but I haven’t heard enough high notes.

What is the common denominator of these profiles and vignettes about my good friends who are British? Well, they have disabilities, but their parents did not give up. Ben is a cricket baller, Aaron is an actor who does martial arts and comic stuff is his hobby. Samantha loves music, and has friends in and around British territory and the United States. These people have lives, and they were blessed with the fortune of having parents who did not give up and tried to educate doctors and nurses about their children’s blindness. If they went through the U.S. system, they’d be juggernauted with paperwork like crazy, IEP’s and 123s like crazy. I can’t make out what it would have been like if Aaron was in the Americas, forced to bow down to vocational counselors when they say, “Acting isn’t a reasonable goal.” He’s already in a theater troupe in Britain doing acting and stuff, and he sings from what I understand. If Ben was told that videogame design or sports were “an unreasonable goal” in the British Isles, I don’t think his parents would accept that. Ben independently travels and goes to parties in Kent and other places around England, and has a lot of friends in the locale and attends university. Where would he have been without the support of his friends? Aaron also got awards of inspiration for his martial arts and acting stuff.

What am I trying to say here? Charlie Gard could become the next Aaron, Ben, or Samantha. If medication and experimental treatment is administered, Little Charlie could very well grow up to love comic books, videogames, cosplaying, acting, sports, cricket of course, football (what we call soccer, but better I guess.), or even skydive as an adult. Charlie could have a bright future, but this hospital and the government think they have a right to kill a little child. THis is to me a cruel act of murder.

What would the world be without Aaron, Ben, or Samantha? Boring, if you ask me. Aaron has a vibrant personality and laughs at just about anything, and I came to know him on TeamTalk with a few other crazies … well, good crazy weird guys. Ben was the same way, and he actually dispensed his love of Mumford and Sons. Samantha I got to know through Trenton and some other people. I’d like to let all you British people know that it is in the best interest of the child to live, not die. He could benefit from life, not death. Death of a child to me is like a waste and a what-could-we-have-done moment, and we’re headed to a path similar to the world of the Giver, where the “newchild” who does not meet the demands of “nurturers” is “released”, or killed as you find out in the climax of the story. Little Gabriel could have faced that fate, and to think that this government would kill a disabled child over a rare genetic disease. Let me introduce you to an American with mitochondrial disease who is female, disabled, and proud.

Reina Brown I first came to know on FaceBook, and read most of her posts. I paid attention to those posts that evoke a lot of thought, and she writes a lot about disability advocacy and so forth. Reina is, if I should say, blind, Autistic high functioning, and has mitochondrial disease which disabled her from walking and using common things like stairs. She doesn’t let that stop her from working two jobs, going to school, and highlighting disabled people and services for such. Reina is insured in the U.S. healthcare system, and she keeps a log of a lot of stuff about what goes on. If she sees a problem, I expect her to come on FaceBook and write about it. She was born with all the conditions and such, but in the United States, the parents make all the decisions about their child’s future as a disabled person. Reina’s parents chose to let her live, thrive, and grow. This is a family that deserves a good example and they have a lot of passion for one another. Reina is a Bible believing Christian woman who regularly attends church at Kingdom Hall in her town. She is a passionate believer in Christ, and if not for a family that taught her that she deserves life, she could not have been posting on FaceBook all those years later.

Mito she says sucks, but she deals with it how she can. Sometimes her letters about mito are pretty interesting, like “Dear Mito, you suck, me.” That’s basically what she says. She may be tired a lot because of mitochondrial disease, but she doesn’t let it stop her. Those letters? They mean she’s not letting mito win. PEriod.

Therefore, what is the common denominator? All disabled people deserve a chance to live. To Teresa May, you need to let Charlie Gard live, let him spend time with his family. What makes you think that family will harm him? If you thought this way about Ben, Aaron, or Samantha’s families, you would get loads of outrage. Please, Mrs. May, let the baby go home with his family, and live. Let the parents do what they want. I say that if Trenton’s mom gave up on him, and if my doctors gave up on me, and a lot of us with disabilities, there would be a really boring, ableistic world out there full of the same bullshit.

Beth

What Is America’s Modern Slavery?: Analysis

Dear Readers,

Imagine you didn’t have your rights. You don’t have the right to an opinion, don’t have the right to dress and style as you please, don’t have the right to marry whomever you want, etc. This is the lot of people in North Korea. However, in America, we have a hidden truth that I’m about to reveal.

I may have a limited guardianship, but the truth is that guardianship is slavery. Any form of ownership of an elder or a disabled person is a form of slavery and human trafficking and should be made illegal for the sole purpose of protecting the elder or disabled person from being malnourished in a nursing home, dumped in the street, living in a garage on McDonald’s, living on $10 a day and unable to pay for or lease an apartment, or ultimately dying in these circumstances. Meet Karen, a nurse from Naples, Florida, who ran away from her full legal guardianship because the guardian was being abusive. Meet Jacquelyn, who is now deceased because of guardians’ abuse of her daily. HEr daughter Kathleen Dunn was unable to save her. And finally, meet Carol Weeks, whose life can best be described as trying to end the relationship with her family because of guardianship and the possibility of guardianship abuse. Carol has a brain injury and blindness, along with sleep issues as most blind people do. However, she will graduate from the Hadley School for the Blind in Illinois and pursue a dream of hers. With guardianship, she wouldn’t be able to do that. My dream isn’t necessarily to become a rich and famous musical entertainer, to be a police enforcer, or to do things that are concrete. My dream is to be able to wake up in a world where all guardianship is fraud, illegal, slavery. Where all the courts will work harder to protect elders and disabled people, regardless of what a guardian wants, from maltreatment and malnourishment. Guardianship is traditionally associated with these things, and as well it should be. There are many victims of guardian abuse I could not name here, but if we don’t help the Karens and Kathleens of the world, there will be more Jacquelyn Scotts and more Jenny Hatch cases that go unwon by the disabled or elder person because a guardian wants them to get a job or do as they say. My father is an example of a guardianship abuser along with his wife, my mother. They denied me independence and hope online as I was not able to find such in Titusville, so I relocated to Colorado so that they could not tell me what to do. They can no longer touch me, even if I couldn’t challenge their rights. However, I would like federal health laws to be passed so they can’t read therapy and prenatal care notes. They must never have access to these notes because a baby could be on the way and they will be barred from seeing him or her. IF Trent and I decide on a baby, we will have to make sure they don’t contact me about the baby. IF they do, I’ll just say, you can’t see the baby. End of story, you have guardianship, so you can’t have my baby. I won’t let you see my baby, and any unauthorized visits on your part will result in further legal action. So there you have it.

Karen is too old to have children, so perhaps are the many others who are abused and neglected in nursing homes and group homes for the disabled. bI do not want to be a victim of abuse and maltreatment in the hands of a public guardian, so I’m asking all of you who read this to kindly stop calling me paranoid. Stop calling me negative. Stop calling me whatever you want to call me because it’s not gonna help your cause. You could be the next victim of American slavery, bought and sold for your disabilities and rights. Please make sure you are reading this, after all if you don’t, you will be uneducated.

Twenty Years of Harry Potter? And Other Things to Think About

Dear Readers,

It’s been 20 years since Harry Potter and his world were conceived and brought to life by J. K. Rowling, a Scottish born woman who lived on welfare, but now she’s struck galleons, or gold as we Muggles would say, when she wrote the Harry Potter phenomenon to life. My personal experience with the books was that the books were so many volumes a piece of Braille that I could not get through them. I ended up reading the rest on Bookshare and audio, but I still kept up with the others regarding the Wizarding World. I wish that right now, I could use a bit of magic to make candy, keep my doors locked, and Apparate and Disapparate wherever I wanted to without a passport or airplane tickets. Too expensive, right? IF Wizards existed, I’m not sure I’d be one. Being blind and reading the Potter books, I’m seriously considering visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme land but it’s in a state that’s not safe for Trenton and I at the moment. With acquittal after acquittal of officers shooting down black people and making up poor excuses to kill a black person, I’m reluctant to let myself and Trenton roam the theme parks in Florida without help or a special security detail, as though we were famous. I do not want to have to wait in lines full of possible alt right white supremacists who could holler “Nigger” and other nasty terms at myself or Trenton. We’d need to protect our valuables from burglars in the hotel, and the Disney or Universal cast members would absolutely have to take responsibility for us because of circumstances. I won’t do business with Florida disney world because of someone who works there, name not given, who says I’m paranoid and need help. This girl was accused of playing me like a violin in high school, and yet she gets a job and all the things she dreams of. Why do I not have anything? Except for Trenton’s love and support, food on the table, and a roof over my head, there’s nothing. No dream vacation, no dream wedding on the way, and no family with kids. We’re too poor to avoid Medicaid, and a wedding in the traditional sense would warrant in the eyes of the government cuts to our benefits. We need Medicaid, SSI, and food stamps for now so we can work our way up, not be touted for not working. My parents think it okay to keep guardianship because they view Legal Shield as a “pyramid scheme.” It is not. Mid-Ocean Partners and Prepaid Legal have been around for decades, not a pyramid scheme at all. Because of contractual guardianship, my fiance is collecting the money for me, a form of slavery in my opinion. I have to do all the work and find businesses in the Denver area so that I can sell memberships to people. We need sales, all this to buy a home with. But it won’t get me off the system, so I’ll still have Medicaid and SSI, and any other insurers may charge overages for their services because of preexisting conditions like blindness. We want to vacation at Harry Potter land, but I will never feel safe again while officers are acquitted for killing black people, especially disabled ones. WHo never carry guns! That’s what’s upsetting me. If we go to Harry Potter land, I want safety and security and all that.

Another Letter Sent to the Senators

Dear Readers,

Senator Cory Gardner received another letter from me. Why, you ask? It’s pretty simple: wheelchair bound protesters were abused for stating they wanted to live. And the GOP wants to say that disabled people are a drain on society. No, we’re not. There are many Senators who should be reading my blog right now, and not playing Angry Birds Star Wars Edition. So put down the game handheld, turn off that iPhone, android, or whatever device you are using to distract yourselves, and read my lips. Let me start with my life story in a nutshell:

As a person who is blind, I have read the literature of the National Federation of the Blind, American Council of the Blind, and other kinds of stuff that suggested blind people go through more disturbing forms of discrimination than anything else in the world. Well, I’m living proof that this discrimination is criminally harmful to me and others who are blind and have physical handicaps. Wheelchair bound people are often abused in jails and state care, helpless to stop the abuse in their home lives, etc., so to tell them that they’re going to have their healthcare taken away is tantamount to criminal theft of the people’s lives. I am a passionate advocate for the people, of the people, whatever else you want to say. Senator Gardner I hope does not vote for the bill because of letters like the kind I wrote him today. Abusing people over the removal of Medicaid expansion is wrong, and here’s why:

As a blind person, I use Medicaid to keep my home functionally clean and my caregiver is a fine woman, despite having no car, but she brings a lot of joy to the table when she works and cleans the home. If I didn’t also have my fiance around to make sure the dishes got clean–cooking for two is a drag you know–I would be all alone with nothing but professionals and caregiver staff to look after me. Since I have no friends in the Denver area who can drive me to places like shopping malls, I have to rely heavily on Uber, Lyft, buses, and cabs. Medicaid provides medical transportation to doctor appointments round trip for free in the Colorado area to those who qualify. This saves me a lot of stress, which could lead to other things. Also, nonmedical transportation takes me to places I would like to go like the grocery store or the shopping mall, this way I can save on transport to places that Trenton and I want to go to and we don’t have to worry too much about Uber. IF I had a service dog, this would have been a lot harder to do as there are too many people who’ve reported Lyft and Uber drivers for not staying because of blindness, and not picking up passengers who request them because of their dogs. This is now illegal, and should remain illegal. Medicaid trips can be round trips, but the political games continue, and those trips could be taken away.

Trenton and I have to navigate a healthcare system that demands lots of money if not for Medicaid. What if one of us ends up wheelchairbound because of someone else’s misdeeds? That’s where Medicaid comes in and can save us lots on stress, barriers to access on transport vans, etc. Access a Ride should never charge Medicaid patients, but the rides are expensive. Too expensive. Paratransit would be best suited for working, and I don’t want to have to reevaluate and sign forms for Access a Ride again, not ever, because it’s too complicated and I have to do stuff with doctors in order for this to be possible. Without Medicaid free transportation and carpooling, I would not be able to go to doctor visits. What will happen to my child’s medical coverage if we decide on that? We need the affordable healthcare we deserve as disabled people, not abuse or injury by the cops.

We’re in a political state of turmoil, and as I should tell Senators, we’re so divided, but anyone who says a disabled person is a drain on society should look the other way when they themselves become disabled due to accidental injury or illness, or a child becomes disabled due to birth defects. As a blind person, I’ve been abused by my parents emotionally because all I wanted was to be able to date around, and it was rumored that I was obsessed with boys, even today, it haunts me. I had to block a woman I was working with for years on Facebook because of Blake, and because she made up rumors about me chasing boys. THis is not the case. Because of this, my civil right to marry was denied. Guardianship was instated, but not enough to stop me from leaving the state of Florida, relocating to Colorado, and making a home for myself and my fiance Trenton. We’re planning to get married in a couple of years, but I feel the wedding could be sooner because people are influencing our decisions. It should be ours and ours alone and even with the wise guidance of a brother and sister, I still feel the decision to delay the wedding another full year was irresponsible and cruel on the part of both of us. Marriage is the only way a church will accept us, as most churches practice a Christianity that demands honoring abusive guardians and not living with your significant other for fear of sex. There is nothing to be afraid of with regards to sex, but disabled people are treated as inadequate. Without the birth control I take, I could’ve become pregnant and had a baby too soon. Marriage would stabilize the family and ensure that the kids have two parents, whether it’s mom and mom or mom and dad. So what if my child is gay? I’d still love them, but as a disabled female, I could be scrutinized and questioned more because of mental health concerns. The senators should take a look at how psychiatry is used to drug people illicitly and put them in nursing homes, kill the elders and disabled people the court deems incompetent, etc. I have no reason to believe the guardianship was a protection thing, it’s an abuse thing.

And with this, I wish our President and Senators would outlaw guardianship in the United States because of people like my friend Karen, who was a nurse in Naples, Florida before her relatives hijacked her life and money. Her sisters got guardianship for revenge, and now Karen has to ride in buses full of criminals and she has to deal with dangerous men who follow her around and make her life hell. She needs her civil rights, but challenging the guardianship in my case would be pointless because what if the judge says I can’t go back? I have a family in Colorado, not Florida. So readers, if you really want to write a letter to your Senator, talk to them about how Medicaid allows me to survive without my family. Talk to them about Medicaid being stupid and using the wrong kind of driver to take us to appointments. TAlk about it. Tell your Senator, vote no on the GOP healthcare bill, and don’t let them take Medicaid away from people with disabilities because it’s wrong.

Another Chance at Life: End of Life Decisions Explained

Tina Meyer was severely ill, on life support, and even with medicine she didn’t make it. Candice was waiting for a kidney, and it turned out Tina was a match. Because of Tina, now Candice has another chance at life. How did this happen?

When I die, I know there are many people who would die waiting for a donated organ such as a liver, kidneys, etc., or even a heart. I’d rather have my organs donated because at least another person has a shot at life. There are some pretty dangerous people out there in India selling the organs that people need, same with Iran, but here’s what the donation process in the U.S. involves.

First, you need a live donor or a dead one for some organs. Then, you must be a blood match to lower the chances that the organ will reject the body, or whatever it is. Thirdly, organ donation involves insurance and payments possibly. There is no direct sale of organs, which is illegal in the United States. However, I hope that with medical advances, transplant candidates don’t have to wait for a donor. WHy? Because antisuppressants or immunosuppressant drugs are expensive, and keeping the immune system down to a par could make anyone sick. Just talk to anyone who’s had a kidney donated to them, or a liver, or a heart. Talk to anyone who’s had to take these drugs, and trust me, it’s not fun. If we clone organs for the body, we will be able to skip the donor registry altogether. However, for the time being, one can register with Donate Life right in your Apple Health app in your iPhone if you have one. There are other ways to register, even through the State’s department of motor vehicles. So if you are feeling like it should be done, go register as an organ donor. Do not worry if a family member says you shouldn’t, at least the other parts of your body will work if you’re blind and physically handicapped. Even if my eyes don’t work, my other essential organs will, and donating those will give another person a shot at life.