Friday, May 26, 2017

Talking to Closed Doors

   It’s common knowledge that Jehovah’s Witnesses go door to door to bring the good news of all that is coming as written in the Apocalypse in keeping with Jesus Christ’s commandment to preach.  Matthew 24:14 says, “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  

   As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I went out this past Wednesday morning to go door to door.  I was grouped with two other senior citizen sisters.  We were given a set of home numbers of Filipinos covering three streets in South San Francisco.  We, three sisters, took turns in knocking on doors.  On the first street, we got no one to open.  On the second street, we got a couple of doors to open and accept the Bible based magazine Watchtower.  We had a pleasant conversation with a young man named Josh on one and met Sherwin on the other.  

   On the third street, something amazing happened.  It was my turn so I rang the bell.  There was no response.  I rang again and a man spoke to me through his home security device.  

   “Yes?” he said without a Filipino accent.  I could swear he’s an American.

   “Sir, we are here to visit Filipino families in the area.  May we speak to the Filipino resident please?” I said to the doorbell device.

   “My wife is Filipino but we’re not home right now.  I’m in the office,” the doorbell replied.  I was blown away!  

   “You’re not home! This is amazing technology, you’re in the office and talking to us!”  I heard the man laugh.  “Thank you for talking to us.  I will leave a magazine on your door.  We hope to meet you next time.  Again, thank you for talking to us.”

   What just happened there?  As I got home, I searched for the smart doorbell that had a conversation with me.  It’s called SkyBell HD

   SkyBell HD, the smart video doorbell system contains a video camera, a two-way radio (a microphone and speaker), that uses an app to interact with the system.  When I rang the doorbell, the device notified the owner’s smartphone with a video feed of me standing at his front door.  With his phone, he was able to talk to me.  That, he could do whether he’s at home or 2,000 miles away!

   Jehovah God is helping the preaching work with the technology to connect the Jehovah’s Witnesses with the homeowners through closed doors.  And maybe, soon conduct a Bible study from the doorstep to an office break room. 

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Who is the Hamilton of Broadway?

   Alexander Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States actively ending the legality of slavery.  The Federalist Papers he co-wrote with James Madison explained federalism.  It shaped the Constitution and advocated its ratification.

   The Federalist Papers (1788) established America’s unique financial system.  Hamilton wrote reports to Congress, such as the First Report on Public Credit (1790) and the Report on Manufactures (1791) which partly formed the outline of the US financial system still envied by the rest the world today.  

   “As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the main author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration. He took the lead in the funding of the states' debts by the Federal government, as well as the establishment of the first national bank…”  His interpretation of the constitution created the government-backed Bank of the United State.  He is still the face on the ten dollar bill.
   Laissez-faire capitalism inspired by the economic ideas of Alexander Hamilton was part of the reason America became an economic power.  Laissez-faire contends that business and industry will prosper without government intervention.  While preaching Laissez-faire with his right hand, Hamilton’s left hand imposed economic policy of high tariffs, or taxes on imported goods to encourage Americans to support local industries.

   American business and industry has been propped by the government via colonialization of smaller countries, weapons manufacturing and trade with allied countries.  US economic expansion rode on the railroads.  The U.S. government built the railway system through laws, with tax breaks and tariffs.  Then used its military to break workers’ strikes.  Industrial corporations could not have prospered at that time without government assistance.

   Hamilton was right about his double-talk.  Ultimately, Laissez-faire’s letting business speculate freely, caused the Great Depression of 1929.  Some economists say the mortgage crisis of 2008 was similarly caused laissez-faire policies.

   The Compromise of 1790 was between Alexander Hamilton and several southern members of Congress.  Hamilton won the decision.  The Residence Act of 1790 brokered by Hamilton put the capitol of the USA in the District of Columbia (Washington DC).

   The concept of honor was essential to Hamilton.  A duel began at dawn on July 11, 1804, Hamilton might have fired on his way to the ground, upon being hit by a bullet.  He died the next day, July 12, 1804.  

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Medicare Entitlement for Dialysis

   In 1944, in Nazi-occupied Holland, Willem Kolff invented a primitive artificial kidney machine.  After the war, Kolff sent his machines to Europe and the United States.  In 1960, Belding Scribner of the University of Washington in Seattle and Wayne Quinton, an engineer, invented a permanent vascular access device.  Their first patient Clyde Shields, lived 11 years on hemodialysis.  The disease is fatal unless patients are treated by either kidney transplantation or dialysis.  

   Before Public Law 92-603, 92nd Congress, H.R. 1 October 30, 1972, only those over 65 qualified for Medicare benefits.  Patients, their families, and physicians, as well as the National Kidney Foundation, worked to get the federal and state governments to provide financial coverage for treatment of kidney disease.  Congress passed and sent to President Richard M. Nixon the Social Security Amendments of 1972.  Nixon signed the bill.  He was overwhelmingly reelected.

  Public Law 92-603, considered kidney disease as a disability, “shall be deemed to be disabled for purposes of coverage under parts A and B of Medicare subject to the deductible, premium, and copayment provisions of title XVIII” (

   Sec. 299I, states that every individual who has not reached the age of 65 but is medically proven to have chronic renal disease and requires hemodialysis or kidney transplant is entitled to monthly insurance benefits.  “Medicare eligibility on the basis of chronic kidney failure shall begin with the third month after the month in which a course of renal dialysis is initiated and would end with the twelfth month after the month in which the person has a renal transplant or such course of dialysis is terminated.”

   This entitlement covers over 90% of all U.S. citizens with severe kidney disease.  It resulted in prolonging survival for many years.  A unique feature of this law is that the Social Security Amendments of 1972 is the only entitlement for a specific disease, chronic kidney failure.  In a negative sense, the provision of the law was that it is unfair to those who suffer from other ailments.  Public Law 92-603 was within American policy for health care.  Public facilities for treatment of mental illness and mental retardation have been available since the 19th and 20th centuries.  

   Nixon is only remembered for the Watergate scandal.  Now let us remember him by the millions of kidney patients who receive Medicare at any age, and Jehovah who put him in his position.  

   "Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God." (Romans 13:1)

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Finding the Middle

   Every country is at war with itself.  In America, it’s Democrats against Republicans.  Laws are passed and repealed at will of the powerful.  Justice is ignored according to color.  Except for the very rich, everyone is a victim, everyone a casualty of the war within.  It doesn’t matter how you voted.  No good deed goes unpunished. 

  In the Philippines, it’s the President against the opposition.  The well-meaning politicians gets marginalized.  The corrupt gets away with the cash.  There is a left against right.  In between lies the mainstream and internet media faking news with edited photos, click bait sensationalized titles that have no article substance and paid crowds of urban poor populating protests.

   In the conflict, how does one find the middle?  Jehovah’s Witnesses have found the way to the middle through the Bible.  In 1Peter 2:13-14For the Lord’s sake subject yourselves to every human creation, whether to a king as being superior or to governors as sent by him to punish wrongdoers but to praise those who do good.”

   “Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.  Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)

   Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t vote, don’t criticize authorities, don’t commit crimes.  They just go on their way, as they have done for a hundred and thirty three years, knocking on doors to offer free Bible publication and Bible study service.  “For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorant talk of unreasonable men.” (1Peter 2:15)

   Russia has declared Jehovah’s Witnesses as a terrorists group.  For some reason, Russia thinks the Bible held by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a weapon of mass destruction.  They must have read Jeremiah 7:33 “And the dead bodies of this people will become food for the birds of the heavens and for the beasts of the earth, with no one to frighten them away”  The passage is referring to Jehovah God's final act of wrath against those who rejected him.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Lifestyle Choice with Dialysis

   When I was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure, I was given an orientation to help me choose the kind of treatment that would fit me.  The choices were peritoneal and hemodialysis.  

   “In peritoneal dialysis, the inside lining of your own belly acts as a natural filter. Wastes are taken out by means of a cleansing fluid called dialysate, which is washed in and out of your belly in cycles.”  This means that a catheter (plastic tube) is installed in the belly by surgery.  Then a cleansing fluid is pumped into the belly through the catheter.  That is the filtering process.  When that is done, the fluid leaves your body through the catheter.  

   I did not choose the peritoneal dialysis because the catheter will remain dangling on my belly 24/7 until it’s removed by surgery.  Keeping it clean would be a chore.  If I should mess it up by some carelessness it could kill me.  I will not be able to soak in the tub which I love or go swimming in the hot springs and beaches of the Philippines.  Soaking in water could infect the catheter or allow bacteria to run through it and kill me.  However, this one is painless after the surgery and convenient because I can do it at home or while traveling.  I can do it at night so I can get employed during the day.  I can bring the supply of cleansing fluid with me so travel and vacations are not encumbered. 

   I chose the hemodialysis.  I will have to go to a dialysis center three times a week, stay three hours and fifteen minutes plus the time it takes to hook me up to the machine and to pull me off it.  This choice involves pain from two big needles used to hook up and painful occasional Fistulagram, a procedure to remove blood clot from the dialysis access vein or graft.  

   With hemodialysis I can’t travel to places where I won’t have a dialysis center.  Vacation days are interrupted by dialysis treatment every other day.  So when I fly to the Philippines, my dialysis is arranged with a center for the duration of my stay.  Medicare does not pay outside of the US so the dialysis while traveling is paid out of pocket.  

   With the pain, expense and inconvenience of in-center hemodialysis, why did I pick it?  I don’t have a bathtub in California.  On a trip to the Philippines, I get to swim once if I’m lucky.  Are pain, expense and inconvenience worth not having a catheter dangling on my belly that no one else is going to see?  I guess it’s just me being me.

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