Category Archives: Civil rights

Thrivent insurance claims reviews, Dispute resolution program benefits members?,Christian common bond?, “Don’t use this company they hide behind the cross”

Thrivent insurance claims reviews, Dispute resolution program benefits members?, Christian common bond?, “Don’t use this company they hide behind the cross”

“Thrivent contends that its commitment to individual arbitration is “important to the membership because it reflects Thrivent’s Christian Common Bond, helps preserve members’ fraternal relationships, and avoids protracted and adversarial litigation that could undermine Thrivent’s core mission.”…Thrivent v. Acosta Nov. 3, 2017

“The MDRP is the sole means for presenting and resolving grievances, complaints, or disputes between Members, insureds, certificate owners or beneficiaries and Thrivent or Thrivent’s directors, officers, agents and employees. The MDRP reflects Thrivent’s Christian belief system and strives to preserve Members’ fraternal relationship.”…Thrivent vs Perez Sept. 29, 2016

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”…Matthew 7:15


Below are some reviews of Thrivent insurance claims experiences that are similar to my experiences with Thrivent.

January 17, 2017.

“First of all I’m not a insurance company or employee. I have investments, life insurance, and disability insurance with Thrivent. I have been with Thrivent for many years and trusted them. when I became disabled a year ago and could not work I filed my private disability insurance along with my SSDI. After 7 months of waiting my SSDI was approved the 1st time, Still waiting and expecting my private disability insurance to be approved by Thrivent I received a letter from them with a denial stating I could still work according to all the medical records supplied. I supplied letters from my primary doctor and the specialists treating me stating I was disabled and could not work, I sent an e-mail to Thrivent letting them know of my approval for my SSDI and I got a letter back from them stating that there standards for approval are much higher then the Federal Gov. I followed all there requirements supplied all records never had to be evaluated by Thrivent’s doctor. They just flat denied my claim with a stupid excuse. I have been working with a attorney on this claim to try and settle it. Thrivent has been stalling them every step of the way. THIS DISABILITY POLICY IS A SCAMM. They never had any attention on paying out benefits. They communicated during the process with useless letters telling me nothing about my case. and short to the point e-mails telling me nothing. I have had to put out thousands of dollars in attorney fee’s and thousands of dollars in medical treatment fee’s for out of network doctors. If I don’t qualify for there disability benefits I don’t think anyone can. I DIDNT KNOW IT WAS ME AGIANST THRIVENT INSURANCE, THAT IS HOW THEY MAKE YOU FEEL. Don’t use this company they hide behind the cross.”

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Nancy Bowman February 6, 2018.

“We had a very difficult time during my husband’s illness, Parkinson’s among others, getting any help from Thrivent. Their customer service people were rude and of no assistance. Of his $170.000 fund, we spent $6,000 due to their outrageous, convoluted rules written for the benefit of the company. The salesman did not explain any of these caveats when we purchased the policy and refused to take my calls. Now I need some help, in-home, due to a broken foot but am told I have to pay for 90days of help before they will begin to pay, then need a doctor’s certification that I am disabled. There is a clause stating that if a licensed Health Care Practitioner has, with a 12 month period preceding that day, (what day?) certifies that the person has a physical impairment to last at least 90 days, but it doesn’t say anything else.I am about to go to my attorney, call my Congressmen and anything else to bring this company around. They keep a client’s fund separately but then, if not used, they abscond with it. It’s our money but they act like it’s theirs. They could keep the interest, but refund the premiums not used. It’s white-collar theft and they get away with it because they are a brotherhood. I would never have done business with this company.”

Cathy February 13, 2018.

“I am working on a long-term care insurance benefit dispute for 9 months now. Thrivent refuses to pay the claim even though my mother is coming to the end of her life and is totally disabled. I received a letter today stating that Thrivent does not have to justify their reasons for not paying the claim.
I attempted to resolve the claim through the Pennsylvania Dept of Insurance who did nothing but recommend we get an attorney. I also Issued a claim with the Better Business Bureau… another complete waste of time. Thrivent pays the BBB to post an A+ rating.
Today I sent my dispute to the Attorney General’s office.
Please… let’s not let this unethical organization take our parent’s money and then hide behind red tape and ambiguity when it is time for a payout. Has anyone contacted the Lutheran Synod to find out who is promoting these crooks? Does the Lutheran Synod know that Thrivent is not paying their claims?”

Kris Boike November 3, 2016.

“After a year of paying out on my mothers Long-Term Nursing Claim, Thrivent has stopped. They continuously change their minds of what they require within the Plan of Care from the Nursing Home. This has been going on for 4-5 months now, with at least 6 different versions of the Nursing Plan of Care being submitted. Not only is this experience frustrating, expensive to now start paying Nursing Home expenses directly, they expect my mother and father to re-start paying the LT Care Premiums while we go through the appeals/Membership Resolution Process. The Claims Examiners lie/change their minds constantly to avoid paying out! Lawyer-Up people! 17 Years of paying premiums and now they want more years of premium payments to avoid paying out! Snakes!”

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I have attempted to contact a Doctor who is seeking others with bad Thrivent experiences. Hopefully he will respond.


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Disability insurance claims delayed and denied, Human stories hidden, Susan Kristoff fought cancer and insurance injustice, Did Kristoff’s struggles with insurance lead to early death?

Disability insurance claims delayed and denied, Human stories hidden, Susan Kristoff fought cancer and insurance injustice, Did Kristoff’s struggles with insurance lead to early death?

“Insurance company mandated dispute resolution, appeal, mediation and arbitration, keeps disputes out of the light of day and creates more delays. It benefits the insurers.”…Citizen Wells

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that you’ve got it made.”…Groucho Marx

“Our right to our day in court has been severely eroded.”…Citizen Wells


Susan Kristoff fought cancer and insurance injustice and passed away in 2014.

I am still fighting insurance injustice.

I believe it is my duty to continue writing and expose the injustice.

From the Susan Kristoff obituary.

“Susan was a wonderful daughter, mother, sister and friend. She loved spending time with her family, searching for antiques, and enjoying time on the ocean in South Florida. She loved roller blading and biking in the beautiful Florida sunshine. She was a certified gemologist, extremely knowledgeable in both modern and antique jewelry. Searching consignment shops, auctions and yard sales for treasures was a particular passion. She always had kind and encouraging words to say to those around her. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2003, there were many difficult challenges for Susan, but she still found reasons to smile and to be positive. She had a hilarious sense of humor, with an infectious laugh, and a smile that could light up a room. She used her long battle with cancer to help others by assuming Leadership roles in organizations such as the Komen Foundation, and South Florida Cancer Society working aggressively to find a cure. Susan actively worked to implement legislative changes to Florida insurance laws. Her efforts helped to pass the Oral Chemotherapy Bill, legislation that made the pill form of chemotherapy a covered medical expense and available to those Florida residents in need. Susan’s advocacy has saved the lives of so many and has provided a higher quality of life for countless others. Susan appeared on Good Morning America twice and on several local news channels speaking about injustices within the insurance industry, her battle with cancer, and the Oral Chemo bill. She was also interviewed for multiple newspaper publications such as the Palm Beach Post and the Baltimore Sun,. She was honored by Komen Foundation as “A Warrior in Pink”. Susan was able to relate the concerns of people with cancer by bringing real experiences and issues to the forefront in order to facilitate change. With her warm engaging personality, she was a tremendous spokesperson for insurance reform and cancer research. She was actively engaged in this fight until just weeks before passing. Most of all, Susan was an amazing and dedicated mother. Susan considered her greatest achievement her son Joshua and always said he was the light of her life. She beamed with pride when speaking about Joshua. Susan was known for her passion, empathy, and kindness. She always put the needs of others before her own. Susan’s struggle with Cancer has come to an end and she is in a better place now.”

From ABC News April 25, 2008.

“GMA Gets Answers: Insurer Delays Long-Term Benefit Coverage

To see Susan Kristoff relaxing near her home in West Palm Beach, it’s hard to imagine she has been fighting two very difficult battles.

One is against a potentially deadly form of breast cancer. Her other battle has been against her insurance company.

“I’ve moved twice, but I still have a place to live. But if it wasn’t for my family, I wouldn’t,” Kristoff told “Good Morning America.”

Kristoff was working at Yellow Book selling advertising 1½ years ago. The job entailed lugging the heavy books to meetings with potential clients. It was a job she loved, until one day a visit to the doctor brought terrible news.

She was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, and it was spreading throughout her body.

“It was awful, and I was extremely tired — limping, sharp pain,” Kristoff said.

Doctors said there was no way she could do her sales job anymore. The cancer had actually eaten holes through her hips. Her company had no other position to offer her, so Kristoff filed a claim for disability insurance.

Like millions of Americans, she paid a small amount each month — $20 in her case — to cover her financially should she be unable to work. One-third of Americans have some form of disability insurance.

For Kristoff, paying Cigna for disability insurance was the easy part. Collecting the insurance was a different story.

“It was a daily, eight-hour job just trying to fulfill the information that Cigna was requesting,” she said. “And it wasn’t once. It would be over and over again.”

But after five months of submitting forms, Cigna denied Kristoff’s claim for short-term disability. Cigna said she had not proven a disability. Sick and with bills piled up, Kristoff says she considered something drastic.

“If I wasn’t going to be getting better, I didn’t want to sink the rest of my family, so I spent two days in bed crying and thinking about suicide,” she said.

Instead Kristoff hired an attorney. In short order, Cigna reversed course and paid her short-term benefits. Then with her lawyer’s help, she applied for the much more important long-term help.

Delay Tactics

Her policy promised to pay her 60 percent of her salary if she was too disabled to work.

This time Cigna raised a different objection, saying because Kristoff had a different form of cancer two years before she was diagnosed with the breast cancer that had metastasized, she did not qualify for disability. Doctors say the two cancers are unrelated, and she had been diagnosed as cancer-free well before she began her new job.

“I’m appalled, I’m disgusted, but I’m not surprised because there are hundreds of Susans, many of which I’m representing currently,” said Kristoff’s attorney, Alicia Paulino Grisham.

Grisham says she’s seen this tactic before and it’s called “slow walking.”

“The insurance companies understand that if they deny and deny claims, then many of the claimants will never pursue their claim,” Grisham said.

Law professor and former White House staffer Sara Rosenbaum agrees. She says federal law protects insurers from costly punitive damages from consumer lawsuits, giving them an incentive to delay.”

“Finally, Some Good News

“GMA” got involved in Kristoff’s case as she was awaiting the results of yet another appeal.

It had been 1½ years since her cancer diagnosis, but shortly after “GMA” called Cigna on her behalf, Kristoff got some good news.

Cigna announced that based on “additional information … her disability benefits would be covered ” after all.”

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CIGNA response.

“We have a thorough and fair process through which we make claim decisions. Accordingly, Ms. Kristoff’s case, including medical records from her treating doctors, was originally reviewed by a CIGNA physician and also by an independent, board-certified oncologist in August 2007. At that time, we provided her with information about how to obtain an additional review, or appeal, in her case. The appeal process is an important consumer protection, and we encourage individuals to participate in this process if they would like an additional review of their claim.”


To whom?

At its best, the appeal process is controlled by the insurer, out of the light of day (courtroom). It also delays resolution and the insured getting critical monetary help, often when the help is most needed.

People who are fighting disabilities, pain, cancer or whatever ailment, are in no position physically, emotionally or monetarily to be put through these ordeals.

I have experienced this first hand.

In many cases it is difficult to get legal representation because many attorneys will not touch cases with mandated dispute resolution.

From long time Citizen Wells commenter oldsailor:

“I was unable to find a lawyer anywhere who would help her re negotiate her claim. All the lawyers told her that MANDATED ARBITRATION is really designed to protect INSURANCE COMPANIES from excessive losses. They don’t give a damn about the victim.!!!!”

Did the delay and deny tactics of CIGNA cause the early death of Susan Kristoff?

They sure didn’t help.



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Thrivent denies 96 year old Elaine Tollefson assisted living help, Paid on policy 26 years, Fine print and appeal panel denial, What happened to spirit of law and Christianity?

Thrivent denies 96 year old Elaine Tollefson assisted living help, Paid on policy 26 years, Fine print and appeal panel denial, What happened to spirit of law and Christianity?

“Since 1999, Thrivent has required that disputes with members related to insurance products be resolved through its Member Dispute Resolution Program (“MDRP”). (See Johnston Decl. ¶ 9.) The MDRP provides for a multi-tiered dispute resolution process, escalating eventually (if necessary) to binding arbitration based on the rules of the American Arbitration Association. (See id., Ex. B at § 11(c).) Of particular relevance to this matter, the MDRP mandates that all mediation or arbitration be individual in nature—representative or class claims of any sort, whether arbitral or judicial, are expressly barred. (See id., Ex. B at § 11(e).) Thrivent contends that its commitment to individual arbitration is “important to the membership because it reflects Thrivent’s Christian Common Bond, helps preserve members’ fraternal relationships, and avoids protracted and adversarial litigation that could undermine Thrivent’s core mission.”…Thrivent v. Acosta Nov. 3, 2017

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”…Matthew 7:15

“Our right to our day in court has been severely eroded.”…Citizen Wells


From the Star Tribune.

“Insurance policy’s fine print trumps 96-year-old’s good faith

On her 96th birthday earlier this month, Elaine Tollefson celebrated with a visit from out-of-town grandkids to her home, an assisted living center in central Nebraska.

But there’s one birthday present she still wants from Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial: Checks to help defray the cost of that home.

Tollefson has paid the monthly premiums on her long-term care insurance policy for 26 years. In April, Thrivent told Tollefson that she cannot collect any benefits because she did not follow her policy’s protocol of spending three days in the hospital first.

It’s a requirement no longer allowed in Nebraska, but policies that predated that law change are still valid. Like many people with long-term care policies, Tollefson learned the hard way that the help wasn’t there when she needed it.”

“For Tollefson, the insurer was more than just another company. When her husband bought their policies in 1988, he was actively involved in what was then known as Lutheran Brotherhood. Though Thrivent Financial dropped “for Lutherans” from its name earlier this year, it remains a not-for-profit membership organization, despite its Fortune 500 listing and $6.9 billion surplus generated last year. Its motto is “Connecting faith and finances for good.”

After growing up in southwestern Minnesota, Tollefson married a man named Aad (pronounced “odd”), though everyone called him Tolley. He was a chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project and then for DuPont, which transferred him all over the country. The Tollefsons had four daughters and settled in Gothenburg, Neb., a little town on the Platte River.

“I thought if I had to go on long-term care, I would have that insurance, plus my Social Security, that would take care of most everything,” Tollefson said.”

“Aad Tollefson died in 2002, having never made a claim on his policy. His widow went into the hospital for kidney failure in February 2013, but decided to move back home afterward until she could no longer make it work. That moment came in April, when she moved into the Stone Hearth Estates assisted living housing, which costs about $3,400 per month. The long-term care insurance would pay $40 a day, a little over a third of the cost, or so she thought.

But Tollefson did not qualify, because she didn’t go into institutional care within 90 days of her hospital visit.

Her grandchildren contacted her insurance agent and got the bad news. Their appeal to Thrivent’s appeal panel was rejected last month.

“The panel acknowledged your long-term association with Lutheran Brotherhood/Thrivent as well as your determination to stay in your house and remain independent as long as possible,” Thrivent wrote in its denial letter. “Your actions are indeed commendable; however, these actions cannot supersede the contract requirements.”

“Thrivent members look for and expect Thrivent to provide benefits according to the policy,” the company said in its statement to the Star Tribune.”

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Note the following:

  • “Since 1999, Thrivent has required that disputes with members related to insurance products be resolved through its Member Dispute Resolution Program (“MDRP”). Hence no litigation. No day in court. No light of day. Retroactively applies. However, not tested in all state courts.
  • “Thrivent told Tollefson that she cannot collect any benefits because she did not follow her policy’s protocol of spending three days in the hospital first.”
  • “Thrivent members look for and expect Thrivent to provide benefits according to the policy,” Thrivent quoted in article. YES INDEED!

Remember the above, these themes will be revisited.



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US Supreme Court decision to uphold mandated arbitration further erodes our rights, Our day in court, “deprivation of consumers’ rights to seek redress for losses”

US Supreme Court decision to uphold mandated arbitration further erodes our rights, Our day in court, “deprivation of consumers’ rights to seek redress for losses”

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”…Karl Marx

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”…Matthew 7:15

“Our right to our day in court has been severely eroded.”…Citizen Wells


People around me and online may try to put me in a nice neat box such as Republican.

I do not fit.

What I am is an American who adheres to the US Constitution and rule of law.

I am not against arbitration on principle. Mutually agreed to.

I am against forced, mandated arbitration which strips away one of our basic rights.

Our day in court.

From the New York Times.

“Supreme Court Upholds Workplace Arbitration Contracts Barring Class Actions

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that companies can use arbitration clauses in employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues.

The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority. The court’s decision could affect some 25 million employment contracts.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said the court’s conclusion was dictated by a federal law favoring arbitration and the court’s precedents. If workers were allowed to band together to press their claims, he wrote, “the virtues Congress originally saw in arbitration, its speed and simplicity and inexpensiveness, would be shorn away and arbitration would wind up looking like the litigation it was meant to displace.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, a sign of profound disagreement. In her written dissent, she called the majority opinion “egregiously wrong.” In her oral statement, she said the upshot of the decision “will be huge under-enforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well being of vulnerable workers.”

Justice Ginsburg called on Congress to address the matter.

Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Vanderbilt University who studies arbitrations and class actions, said the ruling was unsurprising in light of earlier Supreme Court decisions. Justice Gorsuch, he added, “appears to have put his cards on the table as firmly in favor of allowing class actions to be stamped out through arbitration agreements.”

As a result, Professor Fitzpatrick said “it is only a matter of time until the most powerful device to hold corporations accountable for their misdeeds is lost altogether.””

“Under those contracts, Justice Ginsburg wrote, it is often not worth it and potentially dangerous to pursue small claims individually. “By joining hands in litigation, workers can spread the costs of litigation and reduce the risk of employer retaliation,” she wrote.

The contracts may also encourage misconduct, Justice Ginsburg wrote.

“Employers, aware that employees will be disinclined to pursue small-value claims when confined to proceeding one-by-one, will no doubt perceive that the cost-benefit balance of underpaying workers tips heavily in favor of skirting legal obligations,” she wrote, adding that billions of dollars in underpaid wages are at issue.

Justice Ginsburg added that requiring individual arbitrations can produce inconsistent results in similar cases, particularly because arbitrations are often confidential.”

“In a 2015 dissent, Justice Ginsburg, citing a New York Times article examining arbitration agreements, wrote that the 2011 decision and later ones “have predictably resulted in the deprivation of consumers’ rights to seek redress for losses, and, turning the coin, they have insulated powerful economic interests from liability for violations of consumer protection laws.””

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Having experienced the abuse of mandated arbitration first hand, I agree with Justice Ginsburg.

It may be the only time it happens, but injustice is injustice.


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James A. Lyons Jr. retired US Navy admiral Seth Rich article scrubbed?, Washington Times sued by Aaron Rich, False theories about unsolved murder?, First amendment rights?, Many questions unanswered

James A. Lyons Jr. retired US Navy admiral Seth Rich article scrubbed?, Washington Times sued by Aaron Rich, False theories about unsolved murder?, First amendment rights?, Many questions unanswered

“I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.”…Kim Dotcom

“Burkman said in an interview that he considered Selig like a brother and was badly shaken by his friend’s death.”
“The tragically ironic part is Glenn’s last words to me were, ‘Be careful,’” Burkman said. “It’s just a tragedy — terrible.””…Politico Jan. 24, 2018

“As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of the Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in it’s stead. This process of continuation alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound tracks, cartoons, photographs–to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to be correct; nor was any item of news, or expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to be on record.”…George Orwell, “1984″


Yesterday was George Orwell’s (Eric Blair) birthday.

Winston’s job in “1984” was to rectify articles, scrub and rewrite.

So it apparently is with a Washington Times article written by James A. Lyons Jr., retired US Navy admiral, on March 1, 2018. about the Seth Rich murder. Pressure from the lawsuit?

The article has been oft quoted.

The link to the Washington Times article did not work nor did a search on their site.

I found the article on the Wayback Machine.

I assure you, in this case and all others, I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The Washington Times article is listed under commentary and is tagged as Analysis/Opinion. Perhaps there should have been more ? marks and “alleged” notations.

“More cover-up questions

The curious murder of Seth Rich poses questions that just won’t stay under the official rug”


“With the clearly unethical and most likely criminal behavior of the upper management levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) exposed by Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Intelligence Committee, there are two complementary areas that have been conveniently swept under the rug.

The first deals with the murder of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich, and the second deals with the alleged hacking of the DNC server by Russia. Both should be of prime interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, but do not hold your breath.

The facts that we know of in the murder of the DNC staffer, Seth Rich, was that he was gunned down blocks from his home on July 10, 2016. Washington Metro police detectives claim that Mr. Rich was a robbery victim, which is strange since after being shot twice in the back, he was still wearing a $2,000 gold necklace and watch. He still had his wallet, key and phone. Clearly, he was not a victim of robbery.

This has all the earmarks of a targeted hit job. However, strangely no one has been charged with this horrific crime, and what is more intriguing is that no law enforcement agency is even investigating this murder. According to other open sources, Metro police were told by their “higher ups” that if they spoke about the case, they will be immediately terminated. It has been claimed that this order came down from very high up the “food chain,” well beyond the D.C. mayor’s office. Interesting.”

“With regard to the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC server, Mr. Assange also offered information to the Trump administration to prove Russia didn’t hack the DNC server, as the DNC claimed. Mr. Assange also met with Orange Country Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, and gave him information to present to the Trump administration to prove no one hacked the DNC server.

However, with the Obama holdovers in key positions, it is not surprising that no one from the Trump administration would meet with the congressman or Mr. Assange. New Zealand tech expert Kim DotCom said he has proof that both he and Seth Rich were involved in passing the emails to Wikileaks, but he has been ignored as well.

The FBI opened an investigation into the theft of the DNC emails in July 2016. However, the FBI has not inspected the DNC server because the DNC won’t give permission. Is the FBI an extension of the DNC? That’s why we have subpoenas. Instead, the FBI relied on an assessment by a cyber security firm, Crowd Strike, hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC’s law firm Perkins Coie as proof that Russia was the hacker. Incompetence is an understatement. Corruption at the highest levels of the DOJ/FBI is clear.

The Trump administration must take charge and get a competent attorney general to pursue these crimes.

• James A. Lyons, Jr., a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.”

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“Seth Rich’s brother sues conservative media figures for defamation”

“Aaron Rich, the brother of a Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in 2016, is suing conservative media figures and The Washington Times for defamation, alleging in a lawsuit filed Monday that they spread false theories about the unsolved murder of Seth Rich.”

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Forced arbitration the hidden enemy that has eroded our basic right for our day in court, Mandated dispute resolution impact, NY Times: Stacking the deck of justice

Forced arbitration the hidden enemy that has eroded our basic right for our day in court, Mandated dispute resolution impact, NY Times: Stacking the deck of justice

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”…Karl Marx

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”…Matthew 7:15

“Our right to our day in court has been severely eroded.”…Citizen Wells


Citizen Wells was begun early in 2008 to write about injustice.

Because of an injustice that has been done to me, I have done extensive research on mandatory dispute resolution which increasingly is being forced upon us. It typically involves a process of appeal, mediation and binding arbitration.

The US Supreme court has further strengthened the hold it has on us in employee and employer disputes in a recent decision.

We have all been concerned about our Bill of Rights, especially First and Second Amendment rights.

But our day in court is also important and it has been eroded little by little in most of the contracts that affect our daily life from consumer phone contracts and employment contracts to insurance contracts.

We can no longer assume that if a contract we have with a company is breached that we can just take them to court. And the companies (wolves in sheep’s clothing) control much of the process.

From the NY Times October 31, 2015.

“Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice”

“On Page 5 of a credit card contract used by American Express, beneath an explainer on interest rates and late fees, past the details about annual membership, is a clause that most customers probably miss. If cardholders have a problem with their account, American Express explains, the company “may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.”

Those nine words are at the center of a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.

Among the class actions thrown out because of the clauses was one brought by Time Warner customers over charges they said mysteriously appeared on their bills and another against a travel booking website accused of conspiring to fix hotel prices. A top executive at Goldman Sachs who sued on behalf of bankers claiming sex discrimination was also blocked, as were African-American employees at Taco Bell restaurants who said they were denied promotions, forced to work the worst shifts and subjected to degrading comments.

Some state judges have called the class-action bans a “get out of jail free” card, because it is nearly impossible for one individual to take on a corporation with vast resources.”

“By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to practices like predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination, court records show.

“This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge in Boston who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.”

“More than a decade in the making, the move to block class actions was engineered by a Wall Street-led coalition of credit card companies and retailers, according to interviews with coalition members and court records. Strategizing from law offices on Park Avenue and in Washington, members of the group came up with a plan to insulate themselves from the costly lawsuits. Their work culminated in two Supreme Court rulings, in 2011 and 2013, that enshrined the use of class-action bans in contracts. The decisions drew little attention outside legal circles, even though they upended decades of jurisprudence put in place to protect consumers and employees.”

“Corporations said that class actions were not needed because arbitration enabled individuals to resolve their grievances easily. But court and arbitration records show the opposite has happened: Once blocked from going to court as a group, most people dropped their claims entirely.”

“Law enforcement officials, though, say they have lost an essential tool for uncovering patterns of corporate abuse. In a letter last year to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, attorneys general in 16 states warned that “unlawful business practices” could flourish with the proliferation of class-action bans.”

“The consequences of arbitration clauses can be seen far beyond the financial sector. Even lawsuits that would not have been brought by a class have been forced out of the courts, according to the Times investigation. Taking Wall Street’s lead, businesses — including obstetrics practices, private schools and funeral homes — have employed arbitration clauses to shield themselves from liability, interviews and arbitration and court records show.

Thousands of cases brought by single plaintiffs over fraud, wrongful death and rape are now being decided behind closed doors. And the rules of arbitration largely favor companies, which can even steer cases to friendly arbitrators, interviews and records show.”

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Booker T. Washington birthday April 5, 1856 in Hale’s Ford Virginia, Born into slavery, Sought knowledge worked tirelessly to become educated and to educate others, Noble man inspiration to humanity, Up from Slavery

Booker T. Washington birthday April 5, 1856 in Hale’s Ford Virginia, Born into slavery, Sought knowledge worked tirelessly to become educated and to educate others, Noble man inspiration to humanity, Up from Slavery

“I tried to emphasize the fact that while the Negro should not be deprived by unfair means of the franchise, political agitation alone would not save him, and that back of the ballot he must have property, industry, skill, economy, intelligence, and character, and that no race without these elements could permanently succeed.”… Booker T. Washington address, Atlanta Cotton states and International Exposition, Atlanta, Ga., September 18, 1895

” I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery – on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive – but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us.”…Booker T. Washington , “Up from Slavery”


I remember reading about Booker T. Washington when I was young.

I remember that I was impressed then.

I decided to revisit his life on his birthday today, April 5, 2018.

I am even more impressed with what I have read about him.

He is an inspiration to all humanity.


“Early Life

Born to a slave on April 5, 1856, Booker Taliaferro Washington’s life had little promise early on. In Franklin County, Virginia, as in most states prior to the Civil War, the child of a slave became a slave. Booker’s mother, Jane, worked as a cook for plantation owner James Burroughs. His father was an unknown white man, most likely from a nearby plantation. Booker and his mother lived in a one-room log cabin with a large fireplace, which also served as the plantation’s kitchen.

At an early age, Booker went to work carrying sacks of grain to the plantation’s mill. Toting 100-pound sacks was hard work for a small boy, and he was beaten on occasion for not performing his duties satisfactorily. Booker’s first exposure to education was from the outside of a school house near the plantation; looking inside, he saw children his age sitting at desks and reading books. He wanted to do what those children were doing, but he was a slave, and it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write.

After the Civil War, Booker and his mother moved to Malden, West Virginia, where she married freedman Washington Ferguson. The family was very poor, and nine-year-old Booker went to work in the nearby salt furnaces with his stepfather instead of going to school. Booker’s mother noticed his interest in learning and got him a book from which he learned the alphabet and how to read and write basic words. Because he was still working, he got up nearly every morning at 4 a.m. to practice and study. At about this time, Booker took the first name of his stepfather as his last name, Washington.

In 1866, Booker T. Washington got a job as a houseboy for Viola Ruffner, the wife of coal mine owner Lewis Ruffner. Mrs. Ruffner was known for being very strict with her servants, especially boys. But she saw something in Booker—his maturity, intelligence and integrity—and soon warmed up to him. Over the two years he worked for her, she understood his desire for an education and allowed him to go to school for an hour a day during the winter months.”


In 1872, Booker T. Washington left home and walked 500 miles to Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia. Along the way he took odd jobs to support himself. He convinced administrators to let him attend the school and took a job as a janitor to help pay his tuition. The school’s founder and headmaster, General Samuel C. Armstrong, soon discovered the hardworking boy and offered him a scholarship, sponsored by a white man. Armstrong had been a commander of a Union African-American regiment during the Civil War and was a strong supporter of providing newly freed slaves with a practical education. Armstrong became Washington’s mentor, strengthening his values of hard work and strong moral character.

Booker T. Washington graduated from Hampton in 1875 with high marks. For a time, he taught at his old grade school in Malden, Virginia, and attended Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C. In 1879, he was chosen to speak at Hampton’s graduation ceremonies, where afterward General Armstrong offered Washington a job teaching at Hampton. In 1881, the Alabama legislature approved $2,000 for a “colored” school, the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now known as Tuskegee University). General Armstrong was asked to recommend a white man to run the school, but instead recommended Booker T. Washington. Classes were first held in an old church, while Washington traveled all over the countryside promoting the school and raising money. He reassured whites that nothing in the Tuskegee program would threaten white supremacy or pose any economic competition to whites.”

“Tuskegee Institute

Under Booker T. Washington’s leadership, Tuskegee became a leading school in the country. At his death, it had more than 100 well-equipped buildings, 1,500 students, a 200-member faculty teaching 38 trades and professions, and a nearly $2 million endowment. Washington put much of himself into the school’s curriculum, stressing the virtues of patience, enterprise, and thrift. He taught that economic success for African Americans would take time, and that subordination to whites was a necessary evil until African Americans could prove they were worthy of full economic and political rights. He believed that if African Americans worked hard and obtained financial independence and cultural advancement, they would eventually win acceptance and respect from the white community.”

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