Saturday, December 29, 2007

the seed catalogs have arrived!!

yessirreee, it's that time again. Time to daydream about all the wonderful things I'd like to grow in my garden come Spring. Time to make plans, figure out what I want to do and weigh that against what I can realistically expect to get done. This new year, I think my resolution should be to make plans I can actually stick with. I need to spend more energy taking care of the existing plants, rather than attempting to grow new unfamiliar things. There will be squash and beans, and maybe I should get those right before working on anything else.

Friday, December 21, 2007

hawk ID anyone?

this guy was hunting, in the rain, in our backyard yesterday. Caught some sort of mouse-like creature in the neighbor's yard. He has black and white stripes on his tail and on the ends of his wings. He has a dark mask on his face, and a bright orangey-red chest.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Lakota "Indians" Secede from the Union!!

Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.

They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.

The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence -- an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.

Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row," Means said.

One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples -- despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws.

"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.

The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.

Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies -- less than 44 years -- in the world.

Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website.

"Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," said Young.

"We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson

loved his books in the way back. hadn't thought of him in ages until I came across this article and after reading it, surfed around a bit.

"The worst thing about hospitals," says Wilson, who was rescued when his daughter managed to break into the apartment, "is that all the rights guaranteed in the first 10 amendments are immediately canceled. You have no civil rights whatsoever. And the second thing is, all the ordinary rules no longer apply--you are no longer a person deserving of kindness, you're a disobedient child who has to be reprimanded and herded around. My God, I don't know why people put up with such treatment." Wilson, we can presume, doesn't particularly like being told what to do.

"Not by people who treat me like an idiot. Not when I'm 73 years old, I have 35 books in print, I supported a wife and four kids for most of my life. I do not appreciate being treated like a disobedient 4-year-old, the way they treat everybody in the hospital."

Of course, you don't have to go to a hospital to be treated like that, but Wilson's on a roll ...

"I was an editor of Playboy, for chrissake," he cries, as though that, if nothing else, should carry some weight in this culture. "I've had plays performed in England, Germany and the United States; my books are in print in a dozen countries. Why the hell do they treat me like a child? I refuse to tolerate it. If they won't treat me with dignity, I won't go anywhere near them, especially with all the goddamned germs they got floating around there. CNN did a report on it -- the number of people who are killed by diseases picked up in hospitals is much greater than the number who are killed by cars.

"I'm never going to a hospital again. Never, never, never, never! I will lie on the floor and die before I go back to a hospital."


Saturday, December 15, 2007


Youngest child has suddenly stopped nursing. Her big sister weaned very very gradually, slowly cutting back a little at a time. Littlest one had never gone an entire 24 hours without nursing, not once. If she doesn't nurse today, it will be three days. Many mixed emotions, I realize some of it (most of it perhaps) is hormonal. Elated at the prospect of bras without flaps. Proud of myself for allowing her to decide when she was ready to wean, because it's important to me that my children listen to what their bodies are telling them. And there's a melancholy feeling I just can't shake. My babies are growing up so fast.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

it's that time of year again

*sigh* No matter how many wonderful things are happening in my life right now, I feel like I'm drowning sometimes. And it looks like we'll have to use plastic to pay for the kids to have a nice Christmas. It goes against everything I believe in, but I don't want to disappoint the children. Our grocery bill has gotten simply outrageous lately! Hamburger, the cheap stuff, is up to $3 a pound. WHAT??! yeah, wasn't that long ago you could find it for less than $1/lb on sale. We gotta eat. And we can't eat just anything, it has to be gluten-free, so there's another added expense.

Think I'll give etsy another try. At least sewing will keep me busy, it's lots of fun for me, and that's one hobby I have plenty of supplies without going out and spending any money we don't have on it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

cultural genocide

The ruling elite use money, religion, public education, and mass media to control our lives, to make us afraid, so that we choose not to make our own decisions but rather do as we are told, and believe what they want us to believe. The homogenization of people into one world government, one world religion is all about denying us the right to define for ourselves who we are, creating an underclass of slaves whose lives exist only to support the agenda of those in power.

eight minutes into the second video, it says "the worst holocaust in human history occurred not in Nazi Germany but on American soil" If you don't watch any of the rest of it, watch that part.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"eco-friendly" gift ideas

How ludicrous the advertising has become!! Do they not expect us to realize that capitalist consumerism is antithetical to helping the planet? So they feed the sheeple "green" products which cost twice as much as the other kind, while still being shipped halfway around the globe, and being packaged in plastics that not only pollute when thrown away, but in the process of manufacture too! How stupid do they think we are?

Monday, December 3, 2007

the word of the day

realize -
–verb (used with object)
to grasp or understand clearly.
to make real; give reality to (a hope, fear, plan, etc.).

what if these two definitions are inseparable???

Sunday, December 2, 2007

diapers and potties and such

it's simply amazing to me, how different my girls are, them having the same parents and same environment and all. Littlest one is no longer wearing diapers during the day. Unlike big sister, though, she's been having accidents sometimes. When my oldest daughter stopped wearing diapers, that was it, no accidents, she was totally ready. Little one is doing things her own unique way, and Mommy is cleaning up the mess. But at least I'm not washing those dirty diapers every day and maybe, just maybe, I will soon eliminate that mountain of laundry that never seems to go away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel


Before saying a word, I’d like to express some severe personal discomfort, because anything I say will be abstract and dry and restrained. The crimes against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and elsewhere, particularly Lebanon, are so shocking that the only emotionally valid reaction is rage and a call for extreme actions. But that does not help the victims. And, in fact, it’s likely to harm them. We have to face the reality that our actions have consequences, and they have to be adapted to real-world circumstances, difficult as it may be to stay calm in the face of shameful crimes in which we are directly and crucially implicated.

Well, I’ve been asked to talk about the apartheid paradigm and the proper response here, so I’ll do that, though not without some additional reservations. We have to recognize that there will be no clear answer as to the question of whether the apartheid paradigm applies in Israel or in Boston, right here, or elsewhere. The genre has, after all, only one example: South Africa. And there are similarities elsewhere in many dimensions, and it’s fair enough to bring them up, but there's very little point debating whether they are close enough in one or another case to count as apartheid, because that will never be settled, we know that in advance.

I’ve brought up similarities in the past, when I thought that they were appropriate. Actually, the one time I recall clearly was exactly ten years ago. That was at a conference at Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva. It was on the anniversary of the thirtieth year of the military occupation. And in the talk there, I quoted from a standard history of South Africa on elections in the Bantustans, which I’ll read; and just change a few words, and you'll know what it’s about.

“South African retention of effective power, through its officials in the Bantustans, its overwhelming economic influence and security arrangements, gave to this initiative of elections elements of a farce. However, unlikely candidates as were the Bantustans for any meaningful independent existence, their expanding bureaucracies provided jobs for new strata of educated Africans tied to the system in a new way and a basis for accumulation for a small number of Africans with access to loans and political influence. Repression, too, could be indigenized through developing homeland policy and army personnel. On the fringe of the Bantustans, border industry growth centers were planned as a means of freeing capital from some of the restraints imposed on industrial expansion elsewhere and to take advantage of virtually captive and particularly cheap labor. Within the homelands, economic development was more a matter of advertising brochures than actual practical activity, though some officials in South Africa understood the needs from their own perspective for some kind of revitalization of the homelands to prevent their economies from collapsing even further.”

Well, I won’t waste time expressing the similarities to the Occupied Territories, but you can do that quite easily. Ten years ago, that was the optimistic prospect for the Occupied Territories. By now, even that’s remote, and reality is far more grim than it was then. There’s no time and, I presume, no need to review the harrowing details.

We’re now approaching George Bush's historic Annapolis conference, as it’s called, on Israel-Palestine, so we can anticipate a flood of deceit and distortions to set the proper framework. And we should be prepared to counter the propaganda assault, which has already begun. Just to pick a couple of examples, Bostonians could read in the Boston Globe a few days ago that at the Taba Conference in January 2001 -- now quoting -- “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak accepted ideas floated by President Bill Clinton that would have produced a Palestinian state in 97 percent of the West Bank and 100 percent of Gaza,” but these forthcoming gestures failed. The evil Palestinians refused Israel's generous offers, keeping to their time-honored insistence on seizing defeat from the jaws of victory and proving they’re not partners for negotiation.

Well, there’s one fragment of truth in this conventional fabrication: there was a conference in Taba. And, in fact, it did come close to a possible settlement, but the rest is pure invention. In particular, the conference was terminated abruptly by Prime Minister Barak. The truth is completely unacceptable, so the facts are either suppressed, as they generally are, or, as in this case, just inverted. And we can expect a good deal more of that. Actually, the truth about the Taba Conference merits attention. That week, in one week in January 2001, that was the one moment in thirty years when the United States and Israel abandoned the rejectionist stance that they have maintained in virtual isolation until the present.

And that may suggest some thoughts about another familiar fairytale that you could read about a couple of days earlier in the New York Times, where the respected policy analyst and former high government official, Leslie Gelb, wrote that every US administration since 1967 has privately favored returning almost all of the territory to the Palestinians for the purposes of creating a separate Palestinian state. Note the word "privately." Crucial. We know what the administrations have said publicly. Publicly they have rejected adamantly anything remotely of the sort ever since 1967 -- ’76, when the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for a two-state settlement on the international border, incorporating all the relevant wording of UN 242 -- it’s the basic diplomatic document to which Washington appeals when it’s convenient. The US veto -- it’s worth bearing in mind -- is a double veto. One part of the veto is that the actions are barred, of course. And it’s also vetoed from history, as in this case, so you’ll work really hard to find it, even in the scholarly literature.

Sometimes the public rejection of a separate Palestinian state is more articulate and considerably more extreme, so it takes a George Bush no. 1, who is reputed to be the most hostile to Israel of US presidents. In 1988, as you know, the Palestinian National Council formally accepted a two-state settlement, and the Israeli government responded. This was the coalition government of Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir. They responded by issuing a formal declaration that there can be no additional Palestinian state between Jordan and Palestine -- “additional” because for Shimon Peres and his Labor coalition, Jordan already was a Palestinian state. It’s a view that’s attributed to the right wing, but that’s mistaken. This is Shimon Peres. The United States reacted to that with what was called the Baker Plan -- James Baker, Secretary of State. The Bush Baker Plan endorsed Israel's position without qualification and went on to add that any Palestinian negotiators would have to accept that framework, namely no second Palestinian state in addition to Jordan. That’s Bush no. 1, the alleged critic of Israel, and the respected diplomat James Baker. Again, the truth is inconvenient, so virtually none of this was reported, and you’ll have to work -- search hard to extricate it from the web of self-serving propaganda that dominates commentary and reporting, of which Leslie Gelb's article in the New York Times is a typical, but not unusual, example.

Well, I’m not going to go on with that, but the diplomatic record is one of uniform rejectionism, apart from the week in Taba, and unilateral rejectionism, increasingly so. By now, virtually the entire world agrees on the two-state international consensus of the past thirty years, pretty much along the lines that were almost agreed upon at Taba. That includes all the Arab States, who actually go beyond to call for full normalization of relations with Israel. It includes Iran, although you won’t find that published here, which accepts the Arab League position. It includes Hamas; its leaders have repeatedly endorsed, called for a two-state settlement, even in articles in the US press. That also includes Hamas's most militant figure, Khaled Meshaal, who’s in exile in Syria. And it includes the rest of the world. Israel rejects it, and the United States backs that rejection fully, not in words just, but in actions.

Bush no. 2 has gone to new extremes in rejectionism. He’s declared the illegal West Bank settlements must remain part of Israel. That’s in accord with the Clinton position, expressed by his negotiator Dennis Ross, who explained that what he called “Israel's needs” take precedence over Palestinian wants. That’s Clinton. But the party line remains undisturbed. Facts don’t matter. Bush, Rice and the rest are yearning to realize Bush's vision of a Palestinian state -- somewhere, someplace -- persisting in the noble endeavor of the longtime honest broker.
Well, what’s happened in the past is -- of course, rejectionism goes far beyond words. It includes settlement programs, the annexation wall, closures, checkpoints, and so on. Settlements increased steadily right through the Oslo years, peaking actually in Clinton's last year, the year 2000, right before the Camp David Accords. And the story is now being repeated before our eyes -- shouldn’t surprise us.

So to take just one example, with the Annapolis conference approaching, Israel has just confiscated more Arab land to build a bypass road from Palestinians -- I’m quoting now -- “in order to push the Palestinian traffic between Bethlehem and Ramallah deep into the desert and effectively bar Palestinians from the central part of the West Bank." That’s part of the so-called E1 project, which is designed to incorporate the town of Ma’ale Adumim within Israel and effectively to bisect the West Bank. “With such policies” -- continuing to quote -- "With such policies enacted by the government, the famous Annapolis conference is emptied of all meaning long before it convenes." This is quotes from the Israeli peace organization Gush Shalom. All of this is backed by the honest brokers in Washington and paid for by US taxpayers, who, incidentally, overwhelmingly join the international consensus, in opposition to their own government. But that’s not what we’re going to hear.

Well, in fairness, it should be added that there is occasional public criticism of the settlement programs. So in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, there was a favorable review of a very important study, which has just been translated into English, Lords of the Land by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar, which bitterly condemns the US-backed Israeli programs in the West Bank and the takeover of Israeli political life by their advocates. It’s a strong and important book.

The review, however, goes on with conventional fairytales. Among them, it tells us that within the Green Line in Israel itself, Israel is what it calls a “vibrant democracy” in which non-Jews have equal rights and, unlike the West Bank, there are no Arab villages made inaccessible, because their roads have been dug up by army bulldozers. Well, again, there’s a fragment of truth in the description. So take, for example, the village Dar al-Hanoun in the so-called Triangle, Wadi Ara, it’s older than the state of Israel, but it’s one of the innumerable unrecognized villages in Israel. So it’s true that there’s no road dug up by bulldozers, and the reason is that there’s no road. No road is permitted by the state authorities, and no construction is permitted. No services are provided. That’s not an unusual situation for Palestinian citizens, who are also effectively barred from over 90% of the land by a complex and intricate web of laws and administrative arrangements. Technically, that was overruled by the high court seven years ago, but, as far as I can determine, only technically. And we may recall that in the United States it took over a century for even formal implementation of the Fourteenth Amendment, guaranteeing equal rights to all persons, and actual implementation of it is still remote a century-and-a-half later.
Well, let’s turn briefly to the important question, the most important question: what can we do about it? Here, it’s useful to think about the apartheid analogy, and it’s useful to remember a little history.

In 1963, the UN Security Council declared a voluntary arms embargo on South Africa. That was extended to a mandatory embargo in 1977. And that was followed by economic sanctions and other measures -- sometimes officials, countries, cities, towns -- some organized by popular movements. Now, not all countries participated. In the United States, the US Congress did impose sanctions over Reagan's veto, but US trade with South Africa then increased by various evasions, along with concealed support for South African terrorist atrocities in Mozambique and Angola, which took a horrendous toll. It’s about 1.5 million killed and over $60 billion in damage during the Reagan years, the Reagan years of constructive engagement, according to UN analysis. In 1988, the Reagan administration declared Mandela's African National Congress to be one of the world's most notorious terrorist groups -- that’s 1988 -- while it described RENAMO in Mozambique merely as an indigenous insurgent group. That was after it had just killed about 100,000 people, according to the State Department, with, of course, US-backed African support. Thatcher's record was similar or maybe worse. But most of this was in secret. There was just too much popular opposition.

And the popular opposition made a difference. There was a very significant anti-apartheid movement decades after the global decision of the Security Council to bring apartheid to an end. In 1965, boycotts and other measures would not have been effective. Twenty years later, they were effective, but that was after the groundwork had been laid by activist, educational and organizing efforts, including within the powerful states, which is what matters in an ugly world.

Well, in the case of Israel-Palestine, the groundwork has not been laid. The quotes that I just gave are perfectly representative examples; you can fill them out in books, yeah. The kind of popular measures that were effective against apartheid by the late 1980s are not only ineffective in the case of Israel-Palestine today, but in fact sometimes backfire in harming the victims. We’ve seen that over and over. It’s going to continue until the organizing and educational efforts make real progress. It’s not just the United States; the European Union is hardly different. So, for example, the European Union does not bar arms deliveries to Israel. It joined the United States in vicious punishment of Palestinians, because they committed the grave crime of voting the wrong way in a free election. And there was very little internal protest in Europe. Populations support the international consensus, but they don’t react when their governments undermine any hope for its realization.

Well, in the coming weeks and the longer term, there's plenty of educational and organizational activity that will have to be carried out among an American population that happens to be largely receptive, though deluged with propaganda and deceit. And it’s not going to be easy. It’s never been easy. But much harder tasks have been accomplished with dedicated and persistent effort.

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, speaking recently in Boston at a conference called “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel,” sponsored by the Palestinian Christian organization Sabeel.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Open Season on America's Last Wild Bison

Montana's Buffalo Hunt Opens Without Any Buffalo in Montana
For Immediate Release, November 15, 2007
Contact: Buffalo Field Campaign, Stephany Seay 406-646-0070

WEST YELLOWSTONE & GARDINER, MONTANA - Today marks the opening day for Montana's bison hunt, authorized by the Montana Department of Livestock. Montana has issued 44 tags to kill members of America's last wild bison population that migrate out of Yellowstone National Park into Montana. It is expected that the Nez Perce as well as Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes will conduct separate buffalo hunts under treaty right. The state's hunt will continue through February 15, 2008.

There are currently no wild bison in Montana.

Glenn Hockett, President of the Gallatin Wildlife Association, a hunting organization that opposes the current bison hunt and is working to help restore wild bison in Montana had this to say, "Recent reports from Yellowstone National Park indicate there are no bison in the state of Montana for hunters to hunt. I think this points out the flawed nature of this shoot 'em at the border Department of Livestock led "hunt" with no year round habitat."

Wild American bison, while native to vast expanses of North America, are granted no year-round habitat in Montana. There is never a time that wild bison are allowed to be in the state without being subjected to harassment, capture, slaughter, quarantine, or shooting. Wild bison are ecologically extinct everywhere outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Montana's bison hunt is not authorized by the state's wildlife agency Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, but by the Montana Department of Livestock, an agency that promotes cattle interests.

"I don't think most people understand that only the Department of Livestock can authorize the hunting of wild bison in Montana, and their goal is no bison left standing in Montana," said Glenn Hockett.

"Allowing the Department of Livestock to have authority over the management of wild bison or any wildlife species is a clear conflict of interest," said Buffalo Field Campaign spokeswoman Stephany Seay. "They have no interest whatsoever in wild bison or their habitat, and you may as well put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house."

Fewer than 4,700 continuously wild American bison exist in the United States; all reside in Yellowstone National Park. A joint state-federal agreement signed in 2000, the Interagency Bison Management Plan prohibits wild bison from migrating to lands outside of the Park and maintains a zero population of wild bison in Montana in an effort to benefit cattle interests who claim they fear the spread of the livestock disease brucellosis from wild bison to cattle. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting brucellosis to cattle.

Buffalo Field Campaign strongly opposes Montana's bison hunt as well as the Interagency Bison Management Plan. BFC maintains that wild bison should be allowed to naturally and fully restore themselves throughout their native range, especially on public lands, and must be managed as a valued native wildlife species by wildlife professionals, not cattle interests.

"Our position on the hunt is clear," said Buffalo Field Campaign's cofounder and subsistence hunter Mike Mease, "No habitat, No hunt."

2,018 wild American bison have been killed or otherwise removed from the remaining wild population in Yellowstone since 2000 under actions carried out by the Interagency Bison Management Plan, as well as state and treaty right hunts.

Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, every day, to stop the slaughter of the wild Yellowstone buffalo. Volunteers defend the buffalo and their native habitat and advocate for their lasting protection. Buffalo Field Campaign has proposed real alternatives to the current mismanagement of Yellowstone bison that can be viewed at

For more information, video clips and photos visit:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


ya know, we do actually have some rules in our house. Not exactly the same rules other people have in their homes, but rules nonetheless. One of these rules I been thinkin about lots lately. It's the one says that if you aren't having fun, find something else to do. We all agreed that was a pretty good rule to have. It works, too. Just sometimes we all need the reminder, probably me more than anyone else.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Flimix, my children tell me, is a talking spider who lives in our trash can (much like Oscar the Grouch). He has a pet dung beetle that eats the stinky stuff. I decided to move Flimix and his dung beetle outside to the larger trash can. When we saw this spider web on the eave of our house, with rainbows in it (the photo really doesn't do it justice) the girls said that maybe Flimix was responsible..

Monday, November 12, 2007

on this date in history

November 12, 1969
Seymour Hersh, an independent investigative journalist, in a cable filed through Dispatch News Service and picked up by more than 30 newspapers, revealed the extent of the U.S. Army's charges against 1st Lt. William L. Calley at My Lai, a Vietnamese village.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh spills the secrets of the Iraq quagmire and the war on terror
By Bonnie Azab Powell, NewsCenter

BERKELEY – The Iraq war is not winnable, a secret U.S. military unit has been "disappearing" people since December 2001, and America has no idea how irreparably its torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has damaged its image in the Middle East. These were just a few of the grim pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael Krasny before a Berkeley audience on Friday night (Oct. 8).

The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied by how it all happened. "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?"

From My Lai to Abu Ghraib

That fragility clearly unnerves him. Hersh summarizes his mission as "to hold the people in public office to the highest possible standard of decency and of honesty…to tolerate anything less, even in the name of national security, is wrong." He tries his best. More than any other U.S. journalist alive today, he embodies the statement that "a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government," a belief defined by the conservationist Edward Abbey.

His country has not always thanked him for it — neocon Pentagon adviser Richard Perle has called Hersh "the closest thing we have to a terrorist," while his 1998 book on John F. Kennedy's administration, "The Dark Side of Camelot," cost him many friends on the left. But Hersh's reputation remains more bulletproof than most. The author of eight books, he first received worldwide recognition (and the Pulitzer) in 1969 for exposing the My Lai massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War. 1982's "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House," painted Henry Kissinger as a war criminal and won Hersh the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography.

Most recently, as a staff writer for the New Yorker, Hersh has relentlessly ferreted out the behind-the-scenes deals, trickery, and blunders associated with the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Back in May 2003, he was the first American reporter to state unequivocally that we would not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (A mea culpa from a Slate journalist who doubted Hersh on WMDs also inadvertently confirms his prescient track record.) And in April of this year, he broke the story of how U.S. soldiers had digitally documented their torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqis at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The several articles he wrote for the New Yorker about Abu Ghraib have been updated and edited into his latest book, "Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib."

"Bush scares the hell out of me"

Hersh came to Berkeley at the invitation of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and the California First Amendment Coalition. His appearance in the packed ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union was the fitting end to a week of high-profile events in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement.

The Hersh event began only minutes after the second debate between President George W. Bush and John Kerry concluded. Krasny naturally asked Hersh — who had watched the debate at North Gate Hall stone-faced in the middle of a rowdy crowd — what he thought of the match.

"It doesn't matter that Bush scares the hell out of me," Hersh answered. "What matters is that he scares the hell out of a lot of very important people in Washington who can't speak out, in the military, in the intelligence community. They know in ways that none of us know, the incredible gap between what is and what [Bush] thinks."

With that, he was off and running. One could safely say that for the next hour, Hersh proceeded to scare the hell out of most of the audience by detailing the gaps between what they knew and what he hears is actually going on in Iraq.

While his writing is dense but digestible, in person Hersh speaks with the rambling urgency of a street-corner doomsayer, leaping from point to point and anecdote to anecdote and frequently failing to finish his clauses, let alone his sentences. His train of thought can be difficult to catch a ride on. This evening, it was a challenge for Krasny to slow him down long enough to get a word or question in edgewise. For example, here's a slice of raw Hersh on the current situation in Iraq:

I've been doing an alternate history of the war, from inside, because people, right after 9/11, because people inside — and there are a lot of good people inside — are scared, as scared as anybody watching this tonight I think should be, because [Bush], if he's re-elected, has only one thing to do, he's going to bomb the hell out of that place. He's been bombing the hell of that place — and here's what really irritates me again, about the press — since he set up this Potemkin Village government with Allawi on June 28 — the bombing, the daily bombing rates inside Iraq, have gone up exponentially. There's no public accounting of how many missions are flown, how much ordnance is dropped, we have no accounting and no demand to know. The only sense you get is we're basically in a full-scale air war against invisible people that we can't find, that we have no intelligence about, so we bomb what we can see.
And yet — despite the more than 1,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers and the horrific number of Iraqi casualties — Bush continues to believe we are doing the right thing, according to Hersh. "He thinks he's wearing the white hat," he said, adding that is what makes this administration different from previous ones whose hypocrisy Hersh has exposed. Bush and the neocons "are not hypocrites."

Enter the utopians

"I think it's real simple to say [Bush] is a liar. But that would also suggest there was a reality that he understood," explained Hersh. "I'm serious. It is funny in sort of a sick, black humor sort of way, but the real serious problem is, he believes what he's doing." In effect, Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and the other neocons are "idealists, you can call them utopians." As Hersh understands them, they really believe that the solution to global terrorism began with invading Baghdad and will end only with the transformation of the last unfriendly government in the Middle East into a democracy.

"No amount of body bags is going to dissuade [Bush]," said Hersh, despite the fact that Hersh's sources say the war in Iraq is "not winnable. It's over." As for Kerry's war plans, Hersh said he wished he could tell him to stop talking as if the senator's plan for Iraq could somehow still eke out a victory there. "This is a disaster that's been going on. It's a civil war, the insurgency. There is no 'win' anymore in this war," he argued. "As somebody said, 'We're playing chess, they're playing Go.'"

Later, Hersh shared something he had yet to write about. Sources were suggesting that the many acts of domestic terrorism in Iraq that U.S. officials have been attributing to suspected Al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are in fact a smokescreen set up by the insurgents. "They decided to wage war against their own population," he said. "It's a huge step, with enormous consequences.…The insurgency has simply deflected what they're doing onto this man. And we fell for it."

What is worse, he said impatiently, was that because U.S. forces had "privatized" so many of Iraq's institutions, it had decimated the job market in the country."This is why Bush can talk about 100,000 people wanting to go work in the police or in the army. It's because there's nothing else for them to do. They're willing to stand in line to get bombed because they want to take care of their family," he said.

Hersh has been accused many times of sympathizing with "the enemy," and told that his publicizing of incidents like the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib torture only fan the flames of anti-American sentiment around the world. He related that he's been asked if he feels guilty about the beheadings of two Americans who were wearing uniforms like those worn at Abu Ghraib. "As if the Iraqis needed me to tell them what's going on in that prison!" he responded. He also repeated a question often posed to him: "Was it immoral to go in … [T]he idea that Saddam was a torturer and a killer, doesn't that lend a patina of morality to going after him?" The answer to that one, he said unsmilingly, "is of course, Saddam tortured and killed his people. And now we're doing it."

In addition to adding more details to the woeful chronology of the Abu Ghraib scandal, in which the military stopped the abuse only after Hersh's story brought it crashing down onto front pages around the world — four months after it was first reported to the Department of Defense — Hersh speculated on why those dehumanizing techniques had been used. He was sure that they were not, as some have claimed, the "stress outlet" or other spontaneous recreational ideas of young soldiers from West Virginia. Instead, he said, they were the outgrowth of a massive manhunt for information, any information, about first Al Qaida, the Taliban, and then the Iraqi insurgency:

My government has a secret unit that since December of 2001 has been disappearing people just like the Brazilians and the Argentineans did. Rumsfeld decided after 9/11 that he could not wait. The president signed a secret document…There's a team of people, they fly in unmarked planes, they fly in Gulfstreams, they have their own choppers, they don't carry American passports, and they just grab people. And maybe in the beginning I can understand there was some rationale. Right after 9/11 we were frightened, we didn't know what to do …
The original idea behind the sexually humiliating photos taken at Abu Ghraib, Hersh said he had heard, was to use them as blackmail so that the newly released prisoners — many of whom were ordinary Iraqi thieves or even civilian bystanders rounded up in dragnets — would act as informants. "We operate on guilt, [Muslims] operate on shame," Hersh explained. "The idea of photographing an Arab man naked and having him simulate homosexual activity, and having an American GI woman in the photographs, is the end of society in their eyes."

And the fact that Americans had perpetrated such acts — and refused to take responsibility for it — ended America's role as any kind of moral leader in the eyes of not just the Middle East, but the world, Hersh railed. He talked about an Israeli, a longtime veteran of the troubles between his country and the Palestinians, who had emailed him to say, in essence, "We've been killing them for 40 or 50 years, and they've been killing us for 40 or 50 years, but we know that somewhere down the line we're going to have to live with those SOBs…If we had treated our Arabs the way you treated them in Abu Ghraib, the sexual stuff, the photographs, we couldn't live with them. You guys do not begin to understand what you've done, where you have put yourself in the Arab world."

"They just shot them one by one"

There was more — rumors of atrocities around Iraq that to Hersh brought back memories of My Lai. In the evening's most emotional moment, Hersh talked about a call he had gotten from a first lieutenant in charge of a unit stationed halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. His group was bivouacking outside of town in an agricultural area, and had hired 30 or so Iraqis to guard a local granary. A few weeks passed. They got to know the men they hired, and to like them. Then orders came down from Baghdad that the village would be "cleared." Another platoon from the soldier's company came and executed the Iraqi granary guards. All of them.

"He said they just shot them one by one. And his people, and he, and the villagers of course, went nuts," Hersh said quietly. "He was hysterical, totally hysterical. He went to the company captain, who said, 'No, you don't understand, that's a kill. We got 36 insurgents. Don't you read those stories when the Americans say we had a combat maneuver and 15 insurgents were killed?'

"It's shades of Vietnam again, folks: body counts," Hersh continued. "You know what I told him? I said, 'Fella, you blamed the captain, he knows that you think he committed murder, your troops know that their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Complete your tour. Just shut up! You're going to get a bullet in the back.' And that's where we are in this war."

The story seemed to leave Hersh sincerely, deeply saddened. While his critics may call him a "muckraker" and unpatriotic, on Friday night it was obvious that Hersh takes the crumbling of America's image, very, very personally.

"My parents were immigrants," Hersh said. "They came here because America meant something…the Statue of Liberty and all that stuff, because America always was this bastion of morality and integrity and a place for a fresh start. And it's right in front of us, not hidden, that they've taken this away from us."

Friday, November 9, 2007


as told to me by my Mom, well, kinda. I'm not as good a storyteller as she. Any mistakes in telling this story are mine, not hers.

A long long time ago, three children, a girl and her two brothers, were sent over the mountain to bring their grandmother a gift from their mother. Grandmother was ill and mother knew the right plants to help her heal. So the children took the plants over the mountain to the other side where Grandmother lived. Grandmother got well, and the children undertook the journey back home.

When they returned to their home, they found their village burnt to the ground, and all the people and all the animals slaughtered. The oldest son, who by tradition was responsible for handling the death of his parents was very distraught. He was able to make arrangements for the funeral, this he did not neglect, but his little brother and sister thought he should do something about those responsible for what happened, revenge.

Older brother was lost in his grief and unable to function following the funeral, he would just sit and stare into the fire, rocking back and forth. So Little Brother decided to go back up the mountain and ask Thunderbird to help him enact revenge against the tribe who destroyed their village. When he told Little Sister of his plans, she got it in her head to go with him, and nothing he could say would discourage her. They had nobody left but each other.

So Little Brother and Little Sister fasted and sweated and went back up the mountain to ask Thunderbird for his help. Thunderbird heard their prayers. He came to them in a fog (humans are unable to gaze upon Thunderbird without damaging their mind) and he said to them, "I will grant you some of my thunder to do with as you wish. But with it comes a warning. You are to use your thunder to bring peace to this land, otherwise it will destroy everything you hold dear."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

nine years ago today

Marriage Ceremony for Paul and Stacy

November 7, 1998

Opening Words:

We have come together to witness the union of Paul and Stacy. Marriage is an estate which embodies all the warm and precious values which grow from human companionship and love and should be entered into in all seriousness with the knowledge that love is both humanity's highest achievement and life's most precious gift.

Marriage symbolizes the intimacy between two people, yet this union should not diminish but strengthen the individuality of each partner.

In this spirit you can create a partnership which will strengthen both and give new hope and strength to all who love you.


Let me now ask all of you gathered here today:

Do you who know and care for Stacy and Paul, give them your blessings now as they enter into this new relationship, and do you aspire in the days and years ahead to give them your deppest love, understanding, and support during both good times and bad?

Response: We do.

Introduction to Vows:

Love is a living thing, waiting within each one of us for an awakening touch. In this ceremony, we will celebrate love come to life. May this love grow sure and straight and strong. We rejoice in its presence among us.

Let us all join hands. The hand offered by each of you is an extension of self, just as is your mutual love. Cherish the touch, for you touch not only your own, but another life. Be ever sensitive to its pulse. Seek always to understand and to respect its rhythm. Amen.


Please repeat after me:

In reaffirming the relationship

we have been building together,

I Paul take you Stacy

to be no other than yourself.

Loving what I know of you,

trusting what I don't yet know,

with respect for your integrity

and faith in your abiding love for me,

through all our years,

and in all that life shall bring us,

I choose you as my wife.

In reaffirming the relationship

we have been building together,

I Stacy take you Paul

to be no other than yourself.

Loving what I know of you,

trusting what I don't yet know,

with respect for your integrity

and faith in your abiding love for me,

through all our years,

and in all that life shall bring us,

I choose you as my husband.

Ring Ceremony:

(Caitlin and Webb have the rings)

The circle is the symbol of the sun and the moon and the universe. It is a symbol of holiness and of perfection and of peace. In these rings is the symbol of unity, in which your two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle, in which, wherever you go, you will always return unto one another.

Take this ring, Stacy, and place it on the third finger of Paul's left hand, saying these words: With this ring, I thee wed.

Take this ring, Paul, and place it on the third finger of Stacy's left hand, saying these words: With this ring, I thee wed.


We acknowledge that Paul and Stacy are now joined; we affirm their choice to be together as partners in life.

Let us pray:
Eternal Spirit, in thy name we are met together,
to witness and to bless the union of these two lives.
May they be a blessing and a comfort, each to the other,
sharers of each others sorrows, helpers of each other
in all the chances and changes of the world.
May they grow in understanding and love,
and may faithfulness to the good of each
become the unfailing virtue of both.


Presentation of the Couple:

You may now embrace and kiss.

It gives me great pleasure to present to you who are gathered here today Paul and Stacy as partners in life.

Go in peace. Our ceremony is ended, but their shared life together has just begun.

Monday, November 5, 2007


so, too lazy to go to the grocery after some eggs, I decided to give xanthan gum one last try. I found this recipe online: and actually followed the instructions (except substituting the same volume of different flours, well, and without buttermilk, okay, I didn't really follow the recipe all that much after all, but much more closely than I normally would). They turned out pretty good, though barely enough for this family of four. I'll double the recipe next time, and bake at just a tad lower temp.

1/2 cup Gluten Free Sweet White Sorghum Flour
1/4 cup Potato Starch
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1 tsp Sugar
1 Tb Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift dry ingredients together in medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Stir in enough buttermilk to form soft dough that holds its shape when pressed together. (You may not need all the buttermilk).

Place the mixture on prepared baking sheet. Lay sheet of waxed paper over biscuit mixture and press to 1” thickness and about 6” x 6” square or circle. Remove sheet of waxed paper and cut into 8 or 9 round biscuit shapes using a 2” biscuit cutter or open end of glass. Remove uncut portions of biscuit dough and gently shape into 2” circles, or simply cut dough into 9 square pieces and spread pieces across baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 9 biscuits.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tear Dress

So I was interested in perhaps making a tear dress, or something similar, anyway...

Found lots of neat information online. Doesn't seem so difficult, it fits with the way I sew already. But here's my problem. It's with this: "The Official Women’s Dress Of The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma" link There's a long list of rules!

Hope I don't upset too many people if I make my own version of these tear dresses, but don't follow all the rules. I mean, it never was authentic to begin with, fashions change, tastes change, and NOBODY tells me how to dress. I really love the style, it certainly looks easy enough, and most definitely comfortable! Plus, it would go nicely with my aprons.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

you don't know me very well, do you?

LOL! There's nothing like someone telling me to shut up to incite me to Sing louder. I'm honored that you would take your time to read what I blog about, and that it moved you to leave your comments. Thanks! What concerns me is your tone. I don't know what I ever did to upset you so. I'm not hurting anyone. My whole point in every one of my posts is that anything that hurts anyone else also hurts me. It seems so utterly obvious, this Golden Rule thing. It's all that really counts, you know?

here's how it works:
We start with what we know. What do I know? I know that I am a thinking thing. I know that I experience certain perceptions of things that exist apart from me. But I do not know that objective reality is actually there, all I know is that I perceive it to be. I see it, smell it, hear it, etc. But those perceptions occur subjectively, within that part of me that does the thinking. I know from experience, that I seem to interact with this objective reality. There appears to be some sort of cause and effect relationship. In order to most effectively interact with this objective reality, I must first assume that it is real, objectively, apart from myself. I take a leap of faith in believing this is how things are, but there is no basis for that belief other than expediency, pragmatism, because I have found through my experience that it is most useful to me to believe it is so.

With this in mind, I can now take a look at this objective reality, learn more about me through my interactions with IT. I see things that benefit me, I call them "good," and things that harm me, I call them "bad," but those things themselves are neither good and bad, that is just a label I give them, part of how my thinking me makes sense of the world. Good and Bad are judgments I make about things, as those things relate to me, personally.

Since I have chosen to believe that I am part of some objective reality, I must recognize that anything that hurts any part of this existence also hurts me and can thus be labelled "bad" - my experience verifies this to be true in every case.

I get to determine for myself what things I call "good" and which ones I call "bad" - not anyone else! Nobody knows better than I do what is good for me and what is not. I know to notice when things hurt me, and do something about it, so that my experience may be called a "good" one. In my own life, it is when I allow others to decide for me that I have a "bad" experience. If you are not liking the experience you are having, take a look at the choices you have made, or allowed others to make for you. Therein lies the answer.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

the history of peace?

Rice looks to history for peace effort
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is looking to the past for lessons on how to make next month's Mideast peace conference a success.

As she prepares to host the international meeting in Annapolis, Md., Rice has delved into the history of U.S. attempts to mediate peace in the region, plunging into the diplomatic annals and seeking out the major players responsible for both successes and failures.

"She's trying to draw on the historical record and the experiences of others to see what she can glean and how that may be applicable to the current day," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday, ahead of Rice's Nov. 4-6 trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, her second in three weeks to organize the Annapolis gathering.

Most recently, she met this week with Jimmy Carter, sitting down in her office on Wednesday for a talk with the former president who brokered the 1978 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt, the first between the Jewish state and an Arab nation.

Carter has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration's Middle East polices and wrote a recent book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," that some believe is anti-Israeli. McCormack said the differences in approach were not a subject of her conversation.

Rice has also spoken by phone with former President Clinton about his work on the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace deal. She discussed with both Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright the unsuccessful 2000 attempt in Shepherdstown, W.Va., to mediate an Israeli-Syrian agreement and their bid later that year at Camp David to forge an Israeli-Palestinian pact.

Others she has reached out to include former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James Baker, and to one-time U.S. peace negotiators like Dennis Ross, who played a key role in the Clinton administration and the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.

In addition, Rice, whose background is in Soviet studies, asked the State Department historian's office to prepare a voluminous, and classified, compendium of its records on the U.S. role in Middle East peacemaking.

McCormack declined to offer details of her private readings and conversations or discuss any conclusions she may have drawn from them. But he noted that Rice, especially given her background as an academic, has intense interest in studying past diplomacy for clues about what might work as the Annapolis meeting approaches.

"We view the situation as qualitatively different than it has been, the history moves on, people change roles, situations," McCormack said.

"That said, you can take the lessons of history and apply them," he said. "She is a student of history and has a keen appreciation for how we can apply the lessons of history, what we can learn from those who have gone before us."

Rice faces serious obstacles in organizing Annapolis, with both Israel and the Palestinians far apart on a joint statement to be presented to the meeting that she and President Bush hope will launch the start of formal peace talks.

The two sides have fundamental differences over how detailed the document must be and whether it should contain a timeline for progress in the eventual negotiations.

The Israelis want the statement to be as vague as possible while the Palestinians are pushing for deadlines and specific references to the key issues in the conflict, among them the borders of a Palestinian state, the status of disputed Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Rice's last trip to the region, a furious four-day shuttle diplomacy mission earlier this month, produced little apparent progress on bringing the two sides together.

However, she did win at least public support for the Annapolis conference from Egypt and Jordan, two critical Arab allies of the United States that had both expressed skepticism about the utility of the meeting.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

this is a man's world

wow! James Brown and Pavarotti...

holding my breath

we might actually be done with diapers!! Little sister has been wearing "grown-up underwear" for two and a half days now. One accident, she fell asleep and when she woke up from her nap, she forgot she didn't have a diaper on. But she has decided she's ready, and does not need to be reminded to go to the bathroom. hip-hip-hoooray!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tacenda Literary Award

*Best Short Story that illuminates problems of social injustice*

Congrats Randy!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

which possible future do you want to live in?

We are at an amazing point in history. We are being given the choice between several (possibly more than several) possible futures. Which one do you pick? Or would you rather sit back and let someone else, say those lunatics in DC whose lives exist solely to support the war machine, choose for you? Inaction is as much a choice as anything you can do, and even when you do not act, you are still responsible for the result. It's up to you now, whatcha gonna do?

The People Have The Power

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thoreau (part two)

I don't think I'll go and edit that post (like I normally would), I'll just start a new one and call it "part two"

Here's the rest of that first paragraph, which was the first quote in the previous blog post:

Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

gonna skip ahead now, keep up... (I strongly urge you to read the whole thing yourself all the way through, at least twice. The first time, with a really good dictionary handy.)

Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? — in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

I have a moral obligation to do what I think is right, regardless of what any authority might be telling me to do.

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?

It doesn't make you a good person to unquestioningly do as you are told, it makes you a shadow of a person, a tool to be used by others to do their bidding.

In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God.

A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.

(emphasis mine)

on the duty of civil disobedience (part one)

What a fabulous essay by Henry David Thoreau. I highly recommend every citizen read this. But I realize how difficult that can be. So what I'm a gonna do is translate it for you. He packs so many ideas into each sentence, we'll have to plod our way through a little at a time. Since most normal folk just don't have copies of the world's great philosophical works in their personal libraries, here's a link for ya. Remember this was written in 1848 (according to my book. 1849 according to that website).

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — "That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

in other words, the best sort of government has the least control over the people. He is saying that when people are ready to take responsibility for their own actions, to do what they know is right rather than be governed and always told what to do, they will have no need for government. He says that government is a tool, and if it's useful to us, all of us, we should use it. And when it becomes broken and would hurt us, we should throw it away and get a new one.

He says that the great deeds done in the name of our country were not accomplished by the government, but by People! The government sometimes slowed down the process or prevented the people from doing even greater things.

Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

This isn't so different from today. Big business, with lots of money in the bank, bounces over the obstacles the government puts in the way of trade and commerce. I'm not certain if he's calling the rich businessmen crooks, or the politicians who create laws that benefit them, I would say it's probably both.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

on this day in history, Oct 11

October 11, 1987

Nearly one million people flooded Washington, D.C., demanding civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans, now celebrated each year as National Coming Out Day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

a spring in my step

Now I understand the above phrase.

I had so much fun at the powwow this weekend over at Audubon Acres. Friday, I did a lot of talking. Saturday, I did a lot of listening. Sunday, I danced and shared some stories. I stomped my feet and had a blast! I noticed something really strange. I noticed that if you stomp exactly in time with the drum, the earth bounces your feet back up and it's much easier. That's how those people out west can stomp all night long, the earth is bouncing their feet for them.

When you see someone walking with a spring in their step, it's because they are following the beat of their inner drum. When you see this big goofy grin on my face that's because it's so much fun!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Columbus Day protest in Denver leads to arrests

Sat Oct 6, 2007 6:26pm EDT
By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - About 75 protesters, including American Indian activist Russell Means, were arrested on Saturday after blocking Denver's downtown parade honoring the Italian-born discoverer Christopher Columbus, an event they denounced as "a celebration of genocide."

Police loaded protesters onto buses after they refused orders to disperse. Most will be charged with obstruction of a roadway or disrupting a lawful assembly, Denver Police Lt. Ron Saunier said.

Police delayed the parade's start for more than an hour as they tried to head off confrontations.

American Indian groups and their supporters have disrupted the city's annual Columbus Day parade every year for nearly two decades, leading to clashes with Colorado's Italian-American community over the century-old celebration, the longest-running such commemoration in the United States.

Columbus Day, marked this year on October 8, is an official holiday for most U.S. federal government workers, many public schools, state and local agencies and the U.S. bond market. It recalls the October 12, 1492, landing of Columbus in the Americas on his search for a naval route to India, an event that spawned an era of European interest in the New World.

Means, talking to Reuters before his arrest, said Columbus was the "first trans-Atlantic slave trader" after landing in the Americas in 1492. He said Columbus started centuries of oppression of native peoples.

"By all accounts, Christopher Columbus was personally responsible for thousands of deaths of the original inhabitants of this hemisphere," Means said.

Parade organizer George Vendegnia of the Sons of Italy said his group would honor Columbus' legacy until the U.S. Congress changed the holiday's name. Some cities including Berkeley, California, have already changed the name to "Indigenous People's Day."

"It's a day for us to celebrate our heritage," Vendegnia said.

Parade opponent Glenn Spagnuolo, an Italian-American, said Columbus' legacy should not be celebrated.

"To honor someone who, by his own writings, was a slave trader, is immoral," he said. "I don't see any of my Italian culture in celebrating the occupation and destruction of native cultures."

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What a Wonderful World

By Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin......i love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more.....than Ill never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin...*spoken*(I

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
*spoken*(you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than Ill never know)
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself .......what a wonderful world.

durn it all! I can't get this video embed code to work!
check out
Joey Ramone - What a Wonderful World

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


So who says eating gluten-free means being deprived? The family thought I was nuts to take a picture of our dinner, maybe they're right! LOL

This was our dinner last night (and possibly breakfast this morning). The crust is my favorite biscuit recipe plus a packet of yeast dissolved in hot water. The toppings are typical, except littlest one is allergic to tomatoes, so I use spinach for the "sauce" instead. Black olives for kids, mushrooms for Daddy. yummmm...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


I have been inundated lately with forwarded emails, bulletins on myspace, friend's blogs, all detailing the plight of the Buddhist monks in Burma. I'm sure you have, too. But there's a skeptic in my head that keeps saying, "nobody in their right mind could possibly bash in the head of a Buddhist monk, NOBODY! These monks, they won't even step on a bug, you know?" And I think about how the media has lately been making a monster of China. The Chinese government is now the new bad guy, we aren't afraid enough of the "terrorist threat" and they need something even scarier. It smells of propoganda aimed towards our acceptance of a bigger badder war. A new kind of propoganda, perhaps much more effective than the mainstream channels.

Shall we allow them to use this as an excuse to make even more money from the massive slaughter of innocent people? Shall we, as world citizens, accept war, no matter the justifications for that war they offer us? Never forget that the war machine is a huge money-making venture. Those who profit from killing make money no matter which side wins, while everyone else pays the price in blood. Why should my tax dollars be spent on war technology? Technology that kills lots of people for no good reason other than to make the rich, richer; and the poor, poorer.

My prayers and Love goes out most deeply to Burma and Tibet, but also to the people in government who think they should get to decide who lives and who dies.

Monday, October 1, 2007


I would like to share with y'all this drawing of an osprey by my six-year-old daughter.

thank you

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Uman Song

You'll have to check out Lazer Beams for yourself!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What if?

It's been a while since I blogged my own words. I'm feeling as though I have run out of words. I've said it already, anything I might have to say to you. So today, in advance celebration of the equinox tomorrow, let's suppose I'm right...

Imagine what the world might be like if all people chose to look within themselves for all the answers. Imagine a world without governments and wars, because each person would be self-governing. Each person would define for themselves what is right and wrong, and in so doing would learn to respect everyone else's autonomy. Just imagine! There would be no written laws, because the Law lies only in each person's heart. There would be no jails, no poverty, no abuses against humanity. Why is it that many people find this so hard to imagine? It's the only thing that really makes sense to me. I don't understand when people hurt people. I don't get it, why anyone would ever kill another person. There's no reason good enough. So what if I am right? What if everyone really does have the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, if they'd only look within and trust their intuition? What is stopping my dream from becoming reality?

Let's take this a step further. Let's imagine the above scenario is true. What would religion look like in such a world? What if religion were defined by each individual for themselves? What if nobody ever told anyone else what to believe? What not to believe? What if the fear were gone, and people were free to find their own Divinity, inside themselves? It would not be a godless world, as some philosophers have said. It would rather be a very magical world! Religion and spirituality would be as real and important to people's lives as the air we breathe or the water we drink, because nobody would make anyone else afraid to believe the truth that lies within.

What if?

Friday, September 21, 2007

FDA attacks...


The FDA, under pressure from the powerful sugar and artificial sweetener lobby, has issued a warning letter to Celestial Seasonings for using a popular natural sweetener in some of its teas. The letter indicates the FDA classifies the herb stevia as "unsafe", even though it is a main staple sweetener in countries like China and Japan and has been used without negative health effects by indigenous people for at least 400 years. In the FDA's letter to Celestial Seasonings, the agency aggressively condemns the use of the herb, noting that "enforcement action may include seizure of violative products". The FDA claims no evidence has been provided to the agency regarding the herb's safety, but federal records reveal the FDA has received over a thousand scientific studies regarding stevia, and all but one of them verify the safety of the herb. In sharp contrast, nearly half of the studies provided to the FDA regarding the artificial sweetener aspartame, previously owned by Monsanto, indicate serious health concerns, yet it is one of the most commonly used (and one of the most profitable) sweeteners in the U.S. The OCA has also verified the FDA has strengthened enforcement of stevia imports at the borders. Last week, the agency updated a document that mandates detainment of imported food products containing stevia.
Learn more:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spy Chief says:

in the news this morning. I read this article.
So the "Spy Chief" says, Russia and China are spying on us, so that makes it okay for us to spy on everyone, even our own citizens??? And this was in testimony at a congressional hearing? Certainly our politicians aren't so easily swayed by fallacious arguments? Surely they have at least a rudimentary understanding of LOGIC! ...or, is it more a factor of the fact that they are secure in their knowledge that the typical public-educated citizen has no clue about how to think rationally? hm.....

"China and Russia are spying on the United States nearly as much as they did during the Cold War, according to the top U.S. intelligence official.

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, says in testimony prepared for a Tuesday congressional hearing that a law passed last month expanding the U.S. government's eavesdropping power is needed to protect not just against terrorists but also against more traditional potential adversaries, such as those two Cold War foes."


"Congress last month hastily adopted the Protect America Act just before it went on summer vacation, propelled by McConnell's warnings of a need to close a dangerous gap in U.S. intelligence law.

Some lawmakers are now having second thoughts as the complicated law — intended to make it easier for the government to intercept foreign calls and e-mails — has come under attack by civil liberties and privacy advocates who contend it gives the government broader powers than intended.

The Protect America Act allows the government to listen in, without a court order, on all communications conducted by a person reasonably believed to be outside the United States, even if an American is on one end of the conversation."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Marjorie Cohn

I get all excited when Marjorie Cohn posts a new article on her blog! Not that I give one whit about lawyers or how law schools are run, but it's a really good article (as all of her writing is). Check it out! :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

25 years ago today

Did you know about the 1,700 (or more) men, women, and children who were slaughtered at the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra-Shatilla? I didn't. Never heard one single word of it. Not that I cared much for the news when I was 13, but you'd think someone would have said something about it, sometime, somewhere, in the years since then... link It's a heart-breaking article, but one I feel is very much worth reading and contemplating.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007



American Crystal, a large Wyoming-based sugar company, who ironically have launched an "organic" line of their sugar,and several other leading U.S. sugar providers have announced they will be sourcing their sugar from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets beginning this year and arriving in stores in 2008. Like GE corn and GE soy, products containing GE sugar will not be labeled as such. Since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, a move towards biotech beets marks a dramatic alteration of the U.S. food supply. These sugars, along with GE corn and soy, are found in many conventional food products, so consumers will be exposed to genetically engineered ingredients in just about every non-organic multiple-ingredient product they purchase.

The GE sugar beet is designed to withstand strong doses of Monsanto's controversial broad spectrum Roundup herbicide. Studies indicate farmers planting "Roundup Ready" corn and soy spray large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water. Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply the herbicide up to five times per year. Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the U.S. from Oregon to Minnesota.

Meanwhile candy companies like Hershey's are urging farmers not to plant GE sugar beets, noting that consumer surveys suggest resistance to the product. In addition the European Union has not approved GE sugar beets for human consumption.

Take action now to stop Genetically Engineered Sugar:


May 2007:
"American Crystal Sugar Company, has no plans to grow GM sugar beets. Herbicide resistant varieties developed using biotechnology will not be allowed to be sold, given away, distributed, or planted in year 2007." (Source: Statement released by American Crystal)

August 2007:
"Here at American Crystal, we believe biotechnology is the current wave that will help feed the world." (Source: American Crystal President David Berg)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 ....not!

nuh-uh, not gonna talk about what happened on this date in history. Sorry. Nobody wanted to talk about Hiroshima or MLK, Jr. so I won't talk about 9/11/2001.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

new hawk!

So the red-shouldered hawks are migratory and they left our neighborhood but every now and then you'd see one of them. Now there's a new hawk, a big hawk, a red-tailed hawk hunting in my yard! She doesn't seem so much larger than the other ones when sitting still, perched in a tree, but her wingspan... Oh wow! What a beautiful animal.

We were talking about this new hawk, my husband and I. My oldest daughter said, "maybe it's because you have so much more magic now that you need a bigger hawk." I said in reply that a bigger bird doesn't necessarily have more magic, look at the tiny songbirds that come to our feeder, they have lots of magic, rather it's a different kind of magic.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Free Leonard Peltier


The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee kindly requests that you please forward this annoucement in its entirety, please do not modify, edit, remove or add to this annoucement. Please refer to Note Section, after Leonard Peltiers' message for Leonard's address and additional information.
Toni Zeidan-Co-director LPDCA

Message from Leonard Peltier:
Greetings My Relatives,
You know I was just thinking there should be a degree one could receive for having expertise on doing prison time. I think I would be called Professor Peltier, PhD. with 30 years tenure. A friend of mine said once, PhD where he is from stands for post hole digger. I think I would at this time, embrace being a post hole digger, although I don't relish the thought of fencing anything in after being fenced in myself for 30 + years.

On being imprisoned, I want to touch on that subject a bit. There are some who have voiced their opinion in one way or another, that I should give up after all these years of trying to win my freedom. Aside from the oppressors who put me here, some of them are people who were at times, part of theLeonard Peltier Defense Committee; others, on the fringes. My answer, to put it in a simple, colloquial phrase, that anyone can understand, .it ain't gonna happen! There are many reasons, both physical and mental, spiritualand social. The number one reason is that there aren't any women in here. That should cover the social. Eh!

Another reason, is that the struggle is not just about me. It's about life on earth, the struggle to survive, the onslaught of destructive technology, wealth mongering, by those who see the common man as nothing more than expendable beings to further their personal quest for power and affluence. I am here because, as a common man, along with other common men, I chose to try to stop the exploitation of my people. I know the Creator sent other common men at other times and other places and to other races to do the same. I am honored to be among common men. I know they tried to cause us to separate from alliances by color, religion, and geographic locale but our struggle is the same. It's against people taking more than they need. In my culture it is taught that you should not take more than you need. In Christianity, Buddhism, and Zen, as well as most other spiritual teachings, it is taught that gluttony is a sin. Violation of this teaching is the reason for global warming, and the reason for world wars, including the war in Iraq at this time.

Because of people who always seek to take more than they need, my people have suffered greatly. They are the poorest of the poor yet most still cling to the original teachings. They have fought for several generations for the exploitation of our land, illegal occupation of our land, unjust treatmenti n the U.S. judicial system, and most of all, government lies and liars that have led the American people to believe all this exploitation and violation of treaties is in their best interest. I watch TV from time to time, and I notice there are those who try to make the wars like a war between religions. I tell you my relatives, it is only a ruse to get young men to die for those who crave wealth and power over the common man.

If the many denominations of religions would stand together as one against the violation that jeopardizes life itself, it would make a major difference throughout the world. Today, more than any other time in history, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. I may, by now, have written more than you care to read. But, from where I sit myself, it's the best I can do. The Defense Committee that bears my name struggles to help enlighten people of events and needs of people in jeopardy. I don't use the word struggle lightly. Aside from trying to raise money for attorneys and office expenses, etc., we raise money for food and clothing for needy people on reservations in urban areas. In my world, the poor are common. I am honored to be one of them, to represent them from time to time, though it be from afar. We as Native People look to the Creator's greatest manifestation for teachings, Mother Earth and her system of nature, along with personal visions, from time to time. In that, we see grass though encased in concrete, pushing its way through the cracks. We see the trees and water break down the structures of man that imprison them. We see everywhere, all life trying to follow the original instruction given by the Creator. If Iwere a blade of grass, I would grow out of here. If I were water, I would flow away from here. If I were a ray of light, I would bounce off these walls and be gone. However, I am not and unless I, at some future time, receive my freedom that was unjustly taken in the same manner as was the freedom of so many Native People before me. I can only leave here through my paintings, written words, and some other forms of communication that are sometimes available. I am in my 60's now. If I end up spending all my days here, and my last breath rides on the wind, and the moisture of my body flows to the sea, and the elements of my being make the grass grow and the trees flourish, make no mistake they can kill my body but they can't kill me. I am a common man.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee will continue working on my behalf and towards my freedom unless you the supporters tell me to close down the Defense Committee. Having said all this, I wish to ask you, if you can in any way help us, meaning the Defense Committee, send any donation to :
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
3800 N. Mesa
El Paso, Texas 79902

Pease do so, it is a common cause. If my case stands as it is, no common person has real freedom. Only the illusion until you have something the oppressors want. Back to being a post hole digger.. I'd rather be a free post hole digger than Professor Leonard Peltier, PhD.

May the Creator bless you with all you need.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, who never gave up

All my relations,
Leonard Peltier

Note: Sept 12, is Leonard Peltier's birthday. Supporters wishing to send Leonard a Birthday Card, we suggest that you send the birthday cards and letters NOW, thus allowing sufficient time for mail delivery.

Leonard Peltier's address:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Lewisburg PA
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg PA 17837

Leonard Peltier Defense Committe
Phone- 570-524-0749

International Peltier Forum email:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Go Lindsay!

Wow! That's some amazing woman, my cousin!

I like this photo better than the one they used for the article. :-)

sad state of affairs

well, my garden experiment didn't work out quite as planned, but it was a grand learning experience for me and the kids. We had that late frost, killed everything I planted in early April, then this drought all summer. I had maybe two or three bean pods on each plant instead of the 10-16 the package said to expect. My cucumbers got pollinated by the yellow squash and produced big yellow squashcumbers that I don't care to eat. The critters don't want to eat them either, not even the racoons or 'possums! My pineapple and avocado plants are doing really well, and the okra I planted last month are doing okay (they like it hot) so it's not totally a lost cause. I do have one remaining kale plant, it's tiny still, but not dead. The little birds love to eat the seeds from our sunflowers. I especially like the little bright yellow birds with black wings, I don't know what they are called, but they sure are pretty.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Now that I am open to the experience, I see miracles every day. Amazing, wondrous, beautiful miracles. Some of these things might not seem so marvelous to anyone as they feel to me, and that's okay, and some of these things are far too unbelievable for me to ever share here on my blog, because it hurts me when you don't believe. But some I can share, actually I must share them with you. Like the story of the feathers.

The first feather. There's a barn owl at the zoo. The last time we went there, he gave me a feather. First, though, he bowed his head and made himself look just like a little monk. Then, without lifting his head he pointed with his beak. When I didn't understand, he picked up one foot and pointed with one long toe and his beak both at the same time. I looked where he pointed and right outside his cage was a fluffy little feather from his chest. I thanked him for the lovely gift, and he lowered his head and closed his eyes, but looked more like he was in prayer than asleep.

The second feather is a beautiful perfect feather from the wing of a crow. This one is harder to talk about. Maybe some other time. It's too big to fit in my lovely medicine bag that Randy and Claudia made, so I think I'll attach it to one of the fringes, perhaps with a clay bead my children made. We have quite a few that are too small to fit on big sister's dreads anymore. I don't know, though. Spirit is not helping me, but I feel there's something in particular I am to do with this feather. Perhaps when the time comes that I can talk about how it came to me I will know what to do with it.