Saturday, December 26, 2009


Sometimes like a turtle I admit

that I retreat into mySelf.

There I might carefully peer out

for a moment before a serious

consequence frightens me removed.

Onlookers devise this an excuse.

This is the subjective recognition

that of all creatures' odd recreation

of entreating and retreating with precision

mine alone can be bested by isolation. . . .

Nonsense. My physical apparatus reconstructs

a need that projects me forward into mud and muck.

Renewing my searching for other like creatures

starts me over in subtleties of misadventures.

When this will ever arrive at a conclusion

opens in my mind's eye as an illusion.

Yet some internal need will likely press me toward

another predicament of pretending to be forward.

Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.  
Mohandas Gandhi

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"DoJ Now Investigating Diebold/ES&S Merger"

Some of my friends and I saw a movie with Brad recently : ) at the Webster U. Winifred Moore Auditorium that is called "Murder, Spies and Voting Lies . . ." starring him and his friend Clint Curtis. You can find info on supporting his work on his website. The movie is a stunning revelation about recent U.S. history if you are not yet aware of the whole background to the failure of democracy that occurred in Florida (before Governor Crist, who helped to throw out DRE voting machines). Are these circumstances really changed yet? Good question!

Thank you to all the election integrity activists who have remained vigilant. Our local group is at

Brad would appreciate a gift for the holidays from supporters at his own website. You can also order the DVD there.

- The BRAD BLOG - -

DoJ Now Investigating Diebold/ES&S Merger

Anti-trust probes also said underway in 14 states...

Posted By Brad Friedman On 19th December 2009 @ 18:41 In Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Election Reform, Dept. of Justice | 5 Comments

On Thursday we reported [1] that Florida's AG office was investigating the recent acquisition of Diebold's voting machine unit by its larger/largest "competitor," ES&S, for possible violations of anti-trust statutes in the state. Today, the New York Post reports [2] that the U.S. Dept. of Justice is also actively investigating the same thing --- along with 14 states in total --- and may "file a suit to unwind the deal" next month...

The Department of Justice could vote down an already-completed merger of the two biggest makers of voting machines.

The Justice Department, Florida and 13 other states have opened investigations into the September marriage between Election Systems & Software and Diebold's Premier Election Solutions, which played a controversial role in the 2004 presidential election, according to a source with direct knowledge of the process.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is planning to hold hearings on the matter next month, the source said.

Even though the merger gave ES&S a whopping 70 percent of the voting-machine market share, the $5 million deal was too small to require government approval.

Now, the Justice Department is looking into the matter and next month could file a suit to unwind the deal, the source said.

Though the Post story seems to be based on a single, unnamed "source," they also note that "A Diebold spokesman confirmed the Ohio ATM maker was cooperating with a Justice Department investigation."

And while there are other "Justice Department investigation[s]" that Diebold is also cooperating with --- as The BRAD BLOG noted early this year [3], when the company's Chief Financial Officer was forced to stop down: "[Diebold has been] been facing a class-action securities fraud lawsuit [4] from shareholders since 2005; under SEC investigation [5] since 2006; and under DoJ investigation [6] since 2007; and admitted overstating '07 earnings [7] in early 2008" --- Reuters coverage of the story [8] offers more direct confirmation of the DoJ probe of this particular matter. "Diebold spokesman Michael Jacobsen said in an email that the company was cooperating with the Justice Department review of the sale," they report tonight.'s [9] Bev Harris deserves much credit here, both for helping to get the anti-trust ball moving when the merger was first announced in September, as we reported at the time [10], but also for providing the DoJ a great deal of information, statistics, financial and legal analysis demonstrating the monopolistic nature of the sale, and the harm it presents to our already in-tatters system of election in the U.S.. See BBV's additional coverage here [11].

* * *
We realize its Christmas in a horrible economy and spare dollars are few and far between. Nonetheless, if you can afford to share a few of them with us here at year's end, your generosity will be as appreciated as it is truly needed. The BRAD BLOG [12] covers your electoral system fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation [13] to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here [14]). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here... [15] And thank you in advance!

Article printed from The BRAD BLOG:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:
[1] we reported:
[2] New York Post reports:

[3] The BRAD BLOG noted early this year:
[4] class-action securities fraud lawsuit:
[5] under SEC investigation:
[6] under DoJ investigation:
[7] admitted overstating '07 earnings:
[8] Reuters coverage of the story:
[10] as we reported at the time:
[11] BBV's additional coverage here:
[12] The BRAD BLOG:
[13] a donation: http://www.bradblog.com

[14] Snail mail, more options here:
[15] Details right here...:

Click here to print.

posted on on Dec. 22, 09

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Buffy Sainte-Marie video from Democracy Now/ Amy Goodman

On the Way to Copenhagen: UN climate summit on 12-09

President Barack Obama will be travelling to Copenhagen to speak to the UN summit on climate change, appearing on December 9 to speak. As citizens we can individually support his efforts by conceding that our country has been a largely destructive influence to the climate and ecology of the planet.

Early European settlers in the New World cleared forests for farm land, gradually crossing from East to West, and from the South to the North. Up until current times we have engaged in the most profligate growth of industry and habitational developments among all nations. Obama only recently re-approved our agreement to the Kyoto Protocols which were developed decades ago, and deleted by the Bush Administration.

The so-called “Free Trade Agreements,” begun during the Clinton Administration, have further eroded environments by enabling corporatizing of resources on this and other continents. Over the years our own agricultural industries have disturbed the ecology of the oceans with runoff of chemical nonorganic fertilizers and weed control products into the Gulf of Mexico via the Missippi River and into the ocean from there and other sources.

Take a look at a recent NASA developed map of the global climate influence of El Nino in the Gulf and the Pacific Ocean. Your cursor will display “El Nino” when you run it over specific red “hot spots” in the Gulf and along the equator in this view of the Western Hemisphere.

How can we as individuals help the effort to turn the dial back on climate change? The truth is, according to the Copenhagen Diagnosis, we will not be able to stop the stampede of the inevitable-- many processes are already irreversible and will continue while we work toward changing our habits. Our enormous consumption of material products and energy used to produce them, as well as energy used to keep us “comfortable,” are way beyond the levels that other nations habitually use.

Spread the word, and cut your own home use of virtually everything. Oh yeah, go ahead and eat, but consider a garden in your back and front yards, plus planting trees in your community. You all have been hearing the environmental message for a long time. At this point we have to get busy and change our “standard of living” to a much simpler one to extend the lives of all creatures and species, least of all us. As stewards of the Earth we have failed thus far, and the changes already in progress are likely to last for at least 1000 years.

Perhaps we can consider our continuing economic woes to be a blessing in its necessity that we get by with less and begin to cut our energy usage individually and as a collective effort. How about a kitchen composter or a slowcooker for a gift this year? Solar power is decreasing in cost—can you afford to install it? Maybe so!

Encourage your friends to be grateful for each day of life we live with Mother Earth. Life ahead is likely to be a challenge.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

seeds of a new day

growing up is hard to do

Holy cat's eye, LOL. My last entry was about time, of all subjects. Here it is fall already and I am still "in the struggle." Goodness, one of my friends once told me to "let go of the struggle," and I looked at her thinking, what, are you, daft? My own reliance, I confess, on some social constructs of networking has been thoroughly inhibited by my own specific brain.

Way back when I was graduating from nursing schools as a twenty-five year old kid I had little idea at all about my own personal life history or my future. Imagine that-- I was totally clueless in some ways. At the same time, though, I was embarking on a career and excited about it until the reality set in of course, LOL. Now I am on the other side of the bedrail to an extent I did not really foresee, although also clearly blessed by my professional knowledge, despite it being outdated by over a decade now.

So there I was one spring day earlier this year, proud of myself for stacking up packed boxes to get myself moved to a more accessible environment of some sort when I began to have some familiar symptoms that reminded me of previous experiences with this physical housing of my spirit. Darn, I said, with a somewhat more colloquially emphatic tone. Something in my harmonic vibration kicks me off the path to moving every darn year, and here it is actually butt kicking me into ceasing entirely the objective that I would demand of myself for the coming tomorrows.

This leaves plenty to your imagination, which is appropriate for you readers who have had reasonable facsimile experiences in your own aging processes. Unfortunately for me I am too habitually independent minded for my own good, and the ensuing path of least resistance has been less fun that your average hayride.

However, at this point I am back in control, if such a thing is possible. I have also experienced some losses, though. And in some matters it is the natural result of the ongoing healing process that is life itself. The loss of privacy has in some way, shape and form become a distinctly undeniable but yet invisible calamity to more than one of us. That is some kind of a "process" that in some instances is "divined" by others who see themselves as having a direct link to some specific Higher Power which is not so interpreted by my own neurological equipment as the answer to myself. I am an intuitive, insightful person, who was encouraged in independent functioning at an early age. Most others whom I know socially are not on the same wave length. That must be why many of them have given themselves over to a group structure or consciousness that they believe is the way of being led that makes the most sense for me as well, gosh darn them!!!!!

So, in many ways I remain my own old cantankerous cartoon self. I specifically embrace my own personality, defects and all, because in an early time, before my introduction to transformational thinking, I was a heinous criminal in my own selectively ethnically educated conscience related to family, etc. My path to forgiveness of myself has sometimes appeared to others as though it deletes them in favor of myself. This is not factually true-- but detachment has to remain a part of healing in all relationships, regardless of the dispute, and some of my own personal past has intrepidly guided me to putting my own needs ahead of others more often that others would wish to be true. Detachment always requires a period of introspection of oneself, even if only transiently. Sometimes my self examinations reveal a less than acceptable level of tolerance toward others, as I am one of those who was conditioned to place blame and manufacture excuses for myself as a child. Gee willigers, growing up is hard to do. Growing older is actually a lot more fun most of the time.

The fact of the matter is that most people who devote themselves to spiritual causes neglect themselves to a greater degree than they wish to discuss privately or publicly; and as a result we do not get some of the envisioned work properly fulfilled because we are all tripping on fixing the consolidated forces of our individual friends, whom we may see as "in trouble," rather than remanding ourselves to concentrating more strictly on our own ineptitude. As the CODA Coin is inscribed, "To Thy Own Self Be True."

No blame is warranted, of course, in the realm of human communication.

By the way, to all the scientists in the community surrounding Maplewood, MO., we are in need of some objective observers of the telepathic environment here which has mysteriously embraced us. Preferably these observers would have some deep understanding of the physics of connections of particles, waves, etc.; and would also not be themselves working for a commercial industry which produces or sells electronic communication devices. Some of you have already been out there somewhere, but my impression is that there is some conflict of interest with some connections-- just an intuitive guess, folks, LOL.

To all of my friends who may be concerned about what on earth hobbit hole I have recently fallen into, I am still in this old frustration of a running-in-place apartment, which demonstrates a tiny ecological footprint, but does not facilitate my comfort within the range of my physical impairments. Recently I re-initiated my interactions with a friend of a counsellor who is adept at understanding adaptations, among other things, so I am on the road to recovery in my attitude again. If any of you are free to give me some help, here are a few things that would be helpful:

  • Helping me to get my driver's license updated from a permit to full driving privileges by taking me around in your own vehicle until I am confident to take the driving test again.
  • Keeping an eye out for a small and reasonably priced low gas mileage car. This will be intended for local use only.
  • Helping me to keep up my morale on the moving process. I have more ideas than factual information yet, and confuse myself rather easily about decision making about a longterm private residence solution to living with a chronic illness, especially with my income constraints and relationship issues.
  • Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I know some of you have been doing so already.
Meanwhile, you may be seeing me re-emerge into a social environment or two that I have been thoroughly neglecting out of the consternation of my symptoms, which are relinquishing their grip again.

Let me know what is up with you. My email addresses are all restored after a time altogether off the Internet. My phone will soon have a call notes function as well.

Until then, be well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time is of the essence

We are indeed living in a changed world. For one thing time is of the essence in responding to the crisis in global environment. Most of us remain in denial about many aspects of our current times such as the diminishing returns on mining all sorts of fuels, metals and material glory that we have been robbing from the Earth, including iron, copper, oil, coal, forests, water, glaciers, and clean air. The act of changing one's own conscience is more difficult than any other human endeavor.

Some of us live in poverty. In fact the economic experience of poverty is enriching to the soul. The persons who have been hoarding what is loosely known as money are actually poverty stricken in terms of character and loving. They have built moats around their castles by using lobbyists to commit criminal influence against the heart and soul of democracy, which is a form of governance intended to be all inclusive. The consequences to them will be long and harrowing. While they are going through the crisis of examing their own responsibilities in contributing to the present economic shambles, which they've left for all of us together to manage, we must be merciful to them and recognize that we let them get away with it. We almost all have participated in this consumerist culture. Righteous anger can move us to act to change the roles and responsibilities of our government. Vengeance is a waste of time though, and justice cannot prevail in the presence of hatred.

So if you are cursing AIG or any other corporate entity remember that the rest of us let go of the essential citizen duty of vigilance. Journalists are probably swimming in this soup of regret far more than the rest of us because it has so impacted their lives' work directly. However, the growth of a democratic internet has enabled all of us to participate in revealing truth from our individual experiences in ways never before possible.

We are now in the spring of the year when we are all more aware of hope blooming in the gardens of our yards and neighborhoods. In the long run, even the short run, we will have to work cooperatively to replant the forests, clean the rivers and streams, restore oceans-- if that is any longer possible. When we change our way of living to a sustainable one it will be inclusive and will establish new values into the democratic process. This may indeed flower into a new era of creative expression, art and innovation, and that is where we must place our focus to move forward rather than sinking into the bog of dead consumerist capitalism. Many of our children have greater challenges ahead than even our own parents and grandparents faced.

If we collectively believe that this is do-able, that life after oil will continue, the economy will recover in whatever new form it is necessary for it to take. Acting in the present to help each other prepare for difficult climatic and resource depleted times, which were the brought on by collective ignorance and wrong action, is what will bring our global traditions, cultures and values into alignment to reveal a more cohesive sense of personhood shared throughout the world.

Boundaries are shared responsibilities which protect us, our traditions and identities as separate groups and beings. We will not want to elimate them altogether, but if we are able to stay on the correct path, we will be learning from now on how to share them without arrogance. Diversity is a richness which ought to be respected and preserved. In this context diplomacy must always be the highest rule of our world. "Doing unto others" is the main focus of healthy collective governance within our own state and without our own borders. No act of violence should ever be mistaken by us as anything other than the work of impoverished minds.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Growing Confidence

When I think about our forty-fourth President, Barack Obama, I see that dimpled gracious smile that he flashes liberally around any room he enters. Even when faced with a tedious speech that needs to be said out loud he often has these little moments when he seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself, and he has the capacity to view everyone in the room as a potential, if not actual, friend. His way of inspiring his audience is by loving it.This is a remarkable talent.

And how the news photographers are enjoying it! Just as he finishes exclaiming something that we have all been waiting to hear from him, like "The United States does not torture!" the camera spins around to the face of Senator John McCain, who was so expectantly waiting to hear this himself, in a very personal way, that you can feel his sigh of relief with his nod and smile.

That was the point in his speech which gave me the greatest relief as well, perhaps because of my own experience with tortured human beings, as well as having myself experienced violence. The entire preliminary State of the Union Address he gave to us, and to an enthusiastic--for the most part-- Congress, was stuff we needed to hear, even if we'd have rather not or if we didn't agree. He had to have mentioned "clean coal" even though he has undoubtedly been way over educated on the subject by an ever expanding crowd of environmentally aware citizens-- it was a political compromise which he consciously engages in because that is the audience in this room. At least that is the excuse I want to give to him because of his winning smile.

The other truly memorable moment to me came during his recognition of heroes in the audience. It was for Michelle Obama's young friend, Ty Sheoma Bethea, whom she hugged, while the student's letter was read by the President. Ty Sheoma is one of the Dillon, South Carolina school children who have a train rattling their class room six times a day while they are trying to learn. You could see this young woman visibly straighten and nod her head when President Obama got to the point about her and her fellow students, she and others planning to become President themselves. We will have to keep an eye on this one!

A day or two later I heard on the news that the President had presented Stevie Wonder with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.

I can still remember listening to Stevie's music after school on KXOK radio back in the 60s when he was called "Little Stevie Wonder" and I was living in Union, Missouri. Obama was telling about how he and Michelle always agreed on one thing when they were dating, even when working out their differences, and that was on the music of Stevie Wonder, whom they both admired. (Of course I thought instantly about the guy who loved this phenomenal artist as much as I did. "There's a Ribbon in the Sky" for you.) When Obama had placed the award in Mr. Wonder's hand, whose facial expression was a personification of his name, the audience was bursting into applause, and Obama said something directly into Wonder's ear.

Probably he was saying something like, "I just can't believe I get to do this!! I've loved your music my whole life! Isn't this the greatest job in the world?" Mr. Wonder was looking totally stunned, while Obama was like a kid at a birthday party. Here is the video of the concert at the White House.

One more story of the day this week amazed me. It on the PBS News Hour (cannot find a specific link) and was about a teacher in D.C. who put up pictures on a wall in her preschool classroom of successful black men and women for the four year olds to learn about, including one at their eye level of President Barack Obama, with a mirror next to it in which they could see themselves becoming what they want to be, since they can do anything they put their minds to, just like the President says. The teacher herself was very moved by this experience as the children looked into the mirror and then said out loud what they were thinking of becoming, teachers, policemen, doctors, nurses, firemen, and so on. They also had a couple of Presidents, and one boy who burst out "I want to be an astronaut!" The teacher was a little choked up when she said, "he is really seeing himself in that mirror, not the President, but HimSelf!" Another little boy was looking in the mirror and smiling, coming up to it sideways and giggling, his dimples showing.

Maybe our confidence in the market is still a little weak, but our confidence in ourselves as a people is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of this new hope is coming from new leadership. We did this-- we elected a really nice guy to the White House!

We're going to have to keep an eye on this one. ;->

writing workshop

Interesting workshop coming up-- deadline to register is March 13. Also a little expensive, but the teaching staff looks worth it if you can afford it.

BTW, writer friends, I have decided definitely to move out of here by May 1, & might call on you for help somewhere along the line.


Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.  
Mohandas Gandhi

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine for You

Tallest snowman

Day before yesterday in the morning I noticed out my window that the snowman had disappeared entirely. It took three full grown young people and a few other helpers three days to build him right after that snow that fell last of January, first of February. The ground there is probably more soaked than anywhere else in the park. They started out using plastic square milk crates packed with the snow, emptying them like bricks into the inner wall. Then they showed up with a ladder and wheel barrows full of snow, and when the bottom ball had taken shape it was time to start the trunk of the body. The snow was so solidly packed that they climbed up onto it to begin again with the snow bricks before arriving at the sculpting of the outer round layer.

Finally the head was placed, and other decorations for eyes, buttons, arms and hat. By then kids from all over the neighborhood wanted to see it, help carry snow and have their pictures taken with him, the tallest snowman in the world.
Will the violets bloom more thickly on that spot than anywhere else?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Apologies & expected slowed down blogging

Sorry that my previous post of the copy of the appeal for Leonard Peltier does not show up well in the window of the blog.

During the next few weeks I will be blogging less than usual as I catch up on some personal homework. Stay tuned tho' as I will likely continue to send pertinent news stories or actionable events.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fwd: Fw: Sign Urgent Online Petition: Hands Off Leonard Peltier! Release Him Now!

The first time I heard about the questions raised about Leonard Peltier was more than 2 decades ago-- I know because of how old my daughter was then. I say it is high time for him to be given his freedom again.

And I hope you will agree.

--- On Fri, 1/30/09, International Action Center <> wrote:
From: International Action Center <>
Subject: Sign Urgent Online Petition: Hands Off Leonard Peltier! Release Him Now!

Cc: "Activist alerts and news." <>
Date: Friday, January 30, 2009, 7:40 AM

Leonard Peltier Petition

Let President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, the Federal Prison system, Congress and the media know you

Internationally known Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier has been victimized and brutalized since being transferred to U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Pennsylvania on January 14. Shortly after arrival he was jumped and brutally beaten by gang members, none of whom he knew. He was subsequently put in solitary confinement in the hole and on restricted meals, endangering his diabetic condition, and is being allowed only one telephone call per month. He is being prevented from meeting face-to-face with his lawyers.

Please submit the Hands Off Leonard Peltier - Release Him Now! ONLINE PETITION at to let President Obama, Attorney General Holden, the Federal Prison System, the warden at Canaan penitentiary, congressional leaders and the media know YOU WILL HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR LEONARD'S SAFETY AND WELL-BEING and you demand his release.

The text of the online petition is as follows:

To: President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Penitentiary-Canaan Warden Ronnie R. Holt, Federal Bureau of Prisons Northeast Regional Director D. Scott Dodrill, U.S. Prisons Director Harley G. Lappin

cc: The Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the American Civil Liberties Union and members of the national media


It has come to my attention that internationally known Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier, prisoner #89637-132, has been victimized and brutalized since being transferred to U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Pennsylvania on January 14.

Shortly after arrival he was jumped and brutally beaten by gang members, none of whom he knew. He was subsequently put in solitary confinement in the hole and on restricted meals, endangering his diabetic condition, and is being allowed only one telephone call per month. He is being prevented from meeting face-to-face with his lawyers.

I hold the warden and the prison system responsible for Leonard Peltier's safety, wellbeing and humane treatment. Leonard Peltier is an internationally known Indigenous activist and has become a global symbol of US injustice and prison abuse. Imprisoned in the late 1970s for allegedly murdering two FBI agents, Peltier has never been given a fair trial. Federal authorities have quashed or destroyed thousands of pages of evidence that might have freed Peltier decades ago.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee points out that "Amnesty International considers Leonard Peltier to be a political prisoner whose avenues of redress have long been exhausted....Amnesty International recognizes that a retrial is no longer a feasible option and believes that Leonard Peltier should be immediately and unconditionally released."

The LPDOC adds that "Documents show that although the prosecution and government pointed the finger at Peltier for shooting FBI agents at close range during the trial in 1976, for three years the prosecution withheld critical ballistic test results proving that the fatal bullets could not have come from the gun tied to Leonard Peltier. This trial also denied evidence of self defense."

The LPDOC further notes that "The U.S. Prosecutor, during subsequent oral arguments, stated: 'We can't prove who shot those agents' and the Eighth Circuit found that "There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case."

Judge Heaney who authored the denial, now supports Mr. Peltier's release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to gain Mr. Peltier's conviction.

Now 64 years old, Peltier is suffering from diabetes and a series of other serious ailments brought on by his decades in prison. He has great- grandchildren he has never seen.

The gross miscarriage of justice in the case of Leonard Peltier has gone on long enough. He should be released immediately. Since he is a member of a sovereign Native nation, I ask that President Obama work "nation to nation" with the Turtle Mountain Chippewa to bring Peltier home to North Dakota.

Furthermore, Peltier has been a model prisoner for decades. He is long overdue for parole, but the FBI is improperly intervening to prevent his release.

At a time when the government is seeking to restore its international reputation by moving to close down the prison at Guantanamo, Leonard Peltier has been languishing unjustly in the U.S. prison system for decades longer than the Guantanamo prison has existed.

Release Leonard Peltier now!

(Your signature will be appended here based on the contact information you enter online. You will also have the opportunity to edit or personalize the text)

Please Let President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Penitentiary-Canaan Warden Ronnie R. Holt, Federal Bureau of Prisons Northeast Regional Director D. Scott Dodrill, U.S. Prisons Director Harley G. Lappin, the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the American Civil Liberties Union and members of the national media know you HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF LEONARD PELTIER!

Please submit the Hands Off Leonard Peltier - Release Him Now! ONLINE PETITION at NOW!

For more information on Leonard Peltier, go to

International Action Center
c/o Solidarity Center
55 W 17th St #5C
New York, NY 10011


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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Senate Stimulus Bill needs a nudge from constituents

Dear Friends and Readers,

In a previous email I informed some of you that the Senate economic stimulus bill appropriates $50 billion to new nuclear power plants. Since then I have learned that Senator Kit Bond is in fact a member of the Appropriations Committee, and also that this will not be introduced to the full Senate until sometime this coming week.

Therefore, I urge you, if you have not already done so to write and/or call him to let him know that the use of nuclear power is a defunct and expensive idea which few people support anymore. You should have time to do this for the next week, but the sooner the better.

Below is my version of a letter with links to further info.


Dear Senator Bond:

The news that the Senate Appropriations Committee has added fifty billion dollars ($50,000,000,000) to it's proposed stimulus package for the building of new nuclear power plants shocked and disappointed me. Perhaps the Committee is not adequately informed about nuclear power. It would take years to get around to doing this even if it were a good idea.

The facts are that even the study done by Congress itself shows that nuclear power is extremely expensive. Given the additional dangers of accidents it only presents us with further environmental and security dilemmas for our own and future generations.

The nuclear industry will, of course, tell a different story. Here in Missouri we are concerned with keeping the "no construction work in progress" (No-CWIP) provision in Missouri law so that Ameren UE does not imagine that it can add another power plant by charging its customers for an advance loan. This would be on top of a recent rate increase. The idea that the Federal Government would subsidize new nuclear plants is essentially the same thing, leaving a burden of debt that can perhaps never be repaid, dragging us down further. You are surely aware that the problem of storing spent nuclear waste remains unsolved. The only permanent storage solution proposed is Yucca Mountain, a venture too dangerous for towns and cities on the route there and for the tribal nations living near the mountain.

Even the newest thinking that existing nuclear waste can possibly be reused is simply conceptual at this point. How much more would it add to cost? In all my reading on the subject the only sources that support more building of nuclear power plants are ones from inside the nuclear industry. And other writers suggest that even the most conservative estimates of total costs could be less that the ultimate reality.

So-called "clean coal" is in essentially the same position-- there really is no such thing yet as "clean coal" and we will need to replace the coal power plants we already have with passive and renewable power sources. In the House Recovery Bill that was just passed 2.4 billion dollars are appropriated to carbon capture technology. From what I have read this is an iffy proposition. Comparing our own to European efforts to reduce carbon based air pollution, which contributes to climate change, we would be better off changing to the available passive sources, e.g. wind and solar. Some success has been achieved with hydro devices as well which are minimally intrusive to the environment.

The realized use of corn as a biofuel has demonstrated that it is also more expensive and polluting than was first predicted. At least it does not leave radioactive waste behind, but farmers who want to plant fields of biofuel are now looking into switch grass and other more efficient plant sources. This is an emerging science, not one that is established with well tested outcomes. Renewable fuels are an improvement over mining which further decimates the environment.

What we need right now are community based manageable alternatives that provide long term and acceptable solutions. This description usually refers to solar and wind power, which are already emerging in Missouri. But additionally using different building specifications including tighter insulation and more efficient use of square footage, with built-in passive energy capture and biologic additions such as roof gardening will be an already proven route to decreasing domestic energy consumption. Also we must retrofit buildings in our existing urban areas, as recommended by Van Jones and some social justice organizations. If such projects were subsidized by the stimulus plan now in Congress they could probably be in place relatively quickly, with ready labor in neighborhoods that were underemployed before the current depressed economy. Retrofitting rental properties that are Section 8 eligible is covered in the House Bill, and I support this proposal.

It is also essential that we increase green spaces and local gardens, something that has already been initiated in urban Missouri as well. Providing support for these sorts of efforts, helping neighbors to help their neighbors by planting vegetable and permaculture gardens, makes infinitely more sense, since it is based on readily initiated and time worn actions. These ideas could be implemented by nonprofit efforts or by local small businesses that would also spring up quickly if loans were available. They would add longer term jobs to the already conceptualized infrastructure repair projects.

One more area of concern is mass and distance transit. Both Kansas City and St. Louis could use funds to complete planned light rail projects. Also backing up passenger and freight rail would make far better sense economically and ecologically than new development of highways. To me it would be worthwhile to add a public information campaign that would promote rail over private automobile for distance travel.

Please discuss these ideas carefully with your fellow Senators of either party. We must address the economic crisis that is continuing, but certainly we have choices about how to do that. Wasting the money, even if it is only freshly printed paper, would be foolish. Most of the ideas I have presented will create jobs as well as reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Nuclear power and coal of any sort belong to the previous century.

Thank you for your attention to these issues, and for your work on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Undoubtedly it is difficult to stay up to date on every issue without a great deal of information input.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dream State of Mind

We are driving down a brown country road,

no town in sight, just low earthy mountains,

when we are stopped by the soldiers waiting for us

as though we are expected.

Everyone jumps out-- except me

because I'm not able. Yes, i'm vulnerable.

The officer looks in on me.

All the guns in the world can neither protect

nor threaten me. All that can is my state of mind,

the one thing I pack with me wherever I go, even to this dream.

We cannot mine for love the way we do for diamonds.

We cannot drill for forgiveness in the desert of our souls.

The sins of our forebears since industry revolted

are moving in with us like unwelcome relatives.

What is this monster we have called commerce,

power, or yoke? Aren't garage sales more fun and wondrous?

We have so much stuff here it threatens to choke us.

At least I know I do, but none of it's worthless.

Unless, that is, we add it to landfills, or flush it down drains.

Or continue buying more plastic water bottles

We need to be realistic, together, as we

wage our war against borders, barriers, walls,

tall buildings hemming persons in and others out.

Turn it around one plot of ground after another.

Plant gardens on our roofs, in our neighborhoods,

in our minds and spirits, our expectations, inspirations, artistry and work.

West Coast forests are slowly turning brown & dying--

why is a mystery. What are we doing in Afghanistan?

No one can lead us anywhere, forward or back,

to the right, to the left, up or down, without our consent.

We can never know precisely what will grow well

until it comes up. But we do have some clues.

The question now is where will the rain fall?

How many of us can these rains save from earth on hell?

Or relegate them there? Not just you and me, them over there too.

We have to pull in, downplay the spaces in between,

live a little more snugly, simply, interchangeably,

keeping reason, knowledge and skill among our riches.

Each of us is stronger than all the others in some way.

When we share our unique gifts, well, in unity is strength.

While we do nothing to face the conclusion

others remain in their fateful collusion.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tell Pres. Obama to intervene in Gaza

Several links to letters and a petition that you could participate in. We are all counting on Obama to change the direction, but he does have a lot of advisers who come from a neo-lib tradition who still need some convincing. Let them hear from you one way or another. At least give our new President some signatures he can present to Congress, the State Dept., etc. The first one leads you (after you sign) to a graphic that can be printed as a poster or pasted onto your blog or website. The pasting took some patience but was well worth it to me.

Thanks for your help.
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.  
Mohandas Gandhi

Saturday, January 17, 2009

No advance billing for Nuclear Power

I went to this page at Ameren to post the following message, also copying it to my Missouri legislators.

Absolutely no advance billing for any source of power should be allowed, least of all nuclear.

Solar, wind & recycling trash, plus sensible mass transit, make better sense.

Citizens will revolt against change in the law that protects them from fraud.

The Construction Work in Progress provision in Missouri State Law must be preserved.

Another look at current reality

But in order to bring about the necessary change more massive and quick change needs to occur on a global scale according to Susan George. Let's not just hope but insist to our new leadership this must be our main focus of "the new economy."

While we celebrate the arrival of a new First Family into the White House, and live in the exhilaration of this historic moment we also must remember that we have arrived at crucial times that will require us to work within and without the "system" to accomplish the necessary changes.

Most of the people who understand the essential nature of the upcoming challenges have been lining up for years to get their hands on the levers of change. Now that change has been promised us we have to continue to insist with loud voices that environment comes ahead of capitalism, politics, divisive competition and military exploitation in a world which will allow us to survive into another century.

BTW, in case you missed it, last evening's NOW on PBS included a segment on the Stirling engine as being promoted by a company in California. The controversy, though, is about how to insure that the power lines are in fact delivering the renewable energy as claimed. Huge corporations have earned legitimate distrust. Will they become known as robber barons or will they ever learn that this affects their lives and health as much as anyone else's?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Some sustainable energy solutions in Missouri

This article is promising a revolution of sorts. They have made kits for local start ups to manufacture solar panels. Do any of you have some business expertise? This could provide jobs as well as help the transition, although Taiwan is across the globe somewhere.

Another person who has been active in establishing some work on renewables in St. Louis is the Rev. Larry Rice, most known for his homeless shelter downtown. He has TV spots on his channel, 24? about solar panels, as well as wind turbines that are small enough to put on a roof.
Do any of you St. Louisans know any more about this? Could a renter install a wind turbine? How much power would it provide, for what cost, etc.?

We also have a wind farm in NW MO., only one I have heard about so far.

Actually what I find the most exciting is the relatively new project being worked on at SIUE (Southern Illinois University--Edwardsville) across the river from here. I think they may also have a connection with Washington University. The Green Roofs concept has been used widely in Europe from what I have read. It not only provides great insulation, especially for all these old flat roof buildings like I am currently living in, it also increases green space with benefits to the air, etc. Done properly, established rooftop gardens require very little maintenance since the plants are ones that live well on existing rainfall and tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

Anyone want to talk my landlord into installing one? ;-> Then I would not have to move. They are still a relatively expensive investment at this point, but perhaps eventually they will be helped along by government grants or something.

To me it seems obvious that we will have to take ahold of moving forward to such methods ourselves on local levels in order to reduce our dependence on foreign resources as well as the least desirable fossil fuels that continue to pollute and increase global warming. This will require a lot of political cooperation, but I do think that people are more ready now than ever. Ultimately it is one of the most helpful ways to work for world peace.
It is great to know that a lot of ecological approaches have been initiated in Missouri, and enthusiasm is building toward actual solutions instead of the same old denial arguments.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sustainability bubbles up from the grassroots.

(Dear yahoo group:)
My personal blog, which is due for another post 8-|, received a comment from a HopeDance webmaster that I needed to update their link. So, while there, I looked at the Transistion Town Initiative, which led me eventually to the Transistion MO page where you had posted this yahoo group. I decided to start with the yahoo group since I am already a member of several other y-groups.

Some of these ideas are ones that I have been mulling over during the past year. My blog, which I started in June, has been focused mostly on actions related to politics and peace. However, in truth, I would like to refocus it more concretely on environmental concerns, and the now emerging new reversal of the old slogan to "Think locally, act globally."

Prior to starting the blog I spent about three years as webmaster for Missourians for Honest Elections.Then the webserver was attacked by some mysterious vector or hacker and all my work for the previous six months was lost. That was when I decided to change my focus to a broader scope. This article expresses a point of view that I agree with in terms of the voting reform movement. Continued oversight is needed, but without civic participation casting our vote is worth less than we think.

The small community I live in is Maplewood, MO., an inner suburb in St. Louis County with a diverse working class population. We have a large number of reasonably priced apartments besides some more upscale residential neighborhoods, and the area has experienced an economic boom during the past few years. So we have a busy business area that extends across into The City. Since the economic slump the thought of a local community exchange has crossed my mind. I first heard about the concept regarding some town in the North East, maybe in Vermont. In that case the currency was based on work hours, e.g., one hour of gardening in exchange for an hour of cooking. Or fifteen minutes with a doctor for fifteen minutes of car repair. Some people that I have had conversations with in the coffee shop on the corner have said we might have to resort to bartering at some point, so I think it is a good idea for individuals to polish the skills they have and learn some of the older arts which we have largely left behind.

My own little place is on the third (top) floor across the street from a one block square park through which the Gateway Arch and the city skyline can be seen from the west, beautiful at sunrise and moonrise. (It is more usually photographed from the Illinois side of the river.)

Much of the news around the world is tragic with events outside my control, although I believe we must let our legislators and leaders know our points of view. To my thinking the emerging climate crisis is the cause of much of the conflict, poverty and migration, which is based on corporate greed for resources without regard for humanity. Still I see signs of new realizations, such as the Portugal town where solar power has been installed as a source of income.

We do have people around here who are interested in the slow food movement, with the local taproom/microbrewery/restaurant, Schlafly's, being their meeting place. No, I haven't yet been to one of their meetings, but it is something I hope to do eventually.

Also, in the City of St. Louis, we have a number of community gardens, more than I even realized until I started to look online. The idea of starting up a community garden (besides the one that Schlafly's grows) appeals to me, although I have some personal limitations that would require help from more able-bodied friends. These are just thoughts that are in no way yet actualized.

Meanwhile I need to focus on whether I can continue to live in this small apartment by convincing my landlord it needs serious modifications-- or if I will be able to move to one that is more conducive to my health. Besides the stair climbing to do laundry, the roof has virtually no insulation so it is cold in here in the winter and hot in the summer. Since I do not have a car I spend more time close to home than the average person. But there are buses and the MetoLink train within walking distance.

Over a decade ago I lived at a small communal living space out in the country near the St. Francois River. We did have a community garden there which was quite wonderful. It fed us as well as guests who came there for weekends. We recycled all our vegetarian garbage into the compost pile. This sort of work, I believe, is extremely useful to the planet as well as local communities in the most urban of spaces because gardening is something of a mystical experience besides contributing to decrease in use of fuel for shipping, agribusiness, etc.

Currently my gardening is limited to house plants and "cat grass," although I do have a back fire escape where I can keep a few containers during the warm months.

So, for the time being my presence on this group may be as something of a lurker, since I need to attend to personal needs before initiating a lot of other changes in my life.

Thanks for setting up this group as well posting on the Transition MO page. We are living in exciting times when change does indeed seem possible-- indeed, essential to survival. Let's not just hope but work in each our own ways to actualize the responses to climate changes which will definitely require both individual and group efforts.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Free Gaza Movement Actions

Could you do me a favor and pass this Fox 2 News interview of Hedy Epstein around to your Jewish friends please? Pertzborn asks how the Jewish community reacts to her, and I believe more of our local Jewish people would support her views than she realizes.

Contact info & other stuff about her can be found on her website.

Fox 2 News video.
Some of the articles I have read from the UK & other places suggest that this current conflict was initiated by Israel, not the other way around. There are also vigils being held around town by IOW.

Here also is a petition offered by Ramsey Clark. And thank you to all who can help.

Urgent Appeal for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza!

To: President George W. Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton, Vice President Richard Cheney, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Congressional leaders, U.N. Secretary General Ban, U.N. General Assembly President d'Escoto-Brockmann, members of the U.N. Security Council, U.N. member states, the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet and Opposition leader of Israel, and Major media representatives:

For 60 years, Israel has persecuted the Palestinian people with impunity in defiance of United Nations General Assembly and United Nations Security Council Resolutions, orders of the International Court of Justice, International Law and fundamental human rights.

Throughout the years, Israel has proclaimed itself the victim as it grew richer, more powerful and more violent, while
The International Action Center is mobilizing for demonstrations across the U.S. to stop the attack on Gaza, and we are networking with activists across the globe who are taking to the streets against U.S./Israeli war crimes. To view a roundup of the growing number of international actions, see:

Please consider making an emergency donation at
to help with the costs of organizing and mobilizing.

Palestinians were abused, impoverished, divided and demeaned.

A consistent tactic of Israel through all the years has been to divide Palestinians against their most effective organizations. Through most of the recent years Israel has attacked Fatah. Now it is Hamas that Israel attacks. But there is only one Palestinian people and there can be only one Palestinian State. This has been the guiding principle of the PLO. Israel's policy has always been to destroy the possibility of a Palestinian State. Its criminal assault on Hamas is in truth Israel's continuing assault on the possibility of a Palestinian State: divide and conquer.

Now in the waning days of the disastrous Bush Administration, the government of Israel with its Prime Minister under criminal indictment, is testing whether world opinion will permit it to escalate its isolation and impoverishment of Palestine and selective and systematic assassination of Palestinian leadership in Gaza to a genocidal, indiscriminate assault and invasion of Palestinian Gaza, knowing full well its acts will inflame passions throughout the Middle East and Arab and Muslim worlds risking conflict of disastrous magnitude in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, even between India and Pakistan.

Beyond crushing Gaza's capacity to resist and imposing its final solution on Palestinians, Israel is seeking confrontation that will lead to war with the U.S., the European Union, and NATO fighting for Israel against Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to impair their ability to prevent expansion of Israel's domination of the region while the "only one President at a time" the U.S. has, George W. Bush, will support Israel, finding all fault with Gaza.

In these dangerous and difficult days and hours the undersigned call upon the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, NATO members, and European countries independently, the governments of Asia, foremost China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, the nations of Africa, and the Americas to demand an immediate ceasefire throughout Israel and Palestine and the assurance of peace. All borders to Gaza, Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, must be opened for humanitarian relief and a complete arms and trade embargo on Israel until it fully complies with all the requirements of permanent peace.

We call upon all the people, the ultimate power in every nation when organized and energized, to take to the streets where they live and demand that their governments do all in their power to cause Israel to stop its war of aggression against Palestine and for all parties to pursue peace and for Israel, the U.S. and other nations who have provided material support for Israel's aggression to be held accountable for the deaths, injuries and damage Israel has inflicted.

We call upon governments and humanitarian agencies to provide all needed emergency relief to Palestine - medical care, food, humanitarian supplies, shelter; and on all the media that truly seeks peace, justice and respect for the equal dignity of every child, woman and man on earth to headline the demand that Israel stop its aggression immediately. All parties must engage in continuous negotiation with all Palestinians until a one state solution is agreed or the state of Palestine as mandated not later than October 1948 in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947) is created, fully implemented, and Palestine thrives.


Initiated and signed by
Ramsey Clark, winner, 2008 U.N.Human Rights Award and Founder, International Action Center

Add your signature to this letter now - go to