Memo to President Bush

The Big Picture Vol.1

(I’ll be putting this in Orange in an hour or so)

There has been a sea change in the time since I have started working on Docudharma and neglecting my other blogging stuff. The anticipation of that sea change is one of the reasons I started Docudharma. I began to see that the Dems were locked in to their “Don’t Oppose Bush and We Will Win in ’08” strategy and were NOT going to make a serious effort to hold Bush accountable for his many crimes….and that they weren’t even SERIOUSLY going to try to end the war.

It occurred to me that ACTIVISM on blogs was about to become pretty irrelevant as far as Congress was concerned. Why spend time lobbying for something they have absolutely no intention of doing?

And with so much time left in Bush’s term….what should we do next? What do we do now? What is the Big Picture?

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Now I am in no way saying that political blogging is dead or a waste of time….What I am saying is that I need to change strategies, shift away from trying to lobby Congress to Impeach or Not Fund.

(A quick note, I do still plan to essay on impeachment…..on holding the criminals responsible, I/we just need a new strategy. I’m working on it!)

It seems like direct action such as last weeks protest and the idea of a General Strike are now the only viable options for short term change….I support these fully and will do all I can and all we can at Docudharma to organize and help with these efforts. As I say below….The People are the key now. Not Congress.

I try to stay away from huge declarations. I like asking questions better. After all, we are not dealing with a concrete monolithic unchanging reality, we are dealing with the political PROCESS and so our responses and tactics and strategies need to be an evolving process as well.

So I will list a few thoughts that are informing my thinking and then ask some questions. Now that I am calming down from all the excitement and firefighting of the launch of Docudharma, I can finally take part in THIS part of the ongoing, long term conversation that is part of the reason for creating this place. Iow….Blogging The Future!


One of the big things that blogs have done is greatly increase the number of people that NOW have some real info on how our government works.

The same for Geo-politics.

The same for the political aspects of organized religion.

Many many people are now VERY informed on what the problems and challenges of the 21st Century are on a deeper and more detailed level than ever before.


We now have concrete proof that the government will not represent The People unless it is forced too. Our representatives in our representative democracy represent the money that gets them elected. The netroots are a small…but important, percentage of that. Public financing is the obvious solution here….but there are a few obstacles to that i e ….politicians and the money they represent!

While not a CONSCIOUS conspiracy en toto….It has become obvious that there are forces like the MIC (and Blackwater, to use the hot topic example) that actively work against peace and The Peoples interest. These forces constitute what can only be called an immoral force in the world. They kill and destroy for profit. What is immoral if not that?

The other part of the MOSTLY unconscious conspiracy are institutions like banks/financial institutions, insurance companies and of course…..Oil companies. All of whom, especially under Bushco….have gone hog wild on reaping as much profit as possible while totally disregarding anything else. Like…..humans, or ….the planet.

This unconscious conspiracy has been allowed to flower under Bush. In the process they have removed any doubt as to where there motivations and aspirations lie, and what they will do if left unfettered in their corporate personhood.

Republicanism gone wild.

Which of course was the whole point of Bushco. The one way in which they have succeeded. To say they had no intention of actually governing and are in power with the goal of raping looting and pillaging the planet while in office is a bit of an understatement, since they also wanted to create a permanent Republican majority to permanently rape, loot, and pillage.

Ok, that is enough for now….as I say, we know this now and you are all smart enough to extrapolate on this knowledge to see what kind of society, country and planet THEY are working to create.


Climate Crisis is a HUGE part of the world they want to create, and they have NO plan to deal with it, besides ‘getting theirs’ before it is too late. We are not just talking politics as a game, here!

The first question thus becomes….

Without the Dems to represent us in opposing them, how CAN we effectively do so?

The goal of electing more and better Dems is still a VERY good and valiant one and WELL worth working for….as it has been since Bushco gained power. Markos is RIGHT, that is the most effective medium range strategy. We can see it has pretty much failed in the short term, though.

We have a year and change left of Bushco. Most of that year will now be consumed by the campaign to elect more and better Dems and a Dem President. That WILL change things and of course we MUST do all we can to accomplish that. But that will merely change ….stuff. It won’t solve the deeper problems.

At the beginning of this piece I said I don’t like making big declarative statements….but I am going to here.

There is only one thing that will work. Some new form of populism. The People uniting.

I will leave it to the many folks here that are smarter than me to define populism and recount its history and cyclical nature. (hint hint!) But our last real encounter with it here was during The depression and led to the NEW Deal…which defined the America we all grew up with and a LOT of the values we all hold.

Does anyone here think we don’t need a NEW New Deal?

There are also the Velvet Revolution and the Orange Revolution to study (I think! I am almost completely ignorant of these by blog standards.)

NOTE: I am NOT talking about Armed Revolution. For one thing, “they” have planned for that and it won’t work!

For anyone who missed it Kid Oakland had a great, great piece on where we are right now.

And I was semi-amazed that OPOL also wrote of much of this last night, but since it really is what needs to happen…I am not TOO surprised. I think it is the conclusion that a lot of us have…generally speaking….come to….Some sort of new populism to take the government back.

Some way to establish a new paradigm….it is unquestionably what needs to happen.

The question is of course….HOW do we do that?

Thanks to the blogs we have a huge number of informed and involved citizens. That will only grow and increase in power over the years.

So the two Big Questions of the Big Picture are:

What form will be most successful for a new populism?

And how do we make it happen.

This is just the start of this Loooooong conversation on Docudharma (and at Dkos hopefully, wedged in between candidate diaries.)….PLEASE jump all over me and tell me where I am wrong and stuff! We need to get this right and vigorous unfettered enter constructive debate is the only way to do that.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective


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I was never a Rush fan until I started transition.  I’m not sure why I stated listening.  But I did see them up close and personal when they played Juanita’s in Little Rock.

Earlier today, in the 9am slot, I ended with Neil Young, whose third album was entitled go here After the Gold Rush.  Free association happens. 

New World Man

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source link Roll the Bones

Please do not recommend a Pony Party when you see one.  There will be another along in a few hours.

–The Man

These were the bad old days…

A couple of days ago, someone tried to chase me out of his diary about sex discrimination because, you know, only women can be victims of sex discrimination.  Put me in my place he did.  To him, I’m not a woman.  So I was never a victim of sexual harassment in my place of work, but maybe some other kind, I guess.

But he has “impeccable liberal credentials,” so, you know, I should just shut up.

I can’t do that.  I am morally and ethically incapable of shutting up.

So I remembered a piece from long ago, written in June of 1994, less than a month before the beginning of Diary.

Cross-posted in Orange Harassment

Fear is what makes people do things like this.  My very existence challenges the foundations of their beliefs.  I am well aware that their actions were not caused by me, but are the result of their own inner problems.  But it still hurts to be the recipient of those actions.

As they say in Arkansas, “if I had my druthers,” I’d rather live elsewhere.  It hasn’t been easy to transition here, but I haven’t had a lot of choice.  As a tenured professor, I have job security.  The job market right now is very bad and I know that with hundreds of people applying for every job, departments look for any little thing to disqualify applicants…I’m afraid the fact that I am currently still in transition would fall in that category.  Unfortunately, I have few skills I could fall back on to get alternate employment.

Back?stabbing is a state pastime.  Speak nicely to people until they are out of sight and then do your best to besmirch their reputation, question their morals, and/or criticize their lifestyle.

One thing I learned here is that you cannot say anything negative about this state or its inhabitants if you are not from here. That is a sure way to be ostracized from the community.  I have never really been a part of this community, though.  When I moved here, I arrived with long hair and a full beard…an acknowledged “aging hippie.”  My liberal politics and anti?intolerance attitude didn’t fit in.

Hopefully, by next year at this time, I will be moving elsewhere. This portion of my transition is almost at an end (59 days to surgery).  As a friend, Arlene Allen, once said to me, “it may not be easy to transition on a college campus, where you must do it in public, but we have access to things that many transsexuals don’t have access to…among them job security and the money to finance the change.”  I have not been the most frugal person through my transition, often traveling to get away from here  (A week in San Antonio in January of ’93, one month on the west coast last May/June, 3 days at the Rainbow Gathering last July, 6 days in New Jersey last August, 4 days in Virginia and Pittsburgh last Thanksgiving, 12 glorious days of honeymoon in Hawaii last December/January), a weekend in Virginia in March, and spring break in Bloomington, IN, in March with my SO).

Still, with all this traveling and lots of bills I got custody of from my divorce, I will be able to afford my surgery this August.

The impression that I have very little support here locally is an erroneous one.  I know it appears that way because I mostly post about local conditions when I am hurting.  I do have people who support me.  The college students on campus here are for the most part supportive of me and so is about half of the faculty.  It’s true that fewer of these people are around in the summer semester, but I manage, most of the time.

I am not trying to be a martyr here.  When I first transitioned, I had a fear that I might become one.  I don’t have that fear anymore.  It has been hard transitioning here, but I think it has made me a stronger person for it, and in the process, I have had the chance to educate several thousand people about tolerance and diversity.  Being open about myself has given courage to other transsexuals in this state…I’ve had about 10 ts’s come to me for help initially that are currently in therapy with an eye towards starting hormones soon (the majority of them ftm).

Gay couples walk hand in hand in the Walmart here now.  Being gay has become, if not socially acceptable, something not to be ashamed of (after all, they could be worse…i.e. transsexual… right? 🙂  )  My hairdresser and his partner are openly gay here…my hairdresser was one of the original 12 people that threw the cops out of the Stonewall Bar in NYC when the cops came to hassle a DQ named Jose.  John has a thriving business here.

I went to an International Students Banquet a few months ago…one of my colleagues brought her partner.  They were the object of lots of craning necks, but no one said anything vicious, even though they were open about their affection, like any loving couple should be allowed to be.

If I have had a hand in opening a few minds here and allowing other people freedoms that they did not feel before, then I think I’ve done some good.

I know how to take care of myself.  It may not seem like it, but I am an eternal optimist (as April can tell you 🙂 )  Things do always get better.  I am enjoying my life, most of the time. Sure, there are times I get depressed.  But it usually doesn’t last long, and then I try to do something to change things a bit.

Today, I am writing to the American Legion, complaining about the treatment and demanding a formal apology.  Originally, I was just going to write to the state office of the AL…but it has been suggested that perhaps writing to the national office would be more effective…after all, I was not the only person harassed at these gatherings around the country, I’m sure.  I personally know of a woman in Nebraska that was harassed.

I have no choice to be out.  I work for the state as a college professor.  Attention is focused on me most places I go.  That’s just the nature of my life right now.

I would rather the story about me that was picked up by the AP and the 6:00 news had been better, but as it was, it was not that bad.

This was not about “passing.”  One can hardly pass in an atmosphere where everyone knows.  This was about people being mean and nasty, intentionally.  Sitting still doesn’t help the situation.  All that does is make it seem that doing it is okay. Well, it is not okay with me, and I believe that writing the letter might possibly do some good.  It might not, but not sending the letter will surely not do any good.


June 12, 1994

American Legion
700 N Pennsylvania St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Sirs:

From June 6th through June 10th, the Arkansas Boys State held a convention on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas, under the auspices of your organization.  I am a mathematics professor at that university.

For the first couple of days, the event seemed to run fairly smoothly.  My office is very close to the auditorium where the meetings were held and I could overhear the veterans of World War II talking about their experiences on D?Day (which seemed to be a major theme).  Several times, students stopped by my office, asking directions to the restrooms or the pay phone.  On one occasion I gave a pen to one of the students.  Another time I let one of the students use my phone to make a local call.  I tried to be as helpful as my duties permitted.

On Wednesday, June 8th, I became the object of harassment by the boys.  Sexual slurs and innuendos were directed towards me on many occasions.  My door was pushed open several times so that students could look inside.  The participants went out of their way to walk by my office, peek in and make comments.  All in all, the boys acted very rudely.

I complained to one of the counselors about the behavior that afternoon and again on Thursday morning, when the harassment continued.  I was told that the students had been told to apologize.  Indeed, four of the boys came by a little later to apologize for the behavior of those from their county and said that the harassment would cease.  I accepted their apology.  The harassment did not cease.  Instead, if anything, it got worse. Some of the junior counselors even took part.  When I complained to one of the senior counselors, I was told that they had no control over what the boys did or how they behaved.  They did post a counselor outside my office from time to time, but they seemed to do little to try to stop the harassment.

Friday morning was even worse than the previous two days.  I was holding office hours and my conversations with students were interrupted by constant insults and derogatory remarks from the boys as they passed my office.  None of the counselors appeared to try to stop it, nor did any of the counselors apologize to me.

It has always been my view that visitors anywhere should treat the people at the place with dignity and respect.  The boys were supposedly learning about respecting veterans, from what I could tell.  I happen to be a veteran, having served during the Vietnam War at the grade of E5 as a correctional specialist in the Army. It is clear that the students did not respect me, nor did the counselors.

I believe that your organization owes me, at the very least, a formal apology.  Perhaps you should include sessions in civility as well as sessions on citizenship in your programs.  Having talked to a few people at campuses in other states, such behavior seems to be widespread.  Harassment of women on campuses seems to be tacitly encouraged since it seems to not be controlled.  I would hope to see better behavior from boys who your organizations likes to tout as leaders among high school students.  They ought to be ashamed of themselves and you ought to be ashamed of them.

Robyn Elaine Serven, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics
University of Central Arkansas
Conway, AR 72032


Strangely enough, I never did get a response.  I didn’t really think I would get one.

This episode spawned a poem.  Some of you have seen it before.

Art Link
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lasix 140 mg We are Normal: a duet

Would you please
Lend me food?
I am hungry.

prednisone 5 mg and dog We do not know you.
You are alien.
You are not welcome.
We are normal.
Can I please
Share your water?
I am thirsty.
We own the water.
You are strange.
You cannot have any.
We are normal.
Will you then
Share your fire?
I am cold.
We need all the warmth.
You are other.
You must go away.
We are normal.
Is it too much to ask,
To be able to live,
To be able to be?
We don’t like your kind.
You are different.
You make us think too much.
We are normal.
But all I want is
To live in peace,
To be happy.
You have no right to be happy.
You offend us.
You hurt us by existing.
We are normal.
I know how to love,
How to care,
How to hurt.
You are not one of us.
You don’t belong.
We want you to die.
We are normal.
–Robyn Elaine Serven
—June, 1994

The System is Broken – but we can fix it….

In Harper’s October issue Garret Keizer writes Specific Suggestion: General Strike.  He looks the reality that the system is broken straight in the eye and, like me, sees impeachment as the solution.  He calls for “not working until the president and the shadow president resign or [are] impeached.”

Follow me down to hear him address the loss of hope.

Of all the various depredations of the Bush regime, none has been so thorough as its plundering of hope. Iraq will recover sooner. What was supposed to have been the crux of our foreign policy-a shock-and-awe tutorial on the utter futility of any opposition to the whims of American power-has achieved its greatest and perhaps its only lasting success in the American soul. You will want to cite the exceptions, the lunch-hour protests against the war, the dinner-party ejaculations of dissent, though you might also want to ask what substantive difference they bear to grousing about the weather or even to raging against the dying of the light-that is, to any ritualized complaint against forces universally acknowledged as unalterable. Bush is no longer the name of a president so much as the abbreviation of a proverb, something between Murphy’s Law and tomorrow’s fatal inducement to drink and be merry today.

If someone were to suggest, for example, that we begin a general strike on Election Day, November 6, 2007, for the sole purpose of removing this regime from power, how readily and with what well-practiced assurance would you find yourself producing the words “It won’t do any good”? Plausible and even courageous in the mouth of a patient who knows he’s going to die, the sentiment fits equally well in the heart of a citizen-ry that believes it is already dead.

Read the rest. And please pass this on to everyone you know and let’s make this happen.

Permission to Fly, Sir

When one distrusts corporate media as much as I do news which will directly affect my life has to come from other sources.  This is from one of them.  My daughter is set to fly to California next week and I’m scared shitless.

If you can, please attend the TSA hearings on Thursday (Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, N.W. beginning at 8:00am). If you can´t attend in person, you have until October 22, 2007 to submit written comments through the Docket Management System. The docket number is TSA-2007-28572.


Buried in the September 5 issue of the Federal Register, was a notice that Thursday, September 20, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will hold public hearings on their so-called Secure Flight Plan.…

Come with me into a nightmare world where American citizens will have to obtain permission from the government before they can travel by air in the U.S. Your government (meaning the Department of Homeland Security) is up to no good. February 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement their ¨Advance Passenger Information System (APIS),¨ the gist of which is that you will need permission from the United States Government to travel on any air or sea vessel that goes to, from or through the U.S. The travel companies will not be able to issue a boarding pass until you are cleared by DHS. This applies to ALL passengers, US citizens and visitors alike. And how do you get said permission to travel? That´s for your government to know and you to never find out.

Now TSA proposes to do for domestic travel what APIS will do for international routes. That´s what I said: the new TSA rule would require that you obtain PERMISSION to travel within the U.S. Here is the summary of their proposed rules, which seem so reasonable, couched as they are in the
blandness of governmenteez [emphasis added]. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) requires the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) to assume from aircraft operators the function of conducting pre-flight comparisons of airline passenger information to Federal Government watch lists for international and domestic flights.


This rule proposes to allow TSA to … receive passenger and certain non-traveler information, conduct watch list matching … and transmit boarding pass printing instructions back to aircraft operators.


TSA would do so in a consistent and accurate manner while minimizing false matches and protecting privacy information. Right. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn…

We propose that, when the Secure Flight rule becomes final, aircraft operators would submit passenger information to DHS through a single DHS portal for both the Secure Flight and APIS programs. This would [result] in one DHS system responsible for watch list matching for all aviation passengers.

Don´t you feel great knowing that your government will use economies of scale to protect you?

Edward Hasbrough states that these rules are more insidious than merely complying to demands for ¨Your papers please.¨ He states, The proposal … require[s] that travellers display their government-issued credentials not to government agents but to airline personnel (staff or contractors), whenever the DHS orders the airline to demand them. But since the orders to demand ID of [certain passengers] will be given to the airline in secret, … travellers will have no way to verify whether … demands for ID are actually based on government orders.

Think about that: you will not be allowed to verify if the person demanding your papers is actually authorized to do so. In addition, the airlines or their contractors (or sub or even sub sub contractors) have the right, under the proposed rules, to do anything they like with your personal information including: keep copies of your passport … as long as they like, use it, publish it, broadcast it, sell it, rent it, or pass it on to whomever they please…. [T]hey would have no obligation to get your permission for any of this.

Aside from the privacy issue, this is the DHS. Their past performance is an indication of future returns and we can look forward to true travel nightmares beginning February 19, 2008. Just think about the mess that occurred when CBP demanded that travelers to Canada and Mexico have a passport. Multiply that by orders of magnitude to imagine what travelers will be facing. If you can, please attend the TSA hearings on Thursday (Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, N.W. beginning at 8:00am). If you can´t attend in person, you have until October 22, 2007 to submit written comments through the Docket Management System. The docket number is TSA-2007-28572.

The Identity Project at Papers Please is working to prevent your government from robbing you of your right to privacy in your movements.


Merry meet all –

Mabon is one of the eight solar holidays or sabbats of Neopaganism. It is celebrated on the autumn equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere circa September 22 – 24 and in the Southern Hemisphere around March 20.

We give-away our thanks to the earth which gives us our home.
We give-away our thanks to the rivers and lakes which give-away their water.
We give-away our thanks to the trees which give-away fruit and nuts.
We give-away our thanks to the wind which brings rain to water the plants.
We give-away our thanks to the sun who gives-away warmth and light.
All beings on earth: the trees, the animals, the wind and the rivers give-away to one another so all is in balance.
We give-away our promise to begin to learn how to stay in balance with all the earth.
‘Give-Away Thanksgiving Chant’ for Equinox Festival, from La Chapelle, Dolores, Earth Festivals

Leaves are falling below the fold.

Rite for Mabon

Quarter Calls
Hail to thee guardians of the watchtowers of the East, the Powers of Water.
Autumn brook with crisp waves flowing. Flow within to cleanse away what is no longer needed. Help us to find the right course to inner strength and wisdom.
So mote it be.

Hail to thee guardians of the watchtowers of the South, the Powers of Air.
Autumn winds of warm gales and chilly nights. Clearing away old thoughts and habits. Help us to listen to the voice within and heed it’s wisdom.
So mote it be.

Hail to thee guardians of the watchtowers of the West, the Powers of Fire.
Autumn fires of fallen leaves. Burning away the old debris. Spark the flame within us and show the way to inner knowledge and wisdom.
So mote it be.

North Hail to thee guardians of the watchtowers of the North, the Powers of Earth.
Autumn leaves with red and golden hues. Bringing forth the transformation of life. Guide us towards the inner transformation of the mysteries and wisdom.
So mote it be.

In Greek mythology, Autumn begins as Persephone returns to the Underworld to live with Hades, her husband. The myth says that Demeter’s daughter, Kore, had taken a day to pick flowers in a meadow when the Earth opened up, and Hades pulled the girl into the Underworld to become his bride. Kore’s name became Persephone when she married Hades. For nine straight days, Demeter searched for Kore, with no success. In misery and despiration, Demeter questioned Helios, the Sun God, who informed her that her brother, Zeus, had given the girl to Hades. Furious, Demeter left Olympus to roam the Earth disguised as an old woman, ending up settled in her temple at Eleusis. Soon after, she cursed the Earth so it would yield no crops. Zeus sent her a frantic message inquiring as to why she had prevented growth on the planet. She replied that there would be no regeneration of vegetation on the Earth until her daughter, Kore, was safely returned.

Zeus immediately dispatched Hermes into the Underworld to retrieve the girl. Hades, not wanting to relinquish his bride permanently, convinced Persephone to eat some pomegranate seeds before she returned to her mother, Demeter. Demeter was yet again distraught when she learned of this trickery! Finally, Zeus declared that Kore-Persephone would live with her mother during one half of the year and return to her husband, Hades, during the other half. In thanks, Demeter lifted the curse on the Earth, creating Spring. Every year hence, during her time of greatest sorrow, Demeter renews the curse, as her daughter returns to Hades and the Underworld.

Have I ever revealed this before? That’s my personal myth-cycle, (very compatible with the CAW metaphysic) the Eleusinean mysteries.
There’s not too much I can say about that…….

except, of course, however you spin it, a blessed Mabon to you and yours, from….us and ours.

Ablutions (Bless all participants)
Evoking Lady & Lord

Ladies of the Harvest,
Goddess Mother,
Brighid, Goddess of Transformation,
Keeper of the Cauldron, Cerridwen.
As the balance of nature starts it’s shift
from Mother to Crone.
We look within to partake of the knowledge and wisdom you have given to us.
We call upon you to help guide the way.
Blessed Be.

Lords of the Harvest,
Great Father, Dagda,
Horned One, Great Warrior,Cernunnos.
Now is the time of the second harvest,
when the sun enters his waning time.
Before the last rays of light descend behind the night.
Illuminate our path to our inner being.
We call upon you to help guide the way.
Blessed Be.

Reason for Rite
In the trees seeds ripen as the sap runs down again into the earth, reminding us that the balance is about to shift as we turn from the lightness into the dark.

All around us trees are starting to change their colors, each according to it’s own schedule. The second harvest has been brought in and the sun is mellower and less fierce than he was.

Now comes the dusk of the sun a time of banishing and cleansing. The second harvest turns our attention within, while without, the world prepares for sleep.

The nuts of hazel trees are associated with wisdom and particularly with occult and ancient wisdom. Amulets of hazel nuts strung together on a red thread are protective against harmful magick and necklaces of hazel nuts might be worn when seeking occult wisdom or learning magick.

Charge Charms – Sing these chants:
“She changes everything she touches”
“Touching her Deep”
“Horned One”

never thirst

Thank the Lady & Lord
Ladies of the Harvest,
the journey of a lifetime starts with one step.
With your guidance the journey we will make will lead us down the path of wisdom.
May we always heed your call and reap the knowledge you offer us.
Stay if you will, go if you must.
Blessed Be.

Lords of the Harvest,
The path of illumination is not always clear.
The light you send to us has a dark time.
With your guidance we will learn,
that even when it is dark,
There is a light that shines within to light the way.
Stay if you will, go if you must.
Blessed Be.

Quarter Dismissals

Hail to thee guardians of the East, the Powers of Water.
The ever-present flow of water within us, guides us to our inner being. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee hail and farewell. Harm ye none on your way.
So mote it be.

Hail to thee guardians of the South, the Powers of Air.
The inner voice inside us all calls us to partake of our inner wisdom. Let us heed the call. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee hail and farewell. Harm ye none on your way.
So mote it be.

Hail to thee guardians of the West, the Powers of Fire.
The eternal flame of knowledge and wisdom that burns within us, shows us the way. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee hail and farewell. Harm ye none on your way.
So mote it be.

Hail to thee guardians of the North, the Powers of Earth.
The evaluations of life guides us to the caverns of knowledge and wisdom within. As ye depart to your mighty realms, we bid thee hail and farewell. Harm ye none on your way.
So mote it be.

Four Lights Prayer
Eye of the World Prayer
(or whatever closing ceremonies you prefer)
Ground Circle

The circle, always open, never broken.
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.

and never again the burning

The MoveOn.Kos/Nader-like,

Far left wing of the Democratic Party must decide which is more important: 1) Failing to elect a President that strictly follows the far left puritan doctrine or, 2) Electing another President from the Bush community. Everyone on the right of center is (completely) intolerable. Some Democratic candidates have expressed broader based views than is permissible in left land. So which will it be in 2008? A president from the Right who is antithetical to every interest of the Center and the Left? Or, will it be a president who will preside over policies that are mostly acceptable to the Center and the Left? No candidate is perfect.


There is an alternative. Members of the Party should begin the work of establishing the best candidate and the best running mate to gain the first objective …election, beat the Republicans. Some seem to have the notion that any Democrat will beat any Republican in 2008. I wish that were true, but I doubt that argument will be sustained. The Democratic Party must field the candidate (and a running mate) who will appeal broadly to the Party and to the Independent swing voters who typically make the difference at general election time. If the Party chooses to select a candidate who espouses only far-left rhetoric, the election is in jeopardy.

What is far left.

  • Broad-based increase in taxes, equitable redistribution of the tax burden to all people / corporations.
  • Defunding the troops in Iraq.
  • Complete, immediate, unconditional withdrawal from Iraq.
  • Abolishment of the current health care system and substitution of a single-payer, government provided health care system for everyone.
  • Continuation of the current social security system.
  • Registration / control of guns.
  • Empathy for illegal aliens currently in the country.
  • Discontinuance of spying on Americans without a court order.
  • Truthfulness in government, political and corporate leaders.
  • Rebuilding of our international relationships; political, economic, trade, cultural, etc.
  • Public funding of elections.
  • Non-ideological, secular judges for the Courts.
  • Term limits for all elected offices.
  • Shorter election cycles, primary seasons.
  • Equal rights, under the Constitution, to all.
  • A home for every individual.
  • Freedom from hunger.
  • An education (to the heights of one’s desires and ability) for everyone.
  • Opportunity for each to attain his/her dreams.
  • A livable environment for ourselves and all succeeding generations.
  • A boy named Dick, a girl named Jane and a dog named Spot for every home.

And, I suppose a Play Station for the boys, a Molly Make-Up kit for the girls, a motor bike or a set of wheels for the teenagers, work and transportation for the adults.

Damn, I consider myself Centrist, but I could go for most of these far-Left views. When will the Democratic Party began to come together on a consensus to elect the next President of the United States? Must it wait for Iowa, New Hampshire, February 5th?

Why Do GOP “Values” Voters Hate America?

Via Steve Benen and PFAW, here’s why:

Why should God bless America?
She’s forgotten he exists
And has turned her back
On everything that made her what she is

Why should God stand beside her
Through the night with the light from his hand?
God have mercy on America
Forgive her sin and heal our land

The courts ruled prayer out of our schools
In June of ’62
Told the children “you are your own God now
So you can make the rules”
O say can you see what that choice
Has cost us to this day
America, one nation under God, has gone astray

. . . In ’73 the Courts said we
Could take the unborn lives
The choice is yours don’t worry now
It’s not a wrong, it’s your right

But just because they made it law
Does not change God’s command
The most that we can hope for is
God’s mercy on our land

. . .(Reading from 2nd Chronicles 7:14) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land

God have mercy on America forgive her sins and heal our land

Statistics 101: Part 2 measures of spread

Yesterday, we looked at measures of central tendency.  Today, we will look at measures of spread, and tomorrow, measures of shape .  One way of looking at a measure of central tendency is as your best guess of what something will be.  Measures of spread tell you how good that guess is, and measures of shape tell you how you are likely to be wrong.

Statistics can be divided into two big areas: Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.  Descriptive statistics is about describing data, and inferential statistics is about making inferences from a sample to a population.  Suppose, for instance, you were interested in the average income of adults in the USA.  You can’t get the information on the whole population, so you take a sample.  (We’ll get into ways to do this in a later diary).  When you try to say things about the whole population based on your sample, that’s inferential statistics. When you are just talking about your sample, that’s descriptive statistics.

Sometimes, though, you do have the whole population.  If you wanted to find the average SAT score in a class of students, you could ask everyone.  Then you don’t need to infer anything.

(By the way, don’t get used to these terms being sensible.  Statisticians often use familiar words in unfamiliar ways; in particular, when statisticians use the words significance, power, random, and confidence, they don’t mean exactly what they do in everyday discorse.  Don’t blame me, I didn’t make up the terms).

OK, enough background.  Let’s say you’ve collected the data on whatever it is you are interested in.  There are often several things you are interested in.  You are interested in what a typical person is like, and for this, the measures of central tendency are good.  You can think of this as ways to formalize the idea of a best guess.  But you are also interested in how good that guess is.  For that, you need a measure of spread.  There are several popular ones.  By far the most common is the standard deviation.  Others are the variance,  range, and the interquartile range.

The standard deviation of a sample  is gotten by
1) Finding the mean
2) Subtracting each value in your sample from the mean
3) Squaring each of these
4) Adding the result of step 3
5) Dividing by n
6) Taking the square root of step 5

(As an aside, is there a way to type formulas here?)

For the variance, just leave out step 6.

The range is just the lowest value to the highest (it’s usually given as both numbers).  The interquartile range requires first dividing the data into quartiles, which essentially means putting them into order, then taking the bottom quarter, the middle (which is the same as the median), and the top quarter.  The interquartile range is the range from the first quartile to the third (if you remember percentiles, then the first quartile is the same as the 25%tile and the third quartile is the 75%tile).

Enough math.  Those who want more formal definitions and examples can, of course see wikipedia or some such.

When is each of these good? Or bad?

Well, the standard deviation is usually good for the cases where the mean is a good measure of central tendency (see yesterday’s diary).  The variance is not used much in everyday reporting, it’s mostly used for further statistical work.  The range is almost always useful, and easy to interpret, and the interquartile range ought to be used a lot more, because, once you understand it, it’s easy to interpret, and it gives a good sense of the spread. 

Briefly, if you think the mean is a good measure of central tendency, then usually the SD is a good measure of spread. If you use the median, then you often want the IQR and range in addition to (or even instead of) the SD. And, if there is no good measure of central tendency, there is likely to be no good measure of spread. Some concrete examples: If you wanted to know the average IQ of buhdy’s brigade then (presuming you could get a good sample, which I will talk about in another diary) the mean would be a good measure of central tendency, and the SD a good measure of spread. IQ is normally distributed (we’ll get to that in another diary, too) (actually, there is evidence that IQ isn’t *exactly* normally distributed, but it’s close). OTOH, if you wanted to know about the income of dharmadudes then the median would be a good measure of central tendency, and, while the SD wouldn’t exactly be WRONG, I would want to look at IQR and range as well. Finally, if you wanted to look at the heights and weights of professional athletes (as a whole group) then *no* measure of CT would be really good, nor would any measure of spread, because the group is composed of people who are too different from one another.

A Slippery Slope: Of Fascism & Punishment

or “1984” Arrives

This started as an answer to Karmafish’s comment on Docudharma about surveillance, and the possibility of any real revolution occurring in these times.

He said:

….And the most obvious reason that he is right is that a revolution cannot be organized on-line, for chrissake.

It’s impossible for the obvious reason… surveillance.  You can’t organize revolution, for fuck’s sake, in a place monitored by the opposition.  It doesn’t make sense and it’s not happening.

To which I replied, in part:

A surveilled society and a brutalized society is one that cannot force change, radical or otherwise.

We are on a fuckedly slippery slope!

This has been building for days, and I have to speak my mind.  Now.

This is a Fact, man…

We have had many heated discussions here (here on Left Wing Blogs, particularly My Left Wing, lost in crosspost reference,) as of late about Andrew Meyer.  A few have spent days discussing his “assholicness” as though that was relevant.

My question is this.  Are YOU an asshole?  Does anyone think YOU are an asshole?  Is there a fucking asshole litmus test?

This event did not happen in a vacuum, it happened in the Neo-Con States of America, part of a larger trend.

I cannot say this more strongly!

The boy’s intent is entirely irrelevant.  His record is irrelevant.  The only relevant matter is when did the American people lose their right to speak out without being brutalized?

He asked a question, Kerry said he would answer it, and they tasered him anyway.  It was Kerry’s Q&A, and his choice was to answer those questions.  The campus cops decided otherwise for him.

Civil disobedience always disrupts society.  Thats its point.  Is war protest a cause for water hoses and tear gas?  For Kent State?

In a Police State, they decide in which forum you can speak, by what format you may  speak, and what speech will be allowed.  In a Democracy, you are supposed to be able to speak any time you want, anywhere you want.  I don’t remember the 1st Amendment specifying when and where.

Utter fucking Bullshit. 

Free Speech Zones.  Tracking what Web Pages you frequent, and monitoring you based on what you read.  Blocking Web Pages that they don’t like.  Listening to your every phone call.  Dragging you away for your T-Shirt, let alone your speech.

Again, Utter FUCKING Bullshit.  

This is what our Free Speech has become.  Any time Herr Bucszh speaks, people are cordoned off blocks away, unheard, unreported and totally ignored.  They have taken away our voices, the American people will not be heard in this current regime; by design and decree.  You cannot even wear clothing that protests this administration in their presence.

How do YOU spell FASCIST?

How do you spell COMPLIANT?

The worst part of the entire fiasco is that hundreds of people sat there and let it happen.  It is indicative of the prevailing atmosphere of fear in which society now lives. 

People should have been on their feet the moment the cops put their hands on this protester, not because they LIKED him, but because Americans should not stand for preemptive arrests, let alone brutality.

These people need to remember the water hosings in Alabama, the tear gassing at every campus in the 60’s and that they beat us, they turned the dogs on us, and they dragged us away by the hair.  Finally they started shooting us, four dead in Ohio.

Bill O’Reilly is an asshole, has anyone tasered his ass yet?

I despise each and everything said on the Fox News Network, yet would defend their right to the death to be able to spew their filth.

So, kiddies, (facetious figure of speech, no insult meant) if you are thinking it is just fine that Americans can be tasered for speaking in a public Q&A forum, flash your Identifying Tattoo, wave your Chip through the Scanner and join the Lockstep!  Thats the place this slippery slope leads.

Those who don’t do this:

End up like this:

But, thats cool, because those people are assholes, anyway.


Welcome to Oceania.

or to mix the metaphor:

You will be Borg, you will be Assimilated.

Any Questions?

Tough, you ask, we’ll TASE your ass, even if you mutter them under your breath.  We hear everything.

Forced Sterilizations of Indigenous Women

The sterilizations of indigenous women were either genuine mistakes or less direct means of the continuation of the extermination policy against the Indian Nations. At least three indigenous generations from 3,406 women are not in existence now as the result of either human error or intentional genocide. Were the sterilizations unintentional, negligible, or intended genocide? What would the indigenous culture and political landscape be now? One can only imagine, but the sterilizations like the relocations – were forced.

First, the forced sterilizations must be seen in the historical and the more modern context.

Leonard Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes. “Crow Dog.” pp. 6-7.

Only when we saw them building roads through our land, wagons at first, and then the railroad, when we watched them building forts, killing off all the game, committing buffalo genocide, and we saw them ripping up our Black Hills for gold, our sacred Paha Sapa, the home of the wakinyan, the thunderbirds, only then did we realize what they wanted was our land. Then we began to fight. For our earth. For our children. That started what the whites call the Great Indian Wars of the West. I call it the Great Indian Holocaust.

Native American Women and Violence

Native American women experience the highest rate of violence of any group in the United States.
A report released by the Department of Justice, American Indians and Crime, found that Native American women suffer violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. National researchers estimate that this number is actually much higher than has been captured by statistics; according to the Department of Justice over 70% of sexual assaults are never reported.

Here’s a historical example of violence against a Native American woman during this general time, to complete laying the foundation.

Anna Mae Aquash

On February 24, 1976, Aquash was found dead by the side of State Road 73 on the far northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation, about 10 miles from Wanblee, South Dakota, close to Kadoka. Her body was found during an unusually warm spell in late February, 1976 by a rancher, Roger Amiotte.[2] The first autopsy (reports are now public information) states: “it appears she had been dead for about 10 days.” The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ medical practitioner, W. O. Brown, missing the bullet wound on her skull, stated that “she had died of exposure.” [1]

Subsequently, her hands were cut off and sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C. for fingerprinting. Although federal agents were present who knew Anna Mae, she was not identified, and her body was buried as a Jane Doe.

On March 10, 1976, eight days after Anna Mae’s burial, her body was exhumed as the result of separate requests made by her family and AIM supporters, and the FBI. A second autopsy was conducted the following day by an independent pathologist from Minneapolis, Dr. Garry Peterson. This autopsy revealed that she had been shot by a .32 caliber bullet in the back of the head, execution style.[3]

The general historical foundation being laid, I now ask a question:

What would the population of indigenous people be now, approximately three generations after the forced sterilizations?

Genocide or Family Planning?

According to the GAO report, 3406 Native American women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four were sterilized between 1973 and 1976.

The Scythe and the Scalpel:

Dissecting the Sterilizations of Native American Women in the 1970’s

In the old days, genocide used to be so simple. Such things as biological warfare used to keep Indians warm with small pox infested blankets furnished by the United States government, and the only thing barren and infertile was the land set aside for reservations.In the 1970s, genocide became a little more complex.
Biological warfare invaded the reproductive rights of Native American women, making their wombs as barren and infertile as reservation land. The sterilization policies during this time perpetuated the genocidal tendencies that have made the eugenics movement a viable legacy of terror in the biological history of Native Americans.

Next, the specifics of who uncovered the forced sterilizations and why that conclusion was reached are vital. The dark moment of discovery came from a Choctaw- Cherokee physician named Connie Uri.

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” p. 71.

A Choctaw-Cherokee physician, Connie Uri, uncovered this program (large-scale sterilization) when she was asked by a young Indian woman for a womb transplant.

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

A young Indian woman entered Dr.Connie Pinkerton-Uri’s Los Angeles office on a November day in 1972. The twenty-six-year-old woman asked Dr. Pinkerton-Uri for a “womb transplant” because she and her husband wished to start a family.
An Indian Health Service (IHS) physician had given the woman a complete hysterectomy when she was having problems with alcoholism six years earlier. Dr. Pinkerton-Uri had to tell the young woman that there was no such thing as a “womb transplant” despite the IHS physician having told her that the surgery was reversible. The woman left Dr. Pinkerton-Uri’s office in tears. 1

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” p. 71.

She (Connie Uri) scoured the records of the BIA-run Indian Health Service Hospital in Claremore, Oklahoma, and discovered that 75% of the sterilizations were nontherapeutic. Many of the women did not understand the true nature of the surgery, thought it was a kind of reversible birth control, or even signed the consent forms while groggy from sedation after childbirth.

A Look at the Indian Health Service Policy of Sterilization, 1972-1976 by Charles R. England

The hospital records show that both tubal ligation and hysterectomies were used in sterilization. Dr. Uri commented: “In normal medical practice, hysterectomies are rare in women of child bearing age unless there is cancer or other medical problems” (Akwesasne Notes, 1974: 22). Besides the questionable surgery techniques being allowed to take place, there was also the charge of harassment in obtaining consent forms.

  In addition, Montana also had instances of forced sterilizations.

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

Two young women entered an IHS hospital in Montana to undergo appendectomies and received tubal ligations, a form of sterilization, as an added benefit. Bertha Medicine Bull, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, related how the “two girls had been sterilized at age fifteen before they had any children. Both were having appendectomies when the doctors sterilized them without their knowledge or consent.” Their parents were not informed either. Two fifteen-year-old girls would never be able to have children of their own. 2

Kutr Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” pp. 71-72.

Following Dr. Uri’s lead, Senator James Abourezk initiated a federal investigation of the General Accounting office. The resulting report gave the results of a survey from four out of twelve regions with Indian Health Services hospitals. In a three-tear period, over 3,400 sterilizations were performed; 3,000 of them on Indian women under the age of 44. In not one instance were the women offered consent forms that met the federal guidelines and requirements. About 5% of Indian women were being sterilized –

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

Native Americans accused the Indian Health Service of sterilizing at least 25 percent of Native American women who were between the ages of fifteen and forty-four during the 1970s.

  Albuquerque, Aberdeen, and Phoenix also shared in “inconsistent and inadequate” medical forms. As was mentioned above, there was a federal investigation.

And Then There Were None

by Kamet Larson

Most of the 3,400-plus cases involved women who have been sterilized by Indian Health Service doctors (by specially hired physicians in one-third of the cases) — whether voluntarily or for reasons of medical necessity is unclear, since IHS records blur that critical distinction. Going through three years of files in four of the 52 IHS service areas, federal investigators could find no conclusive proof that the sterilized patients had given their fully informed consent as HEW (which operates the IHS) defines it. For “voluntary, knowing assent” HEW requires a description of what the surgical procedure or experiment is, its discomforts, risks and benefits; a disclosure of appropriate alternatives; an offer to answer questions; and an assurance that the patient is free to withdraw consent at any time without losing benefits. Forms on file in Albuquerque, Aberdeen, Oklahoma City and Phoenix were found to be incomplete on these basic points, inconsistent, inadequate, and “generally not in compliance with the Indian Health Service regulations.” Among the stacks of material looked at were physician complaints that preparing the required summaries of conversations with patients was “too time-consuming.” Had the IHS been as careless with its patients as with its own record-keeping?

What would the population of indigenous people be now? What would the indigenous culture and political landscape be now for indigenous people? 

I don’t know, but one thing is clear to me: the sterilizations, like the relocations – were forced.


“And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, ” he wrote, “we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi.” Jefferson, the slave owner, continued, “in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them”. (Ibid)

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sterilizations in the 70’s

The following is a copy of an article by Joan Burnes which appeared in the Lakota Times last August 24th (1994).

– snip –

Emery A. Johnson, then-director of the IHS, told a congressional committee in 1975 that IHS “considered non-therapeutic sterilization a legitimate method of family planning… We are not aware of any instance in which such services have been abused.”

To conclude, this is a video Sigrid shared with me. It says what I want to say in this conclusion.

We shall live again.

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