Monday, December 30, 2013

Why this "Mama Made up Her Mind" to write "The Peacemaker

My roommate gave me a book entitled “Mama Makes up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living” by Bailey White for Christmas. I was excited to delve into a book that I assumed would be full of local color and bring back lots of images about a life I could relate to having been brought up in Kentucky.

This book did indeed provide images of growing up in small backwoods southern towns in the latter part of the 20th Century. Indeed, the writer had been a child in the postwar era of the 1950’s and reached middle age near the end of the 20th Century just as I did. I had a lot in common with her because southerners from rural areas live simple lives and don’t travel much or very far from home. They are not affected by the trends of fashion and cosmopolitan living so the southern people develop differently from their urban counterparts.

Southerners develop unique qualities that don’t bear a rubber stamp counterpart of their peers. Each section of the book contains vignettes about individuals with eccentricities the sophisticated world would find unappealing to say the least. But for those in South Georgia, these individuals were part of that southern landscape that no one questioned.

There was, however, a degree of sophistication about Ms. White that came from her training as a school teacher. Because she taught school, she was responsible for opening up the larger world to her students through exploration of the natural world where they lived to exploring history and ideas through the world of books.

Ms. White has many stories about lessons she taught throughout her teaching years but the one relating the story of Jeanne d’Arc which led to her own Aha experience describes perfectly my “Aha” experience after ten years of teaching American history to 8th grade students in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My Aha experience led to writing “The Peacemaker.” It takes me a lot more time to relate my story than this brief vignette Ms. Bailey has in her book. With her permission, I now retell the story in her own words. The message should be clear.

“I have in my possession an old children’s book, the story of Joan of Arc, movingly written and wonderfully illustrated by a Frenchman name Boutet de Monvel. He has a way of using color and texture and a delicacy of line that makes you want to sink into his pictures.

I took the book to school one day to read to my first-graders. I had to change the French to English, but I tried to keep the high drama and charged emotion of de Monvel’s old-fashioned, rhetorical style. I showed them the pictures: hazy summer days and misty moonshiny nights, the archangel Saint Michael glowing gold, and the costumes of the royal court, painted so that the children couldn’t help reaching up to touch the page to feel the damasks and brocades of those robes.

The most glorious pictures are the battle scenes. There is Joan of Arc, leading the charge, with the head of her great horse bursting out of the frame and onto the next page, and the forward-thrusting lances, and the gleaming silver armor. And best of all, de Monvel has draped over Joan a filmy garment that billows out behind in the fury of the fray and unfurls itself in graceful tatters over the heads of her faithful soldiers.

The book was even more successful than I had thought it would be. Not a single child stirred, and when we got to those battle scenes, I could almost feel their eyes sucking the images off the page. At the end, I read de Monvel’s personal note to the reader: To be victorious, you must believe in victory. So remember, my children, this story of Joan of Arc, against the day when your country will call on you to give her all your courage.

Thirty pairs of hands reached out to take the book, and there was a chorus of voices, Read it again!

After school that day I looked through my Joan of Arc book before I packed it up to take home. I found some new smudges on top of the old smudges left on those pages by French children almost a hundred years ago. Then I thought of something, I turned to the title page and checked the copyright date. It was 1898.

Little French children six years old, reading that book when it was new, would have been just military age in 1914. And here am I, who should know better, in another country, with that very book in my hands, telling other children the same old lie:

Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

From: “Mama Makes up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living” by Bailey White.  First Vintage Book Edition May, 1994.

That was my same Aha experience about teaching white man’s political history and the glorification of war for over 15 years in Albuquerque, NM in 1986. I decided to start telling a different story.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Amendment 14 and The Right to Choose and the Affordable Health Care Act

Amendment 14, the Right to Privacy, Roe vs. Wade and the Affordable Health Care Law

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This is the Amendment used to guarantee the freedom of the slaves given by the 13th Amendment because Congressional leaders were well aware of the bias that existed in the South after the Civil War and wanted to make sure the freed slaves would remain free. This Amendment was disregarded by the establishment of what were known as the Jim Crow Laws that kept African Americans in bondage for 100 years after the end of the Civil War. In a case challenging the segregation laws that came before the Supreme Court in 1898 (Plessey vs. Ferguson) the biased Supreme Court kept the African American population of the South in bondage for over fifty years by declaring segregation Constitutional in the “separate but equal clause.”
Only massive civil rights protests and years of violence and riots put an end to this “final word on segregation” from 1898.

In 1971 the Supreme Court overturned state abortion laws giving females the “right to choose what happened to their bodies” by using the 14th Amendment in the famous (or infamous) Roe vs. Wade Decision. I was a woman of child bearing age at that time and was am still am dedicated to the principle of pro-choice. But, unlike most of my female counterparts today, I am still dedicated to the principle of choice when it comes to any issues surrounding any medical procedures that invade my right to choose what goes into my body.

 I am opposed to and have rejected any medical treatment that debilitates my body in any way or destroys my God given immune system which is my best treatment against disease. For that reason, I have rejected insurance that covers invasive procedures such as x-rays, mammograms, Pabst smears, unnecessary surgeries, radiation or poisonous chemo-therapies as well as any drugs including over the counter drugs. I have treated all my illnesses since 2003 when I was without insurance with alternative treatments and visits to naturopaths who have helped me with diet and exercise as the best treatments to prevent autoimmune disorders, arthritis and diabetes. I have maintained accident insurance and hospitalization insurance but I have a living will with strict orders about treatments I refuse to accept to maintain my life when I am terminally ill. With the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act I am now told that I must register with a nationally controlled web site and turn over all kinds of private information about my body and its functioning and then I must purchase insurance to pay for the above mentioned treatments I do not want to use or pay a tax penalty. It is my belief that the same Amendment that protected a female’s right to choose in 1971 will protect my right to choose in 2014. Therefore, I am choosing to opt out of this program and if forced to will challenge the Law in the federal courts of the United States the way Roe did in 1971. It is my right and no one has the right to impinge upon the rights of others, especially after they have been members of disenfranchised groups that have fought to gain their rights under the law. You can’t have it both ways in a free country. You cannot use your rights to step on my rights. It doesn’t work that way.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Preserve, Protect and Defend What in Syria

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This oath has been taking by every President since George Washington took the first oath of office as our country’s first President. It is a requirement before the President can assume office and must be taken at the beginning of every four year term whether the first or second. This oath presents the President’s primary duty and obligation. This promise first states that the President is to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and the duties of that office are delineated in the Constitution.

 According to historians, the framers of the Constitution spent much less time on delineating the powers of the President. Instead, when defining the Presidential powers in Article II of the Constitution, the framers wanted to create a chief executive whose power came from the people rather than heredity or force. The Constitution provides little basis for what the Office of President looks like today as compared to what the framers intended. The framers assumed that the legislators would be far more influential. In fact, James Madison wrote that it would “rarely if ever happen that the executive as ours is proposed to be would have firmness enough to resist the legislature.”

Well Mr. Madison, despite all the precautions you and other Founding Fathers took with all the assurances you gave the American people who ratified the Constitution, it has happened. The United States is now run by the Executive Department with a leader (and I do not intend this to be personal toward any President) whose sworn duty has become to his political party, corporate executives and the military. 

In the past week, I was encouraged that the voices of the American people seem to have been heard by this sitting President when he became willing to take the action needed to make sure the voices of the people were heard by letting Congress approve his actions before making a decision on the Syrian crisis. I was appalled to hear the news casters from every major network announcing that the President’s decision to turn over decisions to the will of the people of this free country was somehow a victory for Assad. What are we doing in Syria – are we trying to support people in every way to help them have a democracy like ours where the will of the people is the government and not the will of one person or the military and all of his group of advisors? What is the example we are setting for the free world if the President of the most powerful free country ignores his own Constitution and uses his power to show Mr. Assad that it is our military that makes us strong and not the fact that our people are free? Sadly, this is the state we have come to. I am concerned that the American people and the so called “free press” have come to this state. If the President does not carry out his primary obligation as stated in his oath of office to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” how can we support and protect and defend the rights of other countries who seek to have the same freedom?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

America's "Glorious" Past - Notes from "The Peacemaker" available at

America's "Glorious Past" in the Fight for Freedom.

1779 - General George Washington orders General Sullivan to "lay waste to all the settlements around (those of the Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga - all tribes that had supported the colonists during the Revolution) that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed." Among the Seneca people this earned General Washington the name of Town Destroyer.

1811 - General William Henry Harrison creates a false attack by the natives of Prophetstown, the home of Tecumseh who was away with his warriors on a mission seeking support for his Red Stick Alliance, so that Harrison could massacre the women, children and old men who were left alone and vulnerable and burn the village to the ground.

1832 - Native Americans lose Andrew Jackson's support to uphold the Supreme Court Decision allowing them to keep their lands in Georgia and are sent on the Trail of Tears with only smallpox infested blankets for warmth.

1846 - President Tyler creates a skirmish along the disputed border between the United States and Mexico to enter into the Mexican War.

1890's - Industrialist Dole sets up revolution in Hawaii to take over plantation lands for America's pineapple industry.

1898 - The massacre of Chief Red Cloud at Wounded Knee.

1890's - The hunt for the "terrorist" Geronimo in the area around modern day New Mexico and Arizona.

1898 - Unknown bomber destroys the USS Maine. United States uses this as an excuse to enter the Spanish American War and take over interests in the Philippines and Cuba.

1917 - British intelligence publishes the Zimmerman Note to gain America's support in World War I. Woodrow Wilson ignores the pleas of the female delegation requesting mediation instead of war.

November 17, 1917 - Night of Terror as females protesting for the right to vote in front of the White House  are arrested and treated inhumanely for two weeks until the public demands their release.

1945 - The United States destroys the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the world's first and only use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets.

1960"s - Ku Klux Klan wages uncivilized war against citizens, including children, of African American descent in America's Southland.  

1964 - The Gulf of Tonkin incident leads the United States into the shameful Vietnamese War.

1968-1975 United States uses Agent Orange and napalm attacks indiscriminately in Viet Nam.

2004 - President Bush receives Congressional Support to begin war in Iraq despite the fact that the International Community was still investigating claims of stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction.

And the rest is history so they say. These are only a few of the events that I researched and wrote about in my book "The Peacemaker." As time passes and we have a clear view of "hindsight" we might be able to learn about what's really going on today after it is too late. It is time for Americans to wake up and exercise their rights to a free press to educate themselves about what is going on and make this country a true democracy and role model for the free world and people who sincerely want to live quality lives in peace.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Louise Hay and Mary Magdalene

I am sending out this copy of a newsletter from James Twyman who is in France traveling the route of the feminine peacemakers. Here is a copy of his newsletter with some insights and links to interesting web sites.

Louise Hay and Mary Magdalene 

Greetings Beloveds...
I'm writing this letter from Paris, France. Tomorrow I meet 26 pilgrims in Marseilles to begin the journey of a lifetime. We will spend 12 days walking along the small paths and through the same villages Mary Magdalene walked 2000 years ago, all to reawaken the Divine Feminine energy within each one of us. At the same time, I'm thinking about the upcoming Hay House World Summit that features over 100 of the best known spiritual authors in the world, each offering their unique perspectives on awakening to Oneness. I can't think of many women who embody the spirit of Mary Magdalene more than Louise Hay. I wanted you to know about a very special interview with Louise that you can listen to right away. Trust me, you don't want to miss this program, which officially starts in just over a week. Sign up now, and watch the interview with Louise today.
I'll be thinking about all of you as we walk through Southern France.
Louise Hay - modern day Mary Magdalene?
Louise L. Hay is one of the most cherished authors and teachers on the planet. At 86, she continues to walk her talk, keep her positive foot forward and savor the many joys life has to offer.
How does she do it?
In this exclusive and rare interview, Louise sits down with Hay House CEO Reid Tracy for a frank and entertaining chat about the early days of her publishing company, her insatiable hunger for learning, and the one affirmation she'd like the entire world to master.
You'll love watching Louise share her personal stories about how she rose above being called the "crazy lady" because she believed in the power of positive thoughts, how she now considers herself one of the girls who just wants to have fun, and so much more!
Watch this exclusive video today!
In this candid conversation, Louise delves into the complicated subject of forgiveness. Learn how she arrived at this freeing concept in her own life, and how with daily practice - you too can immediately apply her wisdom to heal YOUR life.
This video is one of six sneak previews of the upcoming Hay House World Summit, which starts on Saturday, June 1st.
The Hay House World Summit is a free, online, entertaining and educational experience airing worldwide from June 1st to June 10th.
This exclusive event series features more than 100 authors and experts who will share their experiences and knowledge in personal interviews covering topics from intuitive abilities to meditation and affirmations. Learn from your favorite authors, hear their individual stories of success and growth, and participate in guided exercises.
When you register for the Hay House World Summit you will receive this video with Louise Hay and Reid Tracy plus 5 other bonus videos, so you can start your healing journey with your favorite authors right away!
Now it's your chance to discover how you too can live a balanced and joyful life - just like Louise L. Hay!
In Peace,
James Twyman
P.S. This video is a 10-minute sneak preview of an hour long conversation that includes never-before-heard practical tips and advice from the Queen of Affirmations, Louise Hay.
When you register for the entire World Summit you will have the opportunity to hear the entire hour long conversation!
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Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Call to Peace by the Dalai Lama

“Ethics for the New Millennium”
By His Holiness the Dali Lama

            In 1949 a 16 year old monk designated as the 14th Dali Lama in Tibet was forced to flee his country after the Chinese invasion there. The Dalai Lama and millions of his people suffered great loss, and Tibetans are still suffering under the harsh rule of Communist China. Despite this, the Dalai Lama has spent his entire time in exile traveling to countries promoting the message of non-violence and peaceful resolution preached by one of his heroes Mahatma Gandhi. These efforts earned His Holiness world-wide acclaim and in 1989 the Nobel Peace Prize. Using the notoriety as a platform for peace, the Dalai Lama stated in his acceptance speech in Oslo in December of 1989, “As we enter the final decade of this Century (20th) I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.”
And there was reason for hope. The fall of the Berlin Wall promised an end to the cold war and the opportunity for the restoration of human rights in those countries living behind the Iron Curtain for so long. But once again brutal civil wars and ethnic cleansing reared its ugly head in the Balkan area along the Mediterranean during the 90’s. The Chinese government continued its brutal policies against the voices of freedom with the June 3, 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square and the arrests and purges that followed. As the Dalai Lama traveled to the United Nations in support of peaceful negotiations to end this suffering, he had the opportunity to meet with political as well as religious leaders of the free world. As the Twentieth Century came to a close the Dali Lama decided to write a book about what he believed would be the hope for mankind to come together and create the peaceful world he believed all sentient beings from all nations and all religious faiths desired. “Ethics for a new Millennium” was the result.
In this ground breaking book that spent over three months on the New York Times Bestseller List, the Dalai Lama makes a call for a global spiritual revolution. Although His Holiness states that he is of the Buddhist religion, his book is “not a religious book.” He is a firm believer in religious pluralism. What he means by “spiritual” is finding that connection inside of us that transcends the physical part of us (the five senses) that is selfish and materialistically motivated to find compassionate concern for all sentient beings as the motivation for our actions. In the past, people connected with this part of themselves through their religious faith, thereby finding a moral path within the context of their overall pursuit of salvation.
According to the Dalai Lama, the growth of science has led to the decline of religion worldwide and with it, the moral path. He believes there is a global need for people of all religious and non-religious beliefs to find a path of ethical conduct that will result in brother and sisterhood and love and compassion as the basis for determining what constitutes positive and negative behavior or what is “right and wrong.” Therefore, he believes there is a need for individuals to find a way to “reorient our thoughts and emotions and reorder our behavior, not only so we can learn to cope with suffering more easily, but so that we can prevent a deal of it from happening in the first place.” The answer, he believes is what he calls “spiritual ethics.”
In Part I of “Ethics for a New Millennium” the Dalai Lama lays the foundation (or justification) for spiritual ethics. Part II describes the relationship between spiritual ethics and individual behavior as well as defines the most important ethics. In Part III he describes how individual practice of spiritual ethics fits into the overall global picture of ending war and human suffering and creating peace.
After the events of September 11, 2001, the hope that the Dalai Lama predicted in 1999 seems to have faded as the threat of war in Europe has declined only to be replaced by soaring wars and tensions in the Middle East and Asia. I believe there is a need for another call for a spiritual revolution and a revival of the reading and practice of the principles laid down in the book. That is why I am offering an opportunity to read and begin serious practice of the principles of spiritual ethics in an eight week class that will begin April 30, 2013. The cost of the class is $50 per person and will be limited to 10 people. For more information or registration, you may pick up flyers at the James Twyman Concert on Friday, April 12 at the Florence Playhouse (Florence, Oregon) or email me at As Gandhi said in his simple, matter of fact way: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Peace begins with me.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Time for Restoring Individual Rights

'Proposed 28th Amendment' to the U.S. Constitution: 'Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives. . .'

The debate over gun control and the Second Amendment goes on and on with no solution
or compromise in sight. Each side has its arguments – those opposed to gun control hold up the glorious Founding Fathers who put this Amendment into the Constitution so that citizens could protect their families and  homes from threats not only from wild animals or criminals but also threats this new military might present. Therefore, any attempt to deny them that right is unconstitutional. Those in favor of gun control say that assault weapons in the hands of the wrong people need to be controlled for the safety of the general public. I think this is the gist of the two opposing arguments. I think both sides have lost the actual historical perspective that was the reason for the protection of the Second Amendment which was part of the original Bill of Rights that had to be added to the Constitution before the public would ratify the document.
            Each of the first ten amendments was considered important to protect the citizens of the country against a central government that would use the power given to it to usurp the rights of the citizens the way the kings of England had done. One of the powers that this new Constitution proposed for the central government was the right to establish a military. The Founding Fathers realized that giving that power to a central government without their equal power to protect themselves from the government’s abuse of that power was not something they were willing to risk. Therefore, before they ratified this new government and gave it the power to establish a “standing militia,” they wanted to know that they had the right to keep their own weapons to protect themselves against that militia should the need arise. This was the purpose for that amendment. In 1787 the guns that citizens had were just as powerful as those that the new standing army established by the Constitution had, so the citizens felt this right to “keep and bear arms” was enough protection. This is not 1787, however.
            In understanding the history behind this Amendment, then, if we fast forward to the 21st Century, Americans have the right to “keep and bear arms” in equal proportion to what the giant military industrial complex has attained. Therefore, Americans can devise nuclear weapons and have tanks, and heavy duty assault weapons of every kind should they feel the need to protect themselves from this power. This is well within the intent of the Second Amendment as written in 1787.  If this sounds preposterous, and indeed it should, perhaps Americans need to look at some revision of the second Amendment that fits with the 21st Century and our protection against a government that, in my opinion, has gone too far in the creation of bigger and better weapons.
What if the government decided to turn its drones used in the Middle East against populations in targeted areas of pockets of danger in this country? What good would shotguns and even assault weapons do? What is happening in Syria could very well happen in this country. I believe Americans do need the protection of the second Amendment because I think history has shown how far out of control the American government is in terms of a military and usurping power at every level,  but I think the Amendment  needs overhauling.
 I think people, in lieu of the second Amendment, should demand that the President and Congress begin immediately to demilitarize this country and establish a Department of Peace to review the intent of the second Amendment and how to alter it in the best interests of every citizen in this country – not the special interest groups and huge corporate cartels that control Congress. I also believe there is merit to the proposed 28th Amendment listed in the heading at the start of this article. It is time Congress stopped making laws that continue to erode our personal freedoms and only give them more power and control and start thinking about laws that apply to all citizens equally thereby beginning to break up this massive, powerful oligarchy that continues to keep citizens paralyzed under the guise of “protecting us and our freedoms.”