Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Water is Life #NoDAPL

This has become the slogan of the Sioux who are encamped at Sacred Stone trying to prevent the bulldozing of an area they claim encompasses sacred sites as well as protect the water in the Missouri River that runs through this area from contamination.  Morton County law enforcement has cited “the law” and moved in upon these protestors in the name of “the law” with recorded videos showing pepper sprays, attack dogs and water dousing in freezing temperatures.  Those journalists who recorded these events have been arrested and jailed under the guise of inciting the crowd that is breaking “the law.”

In addition, environmentalists and groups from areas all over the country affected by contamination of their own water supply have come in support and are labeled as interlopers who are interfering with officials sworn to protect the people being attacked. The people of the nation are listening as areas like Flint, Michigan and towns in West Virginia along the Ohio River have seen their drinking water poisoned with lead and other toxins from industrial sludge. Extreme droughts all over the country in California, Georgia and recently the Appalachian areas of western North Carolina and Tennessee are causing havoc in such a way that it has become impossible to ignore these realities.  But Water is Life is just one part of this controversy. The Native Americans have become the spokespeople for this movement because they know full well how their very way of life and culture was destroyed by the actions of government representatives who came in with the intention of destroying a culture that stood in the way of Progress and Manifest Destiny.

In 1849 gold was discovered in California. In addition, by a contrived, imperialistic war (Mexican American War), the United States gained control of New Mexico, Arizona and rights to control all the trade established along the Santa Fe Trail. In the 1860’s a transcontinental railroad to connect the United States to California and follow the route of the Santa Fe Trail was begun.  The United States “owned” all the prairie lands in between due to the terms of the Louisiana Purchase.  California had become a state in 1850 after the Compromise of 1850 determined it would be a Free State.  There was only one problem.  The Native American tribes that had been living in the Great Plains area for centuries were not happy when settlers, railroad employees and wagon trains began filing across their hunting grounds. Trouble followed because these Indians were not giving up without a fight, but the railroad conglomerate found a way to get rid of the problem. Destroy their economy by killing off the buffalo. Hired guns did just that and it wasn’t long before the Indians began to suffer accordingly. Therefore, when the government came to them with a peace treaty they were willing to sign. This was the Treaty of Ft. Laramie of 1868.

According to that Treaty, the Indians agreed to settle in an area that included the Black Hills (where Mt. Rushmore is located today) because that is where their sacred burial grounds were. They agreed to settle as farmers along the river banks that flowed through the area, including the Little Big Horn and Missouri Rivers as well as others.  In addition, so long as they were peaceful, the warriors were allowed hunting rights on unassigned lands. The Black Hills of Dakota are sacred to the Sioux Indians. In the 1868 treaty, signed at Fort Laramie and other military posts in Sioux country, the United States recognized the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people.

In 1869, however, gold was discovered in the Black Hills. Miners began pouring into the area.  1874 Gen. George A. Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills accompanied by miners who were seeking gold. Once gold was found in the Black Hills, miners were soon moving into the Sioux hunting grounds and demanding protection from the U.S. Army. Soon, the Army was ordered to move against wandering bands of Sioux hunting on the range in accordance with their treaty rights. In 1876, Custer, leading an army detachment, encountered the encampment of Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn River. Custer's detachment was annihilated, but the United States would continue its battle against the Sioux in the Black Hills until the government confiscated the land in 1877. To this day, ownership of the Black Hills remains the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. Government and the Sioux.

Total destruction of the Indians took place in the 1880’s when the United States government moved against Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull when the Indians began the practice of the Ghost Dance started by a prophet named Wovoka who had had a vision of restoring peace and prosperity to the Sioux People through the performance of this dance. Both Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were pursued as terrorists and both were gunned down by the US Army. It was then that the United States took away the lands given in the Treaty of 1868 and enforced the atrocious reservation system and the Carlisle Boarding Schools designed to “kill the Indian” not the man.

The Sioux encamped at Standing Rock are doing exactly what they did in 1874 and the times of the Ghost Dance. They are there standing tall for their water and land rights and joining in prayer to preserve what limited rights they still have and perhaps regain the land illegally taken from them in 1877.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Jane Jacobs Walk

Representing Portland Now, I conducted the Jane Jacobs Walk through the historic loop of Portland on Saturday, October 22nd. Jane Jacobs was a Twentieth Century urban planner involved in the planning of green areas and public spaces in New York City during the early part of the Twentieth Century. A group of students in the Urban Planning Program from the University of Louisville take a walk named after Ms. Jacobs through selected neighborhoods in Louisville each semester. This semester Danielle Story chose Portland for the walk.
A group of about 30 people comprised of students, neighborhood residents and other interested people from surrounding neighborhoods met Brenda at the Portland Library to begin the walk. The library, built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie in 1912, was the first stop. From there, the group toured the blocks from 33rd St. to 36th St. along Northwestern Parkway and Rudd Ave to view the oldest house in Portland, the Squire Earick House, as well as examples of mansions built by steamboat captains and engineers and wealthy grocers. The group also saw smaller shotgun houses and Tudor style homes with Spanish influence built on the four acres of land purchased from the Sisters of Loretto during the Civil War period. The Sisters had operated the Mt. St. Benedict Academy until architect Peter Mock developed the land with houses for the influx of German and Irish immigrants who immigrated to work on the Portland Canal and other bridges along the Ohio River.
Other points of interest along Rudd Ave. included the store on the corner, an example of a typical commercial enterprise that included living quarters for the owner and family, and the Church of the Good Shepherd, formerly the Notre Dame du Port or the Church of Our Lady. At the corner of 35th and Rudd the students saw the high water mark from the ’37 Flood on a utility pole in front of the Portland Wharf. The Flood’s devastation was such that many of the businesses that had flourished in the area were forced to close their doors leading to a decline in the fortunes of the neighborhood. 
The Portland Cemetery was the next to the last stop on the walk. The Portland Cemetery is the only cemetery maintained by Metro Parks as part of an agreement when Portland was incorporated into the city of Louisville. The cemetery reflects the segregation of ethnic groups even in death. Portland Elementary, the last stop, is one of the three oldest elementary schools in Jefferson County and is still standing because keeping the school was another condition of the incorporation into Louisville. The original school still stands but is inside a wrap around building done in 1969.
Although not a stop on the walk, one of the residents pointed out the property that was the subject of a Supreme Court Decision in 1917 that declared restrictions on sales to African-Americans illegal. Discrimination still existed, however, and prohibited integration until the late 50’s and 60’s Civil Rights Movement. Integration led to the white flight which, in addition to the ’37 Flood further decreased the property values in the neighborhood. After the walk, the group drove to McQuioxte’s and the Tim Faulkner Gallery to see the revitalization of businesses along Portland Ave. They were also encouraged to drive by the Portland Museum, Shaheen’s and Ace Hardware, two of the oldest surviving businesses in the Neighborhood. The walk proved successful in demonstrating the origins of the neighborhood, its decline and exciting renewal that is building on the pride of the historic past integrated with 21st Century Progress/         

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Saying Good Bye to the Sixties

Life in the Sixties

As a baby boomer, I became a young adult in the 60’s, completing high school and college and starting to work in my career as that decade ended. I experienced significant change in society during this time as I saw the people of my generation speaking up about intolerable conditions in American society involving illegal wars, the denial of civil rights to those groups that had been disenfranchised from the start of our so called “experiment in freedom and self government,” i.e., women, African Americans, Native Americans and even Mother Earth and its other living creatures. Through these efforts, we ended a war, ended the draft, finally brought the right to vote and other civil rights to African Americans still in bondage one hundred years after the Civil War, and raised awareness about the environment, women’s rights and Native American rights to live in sovereign nations according to their cultural standards that had been destroyed by Manifest Destiny.

The sixties gave way to the seventies, eighties, nineties and the start of a new Century, during which time I became a teacher, married homemaker, parent, foster parent, divorced, single mom, business entrepreneur with a second husband, and widowed teacher. The beginning of the 21st Century brought forced retirement and economic loss due to losing my career after becoming a whistle blower. That economic loss also resulted in physical, emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. All of this happened during my own twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. By the time I approached my sixties, I had regained my health and spiritual connection and faced my sixtieth birthday with the freedom of a caterpillar just emerging from her cocoon ready to experience the freedom of flight and soar into the life that was to be mine in “retirement.” Now approaching the end of my own sixties, I am taking these last few days to enjoy a Sentimental Journey through my sixties and share this decade with you through the medium of expression that I do best – the written word.  

I celebrated my sixtieth birthday on November 8, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. My older daughter gave me a trip to Vegas to see the Cirque de Soleil Love Show which was a breathtaking performance of circus acts set to the music of the Beatles. What a great way to start! My sixtieth birthday also brought me the gift of some retirement benefits attached to my two marriages.

My own retirement had been severely affected by the whistle blowing experience. The law suit that had resulted from the whistle blowing had been settled just before my 60th birthday, and although the settlement was far from being enough to make me whole, it did help finance the purchase of the tools I needed to venture into my second career, that of an author and playwright and to publish my first novel “The Peacemaker.”  The capital allowed me to learn and take advantage of the internet that supports individuals who desire to publish and market their own works. I developed my own platform for the marketing of my book and set up two websites for all the endeavors to follow; publishing and recording three songs left to me after the death of my brother, writing a musical that I adapted from a short story called “A Squeaky Wheel Gets Oiled – The Musical,” and a collection of four stories entitled “Celebrations from New Pangaea.” As I approach a new decade of life I look forward to publishing the completed manuscript of a sequel to “The Peacemaker” entitled “New Pangaea – An Evolution into the Fifth World.”

I completed “The Peacemaker” in 2009 and set off on my first cross-country book tour, driving from the West Coast to the East Coast and stopping in major areas that were settings in my book or places where I had connections to help me set up presentations in libraries, independent book stores, restaurants and Quaker meeting houses. I traveled through Oregon, California, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, Georgia, the eastern seaboard through Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Syracuse, New York (the home of The Peacemaker), Marietta, Ohio (the first settlement in the Old Northwest Territory and a crossing point for the Underground Railroad). I ended my tour in Louisville, Kentucky, my home town, for a Thanksgiving reunion before returning to Oregon.  I reminded myself that Colonel Sanders had done the same thing with his fried chicken recipe when he was sixty-five and created a not too shabby retirement for himself.  

As a result of my amazing physical condition due to a new lifestyle fomented by a health challenge, I had also obtained a part-time job as a fitness instructor for a women’s gym in Florence, Oregon where I lived at the time. The housing bubble of the early twentieth Century had resulted in a real estate boom in Oregon causing my home to quadruple in value by the time I was 60 in 2006. Refinancing my home provided me with capital to finish the repairs needed to an aging septic system, cut back tress and foliage to meet the urban forest requirements to prevent wildfires,  address the damage done to siding from invasive growth and finish the remodeling projects that had been set aside due to the loss of my job which included the creation of a dance studio on a separate structure that had been built onto the half-acre, wooded paradise that was my home. After the studio was completed, I opened Nightlife Dance Studio and taught social dancing to members of the community for 10 years. In addition, I did my own dancing at jazz festivals throughout the Northwest and Southern California. I played tennis with a group of retired enthusiasts twice a week, unless traveling and enjoyed quiet kayaking and hiking trips along Oregon’s beautiful lakes and wooded areas.

I have always loved to travel and in 2008 I had the opportunity to take a cruise through the Eastern Mediterranean along the Balkan Coast, an area I missed on my first trip to Europe in 1968.  I visited Naples and Sicily. I combed the bazaars of Turkey and danced with two young business owners for a you tube video they did, climbed the steppes of the beautiful Greek village of San Torino, shopped the Grecian stores for great bargains, rode in a local taxi (what an experience) to the Olympian fields and raced with my companions there. I biked through Greek cities and sat in the restaurants on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean in Dubrovnik. I walked through peaceful streets filled with monuments to peace and free of evidence of violence or crime. The attention focused on the Middle East and terrorist activities in other areas of Europe has diminished the remembrance of the time of war and suffering that existed in this part of the world in the nineties. Visiting that area with that knowledge of that earlier time filled me with hope that perhaps peace might be possible in other “hopeless” parts of the world.

In 2012 I attended two major book festivals, one in Cleveland, Ohio and the other in Nashville, Tennessee. At that time, I added trips through South Dakota to visit Wounded Knee at Pine Ridge, South Dakota and the Crazy Horse Monument being carved into the  Black Hills just northwest of Mount Rushmore. I also visited that site along the way. I drove through the open range of Montana and camped at Yellowstone National Park – seeing wildlife (especially the buffalo) in its natural habitat as well as Old Faithful. I was sad to see so much scorched earth resulting from wildfire destruction brought about by drought and climate change. My trip through south central Kentucky and northeastern Tennessee that year renewed the call of Kentucky and home.

The housing market collapse of 2008 had resulted in my being upside down in my mortgage on my lovely home. In addition, the owner of the gym where I worked was caught in the collapse and had to close her operation in 2009. Although I had been fortunate enough to begin my career as an author, the income could not keep up with the mortgage payments resulting in a short sale on my home in 2013. At that time I began making preparations to move back to the Southeast. The process took two years and along the way, I lost my best friend and companion of the ten years that began with my whistle blowing in 2003 – my cat Babs. Initially, my plans were to find a home along the Appalachian Trail and settle in a cabin similar to my beach cottage in Oregon where I could hike, kayak, travel and write in semi-seclusion and peace. A friend of mine once said, “Life happens while you are busy making plans.” Instead of a quiet life of retirement in the woods of the Southeast, I have ended up in my old neighborhood in Louisville, an historic community on the falls of the Ohio River called Portland.

I am living in a charming studio apartment in the heart of Old Louisville – another revitalized district of Louisville that has the largest number of restored Victorian style homes in the country.  The first summer after my move in 2014, I jumped full on into projects designed to revitalize my old neighborhood. I became President and Treasurer of the Friends of the Portland Library, directed a summer writing program there, became a member of the Neighborhood Association and worked on two subcommittees, Picking up Portland and the Revitalization Committee. I started writing articles for the Portland Anchor – the oldest neighborhood newspaper in the area.

That fall I joined the mentoring program at Shawnee High School – my alma mater. In the spring of 2015, I took a road trip to Arizona with a friend and visited the Hopi Indian Reservation to do research for “New Pangaea.” That winter I taught an eight week remedial reading and writing program sponsored by the Neighborhood House on Saturdays. The program was called the Saturday Academy and was designed to help build reading, writing and math skills for the students in the Portland area. Post tests given at the end of the period showed an increase in every area tested. In November of 2015, I joined the staff of a newly opened, unique restaurant called The Table and have worked steadily as a volunteer since then. I continued the work on my manuscript with the intention to complete by the spring of 2015 when I could qualify once again to purchase a house. I had my intentions set on a vacant, brick home across the street from my old elementary school.

The summer of 2016 was taken with weekly tennis, my volunteer work, work on my manuscript, work with the youth group at Unity of Louisville and the search for funding for the project of restoring my 19th Century shotgun house to its former glory. The summer ended with a great road trip to visit my daughter Gina in San Diego accompanied by my niece Amy who is just a few weeks younger than Gina.

In a few weeks, I will celebrate my 70th birthday and I don’t intend on slowing down. I will begin the new decade with the publishing of my second novel and the exciting project of working with the Plato Academy to finally start the restoration work on my Portland home. I am grateful that I have my health, a strong faith, well-established loving children and other extended family as well as my new family in Portland. I look forward to more dancing, tennis, kayaking, biking and traveling. My first trip will be to add the three remaining states I have not visited to the “been there” list. These include Alaska, Minnesota and North Dakota. I envision even more international travel and will be renewing my passport at the end of this year in anticipation of that. My second husband had a hat that he wore that said, “life is a journey, not a guided tour.” I never did like guided tours; I have always enjoyed the adventure of setting out on my own and creating my own adventures. I am excited about the next decade and the adventures that await me. And so, with some trepidation and joyful tears I say good bye to the sixties and hello to another decade.


Friday, August 12, 2016

The Nuremburg Trials - Making Sense (Justice) of Nonsense (War)

        I watched “Judgment at Nuremberg” again last night and thought I would write another brilliant blog about my conclusions of how Hitler came to power and did what he did and relate that to the current political situation in the United States today. After spending the afternoon doing a lot of introspection and thinking about the overwhelming tide of political rhetoric from both sides of the aisle and doing some more research about the Hitler phenomena and its aftermath, I decided that historians still don’t have the answers about what happened, but in their attempts to find justice, some kernels of truth gleaned by those seeking justice emerged. I decided to post the YouTube video made in the year 2000 that uses actual film footage and testimony from the trials that were conducted at the end of World War II in an effort to establish an International Court of Justice for crimes committed during war in light of the Jewish experience as well as the introduction of nuclear weapons into the fighting of war. I am posting a link to that movie for you should you choose to read beyond the “empty platitudes” we see posted every day on our face book page. I am, however, posting a few direct quotes from some of the defendants during the course of the trial that I found thought provoking. I will begin with one about “empty platitudes” mentioned above.
            “Germany was built on empty platitudes. Why? Because on hearing them you can give any meaning you want.”
            From Herman Goering answering this question: “How did the idea of a single, all-powerful leader come to be?”  Answer:  “We took our model from the similar dual roles of the President of the United States.”
            When asked about the rounding up and extermination of the Jews Goering answered: “What was Hiroshima? Our protective custody laws were no different than those enacted against the Japanese. Segregation laws in your country are the same as our Anti-Semite laws.”
            When another defendant was asked how he could go along with such atrocious murder, he answered, “I have always been taught that the Jew was an enemy of Germany. Does a rat catcher think it is wrong to kill a rat?”
            One military man spoke this in his defense, “I am a soldier and the most important code for a soldier is obedience. I did what I was told to do.”
            There was a Jewish psychiatrist who did individual interviews of all the defendants to try to come up with an explanation of a moral flaw that existed among these men to explain their actions. Near the end of the movie, the psychiatrist reported:
“The nature of evil is a lack of empathy, an incapacity to feel with ones fellow man.”
            The most prophetic words were spoken by Dr. Albert Spier an industrial scientist who was asked to give a statement before receiving his sentence. “Hitler was able to do what he did because of mass communications. He had the technology to issue an order from one single place that would affect the lives of thousands of people miles away. The more technical the world becomes the more the individual freedom and self-rule of mankind becomes essential.. . This trial must contribute to (make it possible for) the elimination of future wars.” 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Small Developers in Portland

Small Developer Workshop
July 19, 2016

            At the request of the Executive Board of PNI I attended the Small Developer’s Workshop held in Louisville at the Hilliard Lyons Conference Center on July 19th of this year. The workshop curriculum was created by the Incremental Development Alliance, headed by Executive Director and faculty member Jim Kumon an urban designer , neighborhood advocate and business manager and Monte Anderson who is CEO/President at Options Real Estate. Options Real Estate is multi-service, real estate company specializing in creating sustainable neighborhoods in southern Dallas and northern Ellis counties in Texas.
            The goal of the Alliance is to resurrect the small scale developer who combines local insight and relationships to build human-scale human scale neighborhoods while earning a living. The focus of the group is to work with the existing fabric of inner city neighborhoods by employing skilled traders to construct, outfit, maintain and repair the buildings they love rather than demolish them and bring in new Construction. In order to do this the Alliance has established a training program for small business owners, neighborhood advocates, design and real estate professionals, builders and others to become small developers.
            The audience for the day long workshop consisted of neighborhood activists from Louisville and Lexington. These people came to learn and network with one another to create teams of people with different skill sets involved in small development – legal, city planners, construction and design, funders, etc. Of primary interest were the neighborhoods of Portland, Smoketown, Parkland, West Main, and Butchertown.

Discussion and training included the following:
  • Start Up
  • Assessing Options
  • Moving Forward with Best Product
  • Building the Project
  • Opening Doors and Creating Opportunities
There is a training binder with more details for anyone interested.
There were some concerns voiced by the audience during the course of the discussion. These were:
  • Displacement of people currently living in the neighborhoods.
  • Gentrification and the resulting rise in property taxes that long term, elderly residents on fixed incomes may not be able to afford.
  • Partnering with local government as opposed to private funders. Monte Anderson cautioned against committing to local governments since city councils could change and funding could be endangered.
  • Owner occupied as opposed to absentee landlords. Mr. Anderson said the goal should be to help entrepreneurs become owners and also, help them become home owners in the community.
  • Buying up delinquent taxes. Mr. Anderson said this wasn’t a good idea since the homeowner has the right to come back for up to two years.

Topics of Interest to PNI
    1. Dave Marchal – Deputy Director of Develop Louisville (Marchal@LouisvilleKy.Gov 502-574-3216) provided information on Louisville Zoning Codes. Information about this can be found at http://lojic.org/main. In light of this I spoke with Mr. Marchal about the discussion the Revitalization Committee had earlier regarding re zoning as it related to the Portland Plan. Perhaps this needs to be revisited. 
    2. There was also a discussion involving possible funding for the restoration of vacant and abandoned properties. Mr. Anderson suggested networking with local banks because these banks have more flexible programs than the national banks.
    3. Mike Radeke  Restoration Project Manager for the Kentucky Heritage Council gave a presentation on the Tax Credit Program for restoration of properties on the National Register and worthy of preservation. There is a flyer explaining this in the binder. Kentucky’s number of houses listed in  National Register is number 4 in the nation. There are three things considered in getting a house on the National Register – is it old enough – at least 50 years, is it intact enough, and is it significant enough. Mr. Radeke suggested this information could be obtained by going through library Archives and looking through old photos.
Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation can be found at www.nps.gov/tps/standards/four-treatments/treatment-rehabilitation.htm. Mr. Radeke’s contact information is also on the flyer in the binder. 
The last part of the conversation on rehabilitation of homes concerned using original elements when possible. Mr. Kumon pointed out that there was a reason certain elements were used in the first place. It was what was available in the area- for instance using lime in brick mortar instead of cement. Historic windows have more flexibility and are more durable because they can be repaired instead of replacing the entire window. There was a question about weather efficiency. Although no specific citations were available, the consensus of experience was that there was little difference  between the two if proper insulation, etc. was used.

Submitted by Brenda Duffey, Board Member

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Women and Peace

On of the major themes of my generational saga, The Peacemaker available at http://kentuckywoman.net is that our society has come into the 21st Century in a seemingly unending cycle of social injustice and ever increasing violence spurred by endless war. The historical reasons for this as examined in the novel, stem from one basic fault in American government, the disenfranchisement of women. If women had had the right to vote from the inception of our government, there would have been no slavery, no genocide of the indigenous people and no military industrial complex and endless war.

Not having the right to vote for over 40 percent of our government’s history has brought us to this point in the 21st Century. Institutions based on imperialism, colonialism, endless war, and destruction of the planet that sustains us were planted and allowed to grow and germinate during this time. In fact, the primary cog that runs the government and society itself is money and uncontrolled consumerism and accumulation of grotesque wealth concentrated in the hands of a few people. Even those so called “good” billionaires have far too much money because they also control people’s lives by deciding who gets a share of their wealth. Unfortunately, females have bought into this system and are simply following the path determined by the white, male oligarchy that established it in the first place.

.A thoughtful reading of our Founding Mother’s documents of freedom and essays reveals why these women pushed for the vote in the first place. These
females realized they could not have the peaceful, egalitarian society they wanted without the vote. Unfortunately, by the time women got the right to vote, only one-quarter of the females in this country voted and when they did, most did not vote from a well-informed knowledge base, they voted according to the propaganda from the white, male ruling class that stereotyped them into roles of passive, supportive wife and mother.

There is an interesting essay written by novelist and poet Alice Duer Miller in 1915 on the subject of roles and voting rights. It is entitled “Why We Oppose Votes for Men.” The purpose of the essay was to point out some of the qualities of men that weren’t so favorable to a peaceful society.
 It reads as follows:
  • Because men’s place is in the army.
  • Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
  • Because if men should adopt peaceful methods women will no longer look up to them.
  • Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters other than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.
  • Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct is baseball games and political conventions shows (sic) this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.

Over the years women have forgotten the teachings of our Founding Mothers as they have continued to buy into the values listed above. Women have joined political parties and taken part in the building of the military industrial complex and fight for control to use these principles in the best way to provide social justice. The fallacy is that it didn’t work in the 19th and 20th Centuries and has only led us down a dangerous precipice in a 21st Century facing a planet gone mad and trying to figure out how to save it.
Until women have an understanding of this and start to speak out against war and lobby for programs that result in clean air and water, production of nourishing food by sustainable methods and lobby for this instead of food stamps, college loans, insurance and pharmaceutically driven “health care,” college educations and more and more consumption, our individual physical and emotional health as well as the health of the earth that sustains us will continue in its downward spiral.
Women are the nurturers and genetically responsible for the care and training of the children. I support a woman’s right to a career, but, as a female, we are responsible for making sure the compassionate, nurturing component of decision making does not get lost in the process. More women are finding that they are better suited to entrepreneurship and working from home with a more flexible schedule if they have young children than the hard driving corporate life. We need more women doctors who think more about public health than a career driven by profit and the pharmaceutical  industry. We need women who are willing to admit we have sold out to the white, male oligarchy that has told us what to do for many years and, in a sense, is still telling us what we need to be.

As the world’s population explodes to an unsustainable level, there is little reason to have more children and a woman certainly has the right to choose whether or not to have a family. But these females have a special place in society because they can still function in careers where they can bring the feminine spirit into workplaces and international bargaining tables still functioning from money driven madness. That is the responsibility of women and I hope that women can return to the studies of our female ancestors who showed the way for us into a world where there is social justice and peace for all.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Challenge to Read and Decide for Yourself - A Look at the Man in the Mirror

Prove Hitler Wrong – Read and Think for Yourself

After reading Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, as an historian I saw some glaring similarities between some of the things he was saying about the state of our nation and the need for him to be elected to “make things right.” My first response was “I need to write an essay filled with comparisons so that those who follow my blogs will see the same thing.” Then I found a website that had a collection of quotes from Adolph Hitler that gave insight into the man and his philosophy of action in order to achieve his ultimate goal which he nearly achieved except for his “fatal flaw” that Shakespeare describes so well in many of his tragedies about great leaders.

 I don’t think anyone in our country supporting either of the major political parties sees themselves in any way associated with Hitler. In fact, I see wall posts all the time comparing the other “evil” party to someone that no rational person would attribute any redeemable qualities. After World War II, those who followed Hitler and carried out his despicable orders were put on trial and many were executed. The state of Israel, in fact, found Adolph Eichmann and executed him in the 60’s for his war crimes. The free world has struggled with discovering what was it about Germany that caused these people to follow this man? Were they inherently evil, blindly going along while witnessing the most atrocious atrocities against human kind? How did that happen? As I read a series of quotes from Adolph Hitler taken from his writings about how to attain power, my mind started making many comparisons to the hot bed of discussion in our country that has brought our country into a state of violence that concerns everyone.

Donald Trump’s discussion about the need to restore law and order in our country is what started me on this journey. But as I read these quotes listed at www.azquotes.com, I thought I would post sixteen of them here in my blog. These, hopefully, will be read by those who desire to read beyond headlines and fancy quotes posted on some wall to support preconceived biases and examine with an open mind to perhaps see where they fit into this discussion of Hitler. I have already thought about myself, but until everyone is willing to look at the “man in the mirror” I don’t think much will change.

Hitler’s Quotes in No Particular Order

“If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.”

“The best way to take control over a people and control them is to take away their freedom a little at a time, to erode rights by a 1,000 tiny pieces and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.”

“This year will go down in history. For the first time a civilization has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient and the world will follow our lead into the future.”

“Pride in one’s own race – and that does not imply contempt for the other races – is a normal and healthy sentiment.”

“What luck for the government that the people are stupid.” (Hitler got rid of all the stupid people in the mental institutions).

“How fortunate for the government that people do not think. There is no thinking except in giving and executing commands. If it were otherwise human society could not exist.”

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehensive of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

“The heaviest blow which ever struck humanity was Christianity; Bolshevism (Communism) is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew.”

“The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes.”

“Let me control the textbooks and I will control the state.”

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.”

“Go ahead, kill without mercy. After all who remembers the Armenian genocide?’

“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

“Thousands of Americans, Englishmen and Frenchmen have visited Germany during the months after the national revolution (1937) and were able to testify as eye- witnesses that there is no country in the world where person and property are held in better respect than in our own, but there is perhaps also no country in the world where a more vigorous fight is put up against those who believe that they are free to let loose their lower instincts on their fellow beings.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jingoism - A Barrier to World Peace

“For myself and all other true National – Socialists there is only one doctrine: Nation and Fatherland. What we have to fight for is security for the existence and increase of our race and our nation, nourishment of its children and purity of its blood., freedom and independence for the Fatherland, and that our nation may be able to ripen for the fulfillment of the mission appointed for them by the Creator of the Universe.”

Adolph Hitler

One of the barriers to world peace has always been jingoism. Jingoism is a term for the feelings and beliefs of people who think their country is always right and, as a result, support aggressive acts against other countries. Unbridled nationalism has led to continuous atrocities that in the 21st Century have led us down a path toward endless war.

According to “The Promise of World Peace” published by the Universal House of Justice, “unbridled nationalism must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole.”  As we face endless wars perpetrated by the radicalization of patriotism and love of country, we are challenged to develop a new concept of world citizenship.

Love of the world’s citizens as well as all sentient creatures who share the earth with us does not exclude love of country. By loving on a larger scale, all citizens and creatures of the earth benefit and can live together in peace and harmony. Without that, we will continue on the endless cycle of war and destruction of the earth we all share. Peace matters and all lives (human as well as non-human) do matter. What do you think?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What Living Without War Can Do for the World Economy

“Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
Dwight Eisenhower 1953

What ten percent of the world’s annual arms budget could buy in the space of a few years.

  • 2 ½ To provide family planning and health care for all mothers.

  • 6  ½  billion To clean up the world’s air and soil and prevent further pollution.
  • 5  ½ billion   To provide clean water for the 2 billion people who do not have it; this would help prevent diseases such as cholera and hookworm.
  • 2 ½ billion     To provide basic health care for country areas in the Third World.
  • 4 ½ billion      To develop renewable energy sources such as: solar energy, water and wind power, and to restock forests.
  • 4 ½ billion      To provide basic training in work skills for the 50 million young people who start work each year.
  • 3 billion           To research and develop low-cost technology which would save on oil and use of local resources.
  • 6 ½ billion        To provide schools and teachers for the for the 50% of children in the Third World who never have the chance of going to school.
  • 6   billion           To provide a long term food aid program which would solve the problems of malnutrition.
  • 2 ½ billion         To teach everyone to read and write.
  • 7 billion             To aid the world’s small farmers with better seeds, fertilizers and irrigation. This alone would provide much more food for those who need it.
  • 3 billion               To save a million lives in Africa alone; by draining swamps and providing medicines to get rid of malaria everywhere.

Source: The 10 percent programme adopted from Ruth Sivard, World Social and Military expenditures, 1979.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Peace Matters Just the Facts

Peace Matters

            “The intolerable conditions pervading society bespeak a common failure of all, a circumstance which tends to incite rather than relieve the entrenchment on either side. Clearly a common remedial effort is urgently required. It is primarily a matter of attitude. Will humanity continue in its waywardness, holding to outworn concepts and unworkable assumptions? Or, will its leaders, regardless of ideology step forth, and with resolute will, consult together in a united search for appropriate solutions?
 The Promise of World Peace, pg. 68.

World Budget Priorities 1983

US and European Economy

$25,600 military expenditure per soldier                                  $450 education
                                                                                                     expenditures per child

$75 per capita for military research                                            $11 for health research

$150 per capita for military forces                                              $.06 per capita for
                                                                                                 international peace keeping

These public budgets show a decided preference for military power over social programs and peaceful approaches to conflict resolution. 

World Military and Other Expenditures of Governments in 1983

Military                $706 billion
Education               650
Health                     540
Foreign Aid              36
UN Programs              4
Peace Keeping           0.3

Source:  World Military and Social Expenditures 1985, R.L. Sivard, World Priorities, USA

  • Although these figures are over 30 years old, current world conditions only reflect even more disparity.

“We are living under the domination of the cultural legacies of times long past. The principle of national sovereignty is one of them; it derives from our ancestral concept of sacred territory to be defended at all costs . . . The grotesque and paranoid belief that our legitimate aspirations to security can be satisfied by ever more deadly armaments is another such relic.”
Aurelio Peccei   One Hundred Pages for the Future, Pergamon Press, 1982.

The generation saga “The Peacemaker” http://kentuckywoman.net is a 300 year exploration of American history that bears out the above statement.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Where are Our Priorites to Develop Peace?

Some Indicators of Our Madness

Statistics from the Promise of World Peace Universal House of Justice

  • To keep military expenses at their present levels, (1980) everyone during his lifetime will have to sacrifice three to four years of his/her income to the arms race.
  • The developed countries spend twenty time more on their military programs than on economic aid to the poor countries.
  • In two days, the world spends on armaments what it costs the organization of the United Nations and its specialist agencies per year.
  • More than 100 million citizens receive their wages directly or indirectly from Ministries of Defense.
  • The training of military personnel in the United States costs twice as much each year as the budget for the education of 300 million children of school age in South Asia.
  • The price of the Trident Submarine is equal to the cost of maintaining 16 million children in the developing countries in school for a year.
  • For the price of one tank, 1,000 classrooms for 30,000 children could be built.
  • For the price of one fighter plane, 40,000 village pharmacies could be set up.

Adapted from World Military and Social Expenditures 1980, by Ruth Leger Sivard, © World Priorities, Leesburg, VA 22075 and North South: A Programme for Survival, the Report of the Independent Comission on the Problems of International Development, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 

What do you think? 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Peace Matters Maybe We Should Post the Golden Rule in Schools?

God Speaks through Many Tongues

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Par'thians and Medes and E'lamites and residents of Mesopota'mia, Judea and Cappado'cia, Pontus and Asia, Phyrg'ia and Pamphyl'ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre'ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our tongues the mighty works of God."  Acts 2:3-4

God has given his message to all religions and if we can put aside the focus on cultural and racial differences, perhaps we can finally see we all want the same from our religion. Here is one example of how all religions believe in and promote the practice of what Christians call The Golden Rule.

“This is the sum of duty; do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.” The Mahabharata

“Hurt not others with that that pains yourself.” Udana-Varqua

“That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.” Dadistan-i-Dinik

“What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law, all the rest is commentary.” The Talmud

“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law of the prophets.” The Gospel of Matthew

“No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Hadith

Baha’i Faith
“He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfill.” Gleanings

I wonder if Atheists have a Golden Rule? “Religion without science is blind. Science without religion is lame.” Einstein

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Eric Fromm on Peace

Quotes from the Promise of World Peace

            “I believe that the One World which is emerging can come into existence only if a New Man comes into being ─ a man who has emerged from the archaic ties of blood and soil, and who feels himself to be the son of man, a citizen of the world whose loyalty is to the human race and to life, rather than to any exclusive part of it; a man who loves his country because he loves mankind, and whose judgment is not warped by tribal loyalties.
Eric Fromm

What do you think?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Promise of World Peace

The Promise of World Peace
By the Universal House of Justice

            One of the books I read while developing the story for “New Pangaea – An Evolution into the Fifth World” was a collection of thoughts and inspirational messages about peace and the common desire for peace among all religious faiths as well as thoughts about the obstacles to peace. I am reading the book again as I am within pages of completion of my manuscript. So many quotations are jumping off the page and resonating with me as I read them again, so I thought I would share some with you. I am posting only the quotations without comments and hope you will find they resonate some way with you in your desire for peace and economic justice today. The first is the one  I will attribute to the two people who compiled the book – Juliet Mabey and Novin Dootstar and intend on using as an Epilogue to the novel. Feel free to make any comments that resonate with you in the section for comments at the end of the blog. These will be daily entries and I hope you enjoy reading them and that they inspire your thinking toward universal peace.

A Critical Juncture
“The Great Peace towards which people of goodwill throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World Peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet ─ in the words of one great thinker, “the planetization of mankind.” Pg. 12

Synopsis of "New Pangaea - An Evolution into the Fifth World.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vote Your Conscience - Don't be Snaffued

An Independent View of this Election

            This blog is intended for anyone who wants to understand that the election of the President is not the most important thing to get this country back on track. Our government is not a dictatorship nor is it an absolute monarchy.
 A dictator controls not only the army and the economic system, he/she also has absolute power over the entire country. No law nor any economic measure can be instituted without the dictator’s consent because the dictator controls the military and all law enforcement.
            The President of the United States is commander-in-chief of the military and his office also conducts foreign relations. For that reason, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not viable choices for me as President. Therefore, I am voting for Jill
Stein, but I don’t see that as giving one or the other major party candidate the election because there are other just as important elections occurring during this election year. All of the Representatives in the House of Representatives (which controls appropriations) as well as one-third of the Senators are up for re-election.
            In our system of government, power is shared among the three branches (judicial, legislative and executive) and each of these branches has powers that keep the other branches in check. For instance, (and this has not been the way our government has operated since World War II), Congress must declare war before the President can send in troops. In addition, Congress controls the purse strings so even if the President usurps that power as in the case of Lyndon Johnson and George Bush, Congress can still avoid war by not funding the war. That is exactly why I did not support Lyndon Johnson or George Bush and also why I could not trust Bernie Sanders because he voted to fund the war in Iraq, along with Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.
            If my face book memes are correct, I, along with many other Americans do not support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I have chosen to support Jill Stein because she is everything I want in a President, including being female. Many people support the idea that a vote for Jill Stein will give the election to Donald Trump. I do not care because I am, for the first time in a long time, voting for my choice not the lesser of two evils. I am, however, making a stand against Donald Trump in Congress. I have informed Republican Rand Paul whose Senate seat is up for re election this year, that if he endorses Donald Trump, he will not get my vote.
            When Senator Paul was running for the Republican Presidential nomination, even though as an independent, I couldn’t vote in the primaries, I followed him closely and liked what he had to say. If, however, he puts his support behind Donald Trump, I will not vote for him. You have the power to do that also. But if you continue to focus on the candidates for President as the be all and end all for this country, in my opinion, you will abolish all the gains individual Americans who were excluded from the government in 1787 have made over the last three centuries and we are no better now than when we were living under an absolute monarchy.