Monday, April 27, 2009

May 2nd - 9th: The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers Come to Olympia, WA

Warmest Greetings...
I love these indigenous Grandmothers who come from all over the world.
I have photos of them up in my home and at work.
I have been told that it takes 5 interpreters for them to share when they
are all gathered together.What an honor it is that the Grandmothers
are coming to the Northwest. I am deeply grateful to these
wise Elders who are helping to change the world.
Peace & blessing ~ Molly

* * *

Grandmothers Counsel the World

Event Dates: May 02, 2009 1:00 PM to May 09, 2009 7:30 PM
Grandmothers Counsel the World at The Evergreen State College

Members of International Council of Indigenous Grandmothers
Arrive in Early May

(Olympia and Tacoma, Wash.) The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers was formed almost five years ago out of a deep concern for “the unprecedented destruction of our Mother Earth and the destruction of indigenous ways of life.” The Council, which includes spiritual leaders from across the world, assembles to pray, share ancestral wisdom and counsel the world from multiple perspectives of distinctive cultures.

The Evergreen State College welcomes four North American members of this council of leaders of nations. The Grandmothers will share their views on the environment, resiliency, peace and knowledge in a time of unprecedented global change.


On Saturday, May 2, the week of events opens with the keynote presentation, the Traditional Salish Welcome Ceremony and Presentation by the Four Grandmothers from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., with reception following. The free, public event will take place at The Evergreen State College, Daniel J. Evans Library, 2nd Floor Lobby, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, Washington 98505.

During the Welcome Ceremony and keynote presentation, the elders will share their knowledge and experience of indigenous science, spiritual healing and ceremony, peace and prayer. The purpose of their conversation is to engage thought on the world’s spiritual, earthly, and cultural resources through examples from the experience of the grandmothers and from a deep reservoir of cultural wisdom.

On Tuesday, May 5, the visiting council members will pair up for two distinct, free public talks entitled “Ancestral Teachings for Times of Unprecedented Change.”

Mona Polacca and Rita Pitka Blumenstein will deliver their message at Evergreen’s Tacoma campus on May 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (This talk will be telecast live at Evergreen’s Olympia campus in Lecture Hall 1.) The Tacoma campus is located at 1210 6th Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98405

Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance and Council Chair Agnes Baker Pilgrim will speak on that same theme May 5 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Evergreen’s Olympia campus, Lecture Hall 1.

Anyone attending one of the previous events is invited to join in honoring and thanking the visiting council members at the Closing Ceremony and Reception on Friday, May 8, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Lobby of the Daniel J. Evans Library in Olympia.

Visit this page for directions to Olympia and Tacoma campuses:

About the Grandmothers

The concept of the council of elders is an ancient form of governance ruled by a circle rather than a hierarchy of command. Councils of elders are emerging in Europe, Australia and the Middle East. The four elders are here as North American representatives of an international council formed out of concern for the destruction of Mother Earth, indigenous ways of life, and the well being of humanity. They will visit and teach at Evergreen, local schools, and in the wider South Sound communities. The first council gathering was a time of hope and inspiration. The grandmothers are women of prayer and women of action. Their traditional ways link them with the forces of the Earth. Their solidarity with one another creates a web to rebalance the injustices wrought from an imbalanced world; a world disconnected from the fundamental laws of nature and the original teachings based on a respect for all of life.

- Rita Pitka Blumenstein serves as the first certified tribal doctor in the state of Alaska. She is a Yup'ik mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, friend, and tribal elder. Well known as a traditional healer, teacher, and artist, she has spent over forty years investigating, producing, and passing on many aspects of Alaska Native culture such as song, drumming, skin sewing, basketry, storytelling, and use of plants for dyes and medicinal purposes. She has traveled and taught in 167 countries.

- Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance is a Lakota keeper of the traditional ways, great grandmother, Native American Church elder, and bead worker. She lives with her sister, Beatrice Long-Visitor Holy Dance on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. With her sister, Grandmother Rita initiated the Council’s Youth Ambassador program. She is involved in the Grandmothers’ efforts to encourage the Vatican to rescind several Papal Bulls and edicts that set the stage for the "doctrine of conquest" that has had such far-reaching effects on the treatment of indigenous peoples.

- Agnes Baker Pilgrim, Chairman of the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, is the oldest known living female member of her tribe, the Takelma Indians, originally from southern Oregon. An alumna of Southern Oregon University, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Native American Studies, she is a historian, storyteller and cultural instructor. She has been honored as a "Living Treasure" by her tribe the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, and as a "Living Cultural Legend" by the Oregon Council of the Arts.

- Mona Polacca is a Hopi/Havasupai /Tewa elder. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Arizona State University where she is working on her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary justice studies. She is also on the faculty of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit program dedicated to promoting a vision of wellness by providing trans-cultural training to individuals, families, and healthcare professionals. Grandmother Polacca has worked on issues of Native American alcoholism, domestic violence and mental health for the elderly native peoples.

More information on the activities of the grandmothers at Evergreen from May 2 to May 9 can be found at

More information on the International Council of Indigenous Grandmothers can be found at


The week of events is presented by the Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series, The Evergreen State College Diversity Series and the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, in collaboration with First Peoples’ Advising Services and academic programs across the college.

The Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series welcomes distinguished visitors who reflect the values and philosophy of Willi Unsoeld, a founding Evergreen faculty member, philosopher, theologian and mountaineer. Unsoeld was well known for his first ascent of the West Ridge of Mt. Everest with Tom Hornbein, in which they made the first successful traverse of any Himalayan peak. For this feat, President John F. Kennedy presented them with the Hubbard Medal, The National Geographic Society’s highest honor. The annual Unsoeld Seminar is endowed as a “living memorial” in honor of Willi Unsoeld who lost his life in an avalanche on Mt. Rainier in 1979.

The Diversity Series was established by Evergreen’s Office for Diversity Affairs to engage the community in conversations about multicultural equity and social justice. The series serves to remind us that our communities are comprised of many cultures, and that everyone benefits when we rely on varied ways of being, knowing, teaching and learning.

The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center opened on the Olympia campus of The Evergreen State College in 1995. The Center’s primary public service work is to promote indigenous arts and culture. In the beginning, the center focused on six local Puget Sound tribes and their artists; today staff work with indigenous artists throughout the Pacific Northwest region, nationally, and with other Pacific Rim indigenous peoples to promote indigenous arts and cultures through a wide variety of programs.

Michael Meade: May 19th - Ecstatic Poetry and Sacred Music

This Darkness Is Your Candle

A night of poetry from Rumi and Hafiz
featuring sacred music with Michael Meade
and The Qadim Ensemble

Portland, OR ~ Tuesday, May 19 ~ 7:00 pm
First Unitarian Church ~ 1011 SW 12th Ave
Sponsored by the First Unitarian Church and Beloved Presents

Training Announcement: May 29th - Opening to Archetypal Wisdom

My dear friend Diane is a co-presenter of this training...

Archetypal Associates Presents

Opening to Archetypal Wisdom

Access deep unconscious wisdom through images
Translate this wisdom to the conscious mind
Let the meaning emerge!

Friday, May 29th, 9:30am - 4pm
407 NE 12th, Portland, OR
CEU: 5 hours
$120 (Tuition can be applied to 2009/2010 training)
$100 Registration by May 5th
Mail to: 407 NE 12th, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97232

Shannon Pernetti (503) 234-1493
Diane Steinbrecher, LCSW (503) 235-2005

Discovering Deep Meaning In Every Day Life
Archetypal forces surround us
Listen with a sacred ear
Bring attention to your inner gifts
Let them flow into your life and work


Archetypal Associates
Shannon Pernetti and Diane Steinbrecher, LCSW, PC, have developed this training to facilitate those who want a way of attuning to the sacredness of life and use of our inner wisdom. They are Certified Archetypal Pattern Analysts in private practice in Portland, Oregon, faculty of the Assisi Institute For The Study of Archetypal Pattern Analysis in Vermont, and co-lead trainings in Archetypal Analysis in Portland, Oregon. They have been in practice since 1970.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Strengthening the Progressive Voice

You turn the AM on and there's Rush, or Savage, or another of the army of right-wing radio talk show hosts. You may not be listening hard, just working, driving, doing busywork or the laundry. Yet if you listen day after day, year after year, your brain will begin to change.

Words, even those heard casually and listened to incidentally, activate frames - structures of ideas that are physically realized in the brain. The more the words are heard, the more the frames are activated in the brain, and stronger their synapses get - until the frames are there permanently.

All this is normal. It is how words work. And the right-wing message machine has found a way to take advantage of it - activating, as it were, a conservative system of thought.

The problem is, those thoughts on the radio are hate city. Savage rails against what he calls "the weakening of the military" by "affirmative action," "illegal immigrants," and "Marxist politicians." What proves it? The submarine accident in the Gulf of Hormuz.

Tune in to Rush. On the one hand he's pitching "rugged individualism," "liberty," and the absolute free market against Obama's call to unity and a sense of national responsibility.

Then he's hammering the AIG bailout and its bonuses, not mentioning that it was the conservative destruction of reasonable regulation that lay behind our economic disaster.

One diatribe after another, the crucial facts left out or lied about, day after day, city after city. It has an effect.

Where are the progressives? Largely absent. Or talking issue by issue, not about general themes. We have some icons: Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert. But they only talk to us. They are not omnipresent.

Can President Obama overcome all this? He is by far the best communicator in politics today. But what we get of him are sound bites, an occasional major address, and a five-minute talk Saturdays on You Tube. Meanwhile, the reporting in the media is about positions on issues, not about general principles that get repeated.

The president does, indeed, think and talk using general principles: empathy (caring about others), responsibility for both oneself and others, and the ethic of excellence - working to make yourself, your community, the nation and the world better. He sees these as the basis of American democracy: Empathy is why we have principles like freedom and fairness, not just for ourselves but for everybody.

In the absence of nationwide media cover, the president has to go barnstorming. His former campaign organization has chosen to reactivate its ground game to try to get ordinary people to go door-to-door, speaking in their own words from their own experiences, to gain support for his policies. The idea is for ordinary people to say what they sincerely believe to their neighbors.

Can this strategy counter the right's message machine on the national level? We shall see.

In California, the absence of articulate Democratic leaders with media presence has been particularly disastrous.

Republican policies led to a $42 billion shortfall this year alone, and GOP lawmakers held up a state budget for nine months. Yet they did not get blamed for it.

Why? The right-wing message machine is alive and well throughout California. Republicans get media cover. Democrats don't get their message out.

Ideas matter. The words that express them matter. Communication matters. The Democrats don't need and shouldn't want their own Rush and Savage. But they could sure use an Obama in this state.


George Lakoff is the author of "The Political Mind and Don't Think of an Elephant!" He is Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley.

* * *

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell

I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world. ~ Margaret Mead

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth. ~ Molly Ivins

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love. ~ William Sloane Coffin

Earth Day: 12 Spiritual Practices to Honor the Earth - Today and Every Day

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

1. Attention
The great Catholic writer Ernesto Cardenal in
Abide in Love observes: "Everything in nature has a trademark, God's trademark: the stripes on a shell and the stripes on a zebra; the grain of the wood and the veins of the dry leaf; the markings on the dragonfly's wings and the pattern of stars on a photographic plate; the panther's coat and the epidermal cells of the lily petal; the structure of atoms and galaxies. All bear God's fingerprints." Go for a walk and look for God's trademarks. Better still, use a camera to document evidence of God's fingerprints in the nature.

2. Being Present
Annie Dillard has written: 'My God, what a world. There is no accounting for one second of it." Get personal with one small piece of the Earth. Sit in the dirt in your backyard. Play in the sand at the beach. Roll in the grass. Stand under a waterfall. Sense the Earth as an animal senses it. Be really present with your planetary host.

3. Connections
Share a story with family or friends, or write in your journal, about a time when you were humbled, soothed, or awed by something in the natural world. How did you feel connected to nature?

4. Devotion
Adopt a tree, a park, a beach, a waterway, or a piece of wild land, and look out for its welfare. Clean up in and around it. Write letters to officials and newspapers on issues that affect it. In its honor, include in your daily prayers petitions to alleviate the sufferings of dying plants and trees, polluted rivers and oceans, and toxic lands.

5. Hospitality
Invite some bugs into your house for an evening. Rent the fascinating and illuminating video
Microcosmos directed by French biologists Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou. This documentary presents one day in a French countryside meadow where butterflies, ants, spiders, and many other insects cavort in their small and exquisite worlds.

6. Joy
Listen to Three Dog Night's classic rock song
Three Dog Night: Joy to the World with the lyric "Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea." Imagine all the other gifts of God in the plant and animal kingdom that give you pleasure and fill your heart with joy.

7. Justice
Hold a Council of All Beings in your school, congregation, or community center. Each participant in the circle speaks for another life-form — an animal, plant, tree, body of water, etc., expressing the being's concerns. You might talk about threats to the being's habitat or freedom, the effects of pollution, natural disasters, and wars. After all the beings have spoken, talk as humans about your responsibilities to correct some of the environmental and cultural injustices you have identified.

8. Openness
Embrace your environment. Walk around the perimeter of your home. Explore it as if being there for the first time. What do you see, feel, hear, smell? Continue this process as you move further out into your community. Make a list of things you discover that you have never seen before.

9. Teachers
Find a teacher in nature and let her give you a lesson today. Here's an example from Natalie Goldberg: "Be tough the way a blade of grass is: rooted, willing to lean, and at peace with what is around it."

10. Unity
Susan Seddon Boulet's shamanic paintings feature the intertwined figures of humans and animals. Her art brings us to a fresh appreciation of interspecies unity. Check out the book
Susan Seddon Boulet: A Retrospective at your library, or Google "Susan Seddon Boulet Gallery" to find examples of her images online.

11. Wonder
Set up a wonder table in your home or classroom. Make it a place where people can display wonders of the nature world they have found — actual examples or photographs of them.

12. You
Rededicate yourself to the live lightly and respectfully on the planet. Repeat this vow:

We join with the Earth and with each other.
To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air
We join with the Earth and with each other.
To renew the forests
To care for the plants
To protect the creatures
We join with the Earth and with each other.
To celebrate the seas
To rejoice in the sunlight
To sing the song of the stars
We join with the Earth and with each other.
To recreate the human community
To promote justice and peace
To remember our children
We join with the Earth and with each other.
We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery:
for the healing of the Earth and the renewal of all life.

— U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program
quoted in Prayers for Healing edited by Maggie Oman

* * *

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. ~Chief Seattle, 1855

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

Fear and Loathing in Prime Time

There is a great deal of very disturbing misinformation out there that fuels ignorance, polarization, blame, hostility, hatred, and more. It feels important to offer some truth to counter myths and instead nourish compassion and a remembrance that we are all connected. Peace ~ Molly

* * *

Immigration Myths and Cable News


There are many problems facing the United States today: a faltering economy, a health-care crisis, and the continuing war in Iraq, to name a few. But viewers of some of the most prominent cable news programs are presented a different reality, one in which one issue stands above all others: illegal immigration.

Media Matters Action Network undertook this study in order to document the rhetoric surrounding immigration that is heard on cable news. When it comes to this issue, cable news overflows not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.

There are two types of myths we discuss in this report. The first type is the large and most common myths, about crime and undocumented immigrants, and the costs of illegal immigration in social services and taxes. These topics are complex, and there are sometimes legitimate points buried within the arguments immigration opponents make. The second type of myth is the urban legend: that there is a conspiracy to take back the Southwest United States for Mexico; that there is a secret plan to construct a "NAFTA Superhighway" running from Canada to Mexico; that the U.S. is well on its way to surrendering its sovereignty to a "North American Union" (NAU); that Mexican immigrants are infecting Americans with leprosy; and that undocumented immigrants are responsible for a wave of election fraud. These myths are discussed less often, but are notable for their sheer ludicrousness. The North American Union and NAFTA Superhighway are closely related, and indeed are often discussed in tandem (the building of the Superhighway being posited as a step on the road to the creation of the NAU), but since each is also often discussed alone, we examine these two myths separately.

We focus our analysis on a trio of cable commentators: Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck. While hosts on other cable programs regularly discuss illegal immigration (particularly on Fox News, where it is a frequent topic on Hannity & Colmes and Special Report with Brit Hume), these three are the most notable for a number of reasons. On their eponymous programs, Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck serve up a steady diet of fear, anger, and resentment on the topic of illegal immigration.

Dobbs is the one most obsessed with the topic; indeed, instead of Lou Dobbs Tonight, his program might be more properly called Lou Dobbs Crusades Against Illegal Immigration Tonight. Fully 70 percent of the 2007 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight contained discussion of illegal immigration. The O'Reilly Factor is not far behind; 56 percent of 2007 episodes discussed illegal immigration. And though Glenn Beck was less consumed with the issue (28 percent of his 2007 programs discussed it), his show is the one on which viewers often find the most inflammatory claims.

* * *

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves. ~ Amelia Earhart

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. ~ Maya Angelou

The happiness of one's own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one's own happiness, the happiness of others. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reclaiming America’s Soul

by Paul Krugman

"Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." So declared President Obama, after his commendable decision to release the legal memos that his predecessor used to justify torture. Some people in the political and media establishments have echoed his position. We need to look forward, not backward, they say. No prosecutions, please; no investigations; we're just too busy.

And there are indeed immense challenges out there: an economic crisis, a health care crisis, an environmental crisis. Isn't revisiting the abuses of the last eight years, no matter how bad they were, a luxury we can't afford?

No, it isn't, because America is more than a collection of policies. We are, or at least we used to be, a nation of moral ideals. In the past, our government has sometimes done an imperfect job of upholding those ideals. But never before have our leaders so utterly betrayed everything our nation stands for. "This government does not torture people," declared former President Bush, but it did, and all the world knows it.

And the only way we can regain our moral compass, not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how that happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible.

What about the argument that investigating the Bush administration's abuses will impede efforts to deal with the crises of today? Even if that were true - even if truth and justice came at a high price - that would arguably be a price we must pay: laws aren't supposed to be enforced only when convenient. But is there any real reason to believe that the nation would pay a high price for accountability?

For example, would investigating the crimes of the Bush era really divert time and energy needed elsewhere? Let's be concrete: whose time and energy are we talking about?

Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn't be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn't be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn't be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn't, and indeed shouldn't, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job - which he's supposed to do in any case - and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.

I don't know about you, but I think America is capable of uncovering the truth and enforcing the law even while it goes about its other business.
Still, you might argue - and many do - that revisiting the abuses of the Bush years would undermine the political consensus the president needs to pursue his agenda.

But the answer to that is, what political consensus? There are still, alas, a significant number of people in our political life who stand on the side of the torturers. But these are the same people who have been relentless in their efforts to block President Obama's attempt to deal with our economic crisis and will be equally relentless in their opposition when he endeavors to deal with health care and climate change. The president cannot lose their good will, because they never offered any.

That said, there are a lot of people in Washington who weren't allied with the torturers but would nonetheless rather not revisit what happened in the Bush years.

Some of them probably just don't want an ugly scene; my guess is that the president, who clearly prefers visions of uplift to confrontation, is in that group. But the ugliness is already there, and pretending it isn't won't make it go away.

Others, I suspect, would rather not revisit those years because they don't want to be reminded of their own sins of omission.

For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract "confessions" that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.

It's hard, then, not to be cynical when some of the people who should have spoken out against what was happening, but didn't, now declare that we should forget the whole era - for the sake of the country, of course.

Sorry, but what we really should do for the sake of the country is have investigations both of torture and of the march to war. These investigations should, where appropriate, be followed by prosecutions - not out of vindictiveness, but because this is a nation of laws. We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn't about looking backward, it's about looking forward - because it's about reclaiming America's soul.

Published on Friday, April 24, 2009 by The New York Times
© 2009 The New York Times

Paul Krugman is professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a regular columnist for The New York Times. Krugman was the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. He is the author of numerous books, including The Conscience of A Liberal, and his most recent, The Return of Depression Economics.

* * *

I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace. ~ H. H. the Dalai Lama

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, April 24, 2009

April 29th: An Evening with Susan Galleymore

An Evening with Susan Galleymore, Author of
Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak About War and Terror
Portland Book Launch & Celebration

April 29, 2009 7:00pm - 9:00pm
First Unitarian Church of Portland, 1011 SW 12th Ave

Susan Galleymore, the mother of a U.S. soldier, made international headlines by taking the extraordinary and dangerous step of traveling to Iraq to visit her son stationed on a military base in the so-called Sunni Triangle, north of Baghdad.

What she found in Iraq challenged her to continue her journey interviewing mothers in war zones including Iraq, Israel and the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Afghanistan—as well as in the U.S. These powerful first-person stories offer dramatic insight into the impact of war on mothers, families, communities, and cultures around the world.

Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak About War and Terror gets to the heart of extreme social experiences—war and warriors, mothers and children, communities and cultures—and explores the meaning of courage, fear, and leadership.

Mothers featured in Susan's brand new book, Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak About War and Terror, will be speaking along with her at events across the country.

Portland Area Mothers and Others Sharing Their Stories:
Adele Kubein, mother of National Guardswoman and MFSO board member Maxine Fookson, a pediatric nurse practitioner, co-coordinator of No More Victims project to help 6 yr old badly injured Iraqi boy get medical care in Portland
Others to be announced

Special Musical Guest: Mona Warner, singer, songwriter and guitarist
Iraqi children's art sponsored by Iraqi Children's Art Exchange
Book signing with Susan Galleymore follows the event

What They're Saying About Long Time Passing:
"Eloquently presents the universal fear, sorrow, and suffering experienced by mothers whose lives have been profoundly affected by war." —Mary Tillman, co-author of Boots on the Ground at Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman and mother of football star Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
"A heartfelt and gut-wrenching account—a must read for anyone wanting to understand the effects of modern war." —Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations at Boston University and author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. His son, Andrew, was killed in the Iraq war.

Download a flyer of the event

Free event open to the public

Born in South Africa and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Susan Galleymore continues to share the stories of those affected by war as founder of MotherSpeak, as a radio host for Raising Sand Radio, and a counselor on the G.I. Rights Hotline.

For more information about the 10-city book tour and to order the book please visit:

* * *

You Tube video:
Susan Galleymore -
Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak about War and Terror

* * *

...We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
-Julia Ward Howe, Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Are Friends For? A Longer Life

Thank you to my high school friend, Dawn,
who sent this to me from Michigan. How true!
Brightest blessings ~ Molly

* * *

Many people overlook a powerful weapon in the quest
for better health: their friends.

In the quest for better health, many people turn to doctors, self-help books or herbal supplements. But they overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life: their friends.

Researchers are only now starting to pay attention to the importance of friendship and social networks in overall health. A 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends. A large 2007 study showed an increase of nearly 60 percent in the risk for obesity among people whose friends gained weight. And last year, Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties could promote brain health as we age.

“In general, the role of friendship in our lives isn’t terribly well appreciated,” said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. “There is just scads of stuff on families and marriage, but very little on friendship. It baffles me. Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships.”

In a new book, “The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship” (Gotham), Jeffrey Zaslow tells the story of 11 childhood friends who scattered from Iowa to eight different states. Despite the distance, their friendships endured through college and marriage, divorce and other crises, including the death of one of the women in her 20s.

Using scrapbooks, photo albums and the women’s own memories, Mr. Zaslow chronicles how their close friendships have shaped their lives and continue to sustain them. The role of friendship in their health and well-being is evident in almost every chapter.

Two of the friends have recently learned they have breast cancer. Kelly Zwagerman, now a high school teacher who lives in Northfield, Minn., said that when she got her diagnosis in September 2007, her doctor told her to surround herself with loved ones. Instead, she reached out to her childhood friends, even though they lived far away.

“The first people I told were the women from Ames,” she said in an interview. “I e-mailed them. I immediately had e-mails and phone calls and messages of support. It was instant that the love poured in from all of them.”

When she complained that her treatment led to painful sores in her throat, an Ames girl sent a smoothie maker and recipes. Another, who had lost a daughter to leukemia, sent Ms. Zwagerman a hand-knitted hat, knowing her head would be cold without hair; still another sent pajamas made of special fabric to help cope with night sweats.

Ms. Zwagerman said she was often more comfortable discussing her illness with her girlfriends than with her doctor. “We go so far back that these women will talk about anything,” she said.
Ms. Zwagerman says her friends from Ames have been an essential factor in her treatment and recovery, and research bears her out. In 2006,
a study of nearly 3,000 nurses with breast cancer found that women without close friends were four times as likely to die from the disease as women with 10 or more friends. And notably, proximity and the amount of contact with a friend wasn’t associated with survival. Just having friends was protective.

Bella DePaulo, a visiting psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work focuses on single people and friendships, notes that in many studies, friendship has an even greater effect on health than a spouse or family member. In the study of nurses with breast cancer, having a spouse wasn’t associated with survival.

While many friendship studies focus on the intense relationships of women, some research shows that men can benefit, too. In a six-year study of 736 middle-age Swedish men, attachment to a single person didn’t appear to affect the risk of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease, but having friendships did. Only smoking was as important a risk factor as lack of social support.
Exactly why friendship has such a big effect isn’t entirely clear. While friends can run errands and pick up medicine for a sick person, the benefits go well beyond physical assistance; indeed, proximity does not seem to be a factor.

It may be that people with strong social ties also have better access to health services and care. Beyond that, however, friendship clearly has a profound psychological effect. People with strong friendships are less likely than others to get colds, perhaps because they have lower stress levels.

Last year, researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone.

The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.

“People with stronger friendship networks feel like there is someone they can turn to,” said Karen A. Roberto, director of the center for gerontology at Virginia Tech. “Friendship is an undervalued resource. The consistent message of these studies is that friends make your life better.”

* * *

There is an African saying that goes like this: "A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it." Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused. ~ Justine Willis Toms

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Connection, Hope, and Celebration


Thank you to Don for sharing.

Peace & blessings,


* * *

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble. ~ Blaise Pascal

One Love


Thank you to Diana for sharing.

Peace & Blessings,


* * *

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~ John Muir

Senator Sanders Calls For Financial Justice

By Dan McLean, Free Press Staff Writer

Senators ask Obama for reform and prosecutions

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and five Democratic senators, met with the president at the White House late Monday afternoon to discuss the “absolute need for financial reform,” Sanders said Tuesday.

Vermont’s junior senator said he pushed for a fact-finding effort to identify the root causes of the economic crisis, prosecutions against lawbreakers on Wall Street, new layers of financial regulations and the breakup of major U.S. financial institutions.

“My phone is ringing off the hook,” Sanders said he told President Barack Obama during the 45-minute meeting. “People are clearly outraged about the behavior on Wall Street.” It’s behavior Sanders suspects is criminal.

Sanders also called for financial institutions perceived to be “too big to fail” to be dismantled, listing American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. as examples.

“Start breaking them up,” he said. “That’s what Teddy Roosevelt talked about 100 years ago.

”During the meeting, Sanders discussed several ideas with the president:

- Ensuring there is a comprehensive understanding of how last year’s financial meltdown began.
- The creation of a Department of Justice task force to explore possible criminal violations committed by financial executives.
- The creation of regulations designed to prevent a repeat of the lingering recession that has dragged the global economy into a substantial slowdown.

Sanders said Obama “had no disagreement” with the general tone of the conversation. “I think the president wants to hold those people accountable,” Sanders said.

“We need a thorough investigation to basically gather the facts as to how this crisis happened and to find out who were the players and the individuals making it happen,” Sanders said. “We need to go into great detail. Not only into the whole process of deregulation, but who the individuals, in fact, were.

”The Justice Department task force would prosecute “anyone who has broken the law,” perhaps by financial industry executives who misrepresented the condition of their businesses to shareholders, Sanders said. The task force should determine “what did they know and when did they know it,” he said.

Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Jim Webb, D-Va., also attended the meeting, Sanders said.

“If someone wants to get involved in risky investments, that’s their right. But it’s not going to be the taxpayers of this country to bail them out,” Sanders said.

* * *

Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us... When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.
~ HH the Dalai Lama
The Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989

US Must "Move Forward" with Torture Accountability Now

I also just wrote the President about this issue - which is profoundly important...

Olbermann: We cannot let mistakes of the past haunt our future.

As promised, a Special Comment now on the president's revelation of the remainder of this nightmare of Bush Administration torture memos. This President has gone where few before him, dared. The dirty laundry - illegal, un-American, self-defeating, self-destroying - is out for all to see.

Mr. Obama deserves our praise and our thanks for that. And yet he has gone but half-way. And, in this case, in far too many respects, half the distance is worse than standing still. Today, Mr. President, in acknowledging these science-fiction-like documents, you said that:

"This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke."

"We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history.

"But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.

Mr. President, you are wrong. What you describe would be not "spent energy" but catharsis.
Not "blame laid," but responsibility ascribed. You continued:

"Our national greatness is embedded in America's ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future."

Indeed we must, Mr. President. And the forces of which you speak are the ones lingering - with pervasive stench - from the previous administration. Far more than a criminal stench, Sir. An immoral one. One we cannot let be re-created.

One, President Obama, it is your responsibility to make sure cannot be re-created. Forgive me for quoting from a Comment I offered the night before the inauguration. But this goes to the core of the President's commendable, but wholly naive, intention. This country has never "moved forward with confidence".without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past.

In point of fact, every effort to merely draw a line in the sand and declare the past dead has served only to keep the past alive and often to strengthen it. We "moved forward" with slavery in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And four score and nine years later, we had buried 600,000 of our sons and brothers, in a Civil War.

After that war's ending, we "moved forward" without the social restructuring - and protection of the rights of minorities - in the south. And a century later, we had not only not resolved anything, but black leaders were still being assassinated in our southern cities.

We "moved forward" with Germany in the reconstruction of Europe after the First World War.

Nobody even arrested the German Kaiser, let alone conducted war crimes trials then. And 19 years later, there was an indescribably more evil Germany and a more heart-rending Second World War.

We "moved forward" with the trusts of the early 1900s. And today, we are at the mercy of corporations too big to fail. We "moved forward" with the Palmer Raids and got McCarthyism.

And we "moved forward" with McCarthyism and got Watergate. We "moved forward" with Watergate and junior members of the Ford administration realized how little was ultimately at risk.

They grew up to be Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. But, Mr. President, when you say we must "come together on behalf of our common future" you are entirely correct. We must focus on getting things right in the future, as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.

That means prosecuting all those involved in the Bush administration's torture of prisoners, even if the results are nominal punishments, or merely new laws. Your only other option is to let this set and fester indefinitely. Because, Sir, some day there will be another Republican president, or even a Democrat just as blind as Mr. Bush to ethics and this country's moral force. And he will look back to what you did about Mr. Bush. Or what you did not do.

And he will see precedent. Or as Cheney saw, he will see how not to get caught next time. Prosecute, Mr. President. Even if you get not one conviction, you will still have accomplished good for generations unborn. Merely by acting, you will deny a further wrong - that this construction will enter the history books: Torture was legal. It worked. It saved the country.

The end. This must not be. "It is our intention," you said today, "to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution." Mr. President, you are making history's easiest, most often made, most dangerous mistake - you are accepting the defense that somebody was "just following orders." At the end of his first year in office, Mr. Lincoln tried to contextualize the Civil War for those who still wanted to compromise with evils of secession and slavery. "The struggle of today," Lincoln wrote, "is not altogether for today. It is for a vast future also."

Mr. president, you have now been handed the beginning of that future. Use it to protect our children and our distant descendants from anything like this ever happening again - by showing them that those who did this, were neither unfairly scapegoated nor absolved. It is good to say "we won't do it again." It is not, however...enough.

* * *

We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.
~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
~ Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC