Thursday, May 17, 2012

Truth, Peeking Out from Behind "Journalists"

Slowly, ever so slowly, the truth is slinking out of dark corners, sneaking past the mainstream media, and offering itself to the minds of people who aren't too oblivious to take notice.

Yesterday I found the story about the first completed trial on an Occupy Wall Street protest arrest. The Defendant in that case, Alexander Arbuckle, wasn't even a protester. Instead, he was a student who had set out to document the protests to prove that the claims of police misconduct and brutality were overblown (!). In the old tradition of "no good deed goes unpunished," Mr. Arbuckle was arrested, along with many others, for disorderly conduct overnight on New Years' Eve. He was offered a plea deal where he'd basically get off with no punishment if he admitted guilt (as many of the protesters have done already), but he refused the deal--and this week, he was acquitted of all charges. From the story in the Village Voice:

Among those arrests was Arbuckle, charged with disorderly conduct for standing in the middle of the street blocking traffic, even after police had repeatedly told protesters to get out of the street. That's the story told in the criminal complaint against Arbuckle, and it's the story that the officer who arrested him told again under oath in court on Monday. The protesters, including Arbuckle, were in the street blocking traffic, Officer Elisheba Vera testified. The police, on the sidewalk, had to move in to make arrests to allow blocked traffic to move.
But there was a problem with the police account: it bore no resemblance to photographs and videos taken that night. Arbuckle's own photographs from the evening place him squarely on the sidewalk. All the video from the NYPD's Technical Research Assistance Unit, which follows the protesters with video-cameras (in almost certain violation of a federal consent decree), showed Arbuckle on the sidewalk.

Did you catch that? Not only citizen activist accounts and video disproved the cops' story: the NYPD's own video evidence showed they were lying about the reasons for the arrests. (!) It remains to be seen whether Officer Vera will be disciplined and/or charged with perjury for her clearly false account of the arrest. Shall we hold our breath waiting? Perhaps not, but it's good news nonetheless.

Oddly, try as I might with several different searches, I see no mention of this story on,,, or In fact, CNN's site actually seemed confused by one search for "Arbuckle trial." It asked me, quizzically, "Did you mean carbuncle trial?" To be clear, CNN, no, I was not searching for a trial about a skin infection involving pus-filled globules surrounding inflamed hair follicles. I was looking for NEWS about the largest protest movement in the United States on a "news" website. Silly me.

They clearly had no room for such trivia, as they needed their front-page space for breaking stories on Angie Harmon's "Dream Role," white babies becoming the minority in the U.S., a horse who ran into the ocean and swam two miles, and a zoo penguin who scaled a 13 foot wall. Notwithstanding the mainstream media's effort to stuff its metaphorical fingers in its equally metaphorical ears (and yours), the truth is out there--it has been proven in court, with video, that NYPD officers falsely arrested dozens of people and then at least one of them lied about it under oath.

Then today, I ran across this story in Rolling Stone, about a lawyer for Goldman Sachs who made a very big no-no in the case filed again Goldman by failed to cover up the truth. For those of you who don't know, Overstock has been suing Goldman for some time, alleging that Goldman (along with several of its bankster buddies) has been illegally manipulating the market to devalue Overstock's shares. During the case, Goldman has been doing its darnedest to make sure that none of the evidence or allegations make it into the public venue. But Goldman's attorney this week filed a response in court and failed to "redact" or cover up all the stuff his clients have been trying for years to hide.

And no wonder. The document refers to evidence of a long-term and very intentional campaign by Goldman--executives and traders alike--to "naked short sell" certain stocks, allegedly including Now, I'm not going to try to explain the exact methodology of all this, but suffice it to say that "naked shorting" is strictly illegal, as it basically amounts to selling stuff you don't own and have no right to sell. In the real world, selling stuff you don't own is either called "theft" or at least "fraud." The evidence is that Goldman has done this routinely.

And once again, searches of,,, and turn up nothing. ABC has a splashy memorial of Donna Summer as its top online header. Clearly the death of an aging disco queen is of more use the the American public than proof that one of the world's largest investment banks (who we paid billions to bail out of their financial woes) has systematically engaged in criminal activity. And of course, they also had to have room for the headlines: "Is Jennifer Lopez Leaving 'Idol'?"; and Miley Slams Anorexia Rumors.

Between the tightly-drawn curtains put up by the US mainstream media, the truth is squeezing through, waiting to be heard--"Journalists", 0: Truth, 2. Are you ready to hear it?

UPDATE: I don't know why, but it didn't occur to me this morning to check MSNBC for these stories. But for my more liberal-leaning friends, they aren't covering these stories either.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It seems that the current word of the week (month? year?) is "Change." Everywhere we look is indication of change. If you look outside yourself, you're pretty likely to see change as negative. Look at the news. There's the "sky is falling" kind of change. There's the "sun is freaking out" kind of change. There's the "civilization-ending climate change" kind. There's the "fascist takeover" kind of change. There's the "imminent world-war-3" kind of change. Given that these types of change are the ones with media agents, many people are feeling distinctly unhappy about the idea.

I've been preaching for a while now about how, when stuff is as ridiculously screwed up as it is right now, change is good, even if it hurts a bit in the process, and I've been urging people to change their minds as the first step toward changing the world. I must say that as an agent of change, my plan seems to be sucking. Many times in the past couple of weeks, I've been tempted to stop writing, go into my solitary lair, also known as my garden, and sulk (or pull weeds). It seems everyone is still looking for an easy way out, an external savior, and a way to stay happily (or unhappily) stuck in their own wallow.

Right on cue, the Universe has sent me a lot of clues saying to stop feeling sorry for myself, pull up my big-girl pants, and get on with saving the world. ;-)

So, since I'm hardly a philosopher, I thought I'd compile some quotes of other people, who may have more credibility on the subject than I. Here are 20 really apt quotes about change.

  1. “It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.” -Bob Proctor
  2. “Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” -Bikram Choudhury.
  3. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide
  4. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” -Wayne Gretzy
  5. “May the bridges I burn light the way.” Marko Rakar
  6. “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” -Warren Buffett
  7. “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson
  8. “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra
  9. “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” -C.S. Lewis
  10. “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” -Marilyn Monroe
  11. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” -Mark Twain
  12. “When in doubt, choose change.” -Lily Leung
  13. “The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt
  14. “Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” -Walter Anderson
  15. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got” -Mark Twain
  16. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –A.A. Milne
  17. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
  18. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” -Mary Anne Radmacher
  19. “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” –Unknown
  20. “Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.” -Richard Bach
Buckle up.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Flashing Neon Assignment of the Day

The Universe is lecturing me once again, dredging up thoughts and processes that are, I think, part of my most recent "Corner." And in the last 24 hours, there's been a flashing arrow pointing to something it looks like I might need to take care of.

Yesterday, like most days, I was outside tending to my gardens. I found myself trying to wedge baby weeds from out of the cracks between paving stones in the steps down to the lower end of my yard. Right next to me, a big patch of Lamb's Ear Stachys was in bloom, and a couple dozen of hubby's bee Girls were busily rolling about in the flowers, doing their pollen-gathering selves proud.

Now, one of my neuroses about bees is their sound--that buzzing is like an air-raid siren to my synapses: it means that some flight-able creature that means me no good is on the approach, presumably to do me no good. I surveyed the situation, studying the Lamb's Ears for a few moments, weed fork in hand. I noted that these Girls were happily doing their jobs, taking little notice of me, and so I made a conscious effort to just do mine, and take less notice of them. I went about pulling up stones and eradicating weeds, while listening to the buzzing and progressively convincing myself that, contrary to my paranoid delusion, it did not in fact mean my imminent perforation. I was succeeding in self-pacification as I grew almost oblivious to the background buzz and went about my own crusade.

And then, suddenly, I heard a different buzzing; one that sounded like a B-52 with a bad carburetor making a bombing strife. As I whipped around to face my attacker, heart pounding and weed fork at the ready, I saw one of the Girls about a foot from my face, head buried deeply in a blossom, legs flailing frantically and beating her wings loudly in a weird staccato rhythm, as she tried to force herself further into the flower for whatever amazing treat lay at the very base of the bloom. I flashed on a picture of my daughters, chubby toddler faces covered with goo, as they tried to get the very last bit of something yummy from the bottom of a jar or bowl, and I laughed out loud at myself for being afraid of her. Later in the day, as I told the story to dear hubby, I realized that we're often a lot more afraid of what we think is going on than what really is going on. Lesson post-test: consult the weather report before declaring the sky to be falling. Check.

Then this morning, I had to counsel my younger daughter through a meltdown directed at her older sister. The meltdown was over the elder not turning on the clothes dryer, but it devolved into the younger's deeply held and long-term insistence that her beloved sibling thinks she is "nothing." Ah, yes--adolescent girl drama. And as I explained to her that her sister had likely just forgotten, or been too occupied with something else to bother--that we're all doing the best that we can at the moment--and that it probably really didn't mean that the elder held a deep and abiding antipathy toward the younger, the lesson came in again. We react to what we perceive, not what's there, and as often as not, that reaction says more about us and some unresolved issue we have, than it does about whatever or whomever is on the other side. Well, alrighty then. Onward and upward.

Then a few moments ago, I ran across the following lines in another blogger's post:

If you are being triggered, it will be helpful to realise that the ‘truth’ you are seeing is actually serving you in being revealed to you. Your emotional reaction is simply the ego thrashing about, still wanting to be engaged in an old story or drama.

However, if you stop for a moment and get back into your centre you can emotionally disengage for long enough to ask yourself a good question: “Is this truth I am seeing really bothering me, or is it actually quite liberating to finally see this?” If you are angry because certain people are acting a certain way, ask yourself: “Do I really want them to act the way I am saying I want? Or am I being given a gift here? If this is a gift, what is the gift?”

Our freedom lies in realising we don’t have to react, or at least we can consciously choose how or even if we want to respond. Our old karmic ties are ending and so we are not karmically obligated to continue playing out old roles or patterns, or engaging in old relationships and dynamics that are no longer serving us. If someone ‘makes’ you feel not good enough, or ashamed, or judged, [or irrationally afraid of a basically gentle creature the size of a raisin] know that it is you who is still choosing to stay plugged in to an old story. There is no value in choosing to stay plugged in anymore. It is time to consciously remember that others do not define us.

It's going to be a busy day. Apparently, I've got some unplugging to get to. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Becoming More than Nothing

I've been following the work of Rev. Kevin Annett, a United Church of Canada minister who has been doggedly pursuing the truth about the genocide of Canadian indigenous people since he came to know some indigenous survivors of the Canadian genocide more than twenty years ago. These survivors told Annett of their experiences in the "Indian Residential Schools" in Canada, mostly run by churches, primarily the Roman Catholic and United Church of Canada varieties.

It is undisputed that these "schools" had about a fifty percent survival rate--yes, you heard that right-- half of all the children imprisoned in these institutions over the course of many decades died. It is now undisputed (after the churches and the Canadian government spent years denying the truth) that physical and sexual abuse of the children in the schools was commonplace. It is documented from contemporaneous accounts, even accounts of government officials, that living conditions and the nutrition provided by the schools to indigenous children would likely get pet owners thrown in jail for animal cruelty. And, of course, there are the stories told by survivors--stories of malnutrition, intentional introduction of disease, medical experimentation, beatings, rapes, even murders--all perpetrated by church and government officials on the children. And not one person has been prosecuted.

Rev. Annett's book, Hidden No Longer: Genocide in Canada, Past and Present, tells the sad tale of these schools and the "soft genocide" strategy that the Canadian government and the churches adopted toward the Canadian indigenous--a strategy of penning them up on "reservations, then stealing their children, abusing them, sterilizing them, and medically experimenting on them, often until they died. The ones who survived are of course, never to be the same. High rates of mental illness, addictions, poverty, and homelessness plague them, as one might expect when a person is told from a young age that they are garbage. I recommend the book highly. It is available online for free, but make sure you have a box of tissues handy as you read it.

Rev. Annett has recently written a blog post on the website of his organization, the International Tribunal of Crimes of Church and State. It is his comment on the recent "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" appointed by the government of Canada to "investigate" the claims of abuse in the Indian Residential Schools, although the commission has no subpoena power and no power to bring criminal charges. Not much truth OR reconciliation there.

I've reproduced most of his post, dated April 15, 2012, with his permission. It makes for a long blog post, yes. But what Rev. Annett is talking about here is the kind of thing that we must stop ignoring and we must engage with, so I implore you to read on.

[The Commission proceedings are] all quite the déjà vu experience. The travesty going on this weekend in Victoria reminds me of a story told to me by one of the few survivors who hasn’t been gagged.

When the children weren’t being starved, raped and tortured to death, they were dressed in decent clothing every Sunday and paraded in front of a smiling and appreciative middle-class congregation at the local United Church. And there, to the happy amusement of the official Christians, the boys and girls of the Edmonton Indian Residential School would sing hymns of praise to Jesus.
After they had performed for the Christians, the children would return to the school, where half of them would die.

Those who did survive are still performing for us, because we still desperately need to smile on Indians and think good of ourselves. That’s really why we created the misnamed “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”: to reassure ourselves that we aren’t, in fact, murderers.
The Indians are singing a new tune to us these days, perhaps not a church hymn anymore, but one just as crafted and controlled by us. Those chosen survivors whose statements have been reviewed and officially approved by the state and church-funded TRC are presenting to us what we need to hear: a sanitized version of the unspeakable that will not disturb either our sleep or our legal liability.

The survivors will say many things, but none of it will ever be acted upon, or, heaven forbid, used as a way to bring to justice the churches responsible for killing more than 50,000 children. That’s not allowed. The head TRC official, another sanitized Indian named Murray Sinclair, has even called the whole thing “a big venting session and nothing more”.

Like in the days they sang in the church choir, the survivors will be doing all the performing. We will do the listening. That’s how the game has always worked. That’s how we learned how to conquer and enslave them: watch, and learn, and manipulate.

One of the few indigenous people left standing, a traditional Anishinabe man named Peter Yellow Quill, had the temerity to ask the TRC Commissioners in Winnipeg last June why none of the church officials would be testifying at the hearing."Shouldn’t the people who caused this holocaust be made to explain and be held accountable?” Peter asked. He was told to sit down.

Peter still doesn’t get it, but I don’t blame him. He doesn’t understand who and what he’s dealing with yet. Neither do all the desperate brown men and women who will walk on razors and publicly undo themselves once more by recalling their torture in order to provide satisfaction to we who caused their suffering: the Mu Multh Nees.

That’s a west coast word from a nation long gone, and it means, “Those who are nothing”. It’s what the Nuu-chah-nulth people named the first Europeans they encountered.

I’ve pondered that word mu multh nee ever since it was first told to me in 1993 by a hereditary Nuu-chah-nulth chief in Port Alberni, where I began to learn of the mass graves of all the children behind the United Church residential school there.

Stirring his tea, the old man explained,
“Sometimes it means ‘the ghost people’, ‘cause that’s what you seemed like to my ancestors, spirits who were lost. But it really means, people who are Nothing.”
“Nothing?” I repeated, confused.
“Yeah” he said. “You appear to be real but you aren’t.”

Appearance, after all, is everything to us Nothings. If we create an appearance of an investigation and call it a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, then it is faithfully believed to be so: even when it has no power to subpoena, or prosecute, or allow names of criminals to be named.

If we speak of healing, we genuinely believe that we know what that is; and that we are actually capable of it. But the Appearance is shattered in an instant by simple questions like “Where are the bodies?”, and “Who is responsible?”, which is why the TRC must be as rigidly controlled as a Sunday church service.

Most of the many aboriginal survivors I know have avoided the TRC like the plague, knowing that Nothing will come of it. And sure enough, tomorrow in Victoria, as at every TRC event, the carefully screened and selected witnesses will tell their tales of woe and desperately believe, as all slaves must, that Caesar will be moved, and will change, as if he were human. But that which is Nothing cannot change.

And yet, the performance must go on, and this week the Canadian “media”, which has for so many years utterly ignored the evidence of murder and torture and mass graves at the Indian residential schools, will suddenly and dutifully describe how something called truth and healing has finally arrived. All of the right kind of Indians will be quoted. But the survivors will continue to die in droves. And the graves will remain closed.

My closest friends worry about me these days, even more than normal. One of them called me up yesterday and said,
“It must be hard for you to be so ignored when you’ve been so vindicated. After all you’ve sacrificed, I don’t know how you can stand it, this huge cover up of the truth.”
“It’s okay” I replied. “None of it’s real”.

None of it is real. It's a staged and orchestrated manipulation designed to make us, the ghost people, feel better about how we've gotten what we have. To feel ok about all the millions of people on whose backs we've climbed to have our empty, meaningless lives of plenty. To make us think that it was all an accident, the act of a few "bad apples," instead of a systematic decision on the part of the powerful to stand on the less powerful in order to stand "tall."

We are 'Nothing' the old native man told Kevin Annett. We are form without substance--ghostly apparitions of humans, but without the animating spirit of real beings, made in the image of, and from the same stuff as, God, whoever He is.

How can we claim a 'spirit' if we can say blithely that the abuse, torture, and death of tens of thousands of children is just water under the bridge? How can we claim any humanity when we expect these victims and their families to just buck up and go on, while NO ONE has ever been charged with a crime for what was done to their children? How can we sanction saying that these crimes are not worth pursuing, as if killing 50,000 children is like swatting a fly--no need for redress, no requirement for justice, no questions asked?

And we all know, somewhere inside, that the horrors visited upon young native children in Canada is the same as that visited upon our own indigenous people and upon the Africans who were kidnapped and brought here to America as slaves. We all know that the same type of degradation has been visited upon people all over the world--Ireland, Australia, Latin America, Palestine, the Middle East, Asia. You either get on board the Western Civ train, or you get hit by that train.

We all ask "how does this keep happening?" But we know how it happens. It happens when some power structure tells people that the "_______s aren't like you and me, they're savages (or heathens, or deviants, or defectives, or whatever term best played on the prejudices and fears of the masses)." It usually happens in the name of God. I'm not blaming Him though, because I don't think He had thing one to do with it. It's just that attaching His name to an atrocity has been and still is a very effective marketing ploy if you want a bunch of unthinkingly devoted sheep to get on the bandwagon for some old fashioned terror, violence, and concentration of power through conquest and stifling of dissent. We are ghosts because we choose not to see what is real. And because we refuse to see it, it keeps happening, over and over and over again.

But we don't have to stay "ghost people." We can tune our dials to find our spirit again. We could start by not ignoring and avoiding the horrors our "progress," our lifestyle, and our arrogance have caused. We can acknowledge the crimes committed in our names, both centuries ago and during my lifetime. We can recognize that this isn't an isolated incident, the acts of a few bad apples, or a Canadian phenomenon. We can tune in enough to realize that a pro forma 'apology,' the appointment of a toothless "commission," and some welfare programs aren't enough to make up for imprisoning, torturing, and murdering people. Particularly when we're continuing to do it right now. We can begin to see, and feel, what is real. And it's going to hurt--but that's good, because the pain is what shows us that we're not sociopaths, that we're still human after all.

We could start by reading Rev. Annett's work--the work he lost his job, his family and his normal life for, the work that has given voiceless and nameless victims a voice and a name, at least in some measure, the work that isn't finished until regular people see what was done to the Canadian indigenous, and to countless others, in order that we might dominate and exploit the world unfettered by reason or conscience. And then we could start demanding that it stop and that the people who did it, and who are still doing it, face justice. If we did, we might just start becoming more than Nothing.