Ms. Pillsbury-Foster is presently working to build a coalition, Left, Right, Green, and Libertarian. She and many others are working to return governance to the most local level and to reboot government, making it the simple tool intended by our Founders. The Mission Statement of America, enunciated by Thomas Jefferson in the Declartion of Independence makes it clear that each of us has inherent rights that preceed government.
She is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America, a novel approach to the truth about the present power elite of America. The book is available at Lulu.com
In 1994 Ms. Pillsbury-Foster founded the Arthur Clarence Pillsbury Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of her grandfather, Arthur Clarence Pillsbury, a prominent photographer, inventor and naturalist.
She is also the proud mother of five children, one deceased. She is active in numerous community organizations.
She can be reached at:
The website for the A.C. Pillsbury Foundation is: "http://acpillsburyfoundation.com">
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Explaining America: The history you need to know
The Revolution was fought, capitalized
by real men and women who understood why they were fighting and
sacrificing, to secure a truly evolutionary understanding of
humanity's relationship with God, each other, and with the curious
tool of human organizing we call government. America had been founded
by four distinct groups with very different views of their spiritual
relationship with God and very different cultures. These were
Puritans, Quakers, Scots-Irish (Scots evicted from Scotland by the
English many of whom briefly lit down in Ireland before moving on to
the Colonies), and the second and third sons of the English
Aristocracy looking to establish themselves.
All people bring with them when they
move their culture and the technologies for survival and beliefs they
accepted as true. These people took their beliefs and built a world
that enunciated those beliefs through action.
Accidentally, the Puritans and Quakers
settled mostly in the New England area. The Scots-Irish and
Chesapeakes (2nd and 3rd sons) settled mostly
in the South. After the initial settlements were in place this
reinforced itself, new immigrants moving where the culture was most
familiar to them.
The New England culture, derived from
Puritan and Quaker, had at its foundation the belief that each human
soul is directly connected to God and sovereign. This was the basis
of the original Puritan settlement of Massachusetts. That belief,
then echoed in Locke and other later more secular philosophers, was
accepted by many of the Founders, especially those who were
intellectuals. This included Thomas Jefferson. Natural Rights Theory,
the view that all of us possess inherent rights at birth and that
these are not given by government is a profound departure from
earlier assertions on the basis of government.
In the immediate wake of the Revolution
a bait and switch took place.
To secure something the Founders
believed to be essential, a common, central government, they
compromised on the issue of the inherent rights of all. Blacks and
women were excluded; their inherent rights were reduced to legislated
privileges and they had few, of any, of those.
The Founders sincerely believed this
would be of short duration. The Great Compromise was seen as a
transitional step. Most men at that point in time may have actually
believed the disinformation campaigns that characterized women
variously as 'uncontrollably sexual,' 'inherently unable to reason,'
and 'needing moral guidance.' We hear echoes of this today though it
is now a marginal belief system. Most people still holding these
beliefs are uneducated and do not express these thoughts because they
become subject to ridicule.
There was a lot the Founders,
necessarily, did not know because no one knew. The concept of
economics as a system of study, genetics, germ theory, anthropology,
neurobiology, and other more accurate ideas on human development were
not yet in existence. They did the best they could. They also trusted
the South to honor its promises. That was a mistake. They had no
preset means for enforcement. People do not voluntarily give up
It would have been better if the
Constitution had not ratified at the cost of compromising on the
foundation on which government would then operate The divisions we
face today all have their origin from that point in time.
Those Chesapeakes went on to replicate
the economy and cultural forms most familiar to them. So, ironically,
the estate system of England, which was then dying because of
pressures that ended serfdom and untying people from the land, sprang
up in the South. The new serfs, black slaves, had even few rights
than had their English equivalents. Southern States forced the less
wealthy among them to subsidize slave holding by establishing a
militia who enforced the laws they legislated that kept them in
In the immediate wake of the Revolution
a huge migration took place. A half a million Southerners, mostly
Abolition oriented, left the South for the North or North West. At
the same time 350,000 slaveholders from the North left there for the
South or South West. The people voted on the issue. This homogenized
opinion in each area and delayed the conflict.
The Civil War was not fought over
slavery; each governmental entity used those issues that worked best
to quash dissent and whip up patriotic fervor. Both sides actually
were focused on the wrongful preservation of the means by which a
small, powerful elite was profiting. This is true of all the wars,
except the Revolution, that America has fought.
In the interim women had been busy.
Denied their proper rights they used those tools available to them to
increase their ability to run their own lives and improve their
communities. All social justice movements come from the consistent,
and determined work of women. Women entered education; the first
generation of the women's movement must be counted as those first
teachers of Dame schools, mostly in New England. From there graduates
began to seek jobs as teachers themselves. Through arguments that
teaching children was a natural corollary of women's natural role in
the home women teachers were allowed to have jobs – at 1/3 to ½
the wages paid to men. The only tool open to women to increase their
participation in the economy and in the exercise of their rights was
through legislation. A Constitutional Amendment that affirmed their
status as people included under the Declaration of Independence and
the Constitution was out of their reach. But the use of statute to
modify the inherent rights of individuals had become accepted and
soon had begun to impact men as well.
Through the back door the State had
achieved the sovereign status that the Revolution had been fought to
In the wake of the Civil War and the
reign of the Robber Barons the predatory behavior that took place
appalled and disgusted decent people. The philosophy of Natural
Rights was questioned because if a tool does not work rational people
discard it and find something that will work.
If you couldn't trust individuals to do
the right thing, then what about entrusting those decisions to lofty
minded, intelligent people who could ensure a real justice?
Progressivism was a movement among the
well educated and those who had been struggling for justice for those
abused by the system. The bible of Progressivism, written by Herbert
Croly in 1909 was, “The Promise of American Life.” Teddy
Roosevelt read it on a trip to Africa and was persuaded. The scene
had been set to deemphasize the study of America's Founding documents
and so acceptance of the philosophy of Natural Rights and instead let
government do the thinking by the campaign for the Pledge of
Allegiance in 1892 by the Progressive-Socialists, the Bellamy
cousins. Cultural waves of change to not happen over night.
Liberals today are still buoyed up with
the sense they are idealists with right and justice on their side.
They were idealists and this is still the case for many of them –
but they were using the wrong tool to achieve the outcome.
Centralized control of a system fails to allow individuals to
exercise the autonomy and control of their own lives that makes it
possible for the system to deliver. If the wheel is square you will
never reach your destination.
Enter the PetroElite and their
America was experimenting with new
technologies with the excitement of a kid who has discovered
fireworks in the decades that cap the end of the Nineteenths and
Twentieth Centuries. Progressivism, its core philosophy based in the
idea that individuals were just too damned dumb and venal to make
decisions for themselves, did not see for a moment the logic of where
the use of a centralized planning model would take them. Economics
was a known discipline but Austrian Economics, the set of ideas that
demonstrates that each individual must be free to assert their full
weight of choice in the market, was still in its infancy. That the
matrix essential to the existence of a free market, universal
acceptance of Natural Rights Theory, had never taken place was
invisible; a significant percentage of the proponents of NRT had
ignored the need to affirm women, more than half the population, in
those rights. They had cooperated passively though inaction, and so
enabled the view that NR were equivalent to privileges granted by
statute. In so doing they ignored the power of the marketplace to
allow questions to be determined by human action.
The first corporations that came up
with the clever theory of 'natural monopolies' were utility companies
and oil companies. Over a period of three generations they came to
view government as a natural extension of their corporate policies.
The military should protect them – at no cost to themselves,
naturally. The courts and legislatures should enable their interests
because without them all were freeze and starve. And God forbid
anyone would throw a monkey wrench into a their pipelines of profit.
To prevent that, and maintain the stability they had come to see as
entirely 'natural' corporations began to use the CIA in the wake of
WWII and also to field political operatives to handle movements that
they saw would threaten their control.
In the 1950s and 60s they identified
two such threats. The United Nations and the Environmental Movement,
fielding three main operatives to suborn and redirect these. The
operatives are all still with us. They are George H. W. Bush, OR
Anderson, an oil man, and Maurice Strong, still active and using the
Peace University to train paramilitary and launder funds.
Bush, Senior liaisoned with the new
hires, Irving and William Kristol, in their intellectual reformatting
of what was once the Conservative wing of the Republican Party. He
recruited Karl Rove, who assembled the team who with Ralph Reed, Pat
Robertson, Jack Abramoff, and others, converted the Republican Party
into a series of carefully managed voting blocks that includes the
Religious Right. That was built out of apolitical churches with
congregations made up of the most uneducated elements of the
population, mostly from poor Southern backgrounds. In this way the
lingering hostility towards women and blacks could be reversed and
returned to the mainstream.
This is where we are today, or where we
were just before 9/11. Now, the present Public Relations and
management firm retained for 30 years by the PetroElite has been
axed. The self elected elite will tolerate many things, incompetence
is not one of them, however. So as their former employees, NeoCons,
continue a melt down that would do honor to the Wicked Witch of the
West, the PetroElite are looking over resumes and considering their
options. We will know who made the first cut because those will be
the best funded front runners seeking to occupy the White House in
Let's fool them by getting off the
grids and turning off their stream of income.
Posted at 06:27 pm by Melinda
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The Forbidden Sign: Republican Woman, DAR Member - Terrorist Threat?
can it be that a long time member of the National Federation of
Republican Women and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution
could be Threat To National Security? This came as one of those moments
when you are sure they must be talking about someone else.
This was especially shocking to me since I seem to be the Threat. I was
very surprised that my blog had elicited so much attention from the
Powers That Be this morning. I learned about this when a friend called
me and said her attempt to get on and read my latest scribble was been
greeted with the warning, 'FORBIDDEN!!!!' Other calls came in rapidly.
And I have been having so much fun writing about my experiences and insights and sharing my graphics.
Of course, the thing one needs to ask is what the NeoCons mean by
'National Security." Their definition has nothing to do with bombs or
bellicose behavior of any kind really. Rather, it goes to the issue of
keeping most people from understanding what is going on so they can do
something about it. This is the Mushroom Principle, keep them in the
dark and feed them fertilizer.
I like people to share and I like sharing my own insights.
The first hand insights came along with the experiences life sent my
way while raising children, volunteering as a room mother, Brownie
Leader, Cub Scout Den Mother, and (this following activity calls for a
very similar set of skills) writing and doing political organizing for
the Libertarian Party and then for the same National Federation of
Republican Women. I include the nice picture of myself with Laura Bush
having Tea at the White House and myself at the table at the Cato
Institute Gala in Washington D. C. in 2003 sitting next to Heidi Smith,
then the President of the National Federation of Republican Women. As
you google you will also notice I donated to No Child Left Behind.
Not your usual profile for a terrorist.
Google, which acquired Blogger, the place where my sites are hosted,
did not even write me an e-mail before dragging out the barriers and
cutting me off. And I thought we had a relationship. Very sad. Like I
said, some of my friends starting calling and complaining and voila! It
was back up.
I had warned that there would be dirty tricks afoot in a recent blog.
So if this happens again you can still go look at my articles by
googling (ironically) my name. Also go to American Politics Journal and
OpedNews and Freedom's Phoenix. I am told on good authority others will
also be carrying them soon.
Just shutting down sites is one of the more efficient ways to keep the opposition quiet.
What could I have said to upset them? I suspect their reaction came
more from concern for what I was going to say next. Thankfully,
shutting down my site will not prevent anything like my free speech,
guaranteed under the First Amendment, from happening. I will keep using
the First Amendment even if they revoke it.
Thanks to a newly started on line Radio Station, BBS, TNT News, I will
not only keep on Blogging but also be able to talk to people on line
and on the air. http://www.bloginservice.com/bbc/index.shtml
As I pointed out before this administration of grown larger, plumper
and balder but not grown up social misfits are very upset that despite
the fact they have managed to ice every branch of government from
Congress (preventing those nasty impeachments) and the Supreme Court
(must not let there be oversight as to the Constitutionality of such
questions as the Patriot Act) and the Electoral System (Strauss SAID we
could cheat!!) people keep talking and complaining and exchanging
Really, if you close your eyes and just think about what they are doing
it is obvious no one should trust them with even a cork pop gun, much
less a hunting rifle or, for gosh sakes, nuclear weapons. Ethically I
would be concerned with trusting them in preschool. I know, I had a lot
If I was sending them out to sell Girl Scout cookies I would figure they would eat most of the cookies themselves.
The events that put me in the middle of this mostly related to my
daughter, Morgan Pillsbury. Morgan showed the bad judgment to become
involved with one of these plumped up reprobates named John Fund. It
was bad judgment on her part, and I am not defending her on that. But
John was far worse because his behavior was even less conscionable than
hers. No matter what, beating someone you out weigh by 150 Lbs. is not
nice. Nice is a very important attribute in anyone. I suspect that
there are no nice NeoCons. Sad thought.
That matter, which John and his NeoConning buddies have managed to
dodge, is now coming up to another court date and the timing is bad for
them because John is one of their most trusted Political Operatives.
I have lost any trust in our justice system; Robert Morganthau,
District Attorney for Manhattan, dropped the criminal case when by law
he was not permitted to do so. Regrettably, I was forced to conclude
that the NeoCons 'hold paper' on Morganthau, who usually does the right
thing in cases of domestic violence.
Holding paper can mean they have a video of Morganthau having sex with
a model or a cockatoo or some other nasty thing or that he has tax
problems, or any of many different forms of coercive pressure. Holding
paper covers all of them. Someday I suspect we will know what was going
Sometimes I wonder what they could have been thinking when they decided to help Fund.
What did they expect me to do? What kind of a mother and human being
would I be if I did not defend her when, on this occasion, she deserves
Defending ourselves and our families will most likely become an issue for all of us.
This is an interesting time in the NeoCon game plan. While they have
iced the usual means for protest the Internet remains a weak point for
them. Their attempts to control the exchange of information and insight
and commerce remain largely unsuccessful, though we must anticipate
continued attempts through corporate biggies like Google and AOL. That
continued conduit for information has allowed significant numbers of
Americans to find out directly from Europe and other places around the
world what is happening. This is in large part responsible for the
rapidly deteriorating popularity of this Administration, along with the
increasingly blatant moves to seize control of American property on
their part, for instance the Ports Sale.
The NeoCons are doubtless thrashing around right now, unsure which
direction to take. They are in the latter part of a long range campaign
and the components for their campaign to control America is now
encountering realities they did not anticipate. Europe is growing
alarmed at the high levels of radioactivity swept in from Iraq from the
Depleted Uranium used by us there in munitions; Americans are coming
back from that war with symptoms now understood to originate from that
source. The credibility of this Administration is suffering to such an
extent that they may well decide to speed up a more oppressive domestic
agenda. Americans need to be distracted and their campaign to reawaken
concern for National Security is faltering. Any Terrorist attack
occurring at this point could well solidify opposition instead of
They have already allowed inferences of their long term plans to slip;
The publicity campaign last year regarding Avian Flu, in retrospect,
indicates a likely possibility the release of that plague was intended
to distract Americans while radically decreasing the population.
Actions speak louder than words: why did they broadcast samples of the
disease, which still has no known cure, all over the world except to
create cover for themselves? It is not that the NeoCons are not aware
of environmental issues, just that their plans in that regard take a
very different direction, shall we say. As a long range plan this goes
along with their science fiction mentalities; as Straussians there
would be no reason not to follow such an agenda.
But the masters of political intrigue and now confronting a very different reality.
The NeoCons have moved from the application of political tactics,
something they have studied in detail and understand well, to a
dependence on their own far less reliable understanding of technology,
not their strong suit; While they doubtless consult real experts one
wonders if they are entirely frank regarding their desired outcomes.
Experts are generally good at letting you know if you explain all of
the variables, but lacking that, the miscommunication could be huge.
The present DU toxicity levels in Europe would lead us to conclude that
the NeoCons are failing to foresee even the short term consequences of
their own plans.
So controlling the Internet – and our access to inconvenient information - has to be high on their priorities.
Therefore blogging and surfing for reliable information is a matter of self defense.
So keep on Blogging. I always told the Brownie and Cub Scouts to be prepared;
Get off the grids: Organize Locally; Build Coalition.
Posted at 04:57 pm by Melinda
Friday, May 27, 2005
How the NeoCons stole freedom: A series
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Now the NeoCons stole Freedom: A series.
For further information:
What do the environmental movement, the United Nations, and the Republican Party have in common? Each was successfully taken over by the elements we now are beginning to know as NeoCons either in this generation or earlier.
Forget the Bilderbergers and the Illuminati. It isn't a conspiracy, it was just 'good' business.
When America celebrated Earth Day this last April 22 it was celebrating the day the environmental movement was taken over by elements we now identify as Neoconservatives – although the people so identified are not new and are certainly not conservative. More on that later.
The original Earth Day is not forgotten, however. It has been celebrated since 1971 in the Peace Garden at the United Nations at the moment of the Spring Equinox with the ringing of the Peace Bell. Those who remember the original goals of the environmental movement included peace for the human family as a whole have preserved the original local and global focus.
Ringing bells sound across the globe at the moment of the Equinox which is shared by all living things. The founders of the Earth Society, among these John McConnell, Margaret Mead, and Helen Garland, had looked for and identified a day of renewal that spoke to their goals for the then nascent environmental movement. They saw a world of people who valued living lightly on Earth, who saw small, local solutions as the ones that best connected people to each other and to the Earth. It was a moment that resonated perfectly with the work of such native San Francisco institutions as the Sierra Club when it was small and personal, assuming individual accountability, responsibility, and simply doing the right thing. It was therefore entirely appropriate that in 1970 Equinox San Francisco became the first official entity to recognize Earth Day.
If all of this is true then why do so few know? How did the commercialized version with its emphasis on the banal and its website so void of meaningful content manage to displace the very different values of the original celebration? Money and spin can accomplish nearly anything if all you care about is the short term profits.
The birth cry of the environmental movement was silently but effectively stifled by an earlier generation of the same interests who now occupy the White House and run our courts and Congress. Using money and misdirection as tools they stole the moral high ground and stopped the movement in its tracks. With it they stole our institutions and the soul of America.
The techniques are simple.
1. Steal credit for the work of others.
2. Use brand new or recycled and stolen organizations to create a respectable front.
3. Place relatives and people you can always control into[positions of power and prominence to eliminate our networks and establish theirs.
4. Find a REAL organization to authorize some fraction of your agenda.
5. Pontificate as you obfuscate. (Lie)
Sound familiar yet? And with any luck the perpetrator can get away with it cold and still be cashing checks generations later. These are the techniques used by the present April Earth Day Cabal thirty years ago and it is still working for them today.
That is what they did. A quick visit to their site reveals that it is all oriented to dumbed down platitudes with not a viable alternative in sight. Educating without content or focus on independent thinking is perilously close to what is going on in our schools today. A review of their big donors is even more revealing.
What was being stolen was the moral leadership of a movement that 35 years ago could have made real alternatives available. That was one outcome, but it is the lesser issue. How this was done and the values it injected into our culture is at least as important.
While stealing a movement that enabled those responsible to focus the
public on irrelevancies and platitudes the perpetrators were also demonstrating that how you treat others does not matter as long as you end up with the credit and money. We see every day how much talking about morals and ethics works. In fact, talking about it while doing the exact opposite has become permanently installed in the tool boxes of so many of us that we no longer even notice. 35 years ago the devaluation of values had just begun. Then Americans still believed they could believe.
Today we celebrate men like Karl Rove because he is expert in lying and
cheating. A culture that rewards getting your way with lies, manipulation and plain violence has signed its death warrant. Ignoring what happened with organizations like the Earth Society can be best understood using economic terms.
It is an economic principle that bad money, meaning money with less ability to hold value, drives out good money, for instance gold, that has objective, lasting value. By occupying the same niche as good money, bad money displaces it because the good money is too valuable to be spent. In the same way good ethics, behavior that invests the individuals in long term relationships founded in trust, is driven out by bad ethics, forcing individuals in look for other means of guaranteeing they will not be ripped off. The increase in commercial packaging to prevent shop lifting is just one sign of this decay.
Cooperative commerce is good money; War commerce is bad money. With
cooperative commerce we build out into the future like a bank account filled with trust and good will. In the second we loot the bank account leaving everyone to starve.
What you do is what is true. Words too often lie.
We should have noticed 35 years ago. Dennis Hayes stole the name, Earth Day. He has consistently demeaned and sneered at those whose idea he stole. He has represented a very different set of values and acted those values out through his actions by delivering sappy mottoes in place of viable alternatives for both the environment and for the world.
How did the NeoCons achieve their place of prominence? Using the same tools employed by Dennis Hayes. And we let it happen. But we can still change it. The solutions are still local. The means for change is still personal accountability. All decent people, right and left, share a common vision that can unite us to act. Now it is time to turn that vision into our common reality.
And celebrate Earth Day on the Equinox.
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America, a novel that tells the story of what and who the NeoCons really are. She is a registered Republican, a member of the National Federation of Republican Women, and now active in a movement to return control of the electoral process to the people in every neighborhood across America. That movement is called, One Vote, One Voice. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted at 09:45 am by Melinda
Friday, May 06, 2005
The Rapture of Rove
George Stephanopoulos should not have been surprised last Sunday morning when Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson opined that liberal judges are a far greater threat than are terrorists. Pat is telling the truth; he is, however, fudging the context of these facts. Those facts reveal that liberal judges are a threat to Pat's second job, the one that has made Robertson and Reed both politically powerful and wealthy. Both support this administration no matter what it does. Why is that?
Either for more than a generation Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed have worked covertly as political operatives for the powers of and behind this administration. Or they believe that the Rapture is coming and that it is their responsibility to make sure all of the Jews return to Israel to die so that Pat and Ralph and George Bush can be bodily lifted up into the arms of the Almighty.. Do they all believe this? If Bush really believed this he would have been far less likely to install off the grid solar technology at his 20,000 square foot ranch house in Crawford Texas. And they would be planning a meet up with the Almighty in the Rose Garden.
I know how I vote. Given the long term investments and off the grid retirement homes they are not expecting to go anywhere. Historically, those who believe the Rapture is coming divest. This has been true of sects throughout the last 2,000 years. True Believers buy white robes and head out to the hills to meet their Maker. Are there white robes hanging in the otherwise empty closets of these august leaders of pious prose?
In that case they are political operatives strutting their stuff in the vestments of virtue while living the lavish lives of plutocrats. Their work is creating cover for this administration as it continues to place politically useful judges on the federal bench and NeoCon insiders in other seats of influence. Bolton into the United Nations would be an example of the kind of work their ilk undertakes.
We need to recognize how pervasive the use of unidentified PR flacks has become. As the independent voices continue to be muted the decibels emitted by NeoCon flunkies is going up. This administration is desperate to change the present course of opinion. Just 100 days into his second stolen term George W. Bush has won the distinction of a vote of least confidence from the American people. Around the world he is hated, feared, and despised.
The NeoCons are therefore pulling out all of the stops and using all of their formerly covert weapons of truth realignment.
How many journalists clustered around the seats of power in Washington D.C. and the Wall Street Journal in New York are actually political operatives? Someday soon a real investigative journalist with an honest and fearless editor at a paper not owned and controlled by management that leads back to the NeoCons will dig out the connections and how the payoffs took place. Then we will start to get a grasp on just how deep and wide this conversion of journalism to public relations personnel has gone.
Churchmen present a more complex problem. Churches are not liable to the same kind of reporting and their parishioners are going to be a very long time believing it. Some truths are too painful to face.
One wonders what Jesus would do if He were here now. We know He had no problem throwing the moneychangers out of the Temple. What would the Man who walked among us teaching simple love, charity say to Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed? If it is true, stealing through deceit by using the pretensions of journalism and the sanctity of the church is worse than money changing.
Through their actions shall we know them. What we don't yet know is doubtless much worse.
How the Rove Cadre view such institutions as the church and journalism explains a lot. They have taken the job a nd responsibilities of “journalist' and converted that to a tool useful to them. They have taken a religious viewpoint that was apolitical and converted it into a tool of foreign policy and electoral power.
They have established pundits, think tanks, writers, radio talk show hosts, and experts of all kinds who, for very nominal amounts of money paid out in respectable salaries, royalties on books, and huge speaking honorariums, produce the interpretations that affirms the NeoCon spin. We have had inklings of these through the hysterical rantings of such writers as Anne Coulter whose books they promote.
So what else are they doing we haven't noticed yet? That is the six trillion dollar question. It is the question that should remain in our minds as the deficit continues to climb towards overload and the chattering and nervousness in markets around the world stretch the economy to breaking.
We are in the middle of a book that would have been too scary for Stephen King to write. And unless something is done the end is going to be very, very bad.
Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of the book GREED: The NeoConning of America and actively involved in the establishment of a new political party, American Revival, the unparty of American politics and working on One Vote, One Voice, a plan to take governance back to the people. She `can be reached at: email@example.com
Posted at 08:22 am by Melinda
Friday, April 29, 2005
The Libertarian Party: A Personal Retrospective of a Time Long Past.
Note of A Political Nature to Chris Hocker
Privily speak I of promises well made
For I would have you know I them remember
For pen to paper thus I put - for so you bade,
And hearing thus your words could I malinger?
You said that you would give me many wonders
For papers writ with wisdom good and clear
That Clark did read to parry many blunders
Of policy when run he did last year.
And murmured you of booklets that you wrote
Designed to teach my candidates of things
That will make them yet less clumsy with the votes
And credit to the cause of freedom bring.
So find the stuff - tout suite, and make it fast!
For I needed it all months ago, you ass!
Earlier today Lee Wright, the editor of Libertyforall.net as well as the present vice-chairman of the National Libertarian Party and I were chatting about my most recent contribution to his excellent publication and the subject of my early memories of the LP came up. Natural enough since I was myself a long time activist starting in the Libertarian Party starting in the early 1970s.
The upshot was that I threatened, promised, to jot down some of those memories for the amusement and edification of those Libertarians of more recent vintage having only had to be nudged a little to attack my computer. So here it is. Part memories and part memoir; personally gleaned insights I hope will serve to make some points that need making.
Long ago and far away when we were all young and less wrinkled and I was the shiny eyed young mother of several small children (the number magically continued to grow) and learning some interesting lessons about life, the Universe and Libertarianism I found a wonderful thing. It was called freedom. I had been reading about it since my initial encounter with the ideas of liberty when I was six. That was the year James Dean told me about his views of freedom, just days before his own life ended.
James Byron Dean was 24 then, unimaginably young when I look back on it through the shrouding events of so many decades. But the vividness of that afternoon stayed with me. Freedom became forever a magical destination for me; something to be cherished that made me most truly human. At age six I had listened, enraptured to the words of someone who seemed as old as Methuselah to me then. I was barely breathing I listened so intently. Jimmy told me about how we each choose and how sacred the right to make those choices is. When you choose, he said, it is your life you mold and make. When someone else chooses for you your life belongs in part to them. Jimmy had told me many things but this telling was perhaps the most important. Jimmy had been coming over to visit since I was two or three. My first memory of him had been the sharing of Beanie Sandwiches at the small table in the kitchen where I always ate lunch. He came back regularly for sandwiches and conversation. His mom and mine had been friends before she died and he went to live with his aunt and uncle in Fairmont, Indiana.
That day Jimmy told me the story of a man named Howard Roark who saw freedom as building in his own way. Roark suffered to learn his craft and then to practice it. His way was to make the structures a part of the Earth so that his buildings sheltered, enclosing those who lived and worked in them economically and well. The buildings were the extension of the mind of Roark and by building them Roark made his statement about himself and the world. That was freedom for Howard Roark and it did not matter what he had to do to build them. When he was doing that work he was free.
For Jimmy being free was doing different kinds of things. His freedom was his craft done so that he merged with and because the character he played. He loved acting and intended to try every part of that art. He got to do just a few of those things but all of his work spoke his intense spiritual commitment to his craft and to his right to choose for himself
Jimmy told me what he would do with the freedom God gave him. To do that he used the story of Roark from Fountainhead. I listened. That is where it started for me.
The reason I became a Libertarian was because I loved the ideas of freedom. James Dean was my personal inspiration.
When the Freedom Movement began its present incarnation in the early 1970s I was an eager participant. I had passed out literature for Goldwater, read Atlas Shrugged, and gorged myself on the science fiction books of Robert A. Heinlein. I thought I knew everything , just like we all did.
I was wrong, of course. But it was never boring and along the way I did learn a few things.
We made history, like it or not; good or bad. And that history needs to be remembered.
The history of the Libertarian Party and the Freedom Movement holds insights that can be helpful to the next generation of souls hungry for the freedom enunciated by people like Jimmy and so I am going to share some of those stories with you and try to make some small points. Studying any successful movement is as much about accepting what went wrong as what went right.
The real issue isn't heading towards freedom, the issue is arriving.
The Libertarian Movement launched itself towards freedom. It arrived someplace else. How that happened is a story both horrifying and instructive; horrifying because it happened, instructive because it is not too late to change direction.
From a living room in Denver in December of 1971 where it was founded by David and Susan Nolan and a handful of others, the viewpoints propounded by the LP grew into the major force in American policy. We began as a resounding NO! To the imposition of wage and price controls by President Richard Nixon. So our birth cry was born from the impact of policy on the lives of individuals who decided they were just not going to take it any more.
Both major parties eventually embraced our ideas; examining laws coming into existence today make that clear. So where is the freedom? America has never been less free; the Libertarian Party remains small and is wracked by power politics and greed that might intimidate the denizens of the major parties.
The answer is in the form adopted, the relationship of form and action to rhetoric, and to the underpinnings of culture in which each of these reside.
The structure of the LP is hierarchal and adversarial. It sends the message that success is counted by moving up an organizational structure. In Libertarian politics words speak louder than action. Winning, no matter how, is the final justification for what you do to win nominations and rake in money for fundraising. But that is all wrong, of course. That is not the world we wanted to create.
This happened because the LP spoke a rhetoric of freedom through the infrastructure of centralized control. Each major party has been through the same cycle of idealism leading to internal corruption. The Democrats spoke an agenda of socialism and the Republicans of economic opportunity. Each talked about freedom nearly as much as did Libertarians. They all have become corrupt no matter how hard we work to fix them.
This happened faster in the LP than in other comparable movements of the last two centuries is due to the kind of people who became Libertarians. Over 60% were male.
It is women whose efforts provide the consistency and the institutional memory for an organization. This provides a compass and stability. While women do not exercise much control in the Republican Party they historically do most of the volunteer work. In the Democratic Party women share power more equally, although women in general are disenchanted with them, too. In the Libertarian Party there are, percentage wise, far fewer women than in either major party. The lessons of our history are therefore more quickly forgotten.
The means by which our values are transmitted are always cultural. Culture is the water in which we live and breathe.
The means of transmission for new ideas into law is policy. Through policy, read and bred in the spin offs of politics, the think tanks, the new ideas are turned into bills, becoming the walls, doors, and guts of law and through law the customs and practices of the court and commerce.
Ideas are the tools we use to build new worlds; but weapons are also tools. And the ideas of liberty have been turned and used to forge the weapons that have helped to destroy the founding principles on which America was built.
All of this starts with people; what they say; what they do and the sometimes yawning gap between the two. In the lives of people the real story is always present.
The people I met on the road to liberty became my friends, adversaries, lovers, and enemies. Sometimes all of them rolled up into one. In the stories of the people is the truth most finely writ.
Roger Mac Bride was the adopted grandson of one of the three women who were the godmothers of the Freedom Movement of the 1950s – 2000 period. Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the actual author of Little House on the Prairie Series. Rose wrote the series of books, basing the story line on the recollections of her mother's childhood. Into those recollections she injected the values that made the books instant classics, still being read by yet another generation of young people.
Rose was the author of The Discovery of Freedom and pursued the issues of freedom in multiple directions. Her adoption of Roger stemmed from their mutual commitment to those values.
Roger was a good guy. It was his act as an elector from Vermont in 1972 that put the LP in the history books. Roger jumped ship and cast his vote for John Hospers instead of the newly elected Republican incumbent, Richard Nixon. In doing so he also cast the first electoral vote in history for a woman, Tonie Nathan the LP candidate for vice president. This act was incredibly valuable to the Libertarian Party. How they repaid Roger speaks loudly about the values of the LP.
So in 1976 Roger Mac Bride was not unnaturally a shoo in to be the nominee for president of the shiny new Libertarian Party. His running mate was David Bergland, an attorney from Orange County, California. A wealthy man, Roger campaigned from his own plane, fondly known as NO Force One. Roger was himself a pilot as well as producer for the original television series created from Little House on the Prairie. Roger paid for a big chunk of his campaign himself. I later realized that this was the high point of the movement. We all believed in what we were doing; everyone chipped when there were projects to be paid for; we all worked; and while there was much debate on things like platform there was very little backbiting and unsocial behavior. Debate on issues continued with a modicum of dispassionate civility.
In the late 1980s Roger left the Libertarian Party. He was disheartened and disappointed. He had endorsed Hunscher for President in 1979 and could not understand the political machinations used to defeat him. It is the practice with all major parties that their former presidential candidates are treated with decorum and courtesy. In the case of Roger Mac Bride this was far from true. After his departure he asked to address the national committee as it met in Las Vegas on a project he was undertaking and was treated with discourtesy and barely disguised contempt. This would never have been the case in either major party; the contributions of presidential candidates are there remembered and honored even when the principles have been political enemies.
This was wrong not just because it was rude but because it devalued what had been built on the months and money Roger had contributed. This sent the clear message that those who work do not necessarily create credit for what they have done. It is just one of dozens of examples of similar behavior.
Respect should be created by the acknowledgment of virtues, not for reasons of political expedience. When Roger was still active in the LP he had been generous. He loaned money to those trying to make it, contributing to their attempts to achieve their dreams. One of those to whom Roger loaned money was Michael Emerling Cloud. Michael repaid him by declaring bankruptcy without even a thank you. Yet Michael Cloud is celebrated and far more well known to Libertarians today than is Roger Mac Bride.
In Santa Barbara while Roger Mac Bride was running for president Bob Poole was putting Reason Magazine together on the dining room table. The Libertarian Party had used the Reason list to get started in 1971 when Bob loaned that list to David Nolan. The two had both belonged to YAF and Young Republican for Goldwater in the 60s.
Bob had bought the struggling magazine when it was just months old from the founder and editor who had solicited from Bob his first article. Bob himself determined the subject and it was to be a pivotal issue that would eventually change national policy. The subject was deregulating the airlines. The reason Bob chose the issue goes straight to the heart of a young boy.
Bob grew up in Florida and his dad was an airline pilot. Bob had a cousin and his uncle, the cousin's father, was also a pilot. But in the old days airlines had routes set by government mandate. Bob's cousin could fly west and thus enjoyed many, many vacations at Disneyland. Bob could only go north to NY and DC. The Statue of Liberty did not measure up to Mickey Mouse in Bob's eyes, understandably. This injustice burned in the heart and mind of young Bob. The deregulation of the airlines was the outcome.
The personal moves us; small injustices live in our minds even when we are long past the events themselves. Bob shared this story with me in 2000. He had not realized himself why he chose the subject until I asked.
It was Bob who originated the term 'privatization;' He has not become wealthy working for liberty but now he does have time for his consuming hobby, model trains.
The birth of Cato Institute came about when a young man named Edward H. Crane, III clearly saw something that another insightful young man would notice twenty years later. There is a market for policy. Ed announced his intention to, “go to D.C. and get rich.” in the elevator of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco during the National Libertarian Convention in 1977. The immediate means for this tidy plan were the brothers Koch, Charles and David. To this day they remain stalwart funders of Cato.
Now, wealth is not in itself a bad thing. Money, even vast amounts of money earned through consensual exchange beneficial to all parties is laudable. But money earned through the misuse of power is just another more sophisticated form of theft. When that happens it is the duty of those closest to call foul especially when the law, which always lags in enforcing what is appropriate, has not allowed for specific abuses.
Over the next twenty years the 401ks of those employed at the think tanks, including Cato, continued to be burnished; the Cato banquets grew ever more lavish. The policy proposals that wended their way through into law using the libertarian tools of deregulation and privatization to redirect the flow of cash and power grew in number and in scope. Those on the receiving end were not necessarily the ones who had created the wealth.
Policy is a legitimate tool for enabling changes that allow for better outcomes. But when policy, like the hazardous but glittering blue of your unfenced pool lures in the innocent or when policy is used to disguise that what is happening is actually a subtle form of wealth transfer then it is imperative that those who profit to be held accountable. Those who made the tools share culpability.
So here we are today living in a world where George W. Bush is discussing 'privatizing' Social Security, the idea originated, surprise, in a white paper researched and written for the Clark Campaign in 1979 and borrowed from Bob Poole. When done right privatizing the functions of government returns choice and control to the individual. But unfortunately, this is not always how it works.
Ed Crane was the man in charge of the Clark campaign and the man who ensured that Ed Clark received the nomination over William Hunscher, a candidate who pledged to campaign full time for a year. Bill Hunscher was a wealthy businessman and good friend of Roger Mac Bride.
For those of you who are newbies I will mention that Ed Clark was the Presidential Candidate of the Libertarian Party in 1980. Ed did very well, though not as well as Edward H. Crane, III promised Charles and David Koch he would do. The means for funding the Clark campaign was the vice-presidential candidacy of David Koch. The mother and father of the campaign was Ed Crane.
This is where personal agendas come in.
Much of the policy new being formulated and sold by Cato is now being used to advance the agenda of those willing to pay for a justification to steal and then cancel all liabilities. The problem with privatizing Social Security is that this ignores the fact that the fund does not exist and 'privatizing' the program means that the millions of victims of theft are left high and dry, facing old age without the money they hoped would carry them.
The name of the man who noticed how well policy could be marketed in Texas in the early 1990s was Karl Rove.
Today Karl Rove is celebrated as a genius in political strategy. But this is not really accurate. A genius is one who originates. Karl Rove simply, with nearly Japanese intensity to detail, optimizes existing practices. That practice can be summarized as chopping off body parts from one set of individuals to sell to another. That, and wearing silk underwear are his most stellar virtues.
Now, I wonder where he got the idea? The means of transmission could well have been yet another Libertarian. This one's name is John Fund.
John Fund got his start in Libertarian politics as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of California. From sleeping on the floor of the northern office because the LPC, always careless of their financial obligations, ran out of money to pay him, he was hired by Evans and Novak in D.C., who seeing his potential as a political operative sent him on to the Wall Street Journal. There, John Spent 18 years on the Editorial Board before being fired for being too well known for things the Wall Street Journal doesn't like being known for.
It was John who colluded with Matt Drudge to make up the story that Sidney Blumenthal beat his wife. That's a fact. Lots of freedom-types paid good money into a defense chest to protect Drudge from charges that were absolutely true. Why did they do this? It was to keep the White House busy so they would chase their tails instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing. Not that I wanted them doing that, either. But if the truth does not matter then because the bad drives out the good soon there will be no truth at all – which is remarkably close to where we are now, isn't it?
Now, we all know that acting as a political operative when you are overtly a journalist is not considered to be quite the thing. But it pays well, far better than being a journalist would. It also provides access to power and all that comes with power.
Not all of the above are Libertarians, but all have and continue to use the tools created by the movement for liberty. Think about that and ask yourself this: Have we arrived at liberty?
Each of these is a personal recollection. There are lots more. The poem at the beginning of this essay was written when I was managing campaigns for 14 candidates in the San Fernando Valley and serving as Southern Vice-Chairman of the Libertarian Party of California. Chris said he would send it; didn't; and then asked me to drop him a note to remind him. I sent the poem. Then I borrowed the white papers and copied them for my candidates. Most of the papers, I understand, ended up in the hands of large donors, which I certainly was not.
So that is the first few pages of my recollections. No sex, not yet. Maybe later. But I include in closing this poem that seems suitable.
18. The Predator (dedicated to Michael Emerling Cloud)
The hooded eyes intelligent, assessing and unfed
Taste the likelihood of meat to be found, brought down and dressed.
But the eyes have human contours and the face is human born
Predators walk among us, their identities deeply worn.
Their goals are sex and power; all forms of human wealth.
Their means are fraud and violence and every form of stealth.
They smile, use charisma; they milk cajole and bleed.
Their goals: enjoy and prosper, make sure they’re first to feed.
They choose the weak and needy; they use our trust and minds.
They speak the rhetoric of honor to carry out their crimes.
They insinuate with widows and they take a cripple’s time.
They use the rhetoric of honor to pad their bottom line.
You find them selling cars and you meet them down the block.
They smile and drip charisma as they grimace, share and talk.
But their eye is on the income and their hand is in your purse
They will slander and defame you if it isn’t something worse.
But real humans have the power to remove the jungle’s maw.
The predators of the hour can be reformed through rethought law.
Reform the standards for deception; so the weak can see wrongs called.
Eliminate exceptions that allow abuse, misuse and fraud.
The statute is the enemy of freedom and the truth
The common law is justice that conforms to honor’s roots.
The predators live in darkness; their acts must not being seen
For what they do is ugly and the light defines their being.
I see a world a-borning where truth is not disgrace
Where children know that human is the world behind the face
Oh, the futured world of human promise, where doing right is safe.
A world of commerce and of honor; a place for human grace.
Posted at 01:21 pm by Melinda
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson!
Hope for America
by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Today is Thomas Jefferson's birthday and the country whose birth certificate he wrote is in serious trouble. Americans have lost their country and with it the the common dream of freedom. A pity that the media has not even noticed.
The Pundits of the Left, RealRight, Libertarian and others of the caste of the crassly and vigorously emotive are starting to realize that the last election was stolen. No one is going to give them points for being swift, but, hey, at least they finally noticed. That is more than we can usually expect. Now we can look forward to another insight. Get ready for this.
America is never going to have another honest election with the present system in place. Think about that for a moment.
The present administration is not going to fade into the sunset, their pockets filled to overflowing with the stolen lucre of befuddled Americans. First, because they do not intend to leave. Second because they don't dare do so. You can never burn enough records.
They went too far, you see. They liked the perks, the guaranteed income, and the extras. They enjoyed the view from the palaces of privilege, Congress and White House, so much they made plans to stay. They intend to take up not only life time tenure but arrange to leave it to their brain dead heirs.
America, while still a nominal republic or democracy is actually now functioning as an oligarchy, a serial monarchy where the privileges of occupying the Presidential Palace will be shared amongst the very limited number of folks who hold control in their sweaty palms.
Not so, the Pundits gasp. We will get them next time. Oh, the sweet innocence of the politically credulous. I do love you. But I cannot allow the pristine condition of your mental simplicity to impede the truth. Examine the exit polls. There was as much chance that O.J. Simpson was innocent as there is that those polls failed to indicate the outcome correctly. Kerry won the election and failed the test.
How often do criminals who are in complete control surrender themselves to justice? Because that is what they would be doing, you know.
Now I will repeat the previous statement with a qualifier.
America is never going to have another honest election with the present system in place. But we can change that. It is still possible to do so.
We can install the best and most reliable security system in the world. You have seen it, or some of its components. Remember those rectitude filled faces that confronted you the last time you voted? The older ladies that always knew what you were doing when you were a kid and could be counted on to snitch to your Mom? The retired teacher who walked a mile to return the change when the clerk got it wrong? Yep. Them. We all know who we can trust in our own neighborhoods. And we, the desperate but no longer illusioned at One Vote, One Voice, have a plan to install them at your local precinct not just to count the votes, though God knows we need that, but to register us all as voters, too. No more fraudulent voters, either. That will be a nice change.
The folks we know we can trust will be the ones we elect as our Precinct Captains to take America back. That will be the beginning of real change, change that affirms the true vision of the America that mists our eyes when we see the flag carried by. That is the front line for security America desperately needs today. It isn't even a big change. We will vote the same place, see the same people, and even get to know our neighbors better. our communities will not suffer, not in the suburbs and not in the inner cities if we have a desperate reason to know each other.
One Vote, One Voice is the focus project of a new political party, just forming. The name of the party is American Revival. You can join – if you sign the pledge and mean it. The pledge is your word of honor you will use no deceit, manipulation or violence to achieve your ends. Or other words, just do the right thing.
It is time Americans started governing themselves again. We are a nation that prides itself on doing for ourselves so lets make it true. Voting is important but it is not rocket science.
Next time I stand in line for three hours to remove the rascals I want to know my vote will count and I bet you do, too. America was once a shining light and the hope of the world. It can be again.
America is not just a place, it is a promise of unbounded possibility for all people everywhere. It is a sacred gift and a trust put into our hands that we might pass it on in our own time. It is too precious to lose.
God bless America. Light a candle for Thomas Jefferson, a man who spoke the truth - and re register American Revival.
Url: Site will be up soon!
Posted at 04:55 pm by Melinda
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
An Honorable Rhetoric; an Ugly Reality - The Bush Inaugural Address
When my oldest son was small I always knew it was time to examine his activities when he felt moved to tell me multiple times that something was true. So when he told me that it was not he who blew up his sister’s Cabbage Patch Doll in a glorious display of the power of gun powder collected from caps I knew perfectly well who had reduced the cherished plaything to a shredded pile of lettuce leaves. Parents know this. Frequent repetitions of such denials drive the point home.
This familial insight becomes politically relevant when considering the content of the recent inaugural address delivered by President Bush. If you use the vision of “freedom” and “liberty” that many times you are not talking about either. But your actions will outline the bald truth.
Do not mistake rhetoric flights, no matter how filled with blandishments of surpassing beauty for anything but public relations. Their emoted words do not match reality but such effusions do provide us with valuable insights.
George Bush used the words ‘liberty” and “freedom” over forty times in that recent speech. He gave that speech surrounded by more security than has ever stood between a monarch and his subjects at any time in history. So turn down the volume control on your mind and watch what he is doing. It is what they do that is true.
We have invaded a foreign country and plan more of the same.
We are selling the natural resources of that country to pay our costs and to make a profit.
We are ignoring the continued presence of terrorist’s threats.
We must now tolerate the presence of an internal military police force miscalled “Homeland Security” that is mandated to spy on us, imprison us, and take our property with impunity.
Our right to free speech is under fire.
Women must again worry that they might not be the ones who ultimately control the right to choose whether or not to give birth.
Marriage, and the definition of the same, has become a matter of state policy. Military serving in Iraq are sent in harms way without body armor.
Our returning veterans are ignored to death.
The message conveyed through the clear lens of reality bears no relationship to “freedom” or “liberty,” two words denoting the emancipation of the human spirit to choose for itself the course most resonate with our sense of the sacred. It is not freedom when we cannot speak out; it is not freedom when we dishonor our obligation to veterans. It is not liberty when the government usurps our right to choose for ourselves. It is not freedom we protect when we use lies to justify an invasion. We are not thus made more secure. Freedom is nowhere in that equation.
A true liberty is founded only in the empowerment of individuals. Our government was originated as a tool to let a free people govern themselves, providing for a common defense and for such services as they were unable to supply for themselves. That has not changed. The vision of America is still valid. If there is a difference it is that now we have many more ways to provide those services without recourse to government.
In each of these matters the rhetoric used by President Bush fails the test to match reality. Each day that slips by finds us less free.
As our Founder Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He was right. He would have been confounded by the world today, shocked by the use of rhetoric as a means of deceit.
Who among us has not experienced those who lie to get their way? We must not let the trappings of power overcome our discernment. We must not become afraid to speak out. It is bad, but it can get worse.
This administration has institutionalized the use of political operatives in the media, paying these agents for presenting their assertions as objective fact. In the case of Health and Human Services head Tommy Thompson, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher was paid a reported $21,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote administrative proposals. This is a species of lie new to politics; a conversion of the formerly independent media into an arm of the administration.
It is impossible for ordinary Americans to know what is happening under the cover of authority – but we can watch what they do and compare it to the rhetoric. And as the two diverge we can judge them. Turn down the volume on the rhetoric. Actions speak louder than words.
Posted at 04:24 pm by Melinda
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
James Byron Dean, Individualist
A personal remembering by
Copyrighted February 2004 by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
When someone is 45 years in the grave we stop thinking about him as he was, especially when that person lives in the memories of others as a legend. But Jimmy had not become the legendary James Dean when I met him. He was just a skinny young man who hunched his shoulders and peered at the world through thick glasses.
You have probably seen his three movies. You certainly recognize his face and the stance of angst he came to represent. Most people hold an image in their minds of Jimmy that is more movie than reality. That is not unreasonable. He did not live long enough to express who he was through a lifetime of acts. But the Jimmy I knew was not like the image.
Jimmy was the first person I knew who talked to me about ideas as if I was a thinking person instead of a child. Since I was only three the first time I remember meeting him this is not exactly surprising.
He had a talent for making me look at things in ways that surprised me. He helped me see things more deeply. Jimmy was the magic of ideas and spirit. He seemed like one thing and then suddenly his eyes would twinkle and he would say something that turned my world upside down. Stars, leaves, faeries, kittens and death, he talked about all of them. He helped me believe in fairies and also to understand that fairies were a different kind of real.
With Jimmy I went on voyages of discovery into places inside my mind. After he was gone that magical shifting stayed with me; His gift. So I want to introduce you to the James Byron Dean who was laughter, insight, and amazement; the James Dean who cared passionately about freedom. That Jimmy is the truth that bubbles up when I see a picture of him. That is the Jimmy who is real.
Each of us assembles who we are from the materials at hand and Jimmy was a foundational influence in my life. We all hunger for things beyond our experience. I did not realize I could love the taste of thought until Jimmy. Jimmy taught me to doubt, to think and to glory in discovering new ideas.
We touch the lives of others every day without knowing at the time how much those contacts really matter. Jimmy spoke of many things. Some things I did not understand at the time. But I remembered. Life gives us gifts if we choose to see them. But sometimes-even gifts most true - need time for understanding. I am still understanding Jimmy.
Jimmy had an innate empathy for the human need of ceremony. This was Truthing - making things clear and giving direction. He never said why, but over the time I knew him he led me through what I now recognize as ceremonies of understanding.
I carried that on into my own life, thinking and creating ceremonies as I came in contact with the world around me. Some were about healing; some about making my intentions strong and true.
Life is a constant seeking for the truths that light places within us.
The first time I met Jimmy
It was before I started going to Kindergarten. It had to have been because I was alone at home with Mom and Stephen, who was still in diapers. Stephen made wet places on the floor sometimes. You had to watch for the dark patches though Mother usually noticed pretty fast. Stephen didn't eat lunch with me. I ate alone at the little table in the kitchen. My table had a tiny drawer where I stored my crayons and other items of interest and great value. I had not stopped chewing on crayons, at least occasionally, at that point. They looked like they should taste good - and they didn't taste too bad, actually; Interesting texture, too.
Mom usually made me a Beanie sandwich. If you have not tried one of these you have not lived a full and complete culinary life. A proper Beanie sandwich oozes with filling; the bread is very soft and only white bread will do. I remember my teeth biting through the bread and the small explosion of flavor from the peanut butter and jelly followed by the pasty feel of the peanut butter sticking to the roof of my mouth. The jelly was usually strawberry, then my favorite. I had mine with potato chips or Fritos, if there were any; Just a few on the side of the plate, and milk for a beverage in one of the little plastic glasses that bounce, not break. They bounced all too often.
That day I was just sitting down to the sandwich when there was a knock at the front door. I wandered out of the kitchen to peer around the corner. Mom was talking to a skinny man. The skinniness struck me first. He introduced himself as the son of someone. I didn't remember the name. Mom invited him in with cluckings and the offer of lunch. He stepped into the entryway and noticed me, sandwich in hand. Beanie sandwiches are cut in long thin slices, fourths. This strip was drooping badly and leaking onto my hand. I licked it off; Tasted even better that way.
Mom grabbed me and returned me to my little table and chair. I twisted around to look at the man as he followed us into the kitchen. He sat down with me in the other little chair. He fit snugly. I laughed. I had never seen a big person sit at the little table.
So Mom made him a Beanie sandwich of his own. While she was fussing with the sandwich and a glass of milk for him Jimmy showed me how to peel up the top of the sandwich and scrunch the potato chips into the peanut butter. I liked it. It was different and it sort of tickled the roof of my mouth when I bit into it. Salt against the strawberry jam was interesting, I thought.
Jimmy asked my Mom for some more things for his sandwich. It was a Beanie, too. But into his he put pickles and tomatoes and ketchup. It was wonderfully icky. I made a face and he made the same face back at me and rolled his eyes and said, "ummm....yummy!" So then I wanted a bite of his. It was interesting. I was not sure I liked it at first but I liked the way Mom looked when I ate it. Jimmy laughed and I laughed, too.
After lunch we went into the back yard. The house on Colby where I grew up was green. All of the houses Mom occupied were green. She struggled to make them that perfect shade of light celadon but this rarely worked out. At that point the house was a rather determined institutional green with dark shutters on the windows. I was then occupying the front bedroom with my sisters Anne and Carol and occasionally my mother's mother, Darling Daisy. I had a tiny bed that had graduated me just in time from the crib that was then occupied by Stephen. There was a living room, dining room and kitchen with laundry area. I liked it there. It was cozy and snug.
The Avocado Tree dominated the back yard on Colby Avenue. Eventually, it would grow into a great-grandmother of a tree, bearing avocados all year long. Then, it was still young but good for climbing.
Mom was showing her roses to Jimmy. His Mom liked roses, too, he said. Later I realized that his Mom was dead.
I went off to play under the Avocado Tree while they talked. That was my favorite destination in the back yard for making mud pies. For some reason the mud there was especially fine grained and therefore looked like chocolate. Didn't taste like chocolate though. I had already ascertained that on a previous occasion. Then I had a great idea. I had something I wanted to show Jimmy. I knew he would like to see it.
I still feel a tingle of excitement when I remember dragging someone by the hand over the concrete pathway along the side of the garage. My arm is up at an angle because he was so much taller than I. I am looking ahead to a rather dense and tall bush against the back fence. On one brief occasion I am off the ground because I am pulling so hard.
I round the bush and there is the prize. I don't know how it got there. It certainly had not been ours. But the dead tortoise had certainly been past all hope when I first found it. I had been watching it being eaten by ants for some time. I tried to look every few days, although I knew that I should not tell Mom. She would remove it, I was pretty sure.
Jimmy looked at the turtle for a long time. He squatted down to get a better look. Then he smiled.
Jimmy told me then that he had watched the same process only it was with a cow. I shuddered. Cows were huge. My first contact with Jimmy was also the first occasion when I talked to anyone about the physical process of mortality. We had a cat then, Tiger Lady, later Tiger when his gender was correctly identified. But Tiger was still a fluffy kittenish presence then. I had yet to bury a deceased goldfish to be dug up later for minute examination. The tortoise came first. Jimmy filled me in on various aspects of the process with horrid expressions of face and gestures of hands. He also introduced the idea that the essence of the tortoise, the thing that moved it and made it Tortoise, was no longer there. It had gone someplace else. I was skeptical. I was always skeptical. I had learned that people would tell me things that were not strictly factual. Jimmy didn't do that. Jimmy told truth.
That was the first time I met Jimmy. I think he was going to UCLA then and as a starving student was making the rounds of families who had known his mother to give him access to a fuller diet. But he did come back - usually at lunchtime.
Having Jimmy come by was exciting. The pattern became set. He would wolf down sandwiches, cookies, and other edibles while talking to Mom and instructing me in the ways of culinary augmentation of taste sensations until every speck of food on his plate and mine was consumed. He would drink milk usually because that is what there was. But once in the springtime it was lemonade. We did not have soft drinks in the house then.
On one occasion I remember showing him the contents of the Thing on what must have been the second visit. How do I explain The Thing? It was a very odd piece of furniture that served as a storage unit, build by my Uncle Ernie. Finished a light oak color, it was actually made out of pieces of wood salvaged from the old Los Angeles Court House, torn down in the 30's. Uncle Ernie was Father's elder brother. Later I learned from my sister Anne that he used to stay with them from time to time, years before I was born. Anne didn't like him. I think he drank too much from what she said. But she did say that he was jolly and made jokes along with the furniture.
The Thing was a toy box on top with two little shelves on the bottom; Massy and sturdy. I know that it was used as a children's toy box originally when Anne was tiny. But when I was growing up it lived in the living room and contained Treasurers.
These were real treasurers, the kind that Dad showed people when they came over. The people looked very closely at them, murmuring. They were stiff paper, all curled up on themselves, holding tiny pictures.
The curling stiff papers were proof sets of the photographs that A.C. had taken of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire in 1906. I liked looking at them so I knew that Jimmy would, too. He did. He exclaimed over the clarity and the feeling you got that you could feel the heat and smell the dust, still in the air from the shaking of the earth. He looked for a long time. He also looked at the gold pictures, d’orotones, with images of the South Seas and Yosemite, the Desert and other distant places I had never seen. The gold color gleamed deeply. There were other pictures, too, still shots of plant curling into bloom and tiny shots of cells with an image of AC caught seeming to be exclaiming in excitement.
That was when he told me we were cousins. I do not know that this is true, actually. I do know that our families on my mother's side came from the same very small town in Indiana. Thereafter I referred to him interchangeably as Jimmy or Cousin Jimmy.
Jimmy told me stories about himself and his dreams. On that day he told me he wanted to make movies and be an actor. I thought that was ridiculous. I knew he was going to college then and he was going to be an attorney. I don't think he told me that. I think it was the kind of thing you pick up listening to adults talk. But his dream was not one that his father did liked. I could understand that. I wanted to do things my parents didn't like, either. Mom had taken away the tortoise, just like I thought she might.
I think that is the first time Jimmy talked to me about his future. He talked great big things for his future. He talked about people I did not know who he told me were in the movies and then on television. We had gotten a television at some point and it was established in the living room at the end towards the bedrooms in a big wooden cabinet. I thought it was elegant then. Smooth varnished wood and very glossy high lights.
When it needed repair, which was all too frequent, Stephen and I would climb in the cabinet and pretend we were actors in a show. That came from Jimmy and his stories about being in the movies. Stephen was diaper trained and usually reliable by this time.
Jimmy did not talk to Mom about his dreams. Or he did once. She fixed him with a piercing stare and told him that actors starve and accomplish nothing useful anyway. I know that the family felt just that way about actors. There were some in the neighborhood.
Lloyd Bridges lived around the corner with his kids and scandalized my mother by walking around outdoors with his underwear showing. That was a definite no-no then. Later, Dave Brew would tell me that he borrowed the Hardy Boys books from Jeff who was very unwilling to share. Since sharing was a cardinal virtue and something we did between families routinely that was a shocking dereliction. I know that Mr. Bridges was active in scouts with my Dad. I do not remember for which brother, Cap or Stephen.
Jimmy introduced me to the living world of plants in the backyard one afternoon while I was climbing the lemon tree. Climbing the lemon tree was a riskier business than climbing the avocado tree. It had little prickles. But its smell seemed to sink into my skin and stay with me even after I was tucked in at night. So I was careful of the prickles and climbed it when I hungered for the headiness of lemon.
It was a quiet afternoon and you could hear the sounds of Mom washing up in the kitchen. I laid my head along the branch to breath in the lemon scent deeply. Jimmy was lying on the lawn, looking up but with his eyes closes.
Then he spoke. "Trees breathe. Can you hear the tree breathing?" I listened. I heard the faintest movement of leaves brushing against each other, but I heard no breathing. I told him that trees do not breathe. He laughed, and said again that they do. I jumped down, thoroughly saturated with the scent of lemons now. I walked over to him; put my hands on my hips an told him that trees do not breathe.
Jimmy sat up. The sun twinkled off his glasses. He got up slowly, stretching a little. He sat there, eye to eye with me.
"Trees breathe", he said again. "They breathe in light and breathe out life." He blew gently into my face and smiled.
This was a moment of revelation for me. Plants possessed life, just as the tortoise had. Somehow I knew it must be true, although I would not understand the technicalities of photosynthesis for many years. Jimmy went on to tell me that all plants breathe; making the air we need to survive. I almost forgot to breathe myself in that moment.
Jimmy had changed my world forever in ways I did not yet imagine. That night, I went to sleep hearing the whole great green world breathing slowly and firmly all around me.
Jimmy had introduced me to plants as living things that struggle to survive. He had introduced me to the great circle of life that subsumes everything on Earth. He later told me that all things are connected, some obvious and some so tenuous and complex that we will never know just how they touch through time and space.
Our thoughts touch too, he said smiling with a little sadness.
Between visits I thought about what Jimmy had said, rolling his words and expressions over in my mind and examining them from every possible direction.
On another visit, Jimmy taught me to draw a star on a discarded piece of paper. He picked up the pencil and his hand moved and, voila! There was that little five pointed shape right before my eyes. I thought he was a magician for part of one breath. Then I insisted he show me how he did it.
We filled up that paper with stars. I made him do it again and again until I could do it myself. I was hard to put off in those days. That was when he told me about stars. Here is what he said.
Jimmy said that the sun was a star. I disagreed. I knew that stars were little points of light. This was evidence of my own eyes. But he said it only looked like that because they were so very far away. He pointed to a bird off in the sky that was a speck.
I thought about this and conceded that it could be true.
The first revelation under the lemon tree in the back yard fit neatly into the next one. Jimmy told me that all life comes from the sun. I disagreed. Life comes from the Earth, plants and babies, I said. I had learned very recently about babies from the pregnancy of a neighbor, Mrs. Grimes, who let me put my hand on her very pregnant belly. I knew therefore that mommies make babies. Yes, said Jimmy. But mommy persons make babies just like them. They are human, and all babies, human and otherwise, need the Earth and the life in her to keep living.
Jimmy reminded me about the tortoise and said that the tortoise went back into the soil and that plants and other animals ate what was left of the tortoise after its essence was gone and therefore didn't need its body any more.
That was a moment I have never forgotten. I saw things, plants, animals, people, moving through time, consuming and consumed with the steady infusion of light becoming life.
In the summer of 1955 I must have seen Jimmy at least two times. Once he took me to see a movie he said was about a cowboy. The movie was East of Eden. I don't know if you have seen this movie but there is no cowboy and no horses. Horses were a strong selling point when Jimmy introduced the idea of a movie. So Jimmy took me and various other family members to the theatre on Pico Blvd. and settled me into a seat with my very first Baby Ruth candy bar.
There were no horses and no cowboy. I now believe that Jimmy meant that HE was a cowboy because he had just finished making the movie Giant. But this cut no weight with me when I was six. The guy in the movie did not look like Jimmy. He was not wearing glasses and he whined a lot, very unJimmy-like behavior. (Jimmy was practically blind without his glasses. I understood this, having very thick glasses myself.) I had been defrauded, something I did not expect from Jimmy. Afterwards he took me on the pony rides to make up for it. I also received a lasso and lessons in twirling. The best part of the occasion was getting to climb and run along the scalloped wall that surrounded the pony ride. This made Jimmy nervous and he insisted I let him fetch me down as he ran along beside me. Eventually, when the wall ran out, I did.
On the last occasion when I saw Jimmy, it must have been toward the end of that summer, he told me the story of a man who wanted to speak his truth to the world by being an architect. He told me that many times the world will not listen to such truth and that it tests the spirit of the individual to make the world see him or her as they are. Testing makes us stronger, he said, and forces us to become most truly what we are. His voice trembled a little as he talked. He said that someday he would tell the story as it should have been told. He was starting to tell the world who he was, he said.
The story, I later realized, was The Fountainhead and the man was Howard Roark. We take inspiration where we find it, making it our own. The story he told me had a strong spiritual tone, very different than the book I would later experience. I like Jimmy's version best.
Jimmy had taught me to doubt the obvious and see past what I thought I knew. He taught me to be strong and do what I believe is right no matter how much others might disapprove or even try to stop me. He had taught me to think and that thinking was a joyous pleasure that would never fail me. He was right about that.
We talk a lot about the skills we give our children in school. But the greatest and most lasting lessons I have learned through life came long before I started my formal education. I don't think Jimmy thought of himself as a teacher. But he was. He was a teacher, a philosopher, and an ardent soul in flight through a life that was all too short.
I will always be grateful for the lessons of Jimmy.
Posted at 01:08 am by Melinda
Monday, November 08, 2004
Violet Series No. 109 A Perfect Peace
109. A Perfect Peace
Internalized commitment that defeats the cause of tears
The Peace of human making rescinds our deepest fears.
Eternal Yes to spirit that meet in time and place
Infinite renewal that completes our course towards grace.
The Peace stills angry echoes from histories now forgot
Remaking pain and anguish it reveals the truths we sought.
In still point of our needing for which we strain to see
Peace, the distant rapture, reminds us what should be.
A vision, dim but glowing with promises divine
It draws us to the capture of a future far more kind.
It leads us out from shadows to a place still yet to be
Implanting in our consciousness the hope we may be free.
Peace renews forgiveness and trains the mind and soul
Peace accepts our imperfections, granting ancient goals.
The first and last remembered from the natal place of time
Find peace within the portal and a home in the design.
Posted at 10:14 am by Melinda
Melinda writes poetry, a habit bemoaned by most of the human race that provides her with some small satisfactions in the deep and quiet spaces of night. She writes poetry in series, strictly chonological, of 127 poems per series. She is now working on Violet Series. So this is.......
108. A Perfect Love
The raptured life now pulsing through billions every day
Throbs with His intentions, as Grace knows what to say.
So I listen to the Message that courses through my veins.
Because the Gift once Given was delivered with much pain.
Inside each pause of moment, unnumbered in each breath
Resides the rapture not forgotten, that tells me each are blessed.
I remember His compassion and I weep with joy in heart.
He, the One who knows us all, gave Truth its natal start.
Each touch of life’s intentions, is seen by He with eyes
Each impulse to extension pays off as we grown wise.
His Gift the one insurance that we’ll be gathered in
To know the One perfection, the sequel to Amen.
Closer than my organs, more intimate than skin.
The memories exhorting me - render Truth to Him.
Posted at 10:08 am by Melinda