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The film “The World Is My Country”. One week to the free week, online

Friday, January 19th, 2018

PRE-NOTE: An organization in which I’m active, Citizens for Global Solutions MN, sponsored the very successful World Premiere of this film, “The World Is My Country”, in Minneapolis in April, 2017*. Film Director Arthur Kanegis is offering anyone with internet access one free week access to this film, beginning one week from today, Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2018. Details follow, as provided by the films producers. This is a unique opportunity. I hope you take the opportunity. Dick Bernard
*
For years you’ve known that our current path of war and ecological destruction is insane.

You’ve been trying to tell the world: ​”​There is a better way.​”​

Finally, a movie says it all – in ways you never dreamed of!

“The World is My Country,” is the perfect tool to show people there are GLOBAL SOLUTIONS!

It’s the movie that’s getting people out of their doldrums. It’s inspiring people with new hope. It’s the antidote to a world of “politics gone mad!”

It’s the intriguing story of how one little guy, a song and dance man on Broadway, turned his war guilt over bombing civilians into an electrifying action that galvanized war weary Europe and sparked a movement. A mighty movement that helped spark ​recognition that we have ​universal human rights​. A movement that helped inspire people to unite the nations of Europe – which ended a century of wars between its member states!

Now this film can help inspire the world to do ​something even better ​- so​ human rights can truly be honored and​ disputes can be taken to court not the battleground!

It’s a lost piece of history, that gives us what Martin Sheen calls: “A roadmap to a better future!”

The FREE FILM FESTIVAL SCREENING WEEK is January 26th – February 1st, 2018.

Sign up now to get your special viewing code here.

Here’s the deal. This film about World Citizen #1 Garry Davis is so new that it’s not yet being shown on PBS, in theaters or on Netflix or Amazon. It’s only being shown at film festivals​ – where it’s getting sold out crowds and standing ovations!

​T​he director of the film, Arthur Kanegis, wants you to see it — so you can help get it into film festivals in your area. ​ Or ​even make your own GLOBAL SOLUTIONS festival of films!

​After you see it, he’ll tell you how.

​Meanwhile, n​ow is the time ​to share the good news:

1. Forward this post to all your friends and family.

2. Contact other groups and organizations and invite them to send announcements to their members.

3. Here is the ​​Facebook post social media: link here (actual text shown below, click to enlarge).

As one of those special people — who is ahead of your time — don’t miss this opportunity to make a ​huge​ difference.

Of course you have tons of things to do – but this is the time to put them aside — while you take on ​what Einstein thought was the most important thing:

”Mark my words, this boy, Garry Davis, has grasped the only problem to which I myself am determined to devote the rest of my life, up to my very last day: a problem which is, very simply, the problem of the survival of the species. It is a question of knowing whether mankind – the very universe of man – will disappear by its own hand, or whether it will continue to exist” – Albert Einstein​ (​Quoted in the transcript of 10/4/1949 hearing before the 14th Court of Corrections in Paris, as translated by Richard V. Carter in Survival Meetings, Writers Club Press, 2001​)​

​Start now by signing up at: www.theworldismycountry.com/freeweek

Together we can fulfill your lifelong hopes and dreams for a better world!

* – I previously wrote about this film on Jan 5, here.

Nuclear War

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

To be clear, this post is not about North Korea (though it well could be). One cannot imagine what “dotard” and “rocket man” (Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un) will do. This is a very dangerous time, led by very dangerous men.

Rather, this post is, once again, about the weaponization of Sex in America. If you’re reading this, I don’t need to fill in the blanks. You know them.

So, yesterday, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor joined the fallen. And they are front page news. There will be the usual clucks of righteousness.

There may be someone out there who thinks that all of this just happened through some painful overnight revelation by victims.

Rather the revelations are strategically timed, from data gathered over many years, just waiting for the right moment to light the fuse and disrupt and confuse…and sow and nurture fear (“am I going to be next?”).

As a good friend of mine, senior citizen female, said the other day (with her permission to share): “… by the time someone is old enough to run for president (or another higher office), they likely have “history.” (Either that, or they haven’t lived much – in which case, they’d probably not be a candidate in the first place.) And of course, then the skeletons-in-the-closet hunters come out in force. I wouldn’t want anybody digging in MY closet, either.”

She could have said “or anything” as well, but Garrison Keillor had not been decapitated at the time she wrote.

Long and short, Sex has been Weaponized. It is useless to try to identify ground zero, or who the sleaze bags are who have weaponized it. They won’t out themselves, and will deny the credit, even if deserved. It goes back quite a number of years now. It is a useful weapon.

Of course, its value as a weapon depends on people like us to give it meaning.

It is up to us to deal with this ourselves, in our own circles.

Wednesday (before the Lauer and Keillor “bombshells”) I had occasion to dig out one of items I have kept on file, this one for the past 17 years.

This one, a sermon, is six pages, and was delivered by the minister of a prestigious St. Paul Church, who specifically wanted it shared at the time, regardless of one’s political persuasion. It seems appropriate for today. Here it is: Morality and Civility001

POSTNOTE:
from Jeff: “All Administrations, I suppose, are more or less corrupt; certainly the depth of corruption this one has reached is scarcely suspected as yet, even by
Its enemies.”

1871, Whitelaw Reid, Managing editor of the New York Tribune

COMMENTS:
from Madeline:
I concur, and I read the excellent sermon you included.

from Judy: I didn’t read the whole sermon, but I think he was saying that some things are immoral, others illegal, and Clinton didn’t do anything illegal. Sexual harassment in some cases is illegal. But I am convinced that Senator Franken and Garrison Keillor did nothing illegal or immoral. I am so upset that we are rushing to judgment about these fine men. What happened to due process

Yes, I have been the victim of sexual harassment. All women my age have been.

from Jeff, re Postnote: This history of that time period is very interesting.

The Republican party was splintering between the Radical Republicans (in favor of remaking the country from the South to the West in the image of the North and the Northern Midwest), and the “Liberal” Republicans who were previous to the war staunch upper class abolitionists… they were the intellectual elite and some of the financial elite and were in favor of the return of the Gold Standard, ending Reconstruction in the south and allowing a return to stable White controlled states there, and were anti-immigrants as they saw immigrants as a power block for corrupt politicians, they also in concert with wishing for a return of white control of the South were in favor of restricting suffrage (and that worked pretty well for them in the South)

Democrats were split as well… between those that were the old Confederates, some urban Democrats particularly in NY city who aligned with Tammany Hall and German and Irish immigrants; and Democrats of a Jeffersonian/Jacksonian type, mostly rural in favor of paper money, inflation and the sanctity of the small farmer and small businessman.

from Florence: I’m perplexed by how Trump seems to be walking away free from his transgressions. I look to the machine that got him elected. The article you shared affirmed that. Thank you!

Response to Florence, from Dick: First, Trump is much too useful to the radical right wing; and if he goes, we’re left with Mike Pence who’s even more useful in the longer term, especially with court judges. Second, his entire history is to countersue, and any potential litigants against a very wealthy man who has teams of lawyers who challenge everything know how hard that is.

BTW, this is not simply a woman’s issue, though women for reasons we both know have borne the brunt of this throughout human history.

from John: Your thoughtful suggestions to deal with sensitive issues of sex and power should make many folks think. Where are we going? As a people, and as human Beings? We all need to think.

from Joyce: Excellent, Dick!

from Christine: Very interesting!

from Michelle:
My word of the day – DISCERNMENT.

noun
noun: discernment
1.
the ability to judge well.
“an astonishing lack of discernment”
2.
(in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.
“without providing for a time of healing and discernment, there will be no hope of living through this present moment without a shattering of our common life”

We seem to have replaced discernment with simple “judge everyone the same-ness.” We seem to have lost the ability to judge well, to indeed no longer take time to discern one thing from another. No, it’s not the same to drink 5 drinks and drive, as it is to drink 1 drink and drive. No, it’s not the same to accidentally hit someone with your car and drive away, as it is to hit someone accidentally with your car and then stay to help. In the first example, it’s true that both include drinking and driving. But JUDGMENT is used, and we know that drinking 5 is much worse with greater effects than drinking 1 drink. In the 2nd example, it’s true that both include accidentally hitting someone. But in the first, someone drives away and doesn’t accept responsibility. And in the 2nd, someone stops to help, accepting that something happened. We DISCERN and discover that indeed, while there are similar acts here – they are NOT the same.

So take sexual harassment. I would say – No, it’s not the same to pull your pants down in front of an unwilling employee, as it is to hug someone too low and put your hand on their buttocks. While we need to take this issue seriously, I feel we also need to practice the lost art of discernment and using good judgment to determine justice in these situations, and to be able to reflect, heal and move ahead with greater knowledge.

from Catherine: I do think we are reacting to an age-old problem in an insane and unfair way, tossing aside one’s right to a proper defense and forgetting that every wrong or perceived wrong cannot be categorized as all of the same criminal degree. Worse for us, how dare MPR remove all of Keillor’s contributions to our culture? That punishes us, not him. Like all women I’ve experienced sexual harassment since I grew breasts, but as irritating and insulting as it was, most of it was not especially traumatic. It’s not reason enough to destroy lives and the future work of men who have grown up and learned better. I realize this doesn’t apply to serial creeps and child molesters. I also think that this is just as much politically motivated as anything else. We have to take this case by case and examine it all with care. I’m all for strengthening women and ending bad treatment and harassment but we don’t have to drive people to suicide.

from David: Count me among those who don’t see a conspiracy to bring down liberal (or, for that matter, conservative) men or causes. Many changes come about through the long, hard work by their proponents. Often those struggles involve decades-long work with seemingly little progress being made. Then, along comes some seminal event or moment that changes the dynamic. Rosa Parks comes to mind. Or, perhaps a better example, America’s sea change in attitudes towards marriage equality.

Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore claims that accusations against him are made up, the women are all lying and doing the bidding of the anti-religious liberals. Al Franken admits to boorish behavior recorded on film but “can’t remember” details of other events.

Are we to believe that the women making these accusations have just now decided that it’s politically expedient to come forward? Or, that they shared their stories earlier, but a lid was kept on the information until the time was ripe to bring down a political opponent?

I believe a better explanation is that the atmosphere has changed and women (and a few men) are now feeling more empowered, and safer, to step forward with their experiences. Absent evidence to the contrary, attributing political motives to their difficult decisions to come forward, sends the message that advancing our political agenda trumps our values.

Response from Dick: I think the value of this business is that there is conversation now taking place. As I’ve mentioned, I had a little head start on this, having to represent school teachers back in the mid to late 1970s and 1980s when the issue first raised its head. In these cases, due process takes a big hit. I try to keep in mind a simple fact: there are hundreds of millions of (let’s admit it) sexual beings out there, called humans, male and female. Balance that against the numbers of alleged perpetrators and presumed victims all now coming forward at about the same time. One has to wonder….

Learn from History

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

My friend, Madeline, sent this to her Facebook group yesterday. It had originally circulated a year ago, right after the 2016 election. My opinion, this is a particularly useful reflective reading, given our continuing political experience beginning with the electoral campaign in 2016. It is a personal opinion. There is much food for thought.

We have had the good fortune of knowing well someone who learned from life experience in Nazi Germany. Annelee Woodstrom spent most of her growing up years in a small Bavarian town; the last 70 in the United States. She was 6 when the Nazis took control in Germany, and joined all Germans in the desperate quest for survival as WWII ended in 1945. We have talked a great deal about this topic, and she has written about how it was for ordinary Germans, then.

My brief personal comments at the end of this post.

(click to enlarge)

We must learn from history:

This is sobering advice from historian, Holocaust expert and Yale Professor Timothy Snyder posted to FB on Tuesday Nov 22 [2016].

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

POSTNOTE from Dick: The two photos are from Annelee Woodstroms “And So It Was”, and date from the mid-1930s in Nazi Germany. I wrote about this book, her latest, on Saturday. She speaks from experience as an ordinary person, in Germany and in the U.S.

Nazi Germany is a topic not to be politically spoken in the U.S., unless related to “enemies”, as anointed.

There are big differences between Nazi Germany and today’s United States, but be very careful. What became Nazi Germany was a place full of people just like ourselves. It happened there; it can happen here.

Just two comments, relating to Annelee’s experience in a small community in particular:

1. The horrors of Nazism crept up on people, as they prospered under the Nazi war regime, particularly if they became party members. But the dream of a Thousand Year Reich lasted about ten years, beginning to collapse, according to Annelee, about 1943…. We in the U.S. have too much of a tendency to believe our notion of American “exceptionalism”. We are not exceptional at all, except to have been very lucky so far.

2. The Nazis were masters of propaganda, through the means of communication available and utilized at the time. Much of their learning came from the United States propagandists at the time of WWI, and following. Communication today, such as it is, is technologically far advanced, with accompanying enormous potential for misuse and abuse, as we see every day. Each of us can pick and choose what it is we choose to accept as “information”. I read an interesting commentary this morning, which is worth the time, about the present day phenomena. See Project Veritas Fails.

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’, George Santayana said. This is one of first sayings I saw when I visited Auschwitz in 2000, and it bears repeating now.

On Losing Hope…Don’t….

Monday, August 14th, 2017

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”
(Proverb, uncertain origin)

As the awful days of 2017 drag on, I am very tempted to give up. Why bother? There seems little reason to hope for any improvement in our increasingly awful status quo – a fate we freely chose last November. If you watch the news only a little, you know what I mean. Here’s a longer version of the most recent, Charlottesville. Scroll down to the quote from “Daily Stormer”, the modern voice of the Nazis.

from Carol: a two minute film from 1943

The reason for my malaise is our national leadership – our President – and a largely cowardly “win at all costs” far Right government leadership who considers people like me the enemy.

But becoming paralyzed is not good for this country. I march on.

*

In my now long life, I have always emphasized personal optimism: that however bad things were, there was hope for a better future.

A friend once asked me how I came to this positive philosophy. The answer came to mind quite easily. Very early in my adult life, the short two year marriage of my wife and I ended with her death from kidney disease; and I was left with a 1 1/2 year old son, and truly insurmountable debts, mostly from medical costs.

Barbara was 22. We were in a strange place, surrounded by strangers. I was flat broke.

It was 1965, and survival was the essential; everything else was a luxury.

I didn’t give up, and with lots of help from some relatives and new friends and society in general (North Dakota Public Welfare in particular), things turned around, albeit slowly. I’ll never forget 1963-65.

Later perspective came from a career where my total job was attempting to help solve problems between people, not to make them worse.

It was a difficult job. Sometimes I feel I did okay; sometimes I was not so sure. But I gave a damn, and knew the difference between “win-win” versus “win-lose”. In “win-lose” everybody loses…. We have long been mired in “win-lose” in this country of ours.

*

So, I seek optimism even in the worst of times.

A few days ago I did a blog about Al Gore’s new film on Climate Change: “Inconvenient Sequel Truth to Power“, and highlighted a long and what I felt was a very positive interview with Vice-President Gore on Fox News a week ago; and then noticed on the jacket of his 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth” the highlighted recommendation, from Roger Friedman of FOXNEWS.com. Fox News? Yes.

Yesterdays Minneapolis Star Tribune had an Opinion written by the newspapers publisher, billionaire businessman and former Minnesota legislator Glen Taylor. You can read it here.

I sent the column to a former work colleague, now in Michigan, who knew Taylor in the 1980s when he was an up and coming business man, and who, herself, successfully used “win-win” in contract negotiations. She read the column and said, “He is so correct in his observations. For one thing, this approach is less likely to produce unintended consequences that can hurt either party. Because the potential solutions are freely discussed, those potential problem areas are more likely to be seen and avoided before they happen.”

*

“Win-Win” is not part of the current American environment.

But it is not time to quit. Just yesterday I was at a gathering where a current member of the U.S. Congress spoke, and he said that next week, August 21 to be precise, is when Trump has to make a crucial decision on CSR under the Affordable Care Act. “CSR”? More here about CSR and the implications of next week. Several times Cong. Walz said, yesterday, August 21 is very important. Express your opinion to your Congressperson and Senator.

Cong. Tim Walz, MN 1st District, at DFL Senior Caucus Picnic Aug. 13, 2017

*

Finally, the matter of “news”, generally, and what can one believe these “fake news” days, especially from the President of the United States? There is truth out there, but it takes effort to find it, especially now. I think it is prudent to believe nothing this President says; only what he and his lieutenants do, have done, and will do, and not as reported by him, either.

Facts are complicated. A couple of days ago my long time friend Michael sent an article from a technical publication about the N. Korean ICBMs. The article, here, is difficult, and it is technical, but was reassuring in that it came from someone who I’ve known for years to be not only a PhD, but a straight talker. We all know people like Michael. Value them. Here is how Michael introduces the article: “if moral analysis does not move you, maybe technical aspects can. Ted Postol [and others have] a super essay in today’s Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about the latest NK missile launches of Hwasong 14, probably not quite ICBM missiles.”

N. Korea is a very dangerous situation, but consider the source for any information you see or hear about it. There are “facts” out there.

Here’s my Korea Peninsula region map, once again.

Personal adaptation of p. 104 of 7th Edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World

COMMENTS
from Fred: An excellent piece, Dick. In challenging times it is tempting to withdraw, hang on and hope for the best. We need to remember that the future is not linear; its unpredictably is about all we can safely predict. Of course, that can mean even more difficult days are in our future. You’ve reminded me that a pragmatic and persistent approach in working for positive change is a most worthwhile option.

#1248 – Dick Bernard: A bit of nostalgia; and “fake news”

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

This afternoon was picture perfect in my town. It was too nice to stay indoors, so I decided to take a short trip down the old Military Road, ending up at Old Cottage Grove, in front of the Boondocks bar (which, from appearances, seemed to be closed….)

(click to enlarge)

Old Cottage Grove MN April 1, 2017

It wasn’t a long trip – 8 miles – but going there is very much off the beaten path for most of us in this bustling suburb of over 60,000 in which we live.

Down the street from the Boondocks is the John Furber Farm</a> (7310 Lamar in Cottage Grove) and back a couple of miles is the old Cedarhurst Mansion (6940 Keats Ave) which was a very fancy country house back in the day. Both the Furber barn and Cedarhurst house are now used for fancy weddings and parties. People pay for nostalgia. (The places can be seen here.)

Cottage Grove goes way back (for this area). The sign a few blocks from the Furber barn gives the thumbnail history:

Old Cottage Grove sign, corner of 70th and Lamar.

I got to thinking about these places long ago. Cottage Grove, the sign said, was founded in 1843, the town platted in 1871. St. Paul began its life as a distinct place in 1841 – it just celebrated its 175th. In those days, communication was serious business. There was no such thing as express mail, or computers, or tweets. The telegraph didn’t exist until 1861. Literacy spotty, and bare basics.

It cause me to think back to a week ago, watching the segment on “Fake News” on CBS’ 60 Minutes. It was an excellent segment, perhaps still available, though the basics are very simple. Anyone who believes anything that comes from anywhere is taking a leap of faith, including the claims of how many people actually passed something along. We’re in the age where, ironically, we are probably much less likely to get the straight story, than were the folks who lived on the Furber Farm and at Cedarhurst way over 100 years ago.

A little earlier I had checked the stats page for this blog on my home computer, and found something curious. Someone had linked to some very ordinary photo I’d included in a post two years ago. Of course, I can’t answer the “why” question. I’ve heard (tell me I’m wrong) that every photo also has its own signature, and if pirated can be misused, perhaps as a fictitious tweet? Whatever the case, the old phrase, “caveat emptor”, comes to mind. “Let the buyer beware.” There is a great plenty of “fools gold” out there masquerading as the real deal.

Back home, I checked the phone and there was one message from a friend whose career has been as a voyageur, though he was gifted enough with the horn to be part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

He had an offer I couldn’t refuse.

We chatted a bit. He doesn’t do e-mail, but his daughter keeps up a website for his publications. It is here. I gave him my e-mail address to pass along to his daughter, and told him I’d send her a note at the website. Went there right away, but there is no “contact us” tab. Perhaps he doesn’t know that…or maybe it is his rejection of the modern technology. You can write him a letter, it appears, with a real stamp!

We joshed a bit, back and forth. In the Voyageur days, back in the 1600s, we wouldn’t be chatting by telephone! Even Luddites have their limits.

I can vouch, he does very good work. Very interesting.

And I think I can trust his scholarship much more than the next tweet or forward that I receive over the ‘net.

Have a great day.

Dick Bernard: The 15th day after inauguration.

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Related Posts accessible here.

Sunday till Thursday, the end of January, the beginning of February, 2017, we were visiting a friend who has lived for over 50 years in a northern Minnesota town of under 2,000. We have been there before – we are friends for many years. It is always a pleasant visit.

Of course, we’re in the beginning of different political times, and this was a few days to notice things. For starters, I noticed a small photo of our friends “Gentleman Soldier” (below) who she had met in the aftermath of WWII in Germany, and later married, and lived and raised their family in rural America, for over 50 years, till he died in 1998.

I asked to borrow the 2×2 1/2″ photo, and scanned it. It is below (click to enlarge).

“Gentleman Soldier”, rural Germany, 1945.

It got me to thinking about those authoritarian days our friend and all Germans became accustomed to the 1930s, the days which ultimately left their country in ruins, and themselves, starving.

Back in the beginning, in the 1920s and 1930s, communication was primitive compared to today, not much difference between Germany and the U.S. There were newspapers, of course, and other printed material; there were telephones, but seldom used, and telegraph was more likely and reliable for emergency use. Radio was in its infancy (the first American radio news broadcast was about 1920).

Today, of course, all is different. Makes hardly any difference where you live, you have hundreds of choices of media.

We watched cable and regular news on the channels she preferred. We read the newspaper and the magazines she received, etc. It was just like at home. We could watch the beginning of the new administration in Washington just like anybody else. The new President couldn’t contain himself, with yet another reference to “fake” news (it seems to mean, that which does not flatter him).

Our friends rural community is like (apparently) most during this election time: basically conservative Republican. In the just completed election, the now-President won about 60% of her counties vote.

These would probably include the old guy (maybe my age or younger) who was railing away at the town bowling alley which doubles as the morning coffee hangout. He was raging against those present day immigrants and refugees taking free stuff that belonged to him. His friend didn’t seem to agree with him, but wasn’t about to argue.

The rural town dates back into the late 1800s, and was virtually 100% settled by immigrants from Norway and Sweden but, I guess, he thinks those immigrants were somehow different than today. My guess is the anti-immigrant guy comes from that immigrant stock.

Our friend shared last Sunday’s church bulletin from her church in town. She said the pastor was a veteran, two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. His words are well worth the time to read in their entirety: Pastors message Ja 29 17001 I wonder how the flock received his words. And how many other pastors are pondering how to approach the business of politics in this new American environment.

Our friend also shared what was obviously a hand-made Christmas card with a beautiful piece of art painted on a piece of cloth. It was from a friend with whom she had shared a deeply personal tragedy many years before.

Light in Darkness

Her friends Christmas letter was profound, in part saying:

“My birthday on November 8th began with chilled champagne and the expectation of emotional celebration It ended with the appalling realization that life as we know it will never be the same – in the worst ways. With each new nomination and each middle-of-the-night tweet, the darkness has become more real and more frightening.

The Gospel of John contains no stable scene – no manger, angels, shepherds. No Christmas pageant script. It’ short and to the point: in the beginning was the Word…the light shines in the darkness…the Word became flesh….

In the midst of our discouragement we also sense the fires within to be torchbearers. We will surround ourselves with people we respect who will inspire us and light the way for us to think and act outside our comfort zone. We will donate more time and money to the organizations that support the values we hold dear. We will treat the environment with care. We will contact our legislators. We will be advocates for the people who will undoubtedly suffer discrimination, fear, and injustice under this administration. We will do what we can to welcome the stranger and feed the hungry. We will be the intentional in showing kindness and compassion.

We will do our best to be reflections of the Light. The Light that shines in the darkness.

Let your light so shine.”

POSTNOTE: In the last 30 miles to our friends town last Sunday, I got to thinking: there were, after all, almost 66,000,000 of us who voted for the candidate who won the election, but lost the electoral vote. What if, what if, every one of us committed, each week, in the next year, to do a single action aiming to positive change in direction of our country?

That would come out to nearly three and one half billion (3,500,000,000) actions.

How about it?

And I must also share this commentary from page 47 of the January 30, 2017 Time magazine: Time Jan 30 2017001. It speaks for itself.

#1195 – Dick Bernard: Hacking my Facebook, and the Tweet Dilemma, and a special guest.

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

A few days ago I got several e-mails reporting that my Facebook account had been hacked. There is something humiliating about such a violation of boundaries, but it happens. I changed my password (a story in itself), but decided not to close down and start over. I know, now, how to shut it down if need be.

We live in a world with plenty of evil actors, and not all of them are dictators in countries which we find hard finding on a map. They live among us, in our own towns, and in this increase to the wild west, they can be shameless, indeed become folk heroes to some. In a sense, we’re experiencing a pandemic disease, crossing borders with impunity, silent, invisible, until they elect to expose themselves.

Disease pandemics kill people; technology pandemics perhaps ultimately will be even more destructive in our thoroughly wired society. Most communications right now is on those little iPhone or similar screens. We are a computer driven society. If the network went down, we as a collective society wouldn’t have a clue what to do. Losing the technology grid would be as bad or worse than losing the electrical grid, where whole states go black.

I’m not telling state secrets: nefarious types probably have the technological ability to shut us all down, and we will be clueless as to how to get back on-line.

Learn how to handwrite again, and prepare for a day when even the postal service is disabled and we’re back to communicating as we did 100 years or more ago. Real envelopes, pencils and paper, real stamps, dealing with communication as if the recipient won’t see what you wrote for a couple of weeks, if ever.

Then there’s Twitter.

We both have the (I guess) antique “flip phones” which we thought were high-tech when we got them.

Nowadays I get occasional tweets – they come in with a distinctive “ring” – and I’ve figured out how to read them, but if they direct me to a link, I can’t go there; nor can I reply.

For me, at least, they’re simply a useless annoyance. Maybe a better tweet than “today is Dick’s birthday” might be “call your mother!”

The even more crucial issue is privacy. There is none. Get over it. It’s every bit as public as these few words on a public screen. A good friend of mine, 90, was incredulous that her young professional relative in another country, had a complimentary message for his ladyfriend, who sent a half-naked Facebook post. She couldn’t believe it.

Well, here we are.

COMMENT:
From Bruce: My facebook account has been hacked many times. I also see that many of my friends are hacked several times, too. The first time I saw a fake friend request “friendship”, I accommodated. Now that I’m familiar with it I just let it be. I guess being active is an inoculation against that sort of hacking.

POSTNOTES:
1. Comedy Centrals Trevor Noah did a long interview with President Obama on December 12. Here’s the link. You’ll have to watch a few commercials and its in three segments, but it is inspiring if you respect the President.

2. If you need recharging of inspiration, check out Paul Rogat Loeb’s books. They can inspire you. Here’s how to access.

3. Note to Minnesota readers re Monday Dec. 19, from Madeline: “Considering the extreme cold Sunday, I’m planning to attend this one on Monday–be warmer inside at this one too:

“Join us as we support Representative John Lesch at 11 am on Monday, December 19, in State Office Building Room 181 for a press conference announcing a National Popular Vote bill for Minnesota. This is right next to Leif Erikson park, and directly across the street from the Minnesota Senate Building where the 12 noon Electoral College vote will take place.”

Many thanks if you think you can join us!

#1160 – Peter Barus on politics; plus, an opportunity to view the entire 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

NOTE from Dick Bernard: Peter commented after last weeks post on Swiftboating Hillary Clinton. His always perceptive remarks are below. He writes from Vermont. His previous posts can be found here.

In addition, recently I received the link to all of the plenary session talks at the outstanding 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis. The Forum was outstanding, and I was privileged to attend it. At minimum take a look. The Forum was especially great this year.

PETER BARUS:
In the political discourse effectiveness is measured against what we’re after in the first place. Are we seeking to support a candidate by defending their “narrative” (meaning, the carefully focus-grouped, workshopped and spin-doctored story saturating the corporate media channels)? That’s defending the story, not the candidate. Are we seeking to hold a candidate’s actions and words up to the light of proven fact? Usually we test for consistency of word and deed, and leave fact out of it. Are we hoping for some break in the timeworn, corrupt and entrenched “system” that might finally, for once in all of history, provide for an actual election that is actually free and fair? And results in the elevation of an incorruptible and honest leader? Well, we do almost universally profess to be in favor of exactly that.

The candidates know this terrain very, very well. Bernie Sanders (my Senator) knew from the start that he would fail to be nominated, much less elected: he knows how things are done in America. But it was a kind of reverse-Reagan action: he hoped to shift the center to make an election include values and voices that are always marginalized. Clinton is of course a master of the Way of Washington, and has achieved real and incontestable stature the old fashioned way: she is more “pragmatic” (ruthless and cunning) than all the other aspirants to the Oval Office dare to be. Saving only the Republican Nominee. As for that celebrated personality, his expertise is in fighting by his own rules: on his turf, with him as referee.

In a fight, the first thing is to choose the ground. The Republican did this years ago, and has owned it completely. We may think it is a stupid choice, an insane choice, an immoral choice; but it is the ground on which the candidate stands and hurls his challenges. And it is going to be very tricky for the Democrat to fight him on some other battlefield than the one where he is already fighting. Consider that to hold a debate, the venue will have to be TV, and that’s the ground the Republican has staked out. Clinton’s ground, of international relationships, deep personal understandings with and of world leaders in their political contexts, the management of continual wars around the globe, and the staunch backing of Wall Street – all that is already on TV, and out of her hands. Her ground is part of his ground. Welcome to my world. Said the spider to the fly.

The second thing in a fight is never box a boxer, or wrestle a wrestler. Somebody is going to have to fight a Reality TV host. On Reality TV. That’s two fundamental principles of warfare that he has, and she doesn’t, going in.

The real assets in this campaign are not the money, or the power-brokers, or the smoke-filled rooms. Not the people you insult, or those abandoned by the American Dream, or disparaged for loving Jesus, or too proud to take a government handout. No Minorities or Special Interests matter here. Nor the battle-scars of the top diplomatic office in the United States Government. And most certainly not your “gender”: Lucretia Borgia? Imelda Marcos? Maggie Thatcher for heaven’s sake? What’s sex got to do with it?

No, none of that. What really matters now is attention. Human attention, focused not on the candidate, but on that candidate’s pointing finger, moment by moment. What do they point at? Is it the moon? A reflection? Which candidate will garner the highest ratings while giving us the finger? We will hear all about the type of fake nails on hers, and the exceptional length and girth of his.

There is this funny thing about the human brain. What it perceives it also acts from. This happens before the intellect is engaged. All the intellect can do, after attention has been seized, is rationalize the accompanying behaviors. And there are two basic reactions to the Reality TV candidate’s performances: apathy or outrage. And both of these human responses stoke the fires of his campaign. Outrage for or against, it doesn’t matter at all, the campaign balloons. See, it’s not a “for or against” switch: it’s an On/Off switch. And the light goes on either way while we’re frantically fighting over who gets to flip the switch.

Meanwhile, one candidate trumpets ever more crazy bigotry and xenophobia, and outright lies about economics and his penis; and the other candidate, already trapped in the same discursive space with the opponent’s genital dimensions, sounds like a teacher from a junior high school civics class, going hoarse trying to yell above the noise of excited teenagers as the bell goes off. “DO. YOUR. HOMEWORK! THERE. WILL. BE. A. TEST!”

Whichever candidate’s chosen ground becomes the scene of the big showdown, the real issues will not get any airtime. Instead, one candidate will throw any reasonable discussion into chaos, and the other will flounder helplessly grasping at straws to regain some fraction of public attention. That fraction will hear defensiveness and righteous disdain. And that triumphant, derisive laughter. And the pundits will analyze each nuance of foreign policy, the cost of a wall on the Mexican border, and and whether Clinton killed Bin Laden to silence him about their relationship. But most of the viewers will have passed out by then, after the cathartic relief of seeing the Strict Father put the Nurturant Parent in her place.

Never mind that the former Secretary of State has conducted war after war in precisely that way, sowing chaos. With the Air Force, the Marines, the Army, the Navy, the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA, and organizations that fund aspiring dictators, like the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute. Pragmatic, utilitarian (non-partisan) tools of State. And her opponent has no experience whatsoever with actual invasions, airstrikes or drone-killings; he just uses metaphorical weapons, like the Big Lie, the verbal sucker-punch, the innuendo, the question-as-fact, the straw-man, the begged question, the categorical denial, the stonewall. And of course, mockery and derision. Tools of Reality TV.

It’s happening on TV. The President is elected on TV. We’re in the domain of attention, remember. In this campaign, a shooting war might get attention, except what’s new about a war? War is just background white-noise now, to most Americans. If it comes up at all it will be to blame the former Secretary for losing it. Whereas a good one-line chant like “lock ‘er up!” will cut to the bone.

But. There is hope. We are not just stimulus-response machines. Your attention please: it is your attention. You can direct it elsewhere. Your attention is yours alone to give. Don’t let them snatch it away. Make them work for it, at least. Take ownership of your attention. Talk with people who are like you, and not like you, face to face. Ask questions, and listen to the answers. We could, theoretically at least, elect a President in an election, and not Reality TV.

Then when those politicians point at something, you can tell whether that’s the moon they’re pointing at, or just the reflection in a mud-puddle.

COMMENTS:
from SAK, in England: Thanks Mr Bernard,
Mr Barus’ comments about choosing the ground for a fight brought to mind part of the reason the UK voted to leave the European Union. The nationalist far right politician Nigel Farage chose the ground to fight on, the same ground Mr Trump has chosen: immigration. The EU means free movement of EU citizens among the member states – it does not mean borders open to all & sundry as the poster Mr Farage hung on his bus seems to imply [hordes of apparent non-natives coming into somewhere]. Furthermore the UK is nowhere near “Breaking Point” as far as welcoming European citizens who wish to live and work there. It seems truth is the first casualty not only of war but of political campaigns as well.

POSTNOTE: Pertinent and timely: Today’s Just Above Sunset, “Under the Volcano

SECOND POSTNOTE, a column in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, the headline says it all: Threats replace political dialogue at State Fair. The exact same example the writer uses in her article was used by some guy I had never seen before out in small town North Dakota in March, 2014, commenting on Hillary Clinton outside a building. At that time, 2 1/2 years ago, Hillary Clinton had not been a politician since being appointed Secretary of State in 2009, and when she was a politician, she was simply one of 535 members of the United States Congress. Hatred without benefit of fact is still easily transmitted. The guy who accosted the woman in the op ed would have been a good candidate for the ruffians who enabled the Third Reich in the early days.

#1158 – The “Swift-boating” of Hillary Clinton: the e-mails and Clinton Global Initiative and whatever else is next….

Friday, August 26th, 2016

An 1879 Essay about Running for President by Mark Twain: here

Many days when I walk I wear a perfectly good old t-shirt that goes back to the summer of 2004.

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It was the year John Kerry (now U.S. Secretary of State) ran for President against George W. Bush. And it was the same year that the purveyors of politics of personal destruction unleashed the Swiftboat ads, turning one of Kerry’s chief strengths (Vietnam war hero, also Vietnam war protestor) into a weakness.

The sliming of a very decent man worked….

Karl Rove was the innovator of this strategy. While Swiftboat was probably not Rove’s personal doing, at least not so far as we knew, or directly, it was basically direct application of that innovative smear, put into play by others, and funded by big money which paid for the advertising.

Swiftboating worked then, and it is in play now, big time: take Hillary Clinton’s major strengths, such as political and diplomatic experience, and her demonstrated competence, and the Clinton Foundation that does a great deal of good, and turn them into negatives by cherry picking fragmentary “facts”, or even making facts up, then churning, and churning and churning.

1. The Clinton Global Initiative “scandal” is one of those breathless non-events. Check it out before being critical. (I notice, in searching for the link, that the Trump campaign has probably purchased first billing in the search engine to try to “trump” Clinton Global Initiative….)

So it goes. You can find Trumps link on your own, if you wish.

(While you’re looking, check into another great former Presidents initiative: the Carter Center.

Clinton and Carter were Presidents who chose to do good not only in office, but after they left office.)

2. The e-mail non-scandals (that’s what they are) will fade into the background, doubtless morphing into new sensational charges about other things…this has been the modus operandi against the Clintons for the entire time they’ve been in elected office, from Arkansas forward. There has been relentless smearing of them for years, all the while, the Clintons remain among our most admired people.

(The e-mail thing is something I relate to, since I do many e-mails. Personally, I have 32,528 “sent” messages saved on my computer. These go back to October 9, 2010, nearly 6 years ago, when I bought this computer; and there are many other archived messages which go back much longer.)

It seems insane to keep these old e-mails, but occasionally they come in handy, most recently at this blogspace, recalling Feb. 2008, Hillary Clinton 2008001, when I first wrote about why I was supporting Hillary Clinton for President (my personal endorsement continues.)

I muse about what would happen to me if some enemy felt a need to grab my e-mails, mine them for whatever data could be found, and then use bits and pieces of the e-mails to indict me for some sinister or unseemly deed. Would it be easy to find material within those 32,528? I’d think so. All you need to do is find a sentence, somewhere in there, a subject line even, and then milk the daylights out of it.

Could I defend myself? First, would I even remember whatever the e-mail was about? Hardly.

But, that’s how this dirty game is played.

The only antidote is to refuse to be sucked into this conversation. The Clinton folks know how to deal with this. I have a great deal of confidence in them.

Years ago when an organization I was part of was forced into a corner by attack after attack by the opposition, we finally figured out that there was not a thing we could do: a response to one attack was answered by another attack about something else.

Our troubles ended when we went on the offensive.

The times and circumstances were different than now, but not much.

I have confidence.

Back to 2004 John Kerry did alright after losing his run for President. George W. Bush got his second term from 2005-2009, and life went on.

After Hillary Clinton‘s honorable stint as Secretary of State, John Kerry was appointed, and he’s doing a great job, best I can tell.

The Republicans have been brutal in their attacks on their former Senate colleague, and I think the main reason is that she is extraordinarily competent and well prepared for the most demanding office in the world.

They know she is, but they cannot admit it.

And all of us are stuck with Donald Trump, whose campaign is so untruthful it’s not safe to believe anything that he says….

It’s not long to the 2016 election. Vote and vote very well informed.

POSTNOTE: REMEMBERING A CAMPAIGN OPPORTUNITY WITH THE KERRY CAMPAIGN.

August 25 and 26, 2004, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to actually participate in ‘boots on the ground’ in the John Kerry campaign.

A small album can be viewed here: Kerry Mpls 8-25-2004001

Along with John Fitzsimons, a teacher in Anoka-Hennepin School District, I was assigned to a truck whose role was to carry press gear to the downtown Hilton Hotel when Mr. Kerry came to town for a campaign stop. It wasn’t flashy duty, and there was a lot of hurry up and far more waiting, but it really did give a unique view into the reality of campaigning for President.

My recollection is that we showed up for duty early in the day at the Executive Airport section of the Twin Cities airport. You don’t just show up for this kind of duty. Security is a concern.

We had earlier volunteered as part of Veterans for Kerry and were thoroughly vetted.

The photos show the nature of our duty: in the afternoon we loaded up the Press equipment that had come in with candidate Kerry, and joined the motorcade to downtown Minneapolis.

The next day we reversed the drill, and at the airport in the afternoon all of us had a chance to “press the flesh” with Mr. Kerry before he re-planed and left for his next stop.

Our task was very mundane, but as I think back on it, it was one of many unseen essential duties.

Apparently I wasn’t fired.

October 26, 2004, I was back on duty, driving some press people in the motorcade of John Edwards, vice-presidential candidate, to a morning event at the University of Minnesota.

The drill was the same as before.

Here, we drivers had an opportunity for a group photo, and I indulged myself in a “selfie” at some point in the morning.

Both candidates were most gracious.

Essentially three full days of work for myself and the others; and the candidates got a few column inches in the press, and a few seconds on the TV news.

Drivers for Edwards motorcade Oct. 26, 2004.  Dick Bernard 2nd from right

Drivers for Edwards motorcade Oct. 26, 2004. Dick Bernard 2nd from right

Dick Bernard selfie, October 26, 2004

Dick Bernard selfie, October 26, 2004

#1157 – Dick Bernard: Two Books Well Worth a Read: Shawn Otto’s “The War on Science”; and Lois Phillips Hudson’s “Unrestorable Habitat”

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Back in January a mysterious e-mail appeared in my in-box from someone named Cynthia. She had googled the name Lois Phillips Hudson to see if anything would come up, and found me. More on Mrs. Hudson’s book, “Unrestorable Habitat“, “below the fold”…

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A few months later came an invitation to hear Shawn Lawrence Otto read from his new book, The War On Science.

I know of Shawn’s past work, always first rate, and I bought the book, and it made my summer vacation book list.

I read, and learned a great deal from, both books.

They are, on the one hand, very different; but on the other, very similar. One is by an old lady written when she was my age range. Mrs. Hudson, is a retired college professor, quite obviously grieving the loss of her daughter to illness. She writes about the deep conflict she sees between today’s natural world and technology, compared with her youthful days in the midst of the worst of the Great Depression and World War II which followed.

(The retired college professor died before she finished her book, so one has to speculate on what her ending would be, but that actually contributes to the richness of her passionate expression of feelings on her past and present, and our future.)

The other book is by an author who painstakingly and expertly documents not only the very real “war on science”, but on other areas susceptible to manipulation of public opinion. Shawn Otto expertly reviews the problem, and then devotes much of the meat of the book to ways towards solutions.

SHAWN OTTO’S “THE WAR ON SCIENCE”

I highly recommend “The War on Science” to anyone with even a tiny bit of interest in topics like science, marketing, politics, and the incessant manipulation of personal and public opinion (propaganda) in our own country. Get to know the name “Edward Bernays”…. He enters the story by name at page 257.

You don’t need to be a scientist to understand the book, which is a very interesting history of science and its not always consistent position of esteem in our society (thus “war”); in addition, The War on Science is an equally interesting history of propaganda as it has been used in America especially related to marketing of products and ideas going back as far as WWI.

There is so much interesting and well argued information in the book that I would do a disservice by simply doing a once over in a review.

You need to read the book.

Best to take a look yourself. There are many formal reviews of the book at Amazon.com. One of them is mine.

You will see the book is being very well received.

Personally, I found “The War On Science” to be unusual in a couple of respects:
1. It nicks most everyone, including scientists, who get complacent and think they have found and can sit righteously on their own truth, as they define the term “Truth”. The book is heavily footnoted: 59 pages of sources.
2. Most importantly, fully 87 pages of the book discuss ideas for how individuals and groups in our society can move toward solutions to what seem intractable problems.

The War On Science is an excellent basis for book club discussion, as is Lois Phillips Hudson’s Unrestorable Habitat (following). Give both a serious look.

Unrestorable Habitat001

LOIS PHILLIPS HUDSON AND UNRESTORABLE HABITAT (continued)
A few days ago I was at a nearby park, completing “The War on Science“.

This day my phone rang, and on the line was long-time friend Nancy, from Hibbing, calling to comment on Unrestorable Habitat which I had sent her some months earlier and she had set aside and was just getting around to reading.

She had set it aside, but was finding it to be a marvelous book, a strong compliment coming from a retired teacher of English.

Unrestorable Habitat is one elderly woman’s reflections about her life, a certain huge business in her hometown of Redmond WA, some local fish, the loss of ability to imagine, and really, about all of us, everywhere in the so-called “developed world”.

Hudson’s book centers on an issue much on her mind as she grew older: the conflict she saw between salmon and big business in her town with lots of looks back at remembered pieces of richness flowing from her own very real hardships as a farm daughter during the worst of the Great Depression in North Dakota, then in Washington state, and forward into WWII in Washington. (She graduated from Redmond WA high school in 1945.)

Hudson died before she completed her book, but there is far more than sufficient “meat on the bones” to be published exactly as left by her: her opinions about post-9-11-01 contemporary U.S. society.

*

Some years back, I had blogged several times about aspects of Hudson’s 1962 well known book, “Bones of Plenty“, written about the worst of the Great Depression in rural North Dakota, and that is what Cynthia Anthony found in her random internet search. Cynthia, this mystery lady from New York, had become archivist for Mrs. Hudson’s papers, and asked permission to link my posts, “numbers 490, 495, and 565, which reference Lois Phillips Hudson” to her Lois Phillips Hudson Project, a website dedicated to preserving Ms Hudson’s rich but now basically unknown legacy.

It was Nancy who had earlier called my attention to “Bones of Plenty“; and now I was the one who had called Nancy’s attention to “Unrestorable Habitat“.

(Nancy had Mrs. Hudson as a teacher at North Dakota State University 50 years ago, and had vivid memories of her. She was a great teacher, Nancy said. She mentioned one quote by Hudson – at page 24 – that particularly caught her attention: “As..the mother of two daughters and the daughter of a father who frequently assured me that the brightest woman could never be as bright as your average man….” Unrestorable Habitat is peppered with such reflections.)

Once into Unrestorable Habitat, she found the book very interesting and thought-provoking.

Unrestorable Habitat so caught my attention that I purchased and distributed 100 copies, starting about 100 days ago.

Nancy was one of the recipients.

Here is the letter I enclosed with each book: Unrestorable Habitat

*

Let me leave it at that. “Unrestorable Habitat” is worth your time, as is “The War On Science“. Each can encourage you to “Do Something”.

The two books complement each other.

I hope you “take the bait”.

August 21, 2016

August 21, 2016

POSTNOTE:
1. Some readers might say, about “The War on Science“, that I don’t know enough about science to learn.
Not at all true. In my own review of the book (it’s probably the 22nd or so, link above) I acknowledge that I had virtually no science education in the tiny schools I attended growing up. My opportunities to know science were basically ad hoc, like watching Sputnik blink in the North Dakota night sky in 1957, or getting the Salk Vaccine not too long before. “The War On Science” is more than just a primer, but written to an audience who knows nothing about science. It is a learning tool in itself.

2. In the solutions section of “The War on Science“, Shawn Otto has a section entitled “Battle Plan 1: Do Something” (p. 371).

In her own way, Mrs. Hudson in Unrestorable Habitat was (I think) trying to begin a conversation: where can or should the new ways fit with the old, and complement, rather than compete with, each other? She wrote at least some of her draft on a laptop in a coffee shop, so what some might perceive as a rant against technology, at least part of her text was simplified because of the very technology she railed against.

There is room for conversation. She was Doing Something.

Earlier today I was at Mass at Basilica of St. Mary, and afterwards noted again the three trash containers downstairs (photo above).

This experiment goes back a couple of years, when my friend Donna and her committee got a small grant to get recyclable containers for use in the coffee area. They were Doing Something.

The experiment has never worked as it was supposed to. If one looks in the bins, there are admixtures of items, despite the verbiage on the containers. One can say it failed.

But I don’t agree. Who knows, among the hundreds of us who visit that area each Sunday, there is someone who gets an idea for use back home, maybe if only in their own home? Great ideas start with experiments that seem to fail. But to start them, someone has to “Do Something”.