Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Worry

I know people have had to endure much more then I've been through in my life, but I've been through some pretty stressful times. At those times I've been comforted by Corrie Ten Boom's father's response to her worry about death:

"Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?"
"Why, just before we get on the train," she replied.
"Exactly," her father said, "and our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things too. Don't run out ahead of Him Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need ‑‑ just in time."

I have been given "the tickets" I've needed to get through my stressful times. Someday, I'll find a way to write about it. For now though, if you are facing seemingly impossible situations I hope you can take comfort from this as well. (By the way, it doesn't mean I don't worry, it just means I have a way to snap myself out of it sooner. ^_^)

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.
It empties today of its strength.
Corrie Ten Boom

Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts
whirling around a center of fear.
Corrie Ten Boom

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ode to Diagnosis

An Ode to Diagnosis
In gratitude to those who helped!

The entity snuck through the gray
to steal and hurt and take away
for months or years unknown it crept
attacking just when e'er it would
destroying and misunderstood.

Then MRIs and doctors’ eyes
blew shrouding mist and fog aside
and shock and fear gripped those around
they faltered in their daily stride
and gasped, “An ENEMY abides!”

“Why, yes!” the two of us replied
a new glint hard'ning in our eyes
“We see it there and now we know
just who it is with whom we fight!”

~ Heather Ann

Monday, October 12, 2009

Laughter is good flu medicine ^-^

I got this in an e-mail today:


What is the difference between Bird Flu and Swine Flu?
For bird flu you need tweetment

and for swine flu you need oinkment.

----------------------------- ^_^ -----------------------------

(If you are looking for actual help with the flu... I have written something about that here.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Out of Arsenicum! ---UPDATED--- (Swine Flu p. 1b)

Even though the Swine Flu is classified as "mild" it can still be deadly.
The pediatrician told me that if my son had trouble breathing
to take him straight to the ER!
The homeopathic remedies are not a substitute for seeing the Dr.
(okay, back to my blog...)

So, I went to get another tube of Arsenicum Album at the local Super 1 grocery store, and they're all out! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I've been sending all my friends and family to get some since the Swine Flu is going around.

So, what to get? I read through the mini-descriptions on the display, and found one that says "stiffness and bone pain associated with the flu." Sounds like us - we've all been complaining about how achy and tired we are...but does it help the other symptoms?

The lady working in the Huckleberries aisle kindly let me look up the full materia medica for Eupatorium Perfoliatum. I skimmed it:

... it relieves pain in limbs and muscles that accompanies ... malaria and influenza...

...acts upon ... bronchial mucous membrane...

...Vomiting preceded by thirst...



...BETTER, by conversation....

Well, it did cover most of our symptoms, so I decided to try it. The bit about conversation took me by surprise! My five year old has been super hyper and talkative since he first got "melty poop." Maybe this will help.

To help you pick the right remedy for you your family here is a list from If you click the name it will take you the long description:

How to differentiate in these flu medicines?

  • If the patient has mild flu like symptoms (runny nose and watery eyes etc) but no other peculiar symptom but is anxious if it might be swine flu - think about Aconite.
  • If the flu patient is listless, prostrated, indifferent, has offensive diarrhoea and the parts rested upon feel sore and bruised - think about Baptisia.
  • If the flu patient is restless, anxious or fearful, thirsty but drinks small quantities and often, prostrated, diarrhoea after eating or drinking and nausea on seeing/smelling food, burning pains - think about Arsenicum-album.
  • If the nausea is more pronounced, the patient is thirstless and has pain felt in bones - think about Ipecac. Also Ipecac should be thought of if a flu patient is developing or has developed broncho-pneumonia.
  • If the gastrointestinal symptoms are not marked but the patient has deep pains as if bones are aching - think about Eupatorium perf.
  • If the flu patient is feeling dull, dizzy, drowsy, has low thirst, feels chilly, esp in back - think about Gelsemium.
The only one I've used before is the Arsenicum Album, but you should see which remedy most closely matches your symtoms.
------------Update (Sept. 27th)------------
I am not happy with the results of the Eupatorium Perfoliatum. It did help the aches and pains, but I woke up with the pressure building in my chest. So I took my last Arsenicum and diluted it to make more. This probably wouldn't work with other things, but I've tried it and it does work with homeopathic remedies. Strangely, the remedies get more powerful the higher the dilution number (6x, 30c, 200c, etc...). Here's what I did:

Then, before it's all gone I will add more water and shake it up again. I took it this morning and my lungs feel much better! No more cough! If you're in the valley and want some before Super 1 gets in a new shipment, just let me know.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swine Flu part 1

Some of you have heard by now that my oldest son got the flu...the "swine flu." The Doc said they are not testing anymore due to false negatives, but that it is the only flu in our area, that it is highly contagious, and that it would definitely go through the whole household. Because my son has kidney disease, he qualifies as "high risk" so he got Tamiflu, but the rest of us won't.

The reason for my blog though is to share the other "weapon" I'm using against the flu: Arsenicum Album! I wan't to write more specifically about each of the symptoms, but I don't have time now. I did find this good article about the flu and homeopathy that included a study of the 1918 pandemic:
"...24,000 cases of flu treated [bu doctors] had a mortality rate of 28.2% while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05%."
and this account from WWI:
"Dr. Roberts was working as a physician on a troop ship during WWI. He had 81 cases of flu on the way over to Europe. He reported, "All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the way."
Arsenicum Album is the same remedy I discovered when Pablo had an uncontrollable fever. I'll write more specifically about how it is helping when I have more time. For now I just want my friends and family to know what can help if they get hit with this flu. Stay well!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Health Care: Obama's Speech

I just finished watching Obama's address, and talking about it with my brother. If you didn't already see it I highly recommend watching it, so here is MSNBC's full length video:

I was very moved by his address, but I suppose that is not surprising. I AM wondering what my Republican friends' responses will be. It felt to me that President Obama was very open to hearing and considering bipartisan ideas. I love that he is looking for the best ideas no matter which "side" the idea is from, but will it feel that way from "the other side?" I don't know.

I do know that when I got the email from Organizing for America (yes, I'm on the list) I clicked the link and asked my representatives to support health reform. Here are the personal comments I added to the form letter:

I am a mother who had to make the choice to take my eleven-year-old son for a diagnostic kidney biopsy all the way to Argentina. My husband and I were self employed and could not afford the cost of health coverage. We usually paid cash for whatever health care we received, or made payments on larger costs, but the biopsy was estimated at $9000. Much to high a cost for us, especially because that would not be the end of the care he needed. We now have excellent coverage which I pay 50% of as a part time teacher's assistant, but when President Obama mentioned parents who are unable to afford health care for their children it brought a stream of tears to my eyes. No parent should be in that position. I understand that Oregon has now promised to insure all the children here, and I am thrilled, but your votes affect the children in the rest of our United States as well! Please support health reform in 2009! The status quo is unacceptable!

Will you agree with me? Maybe, maybe not, but I do hope that we can all talk about the issues facing our country, and the options available to remedy our current situation, in calm, intelligent, open-minded ways.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Response to Pat Boone

I detest the viral emails that spread like wild fire eating away at truth. The latest one to hit my inbox is Pat Boone's "The President without a Country." One good thing is that it does provide a way to respond to half truths and fear instilling distortions. Here are two replies, starting with mine:

Dear [Friend],

I believe you send this out with good intentions, believing it to be true, but it is truly painful for me to read. I don't have time to address it line by line right now, but basically I do believe that America has been arrogant. We acted horribly after 9-11 - passing laws that took away the rights of our citizens and the rights of our prisoners of war, and blurred the lines of torture so that we could use ever more horrendous ways of getting information from those we feared. And that is the base line of this problem!

Pat Boone's words are playing on the fears of many Americans. Quoting Obama's words in a way that makes it seem that he doesn't care about the Christians in our country when all he was trying to do was to reach out to the Muslim community that also includes many patriotic American citizens! Do you remember [our Afgani friends that moved into the area after I moved back?] They are like family, sweet, loving, caring LEGAL immigrants to our country from Afganistan. Should we fear them? NO! Should we allow them to be discriminated against? NO!

I cannot go along with the fear that is spread by so many in the name of Christ these days! Jesus did not preach hatred or fear! Please be careful of who you listen to. I believe there are many who are using the name of Christ to rob our nation of the Freedom of Religion that it was founded with and to drive a wedge between us through fear! Please evaluate statements like this through the lens of LOVE! God IS love! Are these statements loving?

I love and miss you!

And then a response from someone who used the "reply all" button. They share the Adventist background I grew up in:

I read this June 8 piece by Pat Boone. I'm guessing you shared it because it rang true to you.

It must be that I've read too much history, too much Bible (especially Revelation 13), too much Great Controversy, too much "Liberty Magazine" to buy into it myself. Why? Because all that I read tells me it is citizens and leaders (like Pat Boone) who claim the USA is a "Christian Nation" who will be sucked in by the Devil's temptation to recreate a church/state "image to the beast".

Pat Boone had and probably still has a lovely voice for singing. But I've followed his political voice as well, and Pat seems to have swallowed the "Conservative Christians Should Be In Charge of America" bait, hook, line and sinker.

Pat has been critical of those who call for restraining ourselves within the boundaries of the American Constitution - especially when it comes to torture. You can visit to read a negative commentary of the original that you can find at

It is just such popular demand to throw away the restraints of the US Constitution that has been predicted to bring about the opposite of freedom of conscience:

"The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: 'The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.'" Revelation 12:17. {Great Controversy 592.3}

By the way, it doesn't have to be Sunday. It can be any religious law that people want enforced!

Have no doubt that Obama is subject to the same temptations - but nothing on his visible agenda indicates he would be in favor of taking away liberty of conscience or enforcing religious laws.

On the other hand, Pat Boone appears to me to be eager to have a Conservative Christian takeover of the White House, the legislature, and the Supreme Court. While he can cite some voices from the 18th century that call for nominating and electing only Christians to office, our Constitution expressly FORBIDS using a religious test for federal office.

Nothing in the Constitution defines the USA as a "Christian Nation". Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, knows that.

Yet Pat Boone feels free to write:
America is emphatically a Christian nation, and has been from its inception! Seventy percent of her citizens identify themselves as Christian. The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were framed, written and ratified by Christians.

What Pat fails to acknowledge is that these same "Founding Father" Christians debated and threw out any reference to a "Christian Nation" in our Constitution. A majority recognized how dangerous it could be to call ourselves that and expressly made certain it was not there. These American Christians were celebrating and securing their independence from a nation, the United Kingdom under George III, that WAS a Christian Nation; where the king was the head of the Anglican Church! They wanted no more of being an officially religious nation. They wanted liberty of conscience for all. They wanted citizens to be religious because they were free to follow the dictates of their conscience, not because it would help them gain political office!!!

Because of our Constitution, this nation is coveted ground for people of faith from all over the world, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, etc. It would be, it will be a sad day when one strain of one of those religions, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew or Hindu (but most likely Christian since we're the majority) decides that everyone must comply with their interpretation of God's will.

Celebrate liberty of conscience. Defend our Constitution. As a Christian, you, too can apologize for our mistakes. Welcome those of other faiths. Tell them this country is their country as much as it is that of the majority Christians. Keep the dream of freedom alive!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Wise Words, Debate, and Music

I received an email yesterday with some constructive thoughts on the Health Care debate:

"I was fascinated by this analysis of the logic - or illogic* - of the health-care "debate". It reminded me so much of the research that underlies the Marriage Enrichment Weekend put on each year. "12 Hours to a Great Marriage" comes out of the PREP research by the team at the University of Denver.

In essence, what they found was that as long as our marriage arguments remain at the "heat" but no "light" stage, we destroy our oneness, piece by piece. It is only when we stop to hear each other; stop to listen intently; stop to learn the stories and convictions that underlie the intensity that we exhibit - only then - when we truly feel heard and understood do we have the sense of safety to seek a satisfactory solution.

When it comes to the health-care debate, obviously that is not going to happen for everyone, and the openness and honesty needed to make this happen will remain buried under the emotions.

However, the final paragraph in the article is right in line with the PREP research:

"I think strategically it's important that the Obama administration and advocates of a health care plan really pay attention to how people feel and the symbolism they are seeing, and not just the nuts and bolts of the policy," Perrin said. "People don't reason with pure facts and logic alone."

Now if we can just do that on a personal level when people speak about their fears - FEARS - about the OBAMA health-care proposal!"

Then, on my way to drop my boys at school this morning I heard this song, Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath.** It just seemed to fit the topic and mood that were on my mind:

*This article does give an example using a study of Republican's emotional response, but it does say that all of us, including Democrats, do the same thing. So, I hope I don't seem too biased.

**This link is for the official video, but I like the images in the fan made video better!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prayer and Fasting

I wonder if the Robo Call I received on Friday was influenced by Wednesday's " star-studded “teletownhall” meeting to discuss health-care reform" that 350,000 people apparently listened in to. During this phone conference:
Michelle Bachmann repeated the myth, adopted early by Sarah Palin, that the health-care plans being debated in Congress would set up “death panels” to determine which old folks are entitled to health care. “Thank God that Sarah Palin said that,” she told the callers. “These are true.”

In response to a caller from Minnesota who wanted to know if there was a plan afoot in Washington to require all medical doctors to perform abortions, Bachmann didn’t exactly shoot the suggestion down.

“Unless we explicitly restrict these items, I think we can fully expect that these radical pro-abortion individuals could very likely make those decisions,” she told the caller. “All of us who have labored tirelessly in the pro-life cause for years and years and years, we know what these people are capable of. That’s why they have to be tied down by restrictions explicitly in law.”

....“That’s really where this battle will be won — on our knees in prayer and fasting,” she told the listeners. “Remember: faith without works is dead. So we’re asking you to do all of it: pray, fast, believe, trust the Lord, but also act.”

I really liked the comment after the article by:

Comment posted August 24, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

Praying so some Americans won’t get any health care insurance?

Does Mrs. Bachmann’s God accept such petitions?

It reminded me of a passage from Isiah:

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;

16 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,

17 learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trying to Converse about Health Care

I really think Jon Stewart's interview of Betsy McCaughey reflects the difficulty, or perhaps impossibility, of trying to have a conversation about Health care between those with opposing views.

No one is shouting or screaming in this interview, which is nice, but understanding remains scarily elusive. No matter which point of view you relate to I would love to hear any ideas you have about how we can fix our inability to effectively communicate.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Of course we shouldn't forget Congressman Frank's entertaining response to illogical accusations!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shocking Abortion Robo Call

It's been a while since I posted anything. Life has kept me pretty busy. I have considered writing something about the crazy Health Care "non-debate," but I really wasn't sure if I had anything new to say.

That changed when the phone rang this afternoon and a recorded male voice informed me that they were conducting a survey about Obama's health care plan. I like the idea of having my voice heard (obviously, why else would I blog ^_^) so I stayed on the line. I'm sure I'm a little off on the wording, but this is the main idea:


First I was asked if I was anti-abortion. I truthfully responded, "Yes," but then the voice stated something to the effect that Obama's health care would force all citizens and companies to pay for abortions! This shocked me, as I hadn't heard this argument before, and as I racked my brain for any facts I might know I was asked:
"Do you agree that Obama should not force the public to pay for abortions?" Or something to that effect - I wish I had a way to record it...
Of course I don't think the public should be forced to pay for abortions, but I'm pretty sure that's not part of the plan....

"You must respond Yes, No or Repeat!"

Ugh, my statistics teacher was right, surveys are easily manipulated.
The repetition comes to an end. What should I say? I can't argue with a machine... I pause for maybe 3 seconds...

"Thank you for your support!"

What?!?! I didn't say I support you!

"Do you agree that marriage should be between one man and one woman?"

What does this have to do with health care?

"Are you a man over 55?"


"Have you ever donated to any campaign or religious organization?"


"Would you be able to support our anti-abortion campaign?"


"Thank you for your time."

So, does Obama's health plan propose that we all fund abortions?

Not according to

"In fact, none of the health care overhaul measures that have made it through the committee level in Congress say that abortion will be covered, and one of them explicitly says that no public funds will be used to finance the procedure. Furthermore, none of the bills call explicitly for cuts in Medicare coverage, much less rationing, under a public plan."

I am so SICK of all the lies and distortions! This robo call twists their lie in a way that most likely has nothing to do with the survey, although I'm sure now my "voice" will be incorrectly reported as one of a "majority who oppose Obama's health plan." More scary to me is that now many people who got the call will truly believe that Obama wants us to fund abortions, like they think he wants to kill off Grandma, and take away our options. Why can't the truth spread as easily as the lies?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Go Grandma!

I hope I'm still enjoying "mild" adventures when I'm 97! What an inspiration!


In response to the question of where they were rafting I found an article about Minam:
Minam is a popular put-in for river raft trips down the Wallowa River. Winding Waters River Expeditions out of Joseph offers a unique vacation experience called the River to Rails Expedition. It includes rafting down the roadless Wallowa River from Minam to the confluence of the Grande Ronde River where the rafters meet up with the excursion train for a scenic ride back up the canyon to Minam. There is the option of a weekend getaway package or a one day expedition.

These trips are offered from May through early August depending on river flows. Rafters can choose from several craft options. Single-person inflatable kayak, multi-person paddle raft or a ride in the guide boat are all available.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Torturing to Falsify Evidence for War

Thank you Bob Cesca!

According to multiple accounts and experts, the efficacy of torture is limited to ascertaining what the torturer wants to hear -- rather than information that's actually true. In other words, if Jesse Ventura tortured Dick Cheney with The Waterboard, he could very likely force Cheney to confess to the Sharon Tate murders even though, obviously, Cheney didn't have anything to do with them.

If we eliminate the idea that torture works; if we eliminate the fact that the terror suspects who were tortured had previously revealed valuable information without being tortured; if we factor in the reality that these techniques were invented in order to gather intentionally false confessions; and if we look at the evidence showing that detainees were tortured so they would specifically connect Iraq and al-Qaeda, we're left with no conclusion other than [using torture as a means to falsify evidence for war.] Or sadism as sport.

No wonder Dick Cheney is so frantic.

Read his whole article here:
The Real Motive Behind the Cheney Family Torture Tour

I agree with Dade as well, the only honest response is to:

Investigate! Prosecute! If there are convictions, imprison! And if Nancy Pelosi gets swept up in the net, so be it. It's not about Democrats or Republicans. And it certainly is not an expression of solidarity with murderers or terrorists.It is about revering the Constitution of the United States. It is about refusing to relent to the beast inside all of us that William Golding wrote about in Lord of the Flies.

It's not business. It's personal.
Read his post here:

I don't know if it will do any good, but I did sign Senator Leahy's online petition at:

"...urging Congress to consider establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the Bush-Cheney Administration's abuses.

We'll see!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why torture is NEVER okay!

In contrast to the many voices fearfully justifying their support, or rare acceptance, of torture... you know..."for the good of the many," I can think of three reasons why torture should NEVER be justified :

Number ONE) It doesn't work!

There are numerous studies and reports that show this to be true:
One of the main arguments given for using torture is that it is a means to a truth and that torturing a person outweighs the hundreds of lives that could be saved. But, this argument is ill-founded. Even the CIA's own Human Resource Exploitation Manual of 1983 clearly notes that use of force only induces the victim to say what he thinks the torturer wants to hear...

"the only thing that torture guarantees is pain, it never guarantees the truth".
-Torture Care
"...there is irrefutable evidence from the civilian criminal justice system that techniques less coercive than torture have produced verifiably false confessions in a surprising number of cases... -SPSSI

Number TWO) It damages, beyond repair, the tortured!

I have personally witnessed the broken life of one tortured by her own father. Some of you know who I am speaking of, please don't mention names in this public place. I spoke often with the little girls, trapped, forever young, inside the adult body, along with the other fragments of the amazingly intelligent creative person she was not allowed to become. No amount of medical or psychological treatment can completely overcome the scars left by the one who should have loved and protected her.

Perhaps you think it's different when we are discussing adults, enemy combatants, "bad guys." I disagree! NO human (or animal, even) should ever be subjected to torture. It's even worse when you realize that we had/have teenagers held as enemy combatants at Guantanamo, and then take into consideration that many of those we brought there were random strangers people turned in for the cash reward we offered. How many innocent civilians did we "interrogate?" How many people has our country permanently scarred?

"The objective of torture is to try and destroy somebody physically, psychologically and spiritually," says Alex Sklan, MF Clinical Director. "The sensation of pain after the torture has happened is a reminder of what caused the pain in the first place. I've heard clients who were subjected to very sophisticated methods of torture where they were made to squat for hours, which damaged their backs. They were told 'you'll remember this for the rest of your life'. It's part of the destruction process; 'you won't be able to function because you'll always remember this pain'."

It can take years to combat the effects of torture that may have involved repeated rape, whipping, beatings, starvation, prolonged isolation, suspension with hooks, being cut with broken glass and being forced to listen as others are executed. The methods vary in sophistication and cruelty. Sklan refers to the need for survivors to transcend torture, a process that can take years and will never be fully complete because the reminders will always seep back in; even when the physical scars have grown less distinct, the psychological scars will always be indelible. -Torture Care

Number THREE) It damages, in ways unknown, the torturers!

How can we justify creating monsters, forming calloused minds, that are capable of stripping a human being of its dignity, it's sense of security, its humanity. What consequences are there when this person steps out of the concealed secret rooms and joins society as a father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, leader, neighbor...
The effects of torture are never confined to the interrogation room. The cruelty extends far beyond the moment and there are well-documented instances where knowing the suspects to be innocent, the torturers have remained unrepentant.
A study from 2004 found that 1 in 8 soldiers returning from the war in Iraq suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Have any studies been done on the psychological well being of the interrogators themselves? I don't know, and am out of time to research any more. If you know of a study please share it with me!

Ultimately, I believe that the negative consequences of torture far outweigh any perceived benefit. I think we, as a society, have been filled with fear, and when afraid, we are able to justify the unthinkable because we have been led to believe that it will make us safer. I believe we have been lied to! I believe the acceptance of torture itself is much, much more dangerous than what it is supposed to keep protect us from.
The acceptance and use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment in military or law enforcement situations has far-reaching implications for society. Impunity for perpetrators of torture (whether offered directly as a result of legal action or indirectly through neglect or incompetence) has been examined for ways in which it can affect the survivor, the perpetrator, and the community, including through an erosion of moral codes; an implied acceptance of violent behavior in the community; feelings of fear; helplessness and insecurity in society; and “social alienation” manifested by feelings of failure and skepticism, frustration, and addictive and violent behavior. -SPSSI
Well, I am out of time today. The words of Matthew 10:26 found in one of my other posts on torture, encourages me again:

"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. "

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Torture Poll

So, it does seem like everyone is talking about the "Christian/torture poll, so I thought I'd take a second to document the views I appreciate. First off, here is the poll (you can click to go to the Pew site):

One fellow blogger points out that:
"Christians have a long history of breaking out the hot pokers and thumbscrews when they're trying to root out the devil."

I remember running out horrified from a Medieval Times torture museum as a teenager. Torture is not a new invention. But just because we don't condone taking it as far as they did back then, does not mean we no longer torture. My first blogspot post was prompted by a radio program about Guantanamo:

Let's go back to what my conscience (and apparently sub-conscience) has been wrestling with. The program about Guantanamo, although fascinating from the start, did not immediately surprise me. It was only after I heard:

"We tried out many of our new interrogation techniques on Jumah Al Dossari...."

...that I stopped behind my living room couch, grabbing the back like a ballerina at a bar to steady my self. I won't quote the rest of the paragraph here, but when it reached the end...

"we smeared this blood [not his] on his face. We kissed the cross around our neck and said “This is a gift from Christ for you Muslims.”
I lost my grip on the couch and collapsed on the floor. This is being done in the name of Christ? "No, no, no!" I sobbed! This is not the government, nor the religion I want to be associated with!
And I am not alone. I am encouraged by the approximately 1 in 4 Christians the poll found who stated that torture can NEVER be justified! Much is being made of the others, but I believe the rest of us need to continue to speak up.

Someone who is doing this is David Gushee who wrote: A Christian's lament over the Pew torture poll. He addresses his letter to Jesus, and asks:

Is your church already empty of courageous leaders who are willing to lose their jobs in order to say a resounding NO to a heretical idea like that? Is it already empty of people who understand that if you are a Christian, you cannot serve two masters, like, for example, Jesus and National Security? Is it already empty of people who understand that because all human beings are made in your image, there are some things that we just can’t do to anyone, no matter who they are?

The answer, I hope, is NO. It's not empty of them, but aparently they have become a minority. I don't know what this means for the future, but if the comments on his editorial are an indication, it could be ugly. I suppose time will tell. Meanwhile, I hope the true character of the God I know, the God who is described as LOVE, can begin to shine brighter. Can we reflect that pure love out to those around us? We'll see.

Found another good point made on the Gruntled Center blog:
"Torture expert Darius Rejali found that people who are likely to support or commit torture are loyal to institutions. If the leaders of the institution say torture is necessary, the institutional loyalists are likely to accept that."
I think it's very important to be loyal to God and God alone. God is Love! As another friend told me today,
"Do NOT expect [religious leaders] to be infallible. They are human beings. Human beings are not perfect."
If an institution teaches something contrary to the basic truth that God is Love, then choose Love over the institution!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tired of Tea

I was just reminded that the tea bag protesters are still claiming a great victory. It reminded me of something I read before the tax day protests:

The Weird Contradictions of the Tea Bag Revolution

by Bob Cesca

"It turns out that that the tea baggers, led in part by Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds and the Coward Rick Santelli, are politically more in line with the tax policies of King George than the views of the Sons of Liberty and the colonial patriots. The tax baggers emulating a protest against a corporate tax cut -- but, oddly, in support of tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Furthermore, King George was against a corporate bailout loan. And so are the tea baggers. And I don't think it'd be a stretch to suggest that many of the tea baggers are recipients of the president's middle class tax cut.

...Perhaps it's time to quietly abandon the whole tea bag thing."

I highly recommend this enlightening article...maybe the tea baggers should have checked it out before showing up with all their crazy signs:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pinata Politics

Stimulus Package: If You Jump Halfway Across a Chasm You Fall Into the Abyss

Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist who was instrumental in
transitioning the economic system of the former Soviet Union, is also no fan of
the stimulus bill, calling it a "a fiscal piñata," an "astounding mish-mash of
tax cuts, public investments, transfer payments and special treats for
insiders," and "a grab bag of hasty short-run spending." He warns that "without
a sound medium-term fiscal framework, the stimulus package can easily do more
harm than good." This is especially true, he says, "if we allow further tax cuts
during a time of fiscal hemorrhage, or give into 'bipartisan' demands to make
the Bush tax cuts permanent." ...keep reading...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Morning of Interest

Three interesting things this morning:

1st I listened to most of Diane Rehm's News Roundup - Hour 2 while on the school drop-of rounds:

Special Envoy George Mitchell seeks to shore up the fragile cease-fire in Gaza. Iraqis begin voting in provincial elections and the Obama administration says it’s ready for direct engagement with Iran. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week's top international news stories.


Hisham Melhem, Washington bureau chief for Al-Arabiya TV, and Washington correspondent for "An-Nahar"

Daniel Dombey, U.S. diplomatic correspondent, "Financial Times"

Kevin Whitelaw, deputy assistant managing editor, U.S. News and World Report

It was a wonderful discussion, and every single caller was asking about the situation between Israel and Gaza. I love Diane's style of interviewing. She lets everyone say their piece and hold their different opinions, she doesn't shy from the deep questions and she seems to always know when people are skirting the issue.

2nd My Dad emailed me this:

Elizabeth Cheney, Bush Legal Counsel

What a 1988 college thesis by the former vice president's daughter tells us about the Bush presidency.

I found this paragraph extremely interesting:
For [Elizabeth] Cheney, Thomas Jefferson established the path presidents would and should take when dealing with Congress. In engaging American warships against Barbary pirates, Jefferson "chose to inform Congress of his actions at his own convenience." When he did, he fabricated an attack on an American ship to secure their support.
It sounds so much like the 911 Truther's claim that the 911 attacks were used to secure support for the invasion of Iraq.

3rd I watched the amazingly creative and beautiful music video also emailed to me, perhaps because they know I am trying to fight my urge to sleep in:

Monday, January 19, 2009

So Beautiful!

So Beautiful!
Originally uploaded by gehmflor.
I'm so excited! I wish I could be there!

So Proud!

I am a PK, a pastor's kid, and since I am quite open in expressing my opinions in this blog I have tried my best here to distance myself from my Father. I would hate for the expression of my own strong political views to somehow be attributed to him as a pastor and thus lead to the appearance of impropriety as he has always been VERY careful to remain neutral in the political arena. But, I just have to document how proud I am of the sermon he gave on this historic weekend.

He managed to maintain political neutrality while still celebrating the historic victory for civil rights in our country that the inauguration of our first African-American President represents! He brought a Danish family Bible, printed in 1724, and passed down to him through his father. Beginning in that era, when many were making fortunes in the slave trade he examined the historic struggles of black peoples not only in America but throughout many countries that permitted slavery. He was proud that in 1792 Denmark was the first to outlaw slavery, but lamented that it took so long to implement the law.

(This is not the actual Bible. I will try to get a picture of it posted later.)

He spoke of how Christians could read the Bible and even use portions of it to support the continued oppression of slaves. He told the story of John Newton, the author of Amazing Grace, who had a slave ship even as he became a Christian, but eventually came to see it's horror.

He made it clear that each one of us, including himself, will always have prejudices and must guard against our ability to make judgments about any group of people.

Most powerful to me were the shocking stories of racism within our own denomination.

(Sorry about the blurriness - you can click to examine the text of the book online.)

I wish these stories were not true, but sadly we have much to repent of. Even the history of Oregon, which was formed as a slave free state, does not escape shame. Even though they did not allow slavery here, they also did not allow black people at all to live here.

Knowing this history, of our area, and of the majority's political views, I was happily surprised that after he spoke of the civil rights movement, and some personal memories of his father, and came to the historic inauguration of our first African American President Barak Obama - the congregation burst into applause! How amazing!

Tears of joy filled my eyes and I have been breaking into spontaneous smiles ever since. I am SO proud of my Dad, and our country, and I admire those who did not vote for Obama, but are still willing to celebrate this momenteous fullfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream for our nation!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Point of View

197804 301 Songkla
Originally uploaded by williewonker.
I've been trying to read up on the different points of view on the lethal issues in the Middle East. Not an easy thing to do. Everyone has their own unique point of view. Just as people looking at different sides of a statue will see different things, so each person points to that which seems important in their own eyes. Same statue, it's not changing, but very different perspectives. I am trying to get some focus on my own point of view, like the lady in pink climbing up to get in close. Perhaps I'll be able to write something later. Right now, I have only tears.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


"In 2009 may all the barriers that oppress the people of the world fall."

I haven't taken much time for news lately, but had been mourning the news out of Palestine. I don't think it really sank in though until my hubby turned on the news last night as we headed to bed. CNN had special live coverage of the the ground offensive and we watched as smoke rose from the distant city and bright rockets slammed down towards the terrified people below sending more smoke rising up into the otherwise beautiful blue sky.
Un niño palestino falleció y otras 11 personas resultaron heridas este sábado debido al disparo de un tanque israelí, convirtiéndose en las primeras víctimas del ataque terrestre que la nación judía inició sobre la franja de Gaza. (radio mundial)

A palesinian boy died and 11 people were hurt this Saturday due to the firing of an Israeli tank making them the first victims of the ground attack that the Jewish nation began against the Gaza strip.

I am not an expert on the Middle East by any means, but I agree with this analysis by David Bromwich:
There is a word for the straightforward killing of enemies by a superior force where the victims are sparsely equipped and the odds one-sided. Much of the world is calling Israel's actions in Gaza a massacre. By contrast the American press has been cleansed and euphemized. "3rd Day of Bombings," said the New York Times headline on December 30, "Takes Out Interior Ministry." Takes out. The Times paid an involuntary homage to George W. Bush: "I think it's a good thing for the world that we took out Saddam Hussein." Under that phrase are half a million Iraqis killed and a country destroyed. And for Israel in Gaza?

..."It was Israel at its best," writes Yossi Klein Halevy, a typical war broker, in a New Republic column posted on December 29. "In response to random attacks aimed at civilians, Israel launched precise attacks aimed at terrorists." Halevy does not add that the precise attacks killed almost 400 persons and that one death in every four was civilian.

Back in 1991 I sat, awed, in front of my family's TV in Southern California and watched the green and black pictures of Smart Bombs targeting specific military buildings. My teenage mind was impressed and thrilled to see that we could defeat the "bad guys" while avoiding civilian deaths. My boyfriend (now my beloved husband) was watching very different video clips of the same war on his family's TV in Entre Rios, Argentina! He saw fathers digging out their dead and severely wounded children. He saw the bombs destroying homes and other civilian buildings.

I didn't believe him when he told me.

"No!" I said, "We have smart bombs, we aren't hurting civilians!"

I couldn't believe him, wouldn't believe him, did not want to believe him, but over the years I have been forced, by the sad, sorrowful, awful facts, to have to believe him. American news does not tell us the WHOLE truth. It is whitewashed and twisted so that we can hear a clip, watch a distant explosion, perhaps sigh and mumble a wish for peace, but then go back to Christmas gift exchanges and New Year's resolutions to loose the weight put on a Christmas feasting.

The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas. (read more)

The voice on CNN reported the news without expression.

"I feel so helpless." I whispered to my sleepy husband.
"I wish I could do something!"
The only thing I can think of to do is to write to my congressmen. You can write to yours as well. I have links in the side bar, titled Be Heard, that you can use to look them up and send an email or snail mail, and tips about the proper way to do so.

Although I sadly agree with my blogging friend Dade:

It's a mess, pure and simple. There may well be no solution. But I'm disgusted at how the cowards in Washington (and in Cairo, Riyadh, and everywhere else) are willing to let the Israeli blitzkrieg --and, yes, let's call it what it is-- roll over a defenseless people.

I have to try something!

Update 1

Sent e-mails to both of my Senators and my Representative. I didn't send a copy to still President Bush, I figured it wouldn't do any good. Feel free to copy any part of my e-mail to send to your representatives. But most likely you can write a better one on your own:

I am writing in hopes that you may have some way to influence our national
position on the situation in Palestine. I was appalled to hear that:

"The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security
Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip
and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence
between Israel and Hamas."
-Huffington Post (although I first heard it on CNN)

I am trying to do my small part by writing to you, but I truly feel helpless
when faced by what appears to me to be a vast overreaction on the part of

Thank you for your concern,

Update 2
I read another blog on this topic that describes well my view of Israel as bully:

In professional boxing they do what? Men are weighed to match each others mass. Their skill levels are matched to see how they can be challenged in a fair fight toe to toe. Now imagine, one boxer starves the other boxer. Imagine that the same boxer not only starves the other boxer but breaks one of his hands and two of his toes. Now that same boxer gets to take a bat into the right with him and the other boxer doesn't even get to wear his gloves. The referee is also paid off by the bat weilding boxer not to distrub him as he pummels his opponent. The news all portrays this sporting event as a "fair fight." Is it actually a fair fight?

Update 3
I was just talking to my dad and he was telling my cousin and I about a book he's been wanting to share with us:
Once Upon a Country
by Sari Nusseibeh

He mentioned that one point made in the book was that Israel encouraged the formation of Hamas because they preferred to have an extremist group with which to fight, than a group that would negotiate with them. This thought blows my mind, and also reminded me of an interview that I heard on NWPR last week. (I'm still looking for the link.) In the interview a Palesinian representative, I don't remember his name, claimed that he did not believe that Hamas was actually firing the rockets, but that Israel had sent people in to do so and thus give them a reason to invade. I do not know if there is any proof of this at all, and kindof dismissed it as crazy, but when my Dad mentioned the info from the book above it made it a bit more believable.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Resolve

This new year brings me the courage to:

1. Get some exercise everyday!
2. Keep C.H.A.O.S. at bay!
3. Not let perfectionism get in my way!
4. Photograph the sunrise every morning!

The last one is to counteract my night-owlish nature while satisfying my creative side! I'm curious to see if it will work!