Friday, October 31, 2014

No. 121 – October 30, 2014 – The Peaceful Revolution of Anguilla

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The people of Anguilla voted for independence, 1,813 to 5, in 1969. Tired of being ignored by St. Kitts, the seat of government for Britain, as the West Indies Associated States, they badly needed a water pump. Having no government they were at a loss for how to provide this. 
First, they declared independence in 1967. No one seemed to notice. 
The British Crown and St. Kitts ignored their Declaration of Independence for two years.
St. Kitts and the Crown also refused to recognize Mr. Jeremiah Gumps as the spokesman for their new government, which he was. Mr. Gumbs acted as a spokesman and roving Ambassador for the newly founded government. 
Jeremiah Gumbs was also the man with a connection to the United Nations everyone else lacked. Knowing who to call got the ball rolling toward a resolution to the whole problem. Jeremiah called Helen Garland. 
Helen had been vacationing in Anguilla with her children each summer for a number of years by then. She lived in New York and was the only person they knew, and trusted, to advise them. 
Helen was an early volunteer organizer at the United Nations. Her children loved Anguilla's beaches. There they played with Jeremiah's children during their long summer get-a-ways from the fever of New York.

Walking Jeremiah through the steps needed to access a special United Nations subcommittee on colonialism was easy for Helen. In this way committee met Mr. Gumbs and heard this tiny nation's formal arguments for Anguillan independence. 
These moves were noticed by the Crown, who had ignored Anguilla for around 300 years.
In February of 1969 vote took place. On March 19th Britain invaded with 315 Red Devil paratroopers parachuting in, avoiding the goats herded onto the landing strip. 50 Bobbies hit the beaches. The landing force was met by the massive media. 
A truce was signed on March 30. The only casualty was one newsman who was hit in the eye by a champagne cork.

Matters were resolved to the satisfaction of most. On July 1971, Anguilla became a dependency of Britain. Two months later Britain ordered the withdrawal of all its troops, who seemed sorry to go. Anguilla left St. Kitts behind, now provided with a separate administration and a government of elected representatives. And in 1982 a new Anguillan constitution took effect.

And today, Anguilla is at peace, hosting tourists from around the world.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

No. 120 - October 23, 2014 - The CIA Lied

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

G. Robert Blakey is the former general counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), which issued its report in 1979.

At the time Blakey said, “It is time that either Congress or the Justice Department conducts a real investigation of the CIA,” Blakey said at a conference last month. “Indeed, in my opinion, it is long past time.” 
Still angry that his committee was thwarted in September of this year Blakey spoke out at the Assassination Archives & Research Center (AARC) Conference, held on September 26 in Bethesda, Maryland. 
The HSCA was not satisfied with the previous investigations on the assassination of JFK. They wanted answers. The answers were in the National Archives, sealed. The CIA is not budging, so the documents will remain in the Archives until 2017 – or who knows when.
Congress unanimously passed a law in 1992 requiring the release of JFK records. It is now 2014, 22 years later and the CIA is still refusing to cooperate. 
Apparently no one with any access to the continual leak of information today believes Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin, or had anything to do with the JFK murder. This is the conclusion drawn from the ongoing dialog between people, many of them having first hand knowledge of the assassination in 1963. As they get older they grow concerned about what this kind of 'security' has wrought for America. 
Although my respect for Congress is not high they are the people elected to represent us. Why then has every administration since 1992, these include Bush, Senior, Clinton, Bush W, and Obama, not instituted an investigation of the CIA by the Department of Justice or simply closed down the agency? 
This was the course of action Kennedy was considering at the time of his untimely death in Dallas. Curious coincidence there. 
Bush, Senior once headed the CIA. Today the Bush Family and the Clintons are very friendly. And Obama's family worked for the CIA, too. Evidently, those who become presidents, the critical position for doing something about the CIA, are very inclined to accept CIA assurances that all is well. 
Perhaps it is time to take the advice offered by Blakey, “It is time that either Congress or the Justice Department conducts a real investigation of the CIA. Indeed, in my opinion, it is long past time.” 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No. 119 - October 16, 2014 – Fire the Center for Disease Control.

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Dr. Tom Frieden is the Director for the Center for Disease Control. Tom blogs and tweets. Because so many revelations are coming out about the unpreparedness of the CDC to cope with an Ebola pandemic I decided to find out about Tom, who is in the driver's seat on the issue here in the United States.

Tom's most recent blog included this reassurance. “The United States is helping lead the global response to the epidemic, but we cannot do it alone. That is why President Obama launched our sixth Grand Challenge. Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development is designed provide health care workers on the front lines with better tools to battle Ebola.”

The first question which sprang to mind was, “what does this guy mean?” I discovered by following the link leading to the 'Grand Challenge for Development.' In a nut shell, Tom wants people to get together and innovate and share their ideas.

This is disturbing. I remember Tom being quoted as saying, some time ago, that we were entirely prepared for a break out of Ebola; there was nothing to worry about. Joining together in conversation about ideas when a second health worker has just merrily traveled on a plane to multiple locations, including Cleveland, does not strike me as good planning.

I thought maybe there would be more sign of Tom knowing what he is doing in his tweets. I went to look. I found, “2nd Texas health worker #Ebola case is very concerning. My thoughts are w/patient & their family.” Kind though, but not reassuring. Next, #Ebola situation is changing daily. We will continue to share what we know when we know it.” This also fails the reassuring test.

Cleveland is not far from here. Residents of Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale and Dallas and other connecting cities for the 132 passengers who shared that flight could be infecting the whole US now. Some of them may be in Ashtabula, as I write.

Also, the World Health Organization rebutted the 21 day incubation period, saying it could be as long as 42 days.

But wait! Tom says in a communication dated October 2 we have nothing to worry about. Tom said, “Every health care worker must meticulously follow every single infection control protection we recommend.”

But Tom, they did that. What do you have to say now – or should we wait for the next tweet?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

No. 118 – October 9, 2014 – Have a Copy of The Constitution? You Might Be a Terrorist.

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The first time I encountered talk of 'domestic terrorism' was in September, 2007. This was not what I expected at the monthly meeting of my local National Federation of Republican Women's Chapter in Porterville, California.

The luncheon was catered, featuring a tasty chicken salad. The ladies at my table chatted about local elections, the local women's club, and church activities as we caught up with personal stories and shared photos of our children and grandchildren.

I had not paid any attention to who was to speak for the program, which always took place after lunch. Having been a program chairman any number of times myself I knew it would not be anyone from the 'A' list.

Just as I was about to ask a shortish, uniformed fellow walked into the room. His gestures strongly suggested he was to be our speaker. His topic, I soon learned, was how law enforcement copes with gang activity. Settling back into my seat I sighed, prepared to listen politely but not with great interest.

Using his tipsy screen, which would not stay put, the lecture was illustrated with nasty looking tattoos, strange hair-dos and sad looking young people.

This changed about a third of the way through the Deputy Sheriff's remarks. Having dealt with the problems of graffiti, chronic absences from school, petty larceny and drug dealing the officer moved on to the heavier stuff.

The real problem, he told us, was domestic terrorists. He went on to enthusiastically describe how these groups and individuals could be identified.

I sat up, attention riveted. The ladies around me were looking at him quizzically, too. It seems domestic terrorists were likely to be found carrying around copies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and even the Declaration of Independence. They had also been known to own and use guns.

I looked in my purse. There was my little booklet which included the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The chat at our table earlier had included pictures of grandchildren proudly displaying the deer they had shot. Were Elvira's grandkids domestic terrorists?

The ladies were polite, clapping when the Deputy finished talking. Few questions were asked. Of course, it seemed like no questions were really necessary.

Federated Women is a hotbed of Domestic Terrorism. Strange. I thought I was a Patriot. Oops, that is another word for terrorist, isn't it?

No. 117 – September 30, 2014 – John F. Kennedy's death changed our world

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

This last weekend the AARC Conference drew over 200 to the Bethesda Hyatt Regency on the 50th anniversary of the Warren Report. Kennedy's violent death in 1963 shocked Americans, undermining public trust.

The Warren Commission's purpose was to ease the minds of Americans, not to discover the truth. At the time most Americans needed reassurance, accepting what they were told.

In the years since more shocks have fallen, and reassurances are now thin. Records, now public which refute facts originally provided, are raising more questions for Americans from every walk of life.

In 1963 Andrew Kreig, was sitting in his high school history class when he learned the President had been shot. He believed the assurances given until four years ago.

Now both an attorney and investigative journalist, he realized these holes in the official story, rigidly ignored by the Main Stream Media, of which he was so long a part, must be answered.

Today, Kreig has 60 books on the subject. His book, Presidential Puppetry, covered new ground on the assassination. Puppetry is now being updated to include the Warren Report and current revelations on other events which shocked America. Kreig organized the AARC Conference.

Half a century after the Kennedy murder people, now aging themselves, are beginning to speak out to clear the record, a natural reaction as we face our own final judgment.

A retired judge from Cleveland who served on the Commission, attended the Conference with two non-Warren Commission colleagues. He has yet to speak out, but is considering doing so.

Kreig realized the Kennedy murder was only one of several incidents, stretching back to the Lincoln Assassination, where facts were withheld to 'reassure' the public. The possibilities concealed include the CIA as the assassins of JFK.

Questions are also open on the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

Other events, which changed American and now haunt us, include the Iran Hostage Crisis, Iran – Contra, Pearl Harbor, and the 1912 defeat of President William Taft, an Ohio Conservative, who not have taken us into war, by outsider, Woodrow Wilson. Wilson approved the war after signing the Federal Reserve into law on June 23, 1913, two decisions benefiting corporate elites.

Reassuring us with half truths makes us vulnerable to ever more manipulations and lies. Consider the mortgage meltdown and other events which have harmed millions.

Now, instead of 'reassurance' we need the truth.

No. 116 – September 25, 2014 – Will Bessie Rise Again?

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Reports of 'monsters' living in deep bodies of water occur regularly around the world from every continent. Sightings of the Lochness Monster have been recorded at least since the 7th Century, the first of these found in the Life of St. Columbia by Adamnan. The sighting was dated at 565 AD. 
Over the centuries descriptions of these watery denizens have been extremely consistent. The creature is described as being up to 50 feet in length, the part viewed above the water as serpentine. 
The same description has been recorded on multiple occasions by people observing what communities bordering on Lake Erie fondly refer to as South Bay Bessie. 
The first recorded sighting of Bessie occurred in 1793, before the area began to be widely populated. This first report was made by the captain of the sloop, Felicity while those on board were shooting ducks north of what is today Sandusky, Ohio. 
This report describes the creature as “snake-like, 9 to 12 m (30 to 40 ft) long, at least a foot in diameter, with a grayish color.”

Later that same year another boat reported experienced a similar sighting, this time, “copper-coloured and 60 feet (18 m) in length.” The crew discharged muskets at the creature, which they reported had no visible effect. 
The length of the creature varies, some reports stating the length of the creature being less than 20 feet. Individual sightings, reflecting similar appearance and difference sizes, would be natural if the area held a population comprising animals of different ages. 
In 1817 the Dusseau brothers reported seeing a creature writhing on the beach which they described it as between 20 and 30 feet and shaped like a large sturgeon - except that it had arms. Panicking, they fled. When they returned they found marks on the beach and silver scales they described as being the size of silver dollars.

The brothers assumed the animal was dying. What if it was spawning? This is not unknown in the animal kingdom. Grunion do it. Why not Bessie? 
Sightings have continued intermittently throughout the 20th Century with huge serpentlike creatures in Lake Erie reported in 1985 and 1987, in 1990 and 1993 and, the latest at 11 a.m. Thursday August 12th. The creature was reported to be 30 – 40 feet in length. 
Is Bessie real – or an illusion shared by people around the world? You decide.

No. 115 – September 18, 2014 – Two Equinoxes, North and South on Earth

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

For over forty years the Peace Bell at the United Nations has been rung at the precise moment of the Vernal Equinox, calling attention the balance between the Earth's two hemispheres as the world balances between winter and summer, North and South. This year, bells will ring out around the world for the Southern Hemisphere, too.

The woman who has coordinated these events since 1971 is Helen Bryan Carlson Reurs Garland.

Most people have never heard of her, but many have participated in, or admired, the outcome of her work on a multitude of issues. The Earth Society, which Helen now heads as CEO, is committed to Peace, Justice, and Care of the Earth.

Committed to action, Helen rarely thought about receiving credit for a life filled with the kind of work which connected people to each other and made things happen for peace, justice and the environment. She began this work at the United Nations shortly after it was founded.

Most of what you hear about the United Nations focuses on governments. Helen's work is with ordinary people and Non-Government Organizations. Through her work people can learn who they can work with to solve problems, common to many.

Helen was instrumental in creating a global dialogs on such issues on local commercial fishing. Fisherpeople from all over the world have been able to confront the take over of their traditional fishing grounds by massive corporate vessels which strip the oceans down to the seafloor, because oe Helen's work.

Helen began working for peace soon after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations in 1947. Her generation included soldiers returning from WWII with whom she had grown up. Many of those she knew and dated went to Yale.

Helen did not realize until many years later she had been living cheek and jowl with the very people who brought the CIA into existence. She read about this years later, in the NY Times, stunned.

Activists such as Margaret Mead learned about Environmentalism from Helen. Buckminster Fuller and U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations, were close personal friends. And Pete Seeger held a concert during her birthday cruise on the Hudson River every year from 1968 until he died.

Ring a bell for the Southern Equinox, September 22, 2014 at 10:29 PM EDT. The Earth needs our attention today as never before.

No. 114 – September 11, 2014 – What Happened to World Peace?

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster 

As the memorials for September 11, 2001 end it is time to remember the potential for peace which existed in the days following.

The world grieved with us.

Ordinary people around the globe reacted with outpourings of sympathy, protesting these acts of terrorism. World leaders immediately responded, condemning the murders and offering support. Among these leaders was Vladimir Putin. Russia's president urged "the entire international community should unite in the struggle against terrorism," also saying the attacks were "a blatant challenge to humanity."

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi called the attacks "horrifying" telling Muslims that "irrespective of the conflict with America it is a human duty to show sympathy with the American people." Mohammed Khatami, president of Iran, expressed, "deep regret and sympathy with the victims." Yasser Arafat, Palestinian president, denounced the attacks. Appearing stunned, he repeated how, "unbelievable" they were.

Saddam Hussein expressed sympathy for those who died.

North Korea also offered its sympathy to Americans.

Few people demonstrated anything but sympathy for America. Prayers and vigils by people of most faiths took place as across the world tens of thousands came out to protest the attacks.

So, who planned the attacks?

Osama bin Laden adamantly denied involvement in the 9/11 attacks in an interview by Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001 He expressed his views on the loss of life, saying, “Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.”

Osama went on to say, “They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened.” Speculating who was to blame, he advised looking, “within the US system,” or for those responsible, or for persons who seeking conflict between Islam and Christianity. Finally, he suggested involvement by American intelligence agencies. 
Terror, Obama said, “is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people.”
According to the CIA 15 of the 19 hijackers had Saudi citizenship, 2 United Arab Emirates, 1, Egyptian and 1 Lebanese. 
No plan to invade Saudi Arabia was suggested by Bush. 
Afghanistan was not involved in 9/11, yet we invaded them. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein expressed his willingness to leave Iraq, if paid. But we invaded. Millions died. 
These wars were policy built on lies. Find those who benefited and you have all the answers.

No. 113 – September 4, 2014 – The Free Stores, FreeCycle, Rethinking Life

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Imagine going into a store where everything is free. It happened in San Francisco as the Sixties and New Age Movement were beginning.
Free Stores were opened in Haight-Ashbury in 1966 by the Diggers, a community-action group made up of improvisational actors. The stores operated from 1966 to 1968, in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.

The experiment can be viewed as the beginning of today's Gift Economy. Traditionally, buying and selling of goods and services took place using coin and printed 'money.'

The stores closed, but innovations continued. The last half of the Twentieth Century saw played out a series of innovative practices which challenged this, and other, assumptions.

Although barter and trade persisted locally the lack of a unit for transactions limited the practice to very local areas. Reacting to the abuse of money, and the Vietnam Conflict, people began reaching out for alternatives for war and commerce.

In 1966 the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, started in Laguna Beach, was contributing income generated from sales of LSD to fund protests against the Vietnam Conflict with marked success.

Though few knew it doors were reopening from a century earlier.

The first experiments with alternative life-styles and exchange by Westerners in North America came through the Transcendental Movement, communalism ignited through the writings of Robert Owen, a Scottish Socialist. Owens introduced Time Hours with the National Equitable Labour Exchange in 1832.

These experiments often failed. Abigail May Alcott, mother of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, made the observation she was the commune's only domestic animal. It was deemed inhumane to employ animals for labor during Fruitland's existence in Massachusetts.

Communalism did not persist. But time hours was successfully introduced in Ithaca, New York in 1991, providing an alternative to money during the recession then taking place. Ashtabula has a Time Hours Group through St. Peter Church. Try it.

FreeCycling, person to person gifting of unused items, started on May 1st, 2003 in Tucson, Arizona, and took off as the ease and effectiveness of the practice became obvious.

Baby clothes, parts for appliances, furniture, things pass rapidly from person to person through freecycling, saving money without overhead.

No. 112 – March 28, 2014 - The Diner Down on South Main Avenue

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The building on South Main Avenue started life as a Tastee Freeze in the 1960's. 
Robert Laufland and his wife acquired it, starting a neighborhood diner which began serving early in the morning. Clientele included utility workers and others who had to make early jobs. Bill Murphy remembers delivering donuts there from the Swedish Bakery, owned by his parents across the street. 
The portions were generous and the atmosphere friendly and welcoming. Everyone knew everyone, which is how Robert and his wife wanted it. 
When Robert's wife became ill the Diner was purchased by Willian Allds, Jr. Then, his parents took it over. During this time Sonja Loll was hired to run the bustling business. The early mornings, beginning at 5am, at the latest 6am, suited her as did the warm, friendly atmosphere of place. 
Breakfast could include ham, bacon, mouth-watering biscuits, gravy to die for and more. Extras slices of bread were free. While the cooks made breakfast the lunch specials were already simmering, sending out aromas which drew many back a few hours later. 
Diners cheerfully stood to eat sandwiches at lunchtime, waiting for a seat to empty at the counter. Many who ate breakfast there returned for lunch, remembering the savory scents which issued from the kitchen. A good part of their success was the excellence of the food. 
Melveen Allds and Sonja were friends and had known each other for a good long time. 
A neighborhood gathering place, people nearby, living alone, treated it as an extension of their little-used kitchens. Sonja made sure these customers would have a meal ready for them. The daily special was put aside, with dessert. 
It was a comfy arrangement. Melveen and Sonja would sit together at a table when business was light to go over the payroll. Melveen also worked for the Morrisons as a title clerk and bookkeeper. William, Sr., her husband, had worked at General Tire until it went out of business. 
The large bar was open at the corner, next to Murphy's Bakery, had standing orders on Friday night for the House Macaroni and Cheese, fried fish and cold slaw. 
And in the afternoon there was always coffee for which you paid once and poured forever. Evenings you could enjoy supper, with desert or serve yourself ice cream, closing at 7PM. 
Sonja says it was a nice place to work. Do you remember its name?

No. 111 – August 21, 2014 – Drafting Norman Schwarzkopf

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The first Veteran's Administration Hospital in America was paid for with a check for one million dollars in 1918. The check was presented by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Taxpayers had nothing to do with it.

By early 2004 it was clear to Americans there had been no Weapons of Mass Destruction. The news was filled with images of suffering in Iraq and whole families dying. Coffins holding the bodies of American military were returning to America. Former military were struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and dying on the street, left homeless by the failure of the Veteran's Administration to provide needed care.

In our Lodge, No. 613, Santa Barbara, where I served as Esquire, ensuring our members remained orderly, helping retired military was always on the agenda. By 2004 surge of patriotism, produced by 9/11 was waning. Another four years of George W. Bush looked like a really bad idea, but who could we trust?

It was during a conversation with Steve Brown, a former Exalted Ruler, it came to me that General Norman Schwarzkopf was just the man for the job. So did Steve. So we decided to draft him.

Papers were filed for our campaign committee with the FEC. Steve modestly accepted the position of Chairman of the Draft Committee. The website went up. The news release went out.

Phone calls and email began to roll in.

Then, we were contacted by the newly formed Veterans Party, who really, really wanted Norman as their candidate, too. Phil Meskin, their founder, is a Vietnam Veteran who has served vets since the day he left the service.

It was a perfect partnership.

Norman was living in Florida, right next door to a friend of Mike Pinera's of Iron Butterfly. Mike was living with Jerry Corbetta then. Jerry wrote “Green-Eyed Lady,” and he and Mike toured with Classic Rock All Stars.

Jerry is a friend of mine. Using various connections a sit down with Norman was arranged. We found out Norman was fighting cancer. A presidential run was, therefore, out of the question. It was a sad moment.

Americans desperately wanted a president they could trust. All of us trusted Norm, a man with brains, balls and simple decency.

Election Day saw the longest waiting lines to vote in memory. We wanted peace, sanity, kindness and a government we could trust. It should have been Norman.

No. 110 – August 14, 2014 – His Momma Loved Her Children

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

No one has ever doubted Richard Daniel's courage. His life's journey made him an Inductee of the Masters Black Belt Hall of Fame, holds a Top Secret Clearance, and is a licensed Armed Bodyguard and Certified Police/Military Hand to Hand Combat Instructor.

But with the publication of his first book, titled “Momma Loved Us, This I Know,” Daniels opened up his life to public view, showing how the indomitable will of his handicapped mother bridged the gap between hope and despair for her children.

All three children, and their mother, were chronically abused, first by their father, then by their step-father.

Raised poverty for nearly all of his young life, Daniels tells the story of a mother who would not let him quit school. Her songs, composed for them, let them know how truly they were each loved.

Life was harsh in Oklahoma, which was then still impacted by the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, one of the worst environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century throughout in the world. Millions fled their homes, migrating west, many settling in California. Not the worst drought in the history of the state, but bad enough, a combination of drought and poor land use created environmental disaster.

Those who stayed faced often harsh conditions, impacting every part of their lives.

LaVeeta Mae, Daniels' mother, lost her foot in a motorcycle accident at age sixteen. Married to an abusive husband, she found herself forced to choose between despair and pouring her life and energies into her children. Daniels portrays a woman who remained available to her children, committed to their care and well being. 
It was his mother's courage which took Daniels into diverse fields, which include careers in the military and law enforcement, with a Medal of Distinction for Bravery, Commendation for Life Saving Award, the California Legislative Assembly Award, Outstanding Law Enforcement Administrator Award and Outstanding Leadership Award, Deputies and Staff.

August 8, 1969 Daniels was one of the officers called to the home of Sharon Tate when the murders of Tate and Sebring, Frykowski and Folger, and Parent. 
Daniels also holds A.S. in Administration of Justice, a B.S. in Psychology and a M.A.

The book is a memorial to Daniels' mother, also written, Daniels said for this interview, to provide children today with a story showing what is possible, even when faced with seemingly insurmountably odds.

No. 109 – August 8, 2014 – The Delights of the Rummage Sale

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The bags and boxes started accumulating on the stage in the upper church dining room several months ago. People remembered It Was Coming.

Saint Peter has a rummage sale every year and the event attracts people who delight in poking though the books, household items, clothing, and enormous variety of items which begin to fill up the tables, crowding out the After Church Coffee people, who sigh and take the opportunity for an early preview of what is available.

This year the number of beautiful dolls, some of them collector's items were thick upon the ground, or the tables. But also in evidence as the tables filled up to the groaning point are ancient tools, new electronics, new shoes, still in the box, Christmas decorations, craft supplies, appliances, furniture, and toys, toys, toys.

But the Stuff to be sold is only part of the story for the Saint Peter Rummage Sale. Much of the fascination is people, the ones who sort, clean, arrange, hauling tables and shaking their heads over items no one knows how to categorize.

Carol Wardell has been 'doing' the Rummage Sale since the last Captain of Commerce, Neddy, turned the ship over to her years ago. Carol says it is like Christmas. Sort of. Opening the boxes and finding ever more smaller and smaller items is always brings the unexpected, something which is true of life in general, she says.

Captain Carol is joined by swabbies and crew who change depending on the needs of their families but the jolly discussions of 'what it is worth,' continue throughout it all.

Sometimes an early browser will gasp at the sight of something which brings back memories, painful or joyous. You see the object grasped, sometimes with reverence, turned and examined as the times past flow through the expression on the face. From such moments come discussions which touch the heart and take us all back to a multitude of 'thens.'

Other objects, for instance items which can serve projects Saint Peter People are undertaking, for instance shelving for the Food Pantry, about to start, and useful additions to the church kitchen are washed and shelved immediately.

Debbie Nelson and her crew have made the Pantry their ministry.

Rummage is the cast-offs of many; Items no longer useful to someone which become precious acquisitions for others. And always, the Rummage Sale brings people together, August 15 & 16th.

No. 108 – July 31, 2014 – Let's Have Lunch – John Fund and the Tape

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

John Fund?! He never sent us the autographed book we paid him for,” Monique said, with some heat. They reminded him several times but never received a response. I was not surprised, but suggested a short article about the incident might elicit a long awaited response and apology.

The book Monique bought from John was not his original, Stealing Elections, but the new version full of new disinformation titled, Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky at the Glen Beck - Free PAC Conference in Dallas from July 26 - 28 in 2012.

John really didn't want to write about elections but it was his consolation prize when he blew the opportunity to be a speech writer for Bush Jr. in 1999. The scandal over his relationship with Morgan, my much strange daughter, reminded them they had to stand up for family values.
Monique was delighted to meet John - at the time.

Monique and I get together when our schedules allow, at Casa Capelli on Main Avenue. Over lunch we chatted on about our families, the economic prognosis, and politics. It was the conversation on family which caused Monique's mouth to drop open, over a story about John Fund.

Since Sex, Lies, and the Tape, the article by John Connolly from Vanity Fair is still up on line at American Political Journal it was easy for her to hear for herself. That tape got John bounced from the 700 Club.

Looking back, it is now easy to see John and Morgan had a lot in common. No conscience. Desperate need for drama. Less decency than the real people portrayed in the book, Fifty Shades of Gray, now shocking readers and headed for the big screen.

John got the boot from the Wall Street Journal finally not over the scandal but because no one told Murdoch, when he purchased the WSJ, John is not paid for his writing but because he is a useful political operative. John's first such job was in 1978, working for the Kochs on taking over the Libertarian Party.

And today John is at National Review, a real step down. And he still needs to make Monique happy. But he doesn't need to send the book, just a refund. And if he has lost her address he can just contact me and I'll provide it.

No. 107 – July 24, 2014 – Revival on Azusa Street - The San Francisco Earthquake

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

At 5:12am on April 18, 1906, less than two years after the Welsh Revival began, credited to Evan Roberts, the whole of California felt the impact of the San Francisco Earthquake, which killed 700, leveling much of the city of San Francisco. 
Shock waves from the quake lasted from between 45 to 60 seconds, followed by a fire caused by ruptured gas lines which engulfed buildings with hellish heat. 
Felt from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as 70 kilometers into central Nevada, the earthquake brought destruction of monumental proportions, leaving survivors shaken and consigned to subsisting on food supplied through common soup kitchens and living in tiny, temporary structures built in rows for months.

It was the most destructive earthquake in North American history. 
Along with the tectonic shock waves came fear the event was a judgment and a warning from the God, which bore fruit to the south, on Azusa Street, which runs through Los Angeles.

A massive spiritual revival, which had been simmering, found entry into the lives of people, in the wake of tragedy. 
Christians had been praying for revival of their faith since 1901. On Azusa Street, the call of the Holy Spirit began in the weeks after the Quake, giving birth to the Pentecostal Church. To those experiencing it God's heavenly portals had swung open, sending great power into their lives and the world. 
The movement, including speaking in tongues, spread widely. 
In parallel with the seeking of Evan Roberts, credited with the beginning of the Welsh Revival in 1904, the hunger moved through the city, profoundly changing lives. 
Roberts had asked God to bend him to His will. God had answered. 
Frank Bartleman, a holiness preacher living in Los Angeles, wrote Roberts in 1905, asking for special prayer. Roberts responded. Bartleman later wrote he received the gift of faith for the revival to come through Robert's letters. 
Bartleman published a statement in a small newsletter called the Way of Faith on November 16, 1905 which many later believed was prophetic. “Los Angeles seems to be the place and this the time, in the mind of God, for the restoration of the Church.”
When it came, the Azusa Street Revival washed away the color line along with other differences which divided people from each other, refocusing faith, deepening discernment, and renewing the love of God, and each other.

No. 106 – July 17, 2014 – Gardens and Ideas in Three Rivers, California

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Springtime is beautiful in the foothills of the Sierras, where Three Rivers, California, rests on the threshold of Sequoia National Park. The town of 3,000, was founded in 1879. Today it is home to multiple gardening organizations, including the Red Bud Garden Club.

The Red Bud Club established decorative beds of native plants, including the beautiful Red Bud, at the Three Rivers Veterans Memorial Building and in front of the tiny Post Office, at the two fire stations, and the town Library, lowering the need for water.

One of the Club's twelve members is the chief horticulturist for Sequoia National Park.

Three Rivers has always been a place where ideas were tested in real life experiments for over a century.

Utopian Socialists gathering there in 1886 began attracting nation wide attention. The Kaweah Co-Operative Commonwealth, generally referred to as the Kaweah Colony, is still studied by historians, writers, and students of economics, history, and political science to this day. Other groups followed, including Synanon. Today, Three Rivers is referred to as the Berkeley of the Central Valley.

Where ever folks are politically, gardening brings them together to face opportunities and challenges.

Folks walking though the beds in the Red Bud gardens can read the posted information on native plants. They also plant their own native gardens.

Here, gardening means growing local food, a practice which comes with challenges in the foothills, where critters view gardens as their personal buffet. Strategies to keep these forces at bay are a major interest of the local Edible Garden Club, the most recently established of the several gardening organizations in the town. Serious discussions on related issues take place online and in person.

Every other year the TRUS Foundation hosts a Garden Tour, features visits to hidden gardens at the homes of such residents as actress Angelica Huston's Flying Heart Ranch. Proceeds benefit Three River's school.

The Environmental Weekend show cases environmental-friendly homes which include photovoltaic arrays, straw bail, and rammed earth construction. Seminars are offered for fire safety, an issue very much in the minds of Californians today when the supply of water is already dropping precipitously due to extreme drought conditions.

What ever happens, Three Rivers folks are there for each other.

Gardening is a big deal in Three Rivers and fertilizer comes in many varieties, including Llama and new ideas, applied to make life better for everyone.

No. 105 - July 10, 2014 – The Welsh Revival of Faith

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

Revival is the engine of belief and faith. It breaks out without planning and in unexpected places, carrying people to a more intense relationship with God, one which strips away previous assumptions and defenses.

Over the past two thousand years spontaneous outpourings of emotion, grief, shame, and joy, have accompanied a renewal of faith and love which strengthened communities and changed the lives of the individuals.

If a psychologist described it they might see it as an emotional purging, clearing the lines of communication from within the individual to God.

Such an event took place in Wales from 1904 – 1905, known still as the Welsh Revival. The power of revival, the gift of God, was breaking out in unexpected places across the small nation.

To the staid and conventional congregants who walked into Bryn Seion Church which gathered for church in Mount Seion that Sunday morning the world was about to take fire.

As they entered the church they were confronted by two young women, described by David Matthews, the historian for the Welsh Revival, as “youthful maidens.”

Instead of following the long accepted practices of the church and announcing the hymn to be sung they were asked in beseeching tones that those entering surrender to, “the leading of the Holy Spirit.”

Then, one of the women burst into a spiritual song which expressed her own experience of faith. As she sang tears streamed down her face. The congregation gasped. Before she had finished, her companion joined her.

All present wondered at the meaning of this unexpected event. A young minister appeared in the pulpit, obviously moved with emotion. He stood there, silent, his body shaking as he also cried.

A stillness came upon them, described like the quiet which precedes an electric storm.

The silence was broken when one of the proudest, “members of that assembly fell on her knees in agonizing prayer and confessed her sins.” Those around her, first confused, soon followed.

The service continued all day, without a single break.

Soon, word was carried throughout the neighborhood and others also came.

Revivals throughout the 20th Century have left people who were once unsure of themselves and on the path to destruction renewed and living different lives. During revivals all boundaries and broken and new relationships forged in common love and fellowship so intense as become a light forever after to those touched.

A Prayer for Revival

Dear Lord, who knows me completely in every part of my being.  Send to me, to my church family and to my community the healing renewal of faith which is the gift of the Holy Spirit and Your Son, Jesus Christ.  
Show us the power of your love and forgiveness.  Grant us the will to more fully embrace You in pureness of heart and singleness of purpose.  
And this we pray, humbly and wholly, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. 

Please pray with us for revival as you prepare yourself for rest every Sunday Night.  We will also be praying for Revival at our Wednesday Potluck in the Dining Hall at St. Peter Church. 

No. 104 – July 3, 2014 – Declaring Revolution July 2, 1776

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

As the memory of fireworks fade the day after the 4th of July, remember the date for declaring Independence from England was actually July 2nd.. A final version of the Declaration took two more days. It was the 2nd which John Adams believed would become, “the most memorable epocha in the history of America.” He was wrong.

July 4th was the date Congress approved the finalized text of the Declaration produced by the five man committee assigned to give final form and substance to the ideas and causes which had compelled the Continental Congress to action. But not all agreed. One of the committee members, Robert Livingston, believed was a far too drastic step at that time and refused to sign.

Thomas Jefferson, who we remember as the Father of the Declaration, watched his final draft undergo 86 changes, shortening the overall length by more than a fourth. Many of these changes, including his inclusion of anti-slavery language, were made over his strong objections.

Jefferson had drawn on two primary sources for his own draft. The first a preamble to the Virginia Constitution and George Mason’s draft of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights. Jefferson's document is a restatement of John Locke’s contract theory of government, stating that governments derived “their just Powers from the consent of the people.”

On July 5th around 200 copies of the Declaration were typeset and printed in John Dunlap’s Philadelphia print shop. Copies were dispatched to various committees, assemblies, military commanders and foreign nations.

On July 6th the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to reprint the whole Declaration.

The first public reading of the Declaration occurred on July 8, 1776 in Philadelphia.

Getting the news out to the world, especially to King George and the rest of the colonies, proceeded as rapidly as possible. News of the Declaration reached London the second week of August via the Mercury packet ship.

The London Gazette, the official Crown organ, broke the news in its Saturday, August 10 edition.

The official ceremony of signing took place a month later, on August 2. But the text of the Declaration had already been published and republished in newspapers in a minimum of twenty-nine American newspapers and one magazine.

Jefferson later said he did not intend to say things that "had never been said before." But this is exactly what had transpired and because of these events the world changed.