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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Glad Hillary lost

I'm glad Hillary lost, but I'm not glad that Trump won. I'm scared, just like you. I hope that Trump will be better than GW Bush, and in some ways better than Hillary, but I honestly don't know. I voted for Jill Stein. Jill Stein did not affect the outcome. Minnesota did not affect the outcome. All votes in Minnesota were wasted. Votes that could've been spent getting us to 5%, getting us major party status, and raising awareness about our issues, which center around getting money out of politics. I hope the Democrats have learned their lesson, do not nominate a corrupt candidate, ever again.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Green Party Rally

Here are some good quotes from the Green Party Rally in St. Paul October 26. 

Trahern Crews, activist with Black Lives Matter and spokesperson for the Fourth Congressional District Green Party: “It’s time to do away with the two-party system in American politics...the Republicans and the Democrats are equally evil, equally corrupt....In cities where you see a lot of Democrat control, you’re going to see a lot of disparities, whether it’s in housing, whether it’s in economics, whether it’s in health, whether it’s police brutality. These are all a cause of pretend progressive policies put forth by the Democrat Party, and the Democrat Party has a stranglehold on people of color, so we have to end that and start convincing people to vote independent and vote for the Green Party.”

Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent, whistleblower, and current peace activist: “I ran for Congress down in our second district back in 2006...when I ran against John Kline, the Republican warmonger...I thought the Democrats were the party of peace that opposed the Republicans...then in 2009 it really dawned on me that they were just changing slightly, tweaking, going from torture and detention, indefinite detention, to drone assassination under Obama. So I’ve been betrayed by these parties big-time....Hillary Clinton...has pledged to initiate a no-fly zone over Syria....General Dunford sat there and said ‘this means war on Syria and war on Russia.’ Russia is another nuclear superpower.”

Brandon Long, Chair of the Green Party of Minnesota: “If we were to get just one percent, it continues our minor party status....If we get five percent, this is the golden number here, we are a major party in Minnesota....What you’re going to hear from the corporate parties, particularly from the Democrats, is that this is a close race. This is in no way a close race. Today I just saw that Clinton is up by eight points. She can afford to lose a few percentage points....So what major party status means for us is that we no longer have to collect signatures just to get on the ballot....These are the kinds of barriers the corporate parties have set up for us.”

Cam Gordon, Minneapolis City Council Member: “I believe that we have an obligation to vote our heart, to vote our values, to vote our conscience, and a vote doesn’t even have to be for a winner. And I’m not pretending that Jill’s even going to win Minnesota. It would be fabulous, she’d definitely be the best president, the best choice. But every time we vote, we’re also making a statement. This is our chance, in the privacy [of the voting booth], whoever we are, we have as much voice as anybody else, however rich and powerful they are...we get to stake out what we believe in, and where we are....And it’s really important that the more votes that go for Green and that go for Jill Stein, the more people are going to see that that stuff’s important.”

YahNe Ndgo, spokesperson for Bernie or Bust movement: “We’re just accepting whatever we get. People are accepting Hillary Clinton just because of Donald Trump. Donald Trump is horrible, but he is not a good enough excuse to ignore how horrible Hillary Clinton is....Nuclear war with Russia over hacking?...She actually said out of her mouth, we consider this hacking to be like a threat we will respond to with military force, and one of the first things I will do as President is to reassess our nuclear reality....I don’t understand how people after knowing that the Clinton campaign intentionally elevated Donald Trump...that they can say he’s a greater evil, how do you know that...[if you allow yourself] to be manipulated into voting for the person who gave you the greater evil?...I’m having a hard time being able to still have compassion for people who know who Hillary Clinton is, and are still using Donald Trump as an excuse to vote for her...’If I was born during the time of the slavery, if I was around during that time, I would have fought.’ I don’t think so. I don’t think so. It doesn’t seem like it, because we’re in that sort of time, and you’re not fighting....And that’s what’s happening right now. People are saying Black lives matter, unless they’re in Haiti. People are saying all lives matter, unless they’re Syrian, unless they’re Libyan, unless they’re Honduran. Like these are things Hillary Clinton had her hands directly in...she was a leading force....All day in my mind, I mean certain people, specific people, I’m like, oh my God, I need to say this to her, and I need to say that, because I can’t understand...I’m screaming in my Facebook chat, I DON’T CARE IF SHE CAN WIN! THAT’S NOT THE POINT! THAT’S NOT THE POINT! I DON’T WANT ANYBODY WHO’S PART OF MY CIRCLE TO BE CASTING THEIR VOTE FOR A MURDERING RACIST!...The point is that Jill stands where I stand. The point is that Jill is like me and that she cares about the lives of the people of Syria...she cares about the lives of the people of Rwanda, she actually does not believe that we need to dominate the whole globe. She wants to free the people of the U.S., and to free us to free the people of the world. THAT’S why I stand with her!”

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Trump can't win, Stein can

Trump can't win, because he can't build a winning coalition. If there are any Republicans out there, this may be hard to accept, but your chances are better with Jill Stein, because she hasn't pissed off Mexicans, Muslims, women, etc. You may not agree with Jill Stein, but she has one great thing going for her: She is not Hillary Clinton. Republicans, you are wrong about many things, but you are right about the Clinton Foundation. Hillary cares more about Swiss banks than she does the American people. And Gary Johnson can't win, because he can't build a winning coalition, either. Libertarians would do away with Social Security and Medicare, and even you Republicans like those programs. So you see, Jill Stein is your best chance. You get her up to 15%, you see her on that debate stage, and you won't be disappointed. She will go after Hillary like Trump can't, like Johnson can't, like Sanders couldn't. Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents, join with us, and together we will beat Hillary Clinton!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

We are so lucky to have Jill Stein!

Who would I vote for in a two-person contest? We are so lucky to have Jill Stein. Donald Trump keeps making it harder to make a case for him. Even his opposition to TPP is negated by his running mate. Maybe Bill Clinton really did prompt Trump to run and throw the election to Hillary. It would explain what’s happening. I’m afraid that Obama will sign the TPP after the election, then Hillary won’t fight to undo it. Jill Stein will fight to undo the TPP. It threatens our national sovereignty, our power to make our own laws. Hillary is doing a good job of defeating Trump. Wikileaks might do well to wait until Trump is no longer a realistic alternative to Hillary. Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks never sits on information. It does take time for them to format it, though. Today’s news has to do with Gilbert Chagoury, who has close ties to the Clintons and to Nigeria’s military dictator, and the ties between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Also in the News, WikiLeaks has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the the conviction of whoever killed DNC staffer Seth Rich. It was an honor to have Julian Assange address the Green Party Convention. We are so lucky to have Jill Stein!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Outline for Bernie’s Speech Tonight

1. Congratulate Sec. Clinton for her victory and reaffirm that he has endorsed her.

2. State that there is more that unites us than divides us. Talk about common issues with Hillary.

3. Talk about the positive changes that have been made to the Democratic platform and rules, and that conditions are now better for future elections.

4. Talk about the historic Sanders campaign and all the issues he has raised in his stump speeches, staying on message.

5. Explain how we can’t vote for Trump, even though he has said some things to appeal to Sanders supporters.

6. Explain how the political landscape has shifted because of Trump, with conditions now favorable for a third-party run. Liberals and progressives must be united in order to defeat Trump.

7. Talk about the recent WikiLeaks revelations, and while he still endorses Hillary in comparison to Trump, he appeals to Superdelegates to reconsider their support of Hillary, in the best interests of Democratic Party Victory. This is a contested convention.

8. Praise the departure of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and call on Hillary to distance herself from the disgraced party chair.

9. Question the selection of Tim Kaine for Vice President. Elizabeth Warren was the logical choice, but the banks would not allow it.

10. If Sanders not prevail this week, he will abide by the outcome. It will be historic to elect the nation’s first woman president. “I will support a woman who will stand up to Republican deregulation. I will support a woman who will stand up to Republican trade deals, etc. .... I will support Jill Stein for President of the United States!” 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Hillary Scandals Summary

Our claims are different from the Republican claims. The Republicans can't raise the same issues, because they're just as bad as Hillary. The types of issues I've been talking about are the ties to Walmart and Goldman Sachs, the bank bailout, the disastrous trade deals, the coup in Honduras, the murky switch on the bankruptcy bill, the appointment of donor Raj Fernando to the International Security Advisory Board, the secret promotion of fracking in other countries, her crafting of the TPP, her non sequiturs when talking with leaders of BLM, her lies and distortions about the auto bailout, the minimum wage, and DOMA, the dirty campaign tricks with the DNC database, the debate schedule, and the Hillary Victory Fund. And we still don't have answers about all the missing votes in states like Arizona, New York, and California. One Republican claim I'm still concerned about is the private email server. If a law was broken, I expect Hillary to be held to the same standard as anyone else. I am inclined to believe Julian Assange when he says there will be evidence sufficient for an indictment. Guccifer 2.0 has already released a spreadsheet showing that DWS and the DNC are soliciting contributions from both unions and the corporations that oppose them. So I'm sorry, there's just no way I can ever vote for Hillary. But you should be relieved to know that I am not voting for Trump, either. If the Dems follow through with Hillary, I plan to vote for Jill Stein.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Marilyn Cleland Eulogy

Hello and thank you all for gathering with us to remember and celebrate the life of Marilyn Cleland. I’m Marilyn’s son, Tom and I will be the officiant for this service. We're holding the service in a non-denominational chapel in a somewhat secular format. I think it’s a good question, how religious it should be. It’s hard to think about life and death without thinking about religion. 

Mom was once asked what her religion was, and replied, "None of your business!” She attended North Como Presbyterian Church one block west of here, when we were young, but said she quit after learning they had a quota on the number of black families who could join. I think she taught us critical thinking before we even knew what it was. Or perhaps she just didn’t feel like going to church. 

In Mom’s final week, when her health was failing, she finally agreed to a full health care directive, which asked about religion, and she said Anglican Episcopalian. I remember attending an Episcopalian service once, with Mom and her parents. She said it was the one protestant denomination that was most similar to the Catholics. I did some research on Episcopalianism, and found out a few things. 

The Episcopal Church is considered apostolic, as it teaches that its bishops can be traced back to the apostles. It has its roots in the Church of England, which separated from the Church of Rome during the reign of King Henry VIII. The Episcopal Church was organized after the American Revolution, when it became separate from the Church of England, whose clergy are required to swear allegiance to the British monarch.

As I was researching all of this, I was reminded of Mom every step of the way. I was reminded how Mom took a DNA test which showed she was related to the Apostle Luke. I remember watching the TV miniseries, “The Six Wives of King Henry VIII” and Mom providing all sorts of interesting background information. Mom was a student of history, and I recalled that, while she was fascinated by war, she was saddened that each generation seemed to forget the horrors of the last.

The Episcopal Church uses the Book of Common Prayer, which contains the forms of service for various occasions including funerals. I would like to read a short section from it. 

(Please rise.)

"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord;
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God;
whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold,
and not as a stranger.

For none of us liveth to himself,
and no man dieth to himself.
For if we live, we live unto the Lord.
and if we die, we die unto the Lord.
Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord;
even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors."

(Please be seated.)

I am not sure how much of this prayer Mom would have felt that strongly about. I think Mom was influenced by her Unitarian great grandmother, Mary Ladd, who believed in the teachings of Christ, but did not believe in the miracle birth, and did not believe in hellfire.

This service is being held five months after Marilyn's passing. Mom passed away January 13. Dad also passed away in the month of January, on January 31, 1982. We remember Marilyn upset that Burton had to be buried in the miserable cold of winter. So we decided to have Mom cremated, and have the memorial service at a warmer time of year. Her ashes will be buried after this service, today, June 10, which would have been Burton’s 91st birthday. We have had several relatives who have died in January, including our great grandfather Andrew Boss III, who died on January 13, the same day as Marilyn. By having the service in June, we will have a chance to visit the graves of our relatives.

Next, this was Mom's iPad, or as she called it, her Facebook. On it we have a video running in a continuous loop, as you pass it around. Mom wanted this video shown at her memorial service. It’s of her and Burton next to their garden. They both enjoyed gardening. I think this is the image Mom wants you to have in your mind when you remember her.

There's so much to say about Marilyn, I'm sure I'll leave something out. I feel it's easiest to start with a factual overview, starting with her obituary. This includes some additional material not submitted to the newspapers.

"Marilyn Joyce Cleland (born Harper) died peacefully at Northridge Health and Rehab on January 13, 2016, in New Hope, Minnesota at the age of 87.

Marilyn is survived by her children, Constance, Bruce (wife Sandy), Thomas, and Janet; grandchildren Emily, Elizabeth, Suzanne, Spencer, Kathryn, and Lydia; and brother James. She is preceded in death by husband Burton, son Scott, brother David, and son-in-law William Butler.

Marilyn was born on October 1, 1928 in Waterloo, Iowa to Bernard Lloyd Harper and Evelyn Lolita Harper (born McDonald). She graduated from West High School, Waterloo, Iowa in 1947. She met Burton Cleland while working at a John Deere tractor factory, and they married April 22, 1950. After moving to Roseville, Minnesota, they had five children. Burton died suddenly on January 31, 1982, and a few years later, Marilyn moved to Golden Valley, Minnesota. She continued hosting family dinners nearly every week until checking into assisted living in October 2014. Marilyn stayed sharp by doing crossword puzzles, and in her final years played Words with Friends on her iPad. She also enjoyed posting her descendants’ childhood photos on Facebook. In her final days, she especially enjoyed jigsaw puzzles."

After Mom died we received several thoughtful condolences through email, postal mail, and social media. One theme that kept coming up was how Mom would invite neighborhood kids to talk, and listen to what they had to say. Maybe I took it for granted, though more than once I remember talking until I couldn’t stay awake any longer. When I was depressed, she taught me basic social skills, and when I ate dinner with her and her neighbors in assisted living, she let me know when she thought I had too much to say. Of all the remembrances on social media, I think the funniest came from granddaughter Lydia, who listed several of Mom's "burns" like "You hug a lot. Didn't you get enough hugs as a child?"

There are so many good memories. Our trips to Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, the Bahamas, and the Door Peninsula. Her encouragement of us in sports, concerts, plays, and the school paper. The Halloween costumes she made, the holidays we celebrated.

Mom liked to stay home a lot, having the TV on to keep her company while she focused her attention on other things. She had some introverted and sometimes peculiar hobbies, like hooking rugs, adult coloring books, and making confetti. We sometimes joked that she had agoraphobia, fear of public spaces. She would go out at least once a week, though, and had a knack for striking up conversations with strangers, often asking them where they were from. One time, Marilyn and I were in a community summer play together, complete with singing and dancing. The play was titled, "Once in a Lifetime," and for me the experience was truly once in a lifetime.

Mom was strict in some ways and lenient in others. On the strict side, we had babysitters practically into our teenage years. On the lenient side, she let us throw a dummy off the roof for a home movie.

One of my earliest memories of Mom was her calling me upstairs in the morning after hearing me arguing with Janet. She made me lie in bed with her, and every time I moved, she said "be still."

I remember feeling sorry for Rodney Dangerfield, whose mother never made him breakfast, and then I thought, "Hey, wait a minute, our mother didn't make breakfast either!" She made dinner, though, and when we were adults, she encouraged us to visit with each other while she did the dishes by herself. 

When I lost my job in 2002, Mom offered to take me in, and we ended up assisting each other in different ways. As an adult, I got to know Marilyn better than I had as a child. We didn’t always agree, but I came to understand that she had a consistent sense of what was fair. I had to water her plants, but she did my laundry. I had to scan and post her photos to Facebook, but I also got reduced rent.

During family dinner, as Mom’s hearing was failing, she would tend to start with a story before letting the conversation go off in different directions. Like her mother Evelyn, Marilyn was a storyteller, and she liked to repeat her favorite ones. There was a TV show, “Name That Tune” where they would play the first few notes of a song and contestants would guess the title. We had a version of that called “Name That Story.” Every once in a while, I would hear a story that I hadn't heard before, and take note of it. I would sometimes ask her if she would write or record her stories, but she mostly just enjoyed telling the stories in the present. Occasionally I would repeat what she said into some voice dictation software, and from that I am able to recall a few, some old and some new.

At age two, Evelyn would drop Marilyn off at the fire department while she did some shopping, and the firemen loved Marilyn as a toddler. Marilyn had a special place in her heart for firemen and remembered them on 9/11.

Mom was born the year before the Great Depression began, and when the bank in Fredericka, Iowa failed, the family moved into the bank building. There was a big vault and safety deposit boxes with little keys that Marilyn could use to open them. People had just abandoned them because their stocks were no good anymore. The stocks were colorful, with medallion designs on them, and she made paper dolls out of them.

Mom’s parents were known by their first names, Bernie and Ev, because there were three generations living under the same roof. During the Depression, they moved back to the farm. Mom said Bernie brought peanut butter sandwiches to share with coworkers. 

One time Mom’s family was out in their car. Bernie needed to stop for some reason, got out, and started doing sign language with a guy. Mom never knew Bernie knew sign language. It turned out he needed to learn it as a kid.

Bernie’s dad Glenn Harper walked a rope in the circus. Glenn had a brother who was also named Bernie, and he was the exact opposite of Glenn, more of a family man and church goer. As a young man he came to the aid of another man who lost his hand in a foundry accident, applying a tourniquet and saving his life. The man later became a judge and ended up hiring Marilyn’s great uncle Bernie to be a bailiff, so the family had an income during the depression. They had an apple orchard, and his wife baked bread for the neighbors. Coincidentally, great uncle Bernie’s son-in-law was a mason and laid the brick for Marilyn and Burton’s chimney on Churchill Street.

Marilyn’s grandmother Myrtle was struck by lightning twice and survived. Myrtle said that when the locusts came, they ate the clothes off the clothes line. Marilyn’s grandmother Ella kept an ax and a can of water in the storm cellar in case of cyclones. When mom was eight or nine the barn blew down and she loved helping the carpenter rebuild it. 

One time Marilyn and her brothers left a suitcase full of garbage on the highway as a prank. Another time they locked their Aunt Floss in the outhouse with some chickens.

Mom fondly recalled all the bridal showers she had, with her coworkers, church goers, high school buddies, jinx club girls, and some family friends who owned a hotel. One day she was working at the newspaper office and got a call from the post office saying they had a big package. Her coworkers said to go get it, so she did and brought it back and opened it. It was several sterling silver place settings from Burton’s relatives. The boss put them in the safe for her until the end of the work day.

One time Mom listed what she considered the seven wonders of the modern world. The Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Panama Canal, the Palace at Versailles, the Interstate Highway System, Christ the Redeemer, and the Hoover Dam.

Her list of natural wonders was a little bit longer. The Giant Redwoods, the Grand Canyon, Lake Superior, Cypress Gardens, Okefenokee Swamp, the Badlands, the Petrified Forest, Mammoth Cave, the Great Salt Lake, and the Great Plains.

While I may have a catalog of memories, at my core are the simplest of impressions.

Mom would tell us to “drive safe.” We heard it so often we became critical of the grammar, thinking it really should be an adverb, “drive safely.” But it was a constant reminder that she cared about us and valued us.

When we were young, we would wake Mom, and she would see us off to school. I remember her sitting at the bottom of the stairs, saying to cross the street and then turn right to go to school. I asked her which is left and which is right, and she said this is your left and this is your right. As we were leaving, she would say, “be good.” Be good.

In her final week, Mom’s quality of life declined to the point where she didn’t feel it was worth living. She wasn’t in pain, but she was so drained that she said she wished she had Dr. Kevorkian. She said it’s frustrating when you’re ready to die but you can’t. She talked about being with Burton. She thought about her parents, her son, her brother, and said, “All you guys. If there is a heaven, I’ll get to see those guys again. What do you think?”

Several years before her death, Mom told me that she wanted the song “Going Home” performed at her funeral. The music was composed by Antonin Dvorak and the words are by William Arms Fisher. Dvorak lived in Mom’s home state of Iowa for a time, and I remember seeing the Dvorak exhibit when we toured the Bily Clock Museum in Spillville, Iowa. The song talks about seeing your loved ones after you die. We will sing it now.

Going home, going home, I'm a-going home. 
Quiet-like some still day, I'm just going home. 
It's not far, just close by, through an open door. 
Work all done, cares laid by, going to fear no more; 
Mother's there expecting me, father's waiting, too, 
Lots of folks gathered there, all the friends I knew. 

Nothing’s lost all’s gain, no more fear or pain,
No more stumbling by the way,
No more longing for the day,
Going to roam no more…

Morning star lights the way, restless dream all done. 
Shadows gone, break of day, real life just begun. 
There's no break, there's no end, just a-living on; 
Wide awake, with a smile, going on and on. 
Going home, going home, I'm just going home. 
It's not far, just close by, through an open door.


Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Bless my homeland forever.