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to counter HRC's inevitable presidential candidacy.  It will be a neat trick if Hillary runs unopposed for the Democratic nomination and on a platform that heavily favors Wall Street and the ACA . . .

I will support any Democratic nominee.  But, in the primary, I will support the liberal candidate over the centrist candidate.  If Senator Sanders throws down, I will support him.  We need a truly progressive candidate to draw us further to the left.  For the last 30ish years, we have been consistently drawn to the right.  It is long overdue for us to have a true liberal, progressive candidate like Sen. Sanders take any sort of leadership in our national discussion.

I know that HRC championed healthcare reform.  I know where her politics are because she has be very consistent about where they lie over the intervening years of the Clinton Administration to present day.  I know that she courts monied interests more than the everyday American who actually supports the American economy.  I know that she votes for the wealthy to pay more than the middle class.  I know that she balances the best with the worst of American politics.  But, I still want a populist, radically liberal candidate to challenge HRC on her unstoppable march to the White House.  

We, as a nation, deserve a more progressive and inclusive national political discussion about how we can all chase after and catch the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We deserve an honest and unmitigated discussion about how we can each ask what we can do for our country, rather than ask what our country can do for us.  Rather than taking, we need to reinvest in the idea of giving back to the rest of the country, as much as each of us can, for the betterment of the entire US.

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I must apologize for the actions my United States Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden.  I did not think that this stalwart of progressive ideals, this champion of everyday Oregonians would vote for such a rash and unthinkable action as to allow a fast track for TPP.  I called his office, I sent him an email.  I spoke out against his continued support for this secretive and potentially detrimental action.  

I have supported Sen. Ron Wyden's election and re-election campaigns throughout the years.  I canvassed for him.  I even had the honor of shaking his hand as he stood up for equal rights for all his constituents.

But, this is a bridge too far.

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Fri Apr 17, 2015 at 04:32 PM PDT

What do you know about science?*

by AKBear

I wrote a diary on the rise of cancers among First Nations peoples for this last Monday Night Cancer Club.  It sparked quite the conversation.  I learned that there is also a misconception that the First Nations peoples had no sense of "science," as defined by a couple of commenters generally as the mode of study wherein a person formulates a hypothesis, builds a study and then publishes that study and it's finding for peer review.  This style of science comports with how most Westerners are taught to view "science," and is one version of science.  But, it is not the only version of science.

For centuries, many First Nations peoples have practiced their own version of science, based on observation and testing of hypotheses based on observations.  Many First Nations peoples have had very able scientists on a wide range of disciplines.  Some First Nations peoples employed these scientific findings to increase agricultural harvests, increase the efficiency of hunting practices and even woven them into traditions as to how to live more in concert with their environments.

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For a little while now, First Nations' types across the US, from the Arctic to our southernmost part, have seen an uptick in deaths from cancers.  It seems to coincide with the increased reliance upon pesticides and herbicides being sprayed to control various vectors and "weeds."

So, what does this have to do with the rise in cancers among First Nations' types?

Well, traditional ways of gathering and preparing materials for basket weaving, for food and for a variety of daily tasks often involves collecting these materials in traditional areas that are now under control of local, state or federal governments.  It also means that these traditional "wild areas" are not so while as they once were -- chemical agents are sprayed to control what the governments consider vectors, "weeds," or unwanted plants.

A variety of willows are used for traditional basket weaving.  These same willows are considered weeds by the governments that control the land upon which they grow and are heavily sprayed to kill them.  Then, the basket weavers go out, collect herbicide covered willow and begin working their materials.  I am a little fuzzy on exactly how to prepare willow for basketry, but I do know that most traditional tools include using the teeth and fingers to pry and peel.  By the time the weavers know something is wrong, their health has already been adversely affected.  It should also be noted that willows love water and usually tend to grow close to waterways . . . so, those herbicides are then spread downstream to other populations.

This is just one example.

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Mon Apr 13, 2015 at 10:43 AM PDT

The Art of Building Consensus

by AKBear

Across many First Nations' cultures, the idea of building consensus was a natural and harmonious way of living.  There were no rigid hierarchies in these societies, just people who did some jobs better than others.  Everyone could cycle through leadership positions within a community.  One person might have learned the language of another tribe the best, so s/he would be volunteered to talk to a visiting delegation.  Another person might have better skill at finding and using medicines, so s/he would be the healer.  Another person might be really good at calling in animals to eat for dinner, so s/he would lead hunts and train new hunters.  Maybe someone did excellent basketry and knew all sorts of different kinds of ways to make baskets.  S/he would be in charge of teaching new weavers.  Maybe someone was fairly good at everything, then they would help out wherever they were needed.  Elders held the stories and the genealogies and the histories and the traditions -- they may not be as fleet of foot, but they kept traditions alive so that the next generations could learn.

When a community needed to make a decision, they did not work on the "top-down" model.  They worked cooperatively to build agreement within the community about how to address a situation.  Elders were essential to building consensus because of their status as knowledge holders.  Elder women, in particular, were respected for their wisdom as they both guided life into being and helped life pass on to the next world.  They tended to hold more genealogy and history mainly because there may be very few men who made it to elderhood or (*disclaimer: I am offering humorous speculation here*) maybe because elder men tended to remain somewhat childlike even in advanced age.

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Sat Apr 11, 2015 at 05:37 PM PDT

Matriarchy vs. Patriarchy

by AKBear

In the last few weeks, I've had several discussions with people about matriarchy and patriarchy in social structures, matrilineal and patrilineal ways of viewing the world.  And, what I've found out is rather amazing.

A lot of people think that matriarchy is the exact opposite in structure as patriarchy.  Patriarchy is what most people see these days in dominant, mainstream societies -- being governed by men, having judiciaries dominated by men, children taking the man's last name, the old idea in the modern practice of coverture in Christian, straight marriage, the veneration of old white guys throughout history and the nearly-complete disregard to women's contribution to that history, etc, etc, etc.

Matriarchy, following this logic, would be the complete subjugation of men to women and follow the strict hierarchical structure inherent in patriarchy.  I can see why matriarchy is such a scary idea to those deeply invested in patriarchy . . . and, I'm here to offer some reassurance by offering what matriarchy looked like in pre-contact Americas.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 at 04:15 PM PDT

Why You Shouldn't Run from Bears

by AKBear

It should be self explanatory why you shouldn't run from bears.  But, for those needing a quick primer:  1) they can run faster than you 2) they get hungrier than you 3) does there need to be a #3?  Black bears are the most unpredictable -- best to wave your arms around wildly, making a bunch of noise and make yourself look much bigger than you are.  They scare pretty easily, comparatively.  But, if they insist on eating you, drop to the ground and play dead (see "Brown bears" for more on playing dead).  Brown bears also will generally flee if you wave your arms around wildly and scream loudly.  If they don't and come closer for a meal, drop to the ground, face down, covering the back of your neck with your hands and play dead until they leave.  Polar bears, will eat you no matter what, so whatever you do, try to sock them in the nose, gouge their eyes or stuff mittens down their throats before you run: as Cobra Kai was wont to say, "If he can't breathe, see or run, he can't fight!" Or something like that.

And now, what I really wanted to talk about:

Nationalism versus Patriotism

As the Republicans take control of both of our houses of Congress, with the rise of more movies and tv shows like "American Sniper," I want to take a moment to more clearly define "nationalism" and "patriotism."  People seem to use these terms nearly interchangeably, and it annoys me.

I talk with people on mass transit or engage in conversation at the lunch counter or just begin conversing on the street after being accosted by some random dude (usually it's a guy . . . rarely is it a woman).  It seems I attract the more verbose, bellicose and belligerent types who want nothing more than to shout at me about the most amazing topics.  This gift both greatly amuses and severely annoys me.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 at 01:49 PM PDT

Musings on Stuff

by AKBear

Yesterday, I got a huge surprise.  I had written a little response to a diary by rachel191, in which I offered my opinion on her diary and why I was so generally amused about the debate regarding Hobby Lobby.  Then, people started recommending it.  Then, people started commenting on it!  And then, and then, and then!!!! Steven Payne recommended it for top comments (only I didn't realize Steven had recommended my comment, I thought he'd recommended another comment to my comment, which was really well written . . .), followed by Youffraita!!!!!!!!!  OMG!!!!

The biggest honor was getting top billing last night in Brillig's Top Comments.  Then, I reviewed the comments, and saw that more than one person wanted a diary based on my comment.  Youffraita also responded to me via message saying that I should make a diary of my comment.  I had to sleep on it . . . I was thinking of adding to it, but have decided to just let it stand as is.  So, without further ado, my previous comment, in diary form today:

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Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 11:40 AM PDT

Tribalism

by AKBear

Tribalism:

Syllabification: trib·al·ism

According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Noun:

1.) The state or fact of being organized in a tribe or tribes.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Loyalty to a tribe or other social group especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group.

Full Definition of TRIBALISM
1:  tribal consciousness and loyalty; especially :  exaltation of the tribe above other groups
2:  strong in-group loyalty

(you can also look "tribalism" up in Wikipedia -- it makes for an interesting read, though I do not agree with all of the article)

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Sun Feb 01, 2015 at 01:19 PM PST

Here is my basic problem

by AKBear

with the Religious Right and other religious types who want to retain the right to discriminate against all those who are different from them:

They do not see where their rights end and others' rights begin.  If they call themselves "Christians," they forget that one of the biggest teachings of Jesus Christ was to practice their own religion in their own home or in their houses of worship, but not to go blatantly traipsing around quoting Scripture, using His name to "spread the word of God," praying in public or other public displays of religion (PDR).

I am less well-versed in other religions, but rarely do I run in to evangelical Buddhists who insist that I pray like them, join one of their monasteries or otherwise walk around in full view of others showing PDR.

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 at 10:47 AM PST

Grand Juries and Other Worries*

by AKBear

Let's review our current events over the last month or so that culminated in the Thanksgiving surprise by Mr. McCulloch and then the finding by the grand jury in Staten Island.  To say that there has been a lot of discussion about racism and how it played out in these two cases (and all the others that have been discussed here in recent history) is a bit of an understatement.  A lot of people are justifiably mad as hell and not going to take it any more.  I don't blame them.

The idea I had in writing this diary is to explore the historical context which led to the most recent events.  And, I also wanted to discuss what a grand jury is used for, how it can be manipulated by district attorneys and why we need to discuss an overhaul to our judicial process.  I still have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I hope it turns out well.

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 at 01:05 AM PST

Racism in America: Black, White and Red

by AKBear

There was an article over the AP wires a few days ago titled, "Black lawmakers against recognition of Va. tribe."  Now, most of you will most likely say, "Yeah?  So what?  Who cares if some Indians get federal recognition?"

I care.  Very deeply.  Especially in this time of heightened racial tensions.  Everyone should at least pay passing attention to this rather extreme example of Black on Red racism that only benefits Whites by splitting minority groups apart, not allowing us to form any sense of solidarity to demand equality in our society.

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