Voices of Changes from Standing Rock; the Efficacy of Peaceful Prayer, Direct Action as Prayerful, and more

At the end I hope we might have a bit of a discussion about prayer (including of the apatheistic sort) that was prompted by a long comment that TarheelDem had made earlier, spiritual awareness,  and whether or not both civil disobedience and direct action can be worthy tactics for either or both.

First, a press release from the Red Warrior Camp:

Red Warrior Camp has left the Lands and Waters of Oceti Sakowin” 

It’s long and I’ll copy liberally to bring what I believe is the overall sense of it.

“Grassroots leaders LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard, and Chase Iron Eyes from Standing Rock have also spoken and have made it abundantly clear that they want those equipped for the harsh North Dakota winter to stay and help stop DAPL, due to our current circumstance it is with great regret that we as Red Warrior cannot accept this heartfelt invitation. That is not to say we do not support this effort in fact is quite the opposite, we send our Warrior Salute and War Cry to the universe and the ancestors that their needs are met and they receive the love and support they need in the fight for clean water.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault has made it abundantly clear that a diversity of tactics in the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline is not respected nor wanted. We have this to say: without the courage and the actions of those who actually put their minds, bodies, and spirits in harms way the pipeline would be built. Without the Warriors who locked down and took measures to put a stop to the work on DAPL, the black blood would already be flowing under the Missouri river. The encampment itself would not even be here right now. The hard work of the Warriors has cost ETP millions, we have struck the Black Snake a deadly blow.”
[‘body blow’ may be more accurate, at least so far.]

The peace policing that was led by people who were for the most part self appointed used ceremony and spirituality as a weapon against us, they too have made it abundantly clear by their actions and their constant slinging of arrows that they are not ready to embrace a world view that upholds decolonization and revolution.” [long snip, but all of it is definitely worth reading their more radical perspective]

“We cannot stay and fight a battle for land and water that is heavily invested in neo-colonialism. We are so grateful to the grassroots people who have supported us while we have been here. It is not easy to say goodbye, we are deeply tied to this struggle and are not abandoning our post. This fight is not over yet, the pipeline is still being built, Energy Transfer Partners will push this pipe through unless there is a diversity of tactics that include direct action and no court ruling or legal manoeuvring will prevent that from happening alone; and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is heavily engaged in praying away a pipeline without action, this is in direct opposition to who we are as Warriors.

We are in a war to fight the greedy corporate whores who are pimping out our Mother for blood money and we say no more. Enough is enough, for over 500 years we have been brutalized and robbed, we are not victims looking for surcease we are Warriors fighting for our lives and the future. We cannot afford to allow our own corrupt leaders aid and abet this process, too many of our people are working for industry, too many of our people are selling out, we must remember the warrior blood that runs through our veins. We do a great disservice to ourselves and the People when we allow the values of white supremacist society to overshadow the knowledge of what it means to be a true human being.

Mother Earth is hurtin and she’s calling for backup.
Warriors rise up. FIGHT BACK!

In The Spirit Of Resistance,
Red Warrior Society”

They’ve vowed to recoup, and then take their actions any where on Turtle Island that they might be useful.  (Cue Tom Joad’s goodbye speech to his mama…)  You may remember a similar response from ‘Quebec Mohawk chief (Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon) had vowed civil unrest if B.C. pipeline moves forward’, montrealgazette.com  As in: ‘Direct action?  Sure, I’ll support them.’

Second,  ‘All Nations Camp Rises, Carrying on the Struggle’

Brenda Norrell, bless her, has created a bit of a transcript, but as it’s not open to copy paste, read it there or watch Chase Iron Eyes and other warriors speak to the changes.  I’ll try to hit the key ideas.  First, the Oceti Sakowin 7-Council fire was recent doused by a member who had lit the first one; Chase Iron Eyes noted that from events like that, new beginnings arise, and a new fire has been lit in the spirit of an ‘All Nations Camp’.  He says that there are a lot of rumors bringing fear and confusion, such as that the tribe will prevent others from coming, and that the Army Corps means to flood the camp.

He then names the three camps still housing about 2300 protectors: 1000 at All Nations, 1000 at Sacred Stone, and 300 at Rosebud.   Some are leaving the camp; winter is harsh, but cleansing.  What follows is a glorious crie de couer, beginning with an almost call-and response: “Who are we to abandon our struggle?  Who are we to abandon our ancestors’ sacrifices?”  (and much, much more).

Other protectors spoke, most interesting to me was what I’d teased about earlier: their need of Ghost Dancers.  A mixed blood Paiute said he was there with a descendant of the Paiute Wovoka who’d created the Ghost Dance in the 1890s, and as per Wovoka’s Dream,  if they continue together, keep their prayers strong, their ancestors will come back to help them.

Lakota Antone Edwards said “The other night, we those machines going all night; it’s not over, but we’ll stop it.”

Now some hard to read Dirty Laundry, but needs must, imo; from Susan Albuhawa of veteranstoday.com, ‘Chronicle Of Veterans At Standing Rock’, Dec. 11

It’s a very long chronicle, and distressing as all giddy-up to read, and tells a far more hideous story than even Diné Shiprock Chapter leader and veteran Chili Yazzie had led me to believe might lurk underneath his report.  This is the prelude:

“North Dakota – At Standing Rock, so much was not what it seemed from the distance of news headlines and reports. Up close, one could see the ideological tension in romanticized groups where some are driven by moral imperatives and others by personal glory. A hidden truth about the rank and file of the U.S. military was also laid bare. There are many untold contradictions behind the drama that unfolded at Standing Rock. Although this remains a people’s struggle against the capitalist interests of a corporate military state, there are moral inconsistencies that bear telling.”

FUBAR might be the military equivalent of her chronicle, as with:

“While social media and news reports gave the impression of orchestrated marches by the veterans, the reality was far more chaotic, uncertain, and at times frightening. In fact, the conflicting instructions and lack of organization by the leadership of the veteran’s group prevented a large proportion of them from actually reaching the camp. Instead, they were shuffled by an absent leadership from one town to another, for training or events that never took place. We were housed in gymnasiums between Eagle Butte, Fort Yates, and Cannonball, and some of us had to be moved more than once in the span of three days. Most echoed the sentiments of Marine Sergeant Jessica Palmadessa who described the veteran’s deployment as “a dog and pony show.”

At least according to Albuhawa, Michael Woods and Wes Clark, Jr. were essentially…jerks who shirked their chosen command responsibilities; her narrative on the PTSD of the stranded veterans as they told their stories concerning what their times in the military were heart-rending.  Her section on Redemption was inspirational.

Very sad news from Leonard Petier, Dec. 10: ‘Leonard Peltier on Passing of His Son [Medicine Shield]: Hard to be a Good Father from Prison’, via bbsnews.net

From Last Real Indians (Chase Iron Horse’s baby according to his estimable CV on ‘ironeyesforcongress.us) on twitter:

Now regarding prayer, including the drumming and singing sort, being central to the strong alliances and apparent sacred nature of the water protector camps, THD had mentioned that even since the Enlightenment, the fact that so many people still pray…indicated that ‘prayer works’, or something close to that.  While not really a believer, I like to pray, especially in thanks…and for others, much in the way I’m apt to light sweet grass braids before sleep, and smudge a list of people I care about in absentia.  While not directing those prayers to a deity, I send them up as one would praying inside a tipi or sweat lodge…up, up, up…into the planetary noosphere, or what Jung might have called ‘the collective conscious’, leading to jumps in evolutionary consciousness, sorely needed, especially now.  Whales, for instance, seem to communicate their new songs up and down the coasts with seemingly miraculous speed; or think Hundredth Monkey theory/effect, where ideas can spread quickly once some tipping point in a group is reached.  Paraphrased, one female water protector said, “My water speaks to their water; including to the water in the police.”

41 responses to “Voices of Changes from Standing Rock; the Efficacy of Peaceful Prayer, Direct Action as Prayerful, and more

  1. I’m hesitant to bring this WTF seemingly dirty laundry as per a letter from Southern Ute Kenny Frost, including the rebuttal from Dave Archambault once she’d asked for his comment on it. “Stockpiled Supplies and the Chairman’s Deal at Standing Rock’. via Censored News. You’ll likely want to read the comments as well. to me, archambault’s ‘suggestions and fixes’ read colder than frigid. “no name: return to sender”? pfffft x 10. he didn’t he even say that all those donations were indeed sent to the tribal offices’. just look at the piles of potentially helpful cartons.

    you decide.

  2. Interesting logistical situation if you don’t have enough workers to stay on top of it. Overall, it looks like a great victory in getting support of resources; we saw the same thing happen with Occupy Wall Street. There was a huge outpouring of support.

    Archambault’s rebuttal seems squirmy; the political reply of someone caught between two (or more) huge forces, one of which is popular will.

    Also interesting about the Defense Contractor set-aside for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that allows a facility that employs people. That is a huge point of pressure on the Tribal Council if it came to it. That the facility is operating as a temporary warehouse is interesting. Like to know whether that signals support of political pressure.

    The stack of generators is an interesting case. Where is the fuel to run the generators coming from and who is underwriting it? If there is no fuel, the generators are as good as paper weights or boat anchors.

    As for the experience of the camps close up and especially during the period of veterans’ support for the camps, reality is quite a bit more messy in movements than what livestreams, news reports, or history ever report. Especially in a North Dakota winter. Victories are messy, and temporary, but the denial of the crossing permit was a victory likely forced by the story of 2000 veterans coming to face down the militarized police.

    If the camps survive and prevail, the coming six months are going to be grueling, support somehow will need to continue for the three camps, and those away from North Dakota have the banks to pressure with the #NoDAPL campaign.

    Whatever prayers do, lots of cultural traditions have rituals for them and categorical understandings of them.

    One of the most frequent categorical understandings of prayer in Christian traditions is that they have to do with confession, gratitude, petition, and intercession. A focus on the real situation including one’s own limitations, maybe? An awareness of the gifts that one has available in the current situation? A list of requirements to get done what has to be done? An awareness that there is a cloud of witnesses and networks of colleagues in action? How do you bring these abstractions to ground?

    What is it that the Lakota understand about their prayer? In a practical sense that enables the movement to move? What keeps it together in the protracted and difficult times ahead?

    • that’s just it though; there *were* plenty of people who could have shifted the packages, as commenters said. the man claiming to be dallas goldtooth claimed that those items had been ordered by ‘last real indians’ which didn’t make sense…given that it’s chase iron eyes’ website. but as to the generators, does this clear it up, or muddy the waters? at any rate, as i’d said earlier, brenda carries ‘mohawk native news’, an (ahem) very edgy and polemical group. this is from their latest: ‘TRIBAL TROUGH’

      “Today Lakota Inc. chairman, Archie Archambault, and the military safeguarded the donated rations for the water protectors. They stockpiled the supplies, mail and packages in the Rock Industries Corporation warehouse, a US Defense contractor that the Lakota Tribe Inc. partners with. They supply military equipment to the National Guard and Army Reserve. The tribe supplies propane and maintains an elaborate telecommunication tower on Lakota territory. [Standing Rock Development Corporation Inc.]. Archie and the Lakota Tribe Inc. are refusing to accept all mail and packages for the water protectors.”


      dunno if you read the entire piece by susan albuhawa, but clark and wood did a terrible job, and only by the grace of others who took charge in organization, healing, defusing veterans’ ptsd as they languished in gymnasiums, were many potential crises averted. bless them.

      thanks for your categories of prayer types, but i guess i’d been hoping for more directly personal thoughts. you’d mentioned earlier that some of the tribal members were catholic (or episcopal?), and that once priest had said that “prayer is the action…before the action”. it sort of aligned w/ my notion that sending out prayers is best when it makes the sender…a better person (yeah, whatever that is, but i do believe our consciences know…if we listen in stillness).

      yes, the next six months will be rough, and perhaps chase is right: the winter will be cleansing, and i hope they can work out the factionalization into some form of harmony.

  3. jay dyer at jaysanalysis.com used the phrase “a liturgical view of the world” several times. he claims to be e. orthodox. no filioque clause for him!

    more later. cleaning is supposed to be sacred activity but at some point you gotta just stop making so much trash. holiday engorgement. lawd spare the turkeys & trees.

    • Apologies to both Jason and THD for scrambling your comments. Jason, thanks for that link. I cannot (and wouldn’t dream to) fault the theological/philosophical elements, but they remind me of a story I once heard about a doting mother who presented her precocious young son to a parish priest as a candidate for confession – (children are usually exempt though they do receive Communion from babyhood on.)

      The priest was dubious – “Do you really think he’s ready?” he asked. The mother was adamant, “Oh yes! He’s brilliant!” So, the priest took him inside. And the boy made a lengthy confession that would shame a bishop in its depth and profound awareness of the complexity of his sins, errors, shortcomings.

      Finally the two emerged from the little church. (The mother had waited outside as is usual when confessions are heard) Eagerly she approached them. “Well?” she said.

      “He’s not ready,” the priest replied.

      I think that many Orthodox blogs have this quality, though a few manage to overcome it.

    • nice song and images, jason, and i’m so glad that the clowns were only black and white. in general, clowns give me the willies! ;-) whooosh, i binged ‘filioque clause’ saw a bit about the controversy, and straightaway chose to back out.

      but yes, we do hear that cleanliness is right next door to dogliness; doesn’t that mean the dogs should clean up the turkeys?

      • notice how filthy the bad dude’s house is in season 1 of True Detectives. (all that newspaper readin’ drove him nuts?) i wouldn’t say cleanliness is next to godliness per se, but it’s closer to godliness than filth is, n’est pas ce? well, maybe not so black & white. but all human activity produces residues & unclean byproducts. that’s what the cultural fire does: destroy some things to make other things, w/a mess left over to be cleaned up. and fuck in this day & age & country an environmental cleanliness is next to saintliness. (yes, putting some time in as a janitor at a religious institution & sourpussily noting all the trash this holiday cheer generates, incl. trees & dead animals.)

        anywhodiddleydiddle, i think a “liturgical view of life” may be contrasted w/a capitalist, protestant, technocratic, utilitarian view of “stuff,” the material being of the world, Max Weber’s “protestantism has given us a disenchanted world.” you know, wherein something like this is completely baffling, something to scratch your consumerist noodle bald over:
        danger! does not compute.

        prayer? who knows? i’m praying to my Higher Self:

        • me and mah pony were rode hard today & put up wet. tomorrow, then, and i did grab a few links (one was jay’s) for you and juliania across a couple threads. way too done to say more for now.

        • nostalgie de la boue! homesickness. for the mud. in the age of the soap opera, this is funny:

          “over here, dennis. there’s some lovely filth over here!”

        • oh, my. thank you for the van morrison, how sublime, and somehow i’d never heard it before. baffling. i guess praying to our higher selves is a great concept for those of us who are either atheists or apatheists, but i confess i don’t want my feet to stay on the ground, but that my prayers lift me into the noosphere, and cleanse me at the same time.

          the tea ceremony: thank you. balancing our inner and outer worlds, yes, i catch your drift, but in a way…it does compute. no, i dunno max weber, you may not be surprised to learn. but i am looking forward to peeking into this at jay’s analysis: ‘Liturgy, Lilith and Satyrs‘, although scanning, ooof, it’s long, and his mention of Lilith isn’t what i’d hoped for, although i spied ‘gnostics’ (those heretics: god within? can’t have that!) and had wondered if he might not speak of ‘who decided which books should be included in the bible’? yes, my bias is showing. ;-)

          on edit: oh, i was just tryin’ to tease w/ you about the dogly clean-up since you’d seemed to have the glummies. i was thinking of the bumper stickers: doG is my copilot. i dunno, isn’t ‘sloth’ one of the seven deadly sins? i’d rather things were clean, or clean as i can get them in my current configuration. but we have a neighbor/friend who seems to pride himself on never cleaning. mr. wd says that by now there are major spider webs in the corners, w/ very satisfied occupants, and just typing that made the hair on my arms raise and give me The Shivers.

          i do sometimes wish we could afford to have someone come and wash the walls; i haven’t been able to climb a small ladder and do that for a number of years; ish. yanno, spring cleaning?

          “it must be a king. he hasn’t got shittt all over him.” (grin)

          • Apologies to all for not commenting on video links – they are verboten to me as I’m functioning courtesy of oldest son’s generosity and don’t want to exceed my welcome. I do remember very much enjoying the MontyPython football game (I think it was) between poets and philosophers back in the day.

            Sort of bracing myself for the First Crusade in Anna’s tale – don’t think I’m going to enjoy that much. Good thing the Russians were too busy having their Golden Age of Christianity and then dealing with Golden Hordes to get involved in those.

  4. Thank you for the above orthodox link, THD, I shall investigate. As to wendye’s call to investigate the power of prayer, I will say hers reached me this morning. I don’t usually come here first thing, but this morning I was compelled to do so. Take that for what it is worth – to me it’s a lot.

    I was going to add my .3 percent (as per my huge ss increase in January – can’t wait to get that) in a slightly different way than in reference to the filioque. I picked up from the mailbox freebees a paperback entitled “The Alexiad of Anna Comnena” having to do with the exploits of the Comnenes family told by the daughter of Alexis, a Byzantine emperor at the beginning of the twelfth century. (This may seem to have nothing to do with the subject, but bear with me.)

    wendye begins above with reference to the departure of the Red Warriors from the encampment, due it would seem to a conflict with regard to tactics they wished to employ and felt that they had employed successfully. The Red Warriors might feel the Comnenes were, if not brothers in spiritual ferocity, at least warriors in more than a spiritual sense. Mulling over a comparison of their standards of operation, the amazing thing to me is how closely Standing Rock in its entirety resembles and harks back to the power and examples of courage in Homer’s “Iliad”.

    So, back to my .3 percent – in simple terms, the Orthodox perspective on prayer harks back to Saint Paul’s injunction to ‘pray unceasingly’. I forget which group letter that was in, but I suspect he was in prison or on the way when he penned that, or at least when he thought of it. Some have taken the phrase literally and physically, by means of words in a phrase of their choosing repeated over and over, which reminds me rather of the Tibetan prayer wheel – just the physical act of spinning it being a prayer in itself. I prefer the other Saint Paul saying, which says he’d rather say a few words mindfully than be extremely loquacious (my paraphrase).

    And here I am being extremely loquacious. I’ll just add that as I was compelled to come here this morning, I was in my mind and heart calling wendye “wendybird”. Perhaps that is a soul word of a prayerful kind. Anyway, blessings to all.

    • such a good comment, juliania, although i wish i knew more about the Comnenes. (i’ll try to remember to look them up.) when i looked above at the OP, i discovered i’d pasted in a paragraph i’d not meant to instead of this, which may explain why i’d featured the red warriors first:

      “We are unapologetically Indigenous, we embody resistance, everything we do from eating rubber bullets for breakfast to holding our frontline has been done in a manner that is nothing but spiritual. We have great respect and love for prayer and ceremony and understand its place in a time of battle, many of our People are spiritual leaders in their own right and in their own territories. We are the answered prayers of our Ancestors embodied in the flesh, we are given a sacred duty to ensure the continuity of our Peoples way of life on this planet, and to protect the future for those spirits yet to come. This is a call to action to which no man or women can or should deny in these precarious times.”

      these were the warriors whose direct actions i’d shown over time; noting that they had staked themselves out as lakota and cheyenne warriors sometimes did in battle. defense to the death, really. tethering themselves to a stake they planted in the ground. the photo in their press release link showed that. one had even chained himself underneath a bulldozer, although the mercenaries did cut him away and arrest him eventually.

      prayer wheels: i have a necklace i made on a black silk cord; it came by way of a yard sale or some such w/ a hammered silver cross on it. i added many knots that supported two small prayer wheels, a taoist bead, an askenazi sephardic star of david, a tiny dream-catcher, some i ching coins, and so on. when my spirits are ‘like water swirling down the drain’, i’m apt to go put it on…that it might lift them a bit.

      i’m so glad that you heard my thoughts calling you in; it matters to me as well. thank you.

      • I know very little about the period, wendye (the book calls them the ‘Comneni’, the author being Anna Comnena. I will bring more as I investigate – it is all very Byzantine but the link appeared to be very warrior and very spiritual. Hard for me to connect the two, especially as the warrior side was very brutal indeed in those days.

        Jason’s remark about filioque applies also, as I’m thinking 9th to 10th century was when that matter came to a head and divided the churches – Anna has certainly no love for the pope – her ‘Roman Empire’ doesn’t seem to include Rome in fact. The ‘Normans’ from southern Italy are invading her father’s realm as I read, while the Venetians are sailing to his aid, and the Turks making noises about coming ( but not really.)

        • bless your willingness, ww. i did poke about a bit, and discovered there were apparently two alexios komneneoses (komneneosi?), the first having ruled in the 11th century, yes. the small bit of looking didn’t seem to make a case for spirituality alongside the brutality, but did feature the history of his having convinced other nations, nation/states to conquer (?) some nations he wanted conquered, some turks and some normans, leading to the crusades. so your report from anna;s book sounds about right. ;-)

          but i did collect a couple links about methane, clouds, and hurricanes, but i couldn’t find much on ‘ocean health’, save for a few articles that said that the 90s theory hadn’t even borne out on shorelines or various bays. but really, it’s not really a priority for me to prove anyone wrong, and those links are in one i just closed in favor of one for a new diary. and the earlier one is about nine pages long. if you really would like me to, i’ll try to find them when i have the time.

          sorry to be in such haste again, i swear! ;-)

  5. i’m looking forward to reading the comments thus far, and thank you. i’m on a bit of a break as i got waylaid in making my ‘yessir, yessir, four loaves full’ of bread. it’s my birthday, and rather unusually, both our chirren called to wish me happies. son said he’d call again, as he was in a hurry. he’s back home in northern colorado, will ship out to abu dhabi on saturday.

    mr. wd gave me a card w’ a night sky full of stars, w/ a quote by henry van dyke:

    “be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and play and to look up at the stars.”

    i see “wendybird’ up yonder; i ♥ it! peter pan?


    Oh yes, must be Peter Pan influence – I hadn’t thought! But you enjoy this day, y’here?! And fly wherever you need to fly!

    • ta, juliania! and bet laid plans of mice and wendybirds and all that…fambly communications are hummin’; an old auntie of mr. wd’s tranistioned/crossed over/died last night, so…i’ll be back after a bit.

  7. yes, happy birthday. there’s magic all up in this biyyatch! clowns! enjoy some kwusty the kwazy kwown:

    maybe we’d have to know what “power” is to know if prayer “works”?

    • er…thanks, but i’ll pass on those clowns as clowns. but sure to power, plus what is one, or in this case, are the various protectors praying for? unity, strength, safety from the po-po, killing the snake, moving the snake, staying ‘peaceful’ (what a wide term, no?). which i suppose is why i’d chosen the term ‘efficacy of peaceful prayer’ to begin with, as per the red warriors’ statement and beliefs, especially.

      i hate to say it again, but needs must. ‘must answer’ e-correspondence is mounting up, and i need to bake xmas goodies for mr. wd’s papa, and take care of a few other things. i’ll be back on breaks, and bless all of your cotton-pickin’ hearts for everything, including b-day wishes. one more year into my old crone-hood. ;-)

      • “Krusty, how could you lend your name to such an inferior product?”
        “[sobbing his krusty sob] They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house. i’m not made of stone.”

        well let me ax you a question: should we be praying for the weather to break? those pipeline fuckheads will endure rain, sleet, snow, catastrophic climate change, Jove’s bolts, Roland Emmerich-style blizzard, etc., etc.. we know that cuz they are already are doing that.

        They probably have some Noah’s Ark thing up & ready for The End but they have to suck every last ounce of carbon energy out of the ground before they can launch this Elysium-style-orbital-city into space for them to chill out in for a couple of hundred years or so till the Earth is…reborn? after we all kill each other off, of course. so, you know, the pipeline builders & the oil protectors don’t take any hints about their actions from the storm around them. just a theory.

        “if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed…” i grew up among christiards who really believed that if they believed strong & hard enough, mountains would move. many of them spoke in tongues, danced sometimes even. in church. the intensity of telling oneself you really believe something can make it so. if that ain’t magical thinking, what is?

        • The closest example I can think of to faith as a grain of mustard seed moving mountains would be that of a parent whose child is under the tires of a heavy vehicle (perish the thought). There have been examples of a superhuman effort in such cases where a person couldn’t be thought physically capable – it has to be an extreme effort out of the emotional attachment and all that involves.

          Or the belief that one can exceed one’s normal capacity in any sort of endeavor, which athletes strive for and which babies possess as they are learning to walk. Now that amazes me – how come they keep trying when they keep falling down? ;)

          The faith that can move mountains yet is as small as a mustard seed simply tells me it’s a rare but infinitely precious commodity . Even the disciples didn’t have it. But in crisis, at a critical moment, who is to say?

          There’s the desperate father in the Gospels – he wants his son to be healed and calls out “I believe – help thou my unbelief!” Contrast this to the words given to the Canaanite woman: “O woman, great is your faith!”

          To me these are spirit in action, amazingly vivid life events. I don’t believe I can move mountains, but that doesn’t mean a mustard seed’s worth of faith couldn’t do it. After all, look at the power in a teeny tiny atom. I wouldn’t have believed that either.

  8. Happy Birthday, wd. Here’s a little bit of YouTube kitsch, posted sound unheard. Hope it turns out well.

  9. mornin’, all. i’ve been scouting around a bit for news, and for now, these:

    censored news alerted us to this (no copy/paste there), so i went to the source: Shaun King on Facebook: “Today I received this audio from a person who claimed to be in a corporate meeting about at Energy Transfer Partners – the company in charge of building the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    It appears to be authentic.I am told the person speaking here is Matthew Ramsey, the COO of Energy Transfer Partners, and that the recording was made earlier today.
    Please pay attention to what happens at 6:30 into the audio.”

    no surprise, of course. and…

    via reuters: “Justice Department won’t send officers to Dakota Access pipeline protest
    “The Justice Department tells The Associated Press that the agency thinks additional officers might escalate tensions, not ease them.
    The department also says it has offered training and technical assistance to local officers and worked to foster dialogue among law enforcement and pipeline opponents who’ve been camped on federal land for months.”

    well, yay-usss; so has (tada!) FEMA. from muckrock, December 13, 2016: ‘FEMA Field Force manual offers protesters insights into the future of crowd control’; Training modules sent to the North Dakota DOC during #NoDAPL describe protesters and how to control them

  10. Interesting that the Center for Domestic Preparedness is located in Anniston, Alabama.

    It is also interesting that this training has moved from Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) in 2011 to FEMA in 2016–with a lot of the same Israeli-consultant tropes.

    FEMA now has expanded from natural disaster recovery to protest suppression, supplementing the Federal Protection Service and other elements of DHS in that role.

    Well, no wonder the cops in North Dakota seemed to not know what they were doing excepting exerting their sadist impulses on the protectors. Interesting that sleeping dragons get included with offensive tactics like smoke grenades and more aggressive tactics like calthrops. Interesting smear tactic.

    • in fact, when i’d first typed that comment i’d used DHS, then looked again. now i don’t remember PERF, i guess, but then i didn’t click into the long version, either, in my haste. perhaps you simply knew pref and have recalled it.

      but we’re supposed to take on faith that ‘all dissent will be summarily dealt with under trump’, aren’t we?

      but the kitschy birthday owl: what a hoot! (so to speak); thank you. oddly enough, an owl story from last night.

      before bedtime, i opened the exterior bedroom door to say ‘goodnight moon’, and heard a sincerely odd sound from toward the front of the house. the closest critter i could compare it to was an exceedingly loud canada goose, but a single skronnnnk at a time. just in front of me, but a bit more distant, came a loud hoot or two from an owl. baffled, i took my x-files flashlight out onto the porch and cast its lit gaze about the yard. all of a sudden, an enormous white bird launched itself skyward, perhaps the size of the golden eagle who is a tale for another time.

      the owl hooted once or twice more…then silence. sadly, my light must have chased the off. but who that big white bird was i would love to know. its call reverberated in my very soul for quite some time. it may have had some threads of tan in its wings, but my…what a wingspan! the only comparable odd visitor i’ve ever hear here had to have been the scream of a mountain lion, but that sound raises the hair on one’s arms and neck, whooosh.

  11. somewhat OT, but one of my very well-off lib colleagues said something like, “we are really going to have to think about things…make some decisions…b/c of Trump.” uh huh. this from someone whose politics if you scrutinized w/an electronic microscope you would not find a quirky sparky quark of criticism of the obama admin. i wouldn’t trust any Anne Franks to these people, that’s for sure, for all their heroic talk.

    i suppose if one were to offer up a prayer at this point it might be: may we all live up to our rhetoric.

    • not OT by my lights, jason. in fact, i’d almost pointed out that ‘the fema manual’ and sundry other hideous militarized responses to social anti-oppression movements have happened under obama’s rule.

      dunno the answer to your questions up yonder, but this is the first time anyone on the thread has alluded to ‘faith’, although your example is about moving a mountain is extreme: ( the intensity of telling oneself you really believe something can make it so. if that ain’t magical thinking, what is?)

      but allow me to stretch a point to the brink: isn’t your O friend doing a similar thing w/ his blind O support? at what point are hope and faith on the same vector, esp. in the amerikan duopolistic political realm? srsly, one of the emails i needed to answer was from a friend who hangs out at a ‘librul’ website at which 99% of the commentariat believe that both the gates foundation and clinton foundation are actually philanthropic ‘endeavors’. at what point does a peep decide to plus their eyes and ears to all available contrary information? or is it ever a conscious decision?

      • Get thee glass eyes;
        And like a scurvy politician, seem
        To see the things thou dost not-Lear.

        getting people to believe things is the most potent form of power. hand out the obama-colored glasses on, e.g., certain news channels, and people will see all kinds of things that don’t exist. “obama ended torture.” hello Gitmo. if you asked some of these people for one, just ONE statistic about *anything* obama has done, they could not provide it. what can one say about this willful blindness? they can listen to an in-depth scary PBS report on e.g. fracking causing earthquakes, massive water pollution, etc., and, mimicking the program itself, make not even the tiniest connection to the guy practically handing out the fracking permits. the BP disaster was on the news for weeks and weeks and weeks. i guess cuz the contracts, plans, etc., for Deepwater Horizon were, presumably, drawn up under the bush admin, it ain’t obama’s fault. He didn’t cause Fukushima, you know. cut him some slack. he’s trying! like the NYT reports today, those awful, awful Republicans have been using *the courts* to thwart Obama’s initiatives and…there’s a Lacanian mobius strip quality to this faith, evidence-less faith, in the donkey party.

        • ooof. that mobius strip psych theory just tripped me right off the edge of the world. i looked further and see that it’s a theory that bears exploring, esp. as i’d been saying something to perhaps shoot that arrow about the images in my mind stretching….and stretching. mebbe i’m one of them scary psychos? kinda kidding, but it also caused me to want to see the scenes in which rust explained his credo to the woody harrelson character on ‘self’ and more.”heh. the short version never mentioned that if one cuts a mobius strip in two…lengthwise, it ends up as …two untwisted hoops. where do you learn all this stuff, anyhoo? sleep well, or mebbe you already are.

          • i’m not sure i get it, model of consciousness. but as this “faith in the democratic party,” it’s perfect: where does it begin and where does it end? why does it keep flipping & inverting itself, this little engine that could circling the strip of the mind?

            “By doing this Lacan illustrates, far better than yin/yang ever could, how the opposed terms are continuous and co-existing without boundary.” (from the link.) yeah, i don’t fully buy it. there are acts in the world that cut across (not along) the mobius strip of consciousness. on the love/hate divide, shooting the fire hoses on freezing protestors…well, you get the point.

            winter storm decimate, i mean decima, is upon us. Everybody chill out! how can the world be getting hotter if it’s so damned cold out?

            • the author, i think, was talking more about the complexity of ‘self as other’, and as for love/hate topological stretching, he (and freud, and sarte and a couple cultural anthropologists i found), might be by way of validating the notion that the vicious po-po at standing rock could tell themselves that the love: their families, the free market, and free-dumb, thus giving themselves a free pass on hosing, macing, rubber-bulleting, percussion-bombing…their adversaries, which have also, of course, been turned into ‘the other’ as defined by the state.

              many bring up ‘cognitive dissonance’ regularly, but my understanding of that includes that holding two conflicting ideas, tropes, facts at one time brings discomfort to the mind’s owner, which is categorically not true, as per your npr-like disconnects. yeah, compartmentalization doesn’t quite answer that to me.

              yes, convincing ACC deniers that weather is not climate is harder than one might suppose. anyway, thanks, i may try to look further along those lines, although w/ scant time…who knows?

              • i buy that. i was too quickly dismissive.

                • ah, i was just spit-ballin’, jason, but it’s an interesting concept that seems to have piqued my imagination. when we read on the #fake left (dems, i guess?) that syria’s debacle is totally down to evil assad and putin, it gives me that same chill of utter disbelief…that they all jut assume that the reports from the scribes to the empire write, and without ever questioning it.

          • your mention of rust from T.D. s. 1 got me thinking about this mobius strip/doubling of self in relation to the serial killer genre, esp. movie/tv. Rust’s “nihilism” & “staring into the abyss” is necessary for him to be able to see into the heart of a not-very-nice child torturer & killer. like Clarisse Starling saving the little lambs, Rust is really rescuing his own daughter, or rather obtaining redemption for the daughter he failed to rescue from the car accident. so the cop is the doubled-self, but a better self, than the bad guy. cf. Frenzy, Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, etc.

            and thus the cops at Standing Rock? yeah, i see that. but “the deed in the world”…it must do something to this process of self-doubling where one can rationalize shooting water at freezing protestors. not sure…

            • in fact many of the criminal detective series we’ve been watching feature ‘redemption’ as motives, even in some twisted way for the killers. or more accurately: revenge as redemption. but yes, a cop’s bad self in search of redemption, but the mobius strip author says or implied: “one must know the dark to know the light”, or maybe rather ‘to appreciate the light’.

              i had to look up clarisse starling. it seems i must have tried to watch that film many times before…having to stop. too powerful, i expect.

              i’m not sure about what the freezing water shooting cops imagine/believe about themselves, but as we’ve seen w/ almost all the failed prosecutions of killer cops in the past five years, perhaps they simply find refuge in their militarized orders, as well as the many police unions that practically give them medals for their ‘bravery’ in support. anyhoo, i found rust’s ‘pessimism’ credo and one a tent revival. one includes ‘the final relief i see in the deads’ eyes’. not the one i’d been looking for i think, but is it okay if i email them to you rather than stick them here?

              oh, i haven’t seen Red Dragon, either.

            • well, the serial killer genre is about as much fantasy as any other genre. how big a threat is a Bundy or Dahmer type? Son of Sam is the reason for the policin’, huh? as American Psycho said, “I musta killed 40 people! oh, and i ate some of their brains and, uh, tried to cook a little.”

              silence of the lambs? it’s a very dour, drab, gray, dark experience. i’ve seen that movie, mostly in bits & pieces cuz it’s *always* on TV, so many times i can’t get into the story but only dissect its technique of terror: the music, lighting, etc., its manipulations as our plucky heroine relives the tragedies of her youth as she’s battling wits with/engaging in her own therapy and/or tracking down two serial killers. and it’s satisfying when Jodi Foster blows the bad guy’s brains out in rescuing one of his almost victims even as the *real* bad guy, thanks to her, escapes prison. to be re-encountered later in the vile, truly dreadful, “Hannibal.” none of the rest of the movies in this series is worth any time, but SotL is very well done.

              nothing ghastly or gruesome, just some dialogue b/n the hero Clarice & the real bad guy, Hannibal.

  12. hard to know what words one might utter:

    ‘modestly good news’, jordan?

    “New Mexico state Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, a member of Trump’s Native American Coalition who attended the meeting, said it helped “dispel a lot of the rumors that were circulating” regarding how Trump might approach Native American relations. Clahchischilliage said there were rumors in some circles that Trump was skeptical about Native American sovereignty or might get rid of the Indian Health Service, the federal agency that provides health care to Native American people.”

    from reuters on the big T’s privatization of rez mineral rights:
    ““The backgrounds of the coalition’s leadership are one sign of its pro-drilling bent. At least three of four chair-level members have links to the oil industry. Mullin received about eight percent of his campaign funding over the years from energy companies, while co-chair Sharon Clahchischilliage – a Republican New Mexico State Representative and Navajo tribe member – received about 15 percent from energy firms, according to campaign finance disclosures reviewed by Reuters.”

    but yeah, IHS eradication is the red herring. but of course there’s a possibility that T might decide to respect tribal sovereign rights… mebbe as much as O has?

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