Saturday, January 23, 2016

David Talbot, the Dulles brothers, Peter Dale Scott, Public Order, Latigo Wind Farm, Global Arms Trade and a poem by Logan Files

At play on The Devil’s Chessboard

POST WWII HISTORY … Ever since high school, I’ve been a history junkie. It was George Orwell in his prophetic novel 1984 that had the book’s tyrannical regime chanting in lockstep, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Hard not to see the truth of that thought. Visit some of our nation’s largest reservations to squelch any doubts … Many of us contest the idea of American exceptionalism, but having been conceived in war and born in peace, I share a narrow slice of American historical perspective than only a handful of us can claim. We have lived our lives amid an isolated peace while watching our dispersed troops mired in foreign wars, trainings, and police actions … Still, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the times of those years after World War II when I first grew up – listening to mom’s kitchen radio speak of Stalin’s death at 5 and seeing at 7 my first TV image, which happened to be the atomic bomb blast at the Bikini Island test site …. But it’s taken David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard (HarperCollins, 2015) to clarify the murk of the recent past with its intentional mud-making and trap-door narratives. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the cabal of elite interests that ran what historian Peter Dale Scott took to calling our “deep politics.” I may not have understood exactly who had the Kennedys killed, but I knew it wasn’t the “official” line. I knew that the Gulf of Tonkin falsification at the start of the Vietnam War, like the Weapons of Mass Destruction falsification at the start of the Iraq War, were far too convenient excuses not to have been at least “helped along” if not entirely fabricated … Still, it took Talbot’s book to really understand the insidious dark gloves of the Dulles Brothers in America after the Second World War -- Nixon’s rise to power, McCarthyism, the creation of the CIA, the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The list goes on & on … No two men have done more harm to the world and America’s role in it, at the behest of the 1%, than John Foster and Allan Dulles. This is history’s indictment. Be vigilant. Read this book. Know what to expect in our future … Highly recommended.

PUBLIC ORDER … Disorderly conduct at public meetings disrupt the public process. Those who run meetings have to balance the responsibility to meet an agenda of public items to be discussed and decided upon, with the people’s right to be heard and give witness. And those who attend meetings to listen or give comment have to act civilly and follow the rules of the Board, such as not speaking without being recognized by the Chair and addressing questions to the Board and not other audience members … San Miguel County, like other public entities, has its own rules of responsible conduct at public meetings. The Chair always has the right to gavel quiet any disturbance for the good of the order. And the need for quiet during deliberations is even more acute when the Board has someone participating by phone … Everyone realizes that sometimes very controversial issues are discussed in public meetings (or public hearings, which are much more formal and have quasi-judicial rules applied). Emotions can run high. The need for order is essential … All our citizens and outside observers are always welcome to come join us for public meetings. At every meeting of the San Miguel County Board of Commissioners, we try to reserve a 15-min. space near the end of the public agenda for public discussion. There’s no limit on topics – things discussed earlier in the day or something completely different -- although there is a time limit on discussion. But if the issue is important enough, the Board could decide to agendize the matter at a later date … In San Miguel County you should expect to be treated fairly and equally in public meetings, and reciprocally we would ask our citizens to be respectful of the County’s orderly process.

ODDITEMS … Been over to see the giant turbines in Monticello? The Latigo Wind Farm is visible from Dove Creek and contains 27 massive towers. With an estimated price tag of $125 million, the project is “the largest private investment in San Juan County (UT) history,” according to the Dove Creek Press … As America appears to be closing its “open arms” policy to immigrants, the U.S. continues to lead the world in the global arms trade. According to The Week, America (#1) and Russia (#2) account for 58% of the international arms trade, with China moving up to a weak third with 5% of the market (pushing out former third place Germany.


Up To Bat

Selected first up to bat,
Held in tight hands, shaking with fear.
Strike one!
Firmly pounded on the plate.
Strike two!
Pounded on the plate,
Slung over a shaking shoulder,
The pitcher’s hand recoiled,
In the air, perfect pitch.
Advancing through the air,
Over the fence…
Tossed to the ground.
Bubbling excitement inside a strong metal body,
Disrespectfully shoved in a bat bag,
Harshly thrown in the car,
Carelessly tossed in a shed.
Three dents new.

-Logan Files


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jim Boyd, Ninja Cookies, Kyra Kopestonsky, Science Ethics, Odd Bodkins, Talking Gourds and a poem on the Gunnison Sage Grouse

 Slipping into the mystery

JIM BOYD … Guess I’m still reeling from his quick leaving. Heard around Christmas there might be some issues. Wasn’t prepared last week to hear of his hospitalization. Then hospice. And within a couple days, he was gone … Both his wife Ellen and daughter Mari are strong women, but our hearts go out to them. It’s wrenching when such a loss comes so suddenly … I had a hand in bringing Jim and Elle together, back when Jim was a fresh-faced Natural Resource Conservation Service agent for the USDA, batching it in Norwood. And Elle was a river rat poet friend done rafting the Animas in La Plata County and scouting for a new home … And we’ve had our share of holiday dinners, djembe drumming lessons, ice-fishing at Miramonte, helping load 25-lb. native seed bags onto a Olathe spray plane to drop over the Burn Canyon Burn post-fire. On the County Open Space Commission Jim was a voice of moderation and reason, an ally in looking at how NRCS programs might dovetail with a County Regenerative Ag project … He turned a bare sloping lot west of Norwood into handsome rural grounds – a pond, firepit, garden, yard, workshop, sheds and a snug south-facing shelterhome of compact design with lots of light. Built most of it himself … When Mary passed, he bought a pine seedling to plant behind her yurt. Helped us dig a hole and shoe it in. That memorial pine is chest high today … As I wrote in a poem, “A comrade in arms, legs & getting things done.” May we remember his positive, creative, generous spirit.

SISTER LOVE … “They made ninja Christmas cookies this year, because my nephew likes ninjas. When I said that sounds kind of violent and I’d prefer the typical gingerbread people (typical for the Kopestonsky sisters, i.e. elaborately decorated as a Russian folk dancer with fancy trim on her shirt, a hula dancer with a flowered bikini, lei, grass skirt, +headdress, and an avant-garde Santa with purple hair and a green suit), they assured me these ninjas are socially conscious – they’re fighting prejudice, trampling the patriarchy, smashing misogyny. Or helping Santa … Only my sister could make me feel joyously fond of ninja cookies! They even made a deep-sea scuba diving ninja … Now the fighting ninjas and gingerbread dancers are co-existing peacefully in my stomach – ninjas learning to dance while gingerbread dancers learn to fight against injustice, all gradually being incorporated into my cells as I find my own balance between fighting against my resistance and dancing with life as is.” – Kyra Kopestonsky

WEEKLY QUOTA … Citing an earlier piece in Scientific American, a reader’s letter suggests the story “exposes a paradox that experimenters must ignore if they wish to preserve the illusion of behaving ethically when studying infant monkeys. Researchers perform tests on primate infants to understand the behavior of humans raised under stressful conditions. For the results to have any value, they must therefore recognize that human and monkey brains and personalities share similar developmental pathways. But if monkeys are similar enough to be useful experimental models, how can these trials be anything other than cruel and unethical?” –Bill Tarver, Wokingham, England (SA, October, 2015)

ODD BODKINS … No cartoon strip tantalized the minds of Sixties’ hippies as well as Dan O’Neill’s brilliant hallucinatory four-part panels that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, back in the day (before the Hearst thugs bought out the paper). Then he unwisely roasted Disney characters with a violent comic book spoof and faced the full force of corporate fury. He’s been in hiding up in Nevada City (CA) ever since … The only paper he publishes in now, and that very sporadically, is Downieville’s Mountain Messenger. My poet buddy Doc Dachtler sends me copies. If you can find him (his books are out of print) and get access to his cartoons, you risk becoming an O’Neill groupie. Not recommended for the straight of heart.

TALKING GOURDS … Whiz bang! It was a jolly good show of alternating energies at Arroyo’s last Tuesday as our generous local gem of a celeb Jewel performed her relevatory poetry in a quiet, lyrical voice, while showstopper Judyth Hill raised the roofbeams with a dazzling, ecstatic, wild woman performance. Some 60-70 folks crowded into Arroyo’s. Mayor Murphy gave welcome … And the Gourd circle after heard many amazing pieces, including a haunting Vietnam-era song sung a capella by a graying veteran and Elissa Dickson’s hot jive slam rap that won the largest applause of the night … February’s First Tuesday will feature Jared Smith, a master poet whose work appeared in the same Bay Area journals my poems did, and that award-winning independent journalist and Mark Fischer finalist Samantha Tisdel Wright of Ouray. Don’t miss.


Gunnison Sage-grouse
still puffed up & dancing
after ten thousand years

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pandora’s Box, Carol Doda, Thorium, Colorado’s Native Fish & a McRedeye poem

 Looking back as we move ahead

PANDORA’S BOX … A creased copy of this artsy publication that came out 22 years ago just surfaced in my studio archives. Annie Pizey was the editor and the old Telluride Council for the Arts & Humanities the publisher, under former TCAH director Amy Kimberly. Michael Doherty did a wild cover. There were announcements of arts events and a rundown of coffeehouses of the day, including the now defunct Steaming Bean and CafĂ© Kokopelli (“Coffeehouse by day, Nightclub by night). Only Between the Covers (now High Alpine Coffee Bar) still serves up great java today. The Sheridan Arts Foundation was managing the Opera House, charging $400 a show for the “240 seat theater” and $1600 for a four-day festival rate … Mysto the Magi was advertised as performing at TCAH”s Arts & Magic Festival. Talking Gourds was sponsoring a noon reading during the fest and an evening lecture and performance at Ah Haa … Christina Callicott had a long review of MountainFilm94, and Annie did an interview with Native American activist poet Jeanetta L. Calhoun. When asked what it means to be an “activist,” Calhoun told Pizey, “We tell the truth” … Annie also did an interview with Alaska Native Language Center Athabaskan linguist Dr. James Kari, and I had a story about how Jim and I had met years before, explaining his Talking Gourds lecture on indigenous wordcraft and aboriginal names in the northern landscape … Innovative color layout in a newsprint tabloid format. Very nicely done. A collector’s item.

CAROL DODA … If you didn’t grow up in San Francisco, that name may not mean anything to you. But perhaps the City’s most famous go-go dancer of the Sixties, Doda was legend. Her voluptuous likeness with its 44-inch bust still graces a billboard above the (in)famous Condor Club on Broadway near Grant on the cusp of North Beach and Chinatown. Herb Caen, my three-dot journalism mentor, made her famous. And she went on to work as a local tv host and to own a successful lingerie boutique … My poet friend Doc Dachtler from Nevada City (CA) writes that she passed away a few months ago at 78. Her obit in Downieville’s Mountain Messenger was somewhat irreverently titled, “Breast in Peace.”

THORIUM … Back in the ‘50s, under the influence of the Dulles brothers, the United States made a fateful decision to put all its nuclear eggs in a uranium basket. It wasn’t their only choice … Uranium as a nuclear fuel created plutonium which Eisenhower & the Dulles brothers wanted to use to make atomic bombs for their Cold War standoff with the Russians. The other choice was thorium. As Pallava Bagla noted in the Nov. 13th issue of Science magazine, “Compared with uranium, the standard reactor fuel, thorium is more abundant and harder to divert to weapons production, and it yields less radioactive waste” … After Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, private capital is scared to death of the liability associated with uranium-fueled reactors, and only heavily-subsidized government-insured facilities have been built … But some countries, like India, Norway and China, are rushing to develop thorium-fueled nuclear reactors. Thorium molten salt reactors are particularly attractive because of their potential safety advantage --- their fissile materials can easily be drained into a storage tank to stop any fission chain reaction … As Jean-Pierre Revol, president of the International Thorium Energy Committee in Switzerland, notes, “The world has been paying a price for the wrong technology choice” – ever since the U.S., according to Bagla, “went whole hog into uranium.”

CATCH & KEEP … It’s out of season to know this, but lodge this in mind for the coming summer … According to the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, a hundred years ago only 13 native fish species swam the upper Colorado and its tributaries (including the San Miguel). Now they’ve been joined by 50 non-native species. Both Utah and Wyoming have “Catch & Keep” regulations that make it illegal to release certain non-native predators back into local streams (Colorado ought to have a law like that too). They make it illegal to toss Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike or Walleye back into lakes or streams after they’ve been hooked and landed … And whether it’s a law or not, it’s good ecological practice. Let’s all help to prevent the spread of non-native species in our local lakes and streams.


McRedeye Sez

Some aspire to
to walk in beauty

& some prefer

to just picnic

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Racism, David Glynn's Wild Horse novel, Velociters, Seminary, Secrets, Science & a poem by Rio Coyotl

Utes tell Gov. Herbert Utah officials racially targeting tribal members

UTE TRAVAILS … Utah Gov. Gary Herbert visited the Ute Indian Tribe on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah this past November, and you would have thought it would have been a happy occasion. Not exactly … While Herbert was welcomed with his message of “better communication,” according to the Ute Bulletin, he also got an earful from tribal officials … Chairman Shaun Chapoose called the relationship with the tribe and the state “fragile,” citing past court cases and current litigation between Utah counties and the tribe. In particular, he was referring to a 40-year old dispute over tribal jurisdiction … After the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld tribal jurisdiction this past June, Wasatch, Duchesne and Uintah Counties filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in October. According to the Bulletin, “This occurred after the Duchesne and Uintah counties met with the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee where both counties clearly stated and gave their word that they would not file cert against the Ute Tribe” … In June 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch — who authored the opinion for a three-judge panel — accused the state of Utah and the counties of using state court prosecutions of tribal members to try to redraw reservation boundaries settled by a series of rulings in the 1990s. "Indeed, the harm to tribal sovereignty in this case is perhaps as serious as any to come our way in a long time," he’s reported to have said in the Deseret News … Nor are broken promises and challenges to tribal sovereignty the only gripes the tribe had. When Gov. Herbert maintained that “race was not an issue” in Utah, Tribal officials disagreed. Councilmember Ron Wopsock cited harassment from state and county law enforcement during Sundance time, suggesting that officers “violate the Tribal membership’s freedom of religion which is something that is guaranteed to each person under the Constitution of the United States” … Uncompahgre Councilmember Tony Small also took issue with the Utah Attorney General’s comments “calling the Tribal members outright drunks.” Gov. Herbert promised to look into that charge … Small continued, “You guys asked us for water for the Wasatch Front and we gave it to you guys. Now you guys don’t even want us to develop our own water storage … Another issue is the Uncompahgre land that was paid for by the people. That needs to be maintained. The people in the State of Colorado have acknowledged us and apologized to us for what happened. They have recognized the three Ute Tribes during their State sessions and it would be great to have that type of relationship here in the State of Utah.”

RACISM IN HIGH PLACES? … “There are, there are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to, to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well. As opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less, a slower-track school where they do well … One of, one of the briefs pointed out that, that most of the, most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re, that they’re being pushed ahead in, in classes that are too, too fast for them." –Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as quoted in the Hill on-line from a transcript.

DAVID GLYNN … A warm crowd gathered at Between the Covers Bookstore Dec. 19th to honor the launch of David’s posthumous novel, If There Were Courage: A Walk on the Good Red Road … It was wonderful to celebrate a human being devoted to wild horses – a rider and a keeper of the tame. David had many roles in the community – Ophir family man and mayor, realist painter, fine tile-setter and now author. And it was fitting to honor David the week after John Trudell passed on, a leader like David but from among those wronged by our pioneer ancestors. A wrong which David began our county and state movements to reconcile by erecting an Ophir town monument honoring the first peoples of Ophir Valley. May we continue to honor both of these good men … For more info on the book, visit Between the Covers Bookstore or go to

ODDS & ENDS … I called it my “Velociraptor” -- a buff new metallic blue Hyundai Veloster three-door (one on the driver’s side and two on the passenger’s side). I rented it to get around the Pacific Northwest. Especially loved the backup camera function that made reverse a much safer gear to use … As a former student in a California seminary also attended by retired Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, Jr., I get a seminary magazine that keeps me up to date on recent changes at my old school. So I was amazed to read that one of the teachers recently hired to train Roman Catholic men for a celibate priesthood in California is Rev. Sebastian Carnazzo – a priest in the Melkite Catholic Church of America who is married and has six children. He will be lecturing on Sacred Scripture and Biblical languages.

WEEKLY QUOTA … “Anybody holding a secret has a position of power, even if it’s a trivial secret.” –Jim Sanborn, sculptor (as quoted in the Smithsonian).

SCIENCE CHANGES … Sometimes we take scientific theory for fact, or like climate frozen in time, and forget that science is a process of positing, challenging, verifying and using information. As Science News reported earlier this year, researchers applied two different systems of analysis on the same data set within a couple years of each other -- in this case of gene activity measurements of mice and humans injured by trauma (burns, blood infections). “One group concluded that mice are terrible stand-ins for people with inflammation caused by trauma. The other group decided that the rodents are excellent human analogs. Same data, opposite results.”


I opened the door
Crow sauntered in with a limp
A trick for a trap

-Rio Coyotl

Wrights Mesa