Remembering Judi Bari

Most people in the United States and around the world, it is fair to say, have probably never heard of Judi Bari — or if they have, they may just barely recall a news story about some crazy domestic American eco-terrorists blowing themselves up in a car.

But if such people had ever spent any time on the far northern coast of California in the U.S., they would need no introduction or explanation as to who Bari was. They would already know.

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The Presidential Election Cycle Morning-After Blues

It was a rough and wild ride, one you knew you’d never forget, and you drowsily awake in a state of lingering bliss as the sun rises on a Friday morning in late January 2017. It’s a brand-new day. You nudge your partner. “Hey sleepyhead, you awake?”

Your partner groans and stretches, then rolls over to face you, with the covers pulled up to her chin. It’s none other Hillary Rodham Clinton, or more intimately “H♡”, as you always liked to call her in your many illicit love notes to her. Her bleached-blonde hair still perfectly coiffed, she smiles sheepishly back at you.

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Sisters for Hillary, Unite!

A recently published New York Times article reported on how the campaign message this year of a U.S. presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is apparently not being embraced by younger generations of women and feminists in the USA.

Two icons of American female success quoted in the story — Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright — in particular caused a bit of an uproar. While it seems that my progressive sisters on social media and elsewhere have this matter well under control and are putting everything into proper perspective for the press, for what it’s worth I offer a few independent observations of my own. After all, if Steinem and Albright are the type of people who are waving the banner for Hillary Clinton, then it’s important that we know all about them.

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The Stain of Sexual Slavery

The Japanese government’s censorship of nationally used school textbooks — deleting or downplaying the many bad things Japan did during World War II — has been going on for decades. But it is only recently, with a neo-fascist prime minister back in power, that such official censorship is now moving into dangerous areas beyond Japan’s borders and into textbooks used in overseas countries.

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Where the Real Obscenity Lies

Rokude Nashiko, a manga comic book and visual artist based in Tokyo, was arrested in July of this year and detained by police. Her crime? Posting and distributing information pertaining to vaginal art — thinly disguised, sculpted images of her own genitals, to be exact. She faced a possible two years in prison for making such “obscene” images public through her website, which she operates openly and legally.

Thousands of people in Japan, and apparently abroad too, took exception to the heavy-handed Japanese police actions and put a public petition in motion. Within a week Rokude Nashiko (her artistic name and a play on words, loosely translated as “Good-for-Nothing Girl”) was released from custody, the police apparently too embarrassed by the publicity to keep her any longer.

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A Mourning Moment

This poem, “Mourning Grace” by writer/master storyteller Maya Angelou, comes to me as I take in the news that she has just passed away in the United States at age 86. I listen over and over to the voice of Angelou herself as she recites these brief but touching words from a recording she first made back in the late 1960s.

I mourn her passing as I also celebrate her memory. Her words have touched and inspired millions of people around the world, and I am no exception. She is one of the writers I include as members of my extended spiritual-literary family around the world who have helped clear the path and led me to become the writer I am today.

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