Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Break from the Rain

Today we had a break from the heavy rains that have been flooding Maine rivers. Actually the break came yesterday afternoon and there was an actual sunset. I took advantage of the dry weather this morning by raking leaves in my yard. I had the bright idea of loading the leaves in my trailer and taking them up on the farm to use to mulch a woods road that has been washing out for years and that is usually quite muddy in the spring. I didn't get within fifty yards of the deep mud before my truck was stuck in shallow mud. I nearly rocked all four wheels down into the mud before my wife suggested using some of the old boards I had saved last summer. Once I had them worked in under all four tires, I made a run for it and got free of the soft ground, but I left the trailer behind. It'll be a week or more before I dare recover it.
The ice hasn't gone out from either Wilson Pond or Moosehead Lake yet. It's starting to break up some and will be out within a few days, though. It's dark gray honeycomb ice now so the right kind of weather will take it out. But it's supposed to rain again tomorrow.
I was downstate this week and actually got to see green grass! Imagine that!
My two sons are around this weekend. Jake bought Nathaniel a fishing rod and they went trout fishing today two different times, but they didn't get any bites.
I got my eye on a nice old boat this week that would make a great work boat. It's an old 16 foot Starcraft, a wide one with high sides and even a deck on the bow. It's for sale and will be mine if it isn't already sold. I hope it isn't sold! That would be the perfect boat for working, recreation, and fishing on Wilson Pond.
I had an idea this week for a new way to chat on the Internet. Someone must have already come up with it but I am not aware of it. The idea is to have personal chat rooms where the chat history is immediately written into a blog. Each personal chat room would have a master whose blog it is. The master would be able to limit comments to trusted friends or leave it open to anyone, but the potential would be there to have the chat history open to the public just like a blog. Trusted friends could post links to other websites or to pictures which might appear as thumbnails in the blog. The master would have the ability to edit the chat history by removing any offensive posts. The chat room would be hosted on a 24/7 server but the master wouldn't need to be in for any of the friends to post a message. The whole idea is that it would be a public chat shared with the world indefinitely. Unlike with a blog, within each chat room any comments would appear in the order they were submitted in real time so if a reader had read everything up to a certain point, there wouldn't be any comments hidden under previous posts the way there are in blogs. It would be a lot easier to keep current as a reader. The challenge, though, would be to keep the conversation coherent.
Has anyone seen anything like this?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Vice Regents of God

From the Christian Science Monitor:
"As the vice-regents of God, we are to bring His truth and His will to bear on every sphere of our world and our society. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government ... our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors - in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."
A quote from material written by Rev. D. James Kennedy, pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 2005 at a conference called "Reclaiming America for Christ."
An article in the April 21, 2005 Rolling Stone titled "The Crusaders," pages 41 and 42, sounds the warning alarm about right-wing Christians whom the article identifies as "the Dominionists - biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government."
The Christian Science Monitor article ends with this:
"Still, the 2004 election confirmed a growing mobilization of conservative Christians. And in a recent Barna survey of American pastors about their choice for "the most trusted spokesperson for Christianity," Dr. Kennedy made the top 10, sharing the final spot with three others, including Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson and President Bush, each winning the vote of 4 percent of the clergy."
If you ever scratch your head and wonder what the Tom DeLay http://tomdelay.house.gov/ agenda is, where the rhetoric comes from, and why DeLay's supporters don't think it's unethical, you just might want to read these two very similar articles.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tax Break for Big Oil


Sunday, April 17, 2005

DNI John Negroponte

This week I was sent a link to what seems to me like a rather free-speaking article in Time Online Edition. For anyone under the impression that the US is allowing Iraq's democratic political forces to operate freely, this article shouldn't be overlooked.
The information in this article keeps coming to mind for me. I was laying in bed this morning thinking about this stinking situation in Iraq. Some of my readers may know that I tend to believe things about the US and Iraq that don't appear in MSM (mainstream media) print or on network news and aren't even generally written about in the alternative media. I tend to discredit the claims that the US and Israeli intelligence agencies don't have much of a foothold and thus don't have much clout in Islamic countries like Iraq. I tend to think it is unbelievably naive to expect people to believe such a claim of impotence and it is equally naive to believe the claim, even though many patriotic Americans do.
It would be even more naive, though, to believe that now, two years after the overthrow of Iraq, there isn't a strong presence of US and Israeli intelligence in Iraq. Of course there is and of course it is having an impact, but what is that impact? Intelligence agencies no longer just gather information, they are the instruments used to carry out secret operations. So what secret operations are these agents of the US and Israel carrying out in Iraq?
Here's the thing. Without covert operations in Iraq, the country will slip into the hands of its political majority, the religious Islamic Shiites. This is not in America's interests since the US clearly wants control of Iraq's resources and Islam, as the declared enemy of Israel and the Christian US, isn't likely to reliably grant that. Neither the US nor Israel are likely to see their will carried out in an Islamic nation. But there are only four ways to avoid that outcome. One is to influence elections. It would appear that the January election demonstrated that this is not a good option. The second way is financial, to throw money at Iraq as a reward for doing things our way. I might call that the Chalabi way and that doesn't seem to be working either.
The third way is to use military force to overcome the political enemies of US and Israeli interests. Clearly, that is an option that the US has been exercising liberally in Iraq, but it has its limitations. The US military cannot be seen as attacking democratically legitimate political factions within Iraq. That would raise international objections and would be politically unpopular here within the US. It would invalidate the claim that the US is interested in establishing democracy in Iraq if US soldiers were being used to narrow the political playing field.
The fourth method for ensuring US and Israeli interests in Iraq is the use of covert activities. Covert activities are nothing new to politics. Spies and assassins have been around for as long as there have been governments, even tribal governments. If there is anything new in spying and political assassinations, it is the belief that the general public is supposed to be turning a blind eye to the assassinations role of covert agents. Political correctness dictates that we the people leave that to our leaders while we deny that it is happening. But it is happening all around the world and it is happening in Iraq.
America's leaders are aware of this. Bush and Rice and Rumsfeld are all aware of this since each has command over it. Veiled threats like Rumsfeld's in this Time article, are issued to leaders who know all too well the power of covert operations. Very little is lost in the translation.
Embassies act as the sanctuaries and control posts for covert operations in foreign countries. For two years it has been reported that the US embassy in Baghdad would be the largest embassy in the world. John Negroponte has a history of aiding covert operations even when those operations violate US law, violate Congressional mandate, as with Iran-Contra. Negroponte, before being nominated to the post of head of all US government civilian covert operations, was head of the US embassy in Baghdad.
Convince me that he as DNI won't use covert operations in Iraq to carry out US foreign policy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Threat of Advocacy

For quite some time now Eric has been verbally attacking me for my criticisms of the conservative political movement. If I am not mistaken, Eric's claim is that I just don't have the educational or experiential qualifications to state my opinions in any meaningful dialog. I'm too low to count as worthy.
I remember Eric telling me one time that his generation, or at least that he and many of his friends, have abandoned or maybe never even chosen in the first place to value the values of my generation, the generation of the 60s, his own parents' generation.
Eric is entitled to his opinion. So is his generation. I've just wondered - with little hope of really understanding - how this rejection came about. It doesn't seem to be openly discussed very much.
This morning I came across an article dealing with that topic from a perspective that I can relate to. Without further comment, here is the link:

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tangential Irrelevancies

What is it called when the White House reveals secretly to conservative media the identity of a CIA agent married to a critic of the White House thus endangering her life and sending a strong warning to the rest of the intelligence community to toe the White House line or else?
What is it called when the Pentagon operates an intelligence group dedicated to producing intelligence, accurate or otherwise, that bolsters the case for war against Iraq and secretly feeds that bogus information to the Office of the Vice President? See Karen Kwiatkowski's website for information on this. She was working in the Pentagon while this was going on.
What is it called when the current nominee for the US ambassador to the UN John Bolton reaches down five levels in the bureaucracy to threaten two intelligence analysts five times in two years because he didn't agree with their analysis?
Well at least in the third instance, that was called "tangential irrelevancies" on Public Broadcasting's News Hour this evening by no less than Virginia's Republican Senator George Allen.
I don't seem to be having much luck locating that term in Google, but isn't there a name for a term that consists of two words which both basically express the same concept? What's that called? I forget...
But anyway, it's nice to know that the lexicon of conservative politics has finally placed a name on this behavior, isn't it?

Who Is This Calling?

The setting: My home
The time: Late afternoon, approaching dinner time
I have the radio on moderately loudly and am listening from the other room to Democracy Now. I am home alone.
The phone rings. I go to the phone and pick up the receiver. "Hello?"
There is a pause of silence typical of spam calls while the computer figures out that my phone has been answered by a live human being and not an answering machine, then a recorded submissive female voice comes on, "Please hold while I try to connect this call."
Stretching the cord, I walk to turn down the radio and the submissive voice returns, "I am still trying to connect your call. Please hold."
I hold.
After a short pause a much more powerful and dominant older female voice comes on and says in a New Jersey type of accent, "May I speak with [my son's full name]?" My son doesn't live here but I'll be damned if I'm going to tell that to some damned strange dominant old bitch who doesn't even have the decency to dial me herself but rather considers her own precious time more valuable than mine.
I hesitate for a moment, "Who is this calling?" I ask accusingly.
"Scuse me?" the dominant female asks?
"I said..." again in the same accusing voice, "Who is this calling?"
She hangs up the phone.

Religion Part 6 - Infallible

"I believe that The Bible is the infallible Word of God himself, which was written by God through man."
I quote this from Andy in reply to Dacia's April 12 post Porque? (1 of 3).
It would seem that in order to have a religion, any group would need something or someone "infallible" in which or in whom to believe. The Catholics have the Pope and the Virgin Mother Mary. Islam has the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran. The Mormons have the Book of Mormons and young, innocent Joseph Smith. Evangelical Christianity has the "infallible Word of God" otherwise known as "The Holy Bible." In all cases, infallibility is the key. Yet, strangely, in each case, each religion cancels out the infallibility of each other religion. Not only that, but within some religions there are sects that claim that only their sect has access to the infallibility of God's work. That seems bizarre to me.
I was thinking about all this today while I was out for a walk. In Maine, the long winter's frosts heave (lift up) all of our roads and in April the bright sun finally melts that frost leaving paved roads littered with cracks in the pavement. Sometimes to ease the sheer boredom of walking on paved roads I (almost subconsciously) pace myself so I won't step on any of these cracks. If I play with my mind hard enough, I can almost convince myself that the cracks are so situated that I can walk a natural pace and never step on a crack. That's even how it seems sometimes when I'm walking in the woods in an area where there are no trails, especially when the walk is along a steep hillside or mountain. I can convince myself that spiritual forces have already provided a natural trail for me no matter where I wish to go. Of course, that's absurd, sometimes even dangerous, but that's beside the point. The point is that it is easy to trick my mind into thinking these things and then perceiving convincing proof that they are true.
It's easy for us to trick our minds into thinking that the objects of our faith are infallible. If we allow ourselves to do it, it is easy to think that spiritual forces have already acted to create hidden perfection within that which we base our faith. But if we step back from it all and evaluate what it is we're doing, we're using circular reasoning to justify our beliefs. Because of our faith, we know that the objects of our faith must be real, must be true, because if they weren't true, we wouldn't have a basis for our beliefs. Therefore what we believe in is true. How else could I possibly convince myself that a natural pace will lead me to not step on the cracks?
I mean, if I don't step on any cracks, it's because I am continuously adjusting my stride in anticipation of what I see coming. I am the one making it happen. It's like skiing in a mogul field, you need to look ahead and plan your path ahead of you to keep from being thrown by the moguls. The same thing holds true with faith. If you're going to have faith in something and perceive it as infallible, you have to have some mechanism in your head for dealing with the reality of the situation, that is, the fact that the object of your faith isn't really infallible. You have to be able to adjust to any challenges and convince yourself that the challenge never really existed. If you're going to walk a natural walk that never steps on a crack, you need to forget the times you stepped on the cracks and chalk them up to the forgiven and forgotten past. Your faith needs a coping mechanism.
Religion's coping mechanism is circular reasoning. If you start with infallibility, what you wind up with is infallible. Any challenge must be wrong. The only thing you can allow is that your own understanding was wrong in which case you adjust your understanding but not the objects of your faith, but too many such adjustments would eventually shake your faith so you must forget any adjustments you had to make. You ignore adjusting your stride and forget stepping on any of the cracks. The final result is a hardened faith in your own assumptions of the infallibility of your faith. You wind up with your faith making a complete circle.
But when my walk was done, I brought myself back to the realization that all these notions of spiritual perfection and the natural stride were just amusements to keep my mind from being bored. There's no such thing as infallible objects of faith.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005




I heard a couple of interesting comments on alternative radio today. One was that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, visiting Iraq this week, said or implied or whatever that the US has a strategy for victory in Iraq, not an exit strategy.
I also heard in a discussion of the upcoming approval of spending another 82 billion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the plan includes establishing 14 permanent military bases in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I believe I even heard a Democrat saying how important these are. Was I just imagining this? Had I just awoken from an afternoon daydream?
Gee, sometimes I wonder if I am supposed to know these things or if they somehow just slip through the cracks accidentally and land on me. What is the appropriate response once an American hears forbidden news such as this? Denial?
In Mother Jones Magazine this spring:

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Religion Part 5 - Defining God

It's about time I updated my religion series. My last serious post on this topic was on March 17 when I pondered on the bi-polar aspect of life. My recent post on Abstract Thinking had some religious tones to it, but I can't really classify it as theology or religion.
I am an ardent believer in the notion of "truth" to the extent that I often suggest that the word "God" is synonymous with the word "truth." I have a new word in the mix that I encountered in the book I am currently reading. The word is "sophistry." In my thinking, simple reasoning, natural reasoning, is usually much closer to what is true than complex or clever reasoning. I am a believer in nature, not in the complex reasoning abilities of man. Generally speaking, nature is not a deceiver. This holds especially true if you are able to perceive nature to the fullest. Experience tells us, though, that human reasoning, especially clever complex reasoning, sophistry, is littered with deception. So which is best to trust?
In my first posting on the topic of religion on February 16, I referenced a passage from Daniel Quinn's book Providence where he almost magically is able to perceive nature as divine energy radiating truth. If you haven't yet read that passage, you should.
I have recently come to a belief, perhaps more like an understanding, that everything that exists in the natural universe exists not as material random objects or particles, but rather as entities of intelligence. Somehow everything that exists has stored in its existence the reasons for its existence. I don't see those reasons as being dictated by some supernatural all-encompassing mind, either, as most God theorists seem to think. I think God IS those reasons. God IS the reason for everything and since those reasons are stored in the very existence of everything that exists, God IS what we all express as "creation." God exists within everything that exists, has existed, or ever will or even could exist.
Intelligence permeates all of nature. If we don't perceive nature that way, it is not nature which is blind. It is us. In our sophisticated understanding of science and reality there exists not only uncertainty about the known but also complete blindness to the unknown. Only nature itself knows everything. Only nature itself knows God.
Quinn's story expressed his experience with these few fleeting moments of openness within his own mind, within his own vision, to nature's truth. Yet even from this brief encounter, his life experience changed and from that change emerged his own ability to reach out to all the rest of us with new perceptions, new ways for us to see who we are and why, new ways to see the errors of our ways, new ways for us to view the future. Yet Quinn is far from being alone. I honestly believe that many people have shared this vision of nature's truth and now from this insight reach out to the rest of us, reach out not with "sophistry" but with truth. Are we listening?

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Manchurian Candidate

Somehow this movie slipped through the cracks for me until now. I remember seeing the previews last year but couldn't recall what it was about. I was at the video store looking for a movie to watch tonight and found this on clearance for $3.00 - couldn't pass it up. It was one of those, "I wonder if I've already seen this movie. I should have." So I bought it and just finished watching it.
I would have remembered if I'd seen it before. It is a very intense movie, especially for a paranoid, conspiracy theory, abstract thinker like me. I'm sure this movie isn't for everyone, but I'll watch it again someday when my memory of it has dulled a bit.
Very intense...

April Fool

I've been trying for days to remember the significance of April 1st. I remembered May Day, the idea that a guy like me was supposed to be able to get a girl to kiss him if he snuck up to her front door and dropped off a basket of goodies and then went and hid somewhere nearby. That never did work for me, but then again, I never tried it. May First is also the celebration day for the world's labor class, red independence day, I suppose you might say.
I suppose today isn't a good day to post anything I might want taken seriously by my readers. It's a great day, though, to ponder the near-meaningless, like maybe the Pope's health or the notion that Terri Shiavo was an inspiration to the world, a brilliant woman.
Here in the highlands of Maine, we started out the day with a short snowstorm. This weekend is supposed to bring potential floods from two days of heavy rain. I'll be spending as much of the weekend as possible indoors!
This morning I began reading a book I found in the town library, Party of the People: A History of the Democrats, by Jules Witcover. At 732 pages this book should take me awhile, but I am already enjoying the author's style of writing and am finding it very pertinent to present-day politics. It is easy to relate to the common man's plight in US politics. But there is an undertow in modern US politics of a larger force, a force that I think is represented by what this book is describing as the Federalist aristocratic position in the drafting of the Constitution, represented in the early US government under Washington by Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton represented the banking elite, a group which felt deeply threatened by the notion of democracy. Hamilton was pro-British. His chief foe, Thomas Jefferson, who became the founder of the "republican party" which then evolved to become the Democratic Party, was claimed by Hamilton to be pro-French. Ring any bells, anyone?
It seems like ever since I signed up for Verizon DSL, my computer has been wracked by demons and daemons, blue screen lockups, background dribbling of the hard drive, adware and spyware, and now a dramatic slowing down of the Internet during the daytime, and nothing I do will stop it including twice starting all over again with a freshly formatted hard drive. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? Is it just me? Is it my old version of Windows Me? What is it? Is it MSN Messenger which today is inoperative? Grrrrrrr.......
Anyway, off to my weekend of hibernation. April Fools!!!

Mud Puddles and Kids