And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

October 31, 2005

In Her Own Words

Filed under: her words — mark @ 2:41 pm

Beginning in 2003 Michele had her own web site, named for her favorite phrase, “and if you did know?” I have decided to re-add the postings she made to her site in the final years of her life. These were the thoughts important enough to her to share through writing. An intensely verbal person, Michele wrote reluctantly and only when strongly moved by the message she had to deliver.

Each posting is complete and unedited and has been saved with the original time-stamp and date. Click on any of the archive links to view the postings from that time period.

August 14, 2005

A Wake Up Call

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 4:48 am

I am watching the administration proceed with a plan to allow us to invade Iran and it is so reminiscent of the recent past as to be transparent lies and fear tactics. The current group in charge, known in Washington as Team B, is once again playing the Weapons of Mass Destruction card and the media is going along. How many times is this same group going to get away with this hype?

The BBC produced a well vetted and well researched documentary called The Power of Nightmares that explains how the current group in charge, the NeoCons, have been working at having the US become the World’s controlling force for decades. This is an eye-opening and sobering look at the forces at work in Washington. It exposes the corruption and the delusional thinking of both the Washington Gang and the Islamic Nut cases.

If you can find a site to watch this documentary please do so. It will help you understand how we got into this situation, and perhaps show us how to avoid further involvement in the dreams of empire currently gripping the administration.

I suggest these two sites to give more information about what is going on:

Common Dreams,
In These Times

Both of these people give information not available in the Mainstream Media. It is a wake up call to those of us not willing to just sit by and watch the US burn.

July 14, 2005

The Land of OZ

Filed under: her words — mark @ 10:08 am

Controversial Attack on Endangered Species Act May Backfire
by Christopher Getzan in The New Standard 7/14/05

I was just reading a new news source and found an article that made me gulp. It is concerning the Endangered Species Act. It seems that :

“Jul 12 – A new bill being drawn up by Republicans on a key House Committee may severely curtail the government’s power to enforce the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and eventually do away with the landmark law.”

To me this seems like another power grab by Big Business. It seems that:

“Republican members of the House Resources Committee, which has legislative and funding oversight of the Endangered Species Act, are behind the new legislation. Insiders all agree that committee chairman and longtime critic of the ESA, Richard Pombo (R-California), is the draft bill’s driving force.”

“The mainstream League of Conservation Voters has given Pombo’s environmental voting record an average rating of just 3 percent for the last congressional term. Meanwhile, Pombo has been a steady recipient of largesse from the dairy industry, agribusiness, real estate interests, and energy companies – all industries in need of unencumbered access to large swathes of land.”

Just another day in the Land of Oz (read Congress). Someone who has proven links to Big Business is minding the store. Does anyone else see this as bad???

Another point made by Getzan in the article is:

“Jim Sims, former director of communications for Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force and current head of Partnership for The West, a nonprofit organization that provides network and issue orientation for numerous businesses and groups that advocate for property owners, says the draft bill will permit greater flexibility in working with commercial interests. The “great majority” of such parties, Sims told TNS, “want to do the right thing” when they find endangered species on land they wish to develop or use.”

While the article was maddening, this one truly stopped me. To say that we should not have laws and regulations to deal with the ones who do not want to “do the right thing” is tantamount to saying that we should just get rid of all laws because the vast majority of people want to do the right thing. WHAT???? The whole point of having a government is so that the people who want an unfair advantage are kept within acceptable bounds internationally, nationally, and locally. This is not rocket science; it is however just business as usual in Merry Old Land Of Oz. I am amazed, not shocked, but amazed nonetheless.

The good news is that:

“Though Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity considers the draft of the Recovery Act “completely consistent with every bill [Pombo has] submitted” related to the ESA, he recalled that Pombo had been talking about reaching out to more moderate Republicans on ESA issues. “If he had done so,” Suckling said, “[that] bill would’ve had much more of a chance of succeeding. I think Pombo has shot himself in the foot, and there are few people on the right or the left who will want to be associated with the bill.”

So some of the people in the Land are not willing to just roll over and smile. Good for them.

July 4, 2005

Some Changes

Filed under: her words — mark @ 6:29 am

Well it is a new life in many ways for me. My Mother died. Now that both my parents are dead I have begun to feel much more adult. I can no longer see myself as a child who could go home if things got bad. Now I am on my own. I have a partner who is wonderful and I have wonderful friends, but I am on my own.

My mother was very ill. She had been so for about 3 years. She had a blood disorder that was causing her to die, and she did not do anything about it. She chose to let life take its course. That was her decision and the hardest part for me was to support her in that decision. I did not have to see her physical decline in a personal way because I live in Kansas and she lived in North Carolina. But I talked to her often and noticed the difficulty. She lived near her sisters, she was the oldest of ten children. They watched her decline and told me about it. She went to the doctor only when she was very near death and could not take it anymore. She got a couple of transfusions and this helped her feel less ill. But eventually the illness took its toll. It was going to happen anyway, but she chose to live life her own way. She did not want to prolong it artificially. So, she died on 6/7/05. I miss her. I am happy she is out of pain. I am mad at her for not taking better care of herself. I am happy that she got to run her own life. I am very sad that I do not have my mom around anymore. I have difficulty taking in that she is actually gone. I am depressed. I am relieved that I no longer have to worry about her. I am feeling more adult and more in control of my life. In other words I am just having a normal human reaction to an extraordinary event. There is no right way to do this, and no wrong way. I see that I have physical symptoms related to this event. I am having trouble sleeping, I have aches and pains, I have trouble concentrating. As a mental health professional I understand that these are normal responses, I also understand this as a person, but it is not as easy to see it when I am in it. So I have not been writing here. Writing this down would make it more real, and a part of me has not wanted to give it that much awareness. So I have been somewhat quiet about it. I have drawn inward and let my natural instincts take hold. It has been good for me. I am letting it happen naturally, like mom. It is a complex and multi-layered process, just like life.

I am now going to look for ways in which to live my life more completely. I am reading about a conference that recently took place in Nova Scotia. The focus of this conference was on Greatest National Happiness (GNH) as opposed to Gross National Product (GNP). It concerns living life at a more holistic level. Enviromental sustanability, economic equality, and governance based on the best for everyone being the core features. I am intrigued by this concept. I feel as though the entire top down type of control is arbitrary and destructive. So who knows perhaps we will learn something from our mistakes and go in a different direction. I will keep watching.

March 3, 2005

Short Sighted Bush

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 9:55 am

I just read an article on AlterNet called: Dearth of a Nation by: Benjamin Wallace-Wells of the Washington Monthly. In it he talks about the way America is falling behind in the technology race. He speaks of Bush and Company holding to two ways of helping the economy. One is cutting taxes and the other is privatizing Social Security. He says that the advisers Bush has been listening to are supporting his push to use these two ways of spurring the economy. The article also talks about how we are losing our edge in the fields of nanotechnology and alternative energy. What I was most struck by was the way Bush and Company tends to be so myopic. It seems as though they get one idea in their collective head and then do nothing to challenge that idea. They find people who agree with them and sally forth. The thrust of the article was that we have to begin to look at more ways of moving forward, but that the current leadership in Washington is mostly about keeping things the way they are or moving backward. I think the most important problem we have right now is that no one challenges or questions the President or his policies. He has surrounded himself with “yes people” and does not look at any alternatives. His recent trip to Europe proved that he does not even hear himself talk. When he said:
“‘This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.’
(Short pause)
“‘And having said that, all options are on the table.’
“Even the White House stenographers felt obliged to note the result: ‘(Laughter).'”
-(The Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin on George Bush’s February 22 press conference)
For a host of good reasons — the huge and draining commitment of U.S. forces to Iraq and Iran’s ability to stir the Iraqi pot to boiling, for starters — the notion that the Bush administration would mount a “preemptive” air attack on Iran seems insane. And still more insane if the objective includes overthrowing Iran’s government again, as in 1953 — this time under the rubric of “regime change.”

But Bush administration policy toward the Middle East is being run by men — yes, only men — who were routinely referred to in high circles in Washington during the 1980s as “the crazies.” I can attest to that personally, but one need not take my word for it.”

Published on Thursday March 2, 2005 by
Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But…
by Ray McGovern

This is an prime example of how foolish and anti-logical Bush is. He does not even listen to himself. Of course the fact that he only speaks to people who agree with him and never point out his mistakes is more proof of how dangerous he is. What a dolt!!!!! The problem is that he is hurting America and the rest of the world with his ideas. We need to get rid of this man.

March 1, 2005

Bush’s Social Security Mess

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 3:17 pm

Just to talk a little about the new Bush agenda, Social Security, boy is he a rich boy or what? We cannot afford to help our elderly? What? Is he kidding? We can lose 9 billion dollars in Iraq, but we cannot afford to help our own citizens, those who have worked their entire lives????? This makes no sense. Of course it makes sense when viewed from the perspective of the Wall Street Gang that want to make money off of them. Bush is acting as though if we do not do something about this right now our economy will collapse and everything will be destroyed. It sounds like the bogus Weapons of Mass Destruction ploy to me. How stupid does he think we are? Very I guess because he is really pushing for this. It is simply a scheme to make some Wall Street Money Managers richer that is all. But to hear him talk about it, he makes it sound as if the world will come to an end if we do not completely alter the system right now. Also where does he think the 9 billion it will take to make the changes come from??? He has stated publicly that the changes he proposes will not make any real difference, but he keeps pounding on it, just like he did about Iraq and those WMD’s and the link to Al Qaeda. Boy is he something.

Some Thoughts

Filed under: her words — mark @ 3:09 pm

It has been some time since I made an entry here. In October my father died and then in December my mother became ill and had to be hospitalized. She then went into a nursing home and became more and more depressed. I fought to keep her there as I wanted her to be looked after. Over time I realized that what I actually wanted was for some to take care of her because I could not. I lived with or near my mother for the first 4/5 of my life. I took care of her for most of that time. I finally realized that I could not make her happy. I put off living my own life in an attempt to see her happy and healthy before I began to live. After getting breast cancer and seeing just how unhappy I was I began to see that I was not helping my mother nor myself in staying with her. I was trying to do something that is impossible, I was trying to make someone else happy. It just does not work. So after a few years of letting this information become part of me, I saw that I needed to begin to live my own life. I needed to go somewhere that I knew no one and had to rely upon myself. It was only then that I began to let someone into that protective bubble and I could begin to express myself. I am married to a wonderful man and I am very happy with that. But now my mother was in trouble again and I felt the need to go there and take care of her. I realized that doing that would not help me, or her, but the push was there. I overcame this because we simply did not have the money to allow this, and I knew it was wrong. I stayed here and took care of as much as possible over the phone. Of course I have family there who jumped in and did everything they could. My Aunt Betty has put forth tremendous effort and has been wonderful. I have realized that asking for help is alright. I have further realized that allowing that help to happen as it does is important. I have learned a great deal about myself through this process. I have always been reluctant to ask for help. I have often told myself that asking for help was asking for trouble. I see that this is truly about is letting myself get the help I need. So I am going to start writing again. This writting helps me as well. I get to say whatever I want and that is great. My mother is home again. She has a number of services in place to help and my aunts, of whom there are 6, have agreed to help by going by to see her.

So I am writing again. Nice to be back. I have missed you.

December 20, 2004

Another Lesson

Filed under: her words — mark @ 4:23 pm

Well gee, where to start. My mother is in a nursing home. I do not like to say that, it brings up a number of issues for me. Just before Thanksgiving she got sick. She was very weak and unable to care for herself. My aunt got took her to her home and tried to see what mom needed. It became apparent that mom needed medical attention. So she was sent to a hospital. It turns out that mom has a bleeding ulcer. She has had this for some time, but would not seek medical help. Two years ago she had a similar incident and wound up in the hospital, but would not let anyone find out what the problem was. She got herself back home then and took off for Florida. She was doing much better after having transfusions to replace the blood loss. Now, two years later she got into trouble again. This time she was taken to a hospital and the doctors did some tests and discovered the ulcer. She had a blood volume of 4 when it was supposed to be 12. This was the cause of her weakness, breathing issues, and her problems with eliminating waste. So they began to treat her and started with transfusions. They thought that she would be all right with medication that would help heal the ulcer. The doctor did not feel comfortable with letting her go home because she had lost so much blood. So after a great deal of discussion she was sent to this nursing home. She agreed to go for two weeks. Well, the two weeks are up and she wants out.

Here is where it gets sticky. The medical people are very concerned about her and want her to have around the clock care. She has family near her who want her to have around the clock care as well. The problem is that she does not want around the clock care. She wants to go home and be left alone. She has never like having anyone tell her what to do. She is not direct, and therefore it is difficult to find out what is going on with her. Having known her my entire life, I can at times tell when she is trying to get her way. Other times it takes a while to understand what she is trying to accomplish. The problem here is that she is using her techniques on the nursing home staff that sees her actions as being dementia as opposed to her being stubborn. The wonderful nurse who is her primary care giver at the facility is convinced that because mom will not do what is good for her, she has dementia. Mom actually has emotional problems, and she has learned techniques for taking care of herself over time. She is secretive and manipulative. She does these in an immature fashion, which looks like she is not competent. Trying to tell other people about her and have them believe it is very frustrating. She also tells you to your face that she will do something, and then not do it. She will not take part in her medical treatment because she does not want to.

The result of all of this is that I have become the contact person for all of the people in Dare County North Carolina. I am on the phone about 3 to 4 hours a day trying to get services for her; I am trying to help her get signed up with Medicaid. They only allow her to have a small amount of money. So I am trying to help her get her finances squared away. I am trying to help her move to another location because she hates it there. Of course she hates wherever she is at the time. So it is all just difficult and messy.

What I am learning through all of this is that I tend to get wrapped up in others needs and desires. I am trying to take care of Mom, of the social services people, of the nurses, of the rest of the family, and of my brother. I realize that there is no way to please them all so I am left trying to tilt at windmills. It is taking a toll. I am having trouble sleeping and eating. I know that I am just having a normal reaction to the situation, but I hate it.

As a child I became the adult in my family. No one seemed to want to be in control. They wanted someone else to do it, but their way. I fell into this as a child and have continued into adulthood. I am trying to care for me in this as well. I am working at not going to N.C. I know I would be less effective if I was there because I would not have any distance from it. I am working at not bringing her here, as I would not be able to have the distance I need. I moved away from Mom in 1995 because I could not function as an adult around her. I kept falling back into old behaviors that were more childlike. I was moody and temperamental. I am not good at being an adult when I am with her. So, I moved away and now my life is wonderful. She is not the reason I become more childlike, I am. But with the new life I have built for myself I am happier than I have ever been. So now I am constantly working at taking care of me, while working at helping her. This is quite a learning experience. Perhaps I will continue to grow and see more about me. I certainly hope so. More later.

December 19, 2004

Lack of Information

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 9:54 am

I am just reading a story about the suicide of Gary Webb, the reporter who in 1996 wrote about the connection between the crack epidemic in this country and the Iran-Contra scandal. For details about the scandal, refer to an article this date on AlterNet titled “Kicking a Dead Man” by Marc Cooper. It is a tale of betrayal and deception that left me feeling sickened and sad.

It seems that Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, wrote a story about the way the CIA looked the other way as the Contras sold cocaine in this country so as to finance their fight against the Sandinistas. This country wanted the Contras to take over Nicaragua and return it to a dictatorship so as to keep it under control ensuring that BIG business interests in this country could keep making BIG profits.

Then when Webb reported on this in 1996 it sparked a CIA investigation, which confirmed his findings. Findings I might add that had been confirmed by the CIA and the investigation by the Senate, led by John Kerry. Many of the mainstream papers, which were scooped by Webb, then began to vilify him and his findings. Then a few days ago Webb killed himself. He had lost his job, his wife, and his reputation as a result of telling the truth.

One of the interesting parts about this is that instead of being celebrated by the press, he was castigated. It just shows that today truth is not only not sought after; it is suppressed at all costs. Instead of talking about the problems caused by the connection between the CIA and the Contras, the press spent all of their time going after the messenger. I recently heard a quote from one of the Neoconservatives that said that since this is now an Empire they would be making the news and the agenda and while we were sorting out the details they would move on to their next subject.

In an interview with Bill Moyer on his last episode of NOW on PBS, Richard Viguerie, said that journalism is only opinion anyway, so if FOX or any news source reports lies, it is all right. This seems to me to show a frightening trend toward very biased reporting as the norm. Most people rely upon the press to help them be informed about what is actually going on. Today if you only rely upon the mainstream press you are going to be woefully under informed and you will have a true lack of information. There are many factors that contribute to this; the consolidation of the press into fewer and fewer big corporations, the fact that the Fairness Doctrine was abolished by the Regan administration in 1980’s, the lack of information being distributed by the White House, the fact that reporters are “embedded” (translated to in bed with) with the troops in Iraq, and the fact that so many people have little time to find the facts for themselves, and you have a situation which is perfect for the truth being lost and hidden.

The only thing that gives me hope in this situation is the Internet. Here I am able to find alternative information from sources such as: AlterNet, Common Dreams, Democracy Now, Bush Watch, Buzz Flash, KOS, and the international press. There are others, please feel free to post a comment that lists them.

We are in a most peculiar situation right now. It is incumbent upon all of us to start to look for truth and not just swallow the media’s spin. If you know of something being misrepresented, post it. We need to stick together as never before.

November 15, 2004

Hard to Believe

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 1:30 pm

It has been just under a week since the election of 2004. I have been trying to understand what took place. It seems that the religious right put their man back in office. It is hard to believe that so many people put their religious concerns above their own best interest. In fact that is what makes this so very hard to believe. I am torn between wanting to believe that the election was stolen, or that people are so afraid of life that they simply cling to the easy answers that religion gives them. Or, perhaps there are alternative answers. Once again I want to assert that I am no proponent of conspiracy theories (a statement offered by most conspiracy theorists), however, I do think this election could just be smoke and mirrors. The few people in charge have found out how to remain in charge. That is that. We are no longer free citizens of a republic, but now are just dupes. Playing at living our lives on our own terms. Perhaps we are just slaves to money and the power of the few. Wow, that gives me a sick feeling to admit. I know I know very little about what truly goes on in the world. I am but one person, limited by my own vision and knowledge. I also realize that I do not know everything, it is enough to know me. This in itself is a monumental challenge. I am constantly realizing that I know very little, and am also regularly looking for more information and knowledge.

Since my father’s death two weeks ago I have realized that there were parts of me that I had not seen. I have been seeing me in new ways. Some of the discoveries have been satisfying and some have been very difficult. For instance I have not had much contact with my father over the last 15 years. I finally realized that having contact with my father was very difficult for both of us. We talked through a great deal and accepted our differences. It took care of both of us to do this. But it pointed to the fact that we did not do well unless there was distance between us. It was hard to give up the fantasy of having the father of my dreams, but it was important to do so. I also had to see my father realize that I was never going to be the daughter of his dreams. We then gave each other permission to be who we really were, and to accept that the relationship had given both of us what we needed from it. This type of knowledge was hard to accept, but I know I am better for having gained it.

Now I look at the election and the direction I see this country headed and I have to ask myself if remaining in this country is the right thing for me. I have loved this country my entire life. I did at one time attempt to enter the military so as to serve. I was unable to do so, but I would have. I found other ways to serve and feel as though I have made some contributions to my country. But now I need to make a choice about whether staying here is in my best interest anymore. I am not sure about this. I do not like the feel of the place now. It is becoming more and more restrictive, it feels less free, and I do not like the way ordinary citizens are being treated. I see health care becoming too expensive, protestors being arrested, choice being threatened, rights being taken away, groups of people being discriminated against, the environment being destroyed, jobs being outsourced, labor unions being destroyed, and basic needs becoming too expensive and I am sickened by the direction we are heading. I admit that I am in a quandary right now. I am thinking about what to do. I am not at all sure I will stay. What a difference a week can make.

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