Making Apple Cider

On a bright sunny September day Drove to a Sebastopol apple farm That rested on top of a hill and Encompassed twelve acres

 

Owned by jolly brilliant female Doctor  who Taught three families and four children Our family and son's with A Vietnamese couple with two boys and grandmother

We picked red, green, and golden apples under blue sky Aromas of heirloom and golden delicious filled the atmosphere From where they had dropped All placed them in large baskets Culling out damaged fruit Cutting off stems and blemishes

Placing the best on blankets Putting the rest in water barrels We assaulted the trees for fresh fruit

Grabbing, wrestling, and shaking limbs Sweating profusely tussling with twigs Collecting the droppings in baskets Culling as before and separating Two men brought the cider press

That crushed the fruit with a wood disk Into the grinder while another rotated The wheel a few turns and back peddled Allowing the masher to grind those that slipped

 

We produced a large bucket of apple mash above A plastic tray that caught the cider flow When pressed down from above Tilting the tray when full slowly Filled the bucket with fresh cider Making two to three gallons to the bushel

Harvesting five trees was enough Select apples were for fresh eating The first bite of an heirloom was sweet and sour And the delicious golden sweeter while the green crunchier Pouring cider into half gallon jugs Filled four for each family Thirsty and tired a taste of the First batch of cider was

 

Sweet, tangy and luscious

And entirely unforgettable

In the sun with Nature making fresh cider

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From Hiroshima to Syria, the enemy whose name we dare not speak By John Pilger

September 10, 2013

From Hiroshima to Syria, the enemy whose name we dare not speak

By John Pilger

Russia's peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran.

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On my wall is the front page of Daily Express of September 5, 1945 and the words: "I write this as a warning to the world." So began Wilfred Burchett's report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.

Almost every day now, he is vindicated. The intrinsic criminality of the atomic bombing is borne out in the US National Archives and by the subsequent decades of militarism camouflaged as democracy. The Syria psychodrama exemplifies this. Yet again, we are held hostage to the prospect of a terrorism whose nature and history even the most liberal critics still deny. The great unmentionable is that humanity's most dangerous enemy resides across the Atlantic.

John Kerry's farce and Barack Obama's pirouettes are temporary. Russia's peace deal over chemical weapons will, in time, be treated with the contempt that all militarists reserve for diplomacy. With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. "This operation [in Syria]," said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, "goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned."

When the public is "psychologically scarred," as the Channel 4 reporter Jonathan Rugman described the British people's overwhelming hostility to an attack on Syria, reinforcing the unmentionable is made urgent. Whether or not Bashar al-Assad or the "rebels" used gas in the suburbs of Damascus, it is the US not Syria that is the world's most prolific user of these terrible weapons. In 1970, the Senate reported, "The US has dumped on Vietnam a quantity of toxic chemical (dioxin) amounting to six pounds per head of population." This was Operation Hades, later renamed the friendlier Operation Rand Hand: the source of what Vietnamese doctors call a "cycle of foetal catastrophe."

I have seen generations of young children with their familiar, monstrous deformities. John Kerry, with his own blood-soaked war record, will remember them. I have seen them in Iraq, too, where the US used depleted uranium and white phosphorous, as did the Israelis in Gaza, raining it down on UN schools and hospitals. No Obama "red line" for them. No showdown psychodrama for them.

The repetitive debate about whether "we" should "take action" against selected dictators (i.e., cheer on the US and its acolytes in yet another aerial killing spree) is part of our brainwashing. Richard Falk, emeritus professor of international law and UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, describes it as "a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of Western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence." This "is so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable."

It is the biggest lie: the product of "liberal realists" in Anglo-American politics, scholarship and the media who ordain themselves as the world's crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. Stripping humanity from the study of nations and congealing it with jargon that serves western power designs, they mark "failed," "rogue" or "evil" states for "humanitarian intervention."

An attack on Syria or Iran or any other US "demon" would draw on a fashionable variant, "Responsibility to Protect," or R2P, whose lectern-trotting zealot is the former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, co-chair of a "Global Centre", based in New York. Evans and his generously funded lobbyists play a vital propaganda role in urging the "international community" to attack countries where "the Security Council rejects a proposal or fails to deal with it in a reasonable time."

Evans has form. He appears in my 1994 film Death of a Nation, which revealed the scale of genocide in East Timor. Canberra's smiling man is raising his champagne glass in a toast to his Indonesian equivalent as they fly over East Timor in an Australian aircraft, having just signed a treaty that pirated the oil and gas of the stricken country below where Indonesia's tyrant, Suharto, killed or starved a third of the population.

Under the "weak" Obama, militarism has risen perhaps as never before. With not a single tank on the White House lawn, a military coup has taken place in Washington. In 2008, while his liberal devotees dried their eyes, Obama accepted the entire Pentagon of his predecessor, George Bush: its wars and war crimes. As the constitution is replaced by an emerging police state, those who destroyed Iraq with shock and awe, and piled up the rubble in Afghanistan and reduced Libya to a Hobbesian nightmare, are ascendant across the US administration. Behind their beribboned facade, more former US soldiers are killing themselves than are dying on battlefields. Last year, 6,500 veterans took their own lives. Put out more flags.

The historian Norman Pollack calls this "liberal fascism." "For goose-steppers," he wrote, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."

Every Tuesday, the "humanitarian" Obama personally oversees a worldwide terror network of drones that "bugsplat" people, their rescuers and mourners. In the west's comfort zones, the first black leader of the land of slavery still feels good, as if his very existence represents a social advance, regardless of his trail of blood. This obeisance to a symbol has all but destroyed the US anti-war movement: Obama's singular achievement.

In Britain, the distractions of the fakery of image and identity politics have not quite succeeded. A stirring has begun, though people of conscience should hurry. The judges at Nuremberg were succinct: "Individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity." The ordinary people of Syria, and countless others, and our own self respect, deserve nothing less now.

Submitters Bio:

John Pilger grew up in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, author and documentary film-maker. He is one of only two to win British journalism's highest award twice, for his work all over the world. On 1 November, he was awarded Britain's highest honor for documentary film-making by the Grierson Trustees, in memory of the documentary pioneer John Grierson. He has been International reporter of the Year and a recipient of the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. In 2003, he received the prestigious Sophie Prize for "thirty years of exposing deception and improving human rights." In 2009, he was awarded Australia's international human rights award, the Sydney Peace Prize, "for his courage as a film-maker and journalist in enabling the voices of the powerless to be heard "." For his documentary films, he has won an American television academy award, an Emmy, and the Richard Dimbleby Award for a lifetime's work in factual broadcasting, awarded by BAFTA. His first film, The Quiet Mutiny, made in 1970 for Granada's World in Action, revealed the rebellion within the US Army in Vietnam that led to the American withdrawal. His 1979 documentary, the epic Cambodia Year Zero is credited with alerting the world to the horrors of the Pol Pot regime. Year Zero is ranked by the BFI as among the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century. His Death of a Nation, about East Timor, had a similar impact in 1994. He has made 58 documentary films. He is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Heroes and A Secret Country, The New Rulers of the World and Hidden Agendas. He is the editor of an anthology, Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs. His latest book is Freedom Next Time. "John Pilger unearths, with steely attention to facts, the filthy truth and tells it as it is" -- Harold Pinter. "John Pilger's work has been a beacon of light in often dark times. The realities he has brought to light have been a revelation, over and over again, and his courage and insight a constant inspiration." -- Noam Chomsky

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A Bloodless War… By Mary Pitt

September 10, 2013 A Bloodless War... By Mary Pitt A poem that sadly describes the response of the majority of the American people to the senseless slaughter over the past 12 years.

(Pictures in original removed because they are atrocious)

"Give us a bloodless war!" they cry,

"Don't let us see anybody die,

"Let us cheer the marchers and salute the flag,

"Celebrate the victory then go home and brag!

"Hide the burning bodies and the severed arms,

"And mute the sound of the raid alarms.

"Let us slay the infidel and rout the beast

"But shield us from what we like the least.

"Let us enjoy the spoils of war,

"But save us from seeing the blood and gore.

"Hide from us the keening cries

"Of a mother who mourns while her baby dies,

"Don't let us hear the piteous moans

"Of a child in pain with broken bones

"While a nurse who has no time for hugs

"Tries to heal without any drugs;

"Cover the missing feet and hands!

"It is too sad for our hearts to stand.

"Give us instead a cheerful smile

"So we may enjoy our war for a while.

"Bring the dead home by dark of night

"And hide them carefully from sight.

"We don't want to know how their families feel;

"We don't want to see that death is real.

"We don't want to know that soldier's name

"For that might bring a sense of shame.

"Let us not question who's to blame

"While we play our silly political games.

"We will rejoice as we did before

"While our children pay for our bloodless war."

Submitters Bio:

This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The System.

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