Archive for July, 2013

Great Eats: Miso and Salad

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Yesterday, the 30th I made a decent breakfast, simpler than the day before, and thus more memorable. Two strips per person of turkey bacon, seasoned with white pepper and cumin sprinkled on top in the iron griddle, with olive oil, add grated potato into hash browns, prebaked, so all it needed was to be heated and browned, a slice of yellow onion chopped fairly fine, a couple of pieces of garlic also chopped, about 3-4 oz of soft Mozzarella broken into smallish bits, placed on hash browns and other veges, some thyme to taste, lots of parsley, preferably fresh, chopped fine, and oregano, then at the last minute add about two to three branches of fresh basil chopped with big stems removed, mix until mozzarella is all melted into the hash browns with everything else except bacon which is served on toast with butter or a good jam and poached eggs. I use half a slice of bread for each, you can add fresh cilantro on top. Serve with hash browns. To this I add black pepper, hot sauce and a lime or lemon slice. On the side I have a small bowl of high fiber cereal, with fresh blueberries, kefir and pomegranate juice. This should make for an excellent breakfast.

Later for dinner I made miso soup, with fresh broccoli bits, slice of yellow onion diced, four pieces chopped garlic, a quarter of a bell pepper chopped smallish, all in a medium pan two thirds full of boiling water, add largish glob of white miso, I get mine from a Japanese market in LA or Torrance, chop half a dozen mushrooms and add them, just before it is done add some fine rice pasta, a good sized handful of seaweed or dulce, a dash of soy sauce, some chili powder, a little white pepper, a dash of sweet chili sauce, chop up a piece of fresh ginger and add, and lemon grass powder, if you don’t mind picking them out later, add chopped up pieces of fresh lemon grass. Even if you add it at the beginning, it won’t dissolve enough to eat, lemon grass is for flavor and aroma. I didn’t have any but for added protein I like to add some chopped up chunks of extra firm tofu. This will make a thick broth and you may have to add more water to make it still retain soup consistency. Most of these ingredients come from the local Cambodian or Thai market.

With this I had a simpler salad than usual, romaine lettuce, half a large salad tomato, a dozen black grapes sliced in half, a finger or two worth of good extra sharp cheddar, a small slice of yellow onion chopped up, a largish dollop of humus, some wheat germ sprinkled on top and then a dressing of sesame oil cut with canola, a good amount of apple cider vinegar, a decent dash of soy sauce (low sodium) and a good bit of sweet chili sauce. Shake it up and pour on.

That made for an excellent dinner, great on a chilly summer night like we have been having in Long Beach.

No history now, maybe later I will add some. Got to get back to studying for my math final.

Ashoka: Buddhist Prince of Peace

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Not much to say on a personal level, I started this on the 29th and it is already the 30th. Had a test. Bradly Manning sentence expected in the morning. Meals I made were mishmash mush, too many ingredients thrown together, not especially distinguished, unworthy of being written about. But there are things in history and one in particular for those out there who appreciate princes who renounce violence. Problem is historically their empires tend to fall away when a prince is not known to be a warrior, but this one gave it a grand effort and succeeded, at least in his lifetime.

Greek Influenced Buddhist art

Greek influenced Buddhist Art

The Prince Of Peace: Ashoka

I do want to say something though about Ashoka, king of the Mauryan Empire in Northern India. He was known as the great king who renounced violence and accepted Buddhism. He went from being a great warrior to becoming a believer in spreading the Dhamma or Dharma, the Buddhist tenants of right livelihood, sending his own children to preach in foreign lands according to some of the texts. largely through his efforts Buddhism went from being a local cult to becoming a world religion, seemingly much like Christianity centuries later under the influence of Roman Emperor Constantine.

Maurya Dynasty

Maurya Dynasty

Grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan dynasty, he was its last great ruler, the regime collapsing some 50 years after his death. But in its day, ruled from the capital Patna, this was a sight to behold and one of the largest cities of its time. Famously Chandragupta was able to observe the army of Alexander as it prepared to conquer India as quoted below from the Wikipedia article:

His mentor Chanakya knew of the threats that Alexander the Great’s army posed. So, he infiltrated Alexander’s army with Chandragupta himself being recruited as one of the soldiers. They spread word of the ferocious Indian armies, one of which Alexander had barely managed to defeat, creating the famous moment in history when Alexander’s army requested him to abandon his quest of India.



A couple of descriptions of the capital, modern Patna, from Greek and Roman Sources originally from Megasthenes a Greek Ambassador to the Indian Empire, built by Chandragupta and also capital for Ashoka.

Selections from the South Asia project Megasthenes: Indika

This is from Arran

It is farther said that the Indians do not rear monuments to the dead, but consider the virtues which men have displayed in life, and the songs in which their praises are celebrated, sufficient to preserve their memory after death. But of their cities it is said that the number is so great that it cannot be stated with precision, but that such cities as are situated on the banks of rivers or on the sea-coast are built of wood instead of brick, being meant to last only for a time,–so destructive are the heavy rains which pour down, and the rivers also when they overflow their banks and inundate the plains,–while those cities which stand on commanding situations and lofty eminences are built of brick and mud; that the greatest city in India is that which is called Palimbothra, in the dominions of the Prasians, where the streams of the Erannoboas and the Ganges unite,–the Ganges being the greatest of all rivers, and the Erannoboas being perhaps the third largest of Indian rivers, though greater than the greatest rivers elsewhere; but it is smaller than the Ganges where it falls into it. Megasthenes informs us that this city stretched in the inhabited quarters to an extreme length on each side of eighty stadia, and that its breadth was fifteen stadia, and that a ditch encompassed it all round, which was six hundred feet in breadth and thirty cubits in depth, and that the wall was crowned with 570 towers and had four-and-sixty gates. The same writer tells us further this remarkable fact about India, that all the Indians are free, and not one of them is a slave. The Lakedaemonians, and the Indians are here so far in agreement. The Lakedaemonians, however, hold the Helots as slaves, and these Helots do servile labour; but the Indians do not even use aliens as slaves, and much less a countryman of their own.

This is from Strabo

According to Megasthenes the mean breadth (of the Ganges) is 100 stadia, and its least depth 20 fathoms. At the meeting of this river and another is situated Palibothra, a city eighty stadia in length and fifteen in breadth. It is of the shape of a parallelogram, and is girded with a wooden wall, pierced with loopholes for the discharge of arrows. It has a ditch in front for defence and for receiving the sewage of the city. The people in whose country this city is situated is the most distinguished in all India, and is called the Prasii. The king, in addition to his family name, must adopt the surname of Palibothros, as Sandrakottos, for instance, did, to whom Megasthenes was sent on an embassy. [This custom also prevails among the Parthians, for all are called Arsakai, though each has his own peculiar name, as Orodes, Phraates, or some other.]

The Edicts of Ashoka are in themselves interesting artifacts and a true record from the turbulent world of Ancient India where multiple sects and religions competed for the attentions of the peoples of the world as Asia was increasingly in contact with Europe, Africa and it’s own vast regions and multiple states. The conquests of Alexander and the Persians before them had opened up a direct line to the west, bringing ideas and technology, including the Indian version of the modern battle tank, the armed Elephant. It would be interesting to see direct influences on Greek and Hebraic theological thinking and philosophy in the period of Hellenistic empires, when knowledge from around the world was being accumulated in the great libraries notably that in Alexandria. Perhaps Jesus had a historical role model in the tales of Buddha brought from India. It becomes less speculative that he may indeed have visited India itself although there is no historical evidence, as there is very little for a historical Jesus at all. But lets leave that speculation for another blog posting, meantime we have the real historical evidence of the stele’s of Ashoka.

From The Edicts of King Ashoka by Ven. S. Dhammika

//Dhamma sadhu, kiyam cu dhamme ti? Apasinave, bahu kayane, daya, dane, sace, socaye//.
Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil, much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity.

With the rediscovery and translation of Indian literature by European scholars in the 19th century, it was not just the religion and philosophy of Buddhism that came to light, but also its many legendary histories and biographies. Amongst this class of literature, one name that came to be noticed was that of Asoka, a good king who was supposed to have ruled India in the distant past. Stories about this king, similar in outline but differing greatly in details, were found in the Divyavadana, the Asokavadana, the Mahavamsa and several other works. They told of an exceptionally cruel and ruthless prince who had many of his brothers killed in order to seize the throne, who was dramatically converted to Buddhism and who ruled wisely and justly for the rest of his life. None of these stories were taken seriously — after all many pre-modern cultures had legends about “too good to be true” kings who had ruled righteously in the past and who, people hoped, would rule again soon. Most of these legends had their origins more in popular longing to be rid of the despotic and uncaring kings than in any historical fact. And the numerous stories about Asoka were assumed to be the same.

But in 1837, James Prinsep succeeded in deciphering an ancient inscription on a large stone pillar in Delhi. Several other pillars and rocks with similar inscriptions had been known for some time and had attracted the curiosity of scholars. Prinsep’s inscription proved to be a series of edicts issued by a king calling himself “Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi.” In the following decades, more and more edicts by this same king were discovered and with increasingly accurate decipherment of their language, a more complete picture of this man and his deeds began to emerge. Gradually, it dawned on scholars that the King Piyadasi of the edicts might be the King Asoka so often praised in Buddhist legends. However, it was not until 1915, when another edict actually mentioning the name Asoka was discovered, that the identification was confirmed. Having been forgotten for nearly 700 years, one of the greatest men in history became known to the world once again.


Ashoka Modern Interpretation

Quotes below from article by Pradip Bhattacharya

Ashoka Maurya, described by H.G. Wells as the greatest ruler the world has seen, is best known through his rock edicts and the Pali chronicles of Sri Lanka, Mahaavamsa and Deepavamsa, of the 5th century A. D. These chronicles belong to the Theravada school of Buddhism and stress Ashoka’s role in propagating it by dispatching missionaries to Kashmir, Gandhara, the Himalayas, Maharashtra, Suvarnabhumi in South-East Asia, and his own son Mahinda to Sri Lanka. A very different Ashoka comes before us in the Sanskrit Ashokaavadaana, a 1st century A.D. work which was translated into Chinese twice: the A-yu wang chuan around 300 A.D. and the A-yu wang ching circa 500 A.D.

As stated he had not always been a virtuous ruler, in his earlier years he was known as “Ashoka the Terrible” and there is, according to Michael Wood’s documentary The Story of India, a place in Patna, his capital, where his torture chamber was and is now a shrine. The description below from Bhattacharya’s article highlights that former ‘terrible’ self.

Evil Ashoka

Evil Ashoka of Legend

Once Chandagirikaa had gone to the Kukkutaaraama vihara where he happened to hear a monk reciting the “Baalapandita Sutra” which describes the five great tortures that beings suffer in hell. Some are stretched out on their backs on red-hot iron floors and balls of molten metal poured down their throats; others are thrown face-down on a mass of flames and branded; some are hacked and chopped with fiery axes into an octagon, a hexagon, a square, an oval and finally a circle; yet others are thrown on their backs on floors of flaming metal, and stakes driven through their hands, feet and heart. Hearing this horrific account, Girikaa was overjoyed. “Such are the five great agonies,” he mused, “and I shall follow the Sutra in implementing these in this life itself. Why deprive anyone of these in this life and keep them in suspense till after death

Stone Edict

Edict Of Ashoka

The known rock edicts and the translations rendered by Dhammika are listed below. King Piyadasi is another name for Ashoka, as is currently accepted. These are dated to the middle of the third century BCE. It is fairly unusual to have much historical written material from early Indian history as the climate is not conducive to preserving records, unlike the very agreeable desert conditions in Egypt and parts of the Levant. Thus we have multiple records from as far back as 3000 BCE and before in the Middle East but in South Asia, very little from before the medieval period. An interesting note, almost all the records are from Buddhist texts and thus have a bias towards their religion. Only the stone edicts are more or less unbiased, but even here translations are by interested parties, Buddhist scholars. Still it is of great historical and cultural interest and if you are a believer in Non-Violence, this is a truly historic time when a prince rejects war for persuasion.

1Edict Locations

Edict Locations

The Edicts of Ashoka

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has caused this Dhamma edict to be written. Here (in my domain) no living beings are to be slaughtered or offered in sacrifice. Nor should festivals be held, for Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, sees much to object to in such festivals, although there are some festivals that Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does approve of.

Formerly, in the kitchen of Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, hundreds of thousands of animals were killed every day to make curry. But now with the writing of this Dhamma edict only three creatures, two peacocks and a deer are killed, and the deer not always. And in time, not even these three creatures will be killed.


Everywhere within Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi’s domain, and among the people beyond the borders, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Satiyaputras, the Keralaputras, as far as Tamraparni and where the Greek king Antiochos rules, and among the kings who are neighbors of Antiochos, everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Twelve years after my coronation this has been ordered — Everywhere in my domain the Yuktas, the Rajjukas and the Pradesikas shall go on inspection tours every five years for the purpose of Dhamma instruction and also to conduct other business. Respect for mother and father is good, generosity to friends, acquaintances, relatives, Brahmans and ascetics is good, not killing living beings is good, moderation in spending and moderation in saving is good. The Council shall notify the Yuktas about the observance of these instructions in these very words.

Ashoka's Empire

Ashoka’s Empire


In the past, for many hundreds of years, killing or harming living beings and improper behavior towards relatives, and improper behavior towards Brahmans and ascetics has increased. But now due to Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi’s Dhamma practice, the sound of the drum has been replaced by the sound of the Dhamma.The sighting of heavenly cars, auspicious elephants, bodies of fire and other divine sightings has not happened for many hundreds of years. But now because Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi promotes restraint in the killing and harming of living beings, proper behavior towards relatives, Brahmans and ascetics, and respect for mother, father and elders, such sightings have increased.

These and many other kinds of Dhamma practice have been encouraged by Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, and he will continue to promote Dhamma practice. And the sons, grandsons and great-grandsons of Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, too will continue to promote Dhamma practice until the end of time; living by Dhamma and virtue, they will instruct in Dhamma. Truly, this is the highest work, to instruct in Dhamma. But practicing the Dhamma cannot be done by one who is devoid of virtue and therefore its promotion and growth is commendable.

This edict has been written so that it may please my successors to devote themselves to promoting these things and not allow them to decline. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has had this written twelve years after his coronation.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: To do good is difficult. One who does good first does something hard to do. I have done many good deeds, and, if my sons, grandsons and their descendants up to the end of the world act in like manner, they too will do much good. But whoever amongst them neglects this, they will do evil. Truly, it is easy to do evil.

In the past there were no Dhamma Mahamatras but such officers were appointed by me thirteen years after my coronation. Now they work among all religions for the establishment of Dhamma, for the promotion of Dhamma, and for the welfare and happiness of all who are devoted to Dhamma. They work among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Gandharas, the Rastrikas, the Pitinikas and other peoples on the western borders. They work among soldiers, chiefs, Brahmans, householders, the poor, the aged and those devoted to Dhamma — for their welfare and happiness — so that they may be free from harassment. They (Dhamma Mahamatras) work for the proper treatment of prisoners, towards their unfettering, and if the Mahamatras think, “This one has a family to support,” “That one has been bewitched,” “This one is old,” then they work for the release of such prisoners. They work here, in outlying towns, in the women’s quarters belonging to my brothers and sisters, and among my other relatives. They are occupied everywhere. These Dhamma Mahamatras are occupied in my domain among people devoted to Dhamma to determine who is devoted to Dhamma, who is established in Dhamma, and who is generous.

This Dhamma edict has been written on stone so that it might endure long and that my descendants might act in conformity with it.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus:In the past, state business was not transacted nor were reports delivered to the king at all hours. But now I have given this order, that at any time, whether I am eating, in the women’s quarters, the bed chamber, the chariot, the palanquin, in the park or wherever, reporters are to be posted with instructions to report to me the affairs of the people so that I might attend to these affairs wherever I am. And whatever I orally order in connection with donations or proclamations, or when urgent business presses itself on the Mahamatras, if disagreement or debate arises in the Council, then it must be reported to me immediately. This is what I have ordered. I am never content with exerting myself or with despatching business. Truly, I consider the welfare of all to be my duty, and the root of this is exertion and the prompt despatch of business. There is no better work than promoting the welfare of all the people and whatever efforts I am making is to repay the debt I owe to all beings to assure their happiness in this life, and attain heaven in the next.

Therefore this Dhamma edict has been written to last long and that my sons, grandsons and great-grandsons might act in conformity with it for the welfare of the world. However, this is difficult to do without great exertion.


A Mogul or Raja interpretation of Ashoka


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desires that all religions should reside everywhere, for all of them desire self-control and purity of heart. But people have various desires and various passions, and they may practice all of what they should or only a part of it. But one who receives great gifts yet is lacking in self-control, purity of heart, gratitude and firm devotion, such a person is mean.


In the past kings used to go out on pleasure tours during which there was hunting and other entertainment. But ten years after Beloved-of-the-Gods had been coronated, he went on a tour to Sambodhi and thus instituted Dhamma tours.[ During these tours, the following things took place: visits and gifts to Brahmans and ascetics, visits and gifts of gold to the aged, visits to people in the countryside, instructing them in Dhamma, and discussing Dhamma with them as is suitable. It is this that delights Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, and is, as it were, another type of revenue.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: In times of sickness, for the marriage of sons and daughters, at the birth of children, before embarking on a journey, on these and other occasions, people perform various ceremonies. Women in particular perform many vulgar and worthless ceremonies. These types of ceremonies can be performed by all means, but they bear little fruit. What does bear great fruit, however, is the ceremony of the Dhamma. This involves proper behavior towards servants and employees, respect for teachers, restraint towards living beings, and generosity towards ascetics and Brahmans. These and other things constitute the ceremony of the Dhamma. Therefore a father, a son, a brother, a master, a friend, a companion, and even a neighbor should say: “This is good, this is the ceremony that should be performed until its purpose is fulfilled, this I shall do.”Other ceremonies are of doubtful fruit, for they may achieve their purpose, or they may not, and even if they do, it is only in this world. But the ceremony of the Dhamma is timeless. Even if it does not achieve its purpose in this world, it produces great merit in the next, whereas if it does achieve its purpose in this world, one gets great merit both here and there through the ceremony of the Dhamma.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not consider glory and fame to be of great account unless they are achieved through having my subjects respect Dhamma and practice Dhamma, both now and in the future. For this alone does Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desire glory and fame. And whatever efforts Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, is making, all of that is only for the welfare of the people in the next world, and that they will have little evil. And being without merit is evil. This is difficult for either a humble person or a great person to do except with great effort, and by giving up other interests. In fact, it may be even more difficult for a great person to do.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: There is no gift like the gift of the Dhamma, (no acquaintance like) acquaintance with Dhamma, (no distribution like) distribution of Dhamma, and (no kinship like) kinship through Dhamma. And it consists of this: proper behavior towards servants and employees, respect for mother and father, generosity to friends, companions, relations, Brahmans and ascetics, and not killing living beings. Therefore a father, a son, a brother, a master, a friend, a companion or a neighbor should say: “This is good, this should be done.” One benefits in this world and gains great merit in the next by giving the gift of the Dhamma.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, honors both ascetics and the householders of all religions, and he honors them with gifts and honors of various kinds. But Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values this — that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions. Growth in essentials can be done in different ways, but all of them have as their root restraint in speech, that is, not praising one’s own religion, or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism, it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honor other religions for this reason. By so doing, one’s own religion benefits, and so do other religions, while doing otherwise harms one’s own religion and the religions of others. Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought “Let me glorify my own religion,” only harms his own religion. Therefore contact (between religions) is good. One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrines of other religions.

Those who are content with their own religion should be told this: Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions. And to this end many are working — Dhamma Mahamatras, Mahamatras in charge of the women’s quarters, officers in charge of outlying areas, and other such officers. And the fruit of this is that one’s own religion grows and the Dhamma is illuminated also.

Ashoka  Battle Elephants

19th Century Version of Ashoka Battle Elephants


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, conquered the Kalingas eight years after his coronation. One hundred and fifty thousand were deported, one hundred thousand were killed and many more died (from other causes). After the Kalingas had been conquered, Beloved-of-the-Gods came to feel a strong inclination towards the Dhamma, a love for the Dhamma and for instruction in Dhamma. Now Beloved-of-the-Gods feels deep remorse for having conquered the Kalingas.

Indeed, Beloved-of-the-Gods is deeply pained by the killing, dying and deportation that take place when an unconquered country is conquered. But Beloved-of-the-Gods is pained even more by this — that Brahmans, ascetics, and householders of different religions who live in those countries, and who are respectful to superiors, to mother and father, to elders, and who behave properly and have strong loyalty towards friends, acquaintances, companions, relatives, servants and employees — that they are injured, killed or separated from their loved ones. Even those who are not affected (by all this) suffer when they see friends, acquaintances, companions and relatives affected. These misfortunes befall all (as a result of war), and this pains Beloved-of-the-Gods.

There is no country, except among the Greeks, where these two groups, Brahmans and ascetics, are not found, and there is no country where people are not devoted to one or another religion. Therefore the killing, death or deportation of a hundredth, or even a thousandth part of those who died during the conquest of Kalinga now pains Beloved-of-the-Gods. Now Beloved-of-the-Gods thinks that even those who do wrong should be forgiven where forgiveness is possible.

Even the forest people, who live in Beloved-of-the-Gods’ domain, are entreated and reasoned with to act properly. They are told that despite his remorse Beloved-of-the-Gods has the power to punish them if necessary, so that they should be ashamed of their wrong and not be killed. Truly, Beloved-of-the-Gods desires non-injury, restraint and impartiality to all beings, even where wrong has been done.

Now it is conquest by Dhamma that Beloved-of-the-Gods considers to be the best conquest. And it (conquest by Dhamma) has been won here, on the borders, even six hundred yojanas away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni. Here in the king’s domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods’ instructions in Dhamma. Even where Beloved-of-the-Gods’ envoys have not been, these people too, having heard of the practice of Dhamma and the ordinances and instructions in Dhamma given by Beloved-of-the-Gods, are following it and will continue to do so. This conquest has been won everywhere, and it gives great joy — the joy which only conquest by Dhamma can give. But even this joy is of little consequence. Beloved-of-the-Gods considers the great fruit to be experienced in the next world to be more important.

I have had this Dhamma edict written so that my sons and great-grandsons may not consider making new conquests, or that if military conquests are made, that they be done with forbearance and light punishment, or better still, that they consider making conquest by Dhamma only, for that bears fruit in this world and the next. May all their intense devotion be given to this which has a result in this world and the next.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has had these Dhamma edicts written in brief, in medium length, and in extended form. Not all of them occur everywhere, for my domain is vast, but much has been written, and I will have still more written. And also there are some subjects here that have been spoken of again and again because of their sweetness, and so that the people may act in accordance with them. If some things written are incomplete, this is because of the locality, or in consideration of the object, or due to the fault of the scribe.

Ashoka Stele

Ashoka Stele



Beloved-of-the-Gods says that the Mahamatras of Tosali who are judicial officers in the city are to be told this: I wish to see that everything I consider to be proper is carried out in the right way. And I consider instructing you to be the best way of accomplishing this. I have placed you over many thousands of people that you may win the people’s affection.

All men are my children. What I desire for my own children, and I desire their welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, that I desire for all men. You do not understand to what extent I desire this, and if some of you do understand, you do not understand the full extent of my desire.

You must attend to this matter. While being completely law-abiding, some people are imprisoned, treated harshly and even killed without cause so that many people suffer. Therefore your aim should be to act with impartiality. It is because of these things — envy, anger, cruelty, hate, indifference, laziness or tiredness — that such a thing does not happen. Therefore your aim should be: “May these things not be in me.” And the root of this is non-anger and patience. Those who are bored with the administration of justice will not be promoted; (those who are not) will move upwards and be promoted. Whoever among you understands this should say to his colleagues: “See that you do your duty properly. Such and such are Beloved-of-the-Gods’ instructions.” Great fruit will result from doing your duty, while failing in it will result in gaining neither heaven nor the king’s pleasure. Failure in duty on your part will not please me. But done properly, it will win you heaven and you will be discharging your debts to me.

This edict is to be listened to on Tisa day, between Tisa days, and on other suitable occasions, it should be listened to even by a single person. Acting thus, you will be doing your duty.

This edict has been written for the following purpose: that the judicial officers of the city may strive to do their duty and that the people under them might not suffer unjust imprisonment or harsh treatment. To achieve this, I will send out Mahamatras every five years who are not harsh or cruel, but who are merciful and who can ascertain if the judicial officers have understood my purpose and are acting according to my instructions. Similarly, from Ujjayini, the prince will send similar persons with the same purpose without allowing three years to elapse. Likewise from Takhasila also. When these Mahamatras go on tours of inspection each year, then without neglecting their normal duties, they will ascertain if judicial officers are acting according to the king’s instructions.


Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: This royal order is to be addressed to the Mahamatras at Samapa. I wish to see that everything I consider to be proper is carried out in the right way. And I consider instructing you to be the best way of accomplishing this. All men are my children. What I desire for my own children, and I desire their welfare and happiness both in this world and the next, that I desire for all men.

The people of the unconquered territories beyond the borders might think: “What is the king’s intentions towards us?” My only intention is that they live without fear of me, that they may trust me and that I may give them happiness, not sorrow. Furthermore, they should understand that the king will forgive those who can be forgiven, and that he wishes to encourage them to practice Dhamma so that they may attain happiness in this world and the next. I am telling you this so that I may discharge the debts I owe, and that in instructing you, that you may know that my vow and my promise will not be broken. Therefore acting in this way, you should perform your duties and assure them (the people beyond the borders) that: “The king is like a father. He feels towards us as he feels towards himself. We are to him like his own children.”

By instructing you and informing you of my vow and my promise I shall be applying myself in complete fullness to achieving this object. You are able indeed to inspire them with confidence and to secure their welfare and happiness in this world and the next, and by acting thus, you will attain heaven as well as discharge the debts you owe to me. And so that the Mahamatras can devote themselves at all times to inspiring the border areas with confidence and encouraging them to practice Dhamma, this edict has been written here.

This edict is to be listened to every four months on Tisa day, between Tisa days, and on other suitable occasions, it should be listened to even by a single person. Acting thus, you will be doing your duty.

Ashoka Warrior King

Warrior Ashoka Conquers Kalinga, modern Orissa



Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: It is now more than two and a half years since I became a lay-disciple, but until now I have not been very zealous. But now that I have visited the Sangha for more than a year, I have become very zealous. Now the people in India who have not associated with the gods do so. This is the result of zeal and it is not just the great who can do this. Even the humble, if they are zealous, can attain heaven. And this proclamation has been made with this aim. Let both humble and great be zealous, let even those on the borders know and let zeal last long. Then this zeal will increase, it will greatly increase, it will increase up to one-and-a-half times. This message has been proclaimed two hundred and fifty-six times by the king while on tour.


Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: Father and mother should be respected and so should elders, kindness to living beings should be made strong and the truth should be spoken. In these ways, the Dhamma should be promoted. Likewise, a teacher should be honored by his pupil and proper manners should be shown towards relations. This is an ancient rule that conduces to long life. Thus should one act. Written by the scribe Chapala.


Piyadasi, King of Magadha, saluting the Sangha and wishing them good health and happiness, speaks thus: You know, reverend sirs, how great my faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and Sangha is. Whatever, reverend sirs, has been spoken by Lord Buddha, all that is well-spoken. I consider it proper, reverend sirs, to advise on how the good Dhamma should last long.

These Dhamma texts — Extracts from the Discipline, the Noble Way of Life, the Fears to Come, the Poem on the Silent Sage, the Discourse on the Pure Life, Upatisa’s Questions, and the Advice to Rahula which was spoken by the Buddha concerning false speech — these Dhamma texts, reverend sirs, I desire that all the monks and nuns may constantly listen to and remember. Likewise the laymen and laywomen. I have had this written that you may know my intentions.

* * *


Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus:This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation. Happiness in this world and the next is difficult to obtain without much love for the Dhamma, much self-examination, much respect, much fear (of evil), and much enthusiasm. But through my instruction this regard for Dhamma and love of Dhamma has grown day by day, and will continue to grow. And my officers of high, low and middle rank are practicing and conforming to Dhamma, and are capable of inspiring others to do the same. Mahamatras in border areas are doing the same. And these are my instructions: to protect with Dhamma, to make happiness through Dhamma and to guard with Dhamma.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil, much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity. I have given the gift of sight in various ways. To two-footed and four-footed beings, to birds and aquatic animals, I have given various things including the gift of life. And many other good deeds have been done by me.

This Dhamma edict has been written that people might follow it and it might endure for a long time. And the one who follows it properly will do something good.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: People see only their good deeds saying, “I have done this good deed.” But they do not see their evil deeds saying, “I have done this evil deed” or “This is called evil.” But this (tendency) is difficult to see. One should think like this: “It is these things that lead to evil, to violence, to cruelty, anger, pride and jealousy. Let me not ruin myself with these things.” And further, one should think: “This leads to happiness in this world and the next.”


Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation. My Rajjukas are working among the people, among many hundreds of thousands of people. The hearing of petitions and the administration of justice has been left to them so that they can do their duties confidently and fearlessly and so that they can work for the welfare, happiness and benefit of the people in the country. But they should remember what causes happiness and sorrow, and being themselves devoted to Dhamma, they should encourage the people in the country (to do the same), that they may attain happiness in this world and the next. These Rajjukas are eager to serve me. They also obey other officers who know my desires, who instruct the Rajjukas so that they can please me. Just as a person feels confident having entrusted his child to an expert nurse thinking: “The nurse will keep my child well,” even so, the Rajjukas have been appointed by me for the welfare and happiness of the people in the country.

The hearing of petitions and the administration of justice have been left to the Rajjukas so that they can do their duties unperturbed, fearlessly and confidently. It is my desire that there should be uniformity in law and uniformity in sentencing. I even go this far, to grant a three-day stay for those in prison who have been tried and sentenced to death. During this time their relatives can make appeals to have the prisoners’ lives spared. If there is none to appeal on their behalf, the prisoners can give gifts in order to make merit for the next world, or observe fasts. Indeed, it is my wish that in this way, even if a prisoner’s time is limited, he can prepare for the next world, and that people’s Dhamma practice, self-control and generosity may grow.


Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Twenty-six years after my coronation various animals were declared to be protected — parrots, mainas, //aruna//, ruddy geese, wild ducks, //nandimukhas, gelatas//, bats, queen ants, terrapins, boneless fish, //vedareyaka//, //gangapuputaka//, //sankiya// fish, tortoises, porcupines, squirrels, deer, bulls, //okapinda//, wild asses, wild pigeons, domestic pigeons and all four-footed creatures that are neither useful nor edible. Those nanny goats, ewes and sows which are with young or giving milk to their young are protected, and so are young ones less than six months old. Cocks are not to be caponized, husks hiding living beings are not to be burnt and forests are not to be burnt either without reason or to kill creatures. One animal is not to be fed to another. On the three Caturmasis, the three days of Tisa and during the fourteenth and fifteenth of the Uposatha, fish are protected and not to be sold. During these days animals are not to be killed in the elephant reserves or the fish reserves either. On the eighth of every fortnight, on the fourteenth and fifteenth, on Tisa, Punarvasu, the three Caturmasis and other auspicious days, bulls are not to be castrated, billy goats, rams, boars and other animals that are usually castrated are not to be. On Tisa, Punarvasu, Caturmasis and the fortnight of Caturmasis, horses and bullocks are not be branded.

In the twenty-six years since my coronation prisoners have been given amnesty on twenty-five occasions.


Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: Twelve years after my coronation I started to have Dhamma edicts written for the welfare and happiness of the people, and so that not transgressing them they might grow in the Dhamma. Thinking: “How can the welfare and happiness of the people be secured?” I give attention to my relatives, to those dwelling near and those dwelling far, so I can lead them to happiness and then I act accordingly. I do the same for all groups. I have honored all religions with various honors. But I consider it best to meet with people personally.

This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation.

Edict Archelogical Site

Edict Archeological Site


Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: In the past kings desired that the people might grow through the promotion of the Dhamma. But despite this, people did not grow through the promotion of the Dhamma. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, said concerning this: “It occurs to me that in the past kings desired that the people might grow through the promotion of the Dhamma. But despite this, people did not grow through the promotion of the Dhamma. Now how can the people be encouraged to follow it? How can the people be encouraged to grow through the promotion of the Dhamma? How can I elevate them by promoting the Dhamma?” Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, further said concerning this: “It occurs to me that I shall have proclamations on Dhamma announced and instruction on Dhamma given. When people hear these, they will follow them, elevate themselves and grow considerably through the promotion of the Dhamma.” It is for this purpose that proclamations on Dhamma have been announced and various instructions on Dhamma have been given and that officers who work among many promote and explain them in detail. The Rajjukas who work among hundreds of thousands of people have likewise been ordered: “In this way and that encourage those who are devoted to Dhamma.” Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: “Having this object in view, I have set up Dhamma pillars, appointed Dhamma Mahamatras, and announced Dhamma proclamations.”

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, says: Along roads I have had banyan trees planted so that they can give shade to animals and men, and I have had mango groves planted. At intervals of eight //krosas//, I have had wells dug, rest-houses built, and in various places, I have had watering-places made for the use of animals and men. But these are but minor achievements. Such things to make the people happy have been done by former kings. I have done these things for this purpose, that the people might practice the Dhamma.

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: My Dhamma Mahamatras too are occupied with various good works among the ascetics and householders of all religions. I have ordered that they should be occupied with the affairs of the Sangha. I have also ordered that they should be occupied with the affairs of the Brahmans and the Ajivikas. I have ordered that they be occupied with the Niganthas. In fact, I have ordered that different Mahamatras be occupied with the particular affairs of all different religions. And my Dhamma Mahamatras likewise are occupied with these and other religions.

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: These and other principal officers are occupied with the distribution of gifts, mine as well as those of the queens. In my women’s quarters, they organize various charitable activities here and in the provinces. I have also ordered my sons and the sons of other queens to distribute gifts so that noble deeds of Dhamma and the practice of Dhamma may be promoted. And noble deeds of Dhamma and the practice of Dhamma consist of having kindness, generosity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness and goodness increase among the people.

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Whatever good deeds have been done by me, those the people accept and those they follow. Therefore they have progressed and will continue to progress by being respectful to mother and father, respectful to elders, by courtesy to the aged and proper behavior towards Brahmans and ascetics, towards the poor and distressed, and even towards servants and employees.

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: This progress among the people through Dhamma has been done by two means, by Dhamma regulations and by persuasion. Of these, Dhamma regulation is of little effect, while persuasion has much more effect. The Dhamma regulations I have given are that various animals must be protected. And I have given many other Dhamma regulations also. But it is by persuasion that progress among the people through Dhamma has had a greater effect in respect of harmlessness to living beings and non-killing of living beings.

Concerning this, Beloved-of-the-Gods says: Wherever there are stone pillars or stone slabs, there this Dhamma edict is to be engraved so that it may long endure. It has been engraved so that it may endure as long as my sons and great-grandsons live and as long as the sun and the moon shine, and so that people may practice it as instructed. For by practicing it happiness will be attained in this world and the next.

This Dhamma edict has been written by me twenty-seven years after my coronation.



Twenty years after his coronation, Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, visited this place and worshipped because here the Buddha, the sage of the Sakyans, was born. He had a stone figure and a pillar set up and because the Lord was born here, the village of Lumbini was exempted from tax and required to pay only one eighth of the produce.


Beloved-of-the-Gods commands: The Mahamatras at Kosambi (are to be told: Whoever splits the Sangha) which is now united, is not to be admitted into the Sangha. Whoever, whether monk or nun, splits the Sangha is to be made to wear white clothes and to reside somewhere other than in a monastery.


That dear readers is the whole translated material on the Stele. I think it is pretty impressive, some of it may be a bit obscure but with a little due diligence you can become reasonably knowledgeable about Indian history. I was impressed with the place when I was there in the early nineties and would love to go back and check out the South, North and West of India.


- See more at:


From Project South Asia Megasthenes: Indika

Note: Photos from above sources or Google Images.

More Anarchist Cooking and Labor History: Trial Of Big Bill Haywood

Sunday, July 28th, 2013


Big Bill Haywood, Union organizer and IWW co-founder

And now for our history lesson.

The Trial of Big Bill Haywood

From Dennis’ Labor Solidarity, some background on Haywood.

William D. Haywood was born on February 4th, 1869 in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the age of nine he lost his right eye in an accident and shortly thereafter he started to work at a mine in Nevada which continued through his teen years. Haywood married Jane Minor and tried his hand at other forms of work, but ended up returning to the mines and in the 1890s he became aware of how important a union was to mine workers. By 1896 in Idaho while working in a silver mine, he helped form Local 66 of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM). Haywood became an organizer for the WFM and was elected president of Local 66 in 1900 and in 1901 became secretary-treasurer of the national WFM. He also was the editor of the Miners’ Magazine. In 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, Haywood joined with Eugene V. Debs, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, and others to form the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the “wobblies”. Haywood served as the IWW secretary-treasurer and was involved in leading textile strikes in Massachusetts and New Jersey. “Big Bill” Haywood died of a stroke on May 18th, 1928.

Bill Haywood

Big Bill Haywood

Haywood was arrested for the murder of Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg. Steunenberg was strongly opposing the Western Mine Workers attempts to unionize northern Idaho mines. This became an armed struggle between the workers and the state, federal troops came in to break the workers struggle that had been going on since the 1890’s. When the former governor was murdered, Haywood was kidnapped from Colorado and put on trial in Idaho in 1907. This became one of several trial’s of the century and was one of the cases where Clarence Darrow was to provide defense of a union leader against damming odds.

As part of the background, the Industrial Workers of the World had recently been formed in 1905, strongly anarcho-syndicalist in orientation and working with the Socialist movement in the USA. The Socialists were becoming an element to content with in politics, gaining power, preparing for the national elections of 1908. As part of the international socialist movement, the working classes seemed more than ever to be positioning themselves for the taking of state power from the capitalist classes in the early 20th century. The Second International seemed to be on the right path working on the dual front of labor organizing and political parties in the industrializing world. The IWW, as a part of the more direct action oriented anarchists was interested in wresting power from the bosses in the workplace. Wobblies as the IWW members were called, had become extremely active among the miners in the western states and territories. Big Bill Haywood a founder and leader of the Western Federation of Miners was a major reason for their success in this area.

The ruling classes were worried. Russia had just experienced a workers rebellion in the wake of their disastrous war with Japan. The US under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt was attempting to find some middle ground between the Robber Barron elites of the new industrial capitalists and the Socialist lead working classes. There was a war going on in the rank and file lives of everyday people and the government felt it could ignore this at their peril. Therefore a concerted effort was made to cut off the leadership of the most aggressive labor organizations. This trial like that of Joe Hill in Utah in the next decade, was a case in point.

Military Used Against Labor

Cartoon of Military crushing Labor in this case in Colorado

the account below is from the account by Douglas O. Linder, an interesting and somewhat biased tale with an emphasis on personalities and sensational descriptions, an entertaining read, but you might not like his descriptions of the workers as “terrorists.”

Western Federation of Miners

Western Federation of Miners

The struggle between the Western Federation of Miners and the Western Mine Owners’ Association at the turn of the twentieth century might well be called a “war.” When the state of Idaho prosecuted William “Big Bill” Haywood in 1907 for ordering the assassination of former governor Frank Steunenberg, fifteen years of union bombings and murders, fifteen years of mine owner intimidation and greed, and fifteen years of government abuse of process and denials of liberties spilled into the national headlines. Featuring James McParland, America’s most famous detective; Harry Orchard, America’s most notorious mass murderer turned state’s witness; Big Bill Haywood, America’s most radical labor leader; and Clarence Darrow, America’s most famous defense attorney, the Haywood trial ranks as one of the most fascinating criminal trials in history.

In the early evening of December 30, 1905, Frank Steunenberg, returning from a walk in eight inches of freshly fallen snow, opened an in-swinging gate leading to the porch of his Caldwell, Idaho home, and was blown ten feet into the air by an explosion that “shook the earth and could be heard for miles around.” Within an hour, Steunenberg, the former governor of Idaho, was dead. Speculation began immediately that Steunenberg’s assassination was the work of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), whose enmity Steunenberg had earned by his aggressive efforts, including the requesting of federal troops, to suppress labor unrest in the Couer d’Alene mining region of northern Idaho.

Idaho Miners

Miners in Coeur d’ Alene region

The 1890’s had been a time of unprecedented violence in Idaho’s silver mines. Federal troops were called to Idaho three separate times to combat union-sponsored terrorism that had resulted in many deaths and extensive property damage to mining company property, the last time being an eighteen-month occupation from May, 1898 to November, 1899 undertaken at the urging of Governor Frank Steunenberg. Steunenberg asked President McKinley to send troops after union miners hijacked a train and planted sixty boxes of dynamite beneath the world’s largest concentrator, owned by the Bunker Hill Mining Company of Wardner, Idaho, blowing it and several nearby buildings to smithereens. Federal troops responded by arresting every male– even doctors and preachers– in union-controlled towns, loading them into boxcars, and herding them into an old barn where the over 1,000 men were held captive without trial. In declaring martial law, Steunenberg said, “We have taken the monster by the throat and we are going to choke the life out of it. No halfway measures will be adopted. It is a plain case of the state or the union winning, and we do not propose that the state shall be defeated.” Steunenberg’s tough anti-union stance infuriated leaders of the Western Federation of Miners, all the more so because he was a Democrat who miners helped elect.

Haywood on Gold

McParland [hired by the state of Idaho] proceeded to devise a plan to arrest the three members of the Western Federation of Miners inner circle [Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone], all living in the WFM’s headquarters city of Denver, and transport them to Idaho for trial. McParland wanted the arrest and trip north to be so surreptitious and swift that the men would have no opportunity to obtain the assistance of lawyers who might prepare legal challenges to extradition. In effect, what McParland proposed was a kidnapping under the barest color of state law.

McParland and Idaho state officials succeeded in convincing the governor of Colorado to issue warrants for the arrest of the the three men (codenamed Copperhead, Viper, and Rattler) on February 15, 1906, though both the warrants and the planned arrests remained a closely guarded secret until the night of February 17, when the three were rounded up (Moyer was arrested after boarding “the Deadwood Sleeper” which was to take him to South Dakota on the first leg of a probable planned escape to Canada; Haywood was arrested while having sex with his sister-in-law),[dubious sensationalism]. Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone were placed for a few hours in the city jail, denied permission to call family or lawyers, before being hustled in the early hours of the morning to the Denver depot and placed on a special train with orders not to stop until it crossed the Idaho border.

Haywood used his time in jail to design new WFM posters, take a correspondence course in law, read books such as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, and run on the Socialist ticket for governor of Colorado (he received 16,000 votes).


Traditional image of the Sabot or workers shoes that were thrown into machinery to slow down production, hence sabotage.

On May 9, 1907 the case of State of Idaho versus William D. Haywood was called for trial in Judge Fremont Wood’s third-floor courtroom of the Ada County Courthouse. Press reports that day from Boise announced that “the eyes of the civilized world are on these great proceedings,” which was described as a “determined struggle between labor unions and capital.” One reporter called the Haywod trial “the greatest trial of modern time,” while another described it as “one of the great court cases in the annals of the American judiciary.”

On July 11, 1907, Darrow called William Haywood. Spectators fanned themselves with palm-leaf fans in ninety-five degree heat as Haywood, in a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, conversational tone, denied charge after charge that had been leveled against him by Harry Orchard. He denied ordering Orchard to blow up any mine or assassinate Steunenberg or any other public official. One reporter, no fan of Haywood, wrote in admiration of Haywood’s “manly assertion of his principles.” Senator Borah cross-examined Haywood for the prosecution. As Borah stood to begin his questioning, Haywood fixed his single eye (the other had been lost in a childhood accident) on the prosecutor. Borah was to say later that Haywood’s glare “doubled me up like a jack-knife.” For five hours, Borah tried and failed to crack the imposing defendant.

Judge Wood gave the jury their instructions. He told them the defendant was presumed innocent, that proof of guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the jury could not convict without corroborated evidence that connected Haywood with the Steunenberg assassination. At 11:04 am on Saturday, July 28, 1907, the twelve jurors began their deliberations.

As deliberations continued through the night, rumors of the jury’s thinking began to swirl around Boise. Most rumors had it that the jury was 11 to 1 or 10 to 2 or 9 to 3 for conviction. Darrow seemed to be pinning his hope on a hung jury. After deliberating through the night, the jury at 6:40 am on Sunday morning reported that they had reached a verdict.

As the jury filed into Judge Wood’s courtroom, Darrow put an arm around his client and said, ” Bill, old man, you’d better prepare for the worst. I’m afraid it’s against us, so keep up your nerve.” Haywood replied, “Yes, I will.” The clerk of court, Otto Peterson, announced the verdict: “We the jury in the above entitled cause find the defendant, William D. Haywood, not guilty.” Haywood jumped up, laughing and crying, bear hugged friends, then rushed to the jury to shake hands with as many members of it as he could.


Josh MacPhee cartoon Comparing Haywood with moderate labor leaders of the day.

From Swans Commentary

The artists who worked on Wobblies are a who’s who of the contemporary underground comic book scene. Josh MacPhee, who provided the artwork for the Big Bill Haywood story, is a well-known graffiti artist based in Chicago. In an interview with, MacPhee stated:

There are very few laws I feel shouldn’t be broken. For artists in particular, I think we need to attack all laws that continue to enclose our ‘commons’ and privatize everything and anything, be it space, economy, intellectual property, plants or human DNA. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do any sort of art in what we used to call public space.

In other words, MacPhee has the same attitude toward private property that the Wobblies did. If they chained themselves to a lamppost while making incendiary speeches in pursuit of free speech rights, artists like MacPhee mount the same challenge with a spray can.

MacPhee’s strip on the “Wooblies” - A panel from MacPhee’s strip (he wrote the story as well — see a full size pic at suggests that all that much has changed in the labor movement. The contrast between the revolutionary leader of the Western Federation of Miners, Big Bill Haywood, and the reformist leader of the United Mine Workers, John Mitchell, could not be starker. Haywood lost an eye in a mining accident in his first year at work, when he was nine years old. Mitchell, on the other hand, enjoyed socializing with powerful politicians and businessmen.

More recipes from the Anarchist cookbook

Seems that I am eating dinner later and later, 1 am is my new norm. I made a killer chicken curry with Thai spices, fresh from the local Cambodian market, since I live on the eastern edge of Cambodia town. Long Beach has one of the largest Cambodian communities outside of Cambodia, with monks and shops and french bread (Cambodia was part of French South East Asia), and markets that cater to their tastes which seems to be a mix of products from Thailand, and Vietnam especially. I have yet to find a genuine Cambodian made product at one of these markets, perhaps the locally made sweets and some fresh produce are Cambodian, don’t know for sure.

Back to my curry. I used canola oil, threw in a couple of strips of deboned and skinless chicken breasts, added maybe 5 or 6 pieces of chopped garlic, a quarter of a chopped onion, a sliced up pre-baked potato with skin on, half a salad tomato (out of Roma’s) chopped up, about 20 black grapes cut in half, a chopped up white Mexican squash, a liberal dosing of Thai sweet chili sauce, a generous dollop of plain yogurt, not enough to turn everything grey like a lot of yogurt will, about a table spoon or two each of chili powder, turmeric, lemon grass powder, a decent amount of thyme to give it a pungent smell, a good amount, maybe a quarter cup of Thai style Madras Curry powder, then I peeled and chopped up about a quarter of a great fresh ginger root and threw that in, added a generous handful of precooked basmati rice, and since I didn’t have any lentils precooked, I used frozen peas for my dahl, about 3 ounces worth. I then threw in some cilantro roots and let everything simmer a bit, adding more oil as needed, and a dash of pomegranate juice and there it was, an excellent dish. Not too spicy but spicy enough. It was great.

This morning I discovered I forgot to buy eggs, but decided to follow the example of young Don Juan who upon surviving his shipwreck when Haidée and her servant fed the famished youth fish among other things for breakfast.

She and her maid—and promised by daybreak
To pay him a fresh visit, with a dish
For breakfast, of eggs, coffee, bread, and fish.

(Canto 2, CXXXIII, 6-8)

With such inspiration I took some frozen Alaska wild caught salmon out of the fridge, baked a strip, took out a couple of strips of turkey bacon and put them in the frying pan with canola oil, spiced with a little white pepper and cumin. I took the baked salmon, maybe 6-8 ounces wotrh added it, I then added some left over curry from the night before, chopped up a quarter of a tomato more, threw in a small handful of rice, rinsed and threw in a good sized handful of fresh spinach and some cilantro stems. I threw in a little more yogurt and then let it all simmer on moderately low heat for a few minutes.

While this was simmering on the stove I made a small bowl of fiber cereal, used some store bought high fiber Kellogs or something, don’t remember the brand, but it was the highest fiber one with the least additives, and mixed in a black plum chopped, strawberry kefir, and pomegranate juice in a bowl as a side dish.

I heated 4 corn tortillas in the microwave, made a cup of coffee, cut out a quarter of a lemon, placed everything on a plate, sprinkled the cilantro tops on, and it was done.

Then once made I sprinkled on black pepper, hot sauce and was ready to chow down. Not too spicy, and very tasty.

Photos from sites noted or Google Images.

Recipes, Exclusion of Anarchists From 2nd International

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Socialist World
World Socialist Commonwealth Dream

Second International Fourth Congress

The Second International organized in 1889 subsequent to the dissolution of the First International. It was made up of unions, parties and was very active in the electoral processes in several of its member nations. At one point the Anarchists were expelled, which will be described below as part of a rightist move to electoral politics away from an insurrectionist approach. The international dissolved in the first world war as it failed to stop the war and individual national sections joined the war effort causing disillusionment with the approach which had been more of an electoral attempt to bring about socialism than a revolutionary one. This fourth Congress where the Anarchists were expelled signaled a final turning away from direct action to incremental approaches which turned out to end in the disaster of the war and nationalism, even national socialism.

Exclusion of Anarchists from Second International

From the Daily Bleed blog site:

Second INternational Congress London 1896

Delegate Card

1896 — [July 27] International Socialist Workers’ & Trades Union Congress (July 27-Aug. 1) London, UK

The last battle over admission to the Second International was fought at London in 1896; it was also the bitterest. This time the anarchists were strongly entrenched in the French & Dutch delegations, & many of their leaders had come to London with the intention of holding a parallel congress in the event of their expected expulsion from that of the Second International. They included Kropotkin, Malatesta, Nieuwenhuis, Landauer, Pietro Gori, Louise Michel, Elisee Reclus, & Jean Grave, as well as a strong syndicalist group from France headed by the anarchist leaders of the revolutionary wing of the Confederation General du Travail, such as Pelloutier, Tortelier, Pouget & Delesalle. …The German chairman, Paul Singer, tried to close the question of admission without allowing the anarchists to speak. Keir Hardie, leader of the Independent Labour Party, who was the deputy chairman that day, protested that both sides should be given a full hearing before the vote was taken. Gustav Landauer, Malatesta, & Nieuwenhuis all spoke at length, & the last effectively summarized their contentions when he said:

“This Congress has been called as a general Socialist Congress. The invitations said nothing about anarchists & social democrats. They spoke only of socialists & trade unions. Nobody can deny that people like Kropotkin & Reclus & the whole anarchist communist movement stand on the socialist basis. If they are excluded, the purpose of the Congress has been misrepresented.”

…The anarchists were finally expelled on the second day….However many anarchists were left as trade union delegates to carry on the dispute during the verification of mandates, so that in the end little time was left for debating the issues that the Congress had met to discuss.

Despite the exclusion of the anarchists, anarchism had in fact dominated the London Congress of the Second International….the real triumph of the anarchists remained their success in turning the Congress of the Second International into a battleground over the issue of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism.

From Anarchism by George Woodcock pp. 246-248


Peter Kropotkin Russian Anarchist Prince

The Marxists pass a motion requiring the recognition & need for “political action” (in legislative & parliamentary voting) & finishes up totally excluding anarchists, & all anti-parliamentary Socialists, from any future congresses.

Among the various delegations are many anarchists, including Errico Malatesta, Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Pietro Gori, Gustav Landauer, Kampffmeyer, Fernand Pelloutier, Paul Delesalle, Louise Michel, Peter Kropotkin, Élisée Reclus, & Jean Grave, etc.

When one of them, Paul Delesalle, tried to mount the rostrum, he was thrown violently to the bottom of the steps & injured. Jaures accused the anarchists of having transformed the trade unions into revolutionary anarchist groups & of disrupting them, just as they had come to the congress only to disrupt it, “to the great benefit of bourgeois reaction.”

The German social-democratic leaders at the congress, the inveterate electoralists Wilhelm Liebknecht & August Bebel (When Gustave Landauer attended the 1893 Congress of the Social Democratic International, Bebel denounced him as a police agent), showed themselves as savage to the anarchists as they had been in the First International. Supported by Marx’s daughter, Eleanor Aveling, who regarded the anarchists as “madmen,” they had their own way with the meeting & got it to pass a resolution excluding from future congresses all “anti-parliamentarians” in whatever guise they might appear.

See also below, regarding the hastily convened congress of anti-authoritarians (July 29-31) upon their exclusion.

Soviet Marxist View of Fourth Congress of Second International

From Clarion Scout, Socialist Newspaper

The Fourth Congress was held in London from July 27 to Aug. 1, 1896. The congress expelled the anarchists from the Second International, confirmed the decisions of preceding congresses on the political struggle of the workers, and recommended the use of “all forms of organized struggle of the working class” for the conquest of political power by the proletariat. However, a defect of the resolution was the absence in it of provisions for the overthrow of bourgeois power, for the need to demolish the bourgeois state apparatus, and for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The congress spoke out against colonialist policy and for the right of nations to self-determination. On the question of war the congress adopted resolutions that on the whole confirmed principles of the Second International that had already been proclaimed. The congress discussed the agrarian question but did not adopt any recommendations. This indicated that, despite the instructions of Engels in his work The Peasant Question in France and Germany (1894), the agrarian question was being underestimated by the leading socialist parties of the West.

English Socialists

Hammersmith UK Branch of Socialist League

The work of the London congress completed the first period of activity of the Second International, the period of its existence in conditions of premonopoly capitalism. The confirmation of the hegemony of Marxism in the workers’ movement was the principal result of the activity of the Second International in this period. The Second International promoted the process of the formation of new socialist and workers’ parties and organizations in Italy, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Rumania, the various lands of Austria-Hungary, the Polish kingdom, Ireland, Chile, Argentina, and other countries. The International aided the growth of existing parties and promoted the development of their programmatic and tactical foundations in a Marxist spirit—for example, by the adoption of the Marxist Erfurt Program of 1891 instead of the semi-Lassallean Gotha Program of 1875 of the German Social Democrats. The founding of the League of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class by V. I. Lenin in St. Petersburg in 1895 was a very important event in the development of the workers’ movement. The socialists were very successful in the elections, thus demonstrating the growth of their influence among the masses. They had increased their role in the organization of strikes and demonstrations (especially May Day demonstrations) and in trade unions and workers’ cooperatives. Steps were undertaken to develop the women’s and youth proletarian movement. However, opportunists occupied important, and in some places predominant, positions in a number of the parties of the Second International, including the Labor Party of Belgium and the Independent Labor Party of Great Britain. Sectarian and anarchist tendencies in the workers’ movement were not overcome, and beginning in the 1890’s they were increasingly manifested in the form of anarcho-syndicalism.

French Anarcho-Syndicalist Publication

French Anarcho-Syndicalist Publication

Revisionism, whose main ideologist was E. Bernstein, occupied the predominant place among the opportunist tendencies. The development of revisionism was connected with the onset of the monopoly stage of capitalism, one of the results of which was the formation of a labor aristocracy. It reflected the process of the opportunist degeneration of some of the leading figures of the Western European parties of the Second International. Although A. Bebel opposed Bernstein’s views, he did not raise the question of the incompatibility of these views with membership in a socialist party. The struggle against revisionism was led by G. V. Plekhanov, F. Mehring, P. Lafargue, and R. Luxemburg. However, only Lenin really carried the exposure of Bernsteinism through.

Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg,+Second

My Recipes Continued, Variations on Salad Dinner and Tortilla Breakfasts

Early this morning at about 1 am I made another excellent salad, romaine lettuce, fresh peach chunks, chopped garlic pieces, yellow onion, mozzarella cheese, humus, cold pinto beans, large shredded raw carrot, chopped fresh basil with yogurt, and sesame/canola oil dressing with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and pomegranate juice. I had my toast with peanut butter and yogurt and took a picture of it with my cell phone but I can’t figure out how to get it from the cell to the blog.

Later, around noon I made breakfast. It was corn tortillas, reheated pinto beans and rice in the microwave, then on the skillet baked potato sliced up, plantain that I seared black on both sides, soy chorizo, garlic chopped up, nopale pieces, and a fresh peach chopped into bite sized chunks. I added some fresh basil, cilantro stems, thyme, and cumin. I then chopped up some yellow onion, salad tomatoes, key lime and cilantro to add uncooked on the side. I fried a couple eggs over medium in olive oil, and got out some New Mexico style salsa from the fridge and had an excellent breakfast/lunch.

Anarchist Salad, Soft Taco Breakfast and Doukhobors

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Doukhobor nude protest march

Doukhobor nude protest march

Alternative,communitarian, anarchist history lesson. Today I am writing about the sometimes pacifist, vegetarian communal Christian offshoot from Russia called the Doukhobor’s.

I first heard of the Doukhobor’s from my friend Mark who had lived with a member of the group in Sacramento briefly back in the early 1970’s. He told me wild stories of them being Russian anti-materialists in Canada who would burn their property every 10 years and go naked slowly re-accumulating material things until they got tired of them and then destroy them all over again. He said something about how a bunch of them were in prison in Canada for refusing to send children to government schools, anti materialist arson and a suspected assassination of one of their leaders, and that the girl he had met had a dad in prison in Canada.

Anti materialist arson

Doukobor anti-materialist arson

I was interested and when I went to Canada in the fall of 1975 to 100 Mile House, British Colombia for a month long spiritual retreat and training class in the gnostic Emissaries of Divine Light community, I thought of looking up the Doukhobor’s who were living in south eastern BC, but never made it. Later I put them on the back burner but more recently I have revived interest in them.

From Wikipedia article:

“The Doukhobors were one of the sects—later defined as a religious philosophy, ethnic group, social movement, or simply a “way of life”—known generically as Spiritual Christianity. The origin of the Doukhobors is uncertain. The first clear record of their existence and the first use of the names related to “Doukhobors” are from the 18th century. However, some scholars believe that the sect had its origins in the 17th or even the 16th century. They rejected secular government, the Russian Orthodox priests, icons, all church ritual, the Bible as the supreme source of divine revelation, and the divinity of Jesus.[citation needed] Their pacifist beliefs and desire to avoid government interference in their life led to an exodus of the majority of the group from the Russian Empire to Canada at the close of the 19th century.

As pacifists, the Doukhobors also ardently rejected the institutions of militarism and wars. For these reasons, the Doukhobors were harshly oppressed in Imperial Russia. Both the tsarist state and church authorities were involved in the persecution of these dissidents, as well as taking away their normal freedoms.

Region of settlement in Transcaucasia

Region of settlement in Transcaucasia

Doukhobors of the region [Transcaucasia] had become vegetarian, and become aware of Leo Tolstoy’s philosophy, which they found quite similar to their traditional teachings.

[T]he government applied greater pressure to enforce the Doukhobors’ compliance with the laws and regulations that they found vexatious, such as registering marriages and births, contributing grain to state emergency funds, or swearing oaths of allegiance. Even worse, the universal military conscription that had been introduced in most of the Russian Empire, was now (in 1887) imposed in its Transcaucasian provinces as well.

Doukhobors of the three Governorates of Transcaucasia made the decision to destroy their weapons. As the Doukhobors assembled to burn them on the night of June 28/29 (July 10/11, Gregorian Calendar) 1895, with the singing of psalms and spiritual songs, arrests and beatings by government Cossacks followed.

Burning arms

Doukhobors burning of weapons 1895 in Russia

As persecution seemed to be unsuccessful in making the Doukhobors comply with the conscription laws, and the entire affair was an embarrassment in the face of international public opinion, the Russian government agreed in 1897 to let the Doukhobors leave the country, subject to a number of conditions:

the emigrants should never return;
they would migrate at their own expense;
community leaders currently in prison or in exile in Siberia would have to serve the balance of their sentences before they could leave.

The Doukhobors’ passage across the Atlantic Ocean [to Canada] was largely paid for by Quakers and Tolstoyans, who sympathized with their plight, and by the writer Leo Tolstoy, who arranged for the royalties from his novel Resurrection, his story Father Sergei, and some others, to go to the migration fund. He also raised money from wealthy friends. In the end, his efforts provided half of the immigration fund, about 30,000 roubles.

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

The anarchist Peter Kropotkin and James Mavor, a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto, also helped the migrants.

In accordance with the Dominion Lands Act of 1872, Canadian government would grant 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land, for a nominal fee of $10, to any male homesteader able to establish a working farm on that land within three years. Living on single-family homesteads would not fit Doukhobors’ communitarian tradition. Fortunately, the Act contained the so-called Hamlet Clause, adopted some 15 years earlier to accommodate other communitarian groups such as Mennonites, which would allow the beneficiaries of the Act to live not on the actual land grant, but in a village (”hamlet”) within 3 miles (4.8 km) from their land.[16] This would allow the Doukhobors to establish a communal life style, similar to the Hutterites.

Communal houshold

Communal household Canada

Even more importantly, by passing in late 1898, Section 21 of the Dominion Military Act, the Canadian Government exempted the Doukhobors from military service.

Due to Doukhobors’ leaders aversion to private ownership in land, Petr Verigin (who had served his sentence and was able to come to Canada in 1902) managed to have land registered in the name of the community. But by 1906, the Dominion Government, in the person of Frank Oliver, the Minister of Interior, started requiring registering the land in the name of individual owners.

Another problematic issue raised by Oliver was that the Doukhobors would now have to become naturalized citizens (i.e., British subjects) and to swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown – something that was always against their principles.[18] A new crisis was to develop just a decade after the conscription crisis in Russia.

The crisis resulted in a three-way split of the Doukhobor community in Canada:

The edinolichniki (’Independents’), who constituted by 1907 some 10% of the Canadian Doukhobors. They maintained their religion, but abandoned communal ownership of land, rejecting hereditary leadership and communal living as being non-essential to it.

The largest group — the Community Doukhobors — continued to be loyal to their spiritual leader Peter V. Verigin. They formed an organization known as Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood (CCUB, now USCC).

The more radical Sons of Freedom group (also called the “Svobodniki” or “Freedomites”), which emerged in 1903, embraced Verigin’s writings in a zealous manner.

Communal dining

Communal dining Canada

To take his followers away from the corrupting influence of non-Doukhobors and Edinolichniki (’individual owners’) Doukhobors, and to find better conditions for agriculture, Verigin, starting in 1908, bought large tracts of land in south-eastern British Columbia. His first purchase was near the US border around Grand Forks. Later, he acquired large tracts of land further east, in the Slocan Valley around Castlegar. Between 1908 and 1912, some 8,000 people moved to these British Columbia lands from Saskatchewan, to continue their communal way of living. In the milder climate of British Columbia, the settlers were able to plant fruit trees, and within a few years became renowned orchardists and producers of fruit preserve.

Nude protests in Canada

Nude protests in Canada

The Sons of Freedom, meanwhile, responded to the Doukhobors conflict with Canadian policy with mass nudity and arson as a means of protesting against materialism, the land seizure by the government, compulsory education in government schools and, later on, Verigin’s supposed assassination. This led to many confrontations with the Canadian government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (continuing into the 1970s).

Protests against government

Protests in Canada around Verigin slaying and government policies

Peter V. Verigin was killed in a still-unsolved Canadian Pacific Railway train explosion on October 29, 1924 near Farron, between Castlegar and Grand Forks, British Columbia. The government initially (during investigation) had stated the crime was perpetrated by people within the Doukhobor community although the Doukhobors’ customary failure to cooperate with Canadian authorities due to fear of intersect violence culminated in no arrests being made. To date, it is still unknown who was responsible for the bombing. Thus, while the Doukhobors were initially welcomed by the Canadian government, this assassination controversy, as well as Doukhobor beliefs regarding communal living and no child education, amongst other beliefs, created an air of mistrust between government authorities and Doukhobors which would last for decades.”

Arrested by Mounties

Carted away by Mounties

Doukhobors still exist in Canada, Georgia, Russia and in the USA. There is an active community in Canada and many descendants in the region around British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Link to story about the Verigin murder.

Genealogy site

More of my food saga. So last night I did the spinach salad again, basically same as a few days ago, fresh spinach, chopped garlic, yellow onion, half a Roma tomato, Some humus, mozzarella, cheddar, cold pinto beans, sprinkled wheat germ on top, with a dressing made of sesame oil, canola oil, apple cider vinegar, low salt soy sauce, and pomegranate juice. This simple salad is quite satisfying. I usually have a piece of toast with peanut butter and yogurt with it. That dinner is great for loosing weight or keeping it down as the evening meal, with a decent breakfast.



Breakfast today was soft tacos with half a large plantain, make sure it is black, preferably getting mold on the edges, the blacker the sweeter. This should be peeled, sliced and cooked in oil with a hot pan, sear both sides black, then cook your other ingredients at moderate to low heat. In this case I chopped up a quarter bell pepper, a whole El Serrano pepper chopped, a prebaked potato, sliced, a slice of yellow onion chopped, three or four pieces of garlic chopped, the other half of last nights Roma tomato, and a quarter of a soy chorizo log from Trader Joes. I added turmeric, basil, squeezed in a lemon wedge, then threw in the rind, added some Thai galanga powder and then added more oil, Canola in this case since my olive oil was frozen, and fried up a couple of eggs over medium. I made some Basmati rice, heated up some pinto beans and some corn tortillas, chopped a hand full of cilantro, throwing the stems in the frying pan, and quartered a key lime and that was breakfast, I served on a big plate and added hot sauce and black pepper to taste.

Moving tacos

Many Tacos

Note: this is a medium or relatively neutral tasting dish, by that I mean the flavors are well blended and tend to balance one another. If you want a strong chorizo taste double the chorizo. If you want a strong plantain taste, eliminate the potato as that starch tends to compete with the plantain flavor or add more plantain. Same goes with all the flavor elements, stronger garlic, add more. Turmeric and Galanga give a mustard-ginger flavor, if you don’t like that go for cumin, or if you want a mustier taste add thyme. I like thyme with mushrooms, but I have not been eating them lately. Hotter, throw in some chili powder, or just add more hot sauce and so forth. Lots of people like to mix eggs and chorizo scrambled style. I prefer my eggs whole, usually poached but today fried, placed directly in the tortilla with rice, beans, cilantro, squeeze of lime, dab of hot sauce and sprinkling of black pepper. The other ingredients I tend to eat in a separate taco with everything but the egg. I don’t really believe in precise recipe’s, I use what is on hand, instinct and experience.

My buddy Jack says in Mexico black pepper is rare, lemons are almost unknown, and people don’t use hot sauce much. They put lime on everything though and use chili peppers. He eats his jalapeno pepper as a side dish, raw, and sliced. I chop my chili peppers and cook them. I notice that in a lot of Mexican taco stands here in the LA region they have pickled or brine peppers as side dishes, whole or sliced. I don’t tend to eat them that way, but I will in a restaurant.

Taco Dog

Taco Dog
I was going to use pictures of tortillas but everybody makes them differently so I went with taco humor. I should take pictures of mine. Maybe next time.

Iranian Election, Budget And Embargo

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

President Rouhani

President Rouhani

The Iranian elections will open up the possibility of a rapprochement between Iran and the west, particularly the US which has been the driver behind the boycott of Iran in conjunction with Israel. The policy, especially favored by the Obama administration as a less hawkish approach than those suggested by more hard line, pro-Israeli Republicans, has had its effect on the Iranian economy, and as one consequence the Iranian public voted en masse for the most moderate of the candidates for the most recent elections. Although new president Rouhani has been vetted as acceptable by Ayatollah Khamenei, this still represents a shift in the Iranian approach to domestic and international affairs as the regime reaches an impasse in terms of the economic malaise and the expense of maintaining support for Syria in particular and its oppositional position in the world community in general. Chinese, Japanese and Russian support is not enough evidently to keep Iran able to ignore the Western boycott indefinitely. It seems that letting the victory of moderate Rouhani stand, is a sign of perhaps a new pragmatism as the article from the NIAC indicates.

A New Era of Iranian Pragmatism?
Monday, July 22, 2013
By: Parsa Garrett

Washington, DC - ‘In the months prior to the 2013 Iranian presidential election, few political commentators and observers in the media could have predicted the landslide victory of Hassan Rouhani. The majority of the dialogue concerning the Iranian elections focused on expectations of voter non-participation, a lack of political organization among reformist and moderate groups, and another hardliner, conservative victory.

“This election was an accident,” said Dr. Kevan Harris, a sociologist and postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Near Eastern Studies Department, speaking at a working group seminar at the United States Institute of Peace. “To look at the election ex post facto and say retrospectively that this is the way that it was going to work out and this is the way the system wanted, then you weren’t there or you weren’t looking,” added Harris. “We all thought that no one was going to vote this time. People were predicting low participation, that this was a conservative race between [conservatives].”

Dr. Fatameh Haghighatjoo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy, also spoke at the USIP seminar and added that Rouhani’s success was dependent on a pragmatic political approach by reformists and moderates who utilized limited opportunities and worked together to leverage the election and its outcome. “For the past few years we have seen a triangular leadership. [The triangle] is President [Mohammad] Khatami, President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and now President Rouhani.”

Revolutionary Guard

Revolutionary Guard

One of the most difficult challenges that Rouhani will face is keeping in touch with these major political players, particularly the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard. Farzan Sabet, a doctoral student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies speaking at the USIP seminar, discussed that conservative institutions such as the Revolutionary Guard are dealing with their own political obstacles. “The IRGC, as a body, remains the powerful political actor in Iran,” said Sabet, “but it has a lot of difficulties trying to, by themselves, turn the power they have in the security sector, and within the economy, into political power.”

Some important points are made about the fracturing of the Iranian right with a revitalized moderate movement and a political establishment less willing to follow the path it has been on for the last few years. There may be an element of wishful thinking in some of the speakers remarks, especially when it comes to their view of a fracturing of the right and an emergent moderate faction taking control. As Sabet remarks above, the IRGC is still a very powerful player, and as is commented upon below by Afary there is little likelihood of a liberalization domestically that will bring progressive forces into play.

As the last piece on the recent oil budget indicates, the cutting of oil exports has cost the Iranian government and the increased taxes and cutting of services to cover the shortfall is a large factor in the turning of the populace away from the more hard liners to a more moderate position. The elites seeing that economic problems will cost them popular support more than any crackdown on liberals and leftists who participated in the Green Revolution, are now willing to give a more moderate approach a try, in an attempt to mollify the West and keep their own populace from open rebellion.

Excerpts from Analyses of 2013 Iranian Presidential Election
July 24, 2013
by Frieda Afary

‘Mohammad Nourizad… a filmmaker and former journalist with the state-run Kayhan newspaper… argues that the election marked “the resurrection a moribund entity.” Since Ayatollalh Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “have reached an impasse and are seeing doors closed to them on all global fronts, they themselves created a situation for someone like Rouhani to come into power and open these doors for them one by one…The IRGC generals who have poked their heads into every project and put their own {economic} demands on the table at every opportunity, are now gradually facing the position that either they have to return to their barracks or they will have to engage in a confrontation with Mr. Rouhani.”

Mohammad Reza Nikfar, an Iranian philosopher and journalist in exile… claims that the majority of those who voted, chose the faction that was the least hawkish on the nuclear issue. “Large parts of the population correctly saw uranium intertwined with abject poverty and wanted the president to be someone who claims to choose a path in which turning on the centrifuges would not be at the expense of shutting down the country…Doctor Sheikh Hassan Rohani’s rationality is their rationality. This rationality will make changes in the government, changes along the lines of what is desirable for the rich, the rich with a capitalist rationality.”

Iranians affected by Embargo

Effects of Embargo on average Iranians

Neither Nikfar nor Nourizad is hopeful about any major democratic changes from above that would bring about freedom of speech/press/assembly, women’s rights, labor rights and the rights of religious or national minorities. However, they anticipate that some political prisoners beginning with the last election’s real frontrunners, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi as well as Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, might be released.’

This is interesting as far as it goes but is rather narrow in focus. I would be interested in an analysis of the new leaderships intentions with regards to Syria, Lebanon and Hezbollah as well as their policies regarding the Sunni States to the south, Bahrain in particular, as well as with regards to Israel.

The nuclear issue seems to me to be more of a red herring. It distracts from the general seeming lack of direction for the Iranian Revolutionary leadership. Whatever their intentions regarding the nuclear issue, they have now got serious economic problems, are becoming isolated internationally although I think that as long as the Chinese and Japanese are willing to buy Iranian oil the state will be able to limp along, even if the rest of civil society suffers from western boycotts. Mostly what I see is an Iranian state that has lost its focus and is using the constant external threat to shore up its failed policies and lack of vision for a better Iranian future. Long term it is not a nuclear weapon that will protect Iranian autonomy but the solidarity of the Iranian people working towards a better future for all.

Iran draft budget slashes oil dependency

Iranian Budget

Iranian Budget Proposal

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


“Iran’s new budget expects $30 billion in oil earnings, down from $51 billion expected last year, and far below the more than $100 billion of actual earnings in the year ending in March 2012.

Iran, once the second-biggest crude exporter in OPEC, said in December that its oil revenues had halved due to the effects of sanctions.

The Islamic republic’s economy is struggling to cope with the punitive measures targeting its oil and banking sector that Western powers have imposed in a bid to curb Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

The sanctions have led to higher import prices, increased inflation, lower foreign investment and difficulties in repatriating currency, in particular in the oil sector, according to experts.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at the weekend that his next budget would have “the least… dependency on oil revenues,” as a way of countering Western sanctions, with tax hikes and “sharply decreased” expenditure to offset the loss of income.”

Meanwhile the actual budget that passed in May was an increase over last year with anticipated oil revenue decreases. How this discrepancy is to be covered is not indicated in the article below.

From Payvand Iran News:


Iranian Parliament passes $593 billion national budget bill

Source: Tehran Times

“The Iranian Majlis approved a 7.27-quadrillion-rial (about $593 billion) national budget bill for the current Iranian calendar year on Monday. 170 MPs voted in favor of the bill, 8 voted against it, and 7 abstained.

The current Iranian calendar year started on March 21. The parliament usually approves the national budget bill before the Iranian New Year, but this year there was a delay.

The national budget has been increased by 22 percent compared to the previous year.

The new national budget has forecast a 40 percent drop in oil revenues compared to the previous year’s projected figure.

The funding for running the government has been increased by 15.2 percent to 1.6 quadrillion rials (about $135 billion).

The bill has set the price of oil at $95 per barrel, based on the official exchange rate of 12,260 rials for a U.S. dollar, which has been fixed by the Central Bank of Iran.”

The Iranian military budget has not been increased over last year, and considering the military threats facing Iran, the budget is surprisingly moderate. One wonders if there is a hidden military budget being handled by the National Guard.

From Trend:

Iranian commander: Iranian defense budget not sufficient given current foreign threats

5 July 2013, 17:56 (GMT+05:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jul. 5/ Trend, R. Zamanov

Iran’s defense budget is not sufficient given the current foreign threats to the country, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Armed Forces, Coordination Division Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Dadras said on Friday.

“Among 16 countries in the region, Iran ranks 15 in terms of its defense budget, but the country’s military capabilities are acceptable, the Mehr News Agency quoted Dadras as saying.

Iranian Drone
Iranian Drone

He went on to note that Iran is currently self-sufficient in producing military hardware.

The Fars News Agency reported on May 12 that the Iranian parliament (Majlis) approved the allocation of $5 billion to the national defense budget.

The allocated budget is close to last year’s defense budget.

Iran’s defense budget was increased 127 percent to around $5 billion during the last solar year, which started on March 19, 2012.

Also from Trend the budget shortfall that I anticipated looking at the increased allocation and the decreased income has been confirmed by Iranian sources.

From Trend News Agency
Iranian official: National budget to face USD32bn deficit

July 07 2013

“The budget bill for the current Iranian calendar year (March 2013-March 2014) will face some 800 trillion rials in deficit (about $32 billion based on the Tehran Forex Centre’s USD exchange rate of 24770 rials), ISNA quoted the Tehran Chamber of Commerce official Mohsen Bahrami Arz-Aqdas as saying.

He added that the private sector is concerned about the realisation of goals set in the national budget, saying that the administration will not deliver the targeted revenues through exporting oil, selling assets, imposing taxes, levying duties and increasing fuel prices.

Oil infrastructure

Oil Infrastructure

Increasing taxes to the level the budget bill has envisaged is not possible, he said, adding that the income which had been projected to be gained through raising fuel prices by 38.5 per cent will not be realised.

According to him, the revenues which had been projected to be gained through raising customs duties will not be realised because importing $50 billion worth of goods is not possible.

He also cast doubt on realising objectives of a plan for exporting 1.3 million barrels of oil per day in the current year due to international sanctions.

According to the International Energy Agency, Iran exported some one million bpd of oil in the first few months of 2013. Under such a situation, the entire income will be spent by the incumbent government and there will be no money left for the next government to spend, he said.”

The lifeline or perhaps real politik position of the US administration, allowing for the major importers of Iranian oil to have exemptions from the boycott has allowed the Iranian government to survive but at a reduced level as dependence on Oil exports still dominates the national economy. Rather than see countries like China and India who import Iranian oil ignore the American led boycott, they are granted exemptions, thus saving face for the administration and avoiding a confrontation that may show up the fact the there are those countries in the world that support Iran or at least have no problem with doing business there.

From Bloomberg:

U.S. to Renew Exemptions for Nations Importing Iran Oil

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan & Terry Atlas - Jun 5, 2013 12:47 PM PT

“The State Department today announced the exemptions covering China, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan.

A December 2011 law cuts off access to the U.S. banking system for foreign financial institutions that settle oil trades with Iran’s central bank, unless their home countries get an exemption from the sanctions by significantly reducing purchases of Iranian oil.

The Treasury Department assesses that in 2012 Iran’s gross domestic product fell by about 5 to 8 percent — the largest drop since 1988 and the first contraction in 20 years, he said.

“We believe Iran’s GDP will continue to shrink in 2013 in the face of reduced government and consumer spending and declining oil exports, as well as the ramping up of additional sanctions,” Cohen said in written remarks.

Iran’s economic plight is also reflected in the performance of its currency.

One U.S. dollar, which purchased 16,000 rials in the open market at the beginning of 2012, now buys about 36,000 rials, he said. The open-market value of the rial has lost more than two-thirds of its value in the last two years, he said.”

Interestingly Japan is not on the list but it does import oil from Iran. There is an interesting media war on the effectiveness of the embargo on Iranian oil, with some reports indicating increased usage of Iranian oil and others decreased. It all is relative to the base date used naturally. Month to month imports may vary while the trend over the last couple years may indicate the effectiveness of the embargo.

Link to this article indicates that although the sanctions have been partially successful they have not been able to change Iranian policy, although certainly the recent elections indicate that there has been an effect, how much is from the sanctions and how much from internal sources is debatable.

Iran Sanctions - Federation of American Scientists‎
by K Katzman - 2013

This article in the Jerusalem Post indicates some of what the above mentioned report states.

CRS questions effectiveness of Iran sanctions

05/08/2013 23:03

WASHINGTON - ­ “The Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research arm of the US Congress, has released a report questioning the efficacy of US efforts to dissuade Iran from developing its nuclear program through sanctions.

While noting that the sanctions have been objectively harsh on the Iranian regime, CRS says that the regimen has roundly failed not only in dissuading Iran from curbing its nuclear program but also in hindering the Islamic Republic¹s ability to develop weaponry indigenously, illegally ship arms overseas to the Assad government, or alter its policy of repression against those who dissent from government authority.”

Embargo Effectiveness

Embargo Effectiveness

Without going on forever with this, the Obama administration has decided to lift some sanctions on medical supplies which have become hard to get in Iran.

To conclude, it is my opinion that the sanctions have had an effect and that the Iranian ruling class is attempting to make minimal changes in an attempt to win support both at home and abroad. They are far from throwing in the towel and are shrewdly placing their bets on the new administration’s ability to win friends and influence people.

Salad Days And St. Louis General Strike

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

St. Louis General Strike

The St. Louis General Strike shows what workers can do, organizing production, bridging racial divides, and showing vision and solidarity. If only they had self defense organizations to match the military, but that would take most likely a refusal on the part of troops to fire on fellow workers, something that usually signals the end of the old regime.

“July 24, 1877

Generally accepted as the first general strike in the United States, the 1877 St. Louis general strike grew out of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The general strike was largely organized by the Knights of Labor and the Marxist-leaning Workingmen’s Party, the main radical political party of the era. When the railroad strike reached East St. Louis, Illinois in July 1877, the St. Louis Workingman’s Party led a group of approximately 500 people across the river in an act of solidarity with the nearly 1,000 workers on strike. The party transformed, through speeches and organization, an initial strike among railroad workers into a strike by thousands of workers in several industries for the eight-hour day and a ban on child labor. One speaker was noted to say:

“All you have to do, gentlemen, for you have the numbers, is to unite on one idea - that workingmen shall rule the country. What man makes, belongs to him, and the workingmen made this country.”

At another large rally a black man spoke for those who worked on the steamboats and levees. He asked, “Will you stand to us regardless of color?” The crowd shouted back, “We will!”

The St. Louis strike was marked by a bloodless, efficient and quick take-over by dissatisfied workers of commerce and transportation in the area. By July 22, the St. Louis Commune began to take shape as representatives from almost all the railroad lines met in East St. Louis. They soon elected an executive committee to command the strike and issued General Order No. 1, halting all railroad traffic other than passenger and mail trains. John Bowman, the mayor of East St. Louis, was appointed arbitrator of the committee. He helped the committee select special police to guard the property of the railroads from damage.

The strike reached the business sector by closing packing industry houses surrounding the National Stockyards. At one plant workers allowed processing of 125 cattle in return for 500 cans of beef for the workers. The strike continued to gain momentum, with coopers, newsboys, gasworkers, boatmen, bakers, engineers, cabinetmakers, cigarmakers, brewery workers, millers, and workers of various factory jobs all joining the general strike. Though the East St. Louis strike continued in an orderly fashion, across the river there were isolated incidents of violence with one speaker stating, “The workingmen intend now to assert their rights, even if the result is the shedding of blood…. They are ready to take up arms at any moment.”

The strike was ended when some 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized special police killed at least eighteen people in skirmishes around the city. On July 28, 1877, they took control of the Relay Depot, the Commune’s command center, and arrested some seventy strikers. With the leadership imprisoned, the strikers surrendered, the wage cuts remained, and 131 strike leaders were fired by the Burlington Railroad.”

And now for my salad….

Had me another salad at 1 am, I was taking a break from studying this dang Algebra. Last week I was totally lost, this week not so bad, we are on exponential and logarithmic functions, which so far has been a summer breeze.

This year, so far the summer has been mild, if not down right chilly here in Long Beach. Temperatures hardly even hit the eighties and often stay in the sixties and seventies, hardly beach weather. The feral parrots are squawking in the trees near the house, the seem most active around dawn and dusk, or at least most social. In just a few years they have gone from none to at least a dozen or so around here. Used to be you only saw them in West LA back in the nineties.

So at one am I made my salad, left over dressing from yesterday, see July 23 post, and today’s salad had a romaine lettuce base, with a whole grated carrot, courtesy of my friend Howard, a 3 or 4 chopped up pieces of garlic, about a quarter of a white onion chopped up, left out by my friend Jack who was snoring away on the couch as I made my latest salad masterwork. I added a hand full of cilantro, with the big stems broken off, seems lately cilantro has had a lot of stem, big thick ones too. Then there was a big dollop of humus, about a half inch slice of soft mozzarella from a loaf, a quarter inch slice of some very nice 3 year old Vermont cheddar, and that’s about it, with my compliment of toast with peanut butter and yogurt.

Great Moments in Anarchist and Salad History

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Today in Anarchist and labor history:

July 23 quoted from the Democratic Underground who quoted it from other sources.

“July 23, 1846 - Protesting slavery and the U.S. involvement in the Mexican War, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his $1 poll tax and was put in jail by the Concord, Massachusetts, town constable. The experience moved him to write Civil Disobedience.

Anarchist Alexander Berkman shoots and stabs but fails to kill steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in an effort to avenge the Homestead massacre 18 days earlier, in which nine strikers were killed. Berkman also tried to use what was, in effect, a suicide bomb, but it didn’t detonate - 1892

Northern Michigan copper miners strike for union recognition, higher wages and eight-hour day. By the time they threw in the towel the following April, 1,100 had been arrested on various charges and Western Federation of Miners President Charles Moyer had been shot, beaten and forced out of town - 1913

Aluminum Workers Int’l Union merges with The United Brick & Clay Workers of America to form Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers - 1981

Labor history found here:
& here:… ”×27547

And now for my Anarchist Cookbook recipe Numero Uno:

Last night I had a salad for dinner, it was a bit late, 1 am but was studying until 3 am and needed a break. What I made was worth writing about. Here is the recipe, as much as anything I make can be reduced to a list of ingredients.

Take a handful of fresh spinach, wash, break up into bite size pieces, place on plate or in bowls, add 1/4″ slice of yellow onion, chopped, half a Roma tomato, chopped, a third of a bell pepper, chopped, ladle in a scoop of wet pinto beans from the fridge (I make them from scratch and keep them in a glass pickle jar), add about a fifth to a quarter of a cube of extra firm tofu, maybe a half inch slice off a soft mozzarella log or several of those small balls of mozzarella that come in liquid, chop to bite size, add a couple of good sized dollops of humus, sprinkle with wheat germ and then make your dressing.

I use a small 50 gram jar to mix sesame oil with canola oil, maybe half and half, then add a cap full of apple cider vinegar, a cap full or two of that 100% pomegranate juice my buddy Howard gave me, a squeeze of yellow or brown mustard, and a dash of some low salt soy sauce, the jar should be close to being full, shake it all up and pour over your salad.

This will make enough for one big plate or two bowls, depending on if it is the entire meal or a preliminary for something else.

I had a piece of wheat toast with crunchy peanut butter, the good fresh ground kind, (not Skippy or that other hydrologized crap), with plain yogurt on top, along with the salad. On top of the salad I squeezed a lemon wedge, doused it liberally with some hot sauce, and black pepper. This was yummy.

Trayvon Rally, Fruitvale Station, Weekend Stuff.

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

I finally made it to a Trayvon rally on the 20th of July. It was in front of the federal court building in downtown LA, a block or so from where the Occupy LA encampment was at city hall. It seemed like there were perhaps 300 people there, although by the time we found parking and walked to the site, half those people had left. I ran into the local leader of the Marxist-Humanists. We had a short conversation. He was speaking about how until he got a teaching position at Santa Barbara he had never made much money. It was a rare conversation where I the other person was willing to mention amounts. Most people here in LA don’t want to mention how much they make, it’s considered to be an invasion of privacy or some silly thing. We talked about youthful radicalism, both of us were in Connecticut, he in Hartford, me in Bridgeport, both of us were in New Haven, we might have met, who knows.

I wandered around in my Bradley Manning tee shirt and elicited not a single response, usually I at least get someone who acknowledges his situation, facing court marshal, but this crowd simply wasn’t interested. The RCP was there, Bus Riders Union, something called the Black Labor committee, and various individuals who had hand made signs. I saw a bunch of signs that had the look of ANSWER coalition work but they seem to have left before we got there. The crowd was subdued, some seem to have gone on a short march elsewhere.

Lots of people were selling Trayvon tee shirts, mostly black enterprising types, and one guy was doing on the spot stenciling. I talked a little, took some pictures, held up a sign for a few minutes with my GF. The crowd was muted and friendly, largely black but plenty of Latinos and whites. There wasn’t a whole lot being said, no chanting, perhaps it was because the event started at 9 Am way too early for a Saturday protest. By 11 it was fading out. If it had been called for 11 am or Noon it would have drawn a much better turn out, especially since the weather has been so cool of late. As much as I wish there was national outrage about the Bradley Manning case, the Zimmerman trial was what the media focused on, and the injustice done to the memory of Trayvon Martin, led to Black outrage that in the age of Obama such things persist. But there have been no riots, this I would attest to the real Obama impact, that of moderating the radicalism in the black community as people are all to willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. He dodged that bullet but seriously, conditions demand change and it cannot come too soon.

Seeing Fruitvale Station at the movies last week, helped place emphasis on the urgency of the problem, racial profiling and white on black violence. The film about the supposed accidental shooting of Oscar Grant, a young black father who was killed by a BART officer when returning to Oakland from San Francisco on the train early New Years day. The movie recounts the events of his last day, the pressure he was under to help his family and his economic dilemma. Grant was unemployed, not wanting to go back to prison for selling drugs, and yet needing some way to make ends meet. There is a very Norman Rockwellish dinner scene with the extended family and lots of corn ball stuff, like a dog he befriends getting hit by a car moments later, that makes it a little too syrup like for my taste. But it got the audience hooked on caring about Oscar and his family and thus even if a bit over the top, for the most part the movie seemed to stay true to what it means to be young black and male in current day USA, a daunting prospect indeed.

Later we stopped in Japan town and I picked up some White Miso for $4.00 a big package, it was the best deal they had. We went to Farmer Boys for breakfast/lunch. It is great, like a takeout Denny’s but better. I got a great breakfast burrito.

After that I went to school, did some group work for my math class and then had to run to catch the bus home. I ran without getting short of breath, my health really is better.

Today I mostly hung around the house visiting with my buddy Jack from Mexico. He and I are from the same home town in Connecticut, Fairfield. We mostly talk history and music trivia, politics and such. He is a convinced conspiracy theorist, I think that there is simply too much going on for any one group to be on top of it all, despite the success of the NSA in tracking every e mail and phone call. On the face of it, it is absurd and how can they make any sense of such a wealth of data? Somebody has to analyze it. Another case of modern overcomplicated solutions based on letting technology replace common sense. The Israelis do a much better job, using students and young analysts to simply engage suspicious people in the airport and determine on the spot if they seem dangerous. Simple, elegant and relatively inexpensive.

I really want to write something about some interesting archeology, but I will save it for another day.

Boston, Random Notes

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

The desire on the part of many to see this man painted with horns and presented as some sort of devil is a reflection of peoples discomfort with the fact that there are those among us all the time who have come to the conclusion that the existing system simply is not justifiable. When that happens depending on what ideological weapons they are attracted to, anything can and will happen, even to the kid next door. There is no such thing as a total security state, except in a maximum security prison.

I was going to write a long piece about my thoughts about the nature of the modern project and how one of the inevitable side effects is the spinning off of dissident that as the control system gets more oppressive, the reaction will become that much more violent, as people struggle to make some space for themselves in this giant system of control. Some simply go mad and start in on a shooting spree of personal violence, others become identified with a cause that they can call their own and attempt to get out of their own personal troubles, universalizing their complaint to some degree, and attempting perhaps to reach out to others in their attempts to blast a hole to meaning or freedom as they comprehend it in their own despair over the modern condition. More sophisticated thinking leads to greater reaching out to others and attempts at coordinated resistance, often using a religion, or political signifier to raise as a flag, hoisted upon their personal barricades. Sometimes the cry is for a person, sometimes a people, sometimes an entire planet, but it is always a cry of resistance to the mega machine and its grinding down of personal life in to an impersonal device to be manipulated as the machine sees fit.

But more interesting and less fearsome are songs to inspire resistance and solidarity, for more than a personal desire to escape the mega machine, there is in human solidarity a milk that can nourish and lead to a way out from enslavement. But its not just human companionship, it is the sharing of a history that is not of the mega machine, not of kings and their minions, but of the workers and slaves and people who live close to the earth day to day, salt of the earth, has been made into a cliche, but in reality it is of those whose salted tears and sweat, fall upon and feed the good earth with their very toil and display of native dignity and honor. Even the most degraded by the power of control, has a moment in the sun to sing or at least to howl.

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