My Grandmother Sophia and Maternal Aunts

Friday May 19, 2006
My Grandmother Sophia and Maternal Aunts
Gem Fire Air
by marty kleva

In the earliest recollection I have of my grandmother Sophia, I am teetering on my wobbly two-year old legs, the world around me is vast, even as the sweep of the broom bristles move against the wooden floor beneath my feet. The shoes next to mine are so much larger. Mine are scuffed with their white leather wrapping up around my ankles — still wearing high-tops. She is wearing practical and worn, brown leather shoes. Around her large ankles there is a roll of flesh-colored stockings, and moving above them in sync with her sweeping, the bottom hem of her dress, the color of which has faded from my memory.

On the floor, in the wake of the broom, there is a shiny round object. Her large hand reaches it before mine and expertly picks it up, seemingly to hide it from my sight as I straighten and stand to look up at her towering figure above me. She bends down to put the shiny penny in my tiny palm.

This is my first and only recollection of my Grandmother Sophia. My impression that lasts to this day as I formulate images of her through the eyes of my mother and aunts who loved her dearly, is that she was a giant among women. In my mind, she harkens back to the stories and images of the Archetypal Amazonians, and with that one gesture, she bequeaths to me a mountain of gifts and knowledge that surpasses all other legacies.

What stands out is that in the beginning of the 20th century, she braved a voyage from a region of Ukraine that was suffering the ravages of Hitler’s Nazi regime, to moved to Canada carrying a child in her arms, which will turn out to be my Aunt Marie.

Grandmother Sophia was a very wise and intelligent woman, translating for her fellow Ukrainians at the immigration court in Toronto. She was also looked upon as the local healer. Along with her husband Michael, she raised twelve children during a time in the early 1900’s when it was difficult to be self-supporting.

My Aunt Marie, the oldest, was always cracking a joke. Her appearance was soft and fuzzy and she spoke with a warm voice. We visited her house in Thorold often, and I can distinctly remember the acrid odor of the paper mill from across the road pinching my nostrils and making my eyes water as I walked into her kitchen for breakfast-tea, and toast spread with homemade strawberry jam.

My memories are varied and disjointed except for the pervading sense that to visit 8 Marlboro Place, my grandparent’s house, was magic of the highest form.

Snippets provide a collage of pictures for me; of sleeping in the upstairs front bedroom and hearing the clip-clop of the horse drawing the early morning milk wagon, methodically making its way down the street, until finally it stops beneath my window. I watch as the milkman loads his metal basket with six glass bottles and disappears under the roof as he walks up to the front porch.

Hollyhocks beneath my Grandmother’s kitchen window; Grandfather’s vegetable garden behind the back yard, and having to go through a row of evergreens to reach it.

Being taken on a streetcar ride to go to town with my aunts, and ice-skating with my Aunt Nell and her boyfriend, before I was four.

When I was younger than young and summer came, I could hardly sleep for the two weeks before our planned trip to Canada. The actuality was like walking into a fairyland to me — so many flowers all over the place, cleanliness, and freshness that seemed different from what I knew.

Of course, I remember some aunts more than others, and don’t remember some at all — my memory being blurred by so many.

From my very young days those foremost are Marie, Anne, Rose and Nell. In the last twelve years, Helen has become a close friend as we regularly exchange lengthy old-fashioned handwritten letters about literature, art, philosophy, and anything of our interest at the time.

I have discovered in her a person who has a brilliant mind, a greater reading and literary background than my own, a larger access to proper grammar and sentence structure, and a capacity for the exploration of research to challenge mine. She has provided the feminine model in my life that is complimentary to my mother’s, supporting my efforts toward a more creative expression of living. She unwaveringly loves her entire family, has great compassion and intellect that is full of common sense, and which cuts through all non-sense.

My Aunt Nell has always provided me with strong impressions of generosity and when I was two, was the one to sit with me at the window sill of my parent’s bedroom, to watch a group of men carry the coffin of my paternal grandfather up the hill to the awaiting hearse on the street above.

I visited the dairy farm she and her husband owned in Chippewa — helping with the chores; milking the cows, getting tipsy from inhaling the fumes from the steaming fodder that I was loading to feed the cows from the adjoining silo, harvesting wheat and sinking into it up to my knees, having a picnic lunch under the trees in the heat of late summer, loving her great cooking — honey cake, made with Buckwheat honey, to die for! I remember sinking into a real down mattress with my two other sisters, visiting Crystal beach, the locks of the Welland Canal, Niagara Falls and the Table Rock House where she once worked. She has a great sense of adventure and always knew how to create a special occasion, as if it were an everyday happening.

One Sunday, on an extended visit with us, we were all walking to church wearing our Sunday best. She was dressed to the hilt and wore heels. About half way down the street, without warning she stopped and wiggled a little, then reached up under her skirt, as we had all stopped to look at her, and pulled down her panties! Very matter-of-factly, she stepped out of them, picked them up, and put them in her purse! No one said a thing! My eyes must have been like saucers. That morning, I couldn’t do anything else but think about the fact that Aunt Nellie was in church and she didn’t have her panties on!

This was typical behavior that my aunts were known for. The usual became different, and boring was not part of their guidelines for living.

The family joke about Aunt Anne was that she always had a bag packed and in the trunk of her Cadillac, along with a fishing rod and gear, because she never knew when her husband would arrive home and say, “We’re going up to the lake.”

All my aunts were very unique and strongly distinguished women; some who are alive today — Nell, Helen, Norma, Shirley, and Sandy, — and those who have passed on — Marie, Anne, Rose, Dot, and my mother Lena.

They all had to work at an early age, and developed strong personalities and interests. Some they shared, such as the younger ones from Dot to Helen, Shirley, and Sandy who played ball with the companies they worked for. They also excelled at figure skating, rifle marksmanship, canoeing, and were all-around outdoorswomen in the north country of Canada.

Dot went on to join the Canadian Air Force and later in 1946, became a new member of the Rockford Peaches, a founding team of the AAGPBL, a league of professional women ball players developed during WW II to replace the waning professional men’s leagues in the U.S. The league and the women were the subject of the 1992 highly successful Hollywood movie, produced and directed by Penny Marshall, “A League Of Their Own.” Next writing, I will highlight my aunt Dorothy Cooke as a member of the Rockford Peaches.

Sports were not the only advanced interest among my aunts. My Aunt Norma became an accomplished pianist and performed a solo in the Hollywood Bowl.

Aunt Rose was a delightfully feminine example of the thoroughly modern woman — had four children and worked long hard hours with her husband Pete. They founded the Portage Bakery in Niagara Falls, and at first operated it out of their garage. Eventually it grew to be a very large family owned affair that had a highly successful clientele that extended into the U.S. side of the border.

There was nothing like Uncle Pete’s bread, — an Italian style like I have yet to see or taste since. The thick Sicilian-style crust pizza that he especially made for family occasions, was like sinking your teeth into heaven.

For me, my aunts are such women — attractive, alive, vibrant, exuding confidence. They love beauty, and display great style. Their voices have that Canadian lilt and positive upbeat that is so refreshing. They have lent theirs to the expression of mine. I can’t help being so grateful for all that they are and were, and for having provided me with a model to look up to whilst keeping my feet on the ground.

As I reflect back upon my own interests and talents involving music, art, sports, the love of beauty, and my professional career as a health and physical education teacher and coach, it becomes clear that they live in me.


Tribute To My Mother

Sunday May 14, 2006
Mother’s Day:Tribute To My Mother

Gem Fire Air

by marty kleva

The main photo is of my mother and her dog Tinker, taken sometime in the late 1930’s. She is dressed in jodhpurs and riding boots with a suede jacket and scarf. She looks very happy and alive. In the background are the steps that lead up to the locks of the Welland Canal that lies between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. It is near St Catherine’s, the town where my mother grew up and when I was a child where my family visited.

It was such an awesome treat to go there and to see the oceangoing steamers glide through at eyelevel as I stood and watched. We would take a picnic lunch when we visited and usually several of her sisters would come along, Aunt Nell, Marie, and Rose, and sometimes their husbands.

That was my first glimpse of a world available outside of the place I knew as home. Canada was magic for me. I came eye to eye with sailors from all over the world as I stood at the edge of the canal lock looking down onto the deck of these ships, watching them rise with the addition of water that was rushing into the lock from someplace below the ship.

My mother tells of times when in winter she would skate on the canals that ran alongside and between towns. The difference of elevation between the two lakes is hundreds of feet and reportedly the five to seven locks of the canal span a mile making it possible to move from one lake to the other.

It is called the Mile High Climb. I recall standing at the base of the first lock in Lake Ontario and seeing a huge freighter somewhere in the series of locks sitting high in the sky as if it were floating in the air. It is so mind boggling — the implications are so expansive that I can hardly take in the necessary building and planning it took to create this. I would classify it as one of the wonders of the world. But then as a child I would have classified Canada as my own personal world wonder.

The additional photos show her in different stages of her life. At the top, a single woman, she is with some friends and obviously having a great time. The two below are of her in early motherhood years with me and two sisters. My mother was the third of twelve children — ten girls and two boys. Her parents were from Ukraine and barely escaped the ravages of the Nazi regime in that country. Her mother acted as local healer and translator for the Ukrainian people with the immigration court.

Her father helped to build the Trans-Canadian Railroad. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to grow up with so many women, but I can say that each and every one of them is a vibrant and powerful woman in her own right. From the oldest Marie, through Anne, my mother Lena, Nell, Rose, Helen, Dot, Norma, Shirley and twin William, Sandy, and Johnny who died at a young age. I highlight the women since I never knew Johnny and hardly ever knew William. It was my mother’s sisters who always were with us, and I will say more about them in the next article. Today, Helen, Nell, Norma, Shirley, William, and Sandy are still kicking!

But this is about my mother who undoubtedly shaped so much of my life. She taught my father how to be a first-class gardener. Her father’s garden fed the entire neighborhood during the depression I am told, and my parent’s garden, which became know as my father’s garden also fed the entire neighborhood plus many friends. My mother’s real passion was for her flower gardens and I write a special about that below, My Mother’s Flowers.

She started a strawberry patch that sparkled large red shiny berries against the straw groundcover, and taught me and my sisters to preserve by canning every fruit and vegetable that came from our orchard and garden, from string beans, tomatoes, to peaches, pears, and cherries. Her fruit cellar looked like a photo out of Home and Garden. She made all our clothes, taught us to embroider and sew as well as how to properly dig a garden, which I was doing by the time I was six.

She had a unique taste for unusual foods that she had known as a child — things like pickled pigs feet, pickled eggs in beet juice, headcheese, and sour-kraut that she made like no other that I have ever tasted. Her hot cross buns on Holy Saturday were so good I could hardly sleep the night before thinking of them for breakfast. For Easter she made sweet bread that was as light and delicate as a snowflake! She made a recipe of Sand Tart cookies for Christmas that she had to stash away so that there would be enough for company. We found them anyway!

Every Sunday after Church, the ritual was for her to make spaghetti sauce. During the summer she would walk out to the garden to pick a handful of fresh parsley, add onions and celery to begin her sauce while the rest of us devoured pieces of the Sunday Times. She told us that she learned to make sauce from my Italian Godmother, Nella. Sunday dinner was always pasta, in all forms and she made enough for her hungry family of seven that we then had enough leftover for an evening snack. No matter how she made it I loved it. Her meatballs were to die for.

She always showed up to talk to my teachers and attended every one of my concerts, making me a dress to fit the occasion when I was a soloist. She was committed to her children and proud of whatever our accomplishments were.

I chuckle to remember how she always had a small pocketknife with her when she went to the orchard, especially when the first peach was ripening on the tree. She knew exactly which one would be the first and would take an evening trek out to the orchard to monitor its progress until finally one evening she would pick it and eat it, using her knife to slice it.

One thing I never remember my mother being and that was impatient, at least with her children. I don’t remember her scolding or chastising. This is not to paint a rosy picture of my relationship with her for there did come a turning point in that, but this is about paying my mother tribute and as there is so much, I would like to share a few quick stories about my mother.


The Magic Dress

I am looking at my first grade picture. I was five then, and the dress I am wearing happened to have been my favorite. My mother had made it for me. I remember her planning the smocking across the front of the top. There is a plaid pattern in the softly muted colors of the beige and orange material, and the dress had little puff sleeves that just covered the tops of my shoulders and upper arms. She put a small round collar on it in a finely textured white plisse.

It was the softness of the dress that made me feel so right in it — light as a feather when I put it on. I think I wore it threadbare, and she did her magic with her darning needle to keep it wearable, leaving down the wide hem that she purposely included so it could grow with me.

That special feeling always came over me when I put it on and I now wonder if it were not due to the feeling my mother got when she made it for me — the intentness of hands and mind meeting as she so carefully laid out the intricate smocking pattern that eventually drew the material together into an emerging design that then decorated the top of the dress.

I always associate my mother with it whenever I consider it — as if we are still connected in time by that dress no matter how long ago she made it.


My Mother’s Closet

I stand in front of my mother’s closet looking up at her clothes that hang from the metal rod across the span beneath the eaves of the roof in that corner of the bedroom. My eyes are on the slinky, smooth red dress that seems to delightfully slide through my fingers as I touch it.

She wore it only occasionally, and she had special jewelry to match it — a necklace, bracelet, and earrings made of large red disks that looked like Mexican sombreros and had a subtle white line finely drawn across them. With it she wore a wide belt of shiny red patent leather that accentuated the entire outfit along with the red leather pumps that in toto created a fashion statement.

A lush cream color barely stood out as the backdrop for the splash of deep red flowers on the silky material. It sounds so brash describing it — it was anything but that. She looked perfectly chic when she wore it and I loved taking the material in my hands and raising it to my face to take in her scent and feel the coolness brushing across my cheek and neck, as if I were wrapping myself in my mother’s magic.


Mother’s Flowers

Color is the most enticing element of nature. As I sit here writing, facing a windowsill full of blooming geraniums — white, pink, apricot, blazing fuscia and salmon amidst a struggling rosemary plant. Some flower heads are very full; others are more delicately assembled together, drooping the un-bloomed buds beneath the umbrella of color. Strange how I am enthralled with geraniums when my mother did not favor them and had few in her garden.

Hers were more apt to be huge two feet tall nicotinas of white and pink and deep purple that stood proudly out from the stalk like shooting stars with their five-petaled booms. They were the perfect fit for the long beaks of the hummingbirds that came to her patio garden every evening when the nicotina’s aroma was most noticeable. One of our favorite evening pastimes was to find the best lawn chair and set up a watch after dinner to enjoy the show.

Yellow was another color abundant in her garden — huge sunflowers that grew to be ten feet tall along the edge of the vegetable garden. There is a photo taken of me and my sisters standing beneath these monstrous stalks with their drooping heavy heads of seeds circumscribed by lovely vibrant yellow petals of the sunflower I remember how excited we were to see them turn their faces as they followed the sun traveling across the noon sky.

Blue — the color of delphiniums that she brought from her Canadian home that ranged from the deepest blue to the lightest as if they mimicked the color range of the morning sky to the marine blue that appears just at dusk.


The Cherry Tree

Today, I awoke to see that the cherries on the tree outside my bedroom window are ripe for picking. The lithe limbs are bending like pendulums, the cherries hanging from them like aggregates of tiny red plumb bobs, as the early morning sun glistens off of them.

I have been assessing them each morning as I open my eyes to see if today is the day — to pick them, having watched the progress from early spring blossoms turning into small green pea-like shaped fruit. It seems that in no time they grew larger and began to turn pink, then to burgeoning ripe red juicy cherries that shine and reflect a myriad array of dark and lighter crimson.

Yes, today is the day to pick. My plans have been to bake two cherry pies, one for my landlord and his family, and one for myself to share with friends.

When in the spring I realized for the first time that the tree was a sour cherry tree, it took me back to the place of my childhood. We had two cherry trees; one was a large Bing cherry right next to the side of our house. We could open the bedroom window, swing the screen out and pick cherries to our heart’s content, or at least until we picked all that was within reach. Then the challenge was to get the rest of the fruit before the birds devoured them, especially the large black crows and robins that found the tree a favorite hangout. And that meant climbing the tree.

There were many hours in late June that I spent in that tree. It was as tall as our two-story house and had great spreading branches that were easy to climb. I would find myself a perch, sit back against the trunk, pick and eat and spit out the pits to the ground below. Sometimes I was in competition with the birds. One day my sister was in the tree with me and a bird dropped its ‘doo doo’ on her head “Splat!” — right on her crown! We could actually hear it land. It must have been from a robin.

So there was a large bird turd right on my sister’s head. Within seconds she began crying and yelling. She was so upset, I had to talk her down out of the tree without her touching it to go into the house and have Mom wash her hair.

The sweet cherry tree was community property in our family. But the sour cherry tree was my mother’s claim. Every spring she would watch it and keep track of its progress through the blossoming stage to the point where the time was ripe to pick, just as I find myself doing with the tree outside my bedroom.

In June she would take daily trips over to see it. The tree was one lot removed from ours, and was obscured by a neighbor’s house. Usually she took her trip on the way back from the mailbox, which was at the street and a little walk from our house. There, she would survey it and assess the situation. One year she threw a white sheet over the top of it and tied the corners down with rope. All so that the birds would not eat the cherries before she picked them.

That tree would be considered a small tree, unlike our sweet cherry tree. This one was shaped like a young lady. Just so tall, and just so wide, with a strong trunk just so thick, yet she was graceful and her branches were as if she were spreading out the skirts of her gown before sitting or curtsying, her limbs were slender and pliable as they hung full with the ripened fruit.

On the day my mother decided it was time, we would plan to pick the fruit the next day. Waking early as we usually did, and after breakfast, we would don our picking clothes and hats, and carry buckets and pans over to the tree and begin to pick hoping to finish by noon and before the heat of the day became too much.

As I recall, my mother insisted that it was important not to squeeze the cherries and to take the stem along with the cherry. Mostly she picked from the ground and she allowed me the ladder to pick the upper branches. I always had the impression that this chore was a delight and a priviledge. The anticipation of watching for the ripening process to come due was exciting and pointed to the importance of the act of the picking once the day was upon us.

And something about my mother’s appreciation for this little tree that gave forth abundance every summer toned my own attitude towards it, especially as when I was a toddler. Sometimes she would allow me to walk with her to survey it and she would talk about it as we looked at it informing me of what she saw.

Today, as I pick, I am rewarded with all these rich memories of the sour cherry tree. I am sure that if I were to mention it to my siblings they would all remember it fondly and associate it with our mother. It has been many years since I picked that sour cherry tree with my mother. And I can still picture us walking back to the house with pails and large pots full over the brim with the beautiful red ripe cherries and their green stems sticking up into the air. My mother has a large straw hat on and she wears a light colored cotton dress. I am in shorts and top and likely already as dark as a ‘piccaninny' as my Italian Aunt Irene used to say.

When we got home, we would have lunch first and something cool to drink — Kool-Aid was our favorite then. Afterward, we would begin the next phase with the cherries and begin the process of pitting them by hand. That was the juiciest of all jobs. Juice ran down our fingers past the wrist to drip off our elbows!

We would do this outdoors in the shade of the apple tree so we would not get the juice all over the kitchen floor. The pit bowl was in the middle between us. Each of us would have our own bowl in our lap to drop the pitted cherries into.

Today, as I took my stainless colander full of ripe cherries to the sink and began to pit them, the process soon returned to me of the way to avoid all the squirting cherry juice. It brought back a flood of memories as my body remembered that yes, this is how we did it. My mother was very instructive, and for my reward as I stood pitting the cherries today, I saw them pile up into my large Pyrex quart measurer, the juices collecting at the bottom. Yum!

The pies are done now. I’ve used a combo recipe of my mother’s and one from The Joy Of Cooking, using kudzu for the first time as a thickening agent instead of cornstarch. Everyone has raved over the taste and the pies have disappeared. My landlord’s granddaughter wants me to make another one.


The Buddha’s Birthday

Friday May 12, 2006
Gem Fire Air

The Buddha’s Birthday

by marty kleva

Today, Buddhists all over the world are celebrating the Buddha’s Birthday, which in this case, is more than we usually hold a birthday to be. The celebration is called Vesak (Wesak) or Visakah Puja ("Buddha Day") and celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha all in one day.

Now that definitely calls for a celebration!

This is the main Buddhist festival of the year and falls on the Taurus full moon in May, which for 2006, places it on today, May 12th.

Luang Prabang, the jewel of Indochina, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, boasts of over 60 Buddhist temples, some of them more than 700 years old. Here, there is a beautiful candlelit procession through the streets of this incredible city for Wesak.

Laotians build huge bamboo rockets, which they fire at the rain god to bring down the first rains of the season. Beside the Mekong, most notably in Vientiane, hundreds of rockets explode into the sky in a riot of noise and color.

In addition to the processions there are puppet shows and dancing with everyone dressed up in their very best clothes for the occasion. This certainly speaks of people putting themselves forth to exhibit their best.

It is reported that on the night of Buddha’s Enlightenment that he experienced three important events.

At the beginning when his mind was clear and calm, pure knowledge and insight arose, and he began to see his previous lives. During the second event, he saw the phenomena of death/rebirth and karma. Then at the final stage, he saw the dependent arising and cessation of all phenomena, both mental and physical.

This revealed to him the phenomena of suffering, the arising of it and the end of it, and opened the opportunity to cease all craving. At this point, his mind was completely liberated and he attained Full Enlightenment.

His teaching is to train the mind to observe the functioning of mental and physical processes. In so doing, we will realize the true nature of our lives. We will see how it is subject to change and “unsatisfactoriness”. And as such, here we can discover that there is no real substance or entity or Self which we can cling to as 'I', ‘me’, 'my' or 'mine'.

From the Buddhist point of view, therefore, the purpose of life is to put an end to suffering and all other forms of unsatisfactoriness - to realize peace and real happiness. Such is the significance of the understanding and the realization of the First Noble Truth.

The Buddha’s message is universal peace to mankind.

His teachings similar, yet different from Christ, are delivered in stories that challenge us to apply a lesson to our personal life. At the Providence, Rhode Island Zen Center, there is a short teaching delivered in the style of the Buddha by teacher Soen Sa Nim. Copyrights restrains me from printing it here but if you would like to get a chuckle and a sense of a Buddhist teaching, check the site out.

On this the Buddha’s Birthday,

May you know peace,
May you have great peace,
May you spread deep peace across this land.

con amore,

— mek

Update: The Dubai Deal

Wednesday May 10, 2006
Gem Fire Air
Update: The Dubai Deal
by marty kleva

Before venturing forth into the topic of this article, except for this coming Friday May 12th, which is celebrated as the Buddha’s Birthday, for the remaining of May, I will devote this space to Women — beginning with the women who have been important in my life, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Today, I am inserting a quick update on the two part article I wrote in late February and early March, namely 'Little Red Riding Hood' Goes to Washington and Meets The Dubai Deal and Little Red Riding Hood and the Dubai Deal: Wolves In Other Guises. Part 2.

This is a commentary on what some would refer to as the demise of the American Experiment, an experiment of the initial vision for a country that some of us call The United States of America.

First and foremost, it is clear to me that The United States of America, that vision which most of us have of it, no longer exists in the running of this geo/politico land we call America. What we now have is the corporate entity UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

It has been about ten years since I considered this as the possible direction that my country was moving towards. After last week’s announcement that a new and different DUBAI-owned company, DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL (DIC), has been given the green light by PRESIDENT BUSH and the U.S. CONGRESS to purchase DONCASTERS GROUP LTD, I no longer doubt that it is true, that we — this country — is absolutely nothing other than a CORPORATE ENTITY, and is operated as such, bypassing any obligation to us as citizens.

We, you and I now hold the position of being collateral by the CORPORATE UNITED STATES. We have no vote, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. We simply think that we do.

DONCASTER’S was bought from the private equity arm of ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND EQUITY FINANCE, and reportedly was originally formed through the integration of a number of specialist engineering firms. It operates 25 manufacturing facilities and employs over 4,700 people across EUROPE and North America.

It has an international blue chip customer base in the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries as well as the automotive turbocharger and medical technologies sectors including BOEING, PRATT & WHITNEY, ROLL’S ROYCE, ROSS & CATHERALL DIVISION, and HONEYWELL’S PRECISION CASTING FOUNDRY. Its gas turbine operation sells to ALSTOM, GE, and SIEMENS.

DONCASTERS GROUP LTD, based in both the U.S. and EUROPE, operates U.S. factories that make precision parts for aerospace and specialist automotive markets, including defense parts for U.S. military vehicles and aircraft.

The factories that produce integral parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the M-1 Abrams tank, are located in CONNECTICUT and GEORGIA, the latter being the sole supplier of turbine fan parts for the U.S. Abrams main battle tank.

The Joint Strike Fighter is the result of a program co-developed by the UNITED STATES and eight other countries, resulting in the next-generation radar-evading jet fighter.

U.S. Army Secretary Francis Harvey said that although the Army would have preferred to have more than one supplier for the parts it buys, nevertheless it had approved the deal.

Secretary Harvey goes on to say, “We have British firms, we have French firms, we have Japanese firms” as suppliers. He further said, “I don’t have concern.”

PRESIDENT BUSH signed the deal after getting “assurances” from DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL (DIC) that the military supply chain would not be broken.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who was a leading opposition to the earlier DUBAI PORTS acquisition of the English firm P & O, that acts as port operator to 6 main U.S. ports, said that he would not oppose the purchase of DONCASTERS by DUBAI INTERNATIONAL.

He believes, as of last Friday at this announcement, that the DONCASTERS deal is different than the DUBAI PORTS deal because it was carefully considered and that it involved products, not services that are easier to sabotage.

At the center of this deal is what is called the COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN THE UNITED STATES (CFIUS), a group that reviews and sets all foreign investments. The corporate media of this country have repeatedly told us that CFIUS is a secret body that informs cabinet members of pending deals.

According to the list published by
Tibor S. Friedman, from Online Journal, the CFIUS actually is composed of BUSH CABINET MEMBERS and what he calls BUSH INSIDERS.

CFIUS — 12 Members:

John W. Snow, Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman
John Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor
Stephen Friedman, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (TC)
Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security
Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense (CFR)
Carlos M. Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce
Alberto Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General
Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff
Rob Portman, U.S. Trade Representative
N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

During the BUSH PRESIDENCY, only 1 of the 1,500 deals brought forth by the CFIUS has been rejected!

This is the incestuous trademark of a democracy gone into the dark shadows of a twisted reality where things are not as they appear to be, or what we believe them to be.

We now see clear evidence before us of an oligarchy in operation. Some would even say it fits the definition of fascism.

Here, there is no longer any difference between domestic and foreign owned corporations. Their allegiance is considered the same, even when it is a company that is owned by a foreign state, that being the case of both DUBAI PORTS WORLD and the present DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL.

The port of DUBAI, as reported by Pratap Chatterjee in a special to CorpWatch in February, has an airport terminal, Terminal Two, which is “possibly the busiest commercial terminal in the world for the ‘global war on terrorism”, and overall is the world’s second busiest sea/air hub.

The U.S. has a very chummy relationship with the port of DUBAI as it is an ideal link between Afghanistan, Iraq, and the rest of the world with numerous flights daily to both Kabul and Bagdad, often with representatives traveling from the U.S. EMASSY or military, and from those corporations such as HALLIBURTON subsidiary KELLOG, BROWN & ROOT (KBR), the largest contractor in both countries.

Chatterjee also reports that presently DUBAI houses dozens of Kuwaiti-owned companies that escaped the 1990 invasion by Iraq, and is favored for R & R by sailors from the USS JOHN F KENNEDY and soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. According to one “enthusiastic sailor from Georgia: ''Dubai is more modern than I expected it to be, and I had no idea that American culture had so much in common with other countries. It was very impressive.''

Now, this is not a diatribe against the right of any nation to do business as they see fit. But I do not believe that we in this country can equate national security to paying another country, in this case the UNITED ARAB EMERITES, to guard and protect our interests.

If you believe it is safe to do so, prudent to the way the Arab world perceives us as President BUSH would have us believe, then you also would not mind it when the Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys play each other that they switch quarterbacks, or that when Chicago and St Louis play baseball, that they switch the pitching staff!

That’s how ludicrous this whole fiasco is of telling the American people it is safe and that they should be “satisfied” with the fact that DIC said they would make it so.

It is disgraceful that those who supposedly represent the people of this country, namely all those already named/and unnamed in this article, say that they are looking out for America, when in reality it is the interests of the corporations, which they are linked to personally and politically, that are behind their intent and actions.

The government of the people, by the people, and for the people is no more. We now have a government run expressly for the corporational structure, that once was private business, taking over the running of the U.S. government. This is oligarchy at its peak, and is the dark night of the soul for this country of ours that is no longer recognizable.

It might be different if we had been given a choice, but we were not. This abomination has been done beneath our noses while we are told not to worry, while a president says he will take care of us.

If you have not already read Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard”, it is a good enough place to start to find out how we have been told what the plan is for the future, what the New World Order really is about. Believe me, this is not the Rapture, nor is it the “New Age” that you have envisioned.

Check out Henry Kissinger’s speech he delivered at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to see that you and I are among the many that are considered part of the over-population problem.

I cannot force anyone to believe what I have come to believe. I can only share with you what I see and how I came to this place that I find myself today. It has not happened overnight and I have researched long and hard in places that were uncomfortable. Uneasiness has been the all-pervading element that would not disappear. And I know now that the uneasiness is part of my instinct.

Remember Little Red Riding Hood’s instinctual self that warned her that she was in danger?

It is clear that the corporate world will do ANYTHING to make a profit. Those profits come from our wallets. Most of us have some mutual funds, a pension fund, or even stocks — perhaps in one of the corporations named here. So we have a piece of our own demise!

But hey it’s a monthly check!

Brings to mind the old 50-60’s “Sixteen Tons” lyrics sung by Tennesee Ernie Ford — “St Peter, don’t you call me, ‘cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store!”

While that happens to us, Sameer al-Ansari, the DIC CEO, says that "This acquisition allows DUBAI INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL to move forward with its investment strategy to build a diverse portfolio of direct investments across various industries around the world."

Now don’t you feel safer for that?

And fine for them, but should we allow another government to have the manufacturing rights to U.S. military parts? If the answer is yes, then we are no longer a sovereign nation but are part of a conglomerate of incestuous, secretive business corporations.

While we watch and believe we are safer, according to Jerome Corsi, of World Net Daily, there is ample evidence and documentation that “Dubai has been a welcome home for the capital flight from Iran as the mullahs and their cronies seek to find a safe haven for the billions they have stolen from the Iranian people."

Further, Corsi states that, “by the end of 2006, some $300 billion will have been moved from Iran to Dubai by over 400,000 Iranians. Over 7,000 Iranian companies operate in Dubai, and some 300,000 to 400,000 wealthy Iranians make Dubai their home for some or all of the year. Billionaire former President Akbar Hashami Rafsanjani owns vacation resorts on Dubai's world-class beaches.”

Does this imply that the UNITED ARAB EMERITES is aiding and abetting the very country that President BUSH and his cabinet members are calling the “enemy”? Do we hear of any possible U.S. sanctions for the UAE support of Iran coming from this administration?

Is the U.S. timing the invasion and destruction of Iran to coincide with this mass evacuation of Iran’s wealthy?

In a corporate/politico world where one hand slaps the other’s, could it be as Corsi suggestesd in his February article, that the Bush administration had agreed to push the DPW deal through in a "hush-hush" manner as a payoff for allowing the U.S. to use the UAE as a staging point in the Iran attack? And now that we know what the American people did to squash that deal, the President has done an end run, as is said in football lingo, and pulled in another DUBAI corporation to ease the UAE's bruised self esteem!

This is logical? Or is it again the way corporate cronies do business?

More like corporate egos run amok!

Meanwhile, according to the Lou Dobbs Tonight show, “the government of Dubai already provides shipping services in this country (U.S.) and has a lucrative contract with the United States Navy. INCHCAPE SHIPPING SERVICES is owned by Dubai's royal family. It services and escorts Navy vessels in southwest Asia ports and the Middle East and operates in some of the biggest ports in the U.S., raising questions about how much access to national security has already been sold.”

As Lou Dobbs continues to say, “ISTITHMAR, the Emirates Company has a $2 billion investment in the stock of Time Warner, the parent of CNN. A recent investment. We're delighted to have them as stockholders, I'm sure.”

But hey! The Secretary of the Army is not concerned; the President says he is confident that the deal is safe. Obviously they know something that up to now I have not wanted to acknowledge and therefore haven’t understood — that we are one big huge corporation and whoever gets to the cash register first wins!

Too bad for the millions of people who have not been born to wealth.

Too bad for the people who are at the other end of the DU tipped missile!

Too bad for those elderly whose pension can no longer support the electric or gas bill, or for the care they need.

Too bad for the children whose education cannot afford to be provided by a country who spends more on one Abrams tank than an entire school’s budget for the year!

Too bad for those parents who are already working two to three jobs to pay the bills.

The handwriting is clear enough for me to see that.

I can only wish for you all from what I have in my heart.

'hayam' (love that wanders the earth).

con amore,

— mek