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Nov 1, 2009

Hello,

My name is Natalie Kraft. I am an avid member of Care2 --though I do apologize for my absence from the groups as of late. Part of the reason for this is that I am also a hard working student of Psychology and Holistic Health and Wellness. For the Psych portion of this academic training, my class partner and I are conducting a research study, the details of which are below. We are seeking volunteers whom are 18 years of age or older. All are welcome to take part but we are especially looking for people who had some sort of alternative schooling experiences-- including but not limited to home-schooling, charter-schooling, “un-schooling” etc.

This study will examine participants’ thinking and problem solving style/ability in correlation with the type of schooling they experienced growing up. This will take no more than 35 minutes. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to identify what type of schooling you received, during different stages of life, through a multiple choice questionnaire. You will then be asked to complete two brief personality measures and a verbal problem solving task.

We would greatly appreciate your help in this matter as we have a very limited amount of time to collect this data--less than a semester-- and need a certain amount of people for our alternative school group, which are much harder to come by. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Natalie Kraft and Jennifer O’Dell

CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE à

http://sites.google.com/site/kraftodellstudy/

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Posted: Nov 1, 2009 6:57am
Jan 2, 2007

America the Oblivious?

By, Natalie K.

            America is no longer the America we once knew. The United States is no longer "a free country" in the sense that it was meant to be at its conception. Yes, these are bold statements, but they ring true when looking at the facts. Over the past six years alone we have witnessed injustice after injustice, yet, it seems that the average American hasn't a clue about what is going on or simply chooses to ignore the situations at hand. As people blindly follow our government, they actually put us in danger of losing each of the freedoms that our country was founded on, and this is already well underway.

            Very recently our country has dealt with, in no particular order, unconstitutional surveillance (NSA Wiretap), mixing of church and state (gay-marriage ban), war under false pretense (no W.M.D.'s), Election hijacking (Florida), widespread and severe prejudice (against Muslims and those of middle-eastern decent), threats to Habeas Corpus (Military Commissions act), threats to freedom of the press (new FCC rules), and the list goes on. How can we as a nation continue to idly sit by and allow these things to occur without a second thought as to what they mean for our country? The answer is that we can't if we want to preserve our ideal way of life. Let's analyze some of these areas more closely. To start, why don't we take a look at how our current administration came to be in power in the first place.

            We all remember the fiasco of the Bush vs. Gore elections. Did we or didn't we vote for him? Were the "chads" to blame? In reality, the chads were the least of our problems! Given only minute coverage by the mass media was major scandal throughout Florida (a swing state and "coincidentally," brother Jeb's state as well).

            In the state of Florida, if you have been convicted of a felony, you lose your privilege to vote. During the 2000 elections 91,000 names were deemed "potential felons" by the state and 57,700 of them were completely discarded, never to be counted at all (Hamil). After some felt that something seemed odd (and rightfully so) an independent investigation was called upon. The results found that 90% of the names that were on this list were, in fact, non or ex felons (ex meaning they had their rights restored) and the majority of the list was made up of people who were Democrats/Minorities (specifically African American) (Cusac/ Hamil )!

            They had also found that the State didn't seem to mind if the name was an exact match or not. It seems that so long as they were "close enough" and seemed to fit the criteria, they were "good enough." For example, if your name is "Catharine O'Neil" or "Jon Smith," and a felon's name is "Katharine O'Neal" or "John Smithe," then you were both purged from the voting list (Hamil). Despite the investigation's findings, the damage had already been done and the elections were over with by its end anyway. We had our new president. But now, we skip over four years and come to the RE-election.

            After concerns with recounts, chads, and the little situation of our felon lists, it did seem that a bit more attention was paid to the following presidential election. However, on the government's side of things, matters only became worse for many of our people. New rules were instated that included having to show more forms of ID than before, and picture ID, in states where it was technically not a necessary thing to do. People were restricted to more specific voting areas (not permitted to vote anywhere else). Think of the elderly, handicapped, and/or impoverished voters. These are the people who may not have driver's licenses and, in order to obtain any other form of ID, must pay money to get certain documents that they may no longer have in their possession (for one reason or another) such as SS cards, and Birth certificates. Not to mention the fact that they have to find the time to get to all of these places (which can mean finding transportation, taking off of needed work, and so on and so forth). These laws were reinforced by the HAVA (Help America Vote Act) which was signed by President Bush in 2002 as a way to "replace outdated voting systems," and to bring all states up to par with Florida's "wonderful" electronic system (Harris). Then there was the problem of poll watching.

            "Poll watchers," reportedly very intimidating ones, were sent out, mainly by the Republican Party, to keep potential "fraudulent" votes from being submitted. Poll worker's also joined in on this task when they began asking for proof of citizenship, a wrongful question at the polling sites when someone is already on the voters list (Cucas). As Alma Gonzales put it, "They cannot ask you your citizenship at the polling place, it's unlawful. When that question is asked because of your skin color or the fact that you have an accent, it's not intended to ensure that you're complying with the law, it's intended to suppress votes." (Cucas). So, despite closer watch, 2004 still had its "kinks" that, in the end, most certainly affected many, many of voters.

            Looking at the problems we have had in our past two presidential elections, it is clear that the people's votes and rights have not been on the top of the priority list of our nation. In a democratic country, the right to vote and have every vote truly count is the most important aspect. Without this, we cease to be a democratic society, in effect becoming a dictatorship. Who knows what other voting scandals there have been that we have not discovered yet (and may never). But, again, those elections are past (hopefully we will do better this next time around). Our president is George W. Bush and what a president he has been.

            As president, Bush has bestowed upon himself the title of a "war-time president" which he seems to wear rather proudly. After the 9/11 terror attacks (which absolutely wreaked of scandal themselves), the president used the tragedy as an excuse to get the American people all riled up for war. Thus, "The War on Terror" was born. But this, similar to the idea of the "War on Drugs," was not a real enough war. No, Bush had to find a way to link the idea to "Daddy's arch nemesis" Saddam Hussein and the country of Iraq. And he did.

            We have all heard (and taken part in) the conversation(s) that follow. "Why did we go to war with Iraq again? Oh yeah, it was because Al Qaeda was hiding there and Saddam had ties with Osama Bin Laden, right? No, no, wait, it was because we "KNEW" that they were definitely building weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.'s) for the specific purpose of attacking America! No, that wasn't it either, it was because the Iraqi people were being suppressed and we had to be the ones to liberate them (we are the "Freedom Fighters" after all)." Or, in all honesty, was it simply because war is profitable in itself, war allows the administration to get away with making its desired "changes," and very likely because of OIL? Which answer is it? The latter set of reasons certainly seems logical at this point.

            Lying to the American Public about the W.M.D.'s and the war in Iraq (among other things) and then getting caught didn't seem to phase this administration one bit. There was no official apology, retraction of statements, admittance of mistake, or anything of the sort. And the war still went on, with one new excuse after another being given as to why we were there and why we are continuing to stay there now (longer than we were in all of World War II, I might add).

            During these simultaneous "wars" (the "War in Iraq" and the "War on Terror") the Bush administration has used the "It's war-time" excuse to get away with removing our basic freedoms and rights to things like having a private life, free from government interference, and the right to innocence until guilt is proven. The first time this was realized by the masses was after the information leak about the Illegal NSA Wiretapping scandal.

            According to an article in the New York Times, about 500 people have been spied on at a time, right here in the United States, and that is without any warrants (Lichtblau). This means that literally thousands have very likely been illegally spied on since the beginning of the program. As the USA Patriot Act worked to legitimize the spying, it came under scrutiny because of its expanding surveillance to library cards, public domain internet searches, and following peaceful war protests (Lichtblau). This is similar to the FBI files that were opened against protesters of the Vietnam War as well as people working for the Civil Rights of minorities. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "They, who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security," (Wikiquote). This quote is more fitting now than ever.

            The Patriot Act came along to legitimize the illegal spying situation, after they had already been in process for some time, mind you. This has been a repeated strategy for the Bush administration. "Do something that is technically illegal now, and then make up a new set of laws that will make it ok later!" After the Patriot Act worked so well for this, they went even further and produced "The Military Commissions Act of 2006."

            During the years following the September 11th tragedy it is reported that our government caused people to "disappear," secretly detained prisoners , severely physically, emotionally, and mentally tortured said prisoners, denied Habeas Corpus rights, and engaged in "unfair trial procedures," among other atrocities, all in the name of the "War On Terror" (Amnesty International). When some of these things were brought to light, and judges began hearing cases of Habeas Corpus infringement and Torture, was when the Military Commissions Act was literally rushed through to law, putting a halt to pending cases and making all of their illegal war crimes (listed above) now "legal" as well as making legal, on a technicality, crimes that had been committed in prior times (Amnesty International). Everyone was getting off the hook. Judges were told that cases were out of their jurisdiction, and detainees have been forbidden to talk to lawyers, especially about any torture they have endured, with the feeble excuse that it is considered "classified information." The act is written in such vague terms that it seems that virtually anyone can be considered an "Enemy Combatant" if the president and his people so chooses. Once branded with this title they can be subject to the nightmares listed above with little to no hope for justice (Amnesty International).

            Not surprisingly, out of the hundreds of foreigners (and legal residents) that have been arrested since September 11th, the majority of them have been Muslim. Hundreds were taken into custody without being charged for anything while thousands were brought in for "questioning" and none of these were found to be terrorists (The freedom Paradox). One could say that it seems to have become almost a crime in this country to be a Muslim. Actual congressmen have used derogatory terms such as "rag heads" (Kingslover, 606). Many of the American people sadly echo these ideologies as well.

            During a routine radio broadcast, host Jerry Klein decided to conduct an experiment of sorts. He dedicated that day's show to discussing the "Muslim problem." He threw out idea's of having Muslims wear mandatory markers (crescent moons to be exact) so that they could be easily identified (Debusmann). While some callers did call in to tell him he was "off his rocker," others called to congratulate him on his great ideas and add a few of their own. Some thought tattooing the symbol would be appropriate, others felt that designated living quarters, such as those like the camps used in World War II for holding Japanese and Germans right here in the US, would be a better idea, while others simply said that Muslims should be "shipped out of the country." In the end Klein revealed that his proposals were not serious and scolded his audience by saying "Basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen ... We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous "(Debusmann). Not only do our ordinary citizens have these feelings against Muslims, but apparently entire corporations do as well.

            U.S. Airways had six Muslim leaders removed from one of their flights for praying in the lobby of the air port prior to boarding. The men were questioned by the FBI who then found them to be innocent and immediately released them. But after the release they were still not permitted to re-enter the plane nor were they allowed to board a different flight home. When the men requested that the company assist them in booking a flight with another agency, they were denied that request as well. Apparently this was not the first time that US Airways had pulled something like this either ( High-Flying,). Our nation now "fears the Muslims," an idea that, let's face it, has been greatly influenced (at least in-part) by our own government. But we have also been told to fear those who would speak against the Bush administration or the war at all.

            Barbara Kingslover explains it perfectly when she states, "It's a fact of our culture that the loudest mouths get the most airplay, and the loudmouths are saying that in times of crisis it's treasonous to question our leaders" (Kingsolver, 606). If you speak out against Bush and the war, to many, you are considered unpatriotic and are even told that you are "aiding the terrorists with this sort of talk." A perfect counter quote to this is one by former president Theodore Roosevelt that goes as follows, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American Public," (Roosevelt). Not only is it all of the things that good old Teddy Roosevelt stated but it is, most importantly, dangerous (as can be seen when looking at examples such as with Nazi Germany). Yet, in the over-all scheme of things, it is plain to see that one will, many times, be shut out as soon as they begin talk of anti-Bush agendas. This is common in the mainstream news outlets. Speaking of these, media itself is another area that has been threatened recently.

            A vote that may greatly affect one of our country's founding freedoms is one in the FCC. If passed, this new FCC ruling would greatly relax broadcast ownership rules making it easier for one corporation to own the majority of media outlets. In an interview, Mark Cooper (of Consumer Federation of America) gave some facts and percentages about the situations at hand, stating that "[Only] one or two percent of stations [are] owned by representatives of minority groups and women. Second of all, the concentration of these media markets makes it more difficult for minority owners to have access and gain control of stations." Cooper goes on to say that, "A lot of the stations that were sold in the last ten years were sold because [the FCC] relaxed the rules once, so it makes it harder for us to achieve our goal of a more representative media space" (Latino, Monitor Group). It is obvious that having a monopoly of media that is owned by rich, older, white men (which we already pretty much have now), is not going to help the suppressed people of the country let their voices be heard. But it also would greatly hinder the ability of our nation to exercise its rights to "freedom of the press."

            Despite what one may say, if you are being paid by the big man behind the curtain, and he doesn't want you to cover a certain story, than you are most likely going to obey him, rather than lose your job and check. So only things that they feel will have no true effect on them, or are in their best interest, will be let through the gate keeper's grasps. Meaning that everything else will be left to smaller, weaker, and lesser known underground media sources (as it pretty much is now as well).

            So let's recap. All at once in this day and age, we are faced with the idea of voting scandals that weaken our democracy, acts and bills that destroy our basic rights (to things like privacy, humane treatment, and Habeas Corpus), pending FCC rulings that could further suppress all of our voices, increasing ideas of prejudice that technically damage many people's "freedom of religion," along with a number of other problems (some of which were also mentioned in the beginning of this piece) to numerous to list. It is quite overwhelming, to say the least. One more quote that is particularly fitting to the present situations is this "It is the response to terrorism, rather than the terror itself, that does democracy the most harm" (The Freedom Paradox). We are a people that seem consumed by a rampant and life altering fear. Were we always this afraid or is this a new phenomenon caused by 9/11? Either way, it certainly isn't healthy. When mentioning these issues to the average American, it seems you will many times receive nothing more than a blank stare as a response (hence, "America the Oblivious").

            Something obviously needs to change and we need to change it. Feeling this way does not make one "less American" than those who continue to call our country "the greatest of all" despite any circumstances. Contrary to seemingly popular belief; blind, unconditional devotion does not equal "true patriotism!"

Works Cited:

*~If you'd like the sources, please message me and I'll be glad to provide them. Thanks.~*

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Posted: Jan 2, 2007 10:40am
Feb 27, 2006
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/FAM

Hello all,

I have just created a group about natural birth control and the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)......

"This group is about empowering women to take family planning into their own hands! Avoiding dangerous & unnatural chemical birth control or fertility drugs & getting to know their bodies. Our main focus will be the Fertility Awareness Method."

Please join to teach others &/or learn more about this method! Thanks in advance!!!

                   ~nataie~
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/FAM
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Posted: Feb 27, 2006 12:49pm
Feb 17, 2006
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/njactivists

I have just created a new group for Care2 members residing In New Jersey Where activists in the state of New Jersey can find each other to discuss issues related to NJ & beyond. To make a difference in our state, our country, & our world! Please join if you are from NJ & want to find others with whom to make a difference.

     Thanks,
            Natalie
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Posted: Feb 17, 2006 6:38pm
Dec 1, 2005
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Petition
Location: United States
Industrial hemp CAN’T get you "high." Hemp is used for food, fuel, paper, fabric, cosmetics & rope, & is better for the environment than leading sources of these products. Hemp is a MAJOR CASH CROP and can SAVE OUR PLANET! Please support Bill H.R. 3037 IH and let the government know that the American people support industrial hemp. Please, sign this petition and then send it to as many people as you can, in anyway you can. Thanks, in advance, for your support! 


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Posted: Dec 1, 2005 9:09am
Nov 16, 2005
This poll will review the opinions on, usage of, and admittance to marijuana use amongst those who participate. This is for my personal research. Please be honest. Thanks in advance for taking the time to participate.

( responses)
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Posted: Nov 16, 2005 8:28am
Nov 9, 2005
If you or someone you love deals with a memory condition or if you would like to learn more about them or support others, please join my group "Dealing with memory conditions in old and young alike." Thank you.
                      
                         natalie

 http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/memoryconditionssupport

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Posted: Nov 9, 2005 3:27pm

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

Natalie K.
, 2, 1 child
Ocean City, NJ, USA
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SHARES FROM NATALIE'S NETWORK
Feb
15
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
1
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Message to the President, and to the Congress:It\\\'s very simple. We can aim for a UNIVERSAL Standard of $15 an hour Minimum Wage for ALL - that would be {frugally} a living wage these days. One should not have to be employed, and on government assista...
Jan
26
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nThis is my Message that I send every week or so, to the President, my Representative, and my two Senators. {And in this instance, to the Vice President also.} \\r\\nThe Majority of the people of this country, approve that the President {and Vice Presi...
Jan
19
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\n \\\"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.\\\"  (Matthew 5:5)Who are the meek?  I guess it depends who you ask, but I think the meaning implied in the passage above has somehow been lost over the years.  Perhaps t...
Jan
18
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I feel Care2 members should KNOW about the \\\"work from home\\\" ads, RECRUITING \\\"MULES\\\" TO CARRY OUT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES. Just like the Drug Cartels do... A person who was recruited unwittingly by one of these ads, was given in a seattleweekly.com arti...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nEvery week or every other week, I send a Message to the President and to my Representative and Senators. This is the text of my latest:\\r\\nI have just sent the following message to President Obama; and I believe all Congresspersons need to hear it a...
Jan
12
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  It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.  There is much to be said about this.  You can see emotion through the eyes, can you not?  You can often tell if a person is lying or not by looking into their eyes.  Wha...
Jan
11
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When we are born, we are aware of our spiritual self.  Actually, this is the part of ourselves with which we are most aware!  The body is new.  Wow!  Look at those fingers and toes!  As to the mental aspect of self, we were ha...
Jan
5
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\\nThis is a more-or-less weekly message I send to the President and to my Legislators. The following is the version of it I sent to Governor Inslee.\\r\\nThis is to notify you of a message I have just sent to the President and members of Congress. Since...