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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Frankfurt am Main
Home country: Germany
Current location: Tacoma, Washington
Member since: Sat Jul 18, 2009, 11:55 AM
Number of posts: 23,320

About Me

Ran for US Congress from the left. Led a City of Tacoma initiative and won with 64% of the vote. The initiative was a liberal initiative in blue collar town and we were projected to get 29% of the vote, we received 64%. Spent 3 years leading a peace and justice project in Tacoma

Journal Archives

It's that time of the year...what is your favorite Christmas Carol?

I am so jazzed. Many of you may remember I got aced out of working in Greece

this summer at a refugee camp. I was put on the no fly list by trump and also had my naturalization of citizenship challenged. I won both of those and am free to travel.

I will be leaving in two weeks for NYC, Keflavik Iceland, Oslo Norway, Frankfurt am Main Germany (where I will sing for Christmas midnight Mass) Dubai, Assmara Senafe Eritrea, the Dhalek Islands in the Red Sea, Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Abidjan Ivory Coast and Philadelphia. I am singing for national funeral at an Eritrean Orthodox Church and will be touring throughout Eritrea. I need to pinch myself. I am so excited!

just curious

What was George Bush's connection to the Kennedy assassination?

A memory of a refugee

I wanted to tell you the story of a woman who was born in Germany in 1933 right after Hitler took power. Her name is Lieselotte (Lilo) Collier. Some of you may have heard her story before, because I have talked about her on here previously. Lilo grew up in Frankfurt Germany, the transportation and banking capitol of that nation. Frankfurt was massively bombed by the allies, first by the British and then the Americans. In 1943 Hitler was beginning to see the hand writing on the wall, as the war effort was not going his way. He had decreed in the summer of 1943 that all children must leave the cities by December. In early November, Lilo was removed from her home. Because there was transportation, she and many others had to walked in a column for miles and miles. Some of that was through the snows of the Bavarian Mountains. They ended their journey at a Roman Catholic orphanage just inside the Austrian border where
she stayed for a year and a half.

Five days after the war was over, the director of the orphanage gathered all the German children together and told them they had to leave and that there was no money left to keep them. They were driven to the Austrian-German border and then left on their own. Once again there was no transportation. Lilo, wandered the German countryside and towns for 10 and a half months. Often sleeping in barns, church door steps, bombed out schools and on occasion in the home of a kind countryman. Many times, because of the destitute condition of the nation and its' people she had rocks, garbage and rotten food thrown at her and even once was shot at. Finally an American military batallion picked her up and brought her to a "staging" orphanage where she remembers lining up for 16 weekends before her parents found her and she was reunited with her family. Because of her trek through the snows of the mountains and her substandard footwear, she got frostbite on her left leg and right foot. When she became pregnant with her first child, that (because of the change in her body) turned to gangrene and she had to have the toes of her right foot amputated and also her left leg right below the knee with just local anesthetic in order to save the fetus' life.

Her little boy remembers growing up seeing the stares at her of others, being teased about that and also her heavy German accent. Lilo was sickly for the rest of her life. She cringed when ever she heard a low flying plane or a close siren and never watched war movies. She had a brain hemorrhage when she was 39 years old and passed away. Her son had already lost his father at 7 to the Vietnam War and was 15 when she died.

That little girl grew up to be my mother and today would have been her 85th birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILO (sorry for the long post)


This past week has been amazing. The Tacoma Education Association representing 2400 teachers, janitors, para, office support etc has been on strike. At odds between the teachers and the Tacoma School District was the fact that long held funds that were supposed to go to salries as a result of the McCleary vs Washington decision was finally settled in May

The Tacoma School District refused to release those funds and wanted to keep it for Administration salaries. The teachers went on strike. In what was becoming the nastiest teacher strike in the nation. it was looki ng to be a long one. The teachers union told the teachers to talk to their creditors etc.

In what was an amazing cave from the District. The strike was resolved after 5 business days and the teachers etc recieved from 14%-19% raises.

What did it? The union orchestrating amazing incredible community support. Bolstering wavering teachers. Having a fantastic rally. Businesses, unions, churches etc lending support (feeding, use of rest rooms, a resting place for the teachers during their pickets)

On Wed. the District tried to entice teachers to come back to the classrom. To work in their classrooms for EXTRA pay beyond what they were getting. Even tho the District cried broke. Only four teachers went it!!!

So the moral of this story is....the union is the working class persons friend! Stay strong and stay united. Don't cave to corporate of administrative bullying!!!

I am so pissed

I was supposed to go and serve for a month in a refugee camp in Greece. Right before we were supposed to go I was put on the no-fly list (second time for me) mainly for all the protesting I have done, pus in 1988 I was charged with inciting a riot when George Bush came to Tacoma to campaign for president) charges were dropped but the repubs hold grudges.

I lost a bunch of money because of flights etc...but the real thing that hurts is that I am not able to go.

The more serous part of this was that as this was happening the validity my US naturalization was being challenged. That not only enraged me, but scared the crap out of me. When I confronted ICE they not only had a listing of all 46 times I have entered and left the country, but also my alien registration card, my citizenship papers and the score on the test I took.

So folks, if you are naturalized and think you are safe, if you are a progressive activist think again.

On a side note, there were four others, who also didn 't get to go to a refugee camp that I know of this summer because of the same thing.

Tacoma Washington has the 1500 bed Northwest Detention Center

for Immigragtion and Deportation. Tonight we had a city cojncil meeting and of the 45 who spoke up not a single one suported the prison for immigrants. Outside there was a noise demonstration of banging pots and pans as in the tradition of Central and South American nations. The mayor and the city tried to shut the noise demonstrators down by locking the dors to city hall during a public meeting but the fire marsahll wouldn't let them.

It was a good evening in which we were to bring accross to the community the evil that is in our midst, shame the city for siccing the cops on us and wrecking our occupy settlement and also to hold officials who recive GEO prison campaign money accountable.

I buried my foster mother today

I had met her and became the foster child of her and her husband very soon after we came to the United States at the age of 14. I lived with them the rest of my childhood and came "home" during my 5 years of college. Been a part of their lives and them a part of mine.

While sorrowful, as I sat in that sanctuary today, I couldn't help but be so blest. Not many children, specially teen age boys get the chance have loving kind parents a second time around. It's hard to go through the death of a parent four times instead of two, but there is also blessing in the fact that I got the grace and wisdom of two loving families in my life.

I want to give a shout out to all foster parents...thank you for giving me and others a chance at a having a family once again!

"I was a stranger and you took me in"

I finally have the time to write about my foster mom who died on Saturday.

It is with deep sadness that I share about the death of my foster mother.

I first met her in passing at a church event in our neighborhood when I was 13 years old

At 15 years of age, my biological mom had a massive stroke and my father had already passed away when fighting for the US in Vietnam. Being an immigrant, there were no other relatives in the US. A friend who was part of the youth group in which my foster mom helped my foster dad serve as Pastor, told them of my plight and they came to me just as their youngest child was leaving home, opened their hearts and invited me to join their family.

I remember one Sunday when I was still living on my own (before the state told me I had 48 hours to find a place to live or else I would become a ward of the court) (the last Sunday of October of that year) I had forgotten to re-set the clock and arrived at the church an hour early. My foster mom was at the organ practicing the hymns for that morning and we got into a discussion about music, voice and liturgy and formed an immediate bond.

Often during Sundays, my foster mom and I would discuss the liturgy and hymns. We were always on the same wave length. I loved it.

My foster mom modeled a sense of hospitality and graciousness that always impressed me and I continually strive for. She affirmed a sense of high quality sacred music and liturgy and a desire to serve that I loved.

Most of all, at a time in my life, when being at the most difficult of age to be placed as a foster child, she offered support, conversation, guidance, humor, forgiveness and love. Developing a mutual love that she nurtured and providing a second chance for me to have a mom!

She taught me about her heritage and family history while still affirming me to honor my family of orientation and original parents.

She was a Democrat. Not a splashy Democrat, but quiet and steadfast. She was pro Civil Rights, Pro LGBTQ, pro DREAMERS and for social services and mass transportation. She taught me to wed my spiritual inner core, with civic discourse and to vote accordingly.

While being sorrowful. I am so grateful for having been a part of her life, for her being a part of my life and helping to form a part of my personality.

In a personal historical irony, both my mothers died on the same calendar date. Feb 2, 1985 and Feb 2, 2018

I will truly miss her, but to me she represented not only the model of living ones life with in the true Gospel of Christ but also what represents the good and noble in our country!!!

I want to thank all of you for your kind words this past weekend

on the death of my foster mother. I come here often and am snarky and opinioated, but I do truly appreciate the community that has been created here. It is one of my touchstones and am so fortunate to have this as a soun ding board when the political s--t hits the fan!!! Thank you for being one of the places in which I find community!!! Mike
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