Michael is coming home

Michael Foster has been granted early release from prison, arriving back in Seattle Wednesday, August 1

Michael wants to thank you for helping him replenish the MRCC prison library. He has received over 100 books. Because he will be home soon, letter writing and the book drive has ended. All the cards, letters and books you sent have made Michael's time in Bismarck much easier. Thank you, friends!

We don't yet know what help Michael will need on his return, but we'll post it here when we do know.

We are throwing a combination welcome home party for Michael and Seattle screening of the Lindsey Graysel film, The Reluctant Radical (in which Michael and many in our community appear, but which admittedly features Ken :)).  This shindig will be held on August 15 at Seattle's Central CinemaFacebook event with more info here, and tickets available shortly through Brown Paper Tickets.


No more books, please

From Michael:

Update: No more books please -- Michael is coming homeMichael wants to thank you for helping him replenish the MRCC prison library. He has received over 100 books. Because he will be home soon, letter writing and the book drive has ended. All the cards, letters and books you sent have made Michael's time in Bismarck much easier. Thank you, friends!  

Original post:

I’m the new afternoon librarian, and the library needs Love!! The collection here at The Farm is barely a collection. Interlibrary Loans have been suspended probably indefinitely, and the titles to browse here are super-limited. It’s a small one-room space with the newspapers, magazines a table and shelves lining the back half and the walls. Almost every one of those shelves have lots of empty space for any topic. The library gets a high amount of use considering it serves less than 200 inmates preparing for life after incarceration.

This is what came off my request list at the library in one week:

More Autobiographies

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to the I-Ching" by Joseph Wu

James Rollins

Zecharia Sitchen

Bo Lozoff

Napoleon Hill

David Wilcock - The Synchronicity Key

AC Ross "Mitakuye Oyasin"

"Street Hypnosis"

Song Lyric writing

How to drawlife-like portraits

National Geographic Magazine

Science magazines

Start thinking about books you loved, books that shaped you, stories that mattered and helped you be more you: nature, environmental connection, love of the outdoors, empathy, friendship, family addictions, recovery, mental illness and health, behavior change, inspirational people, overcoming obstacles, prison life, prison ashram project (Bo Lozoff), prison reform, racism, classism, corporate control, corporate media, healthy living of any and all kinds.

A fiction book I checked out back at the Pen library, The Kite Runner, checked a lot of boxes in terms of a book prisoners might read and grow from. Yesterday somebody checked out The Purpose Driven Life. I haven't read it, but that seems like an interesting choice. Most popular and good supply of the following: full shelves of James Patterson and Stephen King, fantasy series, Star Wars, Fitness books, workout, and How to Draw books.

PLEASE READ MAILING INSTRUCTIONS!

The librarian and the warden seem determined to destroy books that are not mailed in properly directly from a distributor. I can't seem to get them to agree to send out improperly mailed books to the public library or Goodwill. So far they really want them in the dumpster.

So I can't emphasize enough that books, new or used, ordered online MUST have an actual bookseller as the return address. It is possible some people might use a bookseller business name on amazon, but when they physically mail the package they put their own name and address.

When people send letters and books, PLEASE be careful to mail PROPERLY so that it is not destroyed. I get at least one item per day DENIED for having two pieces of paper glued together (Hallmark cards), or not giving a full name and return address. I can often request a photocopy made of some materials, but not all.

Meanwhile, I will keep working on the staff here to adjust their security policy just enough so that books, which they sorely need, get donated somehow either onsite or off, not "destroyed" for security reasons.

PLEASE READ MAILING INSTRUCTIONS!

SEE IMMEDIATELY BELOW for how to make sure books are not rejected and destroyed!


Michael Book Mailing Instructions

To make sure books aren't rejected and destroyed, books:

  • Must be sent via USPS.
  • Must be sent via reputable publishers/booksellers (i.e. not independent sellers who work through, for example, Amazon. The book must be bought and shipped from Amazon the monolith, not a mom n' pop seller operating on their platform...). Check out Powell's as an alternative to Amazon.
  • Now may be used and either paper or hardback!  Just make sure they are clearly sent by a reputable book seller.  Thrift Books and Better World Books both have good bargains and use their own plastic envelopes with bookseller name all over them.
  • Do not send more than 3 books at a time. 
  • A return address is mandatory, and must be the address of a bookseller, not an individual.

Have bookseller mail three books only, via UPS only, to:

MICHAEL FOSTER, #51974 

MISSOURI RIVER CORRECTIONAL CENTER

P.O. BOX 5521

BISMARCK, ND 58506

 

 


A note from Michael on Earth Day

To open myself to *accept* all things would mean not only accepting that we have failed to address this life and death crisis for thirty years ...that would be relatively easy…

No, to open myself to *accept* all things is opening myself to the complicit participation torturing children, refugees, burning, flooding, starving brothers, sisters, and every voiceless sentient being who might come after me into extinction, that I might make more money to burn fuel, to put more empty food on my table, for only a little while longer ...while the industrial calories last.

No human in history has ever knowingly done that. We live at a very special moment where we know what we do and might yet choose to be good again, if only we stop ourselves in time from committing everything after to misery.

How could I open myself to consciously do that to everything I love? Are their lives worth any less than mine and yours?

Should I knowingly become the first person of faith who knowingly chooses to destroy all the Creator's miraculous handiwork, in His Name, until kingdom come? Is my truck exhaust my worship, my prayer? 

What Hindu chooses to wipe out all complex life forms for millions of years while contemplating reincarnation?

Who among us envisions the Buddha sitting underneath the tree idle, enlightened to his car idling, igniting fuel which burns forests forever?

Like father Abraham prepared to kill his own son Isaac in sacrifice to the Almighty, to prove his faith: Is this our test? To prove whether we love the Almighty oil, gas, and coal, more than our own family tree?

Reading the law, shall we cut off our hand that pumped, cut, burned, and bulldozed two out of three living creatures from the face of the Earth since I was a boy? Or shall we cut off the one-third who survived?

O Spirit of Life, stop my hand today,

while Life and Beauty remain for a moment,

let me rest from my labor long enough

to let life return to a new Earth

Whether I live to see grasslands glaciers and forests’ recovery, it is enough to know it shall be done.

Stop my hand that life may live another seven generations in green and blue and love.


What is Michael Foster up to this week at MRCC Missouri River Correctional Center

Friday, April 20 - Michael rode 6.64 miles in 20 minutes in the Great American Bike Race 2018 Bismarck, a fundraiser for kids with cerebral palsy. He and 5 other inmates, calling their team The Untouchables, road their stationary bikes during the race and raised $155.

Thanks for donations Rick Foster, Ed Hirsch, Brenna Taylor, Bogdana Manole, Nancy Norman!

Sunday, April 22 Earth Day, The Warden has ok’d for Michael's request to give a presentation to inmates called Earth Day 48. Although Michael needed to provide an outline of his presentation, with no time limit and a “captive audience”, it could be a L O N G presentation!

Monday, April 23 – The Warden ok’d Michael’s request for meditation time. Starting Monday, there will be space in a classroom every morning from 7am-8am for silent prayer and meditation.

Friday, April 27, Arbor Day – The Warden has ok’d Michael’s request to plant trees on the MRCC grounds. The Warden is in the process of purchasing trees, talking about creating quiet spaces for inmates to sit under trees.

Last Month: Michael got a job! He now works, everyday – no days off, 1-3pm as part-time librarian at MRCC for $2.00 day. The extra money on his commissary card comes in handy for his favorite weekly purchase of chips and salsa, writing paper, envelopes, stamps. The library has a small assortment of books, so Michael put the call out to friends who want to send him books that he can donate to the library. Books, old or used, must come directly from a bookseller with bookseller return address.

This is a link to Sue Lenander's friend Debbie Lame Sporich’s bookstore in Dillon, MT called The Bookstore http://www.dillonbookstore.com/about_us.html

Requests Michael is waiting on:

1. MRCC used to have a vegetable garden, then due to a watering system problem they stopped three years ago. Michael has been talking up the garden and the Warden is considering having a vegetable garden this year…. keep your fingers crossed!

2. Michael is considering putting in a request for a chicken coup. Chickens make good friends.
https://www.facebook.com/attnlife/videos/1949110005351339/


Michael moved to Minimum Security

Mematic_meme_20180309_133550_(1).png

The initial phase of acclimation is often the hardest part of incarceration, but Michael handled his with grace and humor. Having just completed his first month in prison, he’s settled in to a minimum security unit with vegan meals, comfortable accommodations, and even limited cellphone access. He spends his days in prison much like he spent them at home: reading, writing, and thinking of ways to make the world awesome again. Notably, he seems to be adjusting to the plains winters like a champ…

“Another thing, I love seeing the snow, so beautiful when it's falling, so special and rare, silently floating around like a dream. I hope they give me a job shoveling it in the mornings, but you have to sign up for that, and wait your turn. People here get tired of shoveling snow, like it's not special or fun, so I hope to get moved up to the front of the line. Wish me luck!”

Of course, we’ve all been worried about Michael - but truly, he’s doing well. Recently, he was moved to the Missouri River Correctional Facility in North Dakota. This is where he will serve the remainder of his year-long sentence for shutting down the Keystone Pipeline. Let Michael know he is supported, and that his action inspires further action. Write him a letter and let him know what you’re doing to act on climate!

Do Send

  • Letters telling Michael the actions you are taking to Act on Climate
  • Up to 20 standard sized photos
  • Sender’s last name, street address or post office box number, city, state, and zip code.
  • Pages considered as clippings, acceptable copies from the internet (no social media).
  • Photocopies or other material not considered social or personal writing are limited to four pages.
  • In an envelope with a legible and legitimate return address that includes
    the your last name, street address or post office box number, city, state, and zip
    code.

Don’t Send

  • All Michael’s mail is read and reviewed for allowed content and “contraband” before he sees it.
  • Please do not incriminate yourself or Michael in letters to him. Please do no discuss his case or write about any legal opinions or advice you may have.
  • Michael cannot receive greeting cards, laminated paper, multiple copies of the same document, communications printed from social media sites, books, magazines, stamps, stickers, unused stationery, lottery tickets, or items of any kind. (See below for how to send Michael reading material from third party sellers).
  • Please do not send checks or money orders to Michael. All funds to support Michael’s jail support are collected at: https://actionfund-climatedisobedience.nationbuilder.com/donate
  • Don’t write about escape, sex, gangs, or violence. Don't decorate the envelope.  Check out the ND Inmate Handbook for A LOT more detail.

Sending Books

  • Must be brand new.
  • Must be paperback.
  • Must be sent via USPS.
  • Must be sent via reputable publishers/booksellers (i.e. not independent sellers who work through, for example, Amazon. The book must be bought and shipped from Amazon the monolith, not a mom n' pop seller operating on their platform...). Check out Powell's as an alternative to Amazon, and make sure you're ordering a new paperback book, not a used book.
  • Do not send more than 3 books at a time. Guidelines suggest no more than ten per month.
  • There are a lot of prisoners without the support Michael has, check out www.bookstoprisoners.net and consider donating to the longest running project of it's kind organized through Seattle's own Left Bank Books.

 

Michael Foster, #51974 

Missouri River Correctional Center

P.O. Box 5521

Bismarck, ND 58506

 


Jail Support for Michael

Jail support for Michael Foster, a year starting 2/6/2018

Screen_Shot_2018-02-06_at_2.59.41_PM.png

What you can do - Make a Pledge to Act on Climate

Recently Michael said, “If there’s something you can do, do it now”. Be creative, and dig deeply…the idea of this pledge is to use his sacrifice as inspiration for a real commitment to deep change. It’s not just prison–for years, Michael has woken up every day committed to working for climate stability. We can’t all dedicate so much time, but given the stakes, and given the price he’s paying, maybe we can all do more. If your time is truly limited, here are some suggestions to get you going:

  1. Call your legislators to demand bold climate action! In Michael’s State of WA, there are suggestions here and here for those calls—and Michael would like to add that for SB 6203, they should integrate science-based targets in line with Hansen’s climate math.
  2. Plant trees or donate to organizations that are planting trees. Here’s a video from Michael.
  3. Donate to the legal support fund for the Valve Turners.
  4. Reduce your carbon emissions at least 10% per year. Michael would especially love it if he inspired you not to fly when you otherwise would have!

Please share! your pledge! and read how Michael has moved others to action.  

Michael asks that we use every strike of your pen to fight climate change! So plant a tree and contact your legislator then write Michael and tell him how you acted on climate.

Do Send

  • Letters telling Michael the actions you are taking to Act on Climate
  • Up to 20 standard sized photos
  • Sender’s FULL NAME, street address or post office box number, city, state, and zip code.
  • Pages considered as clippings, acceptable copies from the internet (no social media).
  • Photocopies or other material not considered social or personal writing are limited to four pages.

Don’t Send

  • All Michael’s mail is read and reviewed for allowed content and “contraband” before he sees it.
  • Please do not incriminate yourself or Michael in letters to him. Please do no discuss his case or write about any legal opinions or advice you may have.
  • Michael cannot receive greeting cards, laminated paper, multiple copies of the same document, communications printed from social media sites,  books, magazines, stamps, stickers, unused stationery, lottery tickets, or items of any kind.
  • Please do not send checks or money orders to Michael. All funds to support Michael’s jail support are collected at: https://actionfund-climatedisobedience.nationbuilder.com/donate
  • Don’t write about escape, sex, gangs, or violence. Don't decorate the envelope.  Check out the ND Inmate Handbook for a lot  more detail.

In love and Solidarity,

the Climate Direct Action Team

 

Michael Foster, #51974 

Missouri River Correctional Center

P.O. Box 5521

Bismarck, ND 58506


Day 5 - Verdict

Hi,

On the way to the courthouse, we are driving these long straight routes; above us, low in the sky, a heavy full moon setting. There’s mist in sharp ribbons just below the meager tree lines and it’s all, just, so starkly beautiful. Today, Michael and Sam were convicted of almost all their charges. Conscious of my own naivety I will tell you, I expected better from North Dakota. But we are here and we came ready for this.

Thursday night Michael realized that the eighteen seconds of a film the prosecution had played the day prior was from a longer video made by supporter Connie Barlow. In it Michael is featured saying all of the things that he and Sam might have expressed in the best of testimonies. But, in this case, they were not confronted with rebuttal. Under no other circumstances would a movement video have been admitted as evidence save this accident. No other testimonies needed - and the defense rests.

Closing arguments crept from inspiring to profane. Both Hoffman and Kirschner invoked the lives of those dedicated to the struggle against tyranny. They both emboldened the jury to act against a “government who doesn’t listen” where the “money goes into politics, but no one pays for you.” Kirschner hit it home saying, “ You are the voice of this community. You can make your voice heard in North Dakota by bringing back a verdict that says ‘NO.’ We are not going to punish people for letting us know what goes on in the world.”

In response, the assistant to the State’s Attorney who (not joking) rolls a podium up to the jury to speak, all Sean Spicer style, and rants for twenty minutes about how allowing people with strong ethical conviction to reshape United States law would pave the way for Sharia law, “to allow the killing of even your own children.”

And truly, we were breathless with the astounding overreach of it. And, it did feel like the prosecution had pushed the jurors too far. Some of them were weeping as they announced so many guilty sentences. So there it is. We prepared for this, we came, we had the conversations; and we leave with the moon at our backs and those stretched, harvest fields forever in mind.

Love, Nicky Bradford

You can help the legal defense fund by donating here now: https://actionfund-climatedisobedience.nationbuilder.com/donate


Day 4 Social Media Recap


Day 4 Recap #ClimateTrial

Oh Dearests,

Dr. James Hansen is here along with Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel and scholar Tom Hastings. North Dakota barred the truth from its courts this morning, denying the motion to allow their expert testimony. In response we held a press conference on the lawn, watch here. Seriously, go to the Facebook page and look at all the crazy cool stuff we did today, it’s off the hook.

In court we learned a lot about what we already know. Michael Foster went to North Dakota and shut down the Keystone Pipeline! We heard from a manager from TransCanada’s liquids pipeline control center. Emily Johnston says he looks like Clark Kent, and he does. He’s cute and well suited and exudes a friendly Canadian air. He’s also been flanked all week by TransCanada’s lawyers, both with stern visage.

Read more


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