DON HARKINS — the writer in the mountains

Don Harkins

I want all the innocent people being
kept behind bars in America as political prisoners

(about a million of them)

to be released
and the real criminals
— the people who put them there —
to take their place.

I would love for 9/11/ OK City,
Ruby Ridge and Waco hearings
to be held where all the witnesses
and accused parties could come together
for a fully objective and openly
public airing of the facts and evidence.

If this were to ever happen,
the American people would see
that their country is run by ruthless monsters
not public servants.

Don Harkins at 9/11 Truth Conference, Chicago, 2006

So long as we are not bothering anyone
and no one is bothering us,
we can be friends.

This is not a political ideology, this is a way of life.

The New American
Dream Interview

DON HARKINS, 46, lives in Spirit Lake, Idaho.

Along with wife, Ingri Cassel, he publishes The Idaho Observer newspaper.

Don was a journeyman janitor and independent carpet and upholstery cleaner whose first and only "real" newspaper gig was doing sports and features for the East Oregonian in 1994-95.

After his first marriage fell apart in spring, 1995, Don was upside down for a few weeks and landed on his feet at The Oregon Observer in May, 1995.

That development launched his career as an opposition journalist and newspaper editor.

After circumstances caused him to leave The Oregon Observer in August, 1996, he founded The Idaho Observer in January, 1997.

Upon publishing the January, 2009 edition, The Idaho Observer will have entered its 15th year and finds itself growing in a nation of people who are suddenly realizing that things are not what they seem and are finally awakening to the desire for real answers to questions about what's happening to us as a nation and as individuals.

More on Don Harkins:


The New American Dream Trivia Question

To win a round button that says, "Bush Is Lying About What He Knew," be the first one to correctly answer the following.

Don Harkins would rather be ....

a. Sitting all day long in his backyard in the sauna he built himself, drinking The People's Homemade Brew

b. A liberal columnist for the San Francisco Bay Guardian

c. Anywhere where it does not snow

d. Meeting Karl Rove in the alley behind the Iron Horse

e. A route driver for Diet Dr. Pepper

f. King of Coeur d'Alene For A Day

g. Writing about high school basketball, forget about all this other stuff


NAD: Don, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.

Where did you grow up?

I was born In Boise, Idaho on Feb. 18, 1963.

When I was a baby, we moved to the Seattle area and then moved to Spokane, Washington, in the middle of second grade.

My folks were divorced when I was in sixth grade and by eighth grade, I had moved in to live with my dad and we returned to the Seattle area in 1978 and I graduated from Newport High School, home of the Knights, in Bellevue, class of '81.

A "jock" my entire life playing all the sports with the exception of soccer, by the time I got to high school, I was only playing racket sports outside of school because my new hobby, partying, began to occupy a lot of my time.

As a kid, I wanted to be a baseball player and wanted to rise up through the ranks as a left-handed catcher.

Everyone but me kept growing, however, and by high school competing would have taken extreme dedication that would have taken away from my new sporting interest, drinking beer.

But, while in junior high, I had dropped the childhood fantasy of playing baseball in the major leagues and new that I was going to be a writer because, "I had something to say."

Indeed, I never got lower than an A on any essay test in school whether I knew the material or not.

Adulthood came up of a sudden after graduation and I slipped into the custodial arts.

Understanding that I was underachieving in that profession, I was always seeking to improve my efficiency and knowledge while writing poems and prose as a hobby.

My new fantasy was to achieve the ability to write scathing social commentary from atop some mountaintop sanctuary and be paid well to do it.

But fate landed me at Spokane Falls Community College where I took a class on the college newspaper. I found that reporting, editing and layout came natural to me — and I loved it.

Before achieving an AA degree, I moved to Pendleton, Oregon, in a futile attempt to save my first marriage, got the gig at The East Oregonian and then ended up at The Oregon Observer which gave me the experience necessary to start The Idaho Observer.

One could say that my scathing social commentary, while now written from our place in the wilds of north Idaho, is not coming from a mountaintop sanctuary — my permanent wife, partner, best friend and lover, Ingri, and I are right in the middle of several activistic efforts to educate our fellow commoners and strengthen them with knowledge so they can become worthy of the respect they idiotically believe it is their "right" to deserve because they are able to breathe all by themselves.

So, you could say that I am blessed with being afforded the ability to live my life as a writer, as I had intended since age 14, albeit quite a bit differently than my young adult fantasies had envisioned them.

NAD: Why do you do what you do, in six lines or less. Eight?

At this time, there is no stopping.

We are very committed to our multitude of activist endeavors and are so intimately aware of the depth and breadth of the problems in our modern world and the procession of events that have given rise to them (in an unbroken chain of events since prior to the birth of Christ) that we are otherwise unemployable.

Plus, with regard to the information and public services we provide, there is such a huge and growing need for our information and services that we could not stop doing what we are doing even if we wanted to.

In all humility and seriousness, we feel blessed to be doing what we are doing and believe that, so long as our intentions remain pure, our efforts are divinely supported by the universe and whatever power runs it (we call it "God" but do not really know what that means).

NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?

Since they are all really variations of the same question: "What the hell is going on?" I will give a quick reply to each of the questions below

Are UFOs real?
I think it is presumptuous for humans to think they are the only "intelligent" life form capable of traveling outside their planet of origin. That being said, it is curious that photos of "UFOs" taken in the 1930s show them as constructed of sheet metal and rivets, the state of such art for similar human craft at that time and that UFOs photographed since that time have steadily improved technologically apace with our own technological developments.

I have done a lot of reading on this subject and it takes on many more dimensions than can be addressed here. But, suffice to say that the government has access to technologies that may never be available to the public and there are mountains of reports, declassified documents and credible witness accounts detailing aliens and alien craft sitings, visitations and interactions with military personnel and civilians.

Plus, if we have learned anything in this life it is that you cannot believe anything the government tells you about anything and the government denies that it has any evidence that UFO-driving aliens are visiting our planet or interacting with people.

Did we land on the moon in 1968?

I believe the moon landing as televised was an elaborate hoax.

However, I also believe that man has been to the moon, but I can only guess as to what is or is not there, how often man still goes to the moon or if there is a permanent presence of some kind.

I am also certain that the space shuttles are performing top secret functions for military purposes and have little or nothing to do with science for the advancement of human happiness and well-being.

Since all we can know about the space program is what government tells us about it, we must reserve the formation of opinions pending access to corroborating and credible information.

Did Bush knock down the towers?
Bush could not knoock down a set of wooden blocks without help and prior permission from someone else; a more obvious puppet has never been seated at the head of any government.

But, logic, common sense and the laws of physics prove that the official explanation of jet fuel causing the Twin Towers to collapse is pure fiction and should be viewed as an insult to the intelligence of anyone capable of tying his own shoes.

Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?

Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) was murdered by rogues attached to the Bush administration for a variety of reasons, among which was his opposition to the war in Iraq and his outspoken concerns about the official explanation for 9/11 and his serious concerns about genetic engineering animals and plants for human consumption.

The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.
OK City was a lot of things to a lot of people.

According to OK City Bomb Investigation member OK State Rep. Charles Key, the identity of John Doe #2 has been known by the FBI the entire time and some 22 high-resolution, full-color videotapes that would have recorded key moments of the event from before the alleged Ryder truck blew up have been withheld from the public — even in defiance of a court order — by the FBI, which is still presumably in possession of the tapes.

The many tentacles of the OK City bombing proves that it was an intelligence operation and not the work of a lone nut and a few angry "domestic terrorists."

Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks. Or not.
Code name "Showtime," the seige on the Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel was a set up.

David Koresh and his followers may have espoused a strange set of beliefs but they were not dealing drugs, abusing children or trafficking in the illegal sales of guns and ammunition as the public was told. The government and the media lied to justify burning all those people alive when only Koresh and a few others were charged with crimes.

As a sidenote, I would love for 9/11/ OK City, Ruby Ridge and Waco hearings to be held where all the witnesses and accused parties could come together for a fully objective and openly public airing of the facts and evidence. If this were to ever happen, the American people would see that their country is run by ruthless monsters not public servants.

Is Bigfoot real?
I believe there have been enough sitings to prove the existence of Bigfoot — one of them was described to me personally by a high school social studies teacher.

The son of a logger near Leavenworth, Washington, my teacher saw Bigfoot in the woods when he was about 12 years old in about 1940. Then I read "Looking for Bigfoot" and was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Is there a God?
Something made the universe and the design contains the same signature wherever you go.

We call it "God" but I have no facts or evidence that allows me to ascribe certain "personality" traits or even a physical form — all of that is based upon myths handed down from millennia after being translated and reinterpreted many times over the centuries.

The contemporary accuracy of the ancient myths are even in question since all the languages themselves have been evolving the entire time.

... What makes you think that?
It is simple logic: Something made everything.

NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?


The man is a myth and there is not one thing he has said publicly about himself that withstands the most cursory scrutiny.

In other words, if you just check his facts as he states them, none of them check out.

Let me repeat that: Not one thing that Barack Obama has ever said about himself can be verified in facts or evidence.

Worse, he is a made man, the record of whose existence has been in a perpetual state of being cleaned up behind him since before he was born. I have been involved in extensive genealogical research into Obama (which is not his name, by the way) and I find him to be a fraud on the lagest scale imaginable.

NAD: What happened to Kucinich, Nader, McKinney, Paul — and why did they not have a chance?

They were allowed to proceed long enough to fool people into thinking that electing a president is an open, democratic process.

NAD: Who decided our candidates would be Obama and McCain anyway?

My guess is that people who do not attend public meetings decide a lot of things, including which puppets are placed in positions of leaderships in what countries.

NAD: Please tell us more about yourself, the things you have done, what you would like to do, what you did today. What do you eat, what do you drive, what do you drink.

We drive a Nissan Pathfinder.

I still like beer and enjoy brewing my own and wildcrafting wine.

We drink a lot of water from our well which is pure and cool all year round — a major blessing that we never stop appreciating.

NAD: What color is your toothbrush? [Without going to look.] Automatic or manual?
Blue, manual

Pajamas or sweatpants?
No pajamas, black sweatpants

Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?
For my 20th birthday, my mom gave me a coffee cup that I use to this day. It says, "Left-handed Genius."

What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?

It's New Years Day. The phone has been quiet.

I have just been writing letters to prisoners, writing to you and now I am about to go out and shovel snow — we have had record snowfall this year — about four feet in December.

Ingri and I are also going to do a sweat this afternoon after the shoveling is done for the day.

How about by Christmas 2009?
I want all the innocent people being kept behind bars in America as political prisoners (about a million of them) to be released and the real criminals — the people who put them there — to take their place.

I want to see the present system that rewards ruthlessness and punishes decency to fall apart as quickly as possible so that decent people can rebuild our world to reflect the image of our better, wiser and more virtuous selves.

NAD: "Northern Idaho" has militia connotations.

Or at least it may have in years past, right? Is there any validity to that notion?

People all over the nation are preparing as best they can for the coming sociopolitical storm.

A lot of people move to northern Idaho to be left alone and the rural nature of this sparsely-populated area is attractive to members of the "gun culture."

But I think the image of north Idaho being filled with "domestic terrorists" (citizen militia members) is a media-enhanced image.

However, it will not be easy to occupy north Idaho because the terrain is rugged, and the people living all over in these hills and valleys are well-armed and used to hunting game and predators and green camoflage military surplus attire works well up here.

NAD: The people are different.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But different in what way? Is it libertarian?


Like I said, people move here to be left alone and those of us who have lived here for a long time have a live and let live attitude.

So long as we are not bothering anyone and no one is bothering us, we can be friends.

This is not a political ideology, this is a way of life.

Your readers are "liberal" on some issues, but "conservative" on others — right?

It's like a hybrid, perhaps. How does that happen? Who are they?

This is pretty funny: Liberals who read The IO and object to its content think it is a "conservative" publication and conservatives who take exception to its content refer to it as a "liberal" rag.

Those who appreciate the content are independent thinkers who realize that lables like liberal and conservative are designed to divide us along idiotic lines not unlike the Little Endians and Big Endians in Gulliver's Travels.

NAD: What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?

You have been pretty probative and I think this Q and A session has given people a pretty good sketch of who I am and what I hope for the world.

What I would like to say, however, is that I want all people to gain mastery in three areas vital to their health and well-being.

I also want them to prioritize helping young people see the importance of mastering these three areas and for everyone to realize that government schools and most private schools actually fill young people full of information that works to make sure they haven't a clue what to think in these three areas:

1. How our bodies really work in health and illness.
2. Who we are in the eyes of the state and the eyes of our Creator (two completely different things).
3. How money systems work.

People who master these three areas of understanding will not be sickened, exploited or enslaved and will have the background necessary to stand for what is right and tolerate nothing less, the strength to defend that which is right and the desire to instill this vital knowledge in their own children and grandchildren.

The greatest gift we can give posterity is the opportunity to live in freedom and justice.

To see more of what The Idaho Observer is all about, go to www.idaho-observer.com and check out our 12 years of archived news and commentary.



THE New American Dream Feature Interviews

If you search the archives below, you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:

Stewart Bradley, independent film producer

Rick Smith, Cleveland area radio host

William P. Meyers, independent book publisher, political activist

Ian Woods, Canadian publisher, 9/11 Truth activist

Richard D. Brinkman, Edmonton, Canada 9/11 Truth

Lynn Berg, New York City actor

Alejandro Rojas, of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network

Brian Kasoro, publisher of The Liberator magazine

Brother Raymond, walked from Denver to D.C., for truth

Korey Rowe, one of the producers of Loose Change

Dave Zweifel, editor of The Madison Capital Times

Cathleen Howard, expatriate, from Tucson to Mexico, to pursue her dreams

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf
, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host

Phil Hey, professor, poet

John Crawford, book publisher

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

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