Archive for September, 2008

$700,000,000,000

Posted: September 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Bailoutprotest_big
Bailout

G. K. Chesterton, the British theologian, noted: “There are two ways to get enough: One is to accumulate more and more, the other is to desire less.”

What Jesus tells us from that mountain in Galilee is that the second way is the way of God’s kingdom. When we seek after more and more, we find ourselves in ruins. However, when we begin to desire less, then we are always satisfied.

Friends, we find ourselves today in the midst of a big mess, one that is likely to only get worse before it gets better, and we are here because we as a society believed that seeking after more and more was the most important thing in life. And Jesus reminds us that there are much more important things we need to consider, casting aside the pursuit of stuff for that which is eternal and will never fail.

Rabbi Hofetz Chaim was well known through the world of his day as a man filled with wisdom and grace. One day, an American tourist visited in the rabbi’s home and was astonished to see that it was only a simple room filled with books, plus a table and a bench.

The tourist asked, “Rabbi, where is your furniture?”

“Where is yours?” replied the rabbi.

“Mine?” asked the puzzled American. “But I’m a visitor here. I’m only passing through.”

“So am I,” said Hofetz Chaim.

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It’s All About Love

Posted: September 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

Following the news the last few days has gotten me all uptight about the state of the world. Today I woke up kind of depressed. I decided not to go straight into work, but to get some other things done instead. But as I began to rush through the days activities, I felt almost paralyzed with apathy and disillusionment. I've learned time and time again that this kind of feeling is the result of constant striving and continual worrying, just the things I had been filling my time with. Immediately I realized that the only thing that made any sense to me to do at the moment was meditate. So I did. Those of you who have a consistent practice of meditation know what I mean when I say that my body and soul felt instantly at rest.

I say all that to say this: there simply cannot be activism without contemplation. This is a lesson that I have had to relearn time and time again. Unless I am taking conscience steps to still my spirit and think through all the external influences that are cluttering my mind, I loose all stamina and my activism turns into nothing but striving after the wind.

It may seem too cliche or too hippy-ish , but it's all about love. When we forget that the purpose of our existence is essentially spiritual, we quickly get bogged down by the material. Our purpose is not simply to be humans and live off the land. That is surely part of our existence, and when our land gets exploited, or our rights to the land get taken away, of course we tend to get defensive. But the real purpose of life is to live in harmony with one another- to laugh, cry, share, create, love…  This needs to be our focus- the spiritual aspects of life over the mere material.

While following the news the last few days, my friends and I have made some pretty disturbing connections. I don't know if we are jumping to conclusions or not. But they question then quickly becomes… what if we are not?

According to the Army Times, an on-line U.S. Army news source, the army plans to station an active unit inside the U.S. for domestic control. The unit will be the first of it's kind and will begin training in October. Training for what? Well that's the question isn't it? And this is where it begins to get crazy. The articles reads, 

"They may be called upon to help with civil unrest or crowd control."

This seems crazy enough. We are in an economic crisis that far exceeds anything in our recent history. People very soon will surely be pulling some stunts to get basic necessities. Food Riots are plaguing Haiti's streets right now as the "Miami Rice" has depleted much of their economy. Some are predicting an economic crash similar to those of the early 20th century. This will undoubtedly cause civil unrest. Hurricane Ike caused an estimated 1 trillion dollars in damage! No one seems to be talking about it though, as if the fact that AIG can't pay the victims and is thus imploding in on itself is irrelevant to our economic downturn. 

But the article doesn't end there. It continues by saying the unit may be called upon…

" to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack."

What? Where the hell did that come from? This article has been on our minds for a couple days. We are trying to figure out if there is something we don't know. Are they hiding something, or planning something? What's the deal? Then today we found another article: Cancellation of U.S. Election Now Possible! 

"MOSCOW, Russia – September 19, 2008 – The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is reporting in the Kremlin today that the Bank of England has received from the United States Federal Reserve Bank a ‘notice’ that President Bush is preparing to declare an ‘Economic Emergency’ during the week of October 5th and will further announce that the American presidential election due to be held on November 4th will be indefinitely suspended."

"These reports state that the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, had expressed his ‘shock and outrage’ to his American counterparts at the U.S. Federal Reserve after the catastrophic collapse of one of the largest financial banks in the World, Lehman Brothers, and which caused both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank to rush $42 billion into the European economy yesterday to keep it from collapsing, and their own banks from running out of money, necessitating the response from the U.S. Central Bank leader Ben S. Bernanke…"


"Russian military analysts commenting on these reports state that though it is unlikely that the American president can suspend U.S. elections solely on the basis of an economic emergency alone, it is entirely probable that he could do so should their nation suffer another 9/11-type attack, and which they ‘cryptically’ observe could happen as early as September 22, 2008, as American military forces begin to conduct worldwide tests of their new nuclear alert system while they conduct another test of their so-called Star Wars Missile Defense System."


Memere died today

Posted: September 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

She lived a full life.

Raised 9 kids by herself.
"Baptized everyone of them"
…as she would say. 

Today she fell asleep
never to rise again in our presence
…only in our minds, hearts, and souls. 

My sister is having a baby this week.
She's two days over due. 
Patiently waiting for life to rise from were womb
…and with no small measure of excitement.

Life and death are funny things.
They happen as surely as the seasons change.
This cycle is natural, but it can still be so hard. 
Upon death, memories don't leave, they only grow stronger, more vivid.
…yet memories can't replace presence, and that is what we lost today.

Yes, we are to gain a new presence.
The face of a little boy.
That's how the cycle goes.
And it's beautiful
…but it sure is hard. 

Freeganism

Posted: September 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

I have been dumpster diving on occasion ever since this summer when a few friends and I loaded in a car and headed to PAPA Fest in IL. After spending a week camping, participating in skill shares and workshops that provided theoretical and practical frameworks for "dropping out of society," we decided to do a little experiment as we traveled home. We decided to see if we could travel all the way back to Florida without spending money. We had already scored a free place to stay at night, and the only thing that we were actually paying for was gas and food. Gas is a bummer when you are a driving a non-veggie car, but we were stuck with that. So we focused on food. We were all pretty hungry after eating beans for days as we camped, but we were also pumped with the adrenaline of possibilities that we had discovered at PAPA Fest. There is so much waste in the world. Why do we keep producing new goods and foods just as fast as the old things get tossed in the dumpster and hauled to the pollution-inducing landfills?

Our first dive in a dumpster was a failure. We went behind Publix to see what tasty treats were there to discover, but instead we found nothing. "Maybe we should just buy food," I said. " No man, we can find free stuff if we keep trying," RD assured me. We decided to go to the front of the store and simply ask for what had been or was going to be tossed. Nothing. But they did tell us to come back in the morning, saying they would give us bread. Then as we were growing more hungry, we got bold. "Hey, lets ask that Quizno's is they got anything," someone said. Furthering that thought, we decided to split up into two groups of two and hit up some different restaurants. Surprisingly to us, it worked. We scrounged up a feast. Quizno's said no, but KFC said yes, and so did the cafe down the road. The next morning we returned to Publix and picked up a box overflowing with bagels, pies, croissants , breads, and muffins, and we took some of the free Publix coffee.

Ever since then, a few of us have been dumpstering the town on occasion. We have found a lot of recourses, such as a "Dumpster Diver's Treasure Map" of our town that someone wrote a couples years ago. The trick is to go everyday. I haven't worked that kind of consistency into my schedule yet, but as I begin to, I will also begin to notice my schedule freeing up. The less food I have to buy, the less money I need. The less money I need the less I have to work. The less I have to work, the more time I have to do what I want, discover new things, make friends, play music, read books, you know… live life.

Freeganism (someone who lives by the rule of non-consumption) is a movement that has grown rapidly in response to the terrible waste that capitalism generates. The U.S. throws away nearly half of what it produces. It is also a reactionary movement rallied against the idea that in order to be happy and comfortable you NEED a ton of shit. When you wake up in the morning, do you feel ready to start your day, or do you need time to "get ready"? Brush your teeth, put on deodorant, perfume, make-up, shower, shave, pick out a nice, matching outfit. All of these things would seem absurd to our near ancestors. But capitalism tells us what is wrong with us and then sells us a product to fix it. Deodorant, expensive soaps, perfumes, new clothes.. they are all vanities that produce societies of waste and drain people's sense of identity. You are not what you buy, you are what you eat though. So scrounge wisely!

Freeganism.info is a good place to check out more about this stuff

This is a good article that re-tells a sweet dumpster diving story I heard a PAPA Fest

Anarcho-Herbalism

Posted: September 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

Check out this article about herbal medicine. 

*From the St. Vincent De Paul/Home Van Newsletter in Gainesville, FL
 
One of our readers asked for more
information about the Iraq veterans we are seeing.  I don't know how
many we are seeing.  Except during the Point-In-Time Survey, we never
ask people why they are homeless, or any other personal questions.  The
first Iraq veteran we saw, a year or two ago, was very young and
extremely angry.  He didn't attack anyone, but he did take his guitar
off his backpack and pound it on the sidewalk.  I've never seen him
again and don't know what happened to him.  Another young Iraq veteran
was homeless because his family had taken out a restraining order
against him, because he was doing them violence.  Domestic violence
by veterans with severe PTSD is one cause of homelessness among
returning soldiers.  This young man took full responsibility for what
he had done.  He knew he couldn't go home until he had gotten
treatment.  He did take every opportunity to work and gather money for
his children.  He also bought a bicycle at a garage sale and fixed it
up for his son's 12th birthday.  And he donated money and bicycles to
the Home Van.  He has moved on now, to seek better employment
opportunities elsewhere. 
 
Julie is a young woman veteran from
Iraq.  While she was over there, her father, her only surviving parent,
died.  She came home from Iraq with severe PTSD and nowhere to go.  She
is living in a tent with two other veterans, both older and with worse
medical problems.  She takes care of them and brings them food.  She is
on various waiting lists to get help for herself.
 
The last time she was here she noticed
I have a small electric piano.  She said, "Oh, please can I play it!  I
have been dreaming about being able to play a piano again!   Please!" 
She went over to my little piano and started playing classical music,
beautifully, and then segued into a beautiful improvisation she created
herself, one that included a mysterious, ominous, relentless beating of
drums.

I think it was Ghandi who said, "Be the
change you want to see in the world."  What better advice is there, for
these dark times?