Category Archives: Charity

Some Thoughts Today

I changed my header image today, replacing the colourful Steller’s jay I had taken a picture of in the back yard with a picture of a Merlin, or Pigeon Hawk (small northern falcon) taken on top of a housing complex in Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray, Alberta, on the day I was leaving there.

There’s a story behind this.  Some months ago I had decided to join up with a construction/re-building volunteer organization to go up to Fort McMurray and help re-build some of the 2400 homes that were destroyed by last year’s wildfires.  Some 1500 other constructions were also either totally destroyed or badly damaged by the rampaging fires (2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire – Wikipedia)  of last May.

So, my partner, Vic Janzen and I drove my van the 1500 km to Fort McMurray from Chilliwack, B.C., doing the drive in two days – easy stretches – had the power steering pump not sheared its shaft 300 km south of our destination.  So the rest done with armstrong steering and since the pump also runs the power breaks, some interesting moments practically standing on the pedal to bring the vehicle to a standstill.  It’s doable, and we did it without incidents.

This was meant to be a somewhat long term involvement but we literally ran out of work after two weeks of steady labour and long hours.  We got three basements formed, cement poured and basically ready to receive the “ready to move” pre-built homes that are being trucked in from southern Saskatchewan where another group of volunteers built them with help and donation of materials from a local firm.

I met one of the people whose house our group is replacing.  Lots of teary emotions as these are proud people who never thought they’d be in such a situation, having to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of “charity” from complete strangers. I was reminded again of how little we can rely on what we believe to be certain.  Even with all our fancy technology, our way of life can be taken from us literally in hours; all that we’ve worked a lifetime for gone, just like that.  All is ephemeral.

So, we came back, without incidents this time except for the “check engine” light and “check oil” light constantly popping on and off.  This has yet to be analyzed and corrected… will it be another $1000 repair job… or worse?  I suspect a leaking head gasket, but what do I know about modern vehicles and their convoluted engines, except to drive them?

Would I do that again?  Sure, only I hope it’s closer to “home” next time!  I hear there’s been flooding in the Okanagan valley in central B.C.  That would be only 600 km from here.  Would I go back to Fort McMurray?  Only if there was better organization and my time was better allocated, as in productive long term work.

Anyway, the other side of … ~burning woman~ … eager to make this planet a better world for all.  We do what we can, eh?  🙂

 

Anarchist memes-facts, quotes, headlines just for you

Note: the following thoughts, comments, facts, are fully recommended, accepted and absorbed already by this blogger.

Caution:  The following may cause your mind to engage an unusual thinking pattern.  They may cause it to experience anger.  That is normal.  Your mind is experiencing a jump from RDD or reality deficit disorder.  This jolt will allow your mind to then continue to work with reality and gradually abandon its reliance on brainwashing from fake mainstream education, media, religion, and learn to think for itself. The process by itself is never life-threatening.  It may however give rise to thoughts such as, “Why am I here, in this hell-hole?”  “Is there a way out?”  “Is everything I’ve ever been taught a lie?”  “Can I ever trust anything or anyone again?”  (And, for those of you going bald, “Does God really know how many hairs I’ve got left on my head?” – no, just kidding about that last one.  It was answered long ago in a particular Sunday school class which you blissfully slept through.)

To the quotes then:  

The planet does not need more successful people.  The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds – Dalai Lama

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges or beliefs.  This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless. – Leo Tolstoy

It is now clear that “fake news” can have real world consequences: just ask the millions of people who have been affected by the mainstream media’s propagation of the false “war on terror.” 

Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the bareheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners. – Edward Abbey

The world spent  $1735 Billion dollars on war in 2012.  It would take approximately  $135 Billion dollars to totally eradicate (systemic) poverty.  When a politician claims, “there’s no money” for addressing something like child poverty, don’t believe them.  What they are actually telling you is that they’re spending it on something else.  The MONEY is ALWAYS there; it’s a matter of deciding which things are IMPORTANT ENOUGH to spend it on.  The fact that they’re telling you they’d rather spend it on other things (new bombers, for example, or new prisons, or subsidies for oil companies) is an indication of their values.  (Source:)

http://campaign2000.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Campaign2000NationalReportCard2016Eng.pdf 

http://still1in5.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016-BC-Child-Poverty-Report-Card.pdf  (Keep in mind that in terms of resources, Canada is one of the richest countries on the planet – standing at #4 globally for most valuable resources reserves.)

The phrase, “fake news” has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as “terrorism” and “hate speech.”  Because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of PROPAGANDA AND CENSORSHIP.  The most important fact to realize about this new term: those who most loudly denounce fake news are typically those most aggressively disseminating it. – Glen Greenwald, The Intercept

Government is the Entertainment Division of the Military Industrial Complex. – Frank Zappa

I don’t think people realize how the establishment became established.  They simply stole the land and property of the poor, surrounded themselves with weak-minded sycophants for protection, gave themselves titles and have been wielding power ever since. – Tony Benn

(So, you don’t need any “Illuminati” or other so-called secret cabals, all you need is the biggest brawn, the largest group of sycophantic bully boys, and off you go a-conquering and a-stealing and a-raping and a-creating royalty and corporatism.)

Regarding child labour: Before unions came along, every day was bring your child to work day.

The “trickle down theory:” the principle that the poor, who must subsist on table scraps dropped by the rich, can best be served by giving the rich bigger meals. – William Blum

Of course, war and the military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world.  Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings.  We should think carefully about the reality of war.  Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage.  Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is a criminal attitude.  In fact we have been brainwashed.  War is neither glamorous nor attractive.  It is monstrous.  Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering. – Dalai Lama

From a chart titled, Americans killed last year by:  Cannabis: 0,  Ebola: 1, Snake bites: 2, ISIS: 3, Playing football: 12, Cow attack: 20, Bee sting: 100, Police: 1,100, Big Pharma drugs: 100,000 plus. (No one can know for sure since many doctors and medical facilities are covering up for Big Pharma by lying and falsifying the causes of death by prescribed drugs.)  

Drug companies blame their high prices on research and development, yet they spend $19 on marketing for every $ they spend on R&D.

In Iceland, 9 crooked bankers were sentenced to 46 years of jail time.  Meanwhile in America, Wells Fargo CEO got a 134 million dollar golden parachute for ripping off thousands of customers.

Still in America, authorities uncovered that Wachovia bank laundered 378.4 BILLION dollars for a Mexican drug cartel.  The bank was fined 50 million dollars (2% of its illegal profit from the money laundering) and no one went to jail.  But meanwhile, still in America, they lock up kids over a dime bag of pot.  Let that sink in for a few minutes…

CAPITALISM:  The extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all.

 

Another Gift of the Magi (part 2)

The anonymous donations kept coming, always enough to meet the rent and the basic needs.

But where was Sylvia?

After she collected the original amount, she quit university and hired herself out as a model and a call girl.  It was the only way she could see to raise money in sufficient amounts, consistently and quickly enough to meet her sister’s obligations.  Her sociable ways, confidence, physical beauty and intelligence soon made her the number one choice companion in the “underworld.” 

She changed her identity and had a false address.  She took the name Folie Delacroix.  She had one rule only: no entertaining in her place.  She rented a run-down basement suite in the old part of town, among the poorer segments of society.  Some she even directed to her sister’s hospice.  Every dollar she made not needed for immediate personal necessities she put in her sister’s “Hope Fund” as they now called it.

Every Christmas, as they had promised each other, Sylvia came to visit her sister.  When pressed about her doings in the world, she remained  evasive,  explaining that getting her degree had been put on hold due to more immediate commitments.  She spoke of trips to Europe as assistant secretary to the CEO of some software company.  She made up stories of exciting times on the Riviera and other places.  She was determined to keep her deepest and, to her, most shameful secret.  

At the end of their yearly visit, they would hold each other and say nothing.  Moments that brought back so many happy times for Sylvia and gave so much hope to Ariana.

The anonymous donor was faithful.  The money was always there, sometimes more than expected.  Then on the tenth anniversary of their vow, as they met for another Christmas, Ariana noticed her sister looked pale and thin.  The luster in her eyes was dulled. 

“Syl, what’s wrong?” 

Sylvia shrugged.

“Don’t do that,”  admonished her sister, “I’m a trained practical nurse and I handle sick people everyday.  I can read the signs.  What’s with you?”

Sylvia began to cry… “I’m sick, Ari.  I’m… I’m dying.  I’m being punished.”

“What are you saying?  What have you done?”

Sylvia sat crying for a long time without saying a word.  Ariana waited, holding her, sensing her fear and confusion.  Finally, Sylvia unburdened herself and told the story of the last ten years.

Ariana was shocked.  She kept staring at her sick sister and finally exploded:

“You foolish, foolish woman.  What have you done?  Why?  You gave away everything you had, everything you were, including your reputation, to give me this hospice?  You sacrificed all that meant anything to you so I could have what I wanted?  You gave away your life for me.  Syl… I never knew until now what love is.  You… you did this — for me, so I could fulfill my dream…

She stopped.  Sylvia continued to sob, their tears mixing as they held and kissed each other. 

Ariana held her sister’s hand in a tight clasp, looking deep into the sad blue eyes.  She said: “Listen to me very, very carefully, Syl.  Few people could do what you have done.  Let me never hear you speak of punishment.  What awaits you, sister, is not terror but joy.  You have demonstrated once again that love given freely, unconditionally, to another –which is the same as saying “to God” is the greatest gift of all – it’s the gift of the Magi.”

“Say no more.  You will remain here.  I will look after you from now on.  No more work,” and in a gentle whisper, “Please say you will stay?”  “Please!” “For me?”

Sylvia protests: “But how will you meet your expenses if the money stops?”

“Remember what you said to me once?  ‘Has God ever failed either of us sister?’  The money won’t stop.  For some time now, the overall donations have exceeded those of the one we called “God’s Agent”.  The Church has, shall we say, adopted this hospice and it will be regularly funded.  You have done your part, now let me do mine and let us do ours.”

Too weak to protest and fully aware that life as “Folie” was over, Sylvia stayed at the Sisters’ hospice.  Despite her sister’s dearest hope and prayers her health did not improve.  But while she could still work, she helped with the chores and her singing voice often echoed in the rooms where she worked. 

 

Another Gift of the Magi

(Short story from The Other Side  by Sha’Tara)

(According to my trusty old MS Word, this short story is five pages long.  Therefore, so as not to take up too much of your time, I’m posting it in three “installments.”  Some of the title is of course borrowed from the famous Christmas short story “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry.  A simplistic short story written to demonstrate the spirit of Christmas; also the joys and real dangers inherent to self empowerment.)

Ariana and Sylvia were twins and they were inseparable.  They did most things together and were seldom found far from each other.  Even as they grew older, they shared their times and even their friends.  When their parents divorced, they were ten years old.  In their innocent wisdom, they decided to “share” themselves between the parents.  Sylvia went with her dad and Ariana remained with her mother.  So every time the girls wanted to be together one parent or the other had to bring her over.  Thus, over a period of time, and even after they were re-married, the parents developed a deep friendship as they watched their children playing or talking together.

After their parents separated, both girls, raised nominally Catholic, began to consider their faith and returned to the Church, attending and helping organize various functions.  They shared the same intense belief in what the Church stood for.

Both grew into beautiful young women and over-achievers.  They were heading to college when Ariana told her sister that she had decided to enter the convent and become a nun. 

“I want to try on Mother Teresa’s shoes Sylvia, see how they fit and how long I can walk in them before they kill me!”  Mother Teresa had been their childhood heroine.

Being Catholic, entering the convent was not an issue.  Men and women were both desperately needed by the Church.  Sylvia cried when her sister put on the veil and became Sister Celeste.  She accepted her sister’s choice as they had always accepted each other’s choices.  Sylvia went to college then on to university intent on getting a medical degree.

After a few years Ariana, now Sister Celeste, confided her passion to Sylvia as they spent a Christmas day afternoon together. 

“I want to open a hospice for the homeless downtown.  It’s my dream, Syl.  It’s my passion, my inspiration.” 

“And how does your Order and the Church feel about that?” 

“If I can get private funding to open it and keep it going and convince at least four other sisters to join me, they’ll bless it.  Problem is, I don’t have any contacts I could use to raise the money.” 

“How much money do you need to start?” 

“I need at least one hundred thousand dollars to open.  I’ve got a tentative tender on a lease already.  After that, I don’t know.” 

Sylvia took her sister’s hands in hers and looking into her eyes, said: “Has God ever failed either of us, sister?”

“No, never.”  she replied, smiling.

“Then go ahead.  Do this and you will get the money… I promise!”

They talked some more.  That day they swore an oath to each other, that no matter what the circumstances, no matter the distance, they would always spend Christmas day together. 

Silvia sold her new car.  She broke her engagement and when he told her to keep the ring, she sold that.  She maxed her student loans and canvassed the campus and all her well-heeled friends.   A few weeks later, near the end of January, Sister Celeste received a call from the bank where she had opened her “hope account” for the hospice.  There was a one hundred thousand dollar anonymous donation in the account.

Ariana opened her hospice and from the very start it was a success.  A brilliant manager and tireless, she drove her staff and herself to meet the needs of the homeless.  Abandoned children were found temporary homes; pregnant girls were sheltered and placed here and there.  The sick and the dying found a place of refuge there — a warm place, not an institution.  She was often heard saying, “Unfortunately, our business is probably the busiest in town.  We’ll never go broke from lack of customers.”

(end part 1 of 3)

Christmas, Spare me your Good Wishes

                            [thoughts from    ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara]

I was born and raised in a very Christian environment.  It wasn’t American, even Canadian, it was European, actually, Breton.  That’s a conquered Celtic province in the northwest of France that was once an independent duchy with its own royalty.  The last royal was a queen, Anne de Bretagne.  Her husband, fearing for his life, deserted her.  Hoping for a male heir, she had several children, all of them girls.  Finally, in order to save her country from being destroyed in bloodshed by the French, she abdicated and let the French take over.  There was no choice, you see.  She then entered a convent, so the story goes.  That was, like 700 years ago. Thought I’d throw that in. It’s my history, in the genes, the DNA, the bones.  Another story of another conquered race by another empire.  How many of us understand this, know this, feel this?

Most of “my” people today don’t remember, don’t want to know don’t care.  Like so many, they just want to live, get the best they can from what’s left of “the empire” or “the corporation” and make it to the end with some sort of value attached: a house, an apartment, a car, a family, some retirement money, anything that says, I mean something, I’m worth something… or… I won’t be living on the street when I reach 70.  Like me.  I sort of own a house.  It’s mortgaged, of course, but I can cover the monthly “rental” from the bank, as long as there is enough money to cover all the other expenses of owning a house, and a vehicle, and… you know what?  It’s all shit.

We are slaves.  Face it, admit it, and stop long enough to really feel your feelings when you realize it: I’m a slave.  I’m not in iron chains, my owners wouldn’t spring for the cost of chains, plus they’d slow me down on the assembly line.  I’m a slave to the ATM, the debit card and the credit card.  I’m a slave because I was stupid enough to believe those who taught me to be a good citizen; to trust, to work hard, to berate myself if I lost a job or failed to secure a new one, or two, or three on permanent part-time minimum wage no benefits basis.

I left the church, of course, long ago.  I couldn’t afford it.  I can’t make ends meet now, why would I worry about eternal life insurance?  Screw that.  If God is that cheap, maybe I don’t want to ever meet him.  At least hell has warmth and when the power is cut off and the gas is turned off in the middle of winter, some time in hell with a drove of old friends doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.  I’m sure we’ll come up with ways to make the best of a tough situation.  Are you kidding?  We’re from earth, we can party in the middle of a bombing raid; fuck while the shooting in the streets rages; hold a sub-machine gun at the ready while burying our youngest child.  We can hold our tears for another, more convenient time; we can let someone else shed them for us while we busy ourselves with our necessary vengeance.

Yes, I know all about heaven and hell, I was suckled on the concepts.  Hell, that terrible place of eternal burning torment designed by God for those who wouldn’t kiss his divine ass.  Heaven, that blissful place of eternal whiteness.  Ice and snow and winds blowing through taut harp strings from which moans of music flows.  Angels in white gowns and white wings frozen stiff as garden statues, standing on frozen white clouds and ghosts, billions of ghosts whom, after spending their life’s savings buying eternal life insurance got into heaven and remain there, bowed in frozen worship before the grimmest gargoyed deity, its grin carved in eternal green-hued ice.

Heaven, where nothing bad ever happens because nothing can ever happen.  Sick.

Being raised in Christian beliefs isn’t my problem.  My problem is that once upon a time I learned to read and I found a Bible and I read it.  I read the horror of it and the promises of it, the lies of it and the truths of it.  In my child’s heart, I only saw the truth, and I wanted that more than anything else.  Christmas and Easter were particularly poignant times, times of hope and times of utter despair.  Christmas didn’t tell me about a god being born to save my soul, it told me about man’s cruelty to man, particularly to the poor.  The ensuing story of a young man helping people and teaching them to love each other as best he knew how was my hope.  But the “church” caught up to the young man before he had a chance and they crucified him just as effectively as it crucified my child’s heart.  They had collusion and help of the government and the banks, as usual, and as now, just as my church had the help of the school and the village to crush my hopes of a just society.  Sick.

I thought, well, they just missed it and all I have to do is remind them that the Jesus they claim to love and follow actually would condemn them all in a heartbeat if he’d showed up in any of their fancy decorated churches with the fancy choirs and music and siren-song sermons purporting to be all about him.  Gag me, yes really.  I did tell them the truth of it, showed them the written words.  They did not repent, just made sure I paid for my effrontery.  Don’t… Ever… Question… the Status Quo.  There were punishments, that goes without saying.  Sick.

From his times on things didn’t get better, they got worse.  I watched it through my own eyes as they roamed the last two thousand years of history to culminate in today’s current events.  That land where the young man walked, taught and did his miracles is a land of oppression and bloodshed, the war crimes and genocide taking place there aided and abetted by those who claim to be that young man’s followers and disciples.  Depraved and sick.

Christmas, the absolute worst time of year.  Christmas, a time of extreme hedonism; of orgiastic pleasures, of blind self-indulgence and pathetic attempts at pretend love and charity with skinflint donations to charitable organizations whose bureaucracy eats up the lion’s share of donated funds to maintain themselves in luxury as tax-free business corporations.  Sick… sick… sick.

I’m glad that I found out some years ago that Earthians are not humans at all, they’ve just been conned into thinking they are.  Pseudo-humans the Teachers call them, with a slight chance of entering the human race in the distant future if they survive their own sickness, their greed, lust, hate, vanity, pride and egotism.  Survival, they said, remains in the very low percentile.  That should lighten my angst.  After all what’s dying and about to die is less worthy of care or concern than flora and fauna.  It’s nothing but a useless and life-sucking predatory species of artificial life.   Knowing the nature of Earthians should make it easier to bear my awareness of their current suffering and eventual demise.  It should, it does not.

What would drive me mad if I hadn’t entered into a different mindset than that of those who once were my peers?  The simple and obvious (to me) fact that being kind, gentle, caring, self-effacing, openly loving, open-handedly generous, self-sacrificing and ever compassionate is the greatest reward any Earthian can give her/himself.  There is no greater return on any kind of investment.  If only… if only they would get it.  If only they would just try it on for size and wait a bit for the amazement to cover them over like a mantle of blissful well-being.

But they won’t.  They will choose to consume themselves in consumerism and die of consuming consumption.  They will gorge themselves, laugh, make “love,” the richest giving each other redundant gifts that will be denigrated because more and better was expected.  Christmas, indeed, in deed.

There will be exceptions.  There always are.  They are necessary drops of oil on the cogs of the machine.  They will do some good, then they will give credit to their gods, their churches and their charitable organizations and whatever good they accomplished will pile up more propaganda (power) for the machine to create a greater circle of injustice.

Christmas: spare me your good wishes, they are a curse to the awakened mind.