19 January, 2015

Enoughness: Indigenous Economics of Sustainability

How we see the world determines how we act. Western thought sees us at war with each other over resources. In Indigenous philosophy, we are all related as individuals in balance with nature. Enoughness juxtaposes these two world views and delivers some startling facts.

It is pointed out that "Indigenous peoples territory spans 24% of the earths land surface but is home to 80% of it's total biodiversity. This is not a coincidence." Well illustrated throughout, this short film is a powerful testament to living in harmony rather than in competition with each other and the earth.

How we see the world determines how we act. Western thought sees us at war with each other over resources. Indigenous philosophy, we are all related as individuals in balance with nature. Watch Enoughness: Resorting Balance to the Economy and learn more at www.FirstPeoples.org. Share on Facebook and Twitter using #Enoughness.

MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail

"MLK Dreams" by MB Dallocchio

The Atlantic published this piece by Martin Luther King Jr. while he spent time in the Birmingham city jail.  The issues he cites remain relevant today in how we perceive community, action, and social justice.  

Having spent part of my childhood in Southern Alabama - and enduring quite a bit of racial harassment and assault - racism was alive and well in the 1980s.  Our 3rd grade class in Daphne, Alabama took a trip to a plantation of sorts and I remember a white classmate mocking the rope burns in a tree where nooses were once filled by slaves and say, "Who cares about n*****s? Let's hang all these coloreds!" he joked to a like-minded classmate.    

This hate and racial bigotry came from an eight year-old, in which he most likely learned through his upbringing, and when I scoffed at him, he told me, "Go back to your country."  

Funny, the US owns my native land, I'm indigenous.  I told him he didn't look Native and to go back to his country.  Our teacher at the time, shrugged off the exchange of words this time - and it would have been me getting the paddling for speaking up, not the white classmate.  Yes, this was back in the days of wooden paddles with holes for impact.  

I recall reading Dr. King's wonderful words amid the hate-filled classmates in Alabama and dreaming of a day when such hatred would stop.  We have yet to see such days, but we must press on and bring the truth into the light.  Enduring racial trauma weighs heavily on the human spirit, especially when you feel alone in your struggles.  It's words like these that fill the heart when all around you looks bleak and full of despair.  Let us honor the following words with corresponding action.

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all of the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of “outsiders coming in”

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here …I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider …

We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.”

But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience …

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality …

There are some instances when a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I was arrested Friday on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade, but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust. Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience.

"The Wounds We Inflict on Our Soul" - MB Dallocchio

It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws…

I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson scratched across the pages of history the majestic word of the Declaration of Independence, we were here …If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands …

Never before have I written a letter this long–or should I say a book? I’m afraid that it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else is there to do when you are alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell other than write long letters, think strange thoughts, and pray long prayers? If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,


This post originally appeared at The Atlantic. See the original document here.  To read more about my Alabama misadventures, grab a copy of "Quixote in Ramadi" in paperback or Kindle here.

02 December, 2014

A Message on ISIS from a Female Combat Veteran

Lionessing - Ramadi, Iraq 2005
LAS VEGAS -- For any veterans getting their undies in a twist over the so-called ISIS threat issued by the FBI: Stop. Just,...f***ing stop.

There is no sense in clenching your butt cheeks over a group of hashtag jihadists and please stop making these mom's-basement-jerk-offs feel important. The fact that these amateurs have been receiving funds from our "allies" and are affiliated with the "moderate rebels" the US-funded makes their threats and special effects all the more hilarious. If we want this to stop, let's cut their allowance!

Sure, some "Daesh douchebag" can show up in here in Las Vegas anytime - let's see what happens! There's a lot of desert and no one will miss them. I'm a highly creative and twisted individual, and my spouse is too.  In fact, we were looking for another outlet for all this combat PTSD.  This should be a dream for any combat veteran.  It takes the inconvenience out of a twenty-six hour flight completely out of the equation.

It amazes me to see other veterans worry when these Salafi losers have way more to fear from people like us.  If you haven't embraced your combat PTSD in a highly functional state, let me know if you need some pointers.

How I'll be answering my door for Daesh.
So, please, stop the Chicken Little nonsense.  If some loser wants to hurt you, put him in the ground. Simple. Or if you have some time, tell it to put the lotion on it's skin.  In the meantime, enjoy your fava beans and Chianti and carry on.