Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jody's guide to homelessness

[Originally posted at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/07/15147.shtml on July 29, 02]

I have been technically homeless since January and truly homeless (by that I mean homeless and broke) since June. I woke up yesterday morning and realized that this condition might present a good journalistic topic on Indymedia, so here it is.

First of all, in advanced countries (I'll be generous and include my own nation, the United States, in that category) it's not all that bad. For as much fear as it inspires in the heart of man to keep working at their horror of a job, the hells of homelessness are definitely overrated. The worst things about it are boredom and daily rituals of pride-swallowing. Sounds like your typical low-end service job to me. I'm a good person to ask about this: in the span of a year I've gone from working so much I didn't have a life to not working at all and thus not being able to afford a life. I honestly can't say which is worse, though the latter definitely carries the greater stigma in my country.

In point of fact, there are several benefits to homelessness that man "home-guards" fail to appreciate:
1) Lots of exercise
2) Great opportunity to work on your tan
3) Feel more like Jesus

Seriously, homelessness is a great way to work on your materialist hang-ups. One thing I've discovered is that my fellow homeless people are far less likely to rip me off than your average Fortune 500 CEO. I'm also much more likely to toss things that I don't need because I simply can't carry them every place I go. In the past few weeks I've given away a cassette player, paints, clothes, and thrown out stacks of old love letters. They just weren't worth the weight and space they were taking up in my knapsack.

One also has ample opportunity to work on that most boring of the seven virtues: patience. If there's one phrase that I could use to characterize the experience of institutionalized homelessness, it's "hurry up and wait." For example, I spent six hours waiting at a free health clinic last Monday in a bid to obtain a month's supply of badly needed thyroid medicine. I was sent away with an appointment for a week and a half later. Then there's the Salvation Army, who kicks you out at eight in the morning and lets you back in at 6:30 pm. At 5:30 you see people who honestly have nothing better to do gather like crows on a telephone wire near the Salvation Army's back door. The entire day they've been waiting - at the library, the park, the public square - for the precise moment when they can roll out their bed, claim that space as their own for the night, and collapse there from exhaustion. I still don't understand why, but there's something about lugging your earthly possessions over pavement all day that saps every ounce of energy a human being has.

I would like to stress, however, that even in the US (at the time of this writing) there is no real reason one "has" to sleep outside on a park bench. There are shelters and soup kitchens in every decent-sized American town (admittedly easier to find if you are female), and there are always ways to get from town to town. Hitchhiking is considerably more dangerous and less common in the US than it is in Europe, but other homeless people are your best ally in this regard. Everyone always knows somebody who's going somewhere and can hook you up with a ride to the next shelter in an old beat-up van. Most shelters only give you 2-4 weeks to stay and if your time runs out before you can get a decent job you can always pack up and move on to greener pastures (or at least more shelter time). Some people would rather do this than work and this lifestyle is known as "shelter hopping." I think this gives homeless people in general a bad name and I can't understand why anyone would find this existence less exhausting than, say, cleaning toilets for a living ... but on the other hand, it does let you see more of the world ... sort of.

If you're the type of person who prefers to suck but not swallow, however, homelessness is definitely not for you. In this lifestyle one must force down one's pride on a daily basis: Petty bureaucrats will look at you the way they'd look at a pet poodle they suspect of piddling on their carpet. You will be directed through a series of hoops and rules, which often seem to exist for the sole pleasure the enforcer gets from enforcing them. If you smoke (which, fortunately, I do not) you may find the experience of homelessness an excellent incentive to quit -- failure to do so means constantly bumming from strangers and "hunting for snipes" in the gutter. Finally, there is no dignified way of waiting in line to receive a free lump of mush from a server with a condescending smile. If you know how to zone out in the midst of a deafening crowd, you'll soon find this to be a valuable skill.

As disheartening as it is to inevitably smell bad, feel chained to your change of clothes and constantly chastise yourself for getting angry over being made to wait for charity, in this day and age there is one side-effect of homelessness that can definitely be avoided: the feeling of being invisible, ineffectual, and unimportant. Trust me, I know how to get around this one. Here's what you do:
1) Sell one of the bus passes they give you at the Salvation Army (or panhandle, or beat your bongos, whatever) and buy an 89-cent box of chalk from Walgreen's and write "Bush Knew" and "9/11 = Reichstag" in front of a prominent government building.
2) Spend all your allotted Internet time at the public Library railing against the US government and multi-national corporations.

Before you know it, important people will be paying very close attention to you. Caution: this plan may be as hazardous to your health as smoking cigarettes, only quicker.

Poem: The Monkey Cage

[Apologies to Dr. Suess]

There's thousands of monkeys who live in a cage
Filled with anxiety, hunger and rage
The cage sits on top of a shelf in a lab
Where monkeys are fed all the food they can grab
Some monkeys, however, grab more than the rest
They've fought over food and proven the best
The weak monkeys starve, which then makes them weaker
The meek monkeys beg, which then makes them meeker
The big monkeys fight and they scratch and they kill
All over assurance that they get their fill

But things aren't as dim as on first glance they look:
At the edge of the cage there is a light nook
Where bright, daring monkeys imagine a way
To exit the prison which locks them away
It seems that this side of the cage might come loose --
But pushing with just these few monkey's no use!
Everybody must push! They must make them see!
If all monkeys push hard, then all monkeys are free!

They cried to the others, but they were drown out
By the yammering, clammoring and thrashing about
Of monkeys who jockey for status and mates
All caught up in jealousies, hungers and hates
And none of them heard what the bright monkeys said
It's hard to think free when you need to be fed

There were some, however, old ones in the back
Whose interest in life had begun to go slack
Who listened to all that the bright monkeys said
To which they replied: "Pooh-pooh, use your head!
"We're 'locked in a cage?' Well, that could be quite true,
"But if so, generations of us and you, too
"Were born here, lived here and died in the crowds
"So all of you take out your heads from the clouds!
"Things are as they must be, and always have been."
And with that things resumed at the back of the pen

The bright ones, however, did not lose their scope
And turned to the big monkey leaders in hope
"ALL monkeys must push? Not a chance in the world!"
Said a white monkey, pained as his saga unfurled,
"The browns are at war with the black monkeys now
"And for US to help THEM our new pact won't allow ..."

"Do you honestly ask that we all push for free?
"Some slacker might push much less harder than me!
"Or worse, they'd be robbers who'd steal all our lunch
"That we'd all leave behind to go push with the bunch
"-- And further, I must say I don't think it's sage
"To be telling our monkeys they're 'locked in a cage'
"I don't see it as such -- monkeys have what they please!
"(As long as they're strong and can keep what they seize)"

"You're attacking our system! I'll bet its a plot!
"Call out the guards and start purging this lot!"
So the guard monkeys charged, adding more to the fray
Between black monkeys, white monkeys, brown monkeys, gray

The cage shook with violence, right close to the ledge
Of the high top shelf ... then over the edge
Those monkeys were silly, don't you agree?
Except when those monkeys
Are you
And are me

Friday, March 16, 2007

Meet the "London Bombers"

[Originally posted on July 16, '05 at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/07/321646.shtml ]

Here's the skinny on the guys who blew up a bus and a subway the exact day a training exercise for the very same scenario was scheduled -- killing and maiming other Muslims in the process.

Hasib Hussain, 18, a "loving and normal young man" -- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/15/uhasib.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/07/15/ixportaltop.html

Shehzad Tanweer, 22, a university graduate who studied sports science and loved cricket and football. "The best lad you could ever meet" -- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1692042,00.html "He was proud to be British. He had everything to live for." -- http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/men/news/s/165/165813_suicide_bomber_had_all_to_live_for.html

Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, married with a baby daughter, worked with disabled children in a primary school. "I never knew he had a religious background. I go to the local mosque and have never seen him there." -- http://www.theage.com.au/news/war-on-terror/teacher-mentor-suicide-bomber/2005/07/14/1120934365633.html?oneclick=true

Lindsay Jamal, 19, a Muslim convert from Jamaica, married with a 15-month-old son. "He wasn't the sort of person who'd do this. I won't believe it until I see proof." -- http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/1,,2005320810,00,00.html (Note: in this story, he's named as "Lindsey Germaine" http://newswww.bbc.net.uk/1/hi/uk/4676861.stm , see also http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/318251.html , not to be confused with Lindsey German, the London born convenor of the Stop the War Coalition. )

These guys, after buying return tickets from London to Luton [ http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=15742951&method=full&siteid=94762&headline=was-it-suicide---name_page.html ], were caught on CCTV cameras - one police source said the men were chatting "as though they were going on a hiking holiday". -- http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13385127,00.html Police are still trying to figure out why some of the bombers appeared to be carrying pieces of identification not just of themselves but of at least some of their three accomplices. -- http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2005/07/14/bombing_suspects_identities_shock_leeds/?page=2

Hmmm. What might explain this? Maybe the guys who were supposed to plant the documents got mixed up.

"Hey you, Muslim person. Wanna make a hundred pounds? You could use that kind of dough, with a new kid and all. We're running a terror drill, and all you gotta do is take this here harmless backpack with a fake bomb inside to work with you tomorrow, just to see if the subway guards catch you or not. Mum's the word, this is national security and all; you can't tell anyone!" -- http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/london_exercise_video.html

10 Reasons George W. Bush is not a follower of Christ

Biblical references provided.

1) Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple.

2) Jesus said, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The US is sitting on countless tons of WMD's. Iraq had none.

3) Jesus forgave his attackers.

4) Jesus said "the meek shall inherit the earth." W wants to take it by force.

5) Jesus upheld the Ten Commandments which include "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not bear false witness" and "Thou shalt not steal." W has proven to be unrepentant on these points.

6) Jesus said that "[I]f anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." Yet W sends thousands of our kids into Iraq to destroy entire cities like Fallujah.

7) Jesus said of the teachers of the law, "They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy payers. Such men will be punished most severely."

8) Jesus said, "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit." I don't know about you, but it seems to me that US foreign policy has been bearing some pretty rotten fruit lately.

9) Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and Money."

10) W and his cohorts are sticklers for secrecy, but Jesus said, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." He also said, "[T]here is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." These words are true. Have faith in this.

1) Mark 11:12-17
2) John 8:7
3) Luke 23:34
4) Matt 5:5
5) Matthew 19:17
6) Matt 18:6
7) Mark 12:40
8) Luke 6:43
9) Luke 17:21
10) Luke 8:9

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Great American Presidents Foretell the Future

It seems that Washington and Lincoln's fears are coming true.

On Nov. 21, 1864 President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to Colonel William F. Elkins. He wrote:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war."

From Washington's farewell address (which I got from a larger article called "The Vision of George Washington" at http://www.crystalinks.com/gw.html):

As for collusion of powers, he warned, "The habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism."

On usurpation, he warned, "If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield."

For those interested in great prophecies, I highly recommend http://www.crystalinks.com/, particularly the Hopi and Cherokee accounts. And of course, there's always the Bible. Many people over the years have made uncannily accurate predictions, and if there's one thing they have in common, it's that mankind will soon (within the next few years) be punished for its greed, spiritual emptiness, and wanton rape of Mother Nature. But there's hope, and each individual can play a part to shape our destiny. Now is the time to decide which side you're going to choose.

Know Your Enemy

[Originally posted on June 8, ’02 at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/06/12269.shtml ]

Observations on the tactical strengths and weaknesses of Bush and friends.


THE BLITZKRIEG (a.k.a. "time's up!")
Historically, this time honored high-pressure sales tactic has been very successful for the Bush clan. The basic idea is this:
1) Manufacture a crisis that forces people to act without thinking because of limited time.
2) Pound your answer to this crisis into their heads, keeping up the pressure until they finally see things your way.

This tactic was used to brilliant effect during the 2000 presidential election. "The president must be confirmed and inaugurated at such-and-such a time!" the press screamed. "Our national stability is at stake! Gore needs to be a man and concede for the sake of our country!" Since when do we subjugate democracy to fit a schedule?

Then of course, we were served the Patriot Act, the war in Afghanistan, and now the Homeland Security "Department" in the exact same manner. Next course: the Invasion of Iraq.

What bothers me is that these see-thru tactics appear to have worked on the American people. When will they realize there is no worse crisis than the one they have been embroiled in for months?

Oh, is there a terrorist who's going to blow me up? Fine. My life has been in the shitter for nearly a year now. I'd rather go out with a bang than continue to slowly suffocate on poverty, despair, and the threat of fascism. Bring it on.

The idea here is to corner the market on some product and then create a demand for it. Enron exploited this trick to the hilt during the California energy crisis. Some Bush family favorites: oil, vaccine, arms, and drugs. If you're an oil man, what greater gift than for people to stop flying? How about some smack for your pain and despair, scumbag? Daisy-cutters, anyone?

KEEPING 'EM IN THE DARK (a.k.a. "cutting off communications")
Is it any revelation that this has been progressing systematically for months? First, Carnivore is set quietly into place, filtering our e-mail automatically so we can't express any dangerous thoughts through our mailing list. I don't know about you, but I've definitely had problems sending and receiving e-mail since 9-11.

Then there are the anthrax attacks. How convenient for the Bush administration that we can no longer send mail to Congress or the Press without a very long wait subject to "filtering."

Speaking of long waits and "filtering" let's talk about the airlines for a minute, shall we? Now American travelers can look forward to being detained at the airport if their name is on some list and there's a protest in the city they're going to. How far do you think these powers extend? Now we have government screeners and air marshals controlling our every move by air. Watch out for these powers invading land, sea and rail travel.

Yep. I've got to hand it to the Bush team - those guys sure had a good plan for cutting us off from each other. I don't think they anticipated the Internet, though. I do believe this little miscalculation will ultimately be their undoing.


I'm not an economist, but I know blood when I smell it. The empire is bleeding like a stuck pig. Observe the situation in Argentina, Brazil, and Columbia ... now ask yourself if the IMF isn't sweating bullets right now.

The "Co-opt" is one of the most powerful weapons the Establishment has for keeping us in line. You know what I mean - the "Disneyfication" of popular culture, the "Respectable Left" squashing any truly radical dissent. I call this the "catching flies with a drop of honey instead of a gallon of gall" trick.

George W. and his clan have no clear grasp of how to put this idea to work. They are the iron fist without the velvet glove. Their clumsiness in this regard has made them tons of enemies in low places.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was a master of the Co-opt. I dare say that if Clinton were still president I'd be sipping down a Starbucks at a 60K-a-year job, shaking my head at the newspaper and saying to myself, "Things will come around. Just give it time."

Fortunately for my soul, my life is in shambles. I have no home, no job, and no plan. Janis Joplin once said, "Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose." In this sense, George W. has been the great Emancipator for thousands of Americans like myself.

Who am I? You might ask. I'm a highly intelligent person whose conscience outweighs her ambition. I and others like me are the biggest threat the Bush Cabal will ever know. This is because a small, determined group of people can change the world, and we are growing day by day, hour by hour.

Final Score: People 1, Bush 0.

Open Letter to COINTELPRO

[Originally posted May 31, ’02 at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/05/11732.shtml ]

A letter to those whose job it is to spam sites like this.

How do you sleep at night? You must have done enough reading here, and have enough knowledge from your own respective agencies to know that the men who sign your paycheck are the men that allowed 3,000 innocent people to be massacred at the World Trade Center. Many of those people ran in there to save others. These are people who I image you would have been very proud to know.

Like John O'Neill. The top investigator of the bin Laden case, he made it all the way to deputy director of the FBI. Then, just as the case was starting to sizzle the boys in charge told him to back off, they wanted to negotiate a pipeline deal with the Taliban. Disgusted with the Bureau for pandering to terrorists, O'Neill voiced his indignation to the authors of "Bin Laden: the Forbidden Truth" which will be coming out in English this July. Days from September 11th, O'Neill took a job as head of security at the World Trade Center, as he was convinced that terrorists would strike the building again as they did in 1993. His body was one of the few to be recovered from the rubble.

I come from a family of public servants, and I've always been distressed by the tendency of activists to focus their hatred on "the Pigs," when after all they're just following orders so they can feed their families. The ones pulling the strings haven't had to worry about a paycheck a day in their lives -- they are positively gorged with blood money from drugs, oil, and arms shipments. Psychological studies show that people can be made to do things against their conscience just because an authority figure told them so. Is that the case with you?

These are the times that try men's souls. Review whatever justifications you've made to yourself carefully. Are you going to be a hero like Colleen Rowley, or a chickenshit trying to fuck with a few people's rights to free speech?


Jody Paulson

The Music Skipped

[Originally posted on May 11, ’02 at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/05/10815.shtml ]
Propogandists should heed the fate of pop duo Milli Vinilli

I just caught VH1's "Behind the Music" featuring Rob and Fab from the infamous pop duo "Milli Vinilli." It teaches a sad lesson that those who propogate government lies would do well to heed.

For those unfamiliar with the group, Rob and Fab were the platinum selling pretty-boy dancing duo that took home a Grammy music award in 1989. This was the worst thing that could have ever happened to them, as they hadn't sung a single word on their critically acclaimed album. Shortly before they were presented with the award, their worst nightmare was realized ... during a packed concert in New England the song they were lip-syncing skipped. After pretending to sing the same line over and over again, one of the performers rushed off the stage in humiliation. Die-hard fans pretended that nothing was wrong, and the duo was persuaded to finish the show. Yet the seeds of doubt had been planted.

After receiving the award, the pair faced new scrutiny under which they couldn't hold up. After leaching millions from their hot looks and smooth moves, their preditory music label exposed them as frauds and threw them to the wolves. Music moguls and their lawyers laughed all the way to the bank, leaving the good-looking dance talents morally and financially destitute. One of the guys committed suicide. The other can't find work. There's a lesson for all of us in this.

America has come to a point in history where the music has skipped. Of course most Americans are die-hard fans of their government. They don't want to believe they are living and participating in a lie. But the damage has been done. I don't think I'm wrong in saying that full exposure is now inevitable. It's only a matter of time. What will happen when that time comes?

Rest assured the real culprits -- the world policy setters -- will do everything in their power to shunt off culpability to their contracted, pre-packaged "front men". A few of these sacrificial goats are reading this right now. To these people I say: watch out. You are being used. When heads start rolling over this, yours will be the first to go. You may think you are in too deep, as no doubt Rob and Fab did after they were locked into a wretched, non-disclosure contract that seemingly trapped them in what they called a "golden cage." But think about it. If Milli Vanilli had come clean before they were exposed by someone else, wouldn't they still have some dignity left today? Rob might have landed a modelling contract, Fab might have launched an acting career. We might have actually bought the album where they used their own voices. It's not too late to come clean, but you'd better hurry because it's about to hit the fan, my friends.

The rest of us, when the time comes, must foresake the temptation to lash out at the easiest, most visible targets. When the curtain is pulled back, the real puppet masters turn into cockroaches and scurry towards the darkest corner they can find. These are the people we need to go after, and we must not be distracted. As far as lip-syncing propagandists are concerned, knowing who they are and what they've done may well be punishment enough.