Oil, profits, and God’s green earth

I received a mailing from my financial advisor recently, in which he admonished the Obama administration for its lackluster jobs plan, which didn’t include anything which would stimulate or benefit the financial market.  https://www.flexibleplan.com/hotline/hotline.html

As an example, last week I suggested that a new energy program to develop oil and natural gas in this country would be such a program. We sorely need relief from sending all of our treasure to the Middle East and from the artificially high gasoline prices that are the Obama administration’s attempt at forcing conservation on American consumers. High energy prices are themselves an added “tax” burden and can slow economic growth. In contrast, it is estimated that opening the valve on energy development in this country could create one to two million new, private sector jobs (without increasing the deficit)! And it would probably send energy prices spiraling lower – what a shot in the arm for a stalled economy. Oh well, another opportunity lost.

And stocks headed lower.

With regards to this newsletter, I wish to take issue with several points in this article. First of all, you say “all of our treasure” is going to the Middle East.  Let me tell you, sir, your idea of treasure is entirely wrong.

I am the owner of a small business that serves a national niche market of other small businesses, whose end customers are families with children. My market, like that of any market dependent upon a free flowing and abundant supply of disposable income, has been severely negatively impacted by the high gas prices we have been experiencing since before Obama became president. For those few at the top with great financial means, the high gas prices have been unfelt, and even appreciated: a boon to your portfolio. But for the vast majority of the shrinking middle- to lower-class, the high gas prices have spelled doom. For you to blame the Obama administration for the high prices of gasoline, when domestic oil drilling was expanded under the Bush administration, with the then-promise of lower gas prices for drilling in the Gulf, is absolutely unconscionable. It is also absolutely unconscionable for you to be promoting further expansion of oil development in North America, when you stand to financially gain from such activity.  Is that even legal, for you to support the expansion of oil production at this time with the Keystone pipeline open for public comment? My understanding of SEC regulations are that as a financial advisor, you are not to engage in such activities to thereby influence the value of a stock asset.

And it is particularly unconscionable for you to promote such activity when our country’s economy is still reeling from the impact of the BP oil spill.

All over the world, oil spills, several dozen a year, are poisoning the water, the ground, and the air, causing huge amounts of economic and physical harm to people and ecosystems on which they — we — all of us ultimately, depend. Whole industries are being ruined, from fishermen to farmers to tourism, and even worse, the long-range health detriments are not even yet realized. Harmful chemicals from the petrochemical industry have found their way into our bodies–and our hair and into mothers milk– all over the world. It is morally reprehensible that a few wealthy people are getting insanely wealthier off the rape of the earth that results in so much harm to so many others, and to future generations.

What we need is to wean ourselves from the societal drug of fossil fuel, to which we have become addicted in the past century, before it is too late, before our closed system of life on this planet is broken and no longer able to sustain us.

I am an Orthodox Christian and my patron saint is St. Basil the Great — who lambasted the wealthy of his day, saying, “if you have two coats and your neighbor has none, then you are thief.”  We have become a nation of thieves. And it is far worse, what we are stealing.  God’s green earth is as sacred a gift as anything else He made.  All of creation is sacred. All human economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, which God gave to us. If we destroy His gift, if we overwhelm the natural systems which release oxygen, cleanse our drinking water, protect us from solar radiation, build arable soil to grow food, and keep the extremes of climate within livable limits — if we break all of that–then there will be no human industry, no human company, no corporation, no government, no human endeavor of any kind, that will have the resources to save us. Our planet will become another Mars — dry and dead.

I have been voting since 1980 and have been a political independent all of my life. I was a Ross Perot supporter in ’92 because he was the only one talking sense, in warning about destroying the foundations of our economy by giving away all our manufacturing to China and Mexico. He foresaw the immigration problems we inherited from that ill-advised policy, which was a disaster for millions of subsistence farmers whose lives were ruined when big corporations booted them off “their” land, broke up their families, turned children into orphans, and made them refugees all over Central America.

Let me tell you, Obama has deeply disappointed those of us who looked to him for common sense and long-range vision. You would accuse him of “forcing conservation” on Americans? Would that he had but asked us to conserve, as a good leader would have. Instead he has caved in to the right’s quest for more profit, he has bought and swallowed their laudable argument that removing regulations will actually create jobs. If oil companies really cared about hiring people, they’d have taken their record profits and hired telemarketers to do their lobbying; instead, just this week my phone in my home rang with their call to action on the Keystone pipeline — a recorded robocall — not a person on a payroll. Are they paying taxes? Hell no. Yet suddenly, they have more rights than I, a taxpaying citizen have. Meanwhile, thousands are getting arrested outside the White House, to protest the Obama Administration’s support for Keystone.  Conservatives really ought to relax, just sit back and let Obama ride another 4 years — he’s your man. He’s already done a world of good in promoting the conservative pro-corporate agenda.

Human beings have been consuming fossil fuels for only about 100 years. In that 100-year period, we have seen nothing but wars, concentration of power like nothing before leading only to more war and death and destruction, and ever increasing environmental disasters–spills so large and long-lasting no human effort in even one lifetime can even hope to make a dent in their clean up.  And you want to expand this operation???

I urge you, as an intelligent man, to stop for a moment, and take a step back. Look at human history, going back far longer than 100 years. Look at the world you grew up in, what you were given. Did you play anywhere but outside as a kid?  Pick apples from trees? Fish?  Now look at the world your parents were given, and their parents.  Look back further, to their predecessors. What role did God’s green earth play in all their lives, that supported and sustained them?  Honestly, in the history of your family alone, how much abundance came directly from Him, through his creation?

Now think about your children and your children’s children. Forget about the money. Money is nothing.  It is mammen. Put your heart where it belongs — with those you love.  Do you really wish to leave the children a world so polluted that there will be no more trees, no more birds, no more fish, and no more freedom because the corporations will have taken over all the governments of the world? Do you really want American children living, either in squalor, warming themselves over trashcans in the street, fighting for food–or behind bars, drugged, domesticated and useless, in a zoo?  This is becoming reality all around us.  If you choose to live behind your ivory walls where you cannot see, and meanwhile you focus on profiting from the sale of humankind’s “family jewels” — God’s green earth — this horrendous, destroyed world is what YOU will be leaving your children.

Today in southeastern Wisconsin the air was filled with acrid, biting smoke — from fires hundreds of miles away in the forests of Minnesota. We are all interconnected.  Your wealth cannot protect you or your children from this ills of the world. To hide is no solution.

Do you not love your children? Then stop this insanity of chasing the almighty dollar, this insanity of dividing people into left and right, into profiting without sharing, into accumulating massive amounts of wealth, while millions go hungry. Beware: there is a demon at work here, tempting us — you and I — with power, every single day. The true and genuine spiritual warfare: to stop, take off your shirt and your coat, open your kitchen and share — give it all away to our fellow man.

Do what Jesus instructed: put your heart into the real treasures which last: God and those we love. Forget the money. For God’s sake, forget the money. Focus on what you can take with you.  God gave us the birds, who sing His praises from 3 am to 9 am every day with joy overflowing, before they stop to think about feeding their babies. He gave us birds so that our hearts might be touched by their song, and so that we might learn to be like them. He did not put them here for us to destroy them, like Abel destroyed his brother Cain. Fight the demon that lives within; fight that temptation to desire more, to covet, to seek power. The righteous thing is to to become humble and meek. And to demonstrate, to teach and to lead others to do likewise.

I apologize if I have disturbed you with this email. I only hope that in something I have written, I may have touched your heart, and caused you to get out of your bean-counting head, and sink your awareness down lower to the gut–for that is where you will find Him.

With Love In Christ,
Laurel Kashinn

Angels, demons and ghosts in the machine

Did you ever have the experience while working on your computer, of merging with its programs?

Years ago when I used to spend hours creating colorful images and animations, going timeless playing with the animated brushes and amazingly fun tools of DeluxePaint on an Amiga, there were times when the software would execute a command I was thinking, as I thought it. Before I could move my hand and mouse to pick a new brush, for example, the computer would select it. It was always amazing, and it happened many times, not just to me, but also to my artist husband as he painted on the Amiga. We both experienced the synchronization or merging of our minds with the software. In the years since the Amiga died, it has happened to me only once, when I was creating a complex layout with QuarkXpress on the Mac, that I was able to attain that creative flow state of mind and merge with the machine. I wonder – has it ever happened to you?

Our nerve cells, and the biggest collection of nerve cells, our brains, generate and are enveloped in dynamic electrical energy fields that vibrate at specific rates. The fields extend out from our bodies to merge with each other, and with our machines, which also possess electrical fields. In more than 20 years working with computers, besides this “merging” experience, I have also had the distinct feeling that there truly can be “ghosts” in the machine–and angels.

On many occasions I’ve been in a negative, distracted, agitated state of mind, and when I sit down at the computer to work, the machine crashes. Through experience I have learned that when such crashes happen, I need to close my eyes, take a deep breath to calm my thoughts and slow down my mind, to take charge of my energy, and to enter into a more positive state. And then, amazingly, the machine responds, functioning properly. I know individuals whose energy patterns routinely seem to cause computers or even other kinds of equipment to fail when they come into physical contact.

Similarly I have learned that if I am faced with a difficult, emotionally challenging experience with people, whether it is public speaking or meeting with a difficult individual, that if I close my eyes, focus on slowing my breath, and say a prayer beforehand, the outcome will be much easier and more successful. Years ago I used to practice affirmations, repeating a positive thought or idea to myself. That definitely helped, but I have found that taking a few deep breaths, centering my attention inward, and then acknowledging a higher power, asking for help and guidance–in essence, praying–is actually much more effective.

I have also had the experience of what I feels like an entirely independent “presence,” working through the machine.  For example,  I went through a period several years ago when I struggled with a negative mind state; for whatever reason, my ego was feeling threatened, my thoughts were replaying memories evoking very negative emotions of anger or fear. I felt defensive, hurt, victimized.  Usually this would be at night before going to bed. Compulsively, I would compose and send an email, to the relative or friend whom I love but who was the target of my current negative emotions. Then in the middle of the night I would wake up remorseful, even panicked, my conscience now bigger and stronger than my sleep-shrunken ego–over sending the communication, because I didn’t really mean to. I realized that I was to blame for my negative state of mind, and that my words would hurt the recipient, make things worse, not better. I felt sick inside that I had sent the communication.

In the morning when I logged in to my computer, I found that the email I sent had bounced; even though the address was correct, something had prevented it from being delivered. This happened to me several times in the early days of my computer use, and I have always been grateful to whatever force it was that saved me from myself.

Not that it happened every time; like many people today, I have suffered and caused suffering, by hitting “send” without compulsion, without editing, without stopping to calm myself, and review what I wrote from a more detached perspective.

As the internet has grown and people have become linked, in an addicted way, to their machines–to Facebook and to Twitter and to texting– I cannot help but think that unseen forces, for good, and for evil, are out there, in the machine, taking advantage of our mass addiction, and  influencing people as they can, much like my angel helped block my negative outburst.

By the way, I have noticed that these negative, ego-generated states of mind seem to occur most frequently at night, when tired. This would be a good reason to practice positive affirmations, meditate, or best yet, to pray, before going to bed.

Last night, I did not pray.  Just before bed I spent 15 or 20 minutes on Facebook, scanning the many posts and responding to a few.  Then I went to bed, and as I was drifting off to sleep, an image, like a suggestion, suddenly popped into my head: I saw an angry thought and a desire, in a way that was like an impulsive command, to set off a bomb in a public place.  It was absolutely freaky. And I felt it had come into my mind from outside, specifically from the internet, to which I had just “merged” my mind, just prior to bed.

So this morning, I woke up thinking about this experience, and about the teachings of Elder Thaddeus, who is the spiritual guide to our 4th graders this year at St. Nicholas. He tought how critical our thoughts are. That when we read and hear about these horrible stories in the media of random and insane human violence and destruction, that such behavior is very likely fact driven by the fallen one, taking advantage of the unconscious addiction to which we modern humans have given ourselves.  And an idea came to me for how to counter this negative, even demonic, presence and influence.

As so many today know, our thoughts are very powerful; our thoughts determine our lives. And prayer is a form of thought that has even more power, for it calls out to the Creator for divine assistance.*  Many of us practice positive thinking; many of us practice meditation, of slowing our thoughts to a more peaceful place; and many of us practice prayer, and belong to prayer groups. If we were to flood the internet, flood Facebook, with positive thoughts and prayers, perhaps we can raise the vibrational level to be in league with God, with the angelic forces, help them do their work, raise the vibration of the entire world.

It would be interesting to do a broad experiment, and invite to post their favorite positive thought or prayer online, every night before bed. Many do this, but perhaps if we did purposefully, together, we could wage peace.

Every thought expressed, every word spoken, is like a pebble dropped in a still pond. It ripples outword. Perhaps what we need is more silence. The water is churning chaotically and fiercely with so many words. Maybe we would be best served by being still, saying nothing, and letting the waters quiet down.