Monthly Archives: February 2013

Good Morning Vietnam

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Good morning Vietnam, you are now free to enjoy a nice venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, Mocha Latte, no foam from Starbucks whenever you want! Last month was the opening of the first Starbucks in Vietnam. Normally, a Starbucks opening in Asia wouldn’t merit much coverage. After all, the Seattle-based behemoth already has more than 3,300 stores in 11 Asian countries, China, Japan, India, being their major markets. But this one was the first ever in Vietnam, opening right in the heart of Ho Chi Min City which is named of course for  the Communist revolutionary who was leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam who faught and won a war against the U.S. Imperialists, not that long ago either and probably wouldn’t be too happy about  Western Capitalist Corporations expanding their franchise in his backyard, but he’s dead. So let that be a lesson to any budding Marxist revolutionary out there. You can fight wars for decades, huddled in tunnels eating nothing but rice, with only the shirt and the gun on your back. You can go up against a Capitalist Superpower and even emerge victorious. But they will still be building Starbucks on every corner within 50 years of your death. They’re are currently lots of Starbucks in South Korea, but as of yet none in North Korea. Look out Kim Jong Un, you’re next.

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an American Sadhu

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There’s a great book, “Baba, Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Yogi”, that is the true story of an  American that went to India in the 60’s and later became a sadhu, a chillum baba. So American sadhus do exist. A sādhu (sanskrit साधु sādhu, “good man, holy man”) denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. A sanyasi, or renunciate, who has left behind all material attachments and live in caves, forests and temples all over India and Nepal ( and now parts of Colorado.)  The majority of sādhus are yogīs, but not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), through meditation and contemplation of brahman  and smoking the chillum pipe. They are the original dreadlocked rastas and have been around since the man’s early history staying relatively unchanged up until the last half of the 20th century. While their way of life is becoming harder to maintain in this modern world, they are still with us today. At the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, the cyclical  mass pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred Ganges river, the Sadhus were out in full force. Far from being a dying tradition, there were estimates of 80 millions people in attendance, making it the largest human gathering on a single day in the history of the world. In our chaotic 9-5 world of cell phones and internet, rush hour 24-7,  it’s nice to know somewhere a chilum baba is chilling out, puffing some ganj and giving us blessings. And now the tradition seems to be catching on here in America. I swear there’s one that lives behind 7 -11. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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untitledetch-14 a 17th century drawing of an Indian sadhu

Federal Patient

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“Federal patient, as in federal medical marijuana patient. I’m prescribed this by the federal government.” Elvy was patiently explaining to the disbelieving cops in Dixie County, which is just south of the Florida Panhandle on the Gulf coast. They had confiscated her big tin of the 300 joints she’s prescribed every month by the federal government. Apparently they never had heard of such a thing and those idiots arrested her anyway but after a quick call to D.C. she was released. That was in 1997 when we were on the FL Medical Marijuana Referendum Tour. Lots of things have changed since then. As of 2013, 18 US states have passed laws allowing medical marijuana, 14 of these states have decriminalized marijuana, and 2, Colorado and Washington have made marijuana legal altogether.

 

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Of course those are state laws and marijuana is still illegal under federal law in all 50 states. It’s classified a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law which means no medical usuage even though they still prescribe it to a handful of patients. These are people that were grandfathered in when the Bush administration ended the Compassion Use Act in the 80’s. There’s only 5 of them left, all the rest of them are dead. 2 of them, Elvy Musikka and Irvin Rosenfeld  will be at the 15th annual Medical Marijuana Benefit this Saturday at Tobacco Road. Come out and support the cause and help Florida join those other 18 states with medical marijuana legislation by signing PUFMM’s People United for Medical Marijuana’s amendment petition. ( Or you can find it at www.PUFMM.org )

 

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the Pope resigns

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As you’ve probably heard,  Pope Benedict XVI has announced he is stepping down as head of the Holy See at the end of this month. Papal resignation is a very uncommon occurance. The reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death. While a few have been deposed, only 5 Popes in all of history have ever resigned. Speculations on why he is resigning are varied.

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But now the press is reporting that Pope Benedict plans to continue to live in the Vatican after he resigns. Legal experts say that is so he will have immunity from prosecution for sex related crimes charged against the Catholic Church and allegations of impropriety at the Vatican Bank. When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, the public urged British authorities to arrest the pope. Vatican City is considered a sovereign state, and is “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory.” If he left the Vatican, he might face extradition. No word on who the next Pope might be but many think Bono would be a natural.

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6 Up!

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The Southeast Regional Rainbow Gathering has begun in Ocala National Forest. Every February beginning on Valentines Day, people come from all over to camp in the woods. Rainbow Family of Living Light is a “non organization” and has no leaders. It is a group of individuals who gather in National Forests, “the church” to pray for peace and live together in the spirit of community. No money is exchanged and everything is decided by consensus. Because their are no leaders, there’s no one who can sign the special use permit foisted on them by the Forest Service. No one individual can speak on behalf of Rainbow Family. No permit is necessary. Their right to gather is protected by the Constitution. The first amendment explicitly provides for “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.”

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“Guns in the Church”

Even though people are just “peacefully assembling,” there is always a police presence at Rainbow Gatherings. Armed LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) on patrol walk through. And while there might  be some nudity and drug use, there’s really no illegal activity. When they approach, people call out “6 Up!” to signal police presence so their brothers and sisters won’t be caught unaware toking a bowl or something. You’ll also hear “Guns in the Church.” Them bringing weapons into the Gathering is unnecessary and a point of contention with Rainbow Family. There’s been many abuses and violation of civil rights. 100’s of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money has been spent policing the Gatherings. Harassment begins at the Main Gate with mass ticketing and sketchy searches of vehicles without probable cause. But it doesn’t end there. They come right into Main Circle and individual camps. I was there in Texas in ’88 when “No Guns” was rundown in Main Circle by the son of the Sheriff in a 4×4. I had gotten a ticket at Main Gate for “obstructing the right of way,” even though my car was the only one of the road. Rainbow Family recognizes that LEO’s are their brothers and sisters. Rainbow Family includes everyone “with a belly button” as they say. So as individuals they are welcome, but this is America. Our rights are protected.

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