Category Archives: Finance

Sexy Street Kids, Homeless Hotties Revitalize Downtown Garberville

Photo by Kevin McShane. http://mcshanephoto.com

A startling new survey published in the July 8 edition of The Independent reveals that SoHum’s street kids and homeless population, so often talked about as “a problem,” are actually what people most love about Garberville. Indeed, twice as many respondents said they loved Garberville’s scruffiest and scrappiest as anything else about the whole town.

love

No one in the survey said they loved the shops. No one in the survey said they loved the Theater, or the Town Square, or even the marijuana.

nobody_loves_you_

Only one respondent said they loved Garberville’s restaurants, and from the accompanying photo, it’s obvious that she has never ordered anything that wasn’t on the kid’s menu, and never picked up the tab. Other also-rans in the “most loved” survey included: people’s tolerance, the fact that there are no stop-lights in town, and one woman I’ve never seen before in my life said she loves that “You can walk down the street and everybody knows your name.”

who the fuck are you barking

It appears that sexual attractiveness at least partially drives the love affair with this oft vilified segment of the population. A respondent from Carlotta answered the question “What is one thing that you love about Garberville?” with the answer, “Definitely all of the hotties that frequent the Veteran’s Park.” Her honest enthusiasm shows as clearly in the expression on her face as it does in the words between the quotes.

Woman-Love-

Clearly the lean, rugged, free spirited young men who live out of their backpacks and take refuge at the Veteran’s Park have caught this young woman’s eye. From Carlotta, it takes longer, and uses more gas to come to Garberville, than it does to go to Eureka, where she could find anything else she needed, at a better price. Instead, she came to Garberville, to see “the hotties that frequent the Veteran’s Park.” Apparently, it’s the homeless beefcake that brings home the bacon for Garberville’s merchants.

bacon beefcake mirror

The Jim Demulling Memorial Grove, aka Veteran’s Park, a little patch of land at the North end of town, squeezed between a parking lot, an on-ramp and Garberville’s main drag, became a popular hangout mainly because it is the only place in town where people can sit in some shade, socialize, eat lunch and relax without being hounded by shop-keeps to spend money or move along. Usually inhabited by a colorful cast of interesting characters, and their dogs, Veterans Park soon evolved into SoHum’s cultural center. It is, by far, the friendliest, most welcoming place in town, especially for a newcomer.

jim demulling grove

Today, “Veteran’s Park” is the epicenter of an economic boom in Garberville’s otherwise stagnant and dying downtown shopping district. Like the people fueling this emerging economic engine, the entrepreneurs who serve them have found imaginative ways around Garberville’s exorbitant rent prices, and this seems to be the key to their success:

key to success

Chicago Bob’s Hot Dogs opened up a while ago in a mobile food cart on the main drag, but just across the street from Veteran’s Park. Chicago Bob brought something to Garberville that this town desperately needed. That is, lunch for less than $5. Bob makes a great hot dog, with all the fixin’s. If you haven’t had one, you should.

Chicago-Bob’s-Hot-Dogs-

Just last week I noticed a new food truck operating directly adjacent to the park, advertizing tacos for $3. “Right on!” I say. I haven’t tried their food yet, but they had a dining canopy full of people when I passed by, and no doubt full of people like the woman from Carlotta, who came for the hotties, but stayed for the tacos.

taco chick flips you off

It’s refreshing to see some entrepreneurs with good sense and moxie in Garberville for a change. This new economic growth really livens up our little town, and I applaud these business-people for recognizing the potential, and filling a need, rather than complaining about it and trying to make it go away.

make it go away-horz

If you ask me, the ones who should go away, are the stodgy old business owners who would rather complain about the people in front of their store, than figure out how to meet their needs at a price they can afford.

blaks lehman go the fuck away

 


How E-Cigarettes and E-Joints Can Save the World

ecigs changed my life

Lately, I hear a lot about e-cigarettes in the news. I’ve also noticed them popping up for sale in our local gas stations and grocery stores. Even though I’m not a cigarette smoker, anything involving both electronics and drugs, naturally arouses my interest.

arouse

I’ve only seen a couple of people using e-cigarettes, but I find them much less unpleasant to endure than regular cigarettes. I can see how e-cigarettes could do a lot to improve relations between smokers and non-smokers. E-cigarettes might even make the exiled smoker, the lone individual standing outside, under the eves, a thing of the past.

bad habit

The price of e-cigarettes seems like the sticking point for most smokers. I haven’t done the math, but the device costs more than a couple of packs of smokes, and the refills for it don’t come cheap either. It already costs a lot to smoke cigarettes these days, and most of my friends who smoke, hand roll, with the cheapest tobacco they can get, if they don’t pick up cigarette butts they find on the sidewalk. There’s another problem e-cigarettes might solve; no more cigarette butts on the sidewalk, at least if they can bring the price of e-cigarettes down to a price more smokers can afford.

cheap smokes

E-cigarettes look kind of cool too. The one I saw close up, had a blue LED that glowed bright whenever the smoker took a drag from it. I love blue LEDs.

ecig blue led

I’ll bet you can get them with color-changing LEDs. I’m sure you could bling them out in a million different ways. You could get them made out of 24K gold or platinum. They’ll have pink ones for girls,

ecig pink

..and black, or camo-colored ones for guys.

ecigs fancy

They’ll even have ones that look just like a classic Marlboro for old geezers who still remember what real cigarettes looked like.

ecig marlboro

Even so, I’m not about to take them up. First, I’m too cheap. Second, there’s really no “cool” way to announce that you have a drug problem, and third, I don’t need another drug problem. Nicotine and I never saw eye to eye. I tried it back when I was a teenager. I gave it a chance, and it didn’t do anything for me. If only these e-cigs had something I liked in them…

dont like

Now I understand that that you can get e-joints. That is, an e-cigarette loaded with THC instead of nicotine. A new shop just opened up on the plaza in Arcata that specializes in just such devices. I love good old-fashioned marijuana buds, but I think these new e-joints, or “vaporizer pens” as I’ve heard them called, generically, could be a real game-changer in the marijuana industry, as we move inexorably towards legalization.

vaporizer pen

Right now, the biggest bottleneck to scaling up the whole marijuana industry, is trimming. Currently, the market demands manicured sinsemilla buds, which require a lot of manual labor. It takes about an hour to trim an ounce of buds, a really proficient trimmer might be able to trim an ounce and a quarter per hour, either way, there’s at least 12 hours of excruciatingly dull, manual labor in every pound of marijuana bud, just in trimming alone.

trimming weed

Several companies make automated trimming machines, but thus far, none of them produce a product that can compare to hand trimmed buds. With the high prices of black-market marijuana, every gram has to be marketable, and a poor trim job can break the deal, so trimming machines have not become very popular with growers.

trimming machine

Sinsemilla buds also have a very limited shelf life, and must be handled with care. Like potato chips they can become stale, or get crunched down to worthless powder. The way I see it, e-joints can solve all of these problems, and more.

problem-solved

Back in the early “90s in Boston, when I worked for the Mass. Cannabis Reform Coalition, I met a guy, I can’t remember his name, who owns a patent for a method of extracting pure THC from raw cannabis herb.

THC extraction

He described a future world in which he was a multimillionaire, and everyone “smoked” these little electronic devices that would deliver a precise dosage of pure THC, along with whatever flavor you might enjoy.

ecig guy

At the time, I thought “Fuck that! I don’t want some corporation getting between me and my marijuana. I want to smoke the marijuana that I grow in my own back-yard, not some soulless corporate cannabis extract.” Today, I feel differently. Today, I think that guy is a genius. Think about it.

lemme_think_about_it

On the production side, the difference between e-joints and sinsemilla buds is like the difference between Heinz 57 Ketchup and fresh heirloom tomatoes. E-joints offer these advantages:
1. You can make extract from the whole plant, male or female, mature or immature. Growers wouldn’t lose the THC contained in shake, trim, leaf or stem. I’ll bet they could even extract clean THC from moldy bud. All cannabis contains some THC, so probably any cannabis could be made into “fuel” for e-joints.
2. Extraction would completely bypass the need for trimming, and greatly reduce the cost of production. A single industrial extraction facility could replace an army of trimmers.
3. Subjective qualities like aroma and flavor, as well as aesthetic flaws, like spindly buds or brown leaves make no difference in an extract. Manufacturers could produce a very consistent e-joint product, as consistent as a Budweiser or a Big Mac.
4. Cannabis extract for e-joints would be easy to store and transport, vastly simplifying national distribution.

e-cig-truck

On the consumer side the advantages are obvious:
1. No joints to roll
2. No lighter to burn yourself with
3. No smoke, which means no carcinogenic combustion products
4. No smell
5. No ashes
6. No roaches
7. No gooey sticky resin clogged pipes
8. No bongwater
9. No coughing
10. No raw throat
11. Most importantly, e-joints should bring down the cost of getting high. Around here I hear a lot of talk about “boutique growers” serving “marijuana connoisseurs,” but in the open market, a lot of consumers want a product of reliable quality at a reasonable price. Marijuana consumers have been denied that for far too long, and these e-joints just might be the ticket to a mass-produced, nationally distributed, recreational cannabis product with a price based on the economy of scale.

economy-of-scale

I might still prefer to smoke my own home-grown marijuana rather than the soulless corporate substitute, but e-joints, complicated little gadgets though they are, might simplify the process of getting high for everyone.

simplify simplify

My younger, hipper friends are all down with e-joints. They all have vaporizers already. They see e-joints as a major advance in stoner technology, the wave of the future. They say vaporizing is cleaner and healthier than smoking, and that it gets you just as stoned. I’m sure they’d all embrace e-joints, at the right price point, even here in Humboldt County.

humboldt-county-young people

Yes, I think these “vaporizer pens” could change the world. For one thing, it won’t be long before no one knows how to roll a cigarette anymore. Imagine it. People will have to go to The Haight in San Fransisco, which by then, (because nobody could afford the rent to live there anymore) will have been turned into a theme park for Hippie nostalgia,. It will be like Colonial Williamsburg, except that instead of having people in period costumes making tallow candles and shoeing horses, they’ll have actors wearing wigs, grannie glasses and tie-dye t-shirts, show people how they used to roll joints in the old days.

hippie rolling joint

By that time everyone will have an e-cig of one form or another. They’ll have e-crack, e-meth, and e-heroin. They’ll have e-MDMA and e-LSD. They’ll have e-Prozac for mom and e-Adderall for the kids. They’ll even have drug-free e-flavor for people who don’t take drugs but want to enjoy a refreshing calorie-free vapor-snack.

ecig smoker

Thanks to e-cigarettes the future will look like Humphrey Bogart meets Obi Wan Kenobe.

humphrey bogart obi wan kenobi

We’ll all have our own little rechargeable, chrome plated, illuminated pacifiers to fondle endlessly, and no one will have to stand outside to get their fix anymore. Doesn’t that sound like brighter e-tomorrow? Now I think I’ll just unplug my e-joint and enjoy a celebratory e-toke. ecig cartoon


“Back to the Land” Mythbusting Pt. 2

mythbuster method

Last week’s post inspired more comments than usual, both here and on facebook. Since my audience gave me so much to think about, I thought I might double-dip on the subject of the mythology of the “back to the landers” I realize that my perspective seems blasphemous, and many of you have never heard such heresy before. No surprise there.

no-surprise abuse of power

Boomers, no matter what they do, have always been infatuated with themselves, The local merchants, who overcharge them for everything, just tell them what they want to hear. The non-profits around here are loath to criticize them, dependent as they are on dope yuppies’ donations, likewise with the sharecroppers, trimmers, and working stiffs. These people are so polite that they won’t even ask anyone around here what they do for a living.

too-polite

Even the homeless people around here kiss dope yuppie ass. I can’t believe how many homeless or marginally housed people volunteer lots of hours and devote a tremendous amount of energy to help local organizations that mostly serve dope yuppies. That just seems ass backwards to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that the well-to-do should volunteer to help the less fortunate, rather than vice versa.

ViceVersa-Lick-It featuring problem

So, we’ve got dope yuppies, who celebrate themselves shamelessly and relentlessly. Around them, a small army of sycophantic merchants, politicians, administrators, working people and hangers-on compete with each other for the crumbs that fall from the dope yuppies’ table.

Sycophants

Which leaves, basically, me, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the so-called “back to the landers”

You-Cant-Handle-the-Truth

One reader of last week’s post lamented that I hadn’t actually met any “real” back to the landers. I’ve discovered that every dope yuppie in SoHum believes themselves to be a “real” back to the lander, and that they all think of their neighbors as greed-heads, fucked-up drug addicts or both.

greed heads

Even the best of the back to the landers I know, the ones without the crazy collections of vehicles decaying in the yard, and piles of ridiculous useless stuff everywhere. The ones who have a little bit of imagination, build their own home, and do the whole harmonious, permaculture, native plant landscaping, composting toilet, solar electric, blah blah blah, even those people, don’t know when to stop.

know your parasites

As they get better at carpentry, their funky little cabins become elegant chalets, surrounded by effusive gardens. Peacocks roam the grounds, …along with servants. Sure, it’s lovely, but the scale is all wrong. Boomers do everything, too big.

too-big-first-world-problems

They grew up driving big-block V8 muscle cars. They gave us gigantic concerts, like Woodstock and Altamont, where the musicians look like ants, and sound like shit, and the audience amuse themselves with nudity and drug abuse. They couldn’t just drink a “cup ‘o Joe” like their parents, they have to have a double-shot, decaf, low-fat, triple-foam machiato with squirt of hazelnut syrup, and, of course, they don’t make that themselves. Hell no! It’s enough trouble just to order it. They expect us to make it for them, so they can consume our lives, as well as our future. Even cheap Mexican marijuana wasn’t good enough for them. They had to turn it into an expensive luxury product, so that poor kids would turn to cocaine and meth for a high they could afford.

crack cat

A reader suggested that the reason Boomers are so materialistic is that they were raised by depression-era parents, who never let them throw anything away. To make up for it, they gave us a world where everything is disposable, eating utensils, pens, lighters, flashlights, clothes, cameras, phones, furniture, stereos, TVs, computers. Nothing lasts, and nobody knows how to fix anything anymore. Kids today all know that the latest gadget won’t last half as long as a can of Spam, and that nothing in this world matters, except money. That’s the lesson the Boomers teach. It shouldn’t surprise them if the younger generation takes that lesson to heart.

money_matters

One reader commented, “I don’t recall taking a vow of poverty”. Far from it! Boomers spend like there’s no tomorrow, and thanks to them, there isn’t. Now nobody has to take a vow of poverty. We have poverty thrust upon us. The oceans have been fished-out and thoroughly polluted. The oil’s gone. There’s still plenty of natural gas, but they’re fracking the fuck out of our freshwater aquifers to get it. The only resource left to exploit is the lives of the descendants of the Baby Boomers, and the suck is on!

suck job

We look forward to lives of wage slavery lived for the benefit of bloodsucking landlords, and anyone who refuses to to participate in their own oppression can expect to be punished. They can expect to be kicked in the ribs by cops whenever they try to get some sleep, moved along by merchants whenever they sit down, denied access to bathrooms, water, food or shelter, and then made into scapegoats to be reviled and punished further for their poverty, punished until they die in the streets. I hear entirely too many dope yuppies and their suck-ups complaining about “the transient problem”. I see it differently. I think we have a “greedy boomer” problem.

boomers Jake Dimare quote

Another reader told of some back to the landers who were so poor that they could only afford the cheapest piece of land, but they managed to make it work for decades while keeping their “ethics intact”. Sure, …but they didn’t mind breaking a silly little law. They didn’t mind profiting from a really ugly policy. They didn’t mind converting forest to farmland. They didn’t mind moving on to land stolen through violence and genocide, and paying off the violent thugs who run this whole “private property” racket, namely, the county government. In the same sense, I could say that I survived the economic downturn with my investment portfolio “intact”.

ethics no

I’m not saying that the back to the landers are bad people. People do the best that they can for themselves. I’m saying that poor people don’t have the option of buying any land any more.

boomers rise

Things are not the same.

not the same the world

When you leave the world, worse off than you found it, you can’t call yourself a “success”. Yes, things were already going downhill when the Boomers took over, but they didn’t have to press the accelerator so hard, and now that they’ve wrecked the car, no one wants to hear about how well they think they handled that next-to-last turn.

wreck the car

We all inherited a diabolical economic system, a looming environmental crisis, and a culture in collapse. The Baby Boomers were the first generation to realize that, and to know that it was true. They knew the truth about Viet Nam. They read Silent Spring. They saw the Earth from space. They knew. …and collectively, they said, “Let’s do it up!”

Boomers go for bust


Mythbusting the “Back to the Land” Movement

Mythbusting the “Back to the Land” Movement

mythbusters

The time has come to set the record straight about one of the most pervasive myths about Humboldt County. I knew I had to take on this subject when I read Kieth Easthouse’s coverage of the recent “Environmental Cannabis Forum” held at the Mateel Community Center recently. At the forum, Tony Silvaggio, an HSU professor with the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, sited, as a factor in the increasing environmental degradation associated with marijuana cultivation…

HiiMR logo

“The children of the back-to-the landers who first started growing pot in Humboldt’s backcountry tend to be more materialistic and consumer-oriented – and less concerned about the environment than their parents.”

old hippies

Yeah, blame it on the kids. Surely, those idealistic “back to the landers” with their tiny, hand built eco-sensitive scrap-wood cabins and their 20 year-old trucks, who grow just enough marijuana each year to pay their property taxes, support their favorite environmental and social justice organizations and maybe, if it’s a good year, put some new tires on their old truck, couldn’t be responsible for destroying our watersheds, could they? No, that kind of “back to the lander” has nothing at all to do with the environmental damage wrought by the marijuana industry, mainly because that kind of “back to the lander” doesn’t exist in Humboldt County. At least I’ve never met one. That kind of “back to the lander” is a mythological beast, like leprechauns, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

bigfoot-kiss

You might think of a “back to the lander” as someone who abandoned the exploding plastic inevitable of American consumerism, for a simple life close to nature, but “back to the lander” means something entirely different in Humboldt County. The reason we call Humboldt’s dope-yuppy Baby Boomers “back to the landers” is because of what they do. They grow marijuana, sell it, use the money to buy stuff, and then they haul that stuff, back to the land.

haul junk

From what I’ve seen, I’m sure a Humboldt edition of the reality TV show Hoarders would shock most American consumers. I’ve seen some really ridiculous stuff in people’s yards around here, like airplanes without wings,

plane in woods

…speedboats without engines,

speedboat

…Italian sports cars overgrown with poison oak,

car sports overgrown

and a seven-foot-tall fiberglass caricature or a dachshund’s head that once festooned the facade of a long defunct fast food franchise.

doggie diner head

I know where there is a padlocked, windowless building, way out in the sticks, packed to the rafters with antique pinball machines that don’t work, celebrity look-alike dolls, still in their original packaging, boxes full of fake vomit and rubber dog poop and 15 cases of 30 year old Harley-Davidson brand wine coolers.

harley davidson wine coolers

Once, while digging in a garden in Humboldt County, my shovel hit something hard. I dug it out, brushed it off, and found myself holding a black statuette of a bird, that I immediately recognized as The Maltese Falcon from the old Humphrey Bogart movie. I kid you not, I dug up The Maltese Fucking Falcon in a Humboldt County garden.

the maltese-falcon

Do you remember The Maltese Falcon? The Maltese Falcon is a movie about an object, so immeasurably valuable in itself, that people willingly sacrifice their lives in order to possess it, only to discover it worthless as it crumbles to pieces in their hands.

Finding The Maltese Falcon, chipped and scratched, in a Humboldt County grow scene seemed appropriate, even perfect for the culture I encountered here. I had no interest in keeping it. I asked my landlord, a gray-haired boomer, of course, about it. Of course, it was his. He told me it was expensive, and that he bought four of them. He told me how much he loved The Maltese Falcon and how inspiring he found the idea of owning an object of immeasurable value. Again, I kid you not. That is a true “back to the lander”.

covetous creatures

I know another “back to the lander” who has at least 20 aquariums, no fish in any of them, but if he finds an aquarium at a good price, or one of unusual shape or size, he will immediately buy it. I know a “back to the land” woman who has at least 50 ornate glass and brass overhead electric lighting fixtures strewn about her land even though her house has no electricity. There are barns, sheds, outbuildings and trailers stuffed to the gills with books, records, clothing, stereo equipment, musical instruments, dishes, pottery, art, antiques, and memorabilia of all kinds, scattered all over Humboldt County, “back to the land” Baby Boomers responsible for all of it.shed

 

Do you ever wonder what happened to all of the bowling balls and pins from all of the bowling alleys that went out of business in the last 20 years? I’ve seen piles of them, big piles of bowling balls and bowling pins, deep in the woods, on a rural parcel in Humboldt County. Don’t ask me why.

Bowling_Balls in the woods

And don’t get me started on the rolling stock. If it has wheels and an engine, some “back to the lander” collects them. They don’t fix them, or restore them, or even try to keep rats from taking up residency in them or forest duff from burying them, but they do collect them. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, go-carts, quads, scooters, vans, Rvs, buses, ambulances, Zambonis, hearses, street-sweepers, cherry-pickers, rock-hoppers, forklifts, bulldozers, backhoes, jeeps, amphibious landing craft, armored personnel carriers, and railroad locomotives, you name it, and some “back to the lander’ bought one, dragged it out into the woods and then lost interest in it.

locomotive

I’ve offered to help some of these people clean their junk up and get it out of the forest, in exchange for allowing me to stay on their property while I did it. They all looked at me like I just offered to help them dispose of a sack of solid gold Krugerrands. They tell me how rare and valuable all of their stuff is, and how much money they paid for it. Then they tell me how much money they want for it, and how much more money I would have to pay every month for the privilege of living in their junkyard. So, mostly, they live alone on 40, 80 or 160 acres, while they bury themselves in, rapidly deteriorating, consumer-grade junk.

HOARDING-path

The Baby Boomers are the most materialistic generation in the history of humanity, and Humboldt’s “back to the lander” Baby Boomers are the most insanely, and I mean pathologically, dysfunctionally, psychotically, coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, insanely materialistic Baby Boomers I have ever met. I find it really hard to imagine how their kids could possibly top them.

coo coo clinton

True, the children of the “back to the landers” do like their pickup trucks, which cruise conspicuously all over town, but I think the younger generation gets a bad rap, because a lot of them would like to own land themselves. In order to do that, they have to buy it from those “back to the landers”. The “back to the landers” have a formula for determing the value of their land. First, they multiply the price they paid for the land originally, by 10 or 15. Then they add up how much they think all of the crap they’ve dragged onto it, would be worth, if there were anyone on Earth stupid enough to buy it. They then double that number, and add it to the asking price.

boomer 2

So, while the “back to the land” Baby Boomers were able to buy land for $20,000-$30,000, and sold the marijuana they grew on it for $3,000-$4,000 a pound, their kids are buying land for $300,000-$5000,000 and selling their pot for $1,000-$2,000 a pound and spending $10 for every 100 pounds of “back to the lander” crap they haul to the transfer station. Yes, the younger generation may be responsible for a lot of enormous water-sucking, forest-clearing mega-grows, because they really need the money, but as far as the materialism goes, their parents, Humboldt’s “back to the land” Baby Boomers still reign supreme.

boomer leeches


A Different 1%

 

A Different 1%

save-the-one-percent-

NPR recently reported on a scientific paper that predicted 1% of girls who live in the area effected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and were one year old at the time of the meltdown, would get cancer from the radiation exposure resulting from the incident. The report concluded that cancers resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster would not raise Japan’s cancer rate very much at all, since about half, or 50% of all Japanese people get cancer at some point in their lives already.

fukushimas irradiated children

My brain almost exploded when I heard that report. First, I can scarcely imagine what kind of statistical gymnastics it took for them to jump to that conclusion, especially considering that the disaster continues unabated. I mean, the reactors continue to melt, producing heat, steam and huge quantities of deadly radioactive material, that is by no means contained. This material continues to contaminate soil and groundwater in the area, and few believe that anyone can prevent the heavily contaminated groundwater from flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Clearly, the best is yet to come.

JAPAN-DISASTER-NUCLEAR-POLITICS

Second: Half of all Japanese people can expect to get cancer in their lifetime! That shocked me. Cancer was relatively rare before the Industrial Revolution, which is why they call cancer a “disease of civilization”. Doctors identified the first causes of cancers in the 18th Century, which appeared as rare tumors on the scrota of chimney-sweeps with poor hygiene. 300 years of carcinogenic industrial pollutants later, so many people get cancer that even an ongoing nuclear catastrophe will hardly make a dent in the national cancer rate.

japan radiation

Isn’t that reassuring. Really, why worry about Fukushima? Your dryer sheets will kill you before it does. Your nail polish, oven cleaner, deodorant, air freshener, the smell of your new car, carpet, paint, and furniture will help. Vehicle emissions, industrial incinerators, coal fired power plants, chemical plants and plastics factories provide free carcinogens for people who can’t afford to buy products that contain them. The body burden of pesticides, flame retardants, rocket propellants and a couple hundred other chemicals we inherited from our parents, gave them all a head start. How could one nuclear disaster hope to compete with a full-court press like that.

Dryer-Sheets-toxic

Finally, even assuming this dubious estimate turns out to be accurate, what kind of metric is the estimated number of additional cancers in one year old girls from Fukushima, for measuring the magnitude of the Fukushima disaster? What about two year old girls? What about five year old girls? What about boys? What about adults? What about kids who haven’t been born yet?

pregnant japanese women

How many of those one year old girls will suffer miscarriages, or have children with birth defects because of radiation from Fukushima? What about 15 year old girls, or 25 year old women? How many miscarriages and birth defects have already resulted from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. How many of those babies will develop cancer later in life?

japanese birth manequin

How does 1% sound for a wild ass guess for any and all of the above questions. I’ll bet that’s as accurate of a guess as the study I heard quoted. Does that sound like an acceptable cost? 1% sounds like almost nothing, doesn’t it? That’s probably why they chose that number for their prediction. One bullet, one hundred people, Russian Roulette anyone? This still doesn’t get to the heart of the issue, because Fukushima is the gift that keeps on giving.

gift that keeps on giving

What happens the next time an earthquake triggers a tsunami in the area, and it stirs up all of the radioactive mud just off the coast of the plant, that will probably never be cleaned up, and dumps it all over the countryside? It’s bound to happen, in 50, 100, or 500 yrs or so, and all of that plutonium will be just as fresh and deadly as it is today. What happens in 10,000 yrs when no one there speaks Japanese anymore, or has any idea why this lovely oceanfront real-estate has remained undeveloped? What happens in 10,000,000 yrs, when bipedal felines plant the whole area in catnip? I’ll hazard a guess that 1% of bipedal felines exposed to contaminated catnip develop feline leukemia, using the same math as the researchers quoted on NPR.

bipedal feline1

…And for what? A few fleeting megawatts of electricity, mostly wasted on garish signage, excessive lighting, electronic toilets and Japanese game shows. Unlike the electricity generated at the Fukushima nuclear power station, the Fukushima nuclear disaster will not go away. The deadly impacts of Fukushima will even outlast the fortunes of Tepco’s shareholders, who profited from the massive public investment in, inherently dangerous, uncompetitively expensive, nuclear power.

japanese game show

The lasting radioactive legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will remain a threat, and an impediment to life on Earth until the sun goes super-nova and burns the Earth to a cinder. Radioactivity from Fukushima, and the contaminated area around it, like Chernobyl, not to mention every other nuclear power plant, laboratory, or weapons facility ever built, will continue to take lives, cause sickness and make life harder on Planet Earth until the end of time.

end-of-time

Life on Planet Earth is hard enough, thank you very much, and we really don’t need the additional burden.

burden rock


Humboldt County is So “Alternative”

Humboldt County is So “Alternative”

so alternative

When I first moved to Humboldt County, I thought that no one should go to jail for gardening, least of all, for growing cannabis. I felt strongly about this. I went so far as to don a funny hat and carry a sign to voice my disapproval of the war on drugs, and specifically against marijuana prohibition.

thats me next month

I love marijuana, cannabis, pot, weed, ganja, grass, whatever you want to call it. I think it is a beautiful and sacred plant. I like growing cannabis, I like smoking it, eating it, drinking it and sharing it with friends. I felt that no one should be punished for their involvement with it, be they in possession of it, under the influence of it or involved in cultivating it. Today, I feel differently.

me

Today, I think Humboldt County dope yuppies should be sent to someplace like Guantanamo Bay, and water-boarded with their own nutrient solution. Specifically, every time I hear someone around here complain about the falling price of marijuana, I want to see them choking, spitting and pleading for their life while Dick Cheney personally holds the watering wand over their Saran Wrapped face, a solution of piss, manure and decomposing organic filth raining down their throats as they squirm and writhe in agony.

Waterboarding 5

I, like all good people everywhere, am overjoyed that marijuana prices have begun to fall, and that the bitter end of the drug war finally appears to be in sight. We still have lots of work to do. Pot prices remain outrageously high despite recent declines, and too many innocent people still get arrested for minor marijuana possession, but at least we seem to have won the battle for the hearts and minds of the American public. We still need to mobilize that support to overturn draconian prohibition laws, but at last, it seems, the momentum is on our side.

Marijuana-Legalization-564x750

Of course, we can’t expect Humboldt County dope yuppies to to help. They’re the disease. Don’t expect them to be part of the cure. Really, dope yuppies don’t care about the social costs of prohibition. They’ve all seen their friends busted. Half of them have been busted themselves. They know how traumatic that is on families. They don’t care.

bad cops

They know about all of the murders, the missing persons cases, the home-invasion robberies, the violent crime, and the hard drugs that come along with a reliance on black-market dealers. They never stop complaining about the homelessness and poverty, even though they cause most of it. They know Humboldt county has double or triple the murder rate, suicide rate and meth abuse rate of the rest of California. If they ever visited the Garberville Branch of the Humboldt County library, which they don’t, they’d know that the roof leaks, they only have two computers, that barely work, and that the library has no wifi connectivity at all. Blinded by the money that the illegal trade in black-market marijuana brings in, they hardly notice the lack of social capital in their community.

blinded by cash

Instead, they blow their money on parties and status symbols. They already have one huge, expensive concert venue, and they can’t wait to build another one. They drive gigantic gas-guzzling trucks and clear the forest to build enormous Connecticut-style, middle-class, suburban homes. Once the narco-dollars started pouring in, they turned their backs on the greater community and began “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Keeping-Up-with-the-Joneses1

So, don’t worry about what happens to Humboldt County’s dope yuppies when prohibition ends. Celebrate, when the price of an oz of kind bud drops below $50, because some big, legal, publicly traded company wants to be the WalMart of weed. Enjoy it! Don’t fret about the plight of Humboldt’s pot farmers, because Humboldt County growers never gave a fuck about you.

I dont give a fuck lg

Not once have I heard a Humboldt County dope yuppie say: “Man, it really sucks that marijuana has to be so expensive for people.” or “With prices of food and energy rising so fast, how on Earth can working people afford the marijuana they need?” or even, “I’ll bet more people would survive cancer if medical marijuana didn’t cost so much.” Not once have I ever heard that sentiment expressed by a Humboldt County grower.

im-listening

They all know how great marijuana is, and they keep tons of it around the house for their own use. They’ve got cannabis tincture to relieve menstrual cramps, cannabis salve for muscle aches, and hash-laced chocolates for aphrodisiacs. They make cosmic brownies, cookies and goo-balls. They make juice, decoctions and tea from it, and they keep at least four or five different flavors of marijuana, and maybe two or three different kinds of hash around for their personal smoking pleasure.

cannabis_jars5

I don’t knock them for this. I’m with them. It’s great to have plenty of marijuana. Cannabis is wonderful. It’s good for a lot of things, and offers a lot of benefits to people who use it. It’s damn near impossible to hurt yourself with it, so it makes sense to keep plenty of it on hand.

pile of pot

Humboldt County growers take this for granted, but they know that having plenty of marijuana really helps reduce stress. They know about stress. Running an illegal business creates stress of its own. They have other stresses, just like anyone else, but they always have plenty of ganja, and they never have to worry about how much it costs.

money for weed

They don’t have the stress of trying to figure out how to squeeze $40 out of a $300 paycheck, to pay for an eighth of an oz of marijuana, roughly four Humboldt County joints, and then how to budget that three-and-a-half grams of cannabis over seven days. They don’t know what it’s like to skip the dinner out, the concert or the new shirt because a few puffs of kind bud makes that 40 hours of customer-service hell they endure each week, tolerable, but that’s how the rest of America lives.

retail-hell

That’s only half of the price that Americans pay for marijuana. The middle-class subsidizes artificially high marijuana prices by paying taxes that pay for cops, jails and prison guards. The working poor subsidize artificially high marijuana prices by getting arrested and going to jail. That’s why Americans want marijuana legalized: They’re sick of subsidizing the marijuana industry while they work themselves to death for less and less every year.

work to death

Americans pay too damn much for marijuana, and they’re tired of skimping on everything else just for a taste of the kind green bud. They’re tired of paying black-market prices, tired of dealing with black-market dealers, and sick of being treated like criminals, just so that a handful of smug, self-righteous, and self-absorbed dope yuppies can perpetually congratulate themselves for being so “alternative”.

im awesome

Yeah, Humboldt County dope yuppies are so “alternative”… the way a tick is “alternative”. Now plug in that fucking pump and hand me the Saran Wrap.tick


The Giving Season

The Giving Season

giving season

As 2013 winds to a close, once again we find ourselves in “The Giving Season”. The time of year when we take a moment to show our appreciation for the people who matter to us, and to the folks who serve us faithfully all year long.

faithful-service

Of course, a lot of the people who serve you faithfully all year long, like your postman, barista or auto-mechanic, your kids school teacher and bus driver, your hooker, drug dealer and bartender, or if you live around here, your crew of trimmers, those people all get paid for their work. Believe me, those people wouldn’t lift a finger for you, if it weren’t for the fat paychecks they take home week after week. So, fuck them! Don’t waste your generosity on those douche nozzles.

douche nozzle

Instead, this year, give generously to the people who really deserve it. Give to the people who work hard for you all year, every week, rain or shine, and ask for nothing in return for their tireless efforts and diligence. People who make it their priority to provide you with interesting, amusing, and mildly arousing entertainment every week, free of charge, and without compensation, acting purely from the goodness of their hearts, for the benefit of all of humanity. In other words, people like me, your humble blogger at Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do.

lygsbtd frace t-shirt

I honestly cannot think of anyone who deserves your generous financial gift more than I do, and if you take the time to think about it carefully, I think you’ll agree. Don’t make the stupid mistakes that trap so many gullible saps into supporting greedy, undeserving scam artists, while good, hard-working people like me persevere through the cold, dark winter months without so much as a “thank-you” from the faceless masses who show up here to consume my work anonymously, leaving nothing of themselves but the statistics that record their activity.

statistics_big

Lots of people give money to help the poor around the holidays, and I can hardly think of a dumber waste of money. Look, I don’t have any money. I’m poor, but you don’t see me standing on the side of the road looking pathetic, flying a cardboard sign, and playing on your sympathies. I don’t do that because I don’t play people for saps.

sap

The poor are just a bottomless pit. That’s why they call it “pity”. Don’t throw your money into it. The poor aren’t poor because they don’t have enough money; the poor are poor because the rich have no use for them, and the middle-class would rather kiss rich ass than stand shoulder to shoulder with the poor against the 1%. I spit in the eye of the rich and the middle-class, and call them on their bullshit, while the poor who stand around begging, just play the rich and middle-class for suckers, and exploit them for their pity without challenging the status quo.

status-quo-10

Some people prefer to give money to organizations that help the poor, rather than giving to poor people individually, but these organizations play you for rubes too. The Salvation Army hires thousands of “bell-ringers” every holiday season just to suck up all of the money that would otherwise go directly into the pockets of poor people. That is, if business owners didn’t harass, kick and call the cops on every legitimately poor person who comes within 30 ft of their business. Merchants love these “bell-ringers” almost as much as they despise and detest real poor people.

bell_ringer

The money that you drop into the Salvation Army kettle goes to pay a literal army of salaried administrators, who enjoy comfy heated offices, medical benefits, and paid vacation time. They spend their days deciding which projects to fund that will make them look good in the public’s eye, while they dream up new ways to capitalize on the pity of the stupid. What is more obnoxious, a paid asshole who never stops ringing that goddamned bell, or a homeless beggar with a nice quiet sign? Take my advice, ignore them both, and give to me, the one you neither see nor hear.

__hear_no_evil__see_no_evil__speak_no_evil

Some people like to give money to environmental organizations. These groups suck worse than organizations that help the poor. I don’t care whether it’s Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, World Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, or any of the fucking PIRGs, they’re all full of the same bullshit. They’re all just a bunch of spoiled brat white kids who would rather take pictures of dead whales, tortured lab animals, or disgusting landfills full of toxic waste than get a job killing whales, torturing lab animals or making massive amounts of pointless consumer garbage.

Landscape

Every year we have more environmental organizations, and every year the environmental crisis grows more dire. Stop throwing good money after bad, and cut those suckers off.

cutoff 5

The same goes for social justice organizations like the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, or the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Doctors and lawyers are the blood-sucking scum floating at the top of the cesspool we call modern society. If doctors and lawyers think they can do something about the injustice and inequality in the world, they should do it with the vast sums of money we already overpay them for creating that injustice and inequality in the first place. Don’t give those greedy bastards one more dime than you absolutely have to.

lawyer-vs-doctor

Finally, too many people donate money every year to support public media like PBS, NPR and Community Radio. For God’s sake don’t get fleeced by these shysters. So what if you let Big Bird babysit your kids or like to watch taxpayer funded programming from some socialist country that forces people to pay for it. That’s no reason to open your wallet for them.

big bird begging

Whenever a publicly funded media outlet asks for money, they always like to remind us how much better they are than Fox News. So what! That’s like gonorrhea asking for money because it’s better than AIDS. Look, we’re all media here. Media ain’t gonna save the fucking world folks. I’m not saying that public media is as bad as a case of “the clap”, but there’s a good argument to be made that we’d all be better off without any of it. There’s some news you’ll never here on public media. Here’s some more: Public media is one of the most overfed pigs at the public trough.

pigs_trough1

They all tell you that it’s non-commercial programming, but that doesn’t stop them from interrupting every fifteen minutes to tell you that the show was paid for by “Saps like you, and generous contributions from Archer Daniels Midland, Cramming Our Food Down Your Throat 247365, Warehouser, Clear-cutting Old-Growth Forests So We Can Plant More Trees, or Massey Energy, We Mine Coal… Fuck You.

massey_energy

Yes, all of those public media outlets enjoy taxpayer subsidies, and suck-up to every evil corporation on the planet for the billions of dollars they give, just for the phony respectability that public media gives them. That’s why you never hear anything like the biting social criticism you read here at lygsbtd, on public media. Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do challenges the right, the left, and everyone in the middle. You won’t get that on PBS, NPR, or even community radio.

PBS

All of those public media outlets know where their money comes from, and they’re not about to rock the boat. I don’t know where my money comes from, because I don’t have any. and I’m all about rocking the boat, because the boat is sinking! Public media still wants you to believe in the system, because they are part of the system. They don’t care what the system does to you or your kids future, you’re already shark bait to them, and they’re the shark.

shark bait 1

For them, it’s a feeding frenzy, and they’re never satisfied. They always want more. It’s time to cut them off, and put your money behind the real independent voice of Southern Humboldt County, me, and this blog Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do. Your kids will never forgive you if you don’t.

never forgive

I don’t take money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, because I can’t deal with the paperwork involved. I don’t take money from corporations. I mean, I would, if any of them offered me any, but so far they haven’t. Any corporations looking for favorable coverage from a hot, edgy new-media outlet, I’m listening, but until we make a deal, you are fair game.

Fair_Game

Until now, I have not received even one-cent, from anyone, for producing this blog. Yet, every week, I give you more. I give you more humor, more pictures, more social commentary, more science, more economics, more big words, more of myself than I give to my beloved partner Amy, who’s feeling a little unappreciated right now. So how about it folks? I could sure use some help right about now. My truck broke down last week and it’s going to cost more than a grand to fix it.

truck broke down

If you enjoy reading this blog, and if you’ve gotten this far, you must, click that donate now button. Give a hundred bucks to keep me, lygsbtd, my truck, and my mechanic, going strong in 2014.

2014-marketing-strategy

Can’t afford a whole Benjamin? I understand that times are tough. How about a dollar week? $52, that’s just one dollar per post for all of 2014. It would really mean a lot to me.

In fact, as a thank-you gift, for any contribution of $25 or more, I will send you this lovely Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do coffee mug.

lygsbtd mug

This is a really nice mug. It holds 16oz of your favorite beverage. It has the Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do logo on the side. It’s a good quality ceramic mug, and I’m happy to send it to you for $25. Of course, the real prize is this blog: Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do, and your donation will keep it coming to you all year in 2014.  thanks for your generous support!


Unfamiliar Faces, Familiar Theme

 

Unfamiliar Faces, Familiar Theme

The following letter appears in our local papers this week.  The more I hear other people voice their frustration with the abundance of poor, young people in our area, the more I feel compelled to vent my hatred for the dope yuppies, moochie merchants and real-estate goons who make up the middle-class around here.

yuppie irradication project

Dear Editor,

Before we give voice to any more unkind thoughts we may have about the influx of new faces in our little town, we should remember that these are the faces of marijuana smokers, and that they are the source of our community’s prosperity. The next time you see a cluster of unfamiliar faces cluttering a stretch of sidewalk, ask yourself, “How much money did they spend on marijuana last year?” and “How much will they spend on marijuana next year?” The answer to both questions is “More than they can afford.”

too damn high

They will do without decent clothing, a car, or even a place to live, but they will not go without marijuana. This whole community was built with their money. Not only that, they pay prohibition prices for what would otherwise be a common weed. In order to make big money from marijuana, you need cops, and you need to arrest a lot of people. A million people, more or less, every year, for the last thirty years or so, have worn handcuffs, been strip searched, and made prisoners, in order to support marijuana prices, and profits for local growers.

marijuana_arrests_chart500

Ask yourself, “How many of them have been arrested for marijuana?, How many of them spent time in jail for it? How many of them have been on probation? How much did they spend on lawyers and fines? How many of them have lost, or been denied jobs because they failed a drug test? How much has their enthusiasm for marijuana cost them?”

Marijuana-Laws-750x412

Yes, the unfamiliar faces we see around town pay for the prosperity that this community enjoys in money, time, agony and humiliation. They have, and will, continue to suffer needlessly, just so that this community can continue to demand a princely sum for a common fast growing weed.

pot prisoners

Every merchant and grower in SoHum owes them a huge debt of gratitude, and should celebrate their enthusiasm for marijuana. The least we could do is provide them with a restroom and clean up after them, just like we do at Reggae on the River.

Reggaeontheriver

If you really don’t want to see lots of raggedy looking strangers around town, don’t harass them or vandalize their meager possessions. Instead, donate money to NORML and other organizations working to legalize marijuana, sign the petition to get the Jack Herer initiative on the ballot, and find another way to earn a living that isn’t so dependent on them.

Jack_Herer_1

 

 


Rob Arkley’s War Against the Poor in Humboldt County

 

Rob Arkley’s War Against the Poor in Humboldt County

war against the poor

Humboldt County’s monied elite has had enough of poor people. The people who profited the most from the flood of narco-dollars into the county have decided that poor people are unsightly, and must be punished. Currently leading the assault against the poor is Eureka businessman, landlord, and banker, Rob Arkley.

Eureka, CA Businessman Rob Arkley

Eureka, CA Businessman Rob Arkley

They don’t mind that the whole county has been transformed into a giant drug ghetto thanks to two generations of drug-dealers who have driven up rent and housing costs by turning every square foot of residential space into a grow scene. No, our county’s landlords don’t mind collecting money from people who don’t have a job and aren’t looking for work, but when it comes to people who don’t have jobs, aren’t looking for work, and don’t pay rent, that’s another story.

where am I supposed to live

Thanks to these drug-war profiteers, we now basically have three kinds of people here in Humboldt County. We have landlords. We have drug dealers, and we have poor people, some working, some not, some with housing, some without. They’re all wretched. They’re all disgusting in their own way, and they all cause way more problems than they are worth.

more trouble than they're worth 1

We may produce some of the world’s best marijuana, but when it comes to people, Humboldt County produces, and attracts, the human equivalent of ditch-weed. Rich or poor, you’ll find an abundance of sketchy, dishonest, and generally undesirable people at every income level in Humboldt County. With such an abundance of small-minded opportunists, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Humboldt County has become a cesspool of greed, exploitation and ugliness, and as tends to happen in cesspools, the scum rises to the top, and the sludge sinks to the bottom, trapping a layer of stagnant swill between them, all contaminated with the same toxic culture, and all slowly choking to death on their own filth.

choke

It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s the truth. From the genocide of the Native Americans to the environmental destruction wrought by the gold rush and the wholesale liquidation of the old-growth forests, right up to our modern marijuana based economy, the entire history of Humboldt County has been a story of bad people doing awful things for the very worst of reasons. It’s a bottom-feeders paradise, and it produces some of the grossest scum, the rankest swill, and the most pathetic sludge you’ll ever have the displeasure of meeting.

humboldt loggers

Now that the marijuana money has started to dry up, Rob Arkley, one of the scummiest of our local scum, wants to see if we can drive poor people out of Humboldt County by closing down the last of Humboldt County’s soup kitchens, shelters and public rest-rooms. So, this is how we begin the grisly business of cannibalizing each other. The scum devour the sludge. The sludge leeches off the swill, and the swill sucks up to the scum. There are no “good guys” here. It’s the bad vs the ugly, the ugly vs the sick, and the sick infecting everyone.

two thumbs down

I mean, what is a merchant or a landlord but another scumbag who wants your money. They don’t want to work for a living. They want to use their money to extract money from you. They obviously have enough money for their own needs, plus they have a bunch of merchandise they don’t need, or an extra building or property that they hope to make even more money from. When they see desperately poor people all around them, all they can think about is how that poverty interferes with their greed. It’s disgusting, and when you see what they offer as wages to their employees and what they charge their tenants for rent, you’ll want to slit their greedy little throats. At least I do.

slit their throats

The fact that Rob Arkley is alive today testifies to the extremely tolerant nature of Humboldt County’s poor. I wouldn’t blame the poor and homeless one bit if they burned Old Town Eureka to the ground, or Downtown Garberville for that matter. The county’s poor and homeless have shown remarkable restraint, under the circumstances.  If you ask me, perhaps more than is warranted. It seems to me that the poor spend too much energy fighting among themselves and ripping each other off, when they could be vandalizing private property and murdering landlords who deserve it. Really, if the business community has declared war on the poor, the least the poor can do is return the favor.

death promise

We have about 2,000 homeless people in Humboldt County in the dead of winter, and we have about one-hundred beds available in shelters, a couple of public rest-rooms in Eureka, and a couple of places where people can get a free meal, and those kitchens only operate a few days a week. The vast majority of the county’s poor, get no help from any of those services.

homeless-poor-american-family1

The “social safety net” has been a joke in this country for decades. We don’t have a social safety net. We have poverty. We have poor people with nowhere to go and no prospects for the future. The handful of people who take pity on them are overwhelmed. Donations of food and clothing only go so far, and since most of that comes from private donors, the best that the scum at the top can do is vilify the last decent and compassionate people in Humboldt County in an attempt to stop them from helping the county’s most needy.

i-support-helping-the-needy-i-oppose-subsidizing-the-greedy

It’s a scummy scheme, schemed up by the scum at the top of the cesspool. The ones who got there by sucking up narco-dollars through overpriced rentals, sleazy land contracts and bogus business deals. Now that there are fewer narco-dollars to suck up, they blame the poor, but they are too cheap to hire enough cops to arrest them all, or build enough prisons to house them all.

protect and serve

In fact, the only reason the rich scumbags in Humboldt County got rich on the first place, was because there just aren’t enough cops to catch them in their crimes either. Humboldt county is a big place with lots of places to hide criminal activity. That has been the key to our economic growth for at least the last 40 years. That’s what allowed the marijuana industry to grow and flourish here despite a nationwide crackdown that landed millions of people in prison with stiff mandatory minimum sentences.

kids in prison

Now, we witness a nationwide effort to criminalize poverty, led by scumbags like Rob Arkley in every city in America. Unfortunately, the more we criminalize poverty, the more we will find poverty hiding out in Humboldt County.   Maybe we should think twice before we piss it off.homeless-


Democracy is Overrated Take 2

Democracy is Overrated Take 2

dont forget to vote

Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” I’m sure people haven’t gotten any smarter in the last half-century, and neither has democracy. I know some people still think that democracy is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I sure don’t see the evidence of it. Really, what has democracy done for you lately?

best argument

Do you ever remember a time when democracy worked? I sure don’t. Would we be in the mess we’re in if democracy really worked? Face it; elections don’t solve anything. They never have and they never will. Elections didn’t stop sectarian violence in Iraq. Elections didn’t stabilize Afghanistan, and elections didn’t satisfy Egyptian protesters.

Egyptian-protesters

Here in this country, elections didn’t stop the Vietnam war, prevent the invasion of Iraq, or stop the bank bailout. Despite the massive grassroots mobilization that put Obama in the White House, not only does the prison at Guantanamo Bay remain open, but the government now claims the right to kill US citizens anywhere in the world without trial, and the NSA listens to all of our phone calls.

nsa-santa

Hundreds of thousands of Americans will be arrested for simple possession of marijuana this year, and Federal agents continue to raid state sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries, despite the fact that over 80% of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana as medicine, and a majority of Americans favor legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

marijuana negative effects

Income inequality continues to grow, along with poverty, homelessness, and prison populations, as the rich help themselves to more and more, while the rest of us fight over what few crumbs they leave behind. Does that sound like democracy is working?

income_inequality

Clearly at the national level, democracy has failed us, but what about at the local level? I sure haven’t seen much evidence of democracy working at the local level either. Whether we’re talking about mayors, city councils, county supervisors, or even the boards of directors of community non-profit organizations, I’ve seen plenty of corruption, cynical political manipulation and pandering to a monied minority at every level of democracy, haven’t you?

Democracy-Two-wolves-and-a-sheep

If you think you know of someplace where democracy seems to be working, I encourage you to get more involved. It won’t take long before you find the disaffected, oppressed and silenced factions, the two-faced hypocrisy, and the clique that operates with impunity, using “democracy” as a fig leaf. I guarantee it.

fig-leaf democracy

Yes, democracy has failed us completely, but we sure don’t let that stop us from spending gobs of money on it. On the contrary, “democracy” has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry. Besides the billions of dollars that get spent directly election campaigns, thousands of “activists” use the obvious failure of democracy to raise more money to help “reform” democracy, and somehow “return the power to the people”, as if the people ever had any power in this democracy.

why nations fail

Despite their best efforts, the environmental crisis only gets worse, economic oppression and injustice continue unabated, violence and warfare escalate while civil-rights and the social safety-net steadily erode. But hey, we still have democracy, and since you have the right to vote, you only have yourself to blame, right?

stupidvoters

Every two or four years, a new crop of candidates promises to make big changes and to “put the people back in charge of government”, but as soon as they get elected, it’s back to business as usual. How long has this been going on? Only 250 years or so. How stupid could we be?hOW sTUPID cAN yOU bE?

Really, why would anyone consent to be governed? Only an idiot would trade real freedom for a meaningless vote, personal autonomy for institutionalized oppression or a place in the natural world for economic servitude to corporate interests. Democracy only looks good when you compare it to tyranny. Compared to freedom, autonomy and equality, democracy is just another scam designed to dupe the stupid and insecure into subservience.

democracy rain

Besides failing its citizens, democracy wastes economic resources as well. The 2012 presidential election cost billions of dollars, much of which got spent on misleading negative campaign ads that nobody wanted to see. Senate and congressional races cost millions of dollars each, and even at the local and state level, many candidates spend over a million dollars to get elected. In 2012 Monsanto spent 47 million dollars to defeat a grassroots California initiative that would require foods made with genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such, outspending the citizens groups that sponsored the initiative 12 to 1.

Money-in politics

Today, grassroots organizations capitalize on people’s disgust with our political system by raising money from ordinary citizens to “take big money out of politics”. They promote publicly funded elections, or even a constitutional amendment to “end corporate personhood”. This kind of nonsense only adds to the high cost of a worthless democracy, and discourages people from taking meaningful action to secure their own freedom and autonomy.

money in politics1

Lots of people have found ways to take this democracy scam to the bank. Besides the billions of dollars in campaign contributions, lots of tax dollars get spent on pointless elections that don’t solve anything. Voting machines, poll workers, election commissioners, ballots, sample ballots, polling places, signs, “I Voted” stickers all cost money. None of them do us any good.

i voted

Polling companies make big money on elections too. Campaigns hire polling companies to see how people respond to their candidate. Companies hire polling companies to see how people respond to their ads, and the media hire more polling companies so they can ignore the issues and instead report on the election as though it were a horse race.

presidential-horse-race

A good polling company can tell you how any election will turn out by making 1,000 phone calls to carefully selected households. With so many polling companies asking the American people what they want or don’t want, why do we need to hold elections at all? Just take a poll. If the poll says Americans want marijuana legalized, then legalize marijuana. If the poll says Americans want genetically modified food labeled, then label the food. If the poll says Americans are disgusted with Congress, disband the Congress. Forget about turnout, likely voters, or “get out the vote” efforts, let the statisticians and supercomputers at the polling companies do something useful for a change.

polling-cartoon

Besides that, the media makes plenty of hay out of elections, with political talk shows, election coverage, and endless hours and column inches of news reporting devoted to political coverage. None of it does any good. To the media, politics is just a sport played by old rich white guys. It’s like golf, except that it’s even more boring and they use money and voters instead of clubs and a ball. They rarely tell us anything useful about the candidate or the issues, but yammer endlessly about the polls and statistics. Just like sports, the media never stops talking about it, and ultimately, none of it really matters.

media money politics

Really, none of it matters; who wins, who loses, what party they’re in or who backs them. The only thing that matters is how much, and how many of us, believe in it. As long as we consent to be governed, and trade our freedom for a ballot, they’ve got us stuck in a game we can’t win.

anarchy-empowerment

Look at Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign. Obama mobilized a massive grassroots movement for democratic change. His campaign built a movement that was orders of magnitude bigger than the Occupy Movement, primarily because it had orders of magnitude more money. That was a huge movement that mobilized an enormous amount of resources. How much difference did it make?

wiretapping-obama

What did we get for our trouble? Obamacare, drone strikes, and wiretaps for all. Economically, that’s a lousy return on our investment. For the cost of that election, we could have ended poverty in America, and for the the amount of effort it took, we could have built enough housing to end homelessness too, but instead, we played politics and nothing got solved, and things went from bad to worse.

bad to worse

How many unified nationwide grassroots movements will it take to make meaningful change through the democratic system at that rate? Dozens? Hundreds? How many unified grassroots movements of the magnitude of Obama’s 2008 campaign would ever happen without the money of the 1% behind it? Not many, I’m afraid, probably none, so face facts, the democratic system is a scam, a hoax and a myth, and an expensive one at that.

safe for hypocracy

I’ve witnessed five decades of lies, violence, idiocy and corruption, and for at least the last 30 years, five presidents, three Republicans and two Democrats have completely sold 99% of us out to the 1%. You’d think by now we’d realize that no matter which party they represent, what they promise, or how they talk on the campaign trail, electing politicians doesn’t solve anything.

vote for nobody

All of the problems that I remember as a child; pollution, poverty, deforestation, overfishing and technological warfare, have only gotten worse, and we have a whole bunch of new problems, like Global Climate Change, homelessness, unaffordable health care, and an uber-class that sucks the life out of everything. That doesn’t sound to me like democracy works. It sure doesn’t feel like democracy works. It might work for somebody, if they can afford to buy themselves a piece of it, but it doesn’t work for me, or anyone I know.

if_voting_changed_anything_theyd_make_it_illegal

I’m not saying that saying that communism or socialism or even monarchy or dictatorship would improve things, I’m saying that the only thing that all 300 million of us can agree on, is that the majority of Americans are idiots.  Democracy is the process whereby we let those idiots run the country.

idiots vote

Yes, democracy amounts to a dictatorship of the dumb, a gulag of the gullible and a republic of the retarded. Forget about the nonsense that it takes an intelligent, informed public for democracy to succeed. Democracy succeeds by turning stupidity into power that only money can wield. It’s time to face the fact that, like communism, democracy seems like a great theory, but it really doesn’t work in reality, either.

democracy doesnt work


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