Category Archives: money

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


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

 

 


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


Blackberries at the Community Park

 

Blackberries at the Community Park

DSC_0228

I wrote the following Letter to the Editor about my favorite blackberry patch in the Southern Humboldt Community Park. It appeared in this week’s issue of The Independent and The Redwood Times. I’m sure it will not make me any more popular.

not more popular

 

Dear Editor,

letters to the editor

One thing I really love about August in SoHum is blackberries. I don’t mind the thorns. I don’t mind the scratches, or the purple stains on my hands and clothes. I just love the taste of fresh ripe blackberries, and I can’t get enough of them.

blackberry stained fingers

I know that Himalayan blackberries are an invasive species around here, but frankly, so am I, so we have that in common. I take inspiration from those thorny, fast-growing vines. I, like the noble blackberry, have taken root here. I can be a sweet and generous friend, but those who cross me, will find me a thorny and resilient adversary.

thorny blackberry vine

As you can imagine, I was not thrilled to see a new sign in front of my favorite blackberry patch announcing the future site of ball fields at the Community Park. I know that a lot of people like baseball and soccer, but sports fans can be a pretty obnoxious bunch. All over this country, sports fans have prevailed on local governments to force taxpayers to subsidize the conversion of prime real estate into grand arenas for the benefit of people who refuse to outgrow their insane obsession with stupid children’s games.

crazy-sports-fans-3

These sports complexes never turn out to benefit taxpayers. As a result, critical infrastructure, like roads, bridges and sewers, as well as social services for the needy get neglected, so that sports fans have someplace to drink overpriced beer, and a team of overpaid steroid abusers to hurl insults at, while contractors and developers quietly pocket huge sums of public money.

Manager of dollar bills in his hand

You might say of sports “It’s only a game.” but it’s worse than that. It’s a racket. It’s a diversion, and it’s a tool of oppression used by fascist governments everywhere. No, there’s nothing innocent or wholesome about organized sports at any level. Sports are a racket because they funnel public dollars into the pockets of private contractors and developers without providing any real benefit to the community. Sports are a diversion because they shift people’s focus away from real issues, struggles and movements and onto staged competitions of no significance whatsoever, and sports are a tool of fascist oppression because they separate young people by by age and gender and pit them against each other while adult coaches propagandize them and encourage them to control, dominate, and defeat their opponents.

nazi sports propaganda

Wilhelm Reich wrote eloquently about the role of organized sports in developing a fascist society.

wilhelm-reich

Reich felt strongly, that to defeat global fascism, it was crucial to eliminate organized sports, because organized sports sow the seeds of military fascism.

The_Mass_Psychology_of_Fascism

I encourage everyone to read Reich’s book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism before they decide to support sports programs based on fond memories of their youth, or the infectiously cute image of boys in their Little League uniforms.

kid in baseball uniform

I know, from listening to Community Park board member Dennis Huber’s KMUD radio show, Monday Morning Magazine, that Dennis has fond memories of his days as a baseball player, and that he’s very keen to see the blackberry bushes at the park removed and replaced with a synthetic, AstroTurf covered ball field.

AstroTurf causes more sports injuries than grass

AstroTurf causes more sports injuries than grass

For every child who grows up with fond memories of organized sports, there is another child who has been traumatized, seriously injured or simply suffered through the ordeal, when they would have rather done something else. By artificially inflating the importance of sports, we encourage competition, gender bias and hierarchy in young people, and discourage creativity, cooperation and imaginative play.

imaginative play

I think it’s important to “be the change we wish to see in the world”. Even Dennis Huber gives lip-service to this idea when he talks about building a sustainable culture, and says, “let it begin here” at the end of each of his radio shows. Well, in order to build a sustainable culture, we have to actually change the way we do things. Isn’t it time this community stopped perpetuating fascist indoctrination through organized sports, and instead showed respect for the natural bounty, beauty and community benefit that wild blackberries provide.

wild blackberry festival

Hundreds of local community members derive sustenance and succor from the delicious blackberries that grow wild at the Community Park. These blackberries also feed a variety of birds, from wild turkeys, to sparrows, finches and wrens, and provide habitat and food for mammals like deer, bears and bush bunnies. Young people love to pick blackberries, and picking blackberries teaches them a lot about the natural world and their relationship to it.

picking blackberries 1-horz

Organized sports, on the other hand, drain community resources, line the pockets of contractors and developers, and instill fascist attitudes and ideas in young people that, once established, become even harder to uproot than blackberry vines. Organized sports serve the interests of fascism and promote a culture of domination, oppression and corruption, which judging by the actions of the Community Park Board, remains alive and well here in So Hum.

hitler youth hitler


Where’s Godzilla When You Really Need Him?

Where’s Godzilla When You Really Need Him?

godzilla water

The Professor suggested that I write something about the recent revelations from Tepco about the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. What humor could I possibly find in the worst industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind? How about:

fukushima_nuclear_2-other

What’s the difference between Tepco and Bradley Manning?

Bradley Manning saved innocent civilians by leaking secret information to the press, while Tepco killed innocent civilians by keeping information about the leak secret from the press.

fukushima radioactive seawater 2

Or how about…

What do Tepco and Jorma Kaukonen have in common?

They both produced Hot Tuna.

hot tuna

How many Tepco employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Two, a janitor to hold the bulb up to the socket, and the CEO to screw the whole world around it.

screw up fairy

There’s a start, I guess.

start

When faced with an overwhelming situation like Fukushima, it can help to look on the bright side. For instance…

bright side

A glowing ocean means people can now surf at night.

glowing-waves

Now you can use your Geiger counter to locate nearby sushi restaurants.

geiger counter sushi

Fish enthusiasts will find new mutant species for their marine aquariums

two_mouth_mutant_fish-3

Pacific seafood now comes out of the water pre-cooked

precooked shrimp

See, even though the Fukushima nuclear meltdown has become an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions, it’s not all bad news. In fact, the Fuk Nuke Puke will create tremendous economic opportunities for people who know how to take advantage of them. For example, there’s never been a better time to become a pediatric oncologist. The pay is great, and you’ll be up to your eyeballs in bald six-year-olds in no time.

childhood cancer

You know what they say, “When GE sells you a lemon of a nuclear reactor, make the ocean into radioactive lemonade.”

radioactive lemonade


Slightly Less Obvious Consequences of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

While we’re on the subject of marijuana prohibition:

Rand-Corporation

The Rand Corporation recently published the results of their latest study on the economic effects of legalizing cannabis.  To great fanfare, they predicted that if legalized, the price of pot will fall, while the number of users will rise. This prediction shocked people who were also surprised to learn of the Pope’s religious affiliation, and that bears shit right on the ground in the middle of the woods. Since this kind of speculation seems popular these days, I offer:

Slightly Less Obvious Consequences of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

california bear high

Farmers Markets – sales rise

Grow Shops – sales fall

With legal farmers growing cannabis in local soil fertilized with manure from animals that live on the farm, we’ll finally taste Humboldt County’s Terroir. But, we’ll no longer import enough potting soil every year to build a small island nation off the coast of Petrolia.

island nation

Head Shops – sales rise

Hair Salons – sales fall

With the prices falling and availability increasing, demand for marijuana rises, which means more people will need, pipes, rolling papers, bongs etc., and since pot is so cheap, I’ll also take a couple of those black-light posters, some incense, and a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. On the other hand, stoners hate getting their hair cut. The more pot you smoke, the more averse to haircuts you become. Anthropologists believe this well documented side effect of marijuana use to be at the heart of many tonsorial religious traditions from Rastafarianism to Sikhism. Business booms for makers of tams, turbans, and ponytail-holders, but barbershops take a beating.

dreads round

Grow lights – sales fall

Lava lamps – sales rise

As grow houses close down, makers of HID lamps, ballasts, and reflectors see sales tumble. As more of us discover the pleasures of cheap, plentiful marijuana, sales of lava lamps, plasma spheres and mirrored balls soar.

lava lamp rainbow

Custom Trucks – sales fall

Custom Bicycles – sales rise

As more people get stoned, fewer people want to drive large, loud or fast vehicles and a plethora of unique pedal powered and electric vehicles, conceived in a hashish reverie, and hand built by stoners, take the streets. Others will have to chop a lot of firewood to pay for that new truck. A lift kit only means they’ll have to lift that firewood that much higher. They’ll skip the custom bumper, wheels and headache rack because they might need to take a day-off sometime in the next six years.

custom-aztlan-bicycle

Energy – demand falls

Energy drinks – demand rises

As grow houses become a thing of the past, those electric meters won’t spin nearly as fast, but you can’t get your stoned ass to work without 300mg of caffeine in your system.

more energy

Unemployment – rises

Interest in work – falls

As grow shops, truck dealerships and hair salons lay-off workers and outlaw growers lose their source of income, the ranks of the jobless swell. However, thanks to the 80% drop in the price of marijuana, pot smokers will only have to work half as much to enjoy the same quality of life. Why work harder than you have to?

work

Reggae music – sales rise

Classical music – sales fall

Who am I kidding? No one buys music anymore.

record store closed

Pit bull popularity – falls

Cat popularity – rises

With pot legal, fewer growers need dangerous watch dogs to guard their grow or stash. Stoners, on the other hand, prefer a pet they can relax with, and no one knows how to relax like a cat.

relaxed cat

Costa-Rican real estate – sales fall

Costco – sales rise

Pot growers often used illegal profits to buy real estate in Costa-Rica, Mexico or Hawaii. With those profits gone, tropical real estate markets feel the pinch. But, with the price of an ounce of bud dropping to about $35, pot smokers can afford to buy Oreos by the pallet.

pallet of oreos

Incidents of arrest – fall

Incident of “I’m sorry, what did you just say” – rise

With pot finally legalized, the cops have one less tool with which to fuck people over. And…I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

what was I talking about


On The Money; A Brief History of Private Property

 

 

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

A Brief History of Private Property

 

quote-if-history-could-teach-us-anything-it-would-be-that-private-property-is-inextricably-linked-with-ludwig-von-mises-128364

 

For most of human history, the modern concept of private property would have been unimaginable. Early humans, as individuals, had very few possessions indeed. Early humans would have used possessive pronouns, in reference to things literally attached to them, my hair, my hand, my penis etc, if they even had pronouns at all, which they probably didn’t. Early humans were not even possessive enough to own pronouns, but they did recognize that some things, the things that grew on their own bodies, belonged to them exclusively.

 

Early-man

 

Early humans also recognized that things that grew on other creatures belonged to those creatures as well. A bear’s claw belonged to the bear. A deer’s antler belonged to the deer, and so on. Early humans needed stuff from these animals, food especially, so early humans hunted these animals and took theses things for themselves.

 

early man village

 

Still, early humans acknowledged that the meat they ate, the skins they wore, and the bones they used for tools still belonged to the animals from which they had taken them. They believed that the spirits of these animals continued to inhabit these things. Early man did not so much feel that they owned these animals, as they felt that these animals inhabited them and the things they made from them. The more bear you ate, the more bear inhabited you. If you wore buckskin clothing, the spirit of the deer that inhabited those skins kept you warm.

 

Paleolithic Cave Painting of Cattle at Lascaux

 

These early possessions, tools, clothes, furs etc could not be considered private property in the modern sense, however. They would instead be considered “belongings”. The clothes you wore, the fur you slept on, the hunting bow you used, belonged to you. You inhabited them more than owned them. Other items, like shelters, fire rings, and food were shared among the entire band. Still other items, ornamental items, game pieces, fishhooks arrowheads or arrows, drums and whistles, were often traded, or used for gambling.

 

prehistoric_man_tools

 

Early humans depended much more on the people in their band or tribe, than they relied on their few possessions. These cultures developed quite extensive social software to prevent anyone from becoming too possessive with objects. They treated greed with scorn. Gambling on games of chance provided entertainment, and insured that prized items changed hands often.

 

cavemenoutcave

 

Early humans valued equality, and their cultures reflect that. Many tribal cultures strongly avoided debt and obligation between tribal members. Gift-giving was frowned on, especially of valuable items, because of this aversion to interpersonal obligations. . However, gifts of arrows made hunting even more communal. A kill made with a gifted arrow, involved the efforts of both the hunter and the arrow-maker.

 

prehistory-hunting

 

Humility helped to insure the stability of the band, and tribal people often took it to extreme. If a hunter made a kill, instead of bragging about it, he might say it was a lucky shot, or praise the gifted arrow that made the kill. Then he would say that it seems like a tired old animal that will probably be too tough to eat. The men who help him carry the kill home will complain about how bony and mangy it looks, and ask why he even bothered to hunt such a worthless quarry, and waste their time with it, but the whole band will feast on it together.

 

cave man feast

 

Early man lived a nomadic life, moving seasonally to take advantage of a variety of wild foods. This encouraged them to keep possessions to a minimum, as they would have to carry them all, often long distances, on foot. Again, the things they carried with them would be more accurately described as “belongings” than private property.

 

Nomad Bushmen

 

Early humans lived together in small groups, usually consisting of between 15-40 members on average. These groups, although very close knit, might be quite wary of other groups, depending on their history with them. If another group of humans got too close to your camp, you might interpret that as a sign of aggression, and try to drive them off.

 

warriors

 

As with most animals, these confrontations between groups of humans often involved little more than bluster, before one group backed down. If the confrontation escalated to violence, and especially if it resulted in death, the two groups would likely remain enemies for a very long time. Hostile raids and revenge killings would be expected.

 

care for the dead

 

You could call these kinds of conflicts “territorial” but they were really more personal than territorial. The territory between the groups created a buffer that allowed hostile groups to avoid each other, but no one thought they owned the territory. For millions of years, human beings lived this way, and, where they haven’t been wiped out, they continue to live this way. This is not a primitive lifestyle. This is who we are.

 

indigenous tribe

 

About 10,000 years ago, one particular group of humans became especially fond of a fermented grain beverage. Today, we would call it beer, but who knows what they called it then. They began burning large tracts of land to cultivate grain to make it. This burned and planted land must have been quite jealously guarded, not only from other humans, but from animals seeking to graze there.

 

early Agriculture

 

Thus began the concept of private property. Still, this had more to do with labor than land. In those days, they didn’t know much about fertility, so a burned patch of forest land would only produce grain for a few years before exhausting the soil. Before long, they would need to burn more forest land leaving the old exhausted fields abandoned. In these early days, private property was kind of like a roll of toilet paper in a public restroom. It was there. You took what you needed, and when you were done with it, no one else really wanted it.

 

toilet paper

 

As sometimes happens in public restrooms, eventually the roll ran out. That is, they ran out of virgin forest land to burn. They did what you or I would do when confronted with an exhausted roll of toilet paper in a restroom stall. They checked the adjacent stall. If they found the adjacent stall empty, that solved their problem.

 

public-restrooms

 

On the other hand, if they found the stall occupied, and the occupant felt nervous about the dwindling supply of toilet paper roll in that stall, they might find themselves in a conflict situation, as “Elaine” once did in a memorable episode of the TV series Seinfeld. For those of you unfamiliar with history, I’ll remind you that in that episode, “Elaine” found herself in a restroom stall with an empty roll of toilet paper, a fact she discovered too late. She pleaded with the woman in the next stall for a length of toilet paper, but the woman refused, claiming that she could not even spare one square of toilet paper for “Elaine”.

square to spare

 

 

This made “Elaine” extremely angry, and hilarity ensued. If you substitute land for toilet paper, and violence for hilarity, the history of agricultural man followed more or less the same plot as that episode of Seinfeld. That is why you won’t find a scrap of proverbial toilet paper left on the proverbial roll in any proverbial restroom stall from Morocco to Afghanistan, but you will find a lot of angry people.

 

seinfeld_episode076

 

As time went on, this metaphorical “hilarity” escalated, and became more common. Before long “hilarity” became the standard method for acquiring agricultural land, leading to the rise of “funny” men, who did not farm at all, but specialized in hacking people to bits. These “professional comedians” as we’ll call them. Fought each other for scraps of agricultural “toilet paper”, and the farmers who tended them.

 

feudal village

 

These farmers then became the subjects of these “professional comedians”, so called because these “comedians” subjected the farmers to “punchlines” of very pointed “jokes” if they refused to provide them with a share of the crops they harvested. While farmers remained with the land they tended, these “professional comedians” slayed each other for control of them, if you catch my drift.

 

fontenoy-bat

 

Military might became increasingly central to the control of resources, especially land. While farmers continued to work the land, the “professional comedians”, the dukes, kings and warlords who fought over the land claimed “ownership” of it. Farmers became terrorized peasants, while the military class took control of their lands by violence, and demanded payment from them, in the form of crops and livestock.

 

feudal system

 

Everything that these conquerors could extract from conquered lands became known as “the spoils of war”. They took people, especially women, as slaves, people’s belongings, livestock, any thing of value quickly became the property of the conquering forces. Wild game and natural resources also became “private property” as military forces plundered the entire known world.

 

the-spoils-of-war-booty

 

In this way, military power trumped the labor of the farmers who worked the land, the belongings of people who lived on the land, and the natural integrity of the land itself, as the modern definition of private property fully crystallized. Since then, military powers have measured the value of everything, according to their own short-term purposes, and their own ability to plunder and exploit. Economists use this same skewed perspective to this day, which partially explains why they get things so wrong.

 

spoils_of_war_on_holiday_table_hurwitt_large

 

As this method of resource distribution became more institutionalized, military violence grew in scale, and military forces became increasingly hierarchical. To insure the loyalty of the vast armies necessary for this kind of conquest, the kings, dukes, robber barons and warlords who led these conquests needed to pay their soldiers. This they did by issuing contracts or covenants, promising each soldier, according to his rank, a share of the spoils, which might include land, slaves, other people’s belongings and natural resources.

 

feudal war

 

The age of naval conquest vastly expanded the lands available to become private property through the process of conquest and plunder. Adventurous plunderers like Christopher Columbus and Cortez exported this new concept of private property, as they began the colonial plunder of the Americas, commencing the most abominable undertaking in all of human history, at least in terms of human lives extinguished, the American genocide.

 

cortez-montezuma-mexico-city

 

European conquerors spread like locusts around the globe. Slavery, genocide and complete environmental plunder became the calling cards of Western Civilization, as colonial military invaders sought to exterminate thousands of indigenous cultures, replacing them with this new concept of private property.

 

genocide

 

Since then, conquerors have felt free to trade lands, resources, people, livestock etc, through legally binding contracts, enforced with military might. From this proud history, we inherited our modern concept of private property. From the Mayflower Charter to the mortgage on your home, the concept of private property arises from, belongs to and exemplifies the violence, oppression and environmental plunder which defines Western Civilization, but it does not reflect economic reality.

 

indian-land-for-sale

 

This flawed concept of private property underpins all modern economic analysis, but it clearly misses the forest for the lumber, so to speak. Of course the world has value in its natural integrity. Of course the indigenous people that inhabited those conquered lands valued their homeland, and their lives. Of course an ocean teeming with fish, whales and other marine mammals is worth more than one depleted of fish, but full of toxic pollution and plastic debris.

 

floating plastic garbage

 

Destroying natural habitat, certainly does not increase its value. The destruction only diminishes the value of the natural environment, and whatever price the resources extracted from it bring on an open market, pales against the loss. Western Civilization has not created wealth. Western Civilization has butchered the natural wealth of the planet, and pillaged the Earth for its own aggrandizement.

 

pile of buffalo skulls

 

As we watch the biodiversity of the Earth diminish before our eyes, and the global environment becomes increasingly desertified and polluted, we cannot fathom the lost wealth of the planet. The losses are incalculable. Modern economics has ignored these losses and hidden them from view. Instead it celebrates the petty fortunes of the privateers who have plundered the Earth.

 

christopher columbus

 

We feel the loss though, and the pain of it tortures our soul. Billions of creatures have perished of it, with billions more to follow, and billions of humans can be counted among them. Why people, who claim to detest slavery, genocide and violence, also respect private property, I cannot fathom. I call it hypocrisy. Personally, I have nothing but contempt for the concept of private property, and the titles held by so called “land owners” backed by the ferocious violence of the state. There’s no saving private property. For the planet to live, private property must die.

the world is yours

 


On The Money; What’s My Objection To Objective Science?

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

The Method To My Madness pt 2

What’s My Objection To Objective Science?

funny-pictures-cat-will-do-science

For centuries now, objective science has ruled the world. About 500 years ago, objective science overthrew God, and replaced religion as the chief source of human knowledge about the world, during a period known as The Renaissance, or “The Enlightenment”. Sure, religion was ripe for an overthrow. Religion had become incredibly corrupt, violent and oppressive, and did little for the millions of poor people who served it so, well, religiously, but today, objective science has failed, and the seeds of it’s failure were there from the beginning.

scientist fail

For a while, objective science seemed like a wonderful thing. The freedom to study the world, and publish your findings without fear of being condemned to death as a heretic must have been quite refreshing. In its early years, objective science made great strides in understanding how the world worked, especially in the field of physics.

science

Sir Isaac Newton, besides earning himself a knighthood, and a distinguished place in history, remains a household word to this day for his groundbreaking work in describing the mathematical relationship between objects in motion. This was such a big deal, they even named a cookie after him. Newton’s way of looking at the world, as a collection of objects, in motion or at rest, falling and bumping into each other, became the foundation of “objective science”. Suddenly, science, specifically physics, was all about objects, and the transfer of energy between them.

newton

Lots of people jumped on the “objective science” bandwagon, and soon, the “scientific method” was born. Science teachers all over the world, in all kinds of fields, from chemistry to sociology still teach this scientific method. The scientific method is a way of designing experiments, and scientists all over the world use it religiously.

scientific method

Using the scientific method, the scientist tries to isolate one particular variable in a complex system, and then looks for something that determines change in that variable. For instance, a scientist might start a number of identical plants, raising them in exactly the same soil and nutrients, and then vary the amount of light the plants receive, to see how that effects the plant’s growth rate. Ideally, the scientist finds a cause and effect relationship, that can be expressed in the form of a mathematical equation, x hours of sunlight produces y amount of new growth, for instance.

plant experiment

While physical objects yield very easily to this kind of experiment, producing mathematically predictable results, complex systems, specifically organisms, like plants, animals, people, families, cities, or the economy, do not yield such cut and dried results. Organisms teem with variables, and scientists find it difficult, if not impossible, to control all of them, as well as they do the variables of objects, like chemicals, rocks, or metal parts.

gears

Objective science taught us a lot about organisms, but never with the kind of mathematical accuracy and predictability of physics, and the more complex the organism, the less predictable the results, and the harder it was for scientists to find these mechanical cause and effect relationships. That didn’t stop them from trying, though. In the mean time, the objective science of physics really took off.

science-youre-doing-it-wrong

Thanks to “objective science”, physics gave birth to modern technology. From the steam locomotive and the cotton gin, to the ipad and the X-Box, the world of applied objective science, commonly called technology, transformed the world, and our lives. Not only did theses new things change our lives, objective science itself, made us feel smarter and more powerful.

high tech

We began to believe that through objective science, we could unlock all of the secrets of the universe and know the mind of God. This was the goal of “The Enlightenment”, to explain how the universe worked, in scientific equations, rather than religious terms. When we saw the first nuclear explosion, and learned the equation E=MCsquared, a lot of people thought we were getting close to that goal.

Einstein

Despite the fact that physics had left biology, psychology, sociology, economics and other sciences that study organisms in the dust, many scientists in those fields, and most laypeople, still assume that objective science will eventually unlock all of the secrets of the universe, and so they continue to pursue objective science, believing that only the vast number of variables inherent in the study of organisms, prevents scientists from completely grasping the mechanics of life, but they think they are getting close too.

science guy

These scientists think that unraveling the mysteries of the universe is a good thing, in and of itself, but more importantly, they believe that we can use this knowledge to make the world a better place to live. This idea has guided our culture for the last 500 years. These were the assumptions behind the rise of objective science: That objective science would unlock the mysteries of the universe, and that we could use that knowledge to engineer a better world.

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That’s why they overthrew God and religion to begin with. Not that God and religion didn’t deserve to be overthrown, but now objective science has led us into a system more corrupt, violent and oppressive than even the sickest ambitions of the most sadistic Cardinals of the Spanish Inquisition. Objective science has become a scam, a way to make money, and a political tool to bamboozle the public, and instead of helping us to engineer a better world, it has unleashed hell on Earth.

spanish inquisition

Fans of objective science, and there are many, usually see the mysteries of the universe as falling into two broad categories: The stuff we already understand, and the stuff scientists are studying right now, so that we will understand it pretty soon. Most of them still believe that we will someday unravel the mysteries of the universe through objective science, and that we will use that knowledge to make the world a better place to live, but they couldn’t be more wrong, and the further we pursue objective science, the more obvious that fact becomes.

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The truth is, We don’t have a freakin’ clue! We are no closer to unraveling the mysteries of the universe that we have ever been. The mythology of the Big Bang has no more truth in it than the story of Adam’s rib, or the story that the whole world sits on the back of a turtle. These stories all provide convenient ways to explain what we see around us, but I wouldn’t take any of them too seriously. Before you call me a heretic for renouncing the Big Bang, you should consider a few things.

big bang turtle

First, almost all of the scientists in the world are working on projects aimed at developing new products. They’re developing new drugs to treat depression, finding ways to make weapons more lethal, figuring out how to make computers smaller and faster. Sure, some of them are staring out at the universe and trying to make sense of it, but more of them are creating dangerous new life forms that they can patent and unleash on the world, to make money.

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They aren’t unraveling the mysteries of the universe, so much as they are unraveling the fabric of life itself, because that’s where the research funds come from. The companies that fund science, expect to turn a profit from it. The same people who drive scientific research, also drive our economy, the scientists working for them care more about their paycheck, than uncovering the ultimate truth of the universe. The Big Bang is not really a big deal to most of them, it is just how the universe looks to them.

big bang card

Second, and this is the important part. Even though the world looks to us like its made of objects, some living, like plants and animals, some not, like rocks and ice cubes, the world only looks this way to us because this is what we need to see in order to survive. Our brains don’t have anywhere near the capacity to understand the universe. We only see what we need to know to get ourselves fed and laid. In other words, how the universe looks to us, has almost nothing to do with how the universe is. What we don’t comprehend, and doesn’t help us survive, we simply don’t see at all.

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Objective scientists themselves have provided plenty of evidence to prove it. According to astrophysicists, everything we have managed to detect in the universe, only accounts for about 2% of what they suspect is really there. They don’t mean that beyond the reach of our telescopes there is more stuff, they mean that all around us, there is more stuff, like dark matter, dark energy etc. We simply have no way of detecting it.

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Einstein’s theory of relativity showed us, quite dramatically, with the first nuclear explosion, that the world is not made of objects, however tiny. Instead, the universe is made of energy, and that space and time aren’t nearly as real as we, or Newton, imagined, at least not outside of the observer who experiences them.

relativity

Even though the universe appears as though it sprang into existence out of nothingness, from one single point, no one was outside of the universe to observe it. There is no such thing as absolute space and time. Instead, space and time only exist in relation to an observer, that’s what Einstein meant by relativity. Since there were no observers, outside of the universe, before the big bang, there wasn’t any space or time in which that mythical event took place. What would the Big Bang be without any time to expand, or any space to expand into?

big bang construction

I know its hard to imagine anything outside of space and time. It’s impossible really. That’s what I mean by incomprehensible. Looking at the universe as something that exists in space and time is kind of like looking at a pie chart. When you see data expressed in a pie chart, you can make some sense of it, but when you only see pages and pages of raw data, it doesn’t make any sense at all, so you don’t bother. Everyone knows that a pie chart is not a real pie, and that data does not become sweet gooey filling when you make one. This is not a perfect analogy, but nothing is, really. It’s incomprehensible, that’s the whole problem, and that’s my point.

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Does all of that seem incomprehensible to you? Good! It should, because it is. It’s time we faced that fact. The universe is simply beyond our comprehension. We don’t really know any more about the universe than an orangutan, or a chimp or a hamster for that matter. None of us in this world really knows any more than we really need to know to get ourselves fed and to get ourselves laid, and some of us don’t even know that much.

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By the way, what I’m telling you here, is called a phenomenological analysis of objective science. Phenomenologists don’t make discoveries that capitalists can turn into products, and so they don’t make much money, outside of the philosophy departments of some colleges and universities, where they occasionally find work as professors. If this stuff sounds interesting to you, I suggest you find a college or university who employs one, and take a few classes in phenomenology.

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Alright, now that we’ve gone over the deep end, you are probably asking yourself, “What’s all of this got to do with economics?” The short answer is that while objective science taught us a lot about objects in space and time, it never really told us much about organisms. Phenomenology, on the other hand, can tell us a lot about organisms, not everything, but more than objective science. Again, if phenomenology sounds interesting to you, find yourself a good phenomenologist, and take a few classes.

husserl

One basic principle of phenomenology is that organisms are always more than the sum of their parts, unlike machines, which are simply the sum of their parts. Plants, animals and people are organisms, and they are also part of a larger organism called the ecosystem, which is part of a larger organism called the world, which is undoubtedly part of a larger organism we call “The Universe”. . There’s much more to us than meets the eye, and that’s why objective science never really told us as much about us, as it did about objects. The economy is also an organism, and it’s part of a larger organism called “society” which is also part of the ecosystem, etc. This means that there is more to how we feed each other, trade with each other, and compete with each other than meets the eye.

more than meets the eye

On The Money, Economics for the 99% offers a phenomenological analysis of economics. You’ll notice that I include my personal perspective, as well as an environmental perspective, a workers perspective, a consumers perspective, a political perspective and a social perspective on the subject of economics, instead of just looking at the mechanical flow of money around the globe.

i love phenomenology

The phenomenological method of study, involves observing phenomena from many perspectives, rather than trying to describe it as an object or a machine. The world is more than resources, people are more than consumers and the economy is more than a machine that feeds one to the other. I also include a bit of humor, because readers are more than just digesters of information. Call me crazy, but there’s a phenomenological critique of objective science that’s On The Money.


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