Category Archives: news and politics

Vote NO on Measure Z

z abe lincoln quote1

I just googled “Measure Z Humboldt County,” and discovered that this blog ranks higher than any other site that opposes Measure Z. Right behind the official Support Measure Z site, the county’s Measure Z page, and a LOCO story about Measure Z, my piece, No Wifi in SoHum Means No on Measure Z ranked fourth, and was the only “No on Z” site to turn up on the entire first page of results.

No-Wifi-no-z

Fuck! Somebody needs to stand up to Rob Arkley and Lee Ulansey’s plan to screw the poor and working people of Humboldt County. It looks like everyone else is busy with the Eureka Fair Wage Act and the County-wide GMO Ban. Personally, I don’t even garden, let alone farm, and I don’t live in Eureka, so those issues don’t effect me much.

z churchill quote

On the other hand, Measure Z, if it passes will hurt me, and a lot of other people in Humboldt County like me, who barely make ends meet, and have neither the time nor the resources to launch a political campaign. I don’t have money for campaign literature. I don’t even have a phone to call other people to help organize a fundraiser. I have a blog. That’s it. That’s what makes Measure Z so unfair. It specifically targets the people who have the least resources to fight it. It’s like taking candy from a baby.

z baked baby

I make my living as an artist. The key to survival as an artist is not talent or hard work, because God knows I lack the former, and avoid the latter like Ebola. The key to survival as an artist is finding creative ways to spend even less money than you make. There is no minimum wage for artists, nor do we get any raises, cost-of-living increases or bonuses. Keeping costs down is critical to my survival, and Measure Z, if it passes will raise my cost of living, and it will definitely hurt.

z big_shark_1a

If Measure Z passes, I will have to pay more for things like shoes, clothes, shampoo and toilet paper, basic necessities of life that everyone needs and has to buy. Everyone who buys anything in Humboldt County will have to pay this tax to county government. Measure Z will raise the price of everything from tampons, condoms and diapers to beer wine and cigarettes for everyone who shops in Humboldt County, but it won’t effect everyone equally.

z arkley crop-tile

People who have plenty of money will just shrug it off without a second thought. Land-owners think it beats paying property tax, so they won’t complain. Merchants think they are going to get something for it, namely more sheriff’s deputies tasked with the job of removing unsightly poverty from our business districts, so you don’t hear them complaining. For work-a-day stiffs, low-income families, disabled people and retirees on a fixed income, Measure Z could easily become the straw that breaks the camel’s bank.

z1 burden rock

The injustice of a county sales tax is that the primary purpose of county government is to protect the property rights of property owners. If you own property, then county government works for you, but if you don’t own property, but instead rent your home, county government are the people who evict you. That’s why, until now, your landlord paid for county government. That’s why a county-wide sales tax is unfair. Everyone pays it, but it primarily benefits land-owners, and hurts renters.

z evictions

The landlords in Humboldt County have gotten so greedy that they want to make poor and working people pay for their own eviction every time they buy shoes. Listen closely to the way land-owners talk about “transients, ” because when land-owners say “transients” they mean everyone who doesn’t own land. If you’re a renter, they’re talking about you. They’re not satisfied with the exorbitant rent they already charge you. They want more. If Measure Z passes, it will be like giving your landlord an extra nickle every time you spend $10 in Humboldt County.

z barista

Your landlord takes too much of your money already! Measure Z is a shameful attempt by rich ranchers and greedy real estate developers like Lee Ulansey and Rob Arkley to steal from the poor and working people of Humboldt County. Measure Z steals from the poor and gives to the rich. We must stop it NOW. Vote NO on Measure Z

z Homeless-Family-

…And don’t forget to register to vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cats dont forget-horz

The Following letter appeared in this week’s Independent and Redwood Times:

z destroy a dog2

Dear Editor,

z john and yoko

The only thing that looms larger on the landscape of Humboldt County than the majestic redwoods for which we are rightly famous, is the unmitigated greed of some of it’s richest residents. Today, that greed has a stranglehold on county government, and stands poised to reach into the pockets of this county’s poor,

z arkley would

young,

z poor student2

low-income,

z poor people wait tables

and working people.

People work in a maquiladora, or garment assembly plants in Tehuacan

Measure Z, the countywide sales tax, will make bare necessities, like clothing, shoes and toiletries, more expensive for the people who can least afford them: single mothers,

z Homeless-Family-

working families,

z bad family

disabled people,

disability protest against cuts

and retirees on fixed incomes.

z boomers roar

Measure Z steals from the poor, and gives their hard-earned money to Lee Ulansey’s hand-picked Board of Supervisors, who then give it to rich ranchers and greedy developers in the form of subsidies and tax breaks.

z cats for poor people

The Board of Supervisors, and the puppet-masters who pull their strings, know that poor people are the most generous, community minded people in the county, and they intend to play us for suckers.

z Sucker

The county has not promised to do anything to help poor or working people. Quite the contrary, the county has promised to use the money to harass homeless people, speed up evictions, and to make room in the county jail for people accused of petty crimes.

z too many cops

If the county is broke, it is only because it has so consistently pandered to the desires of rich land-owners, and failed to tax them sufficiently.

z humboldt-sheriff3

If measure Z passes, the county will begin collecting sales tax from everyone who spends money in Humboldt County, including many local residents who can ill afford it.

z low income1

That money will pay for subsidized infrastructure to support new McMansion developments.

z mcmansion

It will pay for subsidized pest control for ranchers, through Wildlife Services, an expensive and outdated agency notorious for cruel, inhumane practices and for indiscriminately killing millions of wild animals every year,

z wildlife services logo-vert

and it will pay for thousands of little perks for land-owners, like subsidizing the cost of hazardous materials inspections at agricultural businesses.

z hazmat

Measure Z will be a windfall for Humboldt County’s richest and greediest 1%.

z Burns-1 percent

I urge each of you to stand together with the 99%. Tell the county to tax the rich, not the poor! Make the 1% pay their fair share. Please, vote NO on Measure Z.

z bad dad

Sincerely, John Hardin

z bikini sign


Please Buy My New Book: On The Money: Economics for the 99%, How the Economy Works, and Why It Works Against You.

OTM ebook cover

At last, I am very pleased to announce the publication of my first book: On The Money: Economics for the 99% or, How The Economy Works and Why It Works Against You. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll remember On The Money: Economics for the 99% as a series of weekly essays that appeared here from 2011-13.

OTM WHAT DID CAVEMEN KNOW

Besides offering a thought provoking, phenomenological analysis of our current economic system, On The Money: Economics for the 99% contains some of my best and funniest writing. The fact that Savage Henry Magazine and Fifth Estate Magazine have both published essays from the On The Money: Economics for the 99% series, should tell you that On The Money: Economics fro the 99% is both funny enough for stupid people and radical enough for smart people.

stupid_creates

Essays from the On The Money: Economics for the 99% series remain some of the most popular posts here at lygsbtd, and you can still find them highly ranked on my “most read” (“Stuff People Read”) section in the right-hand column. My new book, On The Money: Economics for the 99% contains classics like:

classics like
Gilligan’s Island as Economic Metaphor
Barbie v Bratz
Hello, My Name is Civilization and I’m an Alcoholic
MyPee
How To Party Now That the Party’s Over
Unemployment
Foie Gras
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
along with 62 other great essays first published here. I’ve revised and updated them all, so they’re even funnier and more relevant than before. Even if you’ve already read all of these essays before, out of order, and over the course of three years, you haven’t seen the whole picture. You owe it to yourself to read the book in it’s completion. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

whole is greater

You owe it to me too! For three and a half years now I pour myself out for you. Every week, thousands of you come here for some little respite from your miserable lives. You slurp up whatever I have to offer, and then you slink away. Well it’s time to pay the piper!

Pay_the_piper

What’s it worth to you folks?

worth it6

We’re only talking about $5 here! That works out to about 14 essays, or 14,000 carefully chosen words, for each dollar. That’s a hell of a bargain if you ask me, and you’ve had plenty of opportunity to sample the wares, so don’t tell me you’re not interested, because you’re here, for God’s sake.

you are here snake

Please, if my work means anything to you, and you want to see this blog continue, buy a copy of On The Money: Economics for the 99%. You won’t regret it. On The Money: Economics for the 99% is a great book. You’ll love reading it. I love reading it, and I hate to read. I guarantee that you will not find a more entertaining or informative book about economics anywhere, at any price.

OTM CLICK HERE NOW

You need to know this stuff. On The Money: Economics for the 99% examines our modern economy from the perspective of someone who has to live in it. This book explains how the economy consumes you, your world, and your future.

OTM gas flare

To save yourself, you need to know how the economy really works. Your future depends on it. I know you don’t want to think about it. That’s why I always look for the weird angle, and try to keep it playful. If you can laugh at it, you can beat it.

OTM ever wonder duck

Come on folks! I am your writer. I tell the truth, and I make it entertaining. You may not always agree with me. Hell, you may not ever agree with me, but something brings you back, week after week. Well, if you want to keep coming back, and finding new stuff here, show some appreciation for the three and a half years of my life I’ve already given you. Even if you can’t read, and just come here to look at the pictures,PLEASE, BUY MY FUCKING BOOK! It has a great cover!

OTM promo DETAILS AMAZING

I’m serious people! I need your help right now. $5 from you will make a huge impact on my life, and you’ll get a great 70,000 word ebook, that I put a hell of a lot of work into, to read at your leisure. Put it on your card, charge it to your pay pal account, however you want to do it is fine, just DO IT NOW!! Please.

OTM everyone buys it

And buy a copy for a friend. Surely you know someone who really needs to see things from a different perspective. Give On The Money: Economics for the 99% as a gift. Infect others with these ideas, don’t just let them fester inside your own head. On The Money: Economics for the 99% has the potential to change the economy, by changing the way people see it.

OTM because life

It’s going to take a movement folks, and the more people who read On The Money: Economics for the 99%, the faster that movement will grow. So, please, get the word, and spread the word. On The Money: Economics for the 99% is the book everyone must read today.

can u longgif


No Public Wifi in SoHum Means No on Measure Z

No-Wifi-no-z I’m getting tired of this. I mean, I enjoy writing. That’s not quite right. I love putting my thoughts in your head. That really means a lot to me. The fact that you are reading this right now totally turns me on. I want to keep you coming back for more. That’s why I go to the trouble of writing an essay every week, and then spend three or four hours stealing pictures to illustrate it. worth stealing I’m happy to share what I have to offer, free of charge, but it sure isn’t easy. Believe it or not, we have no free public wifi anywhere in SoHum. There’s no wifi at the library, none at the Garberville CR campus, neither the Mateel nor KMUD nor any of the county buildings offer an open router. In order to use public wifi, in SoHum, you have to get on a bus, bound for Eureka, which costs money. I’ve done it, but working on the bus makes me nauseous. sick on bus That only leaves two cafes, in all of SoHum that offer wifi. One of them makes sadistically bad coffee, and requires patrons to spend $5 an hour. At the other, I linger much too long over coffee and a cookie, and try to avoid the owner’s hairy eyeball. The staff is great, and always make me feel welcome, but both places have loud music or TVs blaring, making concentration difficult at best. Neither are good places to work. distracting I’m really sick of it. So Hum needs a public internet connection at least as much as we need a library or a post office. I can’t even pay the sales tax I owe, as a small business owner, without an internet connection. If the government is going to require me to use the internet to pay my taxes, they damn well better provide someplace where I can get online to do it. I’ve written to my Supervisor about it, repeatedly, to no avail. I’ve even pointed her in the direction of a federal grant program to provide broadband service to rural communities. Nothing. nothing Meanwhile, our Board of Supervisors hands out a $16,000 subsidy to local ranchers, so they don’t have to pay the full cost of their hazardous materials inspections. Just a couple weeks ago it was $67,000 a year, for the next four years for subsidized pest control, through a notoriously inhumane and environmentally destructive agency known as Wildlife Services, again for ranchers, and other rich people living in country estates. Before that, they let developers off the hook for the costs of infrastructure to serve new subdivisions, another huge giveaway for land speculators and developers. welfare ranching Every week, at the Board of Supervisors meetings, all of their rich rancher and developer friends whine about how hard it is to make a living on 1,600 acres in Humboldt County and why they need more subsidies, and our Board of Supervisors practically weep in sympathy for them. Meanwhile 2,000 or more Humboldt County residents sleep outside, under bridges behind stores, or anywhere they can find because they have no place to live, and the Supes want them arrested. It’s sickening. Sickening-lacquer Wifi at the fucking library, that’s all I ask. I know that the library is only open four days a week. I can deal with that. Just don’t make me sit in that goddamned cafe all day. I come to town once a week, and once a week, I have work to do online. Out where I live, internet access costs about as much as I pay in rent, and half of the year, I don’t even have the electricity to use it, so an internet connection at home is out of the question for me. out of the question1 Allegedly, this is the birthplace of the back-to-the-land movement (don’t get me started). These hills should be full of people like me, who live simply, close to the earth, without a lot of luxuries, who need to get online from time to time, just like they need to go to the post office once in a while. I know that a lot of people need a public wifi connection in town. I see them at the cafe. I see them try in vain at the library, and I hear them complain about it. I sympathize. It sucks. sucks1 I know a lot of people say we need more sheriff’s deputies. That’s bullshit. The cops around here are violent, corrupt and out-of-control. The last thing we need is more of them. Local merchants who call the cops every time they see a group of people hanging out on the sidewalk don’t want more sheriff’s deputies, they want subsidized bouncers, so they can treat Garberville like their own private country club. Now our teary-eyed Board of Supes wants to play Santa Claus to them too, and they want ME to pay for it. SANTA_CLAUS They want YOU to pay for it too. They want to raise the sales tax, so that every time we buy anything in Humboldt County, Lee Ulansey’s cronies on the Board of Supervisors skim the cream to finance big giveaways for rich developers and welfare ranchers, not to mention fat pensions for overpaid, crooked cops. They call it Measure Z, and they’re hoping you’ll sleep through it. Don’t! VOTE Lee Ulanseys hands Measure Z puts Humboldt County’s richest hands, into it’s poorest’s pockets. Measure Z would make homeless alcoholics pay for utility hookups in new McMansion devos. Measure Z would make HSU students pay for that guy who kills a hundred raccoons every year for no good reason. Measure Z would make me pay someone to harass my friends on the streets of Garberville. VOTE STOP SUBSIDIZING Sales tax is a regressive form of taxation that unfairly burdens the poor. The rich have internet access at home, and can order stuff online, avoiding sales tax altogether. A lot of rich people own businesses and can buy what they need wholesale, at Costco, tax free with their merchant ID number. Poor people pay retail prices, at local shops. Poor local people will pay most of that tax. being-poor-Z-horz Single mothers will pay it when they shop for back-to-school supplies for their kids. Working people will pay it when they buy work clothes, shoes, furniture, and appliances. Homeless people will pay it when they buy prepared food because they have no kitchen to cook in. This new proposed sales tax will help Humboldt County’s richest and greediest suck more blood from underpaid workers, overcharged tenants, and poor families just struggling to survive. VOTE STOP RICH GREED HEADS Not only that, a new sales tax will turn Humboldt County into one of those special sales tax districts. I hate those special sales tax districts. Those fucking special sales tax districts make it that much harder and take that much longer, to file my taxes, which really pisses me off when I’m trying to do it in a fucking cafe on my third cup of guilt-coffee, with teenage techno beats pounding in my ears. Well Fuck You Very Much Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. VOTE FUCK YOU BOARD OF SUPES


God, Einstein, Kant, Darwin, and Me

God-horz

I’ve been really busy on a couple of new radio projects. One of these radio shows relates to this blog, and will air this Sunday. I really enjoyed doing it, and I’m excited to share it, so let me tell you a little about it:

let me tell you a story

Sunday, August 31, at 9:30 AM Pacific Time on KMUD Community Radio,

kmud-radio-logo
I will appear (if one can be said to “appear” on radio) as a guest on:
The Living Earth Connection:
A Show That Examines the Root Causes of the Ecological Crisis and Seeks to Change Our Vision of Our Place in the World

livingearth back cover

On this show I talk about classical music, Einstein, Kant, Darwin, the phenomenology of the organism and the metaphysics of ecology, in that order. You know, just a regular “off the cuff” interview. We prerecorded the interview last week, and finished editing it last night.

off the cuff stuff

I know this material pretty well, but it’s quite heady. I had the rare privilege, as an interviewee, to edit the interview as well. I did my best to eliminate the long pauses and unnecessary digressions to make it as pleasant to listen to, and easy to understand as possible. Some great bits didn’t make the cut. We only have an hour of airtime, after all. This show was entirely Amy Gustin’s idea, but now that we’ve completed it, we’re both happy with how it came out. We may even post some of the outtakes as additional material on the Living Earth Connection blog.

living earth connection

I got invited on the show because of an essay I wrote that first appeared on this blog. Well, that, and the fact that I sleep with the producer, got me invited on the the show to talk about the essay titled: You Don’t Have To Call It God, But Don’t Pretend It Doesn’t Exist. Amy really liked the essay, because it points out that the best available science supports an animist, or indigenous worldview, while it indicts objective science, technology and the dominant culture.

future indictments

The essay has nothing to do with God. It’s about science, perception and phenomenology. Religion gives God such a bad name, that I hated to use the G word in the title, but “A Short Essay on Phenomenological Metaphysics” has no hook. God is still a celebrity with SEO gravitas, so I went with the stupid title.

seo stupidity

This essay elicited the most inspiring comment I have yet received in three-and-a-half years of blogging:

Frank Josef Orange
May 28th, 2014 at 1:22 am | Edit

This in regards to your essay You Don’t Have to Call It God: I’ve been a searcher all my life, read Relatively for the millions at around 11 but I was never able to do the math but I came to understand the principles.
Looked for god in LSD ,weed ..got closer
The strange thing is that recently I’ve been having some health problems, the kind you know will be the end ..ya just know, the odd part is that answers have been just showing up, I happened to watch a documentary DMT the spirit molecule And your essay, and all of it is coming into clarity.
That all of us and everything ever,was and forever well be One.
And it is simplicity and perfection and oneness and ..Self ?

Although there is still the problem how this thing came into existence. Something can’t spontaneously exist from nothing.
Could be we are just one of many beautiful shinning entities.
Oddly I’ve come to not care.

To conclude though, there were many things that lead me to the conclusions I’ve come to, but I have to say your essay just about puts the dot at the end…….

What can you say about a comment like that? Words matter! I write!

words have power

Frank read the essay about a week earlier than most of you, because I accidentally hit “Publish” when I meant to hit “Schedule.” The post appeared on the blog early, for about 10 seconds, but because he subscribes, the post went right to his email. When he came back to post a comment, it ended up under the previous week’s post. I’m telling you this, because, hey, sometimes there are bonuses for subscribers.

bonus

There are bonuses for listeners too. I always find it easier to understand something when someone explains it to me, than when I read it. On the radio show, I go into much more detail about the science behind the essay, and the implications of this world view. I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of what you read on this blog is just pointless drivel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but this radio show is different. This radio show can change the way you see the world. At the very least it will give you something to think about. I hope you’ll tune in. 

tun in loungeclick this link to stream or download Part 1 of the show

click this link to stream or download Part 2 of the show

 


Bikini Weather Crisis

bikini weather crisis

I heard a pretty good radio show on KMUD this week. A local volunteer programmer failed to show up for his time slot, so they threw on an episode of Radio Ecoshock, which usually runs at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night. The show looked at why no one wants to talk about (or read about, presumably) Global Warming or Global Climate Change. The show featured guest George Marshall who has just written a new book called Don’t Even Think About It, about why it is so hard to get people to talk about Global Climate Change.

dont even think about it marshall

I haven’t read the book, but I can relate. In the ’90s I worked as a canvasser for Greenpeace. The science behind Global Warming was pretty solid even back then, and Greenpeace had an active campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It had something to do with “the Montreal Protocol,” but I don’t remember much more than that. We had pretty good campaign literature and everyone could easily understand the issue. Compared to endocrine disrupting chlorinated hydrocarbons, bio-accumulation of persistent toxins, or even the dirty side of nuclear power, Global Warming seemed like an easy sell.

climatebikini

Most of the people who worked in that office lived “car free” already. We knew vehicle exhaust was destroying the planet. We immediately understood the importance of the issue, and we all developed raps to explain Greenpeace’s strategy to stop Global Warming. We immediately recognized Global Warming as “the ubber-issue”, the issue that supersedes all current issues and spawns all future issues. We knew that Global Warming would define our lives, so we worked that campaign enthusiastically.

climate bikini

Unfortunately, Global Warming turned out to be a really tough sell when talking to the general public. When we told them that the Japanese were still hunting minke whales, it incensed them and made them angry. They were happy to give us money to stop them. When we told them that DuPont made carcinogenic plastics, pesticides and ozone destroying chemicals, as well as medical equipment and chemotherapy drugs, they said “go get ‘em” and wrote a check. When we explained that fossil fuels caused global warming through the greenhouse effect, and that we must, on a global scale, reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn, or face catastrophic consequences, they just got depressed.

global warming hot gets hotter

They got it. That was the problem. They believed that Greenpeace could stop Japanese whaling ships. They believed that Greenpeace could pressure DuPont into phasing out CFCs. They believed Greenpeace could close down nuclear power plants. They knew that global warming meant something else entirely. Global warming meant we lost the war.

global-warming-proof-funny

By the early 1990’s we had lost a lot of environmental battles. Those were not the best of times for the environmental movement. We were used to not getting what we wanted. We were used to setbacks, but people still believed we were relevant. We still believed we were relevant. Global Warming meant we had failed. We could no longer claim we were swimming towards a distant shore. We had clearly been sucked out to sea.

lifeguard

With other issues, we can fix a problem, without challenging our underlying way of life. Saving whales or banning CFCs were little things we could do to fine-tune civilization, to make it more civilized. Global warming indicts civilization itself. Global Warming is the altimeter that tells us that we are plummeting, rather than flying. Global warming is not a problem, Global Warming is an indication of failure.

bikini-failure

Global Warming isn’t the only indicator of failure, by the way, here’s a short list, in case you haven’t been paying attention:
1. Overpopulation
2. Mass extinction and global wildlife population decline
3. Ocean acidification
4. Peak Oil
5. Peak Water
These “meta-crises” indict more than an industry, or a class of chemicals, or a technology, they indict our whole way of life.

no

If you think solar panels and electric cars will solve this crisis, you are dreaming. If you think there is a political solution, you’re delusional. We’ve blown it. We will not have a soft landing. I’m not saying that there’s nothing to be done; I’m saying that we’re doing everything wrong. Grassroots organizing isn’t working because democracy doesn’t work. Technology isn’t helping because capitalism doesn’t work. We cannot even conceive of what to do next because our culture doesn’t work.

climate bikini4

We need to have that realization. We need to realize that what we are doing here, as a global culture, does not work. Every man, woman and child, in all of civilization needs to know that they have been betrayed. Everybody needs to know that everything we know is wrong. If we don’t stop doing what we are doing, and what we’ve been doing for longer than anyone can remember, we will lose everything.

climate bikini1

That’s why people don’t want to think about Global Warming. That’s why people deny that Global Climate Change is real. That’s why even people who know that climate change is real, try to pretend that it’s really not that big of a problem.

climate bikini8

Nobody at a bar wants to hear about Alcoholics Anonymous.

fail thong

This is the only way of life any of us have ever known, and a lot of us like it, but it simply does not work. It never has, and it never will. As long as civilization persists, it’s appetite for energy guarantees that the effects of Global Warming will intensify still further, and persist far longer, with catastrophic consequences.

climate bikini too cold

Scientifically, we can expect the consequences of Global Climate Change to intensify as long as the levels of greenhouse gasses in the environment continue to rise. The question now becomes, how long will civilization persist in the face of Global Climate Change.

bikini question mark

Do we get smart and bail-out early, in hopes of surviving as a species, or do we plunder forth in the face of certain destruction, to join countless other species that have disappeared into extinction at our hands? From an environmental perspective, the sooner we abandon this crazy, dysfunctional, unsustainable global culture, the better.

dysfunctional


SOLUTIONS

solutions probs

Ok, I’ve had a lot of fun with the whole situation in Garberville, and I think the levity was completely in order, but a lot of people are very frustrated with the situation, and they want SOLUTIONS. So, I’m here to help, seriously, but we don’t get to solutions without doing some analysis first, and that includes taking responsibility for the disastrous consequences of our consumptive middle-class lifestyle, and it means taking responsibility for economic policies that have kept wages low, while housing, health-care, fuel and other costs soared. I don’t care whether you voted for Reagan or not, if you want solutions, take responsibility, otherwise we can just play the blame game till we’re blue in the face.

blame_game

The middle-class really needs to get over their Boomer era Populuxe expectations, especially the expectation that they will be surrounded by only middle-class people. We can’t all be middle-class, and really, not that many of us should be middle-class, ecologically speaking. It takes a lot of working-class people to support a single middle-class person, so we should expect to have many more working-class people than middle-class people. Get used to it folks, there are a lot of poor people around.

being-poor-3

On the other hand, it shouldn’t suck so much to be poor. Ever since Reagan, we’ve had this attitude that we should punish and humiliate the poor as much as possible, so that we might thereby motivate them to work harder to become middle-class. In reality, punishing the poor drives down wages and keeps housing prices high for everyone. Seeing desperately poor people on the street makes middle-class people feel less secure, and the super-rich exploit that insecurity.

plutocrats book

This is why grown adults with full-time jobs need a roommate to afford an apartment.  This is why so many salaried employees put in 60 hour weeks to meet their work load.  This is why fewer Americans than ever can afford their own home.  This is why so many healthy able-bodied adults have decided that the jobs they can get don’t pay enough to be worth their time.  That’s how the super-rich uses the dirt poor against the middle-class.

trickle down economics

Look at where punishing the poor has gotten us. Still we have plenty of resentment to go around. We punish the crazy, because we don’t want halfway houses in our neighborhoods.  We don’t want to see them and we don’t want to pay for them. We punish the addicted for their weakness. We punish the young and adventurous because they remind us of our lost youth and we punish the lost and confused because we just don’t have time for other people. We punish them all because we see them as blemishes on our middle-class dreams, but the ones we resent the most don’t have any excuse, do they?

no excuse washington

I’m talking about the healthy young people who have decided that the jobs they can get, don’t pay well enough to be worth their time, and that their time is better spent learning to live without a job and without a home. More and more people are making that decision, not because it looks like an attractive option, but because it looks like a better option than any of their alternatives.  They would rather sleep outside in the rain and scrounge for food then work themselves to death, and kiss ass all day for a rented room, a TV and enough beer to ease the pain.  These people have resentments too. Just sayin’

job-vs-homeless fu

We all like having someone to punish. It makes us feel better about how much we punish ourselves in this stupid economy. We punish the poor, because we want poor people to suffer more than we do in our struggle to be middle-class. The struggle to be middle-class sucks so much because being middle-class is a totally unsustainable lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the poor, except that every person now struggling to be middle-class makes the whole world poorer, and helps the super-rich enslave us all. That’s what middle-class people do. It’s nothing to be proud of.

class war

Thanks to three decades of trickle-down economics, welfare reform, and the Great Recession our population of punishable people mushroomed. Despite the economic pressure, despite the social stigma and open hostility, they have learned to live outside of mainstream society, and there are now enough of them that they have their own society. The more they talk to each other, the more they identify with each other. The more they identify with each other, the more they support each other, and the more they support each other, the more insulated from, and immune to the punishments of, the mainstream culture they become. So, we become like the Israelis and the Palestinians, or like Black and White America, two segregated societies that hate each other, living in the same place.

class war gif

This problem is not going away, and it’s never going to get better without compromise, leadership, foresight and understanding. Knowing this community as I do, that means it ain’t gonna happen, and instead, things will go from bad to worse. The whole situation is very revealing. Poor people can’t afford to conceal their ugliness, and having ugly poor people around brings out the ugliness of the middle-class. We now see just how ugly and dysfunctional American society has become. The situation is so pathetic that probably the best that will come from it was the small amount of humor, and insightful analysis I was able to glean from it for this blog.

'I like 'gleaning' better than 'reaping'.'

But just imagine for a moment… What if we had some thoughtful, enlightened, cultural creatives among our local gentry? What could they do to make the situation better for everyone, and to make Garberville a much better place to live?

imagine passion

Right now the number one need in this community is housing. We need housing more than we need ball fields, schools, parks, roads or anything else. By ignoring that need, in favor of perks for the middle-class, like ball fields, concert venues or the town square, we provide adequate reason for the homeless to despise the gentry. Everything we do to relieve that pressure, will also reduce that hostility, and pay off in better life for everyone in Garberville.

tiny shelter-horz

SoHum prides itself as the heart of the “back to the land” movement, where once upon a time, people bought cheap land, and built their own homes without permits. The Boomers now make sure that no one ever gets a deal on land like they got, but a lot of people would still like to build their own tiny cabin, somewhere where a landlord won’t evict them, and the cops will not come tear it down.

hippie cabin

If you’ve been to Oregon Country Fair you’ve no doubt noticed how harmoniously hippie architecture can blend into a natural environment. It doesn’t happen by accident. OCF has volunteer building inspectors that look for genuinely dangerous or particularly ugly structures, and cites them, but mostly, people can build what they want. A lot of people would really appreciate an opportunity to build their own little home, and would have a lot of motivation to make it work. Half Habitat for Humanity, half Oregon Country Fair, part campground, part tree-fort residential subdivision, entirely innovative, entirely SoHum, we could make it happen if only someone with some land around here actually gave a fuck.

hippie architecture1-horz

Even without building a single other structure, we could probably solve our housing problem another way.

another-way

Right now, about half of this county’s available residential housing has been converted to indoor marijuana farms. Why are half of our residential houses full of marijuana plants, while thousands of people sleep outside? That’s insane. Every grow house is a crime against humanity, and a crime against nature, and if there is any role for the cops it should be to bust every indoor grow scene in Humboldt County.

indoor grow2-horz

Frankly, I don’t think the cops will be much help. Cops aren’t going to solve this problem. This is a “crumbling society” problem, not a “law and order” problem. If our social problems could be solved by a pin-headed red-neck with a gun, they’d have all been solved a long time ago. These problems were created by pin-headed red-necks with guns. We need unarmed hippie solutions, the kind we used to have when pot was cheap and it all came from Mexico, before we got greedy and decided we wanted to be middle-class.

greed is the knife

The pressure should come from the community. We should hear PSAs on KMUD about how to recognize a grow house, how much damage to the environment comes from growing marijuana indoors, and especially about how many families go homeless because greedy drug dealers have taken over our residential neighborhoods. Homes are for people! Get the pot farms out of our residential neighborhoods. This isn’t just common sense, it’s common decency.

common-courtesy-

Another common sense, absolute desperate necessity is a reasonably priced campground with bathrooms and a coin-operated shower. State campgrounds charge $35 a night for camping, which is highway robbery (Fuck You, State of California!). That’s why you only find rich retirees camping at them anymore. The county charges $15 dollars a night for their campgrounds. That’s closer to reasonable. Reasonable does not mean, “competitive,” reasonable means a price that people will actually pay, rather than take their chances finding a place where they can crash for free.

free place to crash

We get a lot of budget conscious tourists who are resourceful enough that they don’t ever have to pay tourist prices for camping. Currently, the only people who welcome them are the homeless. If the townsfolk welcomed them with the kinds of services they need at a price they’re willing to spend, these tourists would not so quickly identify with, and become a part of the local subculture, and local entrepreneurs would make money from them. Again, this is just common sense.

common sense

Here’s something a little more ambitious, but desperately needed, an affordable, cannabis-therapy-based treatment and recovery camp. We all know people who have beat serious addictions to alcohol, narcotics, tobacco,cocaine or speed, by using cannabis. Decades of prohibition have deeply enmeshed cannabis users and growers alike into the black-market drug trade. A large part of the money that comes into this county, comes from individuals and organizations that deal in other, more addictive substances, along with Humboldt’s finest cannabis.

drug dealer

Addiction is a huge problem both among SoHum’s housed community as well as the unhoused. A very rustic, drug-free, cult-like, cannabis intensive retreat, built around a culture of recovery, mutual support, mutual-sufficiency and community service has enormous potential around here. We have the rustic. We have the addicts. All we need is one good Pot Doc with cult-leader aspirations.  At the very least, it would help a lot of people quit hard drugs, take a lot of pressure off of the community, and do a lot of research on cannabis and addiction.

cannabis therapy institute

And while we’re dreaming…. Here’s another good idea: Economic diversity, and by that I mean, make space for tiny businesses, and local artists. Support them. Celebrate them, don’t just exploit them, or force them out of town.

local arts

Eureka and Arcata both have rocking Arts Alive nights every month. Garberville could do it too, but it would take planning, and some commitment to make it happen.

make it happen

Now, I expect most of the people who own land around here to think: “Why should I do anything for them?” Here’s why: Doing all of these things helps to shrink that “problem population,” and it creates the illusion that people actually give a fuck about their fellow human beings. That makes it harder for people like me to make fun of the situation, and it gives people more options, which makes it harder to take sides. In reality, it’s a diabolical strategy designed to subdue insurgents. They call it Psy-Ops.

psyops1

Every time you put someone in a home, you cut the homeless population by one. Every time you get an addict off of drugs and into a cult, your problem shrinks. Every time a tourist sees an entrepreneur bending over backwards to accommodate them, the less likely it is that they will camp with the homeless, get to know them and and decide to stick around. And of course, every artist who can count on reliable local work because someone at the C of C makes Arts Alive a priority, means one sarcastic critic with a sharp pen, has something better to do.

something_better_to_do


Boomer Karma

boomer-karma-horz

This vein is just too rich to ignore, so today I’m mining the irony of the whole sad situation in Garberville yet again. I realize that this situation has upset many people, and I think people should be upset. In fact, people should be outraged, just not at the poor, the young and the homeless. Instead, I think we should blame it on the Baby Boomers.

boomers Jake Dimare quote

Never before have so many taken so much, and yet demanded so much more as the Baby Boomer generation, and it couldn’t be truer here in SoHum. Here in SoHum, a small community of Baby Boomers bought land here dirt cheap, and took advantage of the Drug War to turn enormous profits growing black-market marijuana. Today a small community of Baby Boomers still control most of the real estate in SoHum, and they make damn sure that no one ever gets a deal like they got. They supply half of the nation with marijuana, which turns people into hippies, but the money they got for it, turned them into yuppies. Now that they have become crotchety old geezers, what do we hear them complain about?

boomers cynical

Hippies! The Baby Boomers in Garberville are complaining about hippies!

hippies on sidewalk

You know what folks, what goes around, comes around, and sometimes the karma runs over the dogma. You might not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when there were even more scuzzy, smelly, obnoxious hippies around than there are today.

boomers-grow-old-horsey

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, you wouldn’t believe how many filthy, dirty fucked-up hippies there were. They were everywhere. They took every imaginable drug, meth, heroin, cocaine, LSD, PCP, Quaaludes and anything else they could get their hands on.

hippies turn on collage

They freaked-out spectacularly. They fucked-up catastrophically, and they passed-out in their own vomit. Not only were they totally “in your face” everywhere you went, they had to have their loud music blaring all the time as accompaniment.

hippie BW-tile

And talk about attitude. They treated the whole world as if it belonged to them, exclusively, right from the start. They rioted, for God’s sake, big raucous riots where they turned over police cars and set fire to buildings. They’d never shut-up and sit down at music concerts, and they’d never turn their music down anywhere else. They wore faded, ripped, shabby clothing and they never took a bath. They were disgusting, repulsive, and obnoxious, and they took over every park, square and sidewalk in the whole country.

hippies take over park

They didn’t like how anyone else did anything. They wanted a revolution so they could do everything their way, and “their way” meant “at a party and on drugs,” and they thought that that made them cultural revolutionaries. To this day, SoHum Boomers still believe they can solve all of their problems at a party and on drugs.

hippies_and_hipsters-tile

To be fair, the boomers did change our culture. They changed us from a culture of stilted, stiff, sexually repressed, uptight consumerism into a culture of dumbed-down, hyper-sexualized, casual, convenient consumerism. Spirituality replaced religion. Positivity replaced compassion, and self-serving non-profit organizations replaced charities.

self inc

The War on Poverty became the War on Drugs because suddenly Americans hated hippies more than they feared black people. With cocaine, they turned a rich man’s drug into a poor mans drug and annihilated a generation of inner-city youth. With marijuana, they turned a poor man’s drug into a luxury only the rich could afford, and they made income discrimination more socially acceptable than racial discrimination.

colorblindideology

Go ahead and ask any of our local Baby boomers about the 60’s and ’70s and they’ll tell you how long their hair used to be. They’ll tell you about all of the drugs they used to take and all of the crazy shit they used to do, and they’ll tell you it was the best time of their life. My how times change.

hipies love free earth

One thing hasn’t changed however, Baby Boomers thought they owned the whole world then, and they still think the whole fucking world belongs to them. Now that they’re all shriveled-up, they don’t think anyone else deserves the opportunity to be young and irresponsible, and no one else has the right to come here and make a home in the woods without giving them a quarter-of-a-million dollars first. I guess they’ve still got some lessons to learn because it’s their bad karma that keeps bringing more hippies to Garberville, and I don’t think anyone deserves them more.

hippy chick beer


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