Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy your world

I haven't been downtown Seattle for a while, but I made the trip over for the day. I walked through West Lake Park downtown and wasn't that surprised to find people occupying the park as if they'd been there for days. It seems they were, since last Saturday.

Seattle's Downtown West Lake Park Occupation 10/6
There weren't a lot of people in the park but there was a presence that had obviously been there over night. When I returned through there at 3PM today, it was about the same. The Bellingham Herald up north from Seattle has a good article about it.

Seattle's Downtown West Lake Park Occupation 10/6
I've been watching the stream from New York. My daughter video Skyped me a couple of weeks ago to ask me what was going on in America. She was in Iceland then, she's is in Berlin, Germany now.

Seattle's Downtown West Lake Park Occupation 10/6
I had to ask what she was talking about. She said there were Americans in Reykjavik who were leaving to go home back to New York out of concern and to join the protest. I had heard nothing on the news (not that I regularly watch it; have you watched the news lately, geez).

Seattle's Downtown West Lake Park Occupation 10/6
So she sent me a link and for a few days I watched the live stream from N.Y. until I couldn't take it anymore, they seriously need a wind sock on their mic as it was really irritating to the ear. I saw Susan Sarandon walking around the protesters, talking to them, offering her support. I saw Michael Moore talking to people and the cameras. And I wondered what they were really protesting. It was obvious though, people were pissed off about something and they had really had it. With something. And it is growing. Worldwide.

Seattle's Downtown West Lake Park Occupation 10/6
It took a day or so but I finally got it. People are sick, basically, about what I've been complaining about for twenty years. This isn't a blog to pat myself on the back. It's a blog to say that finally what I and many famous others, have been trying to tell people about, is finally coming forward in the public consciousness.

Jon Stewart had an excellent gag on his show last night. I especially liked his saying the media has swung from media blackout to circus (watch the video), which explains why I hadn't heard a thing about it. Please, just go to the Huffington page and watch that video. It's goofy in places but funny and one of the most succinct and directly right on the mark moments he's ever had. Granted, he's had a lot of them. But this one was good too.

Huffington Post's comments on the video:

"Previously, Jon Stewart only touched on one incident at the downtown Manhattan protests known as Occupy Wall Street (OWS), but on Wednesday night's "Daily Show," he spent nine minutes comparing the 2011 protests with 2009's birth of the Tea Party [and the original Tea Party], and the media's disparate reactions."

Stewart also played a video of Sean Hannity explaining exactly what the protest was about; then turned the tide by explaining it was from a few years ago and Hannity had been talking about the Tea Party: that ineffectual group of Republicans who were well intentioned but starting at a loss as they were starting out for change in the Republican party to begin with (and no, I'm not a Democrat). Again, the video is better at this.

Here is the issue, and then I'll move on to something just as interesting, curious, and reassuring (if you ask me...) "The Corporation", has infected our culture. We have a cancer and it is, The Corporation. No this isn't some stupid conspiracy nut thing, it is serious, it is so a part of American culture that we can't even see it. That's part of the problem, you see? If you were a spouse abuser, but couldn't see it, and someone tried to point it out to you, well, you see the problem. What? You don't? Uh oh.....

epitome of a nightmare corporation
The Corporation, and Corporate Thought. Really, it is Corporate Thought that is the more insidious. The law and the theory, the business of Incorporation, that's the problem. Look back into the beginning of corporations, why they were legally created, what it means to be a corporation, what rights corporations have, and you immediately begin to see gist of the problem.

You see, Corporate Thought is one of those things that sounds really good in theory. But in practice, yes, it does what it is designed to do, but it also destroys, it eats alive that which feeds it. For one thing, greed comes into play almost immediately. The disparity between how much a worker makes and the CEO is as great as spitting a spitwad from goal post to goal post on a football field (no it doesn't matter what kind of football field, it's like, BIG). Why in the world is that? Because, better to give lots to one guy, than little to so many who could really use it?
Yeah yeah, watch The Corporation if you want
Corporate Thought has found its way into our school systems, our home life, our credit (cards), our banks, our retirement savings, our politics, hospitals and medical care. And, more. People think our Healthcare system is screwed up. It's not really, not so much, it's working how it's designed to work, by Corporate Thought and Theory. And that, you see, is the problem. It's using Corporate Thought to manage our world of Human Beings. And you know what? It sucks! And WE Hate it! It walks over us, pins us down, and sometimes, it kills us.

And that, is what the protesters are protesting about. They are tired of their lives being screwed up and they don't know why it is that way. Or how it got that way, or even and most importantly, how to change it. This, could be the start of a revolution, and one we've needed for a long, long time. Just ask Thomas Jefferson. Some of them are starting to get it. They are mad at the Corporations, at our government, our corporate bailouts who then pay themselves huge bonuses with the money we gave them, to save them. They want to know why in the greatest country in freaking world History, we don't have healthcare for everyone!

Okay, okay you say, but corporations did a lot of good for our country for a long time. Yes, maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps, had they been reigned in more, they would have done us one better, and another one, and another one, but rather than go to us (no, I'm not a socialist, but some socialism is inherent in ever government, so wake UP and read a book, or simply look around you; socialism isn't bad, full socialism is... maybe).

But even if corporations were good for us, anything, once started, needs to be reigned in and controlled  directed, focused, and wrangled under control to, "do the right thing".

Now here is my complaint and I've said it before. I want to know why I don't have at least two months off a year, work four day weeks, six hour days, and retire young. Relatively speaking, I had wanted to retire at 50 and well we all know that you can't retire until you are 67 and they want to raise that to 70. EARLY retirement age is 62! Wasn't it once 55? Has anyone asked why that is?

I figure Human Beings once didn't live much past 40, naturally speaking (yeah, like a thousand year ago). I'm giving that another ten years after that and hoping to retire though I should by then be dead ten years; going by how Christians would say, God created us. That's all I ask, that ten years after I should be dead I want to retire. But not, 22 years after should I get to retire, no wait, that's early retirement; I mean, 27 years after I should naturally be dead. Oh man....

But yes, we live longer now. Still, I think you see my point. Sometimes it just takes looking at things from a slightly different vantage point. Okay, moving along....

I was also watching Ken Burns' Prohibition, his new documentary.

What I am finding fascinating is our situation in History right now at this moment. Prohibition flew out the window because people wanted it alcohol (hang on there is going to be a comparison to Cannabis here), and because of the depression. Times were hard and people wanted a way to let off steam. Alcohol had been drunk everywhere in America up to the 1800's where just about everyone was drinking. But alcohol was low wattage back then, beer was maybe 2%. People drank a lot of cider that was alcoholic but very low compared to now.

Hang on, I'm getting to the reason for bringing this up and it's kind of amazing.

Then alcohol started to grow in percentage, specific gravity kept getting higher. It got stronger. People kept their attitudes about it as it being a good thing (as cigarettes were considered, both had been prescribed by doctors at some point). People were drinking three times the amount of alcohol around the late 1800s than we do now. People were going into debt, falling along the roadside drunk, losing their jobs, just going to pot (pun intended).

So the temperance movement actually had a damn good reason for coming into existence.

It sounds a lot like what has been said about the Native Americans and alcohol back then. That they couldn't handle it, that it ruined lives. But it would seem, this was true for the White Man too.

But in the end, banning alcohol was a fools errand. It lead to people ignoring the law to such an extreme degree that it was a joke. When the depression hit, they really had to wonder what they were going to do and Prohibition was obviously not working. Starting to sell alcohol again solved so many issues. Plus by now, people had done what most people do now in their teens. They learn how to "drink" and the appropriate place for alcohol in one's life. Not daily but for entertaining, and self medication (self medication as gotten a bad rap because of so much abuse, but self medication was the way people took care of themselves for thousands of years and only recently have we gotten lazy and allowed ourselves to abuse it; once we no longer had to work to eat, to live, things changed).

And here we are today, now. We have a severely bad economic situation. We have an alcohol like substance, Cannabis, that we have Prohibition against. You know the funny thing about that is ask anyone if they think that Prohibition worked and they'll tell you No. Yet, we do this with pot, or whatever you want to call it: weed, hemp, Cannabis, or that old racist favorite, Marijuana.

During Prohibition, some of the ways that people got around the legality of alcohol restriction was, as in the beginning you simply couldn't sell it, bartenders would charge exorbitant fees for pretzels at the bar and you could get a drink for "free". Doctors would "prescribe" alcohol for "patients" and so you were legal. Speakeasies were every where and a badge of honor to know a good one and get into it. These are all signs of a country needing to ban prohibition.

Now a days we have Cannabis facilities, stores and clubs. Doctors can prescribe you medical marijuana cards. We are expending billions of dollars on trying to eradicate Cannabis, decade after decade and failing. We have criminals running Cannabis distribution, helping them therefore to sell harder dangerous drugs. If we legalize it again (yes, again, Cannabis was legal to begin with, remember), we could tax it, control it, take it out of the hands of criminals and decrease their ability to distribute and sale very dangerous drugs. Drugs that really, ARE dangerous.

My point in all this is this... we are in exactly the same situation we were in  until they finally re-legalized alcohol, only this time we're dealing with Cannabis.

So be prepared, because just perhaps, during the next Presidential term, we will finally see legalization. I hadn't thought this was going to happen for some time. But after seeing the Prohibition documentary, now I"m not so sure. I have a funny feeling, this just might be, the right time for it to happen. You need  certain conditions, the more widespread the more likely it is to happen. Well, we have problems that are nationwide, in fact, they are Global, and you can't get much bigger than that.

So, maybe, light up. Better times may be just ahead.


  1. Good commentary, The thing about Cannabis is that the AMA was never for it, but they didn't know what Marijuana was so, the literal translation is Mexican Cigarette, they missed it, plus Harry J. Anslinger flat out lied to Congress when he told them the AMA was on board, all for criminalizing it. The sad part is that Hemp, the industrial cousin was also banned, it has no medicinal value, not enough THC in a 100 truckloads to get a housefly a buzz. At least the people are finally waking up and asking why so much is just plain wrong these years.
    Corporations now have all the same rights as a real living person. The only reason we have them at all is, first to protect the stock owners from any liability, and second to allow for growth beyond reason. Where a company, owned by a person or family, might have a few hundred to even a few thousand, employees, a major corporation has many millions. The capitalist way is to take a little from many to benefit just a few, major corporations expanded that to take from millions up into billions of individuals for the benefit of a very few. And the worst part is that Corporations have no oversight or limits. In fact they have bought their rights, slowly over time, by purchasing politicians. Just as Mark Twain once noted, back in the 1800's, the we [the USA] have the best politicians, that money can buy. Ain't it the truth.

  2. Thanks, great points. Also, it's worth noting that at least one point in US history, it was mandated by Law that farmers had to grow hemp. We have a long and noble history with Cannabis until it was to someone's political advantage to make it illegal. This country has been abused for far too long by far too many politicians and government agents vying to save their jobs or maintain political agendas that were not in the best interests of the American citizen.