Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Protest! Lest we forget...

As we get older we have a tendency to reflect on our lives, and what they were about and what we have done with them. Some of us just get set in our ways and stop thinking, we’ve seen it all, done it all, nobody cares, so why give advice? Every now and then, just as I am thinking that I’m the only one that can really see what is happening to our once great country, I see a glimmer of hope. I reflect; can other people really see what is wrong?

As I watch these recent protests and grass-roots movements springing up all over America, it gives me that glimmer of hope. In most cases the protesters don’t really seem to have a clue. It is apparent that most are there for the party, or just want to be part of something that somebody else told them was important. I see the Tea Party objecting to the obvious racist plants that have been placed in their crowds to discredit them, that, and some of their party actually is racist, but... so are some parts of America. The small amount of racism does not discredit the whole party, any more than the rest of America. It is no reason to condemn their whole movement. The fact that they know something is wrong and they want to fix it is good enough for me.

The new “Occupy Movement” is probably even more important than the Tea Party in that it really is grass roots, it really is America in it’s most basic form. Dirt under the fingernails and all. These are the people that we used to tell “Get a Job!” But, that was back when there were jobs… Those were the good old days. As people are ground-down and they give up, they get into all kinds of weirdness. They get drunk, or use drugs. They no longer become employable, and their "loser" lives become a self-fulfilling prophesy. They don’t have jobs, and nobody would hire them if there were jobs. So, what good does it do to scold them about not having a job?

Back in the days before Reagan was the Governor, tuition was just about free for residents of California. Now, if you are a “C” student, and couldn’t get a better grade if your life depended on it, you are not going to get an education unless your parents are very wealthy. Your only choice is to take out student loans. Remember, you are a “C” student. You are not going to get any smarter in college. You will still only get a “C” in college. Chances are when you get out of college you will not get a good job. Only the elite students, that were born with great intelligence, and got scholarships, and good grades in college, will get the good jobs. The "C" students will be stuck with student loans, with no way to pay them back. Their lives will probably be ruined because they were young and stupid, and they took the advice to "get an education".

To see what is going on in America right now is what I have hoped for, preached for, and wondered why more people were not paying attention. It is time for a change of direction in America. Donald trump says, (paraphrase) that free world trade only works when your politicians aren't stupid. We aren't smart enough to compete in a free trade market. There is not one single country in the world that we don't have a trade deficit with. That means that we don't make a profit on any country anywhere. Our politicians are so stupid that they can't even balance a budget. Now, Don might not be the most pleasant person in the world, but it is hard to argue with his reasoning.

What I'm saying is that there has never been a better time to protest the condition of our country. We are at the bottom in every way. We don't have jobs. We can't balance a budget. We can't provide education. We can't provide health care, because the system is broke. It's no wonder people are mad as hell, even when they don't know exactly what is wrong, but they know something is wrong, and they are protesting. No protest in all of history has been popular. If the protesters ideas were popular, there wouldn't be a protest, would there be?

Now that it is understood that no protest is going to be popular, how are we going to deal with the protesters? The rule for protests are very clearly spelled out in the very first amendment of the United States Constitution. It very clearly states that we have "the right to peacefully assemble"

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

We have the right to assemble, and we have the right to question our government! Nobody has the right to pepper spray peaceful, albeit obnoxious, protesters... GOT IT?

Back in the '60s and '70s protesters were shot while some Americans cheered. The Viet Nam war protest was nasty and unorganized. Some of the protesters openly advocated for treason, they spit on returning soldiers, called them "Baby Killers. They openly advocated for the enemy. The mood was so contentious against the war that people like Jane Fonda somehow thought that it was okay to sit on a Viet Cong war tank and have her photo taken. Some people, like the parents of soldiers, and mostly World War Two veterans hated the protesters. The mood against the war protesters was that "they should be shot"... that was truly the case. You had to have lived in the time to truly understand the tension between the protesters, who were mostly wrong, and the people who hated them and were also mostly wrong. When the young students at Kent State were shot, some Americans cheered. CHEERED! How is it that we could slip so far? The most Iconic photo of the Kent State shooting was a picture of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling beside a student killed at the Kent State war protest. The photographer, John Filo, won a Pulitzer Prize for taking the photo. To give you some feeling for the times, His uncle told him that if he was at the war protest he should have been shot!

It is my fervent hope that we would all stop our hateful feeling against these Grass-roots protesters. Nothing good can come of it. It is also my fervent hope that the demonstrations should be dealt with respectfully, but firmly. When the protesters are out of line they need to be told so. They can't be allowed to create unsanitary conditions, or do things that might be harmful to other people. Many of these demonstrators have people that they look to for guidance. The police should negotiate with these leaders firmly but respectfully, they should offer alternatives and reasons why they are being told to leave. Peaceful protesters sitting on a curb don't need to be pepper sprayed. These protests are NOT GOING TO GO AWAY. Trust me... I been there, smelled the smells, seen the hate, tasted the violence. We don't need to control things that don't need controling no matter what they teach you in Cop School. Everybody is ultimately responsible for their own actions no matter what the "orders" are. Allowing the protests are one of the better thing that can happen. A few of them, probably less than 20% really do know what's wrong with America. I believe that they should have their chance to have their say. They could not do any worse than the people that are in charge now.

I'm including the video below as to how far we can sink when we start to hate and disrespect each other. Some of the people killed at Kent State Ohio over a Viet Nam war protest on May 4 1970 have relatives that live here. My most sincere respect and condolences go out to them. I wasn't there but, as I read and listened to the video, the times of that protest came flooding back to me, the smells of gunpowder, the hate, the need to "control the situation at all costs", the disrespect for one another.

If you listen to the video, it is very poignent. To those of us that have killed an animal, (I have), or those of us who have killed a human being in war, (I haven't) the sound of the gunshot is unmistakable. You know that the world has stopped for an innocent life. We need to never let our dislike of these protests go as far as it did at Kent State.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Aliaa Elmahdy, Titilating protest.

To quote "Cable Guy", Lord forgive me for which I'm about to do. I'm not sure how much slack the Lord will cut for an agnostic, but here goes...

I was reading on CNN about Aliaa Elmahdy, who posed in full frontal nudity to make a point. And, By golly, the point was.... She had a point... oh yeah, I think she hates Burkas. Well, so do I! So, right off we have something in common.

I have only shown decently cropped photos here, because no matter how immodest young Aliaa is, I am too embarrassed to place her nude photos on my blog. I am a bit ashamed of myself for not posting them, after all it was her idea to pose nude to call attention to her cause... whatever it was... Oh yeah Burkas. Now being a young man of the sixties, I've seen these kinds of things before. Helen Gurley Brown wrote a book called "Sex and the Single Woman". After her book came out, the women of America realized that men were holding them back, and holding them to standards of modesty and morality that were NOT of their choosing. They needed to make that point clear. The method that they used was to burn their bras in mass. It was fun to watch all the women taking their bras off and burning them. Much to the guys disappointment, women seem to be quite adept at taking their bras off under a sweatshirt, without even the slightest peek at any flesh. Drat. No fun at all, but our imaginations would still run wild. The thought of all these liberated women running amock was still very exciting. I kept watching my girlfriend at the time, wondering if she was going to take part in this great and fun new movement. Somehow men's minds must be highly transparent. She just gave me "that look", if you are a man, you know "the look". She said "You can just forget it". I can't begin to tell you the frustration of being a young man of the 60's and not being able to participate. So, I've always just been a cheerleder for all of these wonderfull causes.
From CNN
Egyptian blogger Aliaa Elmahdy: Why I posed naked
Share this on:Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn November 19, 2011|By Mohamed Fadel Fahmy for CNN

A crop of the nude photo of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy posted on Twitter and on her blog.Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy has become a household name in the Middle East and sparked a global uproar after a friend posted a photo of her naked on Twitter.

The photo, which the 20-year-old former student first posted on her blog, shows her naked apart from a pair of thigh-high stockings and some red patent leather shoes.

It was later posted on Twitter with the hashtag #nudephotorevolutionary. The tweet was viewed over a million times, while Elmahdy's followers jumped from a few hundred to more than 14,000.

Her actions have received global media coverage and provoked outrage in Egypt, a conservative Muslim country where most women wear the veil. Many liberals fear that Elmahdy's actions will hurt their prospects in the parliamentary election next week.

Elmahdy describes herself as an atheist. She has been living for the past five months with her boyfriend, blogger Kareem Amer, who, in 2006 was sentenced to four years in a maximum security prison for criticizing Islam and defaming former president Hosni Mubarak.

Here she talks exclusively to CNN in Cairo about why she posed nude.

CNN: Why did you post a photo of yourself nude photo on Twitter, and why the red high heels and black stockings?

Elmahdy: After my photo was removed from Facebook, a male friend of mine asked me if he may post it on Twitter. I accepted because I am not shy of being a woman in a society where women are nothing but sex objects harassed on a daily basis by men who know nothing about sex or the importance of a woman.

The photo is an expression of my being and I see the human body as the best artistic representation of that. I took the photo myself using a timer on my personal camera. The powerful colors black and red inspire me.

CNN: Who is Aliaa Elmahdy inside the body portrayed in the nude photo?

Elmahdy: I like being different. I love life, art, photography and expressing my thoughts through writing more than anything. That is why I studied media and hope to take it further to the TV world too so I can expose the truth behind the lies we endure everyday in this world. I don't believe that we must have children only through marriage. It's all about love.

In closing, I have to say that Elmahdy seems to be a very intelligent young lady, and has a sure method of getting attention. She will go far. I wouldn't be suprised if she has women out of their burkas in no time at all!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Felix! For crumb sake!

I know a woman who I've always liked. ( I know it's "Whom". Get over it, I'm not into putting on airs tonight) She is one of the most opinionated, obstinate, and abrasive people that I know. I would imagine that is probably why I like her. You never have to wonder what she is thinking, just ask her and she will tell you. I have a tendency to judge people by how they treat dogs. That being the case, I've often said that if I ever have a chance to do life all over again, I want to come back as Felix's dog. She practically packs them around on silk pillows. She is very slightly built, and she has a few joint problems, so she is not likely to be kicking anybody's butt. She describes herself as: "I'm a very loyal friend and a bad enemy." Truer words were never spoken.

So.... I wasn't suprized to find that she ran afoul of the law during an "Occupy Demonstration". I find it best to let you hear her tell it in her own words, Please find them printed below:

 "My take - for the record is: I had 2 banners clothespinned to inside the fences on the 101 overpass (they could not fall into traffic and I didn't have to hang over the fwy. to to put them up) one faced north, the other south. They said "HAVE YOU BEEN OCCUPIED?". The lettering was quite large and was not causing any hazard to read.

A cal-tran's woman pulled up and told me I couldn't do that. I refused to take them down. She said she'd have to call the cops. I said go for it (we shook hands even). If she was still there I'm sure she was horrified as to what happened....hopefully HER camera was not molested and I can find her. Short, nice redhead about my age - anyone?
I refused to take the banner down for the CHP too. Cops all over the country are ripping signs down - I wouldn't have tried to stop them................but I wouldn't do it.
They asked if I had any weapons in my bag and, as I was handing it to him I said "Yeah, sure.....". This BIG nazi looking fuck freaks, snatching it. I also told them there was a teency tiny leatherman on my key chain that had a blade maybe an inch and a 1/4 ("She told them she had weapons twice" they said on the News).
I'd had my camera running (in video mode) from the beginning of my conversation with the cal-trans woman and after cop #1 (hey, that's how they signed, "1 of 2; 2 of 2) so over- reacted to my (I thought obvious) sarcasm, I lifted the camera to get a shot of his face. He jammed the camera into my face like someone the paparazzi is abusing and wham they threw me to the ground. I don't believe the word arrest had even been spoken. Now I'm on my face, tangled in my camera strap and with my left arm pinned underneath me. My "resistance" was my inability to comply with the order to give them my left hand for cuffing. With one cop standing on my feet and the big Nazi grinding my face into the pavement and kneeling on me in an anatomically inappropriate way. It was impossible. They knew they'd fucked up and took me to the hospital. They x-rayed me and took blood, cause somehow they can tell if you've got internal bleeding going on (with a blood test? Makes no sense to me, but I'm not a Doctor - but they knew they'd hurt me bad if they were looking for internal bleeding). They needed to stick me 3 times to hit a vein - inexcusable on someone as thin as I am - really piss-poor phlebotomy!
So they took me all the way to Eureka for fingerprinting. They told me people had been calling - but they didn't tell me there was someone on their way to pick me up (Sonia Bauer). So I got a straggling 'Occupier' to give me a ride to a friend's.  Anyway, his phone wasn't working so I was just stuck there.
Made for a long painful bus ride yesterday...............and that's about it. Except for the fact that they failed to mention my camera in the list of my possessions. "Black, 'personal item" - when they had even noted the COLOR of the thermal underwear I was wearing. Though they did return it - they either deleted the incriminating video - it was running as I struggled, not to get away, but rather to attempt to get my arm out from under me - or screwed up my camera as it hit the ground with me. It would have been a very incriminating piece of video- but it seems unrecoverable.And now here's where you 99 %ers and pals come in - my first court date is Jan. 20th - HERE IN GARBERVILLE! Please PLEASE fill the courtroom! Can anyone afford to get some 'We are all the 99%' T-shirts? If not, I can make a stencil.
Please - they came to us this time - we want representation in County government? We're gonna have to SHOW them we're NOT just apathetic hippies. I'm sure it is not true of ALL of us..............help me help save the world. It's showtime folks!

                     Peace OUT!

Maybe she made some poor judgments when dealing with the cops. But, I think that the cops are going to find that they made some very, very poor judgments by jumping on her.

I often disagree with some of Felix's causes, but I think that I could have dealt with her a little more gently than the cops did. I will be at her hearing in Garberville, if for no other reason than to witness some of Garberville's history, and acknowledge my friendship for her.


I been busy...
As some of you know, I like to build things. Building things is a finite process. You measure a board, and cut it, and if you haven’t made a mistake, it always fits. I like things that are non-negotiable. Buildings are real, you can even hit them with a hammer. There is something satisfying about creating something real.

If you look through the photos, you will see that the left side of the photos has the remains of a thirty year old redwood deck. The newer cleaner boards next the house are the start of a new deck. I started building the deck one half at a time. I moved everything to the front side, took a 20 x 40 foot section of the old deck down and rebuilt it. I started this project this fall, while the weather was nice. I pretty much left my tools on the deck overnight. When the weather started getting iffy, I had to put my tools away every night. I spent more time picking up and moving tools than I did building.
On the right side of one of the photos you will see an old dove cage. The doves had long ago died of very old age, and we have been using the cage for storage. The cage is 3’ wide x 8’ long x 6’ tall. I was stashing my tools in there, but the problem is that everything that I needed was in the back. When it came time to move the cage, the bottom was so rotten that any attempt to move it proved to be futile. In my frustration with the poor storage and condition of the cage I half-jokingly told my wife, “I’ve had it, I’m going to build myself a new storage shed”. To my surprise, she said “Okay… but build it big enough, because I get half”. Wow… that was easy.
So, I started building the shed on the new part of the deck. When I get the shed fished, I will move all my outside stored stuff from the cage to the shed, then complete that section of the deck. The front deck is basically 40 feet by 40 feet. We justified the large deck because it is our only level yard. We have enjoyed it almost as much our house, so the deck has been darn well worth it. When I finish the front part of the deck, I will skid the shed onto a foundation on the front part of the deck. So, no, I didn’t build it too close to the house.
When I started it, I thought about a building permit, then I remembered that it would take a long time, so I just started building. I felt somewhat guilty, because as everybody knows, I have a thing about following rules… (NOT). I later found out that you can build a storage building of under 100 sq. ft. with NO permit! Well, that paved the way considerably.

The neighborhood people laugh at me, and my “grow room”. I’ve heard some pretty funny stuff. But, I don’t care. If the eradication teams ever want to check it, I’ll give them a key. After my wife gets through putting her stuff in there, there won’t be any room left. Can you make a deal with them, that if they check your shed, they have to take all your wife’s stuff with them?

As you can see from the bottom photo, I already have the shed filled with junk.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



To all the people that come here expecting to read history about the South Fork Canyon, I apologize for my apparent preoccupation with the grass roots movements afoot in America. The movement is happening as we speak. But, having been there, done that, I’ve seen these things before in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Whether you agree with what is going on or not, most of you have heard of some of the rumblings on the streets. Some of you are smart enough to know that there is a freedom and democracy movement all over the world.

To the people that truly believe that “we live in a world economy now” and that we just have to accept it. I understand. You are either deluded by the media, or you are a very wealthy stockholder.

The people that are on the streets in America right now are people like The Tea Party, who have a more conservative bent than the Occupy group. There is also the group that fits most of us that sit at home and watch the insanity unfold on our TV sets, scan the internet and watch for the most recent updates. Small few of us change the channel, or just don’t care. But, we all have something in common, only a fool would not realize that something is wrong. So, I did a little research to see if I could find what’s wrong with America. All along, I suspected that we had no real producers in America, that Joblessness was probably the root of the problem. The unemployment figures are deceptive, because they don’t include the people that have just plain given up and moved back in with Mom and Dad, so I looked up to see how many people paid federal income tax. I thought that would give me some idea of who was working and who wasn’t. Bad idea! I found that in 2009 51% of the people paid NO tax at all, and 30% of them actually got tax credits! Hummmm…

So, I looked up the see what the wealthy 1% of America actually paid. Low and behold, they paid more tax than they ever did since the Bush tax cut for the wealthy, and they pay a higher percentage than the rabble. The rabble actually pays less than ever before. The facts are that the wealthy’s income almost doubled. The taxes that they paid dropped, by percentage of their income, however they paid more in the long run. Even though the very rich now pay more taxes, the over-all tax collection has dropped, because more people are without jobs. The rich get richer, and the rabble are getting poorer. But, there is signs that the rabble are becoming roused. Most would rather be working at a good job.

Most of the Wall Street protesters have mental problems, probably about eighty percent are homeless. New York city now has 40,000 homeless people. I can’t blame them for crowding in around the Occupy Camps. Free food and entertainment. It’s no wonder they don’t make much sense. About twenty percent of the Occupy Group have a handle on what’s really wrong with America. Those few are hard to find, because if somebody holds up a microphone the rabble run to it. Some of the reporters aren’t that much smarter than the homeless. So making any sense out of what is happening is pretty futile. It takes a little understanding to know that the reason that people are protesting is because they know that something is wrong, even if they don’t know what. Most don’t have anything else to do, so they might as well protest.

So, even if you can’t identify with the protest, you can certainly understand why they are there. America needs jobs.

Now, the people that want to talk about Bigfoot are free to talk.




Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I'm working on my home computer that has so many problems that it is a waste of time to whine, but I will have to add a bunch of info tomorrow. However, I do want to get this started because it is such and interesting subject. I am surprised that I haven't done a post about Bigfoot before.

 As everybody knows, this blog has an element of "bullshistory" about it. So, the Bigfoot story fits perfectly upon these pages. Most of you also know that I don't believe in anything that I can't hit with a hammer. Those of you that REALLY know me, know that I will believe most anything that somebody tells me, so I have to fall back on my reality test, if I can't hit it with a hammer, it ain't real. As a romantic, I like to believe in fairy tales and legends, but the farther back that a person goes in history, the more fantastic the stories get, to the point where most everyone might say, "That probably didn't happen". One of my favorite legends is about "Bran the Giant" who was so large that he could wade the Irish Sea from England to Ireland. There is some lingering evidence that he really existed, how large he really was is open to speculation, but the birds in wales, called "Bran", are named after him, and the Bran in Branscomb is from the birds that live in a valley in England. So, to deny legend and fairy tales would be to deny my heritage. So, let's go from there and maybe you will all keep an open mind to the possibility of the existence of "Bigfoot".

Maybe the reason that I haven't posted about Bigfoot, is that it is rightfully the bailiwick of Ekovox, who was raised in Willow Creek and went to Hoopa High school. He used to have a blog called "299 Opine". It was an extremely interesting Blog, filled with local history and comment, but alas, he was ground down by the negativism that is rampant amongst blog sites and dumped the whole thing, much to my, and many others, consternation. But, Ekovox is the rightful expert on Bigfoot stories, so my natural instinct was to hope that someday he might relate his experiences.

I must warn you about Ekovox though.... In Indian legend, the Coyote is well known as "The Trickster". The coyote can be anything that he wants to be, he can be a man, a woman, a deer, a frog or a snake. He is very smart, but sometimes his intelligence gets him into trouble. He is very magical, but most of all, he is tricky and he has a great sense of humor. Ekovox? Well... he IS the Coyote.

Once, a while back, I found a 19th century hand-carved shaving horse, made from the trunk of a white oak tree. Not knowing what it was, I wisely put it on my blog, knowing full well that someone out there would surely know what it was. Ekovox wrote to me that it was a sluice box gate lock, used in mining the Trinity River. He told me something like, "that was the base that held the lever to the sluice gate, that when the sluice box filled with gravel and gold that they would open the lever that would let the gravel out and they could just pick the gold out of the bottom." He also suggested that I should donate it to a museum. Ekovox is steeped in Humboldt history. His father was a Willow Creek and Blocksburg historian of great renown, so I trusted him without question, and went about trying to secure my new found historic treasure for a museum. I was thinking that the Willow Creek museum would be an appropriate place.

Later Don Orazem told me what it really was. If you go outside and listen on a calm night, you can still hear the Coyote laughing at me.

I told you this story so you will know that not ALL things from Willow Creek, or in the case of Bigfoot, Bluff Creek, are true. Now that we are clear, I want to tell you that I know someone, that first hand, empirical evidence, saw Bigfoot. He was running across the road between Miranda and Myers Flat, about the area of Elk Creek. This is a man that I trust to be a "truth-teller". He explains it, "I saw what I saw. It was very tall, it walked upright like a man, and in ran down the bank like a man, not a bear. You explain what I saw if it wasn't a Bigfoot."

I was talking to a lady today who does some camping at Willow Creek, she said that someone out there told her that the kids get bored sometimes and they dress up like Bigfoot, then the run across the road to see if anybody will report it. They think that it's a big deal if it makes the paper.

I'll add more sometime tomorrow, I just wanted to get this started. The main point of this story is Robin wants to know if anybody knows anything about Jerry Crew and Ray Wallace from an incident in 1958?

Addendum 11-9-11:
Here is the link to the story that Robin was asking about: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/articles/true1959.htm

To anyone trying to make some sense out of this story, please read the comments in the post http://ernielb.blogspot.com/2011/11/nothing-holds-back-time-nor-tide-except.html


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nothing holds back time nor tide. Except bureaucrats.

Doncha just love "daylight savings time"? Myself? I have a particular loathing for it. As many of you know, I have installed or worked on hundreds of heating and air-conditioning systems. Some commercial freezer's defrost times are critical to when the store opens or closes. So, twice a year I get numerous calls to re-adjust timers. Also, as many of you know, night setback thermostats are required by the building code. Some people just can't seem to get the hang of adjusting their thermostats back or forth from daylight saving to regular time, and in the past, power failures would foul-up timers. So, I was particularly pleased when they manufactured a thermostat with an automatic feature to reset the time automatically, and had a battery back-up to keep the time correct. Needles to say, I started using those thermostats almost exclusively. Then, the bureaucrats, in their infinite wisdom decided to factor in Global Warming, bird migration, salmon runs, and the red-tides, so they moved the day that we set the clocks forward and backward. So, all the people that I sold the automatic clocks call me and say: " I thought that you told me this clock was automatic. The time just changed and I think that there is something wrong with my clock, it's still on the old time". I patiently explain to them to wait a few days and it will automatically change. Usually the next day they will call and say that they tried to adjust it themselves and the got it wrong, so they turned their heater off because they were afraid that they did something wrong, and could I please come by and fix it, because they are freezing". Of course I go by and "fix" their thermostats. And, of course I don't charge them anything, because they bought the heating system from me, and the "setback" thermostat. And, I really am  grateful for their business, and usually they are really great people. But, dang, it's frustrating.

If there is a God, please convince people to leave the time alone and drop this "Daylight Savings Time" foolishness!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Fourth Estate?

The history bug reached out and slapped my face today. I was over at my good friend Rose’s Coffee Shop Blog reading a political cartoon, and in it the bartender asked the question: “How’re you fourth estate guys holding up working with the OWS protesters?” He was of course referring to the reporters holding up with the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The reply was: “We speak truth to power, but the filth, the rapes, the violence…!” The bartender answered; “So, report it” (pause) The answer: “We… Never thought of that”. Bartender: “Truth, powerful stuff”.

I agreed with the cartoon and chuckled a little bit uncomfortably. Although I agreed with the essence of the cartoon, I seriously questioned the right of today’s reporter to be called “The Fourth Estate“. As all of you already know “The Fourth Estate” is thought of as an unofficial branch of government. Or, as something that forms our nations laws or direction. The first three are Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

The term, Fourth Estate, is actually derived from a quote from one of my favorite people in history, Sir Edmond Burke. He uttered the words in 1787 while addressing the British Parliment. (from Wikipedia) “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.” As is often true in history, nobody is sure whether Burke was the first to use the term, or merely copied a phrase, but he understood the meaning well.

Being the Fourth Estate has variously been attributed to lawyers, the common people, or people like the Queen, who really has no power, but can be a strong force in suggesting change. Movements or protesters have often been referred to as the fourth estate. The civil rights movement that was led by Doctor Martin Luther king was a Fourth Estate force for government change.

Growing up in the sixties, I thought of the fourth estate as protest movements, like the Viet Nam war protesters, civil rights protesters, and so forth. Protests around the world by the proletariat (Po’ folk) is often referred to a fourth estate movement. There is even a famous 1901 oil painting of a workers protest in Italy that took place in 1890. The movement, and the title of the painting, was “Il Quarto Stato” (The Fourth Estate)

Even though the original quote by Burke was directed toward the press, it was more so loosely attributed anything that was a force to bring about change, especially in government. So it seems that the expression has come full circle and it belongs to the press again.

Now comes the rub… I think that the protesters deserve the title more than the reporters. Today’s reporters are nothing more than mouthpieces for their corporate sponsors. The true Fourth Estate is the movement that will bring about change. That would be the Occupy Wall Street protesters, not the reporters. The news services seem to be struggling to discredit the protests. While we are on the subject of Edmond Burke, he is also the one that said: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".

At this point, I need to make myself completely clear… I disagree with most of what the OWS protesters are doing. They are disorganized and confused, and they have no clear focus. The same could be said about the Tea Party movement to a lesser degree. What I highly approve of is the “grass roots” have realized that something is wrong with America, and they want to be a part of changing it, whether it be OWS, Tea Party, or people like you and I. Hardly anyone would argue that we don’t need jobs. The American workforce is pathetically underutilized. Few people actually understand why we are in the difficult position that we find ourselves in. However, I had a friend who predicted this whole scenario with the collapse of the American economic system. He actually predicted that we would be a “Banana Republic” by 2008. However, he failed to see that the rich would rob the poor by bailing out the stock market, banks, and insurance companies. Not even in all his wisdom did he think that America would stand for that. He also failed to realize the power of the press to convince the average American that, yes indeed we needed to bail out the fat cats or America was dead.

I’m old enough to have seen real history happen and real change come about through demonstrations. Civil rights for the black people have been an issue since the beginning of America. Wise people preached for the abolition of slavery. Many people pointed out how unfair it was to hold a man in slavery. When the black slaves were freed, there was still extreme prejudiced against them, especially in the southern states. Many rallies and demonstrations were held in frustration of the way black people were treated. Most of them were futile and widely denounced as foolish, and ill advised. It wasn’t until a strong leader came forward with a plan to bring about civil rights. Dr. Martin Luther King took charge and focused the civil rights movement. He had a plan of non-violent persistence. No matter how badly his demonstrators wanted to sink to violence, he was able to convince them that non-violence was the path. He had a dream, that all men would be judged by the contend of their character and not the color of their skin. He succeeded in bringing about civil rights for the black people, even beyond his wildest dreams. As you know, there is now a Dr. Martin Luther King memorial in Washington D.C. Most everyone views him as a great man.

The demonstrations on the streets, the last few years, are reminiscent of the first days of the civil rights movement. It smells the same. It smells like hope. Especially the last few months. I anticipate that a leader will step forward and show the demonstrators what they are doing wrong, and how to make to right. I expect this grassroots movement to continue until we finally see change. The good news… I have never seen change that wasn’t for the better!

I’m still rather fond of Capitalism, maybe it was because I was taught that there was an “American Dream”, where if you were honest and worked hard you could succeed. We trusted our government to keep the game fair and the playing field level. We were supposed to be protected against the likes of the Bernie Madofs of the world. I am very fond of even the most extremely rich people in the world. Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, and people like Richard Branson deserve nothing but my greatest admiration for the good that they do in the world, and they are very generous with their riches. But… there are greedy evil people amongst the very wealthy, people that don’t care that you don’t have a job, they would ship your job offshore in a heartbeat if it would improve their bottom line. They were taught in business school to make the tough choices. They figured out that if they controlled the media, “The Fourth Estate”, they could choose who gets elected. They have been very effective.  But, beyond my sage friends ability, that predicted the collapse of America, he was unable to see that they would rob the middle class for another round of wealth and bonuses. We are now poised upon the brink again. The stock market whipping wildly up and down is nothing more than the wealthy controlling the stock market, buying low and selling high. If the market doesn’t move, nobody makes any money… Hmmm. Maybe a great leader will step forward. Maybe we can actually elect people that represent us. The government no longer does that.
“He who wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” Edmond Burke

I know, as a consumer, you are required to get the most that you can for your money. If you need to shop at Walmart to stretch your dollar, and feed and clothes your kids, you should do that. That is simple family economics. BUT, if there were import tariffs on countries that don’t meet standards of fairness to the American worker, we would ALL be working and we would all be getting paid better. But, it is the job of our government t keep the balance of trade fair. Maybe you see things differently, but here are the facts. Lets use China for an example. The 12 year old kid that made your shoes, probably works 12 hours a day for very little. Only top communist party officials make good money. The magnificent new cities, that are being financed by the American dollar, are not for their workers, they are for the top party officials. They get their electrical power from a huge dam built across The Three Gorges. That dam is the equivalent of damming the Golden Gate and flooding the Sacramento Valley. They did it all without a permit. Can we do that in America? Would we allow it? Should we allow it? Heck no! So why do we buy Chinese products? Just because they are cheap? No, it’s because our government does not protect our markets from their unfair completion. The last point about China, is that they manipulate their money, to be valued lower than the dollar. So, that makes their products automatically cheaper, but it keeps dollars flowing to their shores.

So, I have great hopes that these grass roots movements will succeed in bringing forth a great leader.

“People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.”
Edmond Burke

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Frost on the Punkin'

It was thirty degrees at my house this morning, how about you?

"When the Frost is on the Punkin"
James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock
Then the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps 25
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.