In my last essay I proposed the short term fix of the poor, middle class and unemployed helping each other via barter of self-produced goods and services and the use of Freecycle. The long-handled spoons allegory I brought in was particularly apt because it strongly resembles the situation we have today. The handles are so long on our spoons because there is a great deal of mileage and a lot of corporate infrastructure between the stuff on the end of the spoon and our hands. It’s like we’re on the wrong end of a pyramid scheme where we’re paying a hundred people to do something as simple as provide a package of raspberries in the grocery store.
In the summer I wrote about the irony of harvesting a good seven quarts of wild raspberries growing near the railroad tracks close to where I live, while the store down the road was selling the same thing for $4.99 for 4 ounces. The store-bought total value for what I harvested ended up being something around $360.00.
I wrote about how people have become so dependent on thinking that there’s only one way to solve problems – the “acceptable” way, the status quo; that people who lived 15 miles away from midtown Manhattan spent the night sleeping on the sidewalk during the northeastern blackout of August 2005 rather than simply… walk home.
It would have taken the average person about five hours to walk those 15 miles. They could have walked along the railroad tracks – the trains certainly weren’t running. They could have slept in their own beds that night. But no… they slept in their clothes on the sidewalk. Because that’s what everybody else was doing. Because they’ve become so dependent on the idea that they couldn’t get home without a car, a bus or a train that they didn’t even THINK to walk. They’ve become fixated on the idea that because it takes them an hour to get into the city during rush hour, they surely live more than fifteen miles away from it. To cite the Dead Kennedys album title, “Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death”.
To save our economy and our nation, we need people willing to think outside the box.
The problem is, we have an awful lot of people who do NOT want us to do that. Because the box is of their making, and they’re very proud of it.
I spent some time the other night listening to the clip of FDR’s first broadcast to the nation that Edger posted in Pluto’s essay on the subject, and while I recognized many a good intention and wise goal in FDR’s plan, I also caught a sentence here and there that got my inner cynic smirking; and furthermore I recognized that there were some interesting peripheral things going on both before and after this speech was made.
I recognized a pattern, a formula. It’s a bad scene that’s going to see some daylight here and now, because we’re being set up to be shoved into that box again and we need to stop the madness.
FDR’s speech was made in March of 1933. That December, the now widely seen as ridiculous “grand experiment” known as Prohibition was repealed.
I’m a homebrewer, so I know a wee bitty bit about Prohibition and what it did to the brewing industry in this country. What it did, in essence, was harness the fanatical power of a very vociferous group of religious nutjobs in the United States to completely tear down and then rebuild America’s alcohol production industry from scratch.
Now, that the industry did need some form of regulation is no argument. Merely read or watch “Gangs of New York” to see what runaway alcohol use and abuse was doing to society. There was a good reason for the Temperance Movement, however ludicrous and extreme they themselves became. But Corporate America eventually handled the problem in the same draconian and shady fashion that other economic decisions are being made today. They played it real nice and neat.
Prohibition drove thousands of small breweries and wineries out of business. It was a great loss. Brewing and winemaking are as much of an art in their way as cooking. Many Pre-Prohibition recipes are lost to us. Good, talented, hardworking and honest craftspeople who took pride in their work lost their livelihoods. Some had to turn to a life of crime to survive.
A select few magnates were left standing at the end of Prohibition, no small few of them entities who had made large sums of money bootlegging, on the one hand running the organized crime cartels that sprouted like mushrooms in this fertile environment, and a corrupt police state on the other. They controlled the horizonal and the vertical. The little guys died like flies (sometimes quite literally), while these players got rich on their virtual monopoly.
When Prohibition finally was repealed, appearing to appease their Temperance Movement allies, these corporate magnates caused laws to be passed that would only allow “near beer” – 3.3 percent alcohol – to be produced for legal sale within the United States. This is one of the reasons most post-Prohibition American beer has the reputation of being weak pisswater even today. The American lagers and pilsners which are still mass-marketed today to the American public are based on the same “near beer” recipes of 1933.
And as the years and decades passed and marketing techniques outlasted individual memory and new generations of customers came of age, America forgot that what they were drinking was “near beer”. It was just BEER. It was what there was. It was ALL there was. Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Schlitz, Rhinegold, Pabst, Rolling Rock. The heinous, sulfurous abomination that was American Lowenbrau. You want something darker and stronger? Ale, porter, stout? Pay import prices and get a Bass or a Guinness. And hope you live within 100 miles of someplace that sells that stuff.
But the real reason was simple economics. The new people in power – the only people with the money to re-enter the industry – didn’t want the average Joe Schmoe to be thinking about buying a single bottle of fine strong ale with his money. They wanted him to be thinking about buying six of them at once. This was near beer, and if Joe Schmoe wanted to get a tasty buzz on, he was going to have to drink more than one. And BUY more than one. Pride had been replaced by greed.
Oh, by the way, guess why McCain has eight houses? It’s because this Bud is for you, and any of the money you spend to buy that Bud goes to his sugar mama. McCain’s wife is the heiress to the Anheuser-Busch fortune. Want another giggle? Take a look at how the Bush family used to spell their last name. Makes ya all KINDS of thirsty, doesn’t it? But I digress…
It wasn’t even until nearly HALF A CENTURY LATER that Jimmy Carter (every God on this earth bless that man!!!) repealed laws that were still on the books forbidding the American citizenry from producing their own homebrew. Today, every American adult citizen can legally produce 200 gallons per year of beer, wine and mead for their own use in their own home.
I’ve told this longwinded story for a reason. In 1936, not satisfied with control of this industry, the magnates acted again. “Reefer Madness” came out, and with the howling mob of the Temperance nutters at their backs, they went after their new target: industrial hemp.
Hemp can be used to make clothing, paper, rope, and fully biodegradeable plastics. But there’s a problem. Hemp is cheap. It’s a weed. It grows nearly anywhere. It’s hard to make a long-handled spoon between your end product and your consumer when it comes to hemp.
But wait! There’s a variety that can get you high. Get those Temperance nutters on the case!
And so now, hemp isn’t used much these days. The fact that there’s an industrial variety of the plant isn’t well known. The oil companies produce most plastics, which are not fully biodegradeable. Most paper comes from trees, and the deforestation of our planet has been no small factor in the global warming issue. Hemp clothing is coming back, slowly, but it’s very much a niche market.
And oh yeah, those Rockefeller drug laws ensure that if you get caught carrying around the illegal high-making kind, you are guaranteed a serious monkeywrench in your life.
This is the formula: use some form of widespread fanaticism made fashionable – in this case, the religious right’s fanatical hatred of drugs and alcohol – to take complete control of an industry. Tear it down under the pretense of some action which gets people’s blood boiling. Build it back up from the ground up – on your terms. Make sure by clever manipulation of law enforcement (and occasionally it’s polar opposite) while your fields are lying fallow that you are the only one left standing when the time comes to rebuild.
Does this formula look familiar to anyone? It should. It’s also what the military/industrial complex has been doing in third world nations since the 1960s, particularly banana republics in Central and South America. It’s what we’ve been doing in the Middle East, playing Iraq and Iran off against each other, installing and then deposing puppet dictators of our own making. And it’s what has been done in this country again with the formation of the totally unnecessary crony boondoggle festival known as the Department of Homeland Security.
How to break the pattern? Well, first the government needs to recognize it when and where this is happening, and then they need to stop it.
The Federal Government needs to fund more little guys. More small businessmen with the fire in their bellies and the willingness to show pride in their work. The people into cronyism and nepotism and dynasties, and the guys who like to throw around their fat wads of (STOLEN!!!) cash need to be made to step aside by our government for the little fella who may not have much capital to work with but who has a great idea, who isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and show these big pigs how it’s done.
One final word about FDR and his involvement in this “tear down and rebuild” methodology. As a 33rd degree Mason he was in on this up to the eyeballs. I could tell especially after having listened to his speech, where he describes the tear down of the banking industry and founding of the now rather off-the-rails Federal Reserve. Did he know it would become the corrupt mess it is today? I don’t think so. He did have his integrity. But it was clear that as a Mason he had loyalties elsewhere that influenced his decisions.
Now, Freemasons were among the founders of our nation, and I cast no aspersions upon them in general, but I will say this: Robert A. Heinlein was 100% correct when he said that “Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny”. The feudal nature of our government as it exists today has manifested in part with the many secretive societies, cabals and cults who for decades have gotten away with with this shady, gangsterish “tear down and rebuild” behavior. In today’s Unification Church, Bilderberg Group, Knights of Malta, Skull and Bones Society, etc.; we see echos of the Hanseatic League, the Fuggers, the Medicis, the still-extant Rothschilds.
There is no place in the power structure of this nation for a group of people who place their allegiance to a secret society, a religious organization, a trading alliance or a cult higher than they place their allegiance to the laws and Constitution of the United States of America. Secret society members have infiltrated our government and the corporations which comprise the military/industrial complex at every level. There are those who pretend to public service who will unquestioningly and willingly follow the mandates of these organizations even if they defy our laws and Constitution or those of our allies.
This is a great deal of the problem. These organizations are secretive, they operate on an international scale, there’s absolutely no accountability to any government or it’s laws.
No organization such as this should need to operate in secrecy so much that it’s actions are beyond threat assessment analysis from the intelligence arm of the United States of America. Unfortunately, the intelligence arm of the USA has not been infiltrated quite so much as OVERRUN by these entities.
This is what needs to stop, or the rest of the problem never will. We will remain in a constant generational cycle of “tear down and build up”. Small businesses where workmanship reflects quality and pride and accountability will continue to be replaced by behemoth corporations who flee outside our borders or play a shell game with their names every time we try to hold them accountable for everything from despoiling our environment to price gouging to criminal, gangsterish tactics used against their smaller competition. We will remain a nation of sheep, with programmed futures which include dipping, fleecing and the occasional visit to the killing floor. A Democratic Republic this is not. It’s a fascist, feudal train wreck. And we’re all on that train.