Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Musings: On Social Unrest

The bright light from a moon that turns full today seeped into my consciousness, my dreams, all through the night until finally the dogs and I got up and went out walking beneath a blue-black canvas daubed with white clouds and stars. Jupiter glowed yellow in the west, a rat raced along the telephone wires above us, and in the east, the heavens began to flush with the approach of the sun until the sky resembled the chunky embers of a dying campfire.

As that big moon was rising last night, a friend stopped by and we got to talking about an accident he’d recently been in: a vehicle crossed the center line on the southside and totaled his truck. The cops, after a lengthy phone consult with unknown person(s) confiscated my friend’s Kingdom of Atooi driver’s license.

Why do the cops keep doing that, when such seizures are clearly unconstitutional? Besides, as my friend observed, “It’s so stupid, because we can just make another one.”

I think it all boils down to a power struggle, fueled by the persistent attempts of “the system” to exert its control over any upstarts, kinda like the over-the-top security preparations taking shape on Oahu in anticipation of next month’s APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) shindig, hosted by the Prez.

Over on the Moana Nui 2011 Faceback page, Kyle Kajihiro of DMZ Hawaii posted maps showing the “ocean exclusion zones” — swaths of coastal waters at Waikiki, Ala Wai and Ko’olina that will be off-limits to we the people during the forum — with the message:

“This is what APEC looks like. It takes over land and sea like cancer.”

Meanwhile, as Democracy Now! reports, the Occupy Wall Street protest is expanding, despite ongoing arrests, and people across the nation are staging their own actions in solidarity. I know planning is under way for some sort of demonstration on Kauai this Saturday.

As Andrew Ross Sorkin reported in The New York Times:

What’s the message?

At times it can be hard to discern, but, at least to me, the message was clear: the demonstrators are seeking accountability for Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap.

And that message is a warning shot about the kind of civil unrest that may emerge — as we’ve seen in some European countries — if our economy continues to struggle.


I think we’ve got a ways to go until Americans in large numbers feel that uncomfortable and that dissatisfied, just like folks are going to have to get a lot hungrier before they get serious about protecting ag lands and promoting food security.

In covering the Important Ag Lands process, I was interested to learn that some 90 percent of Kauai residents would need to be involved in food production in order for us to feed ourselves. We’re not likely to see that level of participation until the grocery store shelves are bare.

Meanwhile, I ran across a blurb about how in 1950, the average U.S. household spent 3 percent of its income on health care and 22 percent on food. By 2010, health-care costs had risen to 16 percent of income, while food costs dropped to 7 percent.

“Food has gotten so cheap that people just don’t appreciate or value it anymore,” said Farmer Jerry, when I called him the other day to chat about the IAL.

True, that. Unfortunately, a lot of what passes for food these days isn’t anything to value or appreciate — it’s cheap junk that provides little or no nutrition. Is it any wonder that health care costs have risen dramatically as food has gotten crappier?

Which brings me to a comment that a friend made, when I asked him what I should do with a couple of kids who would be in my charge for the day.

“Take ‘em to McDonald’s,” he advised. “If you do that, they’ll be good all day.”

As I flashed on the studies that have shown junk food is as addictive as drugs, it struck me that it’s no surprise the kiddies quiet down once they’ve gotten their fix.

Until, of course, it wears off, as all drugs do, and the craving and crankiness begins anew.

So perhaps the key, then, to sparking massive social unrest is to shut off the supply of junk food and see what happens when tens of millions of Americans start jonesing.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

If god wanted us to have money, we'd be born with a wallet full.

Until humanity as a whole gets over it, the certain death of the economy will only be protracted.

The smartest people in the country are all occupying wall street. Not very good odds considering we have 300,000,000 people in country. Tea bags and stupublicans be dammned.

Hopefully all our gardens are planted.

Thanks for your blog, it's well thought out and to the point!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan, Skip the junk food and the kids will behave much better. My advice is to feed them good solid food, no junk

Anonymous said...

Occupy Washington. De-occupy Hawaii. Pres. Obama: are you on the right side of History?

Anonymous said...

"De-occupy Hawaii," I like that.

Anonymous said...

Sell Hawaii to the Chinese to settle the national debt.

I'm sure they would be far more kind and understanding of indigenous people's rights...

Anonymous said...

Not everyone not in the one-percent class is in the 99-percent class as defined by the protesters. They do not want to be represented by those with too much time on their hands.

And nobody forced them to rack up huge college debt. That was voluntary and the debtors have no right to complain about it.

Read below:

Conservatives launch "We are the 53%" blog in response to "Occupy Wall Street"
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20118541-503544.html

In the first post, which mimics the style of the "99 percent" blog, Erickson holds up a sign with a hand-written message, telling the "whiners" protesting Wall Street to "suck it up."

"I work 3 jobs. I have a house I can't sell. My family insurance costs are outrageous. But I don't blame Wall Street. Suck it up you whiners. I am the 53% subsidizing you so you can hang out on Wall Street and complain," the sign says. Below the image, a caption confirms that "@ewerickson Declares he's one of the 53."

A post later that day, which is not accompanied by a photo or personal anecdote, reads: "We, the 53% of income-earners who pay taxes, hereby refuse to bitch about it. We're happy to make a living. Just because we could whine about stuff doesn't mean we will. That is all."

While the notes on "We are the 99 percent" are often somber, "We are the 53%" appears to embrace a sharper tone: Captions accompanying photos often provide commentary - including "Suck it up." and "Brittney worked 3 Jobs to make it, because that's what you're SUPPOSED to do. Nice job, Brittney."



the 99% club...whiners mostly. The “it’s not my fault that I am where I am in life” crowd. I do not have empathy for them.

http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

the 53% club...just as down-and-out but not claiming that the world owes them a living. I like them much better. I have empathy for them.

http://the53.tumblr.com/page/4

Anonymous said...

"Sell Hawaii to the Chinese to settle the national debt.

I'm sure they would be far more kind and understanding of indigenous people's rights..."

Is that joke?

Tibet for example.........