Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Current Events/New Rants

I don't want to stoop to the level of a commentator on current events that are reported on CNN or Fox because I can only offer my opinion and not actual experiences. See, anyone who followed my trip around Newfoundland and Labrador probably saw more first person content about those places than if they watched CNN for 200 years straight. I like that. I wasn't offering distilled opinions on regurgitated take out food. I was telling you my experiences in addition to my opinion.
Now, if I want to opinionate on the Occupy Wall Street protests then I'm just being a big mouth. I don't know what is happening down there any more than the Santa Cruz newspapers told the truth about the Food Not Bombs protests. So I can't have an informed opinion...but I do anyway and here it is. Better to give it now when I am young and mentally nimble rather wait until I'm old and senile.

The problem is that there is a criminal element in the financial management of the country. It is a fraud. The mortgage meltdown was basically a byproduct of a decade long land-grab buffet that a small cartel of politicians and financial managers and land brokers pulled off at the expense of me and you. They understood that there was no way their actions would have no consequences but they also understood that possession is 9/10ths of the law and if they owned the land then no one was going to ask HOW THEY OWNED THE LAND.
Go ask the Loathsome Lou Pai how he was able to become the #1 landowner in Colorado.
He bought it with California pensions stolen from swindled utility workers who lost every penny in their retirement funds and ended up repairing power lines until they were 95 years old.

So, my point is that Lou Pai represents the false wealth created by 20 years of corporate/political grab ass...and the occupy wall street protesters are justified in their resentment of him and his loathsome ilk. Pai and Jeffery Skilling and Kenneth Lay are the worst element in America. Only a nation of stoned television junkies would allow them to live.

However; the loathsomeness of Lou Pai has nothing to do with someones decision to be an Art History major at NYU and then turn their nose up at unpaid internships in rent-friendly Arkansas so they can live in Greenwich Village and drink $5 coffees and take a taxi home when they get drunk 50 blocks from their apartment...and thus end up with $40K in student loans, no hope of owning a NY condo, no job skills, a caffeine addiction, and some pants that are too tight. I mean, there is no way these protestors are similar to the army veterans who marched on Washington in 1932 to demand their service bonus. Playing Call of Duty for five hours a day doesn't qualify you for the VFW. Times are different.
I know this sounds like Rick Scott has been whispering in my ear when I'm asleep but I've come to believe that Dr. Zhivago was right, "Poetry is no more suitable a career than philosophy". Dr. Zhivago is a poet but he paid the bills (until the revolution) with medicine.
Now, I am personally useless for any occupation except creative writing but that's my own failure to develop marketable skills. I could've been a dentist! Or a water quality engineer. Or Mechanical Engineer. I even wanted to be a Park Ranger for a few months but didn't like the idea of wearing a gun. Who is to blame for my insane plan to be a violinist in an Orchestra when I didn't know how to play the violin? I could've had any degree I wanted but I felt an overpowering desire to put my nose on the ground of America and learn first hand what it stood for. I wanted to be the next John Steinbeck. But even Steinbeck and Hemingway served in the Army. Even Kerouac was a Merchant Marine. My hero William Vollmann was an I.T. technician before getting into creative writing and investigative journalism. And those four are the top .000000001% of writers and none of them can hold a candle to Hermann Hesse who could barely keep a job at a bookstore. I'm somewhere in the middle percentage of a billion anonymous bloggers. So does that mean the crooked CEOs are to blame for my lack of employment? God no. Does it mean America is some kind of Objectivist utopia? No.

Like I said, nothing pardons Lou Pai for his despicable, unforgivable, criminal action...which is why the protest is a bit messy. Saying, "Lou Pai is a loathsome criminal who should be hung like Saddam Hussein's rabid dog!" is totally different than saying, "The distribution of wealth is unequal."

In Santa Cruz we were all guilty of saying something to the effect of, "Too few people have too much money and land." And I think we were all trying to simplify a topic that was too complicated for our stoned brains. The Lou Pai scenario (raid pension funds, cash out of company seconds before the bubble bursts, buy most of Colorado, sell most of Colorado, breed horses in Houston) is the height of villainous conduct, while your average wealthy person basically took old money, invested it wisely, pushed the rules to the limit, busted his ass all day and night, took no prisoners and tried to come out on top of every deal. Chuck and David Koch are carelessly polluting rivers but most American corporations aren't directly involved in the plundering of the environment. So they can't be lumped together or else you end up acting like some dirty smurfs all in the name of social equality.*

Small business owners, most CEOs, bear no resemblance to Lou Pai or the Koch bros. and should not be on the gallows with them. But the fucked up thing is that Lou Pai probably sold his land to someone who didn't plunder pension funds for his wealth. But now that land is worth what Lou Pai sold it for even though that's like saying if I rob a bank and pay $5000 for a hooker to give me a piggyback ride through Market Square then that's what everyone should pay for a piggyback ride. Like, that's the going rate now. See, Lou Pai had no value for his money because it was pure pirate's booty. You want to know why lap dances cost $200 in Colorado? Thank Lou Pai. Lap dances are $7.50 in Mexico because THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE WORTH. But when you have people throwing around free pension funds like it's monopoly money then prices tend to go up. And this is all tied into the resentment fueling the protests in NY.

Los Angeles housing prices rocketed up 400% while I was there. This was the three years before the meltdown when I had mortgage brokers saying they could find a way to get me a mortgage on a $1.3 million house. My income? An unofficial $14,000 a year. They were all in bed with one another trying to inflate prices so those selling would bank a big wad of phony money and those buying could hide huge sums of their phony capital gains. Oggy was a pig in the poke. The house he lived in got sold three times while he was living there and the last guy ended up giving it to a person who may not have existed so he could claim the loss and still sell the house through the fake identity. I think this sums up the mortgage meltdown: I lived in a house and no one knew who owned it, but it was for sale for $1.8 million and worth $300K. The bubble burst and the $1.3 million house sank to $800K but if you think about it even that is too much to live where helicopters chase drug mules and immigrants through alleys stuffed with stoned gypsies living in vans. (Ha! The dollar symbol above 2004 in the picture is the exact date Oggy moved into that house)

I'm getting off track. See, that's the problem. This is so complicated that Michael Moore hasn't covered the whole topic with eight different movies. So, there is no way in Hell the Occupy Wall Street hipsters are going to succinctly describe their grievances. No chance. Don't expect them to. The current status of the global economy and the financial coup that destroyed Congress can't be summed up on a piece of cardboard stapled to a broomstick.

Unfortunately, unfortunately, we live in a capitalist country where commerce is the only engine of change. I think about the pipeline set to stretch from Alberta to Texas. Do I really think that if that particular pipeline does not get approved then the oil will stay in Alberta? The petroleum engineers will all become Amish organic gardeners? Ha! THEY WILL GET THAT OIL OUT OF THE GROUND AND IN CARS AT ALL COSTS!
So, the pipeline is incidental. We had a saying in Santa Cruz that I happily donate to the protestors in NY: "OUTGROW THE GOVERNMENT!" OUTGROW WALL STREET!"
It was a play on the "OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT!" saying that caused us pacifists to grimace when we heard it. Basically, when the government is useless then it will cease to exist. So promote a world that governs itself. Hahahah. I just had a flashback to the point in my life when I fervently believed that was possible. Hahaha. I guess the tie-dye shirt has permanently shrunk. So, If I don't want that pipeline plan then the best thing to do is figure out a better and safer and cheaper way to get the oil from Alberta to Texas. And I could do that if I had a degree in Petroleum Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and was a genius. Skills are still the best commodity in the world.

Anyway, the solution that I seem to think about now (since "outgrowing the government" is as unlikely as a Lou Pai College Scholarship For Strippers being awarded to Hillary Clinton) is to play by the rules of commerce and isolate a market to dominate with your own business. There is no chance the stock market will clean itself up because some hipsters take offense to the disparate balance of wealth.

I watched the movie Wall Street over the winter and to make an honest dollar in America you have to be the smartest guy in the room. And when everyone is pretty smart then you need to have an extra edge which involves planting false information to mislead everyone else. And when that doesn't work then you have to get insider information and leverage that. It's not easy to make a buck. And when the dollar is king then hipsters with big hearts and skinny jeans will be treated no differently than LSD queens on Haight Street. They say they represent the 99% who don't own 90% of the wealth. Well, I wonder what my New England Yankee grandfather Sam Stevens would say if a hipster with purple hair and a pierced eyebrow said, "I REPRESENT SAM STEVENS!"
Uh, I'm pretty sure my grandpop would say, "Get the hell off my lawn before I grab my shotgun."

Now, Sam didn't scam a single person his whole life and he didn't sell a car for a penny more than it was worth and probably never made a dime from any land exchange, BUT HE ALSO NEVER MISSED A DAY OF WORK OR WAS FIRED FOR SMOKING POT.

So, no, a NY hipster does not represent Sam and he doesn't represent the truck drivers who cross the country hauling freight and he doesn't represent Coast Guard navigators or Policemen or dentists or independent gas station owners in Illinois. He doesn't even represent me. He represents a ridiculously small minority of disillusioned hipsters who think they are too good for the assembly line and scarf up food picked by illegal immigrants.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY LOU PAI SHOULD BE FORGIVEN. No. That's a completely separate issue. I guess it comes down to this: The protestors are right, and they should shut up and start their own businesses. Because that's the best way to get back at Lou Pai. Wall Street morality wasn't written into the constitution and it can be replaced. BUT SOMEONE HAS TO REPLACE IT.

Oh, my dream in this life is to be installing a solar panel grid after the petroleum and nuclear power industries go belly up and my crew walks up to a huge, dark and depressing estate with sprawling lawns and hedges and a worn and tired grey haired man hustles out with big smiles.
"I'm so glad you're finally here! We have no power, no food, no hope. We'll never survive without power! We're saved!"
And I smile and nod and say, "That's what we're here for, Mr...." and I look at the installation invoice and read, "HOMEOWNER: LOU PAI"

Then my smile would split my face. I get chills just thinking about how happy I would be. I laugh loudly and the man is slightly confused.
"Lou Pai?" I say. "Lou Pai? Ah, we've got a special for you, Mr. Pai. You can lick the sweat off my balls while your whore wife gives me the best blowjob of my life but we will never install solar panels on your house. Boys! I want everyone to take a shit on Mr. Pai's lawn and then we are getting out of here."

"But I've got money! I'll pay!" whines the desperate Lou Pai throwing hundred dollar bills at me like I'm a skinny stripper with fake tits and hair extensions.

I say, "Then take your fucking money and give it back to the utility workers in California you pathetic crook. I wouldn't show you how to screw in a lightbulb."

Because that would be the ultimate revenge: To have the one thing a dirtbag like that needs and refuse to serve him for any price. And how is that going to happen if you have an art history degree?

*I'd still laugh if the Occupy Wall Street protestors morph into the next Khmer Rouge. That would be the ultimate, ultimate irony. Oggy is sent to a forced labor farm by a Hipster Revolution to hoe beans . Hahahaha.
"But I agree with you! We should all work on farms!" I'd yell.
"Shut up, you bourgeois scum! You think you're better than us? Back to work!"
And the whip would crack on Oggy's arthritic back. Hahaha. I'm totally writing that updated version of Dr. Zhivago.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.