Free the Marijuana

There has been some backlash to a recent complaint made by the newest member of our apartment dwellers association. The complaint was regarding the sweet but pungent smell of marijuana that has at times lingered around our community and the wide availability of said and I may note legal marijuana products in our city of Potland, I mean Portland.
This has made “the mean looking guy upstairs” enemy number one in certain circles and a protest protesting the persecution and harassment of natural medicine enthusiasts, patients and supporters will be held today in the amphitheater.

I will be selling my homemade brownies to the participants to make some extra cash, stop by and pick some up while they last.

Update****

It began peacefully enough but when the protesters starting shouting “Free the Weed!”, “Free the Weed!” the amphitheater became swamped with crazed people looking for the free weed. FREE WEED!!

At first I was afraid. I was petrified as the crowd swelled to massive size! Quick thinking saved the day. I told them the marijuana was in the brownies and they cleaned me out of all 5 dozen in an instant, most of them tipped and handsomely too as stoned people are known to do. I walked away from the maddening but happy crowd with a few bucks to buy me some new kicks.

ūüėÄ

**Seriously, marijuana can be medicine and its consumption, medical and recreational is legal where I live and becoming legal in more and more places. Below are links to some interesting sites regarding the subject. **

Medical Marijuana By Harvard Medical School blog

Medical Cannabis by MedicineNet.com

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis (2020 Update)

and now a quote from...

DR. SANJAY GUPTA:

‚ÄúI mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have ‚Äėno accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.‚Äô

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works…

We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.‚ÄĚ

Aug. 8, 2013, ‚ÄúWhy I Changed My Mind on Weed,‚ÄĚ CNN.com

To be hopeful in bad times

 

 

These are the times that try us. We can be broken. We can fall down. We can walk down a path of darkness but that does not mean we will never see the light. That doesn’t mean we will never walk in the sun again.

To be hopeful in bad times is not stupid or futile or simply in vain. To be hopeful in bad times is essential. This is our foundation. This is the beginning.

 

We have been taken on quite a ride lately. Our “normally” crazy world is insane. Our society is sick and we are running a fever.

I am a mix of emotions in regard to our current situation in the United States and the world. I am passionate in my belief in equality and kindness, in peace and understanding and inclusiveness.

I like many others believe our country is going to hell in a hand-basket. The words “fascist” and “dictator” are floating around paired with “dangerous”. People are angry and sad…and scared. I have wondered what it would have been like to be a German citizen during the rise and rule of Hitler.¬†Watching the changes, living with the results…

I also am very conscious of the fact that the status quo has much to be desired. The deck has been stacked against we the people for quite some time.

I will not mention his name, never, in any of my writings; in my blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. He is not my president, that damn and damned orange menace.

Never before have I seen such division and hostility. Our dear leader is showing us how to conduct ourselves and it is downright nasty. It is not who we are. I refuse and I resist.

We are the descendants of immigrants and revolutionaries.  Right or wrong, our country was built on revolution, sacrifice and blood, sweat and bitter tears. It was also built with certain ideals, ideals we have lost to greed, vanity and indifference.

These ideals are etched in our hearts and minds. It is our diversity paired with a belief in equality and fairness that makes us strong. We are united in our common love for life, our families and humanity. We are the strongest when we are united and united behind a common cause.

I believe we have our cause…

It has been said one needs to hit rock bottom before one sees the light. I believe we are waking up. It has taken a shaking but I believe, hope anyway,  that we are sufficiently shaken for the magic to take effect.

The common enemy; I don’t mean that orange menace exactly. Our true enemy is our collective selves. We have allowed this to occur; this what some would call a coup, a misstep or a stupid and dangerous mistake. Somehow we have someone in office who most of us didn’t want doing things that most of us do not like, do not like at all.

Lots of people have marched and ranted. Some have destroyed. Some people I suppose must be glad if they paid attention and believe and wanted what he promised, he is dong those things; as fast as he can. An agenda that obviously been planned. He is checking them off one by one.

Every day a new outrage.

And everyday more and more stories of unity. Maybe if we can unite behind a common enemy we can unite behind other issues.

Perhaps we had to hot rock bottom to finally ‘get it”. I know from experience that in order to have a different world a shaking up in the status quo must occur and seldom is this easy or peaceful.

Yes, to be hopeful in bad times is essential and this time is no different. I have hope because people on a whole do care and I do believe they are good at heart.

This is a time to dig deep and not turn a blind eye and just go along. What this means; listen to your heart, to your soul, it knows the way…it knows the truth, we all do.

For now I am holding on to hope, trying to be calm and kind and more understanding and to keep a smile….

…time to write something funny for the next one…

 

~nlm 

 

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ‚ÄĒ That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ‚ÄĒ That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

(From the Declaration of Independence ) 

 

 

 

Fresh Quotes: REVOLUTION

 

REVOLUTION

revolution money

Must revolution always be wrought with bloody violence? ¬†Must it beat down the door and thrust a gun in one’s hands? Or may the revolution creep along quietly like a whisper, serenading sweet somethings into the collective consciousness of humanity beckoning “come closer”, ever so gently? Need a revolution be a destructive prospect? Should we automatically fear it?

Could it be that revolution is part of a natural growth process? In some circumstances could a revolution be a good thing, a wonderful thing?

Perhaps it is the duty of the next generation to challenge the ideas of the preceding ones, to stretch boundaries and reach just a little bit further.

As we traverse the present and head on straight for tomorrow what will we find there? Isn’t change constant and could we possibly encounter tiny revolutions at every step? Change happens whether we look for it or not, whether we even notice the change at all. Could we be amid a quiet revolution right now; at this very second and not quite realize it?

world-peace

“A revolution is coming. ¬†A revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough. Compassionate if we care enough. Successful if we are fortunate enough–but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character. We cannot alter its inevitability.”

~Robert F. Kennedy

Peace1-random psychodelic color art

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.‚ÄĚ

~Jim Morrison

Don't tread on me revolution flag snake

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel and until they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

~George Orwell

wolf sheep revolution

“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”

~Edward R. Murrow

revolution peace is patriotic

‚ÄúRemember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†Franklin D. Roosevelt

revolution wall

‚ô•

‚ÄúThe greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†Dorothy Day

Oak-Trees

“Revolutions are not made ; they come. A revolution is as natural as an oak. It comes out of the past. It’s foundations are laid far back.”

~Wendell Phillips

peace protest rev

“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson ‚Äď that everything we do matters ‚Äď is the meaning of the people‚Äôs struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.‚Ä̬†
‚Äē¬†Howard Zinn,¬†A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

tiger king

¬†Here’s to taking life head on like a hurricane and seizing the damn thing and making it your own. ¬†My tiny revolutions start today.

Right on! 

‚ô•

~Nancy

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Related YouTube

Revolution By The Beatles

Gil Scott Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

box police state its ok

An Angry Letter to Mr. Obama from a fed-up American

Obama speaks to record numbers in Portland, Oregon during first campaign
Obama speaks to record numbers in Portland, Oregon during first campaign

‚ÄúHope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God‚Äôs greatest gift to us…A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.‚Ä̬† ‚Äē¬†Barack Obama

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BEWARE: I’m¬†feisty¬†again, this is not for the faint of heart…

It is 3 a.m. and I cannot sleep. Images of people fill my mind. I should have known better than to watch the nightly news.  Never before have I seen so many dead people. I cannot shake these images.  These carefully selected images, this horrific display and this obvious attempt at manipulation.

In a desperate appeal to our collective humanity, yes, it is horrible what is happening to the Syrians. But there are atrocities happening all over the globe, even in places that do not sit smack dab in the middle of oil rich countries. Why are we not “helping” these other poor suffering people in¬†Somalia, Sudan or¬†The Democratic Republic of the Congo? What about people in Haiti or even here at home?

We voted you in to stop our American war mongering not to increase it. I voted for you twice. I admit I turned a blind eye to the obvious favoritism shown by the mainstream media to you in the last election. I reasoned we were on the same side you and I. I thought this hope and change you promised was for the common good. I know you inherited much from former administrations.  Afghanistan, Iraq, the economic collapse, even the spying and the drones. But this, Mr President, this Syrian mess, this is all yours.

Can’t you see we Americans are tired of war. We are tired of sticking our noses into other countries business. We cannot save the world. We cannot even save ourselves.

What happened to you? What happened to the wide-eyed optimistic young idealist who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National convention , the one America fell for hook, line and sinker? Are you this same man? What I see now is a tired graying husk with dark hostile eyes.  It is these eyes that frighten me, Are you even the same person? What happened to you Mr President?

What happened to your message? The message that preached hope. What happened to the man who said:

NN_27obama2

“And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright Рtonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.‚Ä̬†
‚Äē¬†Barack Obama

 

Why do you call for war? You know I don’t believe you. I cannot and will not believe anything you say…not anymore. Perhaps I’m coming into my enlightenment late in the game. If I am to believe whispers from others, ideas I would have dismissed offhand to be the rantings and ravings of crazy and delusional lunatics. After all this, these rantings don’t all seem so implausible.

obama r-ASSAD-huge

I scour the internet for news;  for some truth. In this wilderness of everything crazy,  these stories run rampant.  Stories that call you everything from disillusioned and misguided to an alien shapeshifter with lizard eyes, a Hitler, and yes, even the Antichrist. I know there is a nugget of truth out there somewhere mixed in with all this craziness. I do know that I cannot believe the propaganda the mainstream media spins.

I don’t know who to believe. ¬†But I do know that I do not believe you Mr. Obama…not anymore.

I expected this out of George W Bush and his father. I even expected this out of Reagan back when I was but a child but not from you.

You promised us change. I expected you meant that we would change; that this country would change. That we would become great again and win the hearts of the world who would see us as they had before as a source of good. You promised us change but it is you who changed.

obama sad and old

‚ÄúTo the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.‚Ä̬†‚Äē¬†Barack Obama

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You are a parent. What do you daughters think of this? ¬† I am a parent too. My son is 18 and I we have received a letter from the selective service. Did you know I have hidden this in my drawer among bills to be paid? I will assure you this is one bill I will not pay! Would you send your daughters to fight in a war, do you believe in war that much? ¬†I ask you Mr. Obama, can you sleep tonight? I hope not. I sure can’t!

 

Heart-Water-and-Fire-HD

‚ÄúI’m inspired by the people I meet in my travels–hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.‚Ä̬†
‚Äē¬†Barack Obama

‚ô•

**On a side note to my regular readers. Sorry, I had to get this out. Next time, I promise something lighter. Some sort of happy distraction. It’s just that I care too much.**

~SBI

Barack Obama "Hope" poster, original...
Barack Obama “Hope” poster, originally by Shepard Fairey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The speech that made President Obama (YouTube)


An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a Vietnam Veteran (grumpyelder.com)
Don’t Bomb Syria, Mr. President! (interfaithreflections.com)
Letter to President Obama (billp47.wordpress.com)
Obama Attempts to Preserve His Ego by Proposing War With Syria (armyvetchicrants.com)
POTUS Is Not The World’s Police Chief (johnhaydeninmd.com)
An Open Letter To President Obama (yourfaceispolitics.wordpress.com)

Stand up for Peace

world peace in public domain

‚ÄúNever be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē¬†¬†¬† William Faulkner

The following is a rant….it is my little way of speaking out…speaking my mind¬†right or wrong. What follows is no assertion¬†of fact; it is only the opinion of one person: me: SBI.

We the people of this planet have the right to live peaceful lives. So much is lost due to the ravages of war; natural resources and precious lives. This world belongs to us; the people of this planet. We have rights dammit, and damn anyone or anything who tries to deny us our simple peaceful existence.

We the people don’t want war. It is those entities in seats of power; governments and corporations who profit from war. WE the people of this planet only lose out, again and again. This has played out through the centuries.

Those in power want us to believe that there is nothing we can do. They need us to think we are powerless. They know better and use whatever smoke and mirrors to trick us into believing whatever they want/need us to believe..

Don’t believe¬†them. Together we ARE powerful. Together we can make a difference. Together we can change the world! YES we can!

This I believe, this I must believe. What we need is a spark, a spark in the dark that lights a candle, one candle can light countless others. We need to give hope to each other. We need to have faith in each other.

We must learn to see beyond the racial, cultural and religious differences that keep us apart. We are more alike than some may lead us to believe. I have met many special and beautiful people in my life. Stand-out individuals of all colors, creeds and faiths. Our diversity can strengthen us. We need each other, all of humanity is connected and we have so much in common. One of these aspects we share is the need to be loved and to be respected; the need to live a peaceful existence.

To do this we must fight, we must fight their ideas; the ones they cram down our throats. The ideas that say we must to this or do that. The idea that tells us that we must think of our fellow humans as the enemy.

The powers-that-be rule over us by fear. It is a time proven tactic. It has been used many times and it works. Fear leads to misunderstandings. Fear lead to hate and hate leads to war.

War has become big business in this world. To some a human life is insignificant. We cannot tolerate this. We cannot and we must speak out. We must stand up, tall and proud and say NO MORE!

unity earth from moon

We hold the power. We the people of this planet. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that is happening in the world…. and it’s unfortunate that our world is ruled by the all-mighty dollar.¬† The haves¬†are distracting the have-nots with trivial bipartisan¬† nonsense.¬† This angers people who are frustrated and time and time again, these people lash out…Whether it is a person acting alone, a group or a nation. The world is becoming more dangerous and all we can seem to do is fight-fight-fight. We are proving our unworthiness to exist and our planet is turning us; we are turning on us. This needs to stop.¬† We as a society need to come together. This is easily said but not easily done. Our governments and media sets the tone.¬† Big business pulls the strings and calls the shots. We the consumers feed them. On a grassroots¬†level, little by little we need to change this. We need to learn to become less reliant on a system that is not sustainable. This cannot happen overnight but in time we can change our ways.

This greed, this hunger for power and land and resources is the creature that drives this hungry machine. We can no longer depend on a system that created THIS; what we have now….this inflated monster that’s about to pop. It is overstuffed. We have fed it too much… given this machine of commerce too much control over not only our lives but the lives of everyone on this planet…and the planet itself.

Turn off the TV. Don’t BUY it..at least for today. The people have all the real power. LOVE each other. Spread compassion.

Strawberryindigo.

Peace-Signs-Solid-Preview-Full

“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It will never be achieved by¬† passivity and quietism.”

Dorothy Thompson

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This has been a post inspired by BLOGGERS FOR PEACE. An online¬†movement made up of caring individuals¬†who believe¬†that together we can make a difference! Please join us!¬† To join just click on the badge below…

bloggers forpeace6

IMAGINE by John Lennon (youtube)

Teaching Peace to Children (stevesthinkingspace.wordpress.com)

The Art of Peace (bodhisattvaintraining.wordpress.com)

The Sea of Humanity (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

The Ascending Spiral of Love (spiritualworldtravelerblog.com)

Power to Change the World (donettas.wordpress.com)

Meditation to achieve global peace on Independence Day 2013 (8485 people needed!) (planet.infowars.com)

5 Solutions to Change the World (saunsea.wordpress.com)

Inner Peace is World Peace (southweb.org)

Nobel winners to discuss peace (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

A Love You Can Bank On

bank heart_filled_with_love

‚ÄúIt is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.‚ÄĚ ~¬†Henry Ford~

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It is late November, soon after Thanksgiving,¬†a woman with a fake smile plastered to her face opens the door and welcomes me inside. The sweet inviting smell of gingerbread wafts out like a meandering tendril of affection pulling¬†me in closer and closer. A giant stuffed pony sits at the ready, seemingly waiting for giant hugs…I must say that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; I can almost hear the carolers now but all I hear is “Welcome to Wells Fargo!”

I have been frequenting this bank for the last twenty years or so and I have never seen it quite like this: Ever since Occupy Portland staged a bank protest day the people at the bank have become seemingly friendlier and friendlier. To the banks this may seem like good public relations but it seems too artificial and it is unnerving to me.

I look for the cookies to no avail and I feel stupid for doing that…of course they must be practicing the popular trend of piping in the intoxicating aroma to lull us poor unsuspecting customers into a false sense of security… Trust perhaps?

bankster-trust-me-im-a-banker by teamster nation

Banks are big on trust. It seems those with the money and the power are desperate to get us little guys to trust them. I have a piece of advice on that: never trust anyone who keeps bringing up the issue of trust: who says “trust me” or really anyone at all for that matter (except for your family and me–you must trust me)

I see the poor nervous ones in the corner, waiting uncomfortably in comfy plush chairs arranged in a circle in a vague semblance¬†of someone’s living room. They are waiting their turn to see a personal banker. (aka purse string holder)¬† These¬†are the people¬†who help you apply for a loan or help modify your mortgage.¬† Every one of these poor waiting people¬†look sick.¬† One¬†in particular, an elderly man in a frayed jacket with paint stains is visually shaken. I’ve been in that spot before; I feel sorry for them and relieved that I am not among their ranks–today.

banks make-money-public-domain

It is a strange event when banks won’t take cash from you…Yes cash, that funny¬†green paper we mortals keep passing around, the dirty stuff you must wash your hands after using.¬†We had an envelope of cash–around $300, not much to some but a lot to me.¬† MM hands them the wrong bankcard¬†from another institution of banking and larceny. He receives a disappointed¬†look, like he has been caught cheating. I add to the insult by writing the wrong number on the deposit slip. the teller who resembles Timothy Geithner asks for his ID. He hands it to Timmy but Timmy now squints and gazes at him sideways; MM looks¬†different¬†from the picture with his newish beard and that was that–Timmy refuses to accept the money, seriously. He tells us with utter contempt to return with the correct information. In the past no one has questioned us for such an offense, in my experience banks will always take cash but not today… we are perplexed.

Timmy Geithner

I say to MM: ¬†” I should write about this.” He gives me that “Oh no, not again” look but quickly tries to cover it with a placating smile.¬†¬†I don’t know how he can put up with me sometimes and as the afternoon goes on I ask him and a few others if they have ever heard of any interesting¬†stories about banks¬†in the news lately…especially nice ones as I want to get all angles of this story–Happy bankers, heartwarming tidbits of gleeful giving, perfect for the upcoming Holiday season…I ask this with a straight¬†face. I really want the banks to be able to redeem themselves in my eyes, really,¬†I mean it! …I know what you’re thinking and everyone I talked to thought along similar lines and¬†so all I get are the same placating smiles and polite “No’s”.

The internet knows all Kittycat

I then turn to all that’s fit to print: The internet. The Internet knows all, so when I ask it the very same question, it too gives me the same look and this time a very stern “NO!”

And this gets me thinking…

I felt like the long-suffering¬†wife in a bad marriage; unloved and unappreciated.¬† I looked at myself hard in the mirror, I studied all the newly formed worry lines on my face. I took¬† way too long showers¬†and cried myself to sleep. I binged on chocolate ice cream and listened to love songs and cried even more…well…no, not really but I did have some ice cream¬†and I did do one other thing–for real:¬† I quit that bank. I realised that¬†it really ¬†“wasn’t that into me and I withdrew my little sum of money and marched straight¬†to the arms of another love–The local credit union!

money on my purple lap

“Corporations have no souls but they can love one another.”

~Henry Demarest Lloyd~

money bags

 Related articles

Credit Unions VS Banks, the pros and cons (www.huffingtonpost.com)

Goldman Sachs’ Long History Of ‘Money And Power¬†¬†(npr.org)

Occupy Portland: N17 Protestors move into downtown, go from bank to bank, police make some arrests    (oregonlive.com)

50 ways to leave your lover by Paul Simon (www.youtube.com)

How Traditional Banking Practices Can Make You Poor (wisebread.com)

Banks… ūüėź (muddiedwater.wordpress.com)

Occupy The Hilton

I must confess that I have a strong streak of justice running through me coupled with some liberal leanings and a twist of rebellion. I guess I’m just wired that way and at times I¬†am strangely compelled¬†to engage in highly compassionate acts. I am also compelled to “give it to the man” from time to time, so when these pastimes collide,¬† I reach a sort of nirvana that can stay with me for weeks.

Keeping this in mind, I know it will be of no surprise to you that I have recently joined the occupy movement. Well not actually the occupy movement per se… frankly all those occupyists scare me a bit but they do inspire me. I have taken it upon myself to engage in my own impromptu occupation.

Remember those 1% people, those horrible¬†rich people; the ones who are responsible for all the evil in the world?¬† Those nameless, faceless masses of corporate conglomeration…

I think they need to be sent a lesson that we the 99%¬†are not taking it anymore and that we are fighting back until the playing field is more level.¬† And we, well, I will be occupying a symbol of their opulence and greed… and what better place to occupy that¬†than the penthouse suite of the Hilton?

I know you are thinking this plan may be a wee bit on the radical side. I agree but I cannot see any other way to bring attention to my,¬†our¬†cause.¬† I feel that I could become an inspiration to all the overworked and overlooked huddled masses yearning to breathe free. (Isn’t America great!)

I will have to make the sacrifice and live among those nasty one percenters and I will do so until all my comrades on the street, all the neglected, the poor, the tired and rejected and the rest of humanity (plus some select cats) get to live in the same luxury as we Hilton dwellers.

I will point out at this point that I am willing to make further sacrifices and I am an easy sell-out and not above blatant bribery. Any nicer hotel in the Portland area will do. (imagine the great publicity this hotel would get…hint, hint)

I’m planning on staging¬†a sort of John Lennonish bed-in with signs and reporters minus the¬†Ono (sorry Yoko)¬† and Amsterdam (sorry me) to protest all the unfairness in the world. I will¬†sing songs of love and peace and do it all in my P.J’s and take naps on the side. (I hear the beds are super comfy)

Of course it won’t be easy. I will have to live off room service and will have to find somewhere to go each day while my suite is being cleaned.¬† I suppose I will have to use the spa and the pool and watch some pay per view movies…I am prepared for these eventual sacrifices..very prepared.

My list of demands are as follows:

  • 24 hour room service
  • Maid service with nightly tuck down and Andes mints on my pillow.
  • A nice white terry plush robe.
  • Ritzy rich people stuff from the gift shop
  • Giant fruit baskets and exotic root beers from all over he world
  • A wireless connection
  • A superb view of the city
  • Jacuzzi
  • Free coffee and baby soaps
  • Decedent chocolate desserts
  • Complementary newspapers
  • Free domestic calls
  • Laundry service
  • And most importantly; a breakfast buffet with a yummy omelet station……No I mean equality for all and omelets too!

Unlike other protests and protestors, there will be no drum circle, or mobs of angry people blocking the street. There will be a minimum of noise, perhaps some light jazz or classical music playing in the background. There will be no damage inflicted anywhere or mess to clean up; just a few damp towels, empty bottles of bubble bath and the traces of many chocloate desserts left behind.

I do not think I am being unreasonable here. It will be a win-win situation for us all.

Frankly and honestly…At this point I don’t care if it’s a Motel 6 with a private bath and a vending machine outside the door.¬† What really matters is the principle of the thing.

I need a vacation..I mean, we the people need a vaction and equality too and all that good stuff.

And so this very weekend I will showing up at the Hilton, bags in hand, ready for my protest.¬† You¬†may join my protest..just show up at the nicest hotel in town with your demands..tell them Strawberryindigo sent you and have your visa card ready…

HAPPY PROTESTING!!!

Strawberryindigo.

Angry

For the past week or so I have been blocked. An idea has run rampant in my writing mind but it is¬†more than an idea. It’s a feeling, an emotion. It’s basic, it’s primal and it’s powerful.

Every time as of late when I sit down to write, it has been extremely difficult for me. 
¬†I start with a certain tone that feels right at the time; I’m tap, tap, tapping along and then…Wham, it all turns oh so negative and very angry.

I try to put a positive spin on what I write for the most part. Sure, my indigo bleeds through once in a while but it seems my moody indigo has turned a dark angry red.

I am not the angry type. ¬†I don’t typically hang on to emotional “baggage” or hold grudges. I am a mild-mannered¬†even-tempered¬†peaceful person. Anger hurts. I¬†am¬† sensitive, probably more than I should be but I do have a conscious and a strong streak of justice runs deep in¬†me. This is how my inward leaning and quiet nature can sometimes flip on a dime on a perceived¬†injustice and suddenly this¬†little kitten can rage with the roar of a thousand lions.

Right now that roar is in an uproar. I don’t want to feel this way and¬†it probably¬†would be wiser to just keep silent on my feelings and thoughts on the subject of my ire. But there is something in me that won’t or can’t keep silent. I guess this is why I write.

I¬†must speak, or write the truth as I see it and the truth is; I’m angry, damned angry.¬† I feel cheated and duped…and afraid.

Afraid of how my country is evolving or devolving, afraid of what the world is becoming. Afraid for the planet and the people and what’s to become of us all.¬† I ask myself what kind of world we are going to leave our children and future generations?

How will this all be explained? What could be possibly said? That greed controlled the world and money meant more than people. That our government was weak and the economy went south as we all sat back like good little citizens; distracted by the puppet show. Spending and getting into an endless cycle of debt to feed the banks, paying our taxes to fund wars and the killing of innocent people, falling for sound bites, clever ad schemes and catch phrases.

I fell for it all: the American Dream bullshit just as many others.  Being a child of immigrants I perhaps took this a bit more seriously, this American thing.  This once true story of people working hard, learning and growing, making a life for themselves and their children. Saving money, buying a house, sending their kids off to college;  the next generation having a better life than the one before it.

It seems this dream is dying, some would say it’s already half dead. It’s hard not to be discouraged sometimes,¬†angry sometimes. I admit I’ve been lucky in life and have lived a bit isolated from reality, sheltered from true hardship. It’s easy to pontificate and elaborate and say I’m with you, you 99%!¬† And watch from the comfort of my nice mortgaged home and see all these people lose their homes and life savings.

I think it becomes easier to be angry when it hits close to your home.

It is¬†easy to become bewildered and lost a bit. This I know.¬† I know a little more now and I understand how the 99% feels, especially the vocal minority of which I guess, I’ve just joined the ranks of.

My point in all this?¬†I don’t really know. Maybe there’s an upside to all this I have yet to find. Maybe It’s an explanation¬†of why this blog has become so dark as of late. Maybe it’s my way of saying this is¬†temporary and it’s a phase that I must go through so please bear with me.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Still a bit angry but hopeful…thanks for listening.

Strawberryindigo.

Occupy moves on

occupy berlin

From its infancy the occupy movement has run the gambit of highs and lows of the human experience. The movement started in New York as a protest against the unbalance of wealth in our society and it has grown and morphed and spread all over the country and the world.

A movement born out of frustrations brought on by hard economic times mixed with vanishing natural resources, dwindling opportunity and the remains of a system once created for the common good that is now corrupted by the few and the powerful who put profits over everything else.

The American dream is slipping through the fingers of many Americans.  Our golden age is tarnishing. We the people have lost our way.

Occupy Portland March - 60
Image by merrick_monroe via Flickr

I believe this movement is only a beginning and it is a sign of more to come.  The events of late have truly surprised me and have caused me to re-evaluate my feelings on the Occupy movement more than once.

I  have always supported the ideals of the movement, in that there has never been any doubt in my mind. However, I have not always supported the means. This occupying has from day one struck me as unsustainable.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all the good reasons and high ideals cannot trump cold hard reality. These camps created by Occupy degraded into a health and safety hazard that cost our cities dearly at a time when city and state budgets are strained to the max. This occupying also cost the movement valuable credibility.

They showed why it is illegal for a group of people to take possession of a public park and just squat there indefinitely. No matter how worthy the cause, those ends do not justify that sort of means.

Night march through Portland
Image by K. Kendall via Flickr

In most places the cops have moved in and used a varying degree of force to retake the parks once occupied.  Every city is different and in my city, to my surprise, it was relatively peaceful thanks to all involved. The local police showed uncommon restraint and the protestors themselves seemed to police themselves in many instances.

The crowd, estimated to be 2-3 thousand, gasped as a fiery projectile thrown into a row of mounted police injuring one of them and causing him to be taken away during the eviction last Saturday.

The perpetrator was quickly pointed out by the crowd and the man was promptly taken down and arrested. Then in a move that surprised me, the police backed off and allowed the protestors to form a drum circle in the middle of the street, dancers in the hundreds surrounded the circle, cheered on by the overwhelming number of spectators.  A party atmosphere prevailed into the wee hours. There was a sense of unity shown that gave me a sense of long forgotten city pride.

I felt I had been a bit hasty in my predictions of doom and gloom but then I looked around and found the reaction in my city to be unusual.

Occupy Portland
Image by drburtoni via Flickr

The next day 50 people were arrested and the Occupy encampment was retaken by police.  A handful of protestors remained and helped clean up the disgusting mucky mess left behind in the two city parks held hostage in this all too human drama.  Many citizens came out to see the damage and confronted leftover protestors milling about  It seemed not everyone was happy with all the mess and the cost of the occupy.

Heated debates sprung out on street corners.   People that would have never spoken to each other before were voicing their varied but strong opinions,  exchanging ideas and solutions. Citizens were taking to each other instead of just ignoring.

occupy portland
Image by snap turtle via Flickr

By Monday, a press conference was held by what serves as our local occupy leadership fronted by youngish woman in a bright red cap.  She spoke eloquently as she demanded an apology from the mayor and the chief of police for the use of force during the eviction.  Tears welled in the eyes of a nearby protestor as the woman in the red cap spoke of a member of their group, a sign language translator who had apparently been hurt in the scuffle and was now in a wheelchair.

Evidence is sketchy on this and I have this natural inclination to believe the protestors  though I cannot say as I was not there. I have only seen what is claimed to be altered footage of the event.

When asked if they were planning on occupying any more parks, the spokesperson beamed a smile and said “no comment”.¬† I had hoped for a sign of leadership or a clear focus from the group.¬† They seem intent on continuing the movement and will not let anyone but themselves know exactly what they have planned.

On Tuesday, the protestors marched and invaded an upscale¬†shopping mall.¬† On Wednesday, ¬†they marched in solidarity with local university students protesting high tuition¬†and an unfair treatment of school loans.¬† Today is dubbed “N 17” and a protest on the banks is planned. Events turn on a dime.¬†Only time will tell how this all plays out and how history will view this phenomena.

A smart person once told me that revolutions can be messy and that all that mess makes people stand up and take notice. I have to agree.

It is  prompting us, forcing us  really to look at ourselves as a community of connected individuals who can all have a say in our collective future . This movement has opened a dialogue with ourselves, all 100% of us. It is a discussion that is long overdue and if we want any real and lasting change for the betterment of us all, we need to have it.  If this movement has achieved anything it is this and it is the most essential.

fire
Image by matthewvenn via Flickr

The Occupy movement has provided the spark. To succeed the spark must grow and for it to grow and become something formidable, it must kindle the fires by adding new converts with clearer heads who can focus the attention on key issues.  For this movement to move it needs the help of everyone.  It cannot afford to alienate.  There are many problems and the protestors have every right to be angry, but their anger and a lack of clear focus hurts the very cause most they and I support so very much.

Strawberryindigo.

Occupy Standoff

It was only a matter of time¬†¬†and¬†¬†the local media is all abuzz.¬†The too-white smiles and scared eyes of the local newscasters reporting live in front of a hostile crowd¬† tell the tale.¬† Tempers are high and people are nervous.¬† Down at the center of it all, our¬†downtown and “Occupy Grand Central”.¬† A reluctant mayor, feeling the pressure given by¬† downtown businesses¬† concerned about the upcoming holiday season and the bottom line.¬† Drew his line in the sand and called out a warning to the local occupiers.¬† It was an ultimatum, really;¬†¬†Get out by midnight Saturday or else.¬†

The protestors occupying two parks across the street from city hall have vowed to stay. They have sent out for reinforcements and witnesses from other occupy encampments in other cities.  They are making homemade weapons and shields.  They seem to be digging in and readying themselves for a fight. 

 

The stage has been set.  On one side; the occupiers. On the other; the establishment. Stuck in the middle;  The people.  The real  99%.  Victims of circumstance. People from all walks of life. Very human signs of these hard times. 

We decided to pay another visit  before time ran out on our local occupy. So MM and I went down there on this very overcast Saturday morning. 

We have been there before, earlier in the occupation.   I expected much of the same.  I could have not been more wrong.  The tarps and the tents looked the same but that was about it.  With the deadline looming; the people who could or would leave have left and what remain are the chronic homeless and mentally ill.   And with them remain an unhealthy cesspool of waste and filth. And mud, a foul-smelling gunk all over.  The stench is almost overpowering.  Wet garbage and clothing strewn about.  Food containers and human waste lie on the ground mixed with brilliant yellow autumn leaves.  I almost gag.  I want to leave. We go further in.

Gone is the D.J. and the music.  Gone is the library and medical tent.  The art tent is empty and the local radio station has withdrawn its booth.  The food service has dwindled.  The air of hopefulness is gone.  The unity is gone.  All that is left are the ugly remains. 

The tattered would be heroes.  Dirty, hungry and lost, smoking hand rolled cigarettes, huddled together, worn and wary.  A spirited few cheer on the others.  Pontificating and proclaiming to fight. 

¬†“This is my home.”¬† Says a young man in a red cap.¬†

¬†His friend, the one with droopy tired eyes, calls for “warriors.”

 

A good Samaritan has brought in coffee and a brown-haired girl with big innocent eyes passes out brownies, she looks about 8 or 9.¬† She is a sweet little thing and stands as a stark contrast to the mess around her.¬†¬†As does the¬† teenage girl shivering in white shorts and flip-flops eating a¬† glazed twist and¬†savoring every bite.¬†Her dirty face looks sad and alone, I wonder where she’ll go?¬†

A despondent¬†old man in a wheelchair sits forgotten and ignored, a scene erupts around him, involving¬†a woman who is obviously distressed and upset.¬† She is almost in tears as she begs and pleads with some occupiers to use their energy for good and leave peacefully. A small crowd has formed aligned against her.¬† Her young daughter hides her face in her Mother’s warm and fashionable coat.¬†

Cops stand on the corners. Many of them have donned medical type masks. I suppose to keep from getting sick. I feel sorry for them.¬† They don’t want this.¬† I wonder what will happen tonight.¬† There is a certain queasy unease in the air that goes beyond the lack of sanitation.¬† I can see it their faces and in the faces of the ones with nowhere to go. Those are the ones¬†I feel for the most.

Others have come to witness this. People here and there, like MM and I.¬† Some are taking pictures.¬†Others have gathered at the parameters in twos and threes, whispering in an almost revered awe and shaking their heads in¬†disgust.¬†¬† I see surprise in some eyes.¬† I know the feeling. Whatever the dream, the dream is lying in a ditch¬†by the side of the road.¬† It’s tired and hungry and it gets the feeling that no one is listening.

Many hand-lettered signs have been left behind and many of these have valid messages.  I think these people and many others in this country and really in the whole world feel they have no voice and that no one is listening.  The world is going to hell and we know it and there is nothing we can do. 

It seems hopeless.¬† Our problems are so huge and all the occupying in the world won’t change that.¬† It’s easy to sit here in my nice warm house tapping away on my nice white laptop and judge these people.¬† It’s also just as easy to¬† turn and look the other way.¬† But it is history we are witnessing here, right or wrong, good or bad.¬†¬†

These people, those people….We the people. We are The People¬†and we are all connected.¬† Whatever happens to the least of us happens to us all. ¬†All¬†100%.

 These problems are not going away. Whatever happens on the streets of my city tonight, will not change anything.  It will only put an ugly face on a valid and much needed social movement. 

….And as the rain begins and¬† the darkness of night sets in across the city, I can’t help but wonder the outcome.¬† The deadline has been set and we are all watching and waiting……

Peace.

Strawberryindigo.

 

 

Occupy What Next?

Occupy Portland in Pioneer Square
Image by S.MiRK via Flickr

Recently I paid a visit to my local “Occupy” encampment.¬†¬†I first wrote about the Occupy Movement in a previous post and ¬†¬†I wondered¬†about the outcome of all this “occupying”.¬†Now after some time has passed and the movement has gone on into full swing, I decided¬†to go see what all the fuss was¬†about.¬† Well, I¬†should¬†say that MM talked me into it.¬† He asked what kind of writer I was. To miss out on such an event?¬†¬†He shamed and goaded me, then¬†offered me a trip to Starbucks. THAT did it…. and before I knew¬†it, we’re on our way.

Much has happened since this whole thing started here and all over the country, even the world.  

Occupy My Town

 Our local occupation consists of two city park blocks across the street from the courthouse.  There are an estimated 500+ people there.  There are two bathrooms.

By the time we got down to the occupation it was high noon, the sun beamed brightly giving the scene a sense of hopefulness.  It was like I was entering a moment in time that would forever be etched in my memory. I felt a great excitement to witness this exercise in freedom; This power of the people.  I felt alive and electric. 

Occupy Portland Image 32 jcj

¬†A row of shiny police motorcycles¬†caught my attention and then it was the tents, so many of them in a big multi-color conglomerate.¬† Hand lettered signs everywhere, running the gambit of the highs and lows of cardboard communication. From telling me to vote “nobody” for president and¬†take my money out of the “evil” bank,¬†¬†to “We are the 99%” and Death to tyrants”.¬†¬†Someone had even put up a picture of¬†Teddy Kennedy next to one of Che Guevara.¬†

Occupy
Image by K. Kendall via Flickr

A¬†man in a rainbow shirt welcomes us to the occupation. We smile hello and are greeted by¬†a woman sitting on the ground, her wares spread out on a blanket beside her, selling beaded bracelets and bran muffins. Her sign proclaims her to be a student and not homeless.¬† I’m glad that she can clear this up. Later I see the relevance in the sign as we go deeper in.

It all reminds me of a bad Mad Max remake, but with a¬† dreadlocked D.J. providing¬†¬†a glitter rock soundtrack. We skirt around the art tent and the first aid booth, with its free condom jar smiling proudly.¬† There is a lending library and a green ¬†Medical marijuana tent next to a small one labeled “chill”.¬† A sign proclaims fortune-tellling and¬†a local radio station has a booth, broadcasting live.¬†¬†

Near the community “garden” there stands, most impressively, a food line, serving what one man exclaimed to be “good shit” around a statue of pioneers, now riddled with police tape and spices.¬† Someone has put up a¬†sign¬† asking for dish-washing volunteers¬†and they seem to have a handle on recycling and waste management.

In a way,¬†I am impressed, there is some organization here.¬† It is good work to serve and feed the needy. But isn’t this supposed to be a protest?¬†¬† Nobody really seems to be protesting anything, or advocating anything either,¬†just occupying.¬†

Tent City
Image by kuow949 via Flickr

We¬†reach the other side of the occupation in the adjacent park.This one is a bit more crowded and a lot raunchier.¬† A blue haired woman kisses a blond rat on her shoulder, while the “cute” tweaker¬†couple in front of us fight over a cigarette.¬† A heavy-set¬† woman in a red dress puts a scarf over her head and screams “Starbucks!”¬† I smile and drift away, thinking of chai lattes.¬† M.M brings me back to reality when he points out the¬†group of about 20 bikers laughing and partying in the midst of it all.

We obviously don’t belong here and it shows.¬†¬†We look like total tourists. Most of the occupiers¬†don’t¬†seem to notice us and go¬†about the business of “occupying” which apparently consists of sitting around smoking¬†cigarettes, drinking¬†and yelling out¬† random drunken¬†nothings.¬†¬†

 It finally dawns on me that the park is mostly filled with people who have no where else to go.  I saw the local media coverage of this phenomena, most of the people featured in the coverage of the marches and protests seemed to be from all walks of life. I guess those people went home because 99% of these people left here squatting in a public park in the middle of our downtown are obviously street people and the mentally ill. Some look  downright scary.  

I had heard of problems here.  A major uptake in crimes. Theft, damage, assaults, and rape.  Even with the police presence across the street, a certain lawlessness prevails. Seeing all this makes an impression on me.   

In a city that prides itself in weirdness, this wins hands down as one of the weirdest moments of all. But to what end?  Who will occupy what next?

Dare 2 Dream too homeless camp

I¬†think about protests in the past and how this one is different.¬†¬†It has become bigger than itself and¬† it’s taking us to a place of no return.¬†¬†

 Occupy Reality

 The sentiment behind it all, the one that started it, is valid but it has grown into  a monster that lives on the backs of  well-meaning activists and YOU; the citizen and taxpayer.  This monster serves not equality and change, but chaos. These occupiers are setting a precedent that does not bode well for actual social and economic progress in the future.  I believe in the cause but I believe it does not justify the means.

To the occupiers I ask: To what end?

I hope more people don’t get hurt.¬†

      Stay Safe.             Strawberryindigo.