I apologize for my sense of abandon in recent weeks, as things have been rather busy, too busy for me to locate a computer and write a single letter to you, my good friends. I am writing to you now from a location called Seattle, in the state named after Mr. Washington, just to our north a little ways, on the computer at a college dormitory James is demanding we stay to visit. We waited one week before venturing to Seattle to join Daniel's friend James on his expedition around the nation, and in the meantime I spent what little available effort I had to explore the surrounds. Not one always for the busy city, I did venture forth to see the beaches and vistas, resting upon grassy knolls, with the help of Daniel's transportation, along some of it's more adventuresome parks.
So it was I've spent almost the past two weeks here, staying with some friends as James has events to coordinate, and me and Daniel were free to roam as things were getting done. I stopped by of my own accord to visit Pike Place Market, a farmer's market, open for the sale of plentiful goods. While I must conserve my money on this trip, and have only found my way about on the good accord of others, I did manage to ask some respectable farmers how good their crops grew over the summer.
Me: So sir, how does the farm trade go?
Farmer: Goes great! Despite the mad cow scare earlier in the year, we're still getting a good movement on the cattle. Wheat, potatoes and baled hay are fetching better prices here too. Yield per acre is fairly good, we'll never be Idaho as far as the potatoes go, but we're doing great. I'm just hoping they up our wheat subsidy!
Me: Subsidy? You mean a government lending? Why would you need that if things are so good?
Farmer: Well the agricultural firm I work for is a fairly big company, covers all sorts of production, and wheat is a major product coming out of our farms. The only reason I'm out here is to do some surveys and see how the on-site sales go of our ripe fruit produce, then back to the main offices to negotiate some distribution deals. The whole state gets a lot of money from the government, our crops come in at low prices sometimes so these subsidies help us out. As far as wheat goes, farmers in this state used to get huge subsidies in 2000, around $215 million or so, but it'd dropped off steadily over the years. Mainly just the big farming companies get the money, like mine that is, but it sure helps us out to keep prices low!
Me: Wait, didn't you just cite low prices as the cause for the millions given to your company, and now you say that it's effect is keeping prices low? Doesn't that contain something of a cycle?
Farmer: Well, I guess it does, doesn't it? Who cares. I would say we get most of our income from the government, not from these trips to the market. The more money they give us, the better off we get by, that's how I vote at least, I don't know about you.
Me: You vote for whoever gives you the most money? What an awful suggestion. Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise... not when they are given millions upon millions all year round. Protection from casual embarrassments, however, may sometimes be seasonably interposed... but never annually instituted.
Farmer: I don't know what you have against farmers buddy. Agriculture is a benefit to society so it's only fair government pays us for our work. Without government buying up our surplus, we'd have so much output that prices would sink so low, our profit window would drop and we'd have to up production and broaden our distribution to continue making as much money. I'm tempted to tell the boss man to start expanding over into Iowa or Texas, because simply put, that's where the farm subsidy money is. Screw this state anyways.
Me: I don't have anything against farmers but in my day it was not a great disdain to have surpluses and help out others by selling at the natural prices of goods, fairly sold they funded the innovation and invention to make more profitable productions. Agriculture... is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness. I don't know what you have against the people who appreciate your cause and correct you on your greed for handout monies politicians bless you, but I have no problem with the industrious farming man. An industrious farmer occupies a more dignified place in the scale of beings, whether moral or political, than a lazy lounger, valuing himself on his family, too proud to work, and drawing out a miserable existence by eating on that surplus of other men's labor which is the sacred fund of the helpless poor. It seems to me that you lack industriousness, and simply want to become the lazy lounger, a sad sorry state for our fields and produce.
Farmer: Well, I got work to do, so if you want to buy something, just talk to my associate here.
Just yesterday me, Daniel and James met with a representative of one of the groups James is working with - "Earth First" - at a special attraction of the Seattle area, a spinning tavern in the sky. I was amazed at the sheer height of this needle-like structure, and admittedly, a little sick. Over dinner at the apex of the sky tower, I tried to concentrate on table, and not the revolving scenery. I admit to paying little attention to the conversation, besides a particular bit to which I interjected myself.
Earth First Volunteer: Yeah, that Southwestern Oregon fire, the Biscuit fire, we're helping sue over the cutting of that old growth that still remains.
James: I remember that, those loggers want to clear away 31,000 acres of scorched forest, how dare they?
Me: But wouldn't the loggers replant the forest with some firmer, healthier, unscorched trees?
Earth First Volunteer: I don't know what kind of corporate apologist you brought to the table, but a logging company replant? That's unfathomable, they cut trees, they just talk about reforestation to get permission to do so. And what are those animals going to do even if they did replant? Frolic in 31,000 acres of tree stubs and machinery?
Me: I was just bringing about a simple observation, 31,000 acres does not get cut and shipped overnight, in my day it was hard to clear even a few acres. I'm sure it's better for those animals to live in a forest renewed by replanting than to remain in the destitute remains of a fire. But I digress. Daniel?
Daniel: Man, this Roasted Chicken Breast is great! I feel broke even ordering here! Thanks for bringing us along, James. And shut up, Tommy boy, you're spoiling my revolving dinner!
Earth First Volunteer: So James, I heard your college group received some funding, so you'll be visiting all the activism sites around the U.S.?
James: Oh yeah, Daniel and Tom here are coming along, for the trip. Ignore Tom though, he doesn't know what he's talking about, ever.
Me: Back in my day people gave me a slight bit more credence than that, although I suppose, times change...
Earth First Volunteer: Well, we can set you up with some monkeywrenching resources if you are going back down towards California and Southern Oregon, and some contacts as well.
James: I'll be sure to have our group look into it, and we're heading to San Francisco next, so if you know anyone there, give me a heads up before we leave. I think we'll go out around Saturday and start travelling then.
Well, that seems to be about as well as I can do for informing you to the newest. I do not know when I will venture near a computer next to write a letter, but I will steadily compile notes along my journey to inform you to the happenings as they come along.
Accept the assurances of my respect and consideration.
- TH. Jefferson
Well, when I pass from city to city during this TeeJ trip, I hope to spotlight some of the more pleasant features of each city we stop in, as well as perhaps a few locales the casual observer might overlook. Now, I'm someone who is very unseasoned at travelling and probably won't do much of it, so I also consider it research should I ever find myself stuck in these locations, to go see something nice or new. Seattle boasts some great beachside attractions and scenic parks.
One thing I didn't add that I found interesting in my research was the underground tour of the original streets of Seattle. Like Portland, there is a vast underground, although unlike Portland, it wasn't used for human slave trading. So moving on, we got some insights from ol' TeeJ that come from original Jefferson quotes. This first quote was slightly added to in the entry above to drive home the point a little more.
"Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. Protection from casual embarrassments, however, may sometimes be seasonably interposed." - 1st Annual Message, 1801
"Agriculture... is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness." - To George Washington, 1787
"An industrious farmer occupies a more dignified place in the scale of beings, whether moral or political, than a lazy lounger, valuing himself on his family, too proud to work, and drawing out a miserable existence by eating on that surplus of other men's labor which is the sacred fund of the helpless poor." - Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786
Jefferson believed deeply in agriculture and it's benefit to society, he thought farmers were god's chosen workers. However he would not approve of today's massive government interference. The majority of all farming produce is bought by government, as regulations not only favors established farming corporations above small farmers, but they fix prices higher than they could be in the sake of preserving profits rates. 3% of America's farming companies produce 60% of America's food. However we are still limiting production methods today for fear of massive overproduction. For the starving many in America and outside it, the concept of overproduction is seen for the absurdity it is. If the remainder of America's farms can compete with the top 3%, they should be allowed to, no matter how much it affects one company's profit shares.
And yes, the Earth First! volunteer here did recommend monkeywrenching to our dynamic trio. This is the act of tree spiking, and can not only severely physically wound loggers, it can often times leave them permanently injured or even kill them. This dangerous form of terrorism is encouraged by Earth First and the Earth Liberation Front eco-terrorists.