Evolving Peace

A site that is progressing for the goal of everlasting peace within ourselves, our family, our friends, our country and our planet !

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Stop Sprawl

Living fresh and new, city life spreads further and further away from American’s downtowns and merges into the sprawl of the suburbs. What once was rural countryside is now being paved over to make way for the newest subdivision or the latest big-box store. I moved to Vermont last year and I am thrilled to awake each day and not see the gross over deployment that plagues much of the American landscape today; however a deep sense of fear resonates within me that things could change.

Today, we drove from Montpelier to Burlington and instead of driving along I-89 we choose US Route 2. Along the way we passed along the beautiful banks of the Winooski River, meandering farms, the quaint villages of Middlesex and Richmond and the many facets of small town Vermont. Arriving closer towards Burlington we drove through the village of Williston and coming from the east it appears to be just like any other small town in Vermont, friendly open and picturesque, but unfortunately that image ends and merges into strip of malls and subdivisions, paradoxically what is not Vermont.

Having originally come from New Jersey driving into that part of Williston is not my favorite activity since it is exactly what I have chosen to get away from. As I observed the passing of the stores, I noticed some portions of open land and am thankful that it still has survived. As I expressed to Sarah, that while there still was open land, it is no where near offensive than the multiple shopping malls of suburban New Jersey; however as a warning to her, I reminded her that just fifty years ago the town of Paramus, New Jersey (which I call Shopping Mall National Park) was full of apple orchards and now that town is a bustling shoppers haven with no resemblance of its farming past. So as I drove through the shopping malls of Williston, I noticed a pattern of the sprawl and encroachment of the suburbs into the rural countryside and it scares me because it is reminiscent of what I had scene from the days of my youth.

I was born in Mahwah, NJ in what once was a small town. Generations of my family lived in Mahwah and everywhere I turned people recognized and cared for me. A sense of community was strong there. Some frequent comments I heard throughout my childhood included, “you’re Bobby’s son,” or “I taught your uncles in 5th grade.” I have vivid memories of frolicking through vast forests and farms that scattered the landscape. That was then and I wish I could go home again. That small sleepy town is a faint vision of my past, and it has faded over the years and given way to enormous corporate headquarters, tracts of Mc Mansions, and rows of condominium complexes. Mahwah is now another faceless community lost in the concrete jungles of progress. It was there I had seen first hand the poor planning of economic development and I know foreshadow back to the days of my youth and wished someone had stood up and prevented it.

I left the gross over development of my boyhood home in search of better pastures to live my life and eventually raise a family. I have found a new home but I am fearful of mindless development reoccurring here in Vermont. The same words I heard twenty plus years ago are now being echoed by businessman and politicians of Vermont who are advocating development and job creation as a viable path for the future but lost in the rhetoric is the future repercussions of that route. While my boyhood town claimed it was looking for the general welfare of its citizens they grossly miscalculated its repercussions. That same town is now not even recognizable from its not so distant future and has become unaffordable for those of the past generations. The voices of “progress” have paved over every bit of the open landscape and supplanted it with residents from all parts of the country. So while old and new Vermonters claim the need for jobs and economic development as a precursor for prosperity I am forewarning the dangers of following that route. Once the land is gone it is hard to restore it to its natural setting. To Vermont and all the other rural communities of the country, I suggest strengthen the forces that already exist in your communities instead of seeking outside development promises. It is important to protect the rich heritage of the rural landscape before it becomes part of the homogenized strip malls of America’s suburbs.

Robb Kidd

“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.” Bill Vaughn, American columnists

Thursday, March 29, 2007

No Work, No Peace

Yesterday, I was walking down the street in Montpelier and a woman approached me and asked if I could spare a dollar bill or some change. At first, I was taken by surprised that I was approached for that proposition in this relativity small scale city. Anyway, not caring about the circumstance I reached in my pocket and gave her a dollar. She graciously replied and responded to me that she has been having a hard time finding work despite the fact that she would like to work. Although at first glance it may be sad, but instead I wished her well and spun it off in a positive way.

Yes, it is crime that there are people struggling to make ends meat in a country that is the envy of the rest of the world, but the truth of the matter is with each passing day there grows a greater gap between the wealth and the rest of the population. Yesterday’s New York Times featured a story that shows the disparity that exists in the “wealthiest” nation in the world. The article states that the top 300,000 Americans earn 440 times the amount of the bottom 150 million Americans. How shocking to me that in the “land of opportunity” and it appears that the majority of wealth gathered is centered with only a select few? Some may say that the power of working hard has paid of for those few, but in reality how much of that can be attributed to working hard. Is there anyone who rationally deserves four-hundred and forty-times times the pay as anyone else? Out of my years of working, I have never met anybody so deserving of that, maybe twice or three times as much but four-hundred and forty-times?

There are many American’s struggling day to day. Whether it is to pay the cost health care, food, shelter or transportation;the basic necessities of getting by are harder to come by. It is upsetting to me that America has lost its direction so much that there is a faction of the United States still eagerly wasting money on a war with no feasible means of a productive solution. While the President is ignoring the resolve at least Congress is waking up on the needs of Americans and beginning to approach things in a rational manner and seeking for solutions to end the misguided war in Iraq.

While I do not support the War in Iraq and I am hesitant in supporting the latest war supplement; however I feel that at least our leaders in Congress are at least calling and seeking to bind the President to commit to its end. In the meantime, to answer the calls of the unemployed or underemployed at least they can look at from the bright side; they are not paying for the war. The government can not tax money you are not making, so if you make little or no money, they can’t pay for their war.

I left that woman on the streets with my words of not paying for the war, and although I could see that she was down on her luck for lack of money, I can say at least I put a smile on her face for part of the day by telling her that at least the war is not coming from her pay. So my advice is to stop working and let those top 300,000 Americans pay for the war if they so choose.

Robb Kidd

“Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Opportunistic Truth

“Don’t follow leaders, watch the parkin’ meters”, Bob Dylan declared in the revolutionary spirit of his 60’s anthem “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, a warning to those within listening range of his voice to be aware of so called leaders. The problem with issues and causes in the world today is that we have too many “leaders” just ready to join the bandwagon. Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama have self proclaimed themselves leaders of the anti-George Bush-Iraq Policy while conveniently forgetting their own support of the war just until the recent shift in the American public’s viewpoint changed. George Bush himself had declared that he was God’s choice by pandering to religious fundamentals and claiming that he got his orders from God, despite his own moral corruptness and blatant disregard of basic religious tenants. The corruptness and hypocricy of politics is so high that once one reaches a certain level it appears that all bit of honesty and decency is destroyed. Al Gore the Hollywood “demigod” is a shinning example of the corruptness of a political issue.

While scientists and environmentalists have been lecturing about the perils of global climate change for the last twenty years, a new breed of politicians is emerging claiming to be the “savior” of climate change. Al Gore, with his high priced media campaign instantaneously transformed his image from a dry stiff elitist to a charismatic and passionate advocate. He now speaks of his commitment of protecting the environment as his mission; however it seems odd that I do not recall global warming being an issue during the 2000 Presidential election campaign. Yes, Gore’s Senate career was exceptional in regards to environmental issues and he displayed it with his exhaustive research for his 1992 book “Earth in the Balance,” but upon becoming Vice-President environmental issues took a backseat to his political ambitions.

Al Gore had virtually ignored the issue of global warming as the Vice-President of the United States of America, so I question how many of us are supposed to believe in his message and movement. I almost have to laugh when I see that Al Gore is flying throughout the world, lecturing on the topic and consuming more fossil-fuel resources in one plane flight than the average American will use in one year.

In addition, I had been made aware that Al Gore’s twenty room mansion in Tennessee runs up an average utility bill of $2400, and accordingly while being four times the size of the average American home it uses twelve times the power. At the same time President’s Bush ranch in Crawford is designed with the latest environmental efficient standards. find it odd that a man who lectures about conservation and that everybody must do their part could be so hypocritcal, we as a conscientious society must be a little concerned about this blatant corruption of the issue.

Degradation of our environment is a delicate issue and there are so many things that need to be done. While I progress daily in trying too make my life more and more environmentally sustainable, I wonder and question the motives behind some individuals. As a precaution, I have deep skepticism for those in “power” who claim to be doing something for the environment. Is it for true altruistic principles or is it just because they are following a path to maintain their power and capitalize on the moment. The scientific community has overwhelmingly proven that global climate change is happening and despite the rise of opportunism in regards to it, we as a society must choose to overcome it but in the process we must be careful not to follow a faulty path.

Robb Kidd

“You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.” Bob Dylan

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Made In Vermont, Sandbags

Thankfully the risk of flooding in Montpelier has subsided with the pleasant warm weather this past weekend, but unfortunately the city of Montpelier is left with another problem. Stores and buildings all along Main Street and State Street are left stacked with hundreds of sandbags. What do you suppose we could do with them all?

The sandbags just a few weeks ago were a necessary precaution in the defense of an on waiting flood. Graciously citizens and business willingly took possession of the sandbags from members of the Vermont National Guard. Guardsmen were deployed to protect the city. Luckily for them, they were assigned this duty, instead of protecting the interests of Halliburton or Exxon-Mobil in Iraq. The guard is supposed to assist in protecting the homeland in causes of emergency, whether it is natural or man made. Rightfully so, Governor Douglass alerted the National Guard to serve. So while it appears the need of their service was not needed, their efforts are not being left unappreciated. If any of the members read this, I say thanks and I suppose the rest of Montpelier does as well. Well, that leaves us with all of the sandbags and I have a few suggestions of what can be done with them.

First, mark each sandbag Montpelier Flood of 2007 and stamp Made in Vermont on it and sell them to unassuming tourists who pass through the city. Think of the revenue source maybe that could pay for the overwhelming tax burden Governor Douglass keeps talking about.

Second, as suggested by my partner, we could make a giant sculpture on the State House lawn. With the abundance of artists in the area we could make an amazing piece of art that tourists will flock from miles around to see. Local business will flourish and the city will be an economic boom.

Third, we could save all the sand and dump it all out in thirty years when the flooding from global warming resides making Killington Vermont’s new tropical ocean resort. Tropical beach resorts are highly profitable, and the hotter it gets the more frozen drinks consumed, compar that with the melting snow.

Finally, we could just line them all up and fortify the city in preparation for a viable secessionist movement and spark a full scale revolution. In that case scenario, we could fully distance ourselves from the dooming collapse of the American economic system and break free from the economic injustice set out by the corporate agenda.

As the water and ice levels dissipate from the rivers that pass through Montpelier a sigh of relief gasps throughout town. While it turns out the need was not there for all this precaution, we can all look forward to the future where our government and our citizens can work in conjunction finding solutions to problems of the day, whether it be with the rising cost of health care or the eminent threat of climate change, government can work for the people, but only if the people work for the government.

Robb Kidd

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pro Active on Agriculture

This last week the Vermont House or Representatives unanimously voted in favor to support the recommendations of the Agricultural committee’s bill entitled THE VIABILITY OF VERMONT AGRICULTURE (H.R.522). While many proposals float in and out of committee meetings that offer suggestions and highlight faults of current policies too often there is little action that is taken in finding real solutions to the problems of the day. Many bills and aid packages come to the legislative process that are mere band-aid solutions and never take a proactive approach to solving a situation; however this latest action by the Vermont Legislature goes beyond that and is a beginning step in protecting family farms and our rural landscape.

Including within the bill is a provision that allows small scale poultry producers to sell their poultry to local restaurants and directly to consumers at local farmers markets without going through the costly and restrictive inspection process. The provisions are only for small scale producers of less than a thousand birds per year. Restaurants and farmers will be required to label each sale as “non-inspected.” To refute critics of those that oppose the measure on the grounds of public health, many feel that locally produced meats are much safer than those that come from factory farms that genetically modify poultry or inject the poultry with untested antibiotics.

There are many amongst the population who are calling for a more locally based agriculture. This past summer American Flatbread in Waitsfield tried to use organically raised poultry from a farm across the street, but was shut down by Health Department regulations. George Schenk, the owner during his recent testimony to the House Agriculture declared that we as a society have turned our backs on our agrarian roots and that we are responsible for the failures of the family farm. While regulation after regulation have been put in place to check on the large scale factory farms of Purdue and Tyson the responsible and local based producers of our local rural economies have been straitjacketed into poverty.

We have seen rises of food and animal produced illness from the factory farm industry and the debate is beginning to take fold of the roots of the problem. The most important factor to returning food safety is to fortify and support a local based food system and that will require your support. Small farmers have been bankrupted by a system that was supposedly designed to check on the larger scale producers, but instead we the populace have been left to pay the price with inferior quality meats and the paving over our rural communities.

There are many issues to be addressed when it comes to agricultural policy and while there are those farmers that are left struggling by anachronistic regulations I am proud to say there are representatives proactively seeking solutions to the demise of family farms and rural communities. If you live in Vermont, I recommend you thank Agriculture Committee Chair Zuckerman (P), Vice-Chair Perry (D) and all the other members of the committee for being proactive in finding solutions to the crisis in local agriculture. If you are not from Vermont I suggest you recommend that your representatives follow Vermont’s lead and be proactive.

Robb Kidd

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it’s liberty and interests by the most lasting bands” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

To Die or Not to Die

Wrapped up in debate the question of ending ones life by physician assisted suicide failed to muster enough votes to pass the Vermont House today. For the last few weeks Vermont Legislators were bombarded with phone calls, letters and emails on whether or not to support the bill. Proponents of the legislation were looking to join Oregon and give citizens “the right to die,” while opponents questioned the morality of physician assisted suicide.

Coming for my own sense of purpose, I respect life to the fullest and that is why I enjoy each day to its maximum capacity, I am a vegetarian, I am against the death penalty and I am against all forms of war. I am against any form of killing that is unnecessary but when it comes to a person choosing to take their own life when life becomes unbearable due to some life-debilitating disease, I favor giving an individual the right to choose. Debate had become quite passionate over the last few weeks; however I feel that it has taken away from the overall problems facing society.

While proponents and opponents of this issue spark a fiery debate lost within their words is the verdict of our health care system. I do not think we should be having debates on “the right to die or the right to life” if the basic services to keep the “pursuit of happiness” alive does not exist. Unfortunately, a health care system that treats patients as mere numbers on a ledger sheet is seriously flawed. A profit margin over people is not right and lost in the “managed” care of HMOs and corporate run hospitals is the human capability of compassion.

Fixes to the financial pressures of medical procedures need to be taken off the burdens of the citizenry, quality institutions need to be expanded and there needs to be further support for health and human services in a hope to create a greater quality of life. So while fundamental flaws in the health care profession go unfixed there is a greater gulf between those of different ideologues in the debate on life. The country has been broken and its resolves need more than just the right to die or to stop assisted suicides. A health care system is broken and America is at war around the globe, most people choose not to die so let’s stop it before it gets to that point.

Robb Kidd

“A transfer of money should never be involved in this profound situation. Although illness is profound, too, but medicine's a business today. It's a business.” Jack Kevorkian

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Our Daily Local Bread

Amongst the films of the Green Mountain Film Festival was a film titled “Our Daily Bread.” As described by many who have seen the film, the film reveals the disturbing elements of the current factory food system. The majority of human population is so far disconnected to their food source that most are unaware of how our food is produced. This film highlights the shocking realities of what is rarely seen.

In Vermont, there is movement of people who are trying to eat local processed and produced food and due to the commoditization of food it has become very difficult to sustain oneself. Under the false pretenses of public health restrictions have been place on small scale producers and restricting your diet to local foods is a mere impossibility. The rise of factory farms throughout the world has displaced the small scale family farms and has created a food system that is unsustainable.

The rise of factory farms has made it impossible for small scale farmers to compete and throughout its advent regulations have been imposed that favor the large scale farms. Regulatory agencies have made it even more restrictive for the small scale farms to sell their products directly to the consumers. A case in point, this last summer in Waitsfield, Vermont American Flatbread Pizza was restricted from using poultry raised on the farm that was directly across the street. Due to supposed health concerns, the Department of Health restricted the practice. What is wrong with a food system that does not allow a restaurant to use meats raised from a farm in its own backyard?

Under the guise of public health, the practice is restricted, but as a consumer I would prefer to have products that are raised or grown from within sight of my home. As an action the Vermont House Agriculture Committee passed a bill(HR 522) that would ease up those restrictions and allow reputable business to sell locally raised meats. This bill is supposed to be debated on the House Floor on Wednesday and I sure hope it passes. Consumers should have access to local processed foods and small scale producers who are the fabric of the rural communities need easement of those restrictions.

As for the point of the film, we as humans are so far disconnected from our food sources that many of us do not know where our food comes from. My partner was a schoolteacher in suburban New Jersey and shockingly she had to instruct her fifth grade students that milk came for a cow. How has it become that we as a culture are so far removed from our food that kids can rattle of statistics of their sports heroes but to know were there food comes from gains blank stares.

Due to ethical and personal reasons I have chosen a vegetarian diet, but as I further progress working on and studying of food supply I am shocked at the lack of public awareness. In large scale factory farms, animals are raised in confined quarters and are given no grasp of fresh air and are fed unnatural diets to increase profit margins. As a vegetarian, I choose not to eat meat; however I feel that an industry that is treating animals in an inhumane manner needs to be changed. Small scale farming is the solution to the problem, local farmers raise there animals in a more hospitable manner and do not just look at animal as a mere commodity. At a recent House Agriculture Committee meaning, a Vermont based slaughter house facility owner revealed that he treats the animals with as much compassion as possible (everything except reading bedtime stories). It is when there is local produced system that the most humane treatments are achievable. While, yes the animals are still slaughtered for consumption the reality is that the human species are carnivores.

There are multiple reasons to further encourage local food production in addition to the ethical treatment of animals. The prevention of super bugs, diseases like the bird-flu, mad cow disease or e-coli contamination are easier within local food systems. Having local produce food immediately removes the causes of nation wide epidemics. As we had recently seen with the e-coli contamination of spinach or the recent story about contaminated dog food. If an illness is created by a local farm, we will instantly know the roots of the problem and act accordingly. As for environmental reasons, keeping a local based food system removes the need for vast usage of fossil fuels in shipping and refrigeration of products. Large scale factory farming also create environmental degradation by accumulation of large manure pits that drain into the water supplies.

While the film “Our Daily Bread” highlights the disconnect we have from our food supply there are individuals and organizations working hard to create a system that is environmentally sustainable and treats animals in an ethical manner. I hope that this latest measure from the Vermont House proceeds to the Senate and governor and it allows for a more locally produced food supply. As well I hope as well that these measures do not just stay in Vermont, but spread out to the rest of the American countryside. If you support measures like this contact your elected officials and help plow the way for more environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Robb Kidd

"Our ideals, laws and customs should be based on the proposition that each generation, in turn, becomes the custodian rather than the absolute owner of our resources and each generation has the obligation to pass this inheritance on to the future." Charles A. Lindbergh

Monday, March 19, 2007

Weather Report

There is a 100 percent chance of weather today and to me it will be beautiful. I have not been writing very much due to a busy schedule and different types of weather that have been affecting my mood and in actuality I do not have the spark to write about the misery of the political world today. As I look outside and feel the warmth of the sun and fresh snow glowing upon the ground I am happy to be alive. However, as I bask in my joy of the beautiful day I reflect on all those who look at the weather in such a negative way.

For years, I lived in New Jersey and it seemed everywhere I went it was a terrible day. It was too cold, it was too hot, it was too rainy, it was too dry or there was too much snow. It seems as if there was never that perfect day to all those that I encountered. Contrary, to that I love the rain, I love the heat and I love the cold. Yesterday, I was snowshoeing upon a mountain top and I was just overwhelmed in the spectacular sights of the day. Every once in a while gusts of wind would blow snow off the tree tops and amidst the trail was a marvelous winter wonderland. At times I could not see five feet in front of me and that was fine. It was just another day in paradise.

Last week, the temperatures soared to the high 50’s and visions of spring were amongst us. Worries of a fast rising spring thaw captivated residents of all, but as a reminder of winter we were rushed back into the season with a pleasant storm. Storm predications were prevalent, but as the night progressed we were left with only a minor blanket of fresh powder.

So while we are given friendly reminders of the passing winter and now await the true spring thaw, I look forward to the advent of spring. The return of the bees and birds, budding trees, sprouting flowers and soon that Vermont’s hills and mountains will explode with many shades of green. I hope the thaw melts slowly and calmly and we miss the projective flood in Montpelier, so we can all enjoy the wonders and the changes of the season. It is a beautiful day.

Robb Kidd

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Mark Twain

Saturday, March 17, 2007

No News

I have virtually been without a computer for the last week and it is a pleasure not to hear or see all the horrible things going on around the world. As well since I barely drive anywhere I have not been hearing radio news at all and with a combination of my non-existing television watching I have been in a political bubble the last week. Although I have not been following the “news”, my life still revolves around politics of the day and for that I have traveled throughout Vermont from Lyndonville to Rutland and made phone calls from Island Pond to Manchester, for politics is not just national it is everywhere.

National politics of the day seem to be tipping on the fate of the White House’s latest political folly in the firings of US District Attorneys based on politics. I am still flabbergasted that there is any debate left that the President and Vice-President should be impeached. Throughout Vermont, thirty-eight towns voted to impeach the President and still the Vermont Congregational delegation refuses to act on impeaching the President. The claims that it would not be politically expedient to venture on impeachment will set a dangerous precedent on the future affairs of the President.

“All politics is local” and the matter of impeachment of the President can not be of any greater importance. Yes, there are many needs and functions of government that need attention, but when you have the highest government officials using the political system to further enrich and expand their powers is a serious and grave offense.

So, while there have been some who said that local politics should not involve impeachment, the questions I prepose is what if your country is fighting a war that is based on lies, what if your country is being sold off to large corporate interests, what if your courty is spying on you, what if your country is torturing peoplewhat if your environment is being destroyed while government officials look the other way and what if your country is being bankrupted be flawed policies that favor billionaires?

Yes, I have not forgotten my politics at home but as I saw this last week, the politics of the nation and world have an overall reach into my local affairs. I agree that local matters need to be taken care of but when we have a Presidential administration creating policies that are crippling the nation; I have reservations about the direction of the country and that requires local attention. Local matters may be mute when the global economy collapses, further terrorists are bred due to continued involvement in wars or the uncertain ramifications of the near future from global climate change. There is hope as all politics is local and maybe the latest Presidential injustice will wake up the masses.

Robb Kidd

"Political necessities sometime turn out to be political mistakes." George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wake of a Flood

Here in the Capital City of Vermont, Montpelier we are patiently waiting the thaw of the winter’s snow and ice of frozen rivers. Many are hoping that the ice jam along the river does not unleash flooding that could cause havoc throughout the streets of town; however withholding our hope citizens of all are preparing for the worst and signs of preparation are abundant throughout town. Sand bags are stacked in front of buildings and signs of pre flood sales are at many of the downtown business. While the city of Montpelier braces itself for a possible flood, the rest of the human population should resolve themselves in embracing another thaw.

The ice and snow in Montpelier is a buildup from the winter season, while the planet's buildup of ice and snow has been for centuries. Unlike the potential flooding of Montpelier, the results of a global thawing will be permanent and difficult to counteract. If a flood hits, Montpelier will be under havoc for a short time and eventually normality will return to the city streets and hopefully without any major casualties. For the planet, scientists are predicting world wide calamities are a possibility, and that serious actions are needed now.

Fortunately, there are only a few slivers of doubt shed upon global warming and the debate is spreading towards constraining it over denying it. But imagine, citizens refuting the potential of a flood. No preparations of moving storage or inventory to higher levels, no planning for evacuation routes and no advance placement of sand bags, everyone just leaving things alone and letting the events of Mother Nature unfold naturally and allowing the full scale repercussions to take place. Disaster strikes and people are left stranded, damage done to business, people drowning and homes destroyed.

So when it comes to the planning of a potential flood I am glad to see the community and government's involvement in attempting to protect us and proceed with action instead of waiting in resistance or denial. I hope the same will hold true in regards to global warming. The majority of scientists have determined that man has directly attributed to the effects of global warming and global catastrophes are predicted, so like the flooding of a local river from a winter’s thaw, as a society we must take action in preparations of the thaw from an ice-age, whether it is man made or natural.

Robb Kidd

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” William Shakespeare

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jailbirds in the White House

Birds of a feather flock togther: I hope that now Scooter Libby has been tried and convicted in the Valerie Plame-CIA leak case we can visualize the convictions of Vice-President Dick Cheney, Presidential Chief of Staff Karl Rove and President George Bush. While one man (and more) has willfully aspired to defraud the people of the United States by discrediting a critic of the administration’s faulty evidence to invoke war, the nation of Iraq burns in turmoil from the occupation by a foreign power, and thousands of American soldiers have died.

To the critics of this judgment, this is more evidence to on how the Presidential administration purposely manipulated evidence to wage war on Iraq. While, there is so much debate about the recent troop surge in Iraq very little attention has been given to the initial claims and justifications for the war. The administration claimed that “Saddam Hussein” was attempting to purchase aluminum tubes and yellow cake uranium from Niger, which is no known to be a lie.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson (Valerie Plame’s husband) fully disputed that claim and the administration was on a full attack mission like a pack of raging pit bulls. No one could dare and stop them. So while they pursued their full attentions to war, anyone who crossed their paths was deemed an enemy. Presidential logic, “that you are either with us or against” is demonstrated by the administrations full scale policy of discrediting its opponents. I suppose that was the same rational that allowed the spying on innocent Americans, and keeping close watches on peace groups such as the Quakers in Pennsylvania.

While many Americans repeatedly saw fabricated evidence that supported the administrations claims for war, a movement of individuals was silenced from debate and discredited by proponents of war. The purposeful and willful policy to discredit war’s critics is a dangerous precedent that shall never be allowed to take place again. Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch all need to step it up a notch and press harder on the Presidential Administration.

Yes, all three have been a strong force countering the Presidents resolve, however there needs to be more. Failure to act upon this administration's crimes is a dereliction of duty by failing to protect the Constitution. As for the Constitution states:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Around the world, America claims to be spreading democracy, but unfortunately there has been a doctrine propagated by this Presidential administration that places itself higher than the laws they have been sworn to protect. The duty of our members in Congress is to call for the impeachment of the President and Vice-President, anything else is not democracy.

Robb Kidd

“That said, if we allow ourselves to be intimidated and silenced by the liars, our democracy will not survive. We have to continue to confront them.” Joseph Wilson, Ambassador

Monday, March 05, 2007

Capital Non-Impeachment, Meeting Day

For those outside of Vermont, this Tuesday March 6, 2007 is town meeting day. Town meeting day, a day of direct democracy and it is more than just a vote on candidate A or candidate B. Citizens from the smallest of town to the largest of towns get to vote on a variety issues ranging from the funding of the local library to impeachment of the President.

I am lost here in Montpelier, normally a hotbed of political activity but with the absence of an open town meeting day and the legislature on break I am in political withdrawal. Maybe with the activist population of town we can create a spontaneous rally for impeachment of not just President Bush but Governor Douglas as well. While Governor Douglas technically has not done anything against the law like the President has he is still aiding and abetting the President and according to criminal codes that makes him just as responsible for those actions.

I am upset that organizers were unsuccessful in getting an impeachment resolution on the ballot here in Montpelier, but at least they tried. I applaud their attempts and maybe I could have just done a little more, however when your life tends to revolve around politics on a daily basis how much more can one person do. There needs to be more involved and that is the only way for movements to be successful. So, if you would like to see the war in Iraq end, the President impeached, health care expanded so everyone can afford it or serious actions taken on global warming I ask what have you done?

Yes, I am happy that you have just read my blog but in reality I would rather you not. I would rather hear you speak your mind and see you act upon your conscience. I do not write just for the hell of it, for I have a hope and desire to spark that one mind that sees the faults in the world and has a heart to care. So, if that is you please express yourself in a way you can.

This Tuesday, Vermonters ascend on their town meeting day in what is the closest democratic act a citizen can participate in. While most citizens in the country do not have the honor to vote on individual topics that affect their communities Vermonters are blessed with the experience of representing themselves and in many communities a vote for impeachment will be called. As I had heard over the weekend from Iraq war veteran, Matthew Howard (Burlington, VT) “Democracy is not taught through a barrel of a gun,” and no matter what the President says, this in Vermont is democracy and Mr. President and Mr. Governor, Vermont still says no to war.

Robb Kidd

“We oppose, too, the doctrine of human incompetence because it rests essentially on the modern fact that men have been "competently" manipulated into incompetence--we see little reason why men cannot meet with increasing the skill the complexities and responsibilities of their situation, if society is organized not for minority, but for majority, participation in decision-making.” Port Huron Statement 1962 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Peace and Cindy Sheehan in VT

A weekend of flurries fell throughout the state of Vermont this weekend. I am not stating the inches of snow that befallen the state, but the rise and commotion driven by a visit from the pro-peace activist Cindy Sheehan.

On Friday, Cindy addressed the Vermont Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee. Given that it was an official invite from a legislative committee, Sen. Illuzi had to invite members of the anti-peace faction of the population. Due to the nonexistence of prominent individuals remaining that actual support the fool hearted war, Sen. Illuzi brought attention to the media by stating that he could not find individuals to testify. So, this past Friday amongst a day that the Statehouse was virtually empty due to the snow storm and an upcoming break of the legislature, the House chamber was buzzing with debate. As a result, not only was the delegation of peace activists there to attend but the desperate remains of Vermont’s pro war faction.

National media portrays Vermont as a “liberal” sanctuary, but lost within that fold is an angry hospitable crowd that leans towards the libertarian side. They trump the issue of small government with very little jurisdiction, however they overwhelming seem to support a large withstanding military. I never could understand them since they seem to be the most vocal of the anti-taxation crowd while at the same time they support the single largest expense of the US Government. The United States spends over seven times the amount of money on military needs than the next closest country. China spends about sixty-two billion while the United States spends over four hundred twenty billion a year (not including the Iraq War). At current rate the US military expenditures are bursting at its seams and while the President parades around the world it appears as if the value of the US dollar is rapidly shrinking.

While, Friday the topic of the day was to hear from Cindy Sheehan, the voices of the remnants of Vermont’s angry pro-war contingency echoed to the mostly empty House chamber. I wondered if any of those realized that the debate for Senate Resolution 11(SR 11) was moot since it had passed effortlessly a few weeks earlier. Despite the loudness of the pro war’ers, the pro-peace message was hardly debatable. As stated by the vast speakers in favor of the SR 11 the war is wrong since every piece of evidence the President has used to justify this action has unequivocally been proven wrong.

Lonely cries that the armed forces need support to continue their mission of bringing democracy and hope is dying out fast. Former Marine Corporal Matt Howard(Iraq Veteran) of Burlington Vermont clearly stated that “650,000 Iraqi’s have died, so how can Iraq be better of today than it was under Saddam.” Yes, Saddam had been a brutal ruthless dictator, but if it hadn’t been for past Presidential policies in supporting and supplying Saddam Hussein with his weaponry or chemicals he would not have risen to his stature.

Still to this day, US policy tends to favor undemocratic leaders, such as the Saudi Royal Family or the undemocratic leaders of Egypt. Both nations receive billions of aid in weaponry while they brutally oppress their own population. Additionally, while the US has diverted its attention away from Afghanistan there has been a resurgence of the growth and support of the Taliban.

With all the talk and promise of democracy and fighting the “noble “war on terror, one could assume that US stature has risen throughout the world; however in reality the US has steadily lost ground. Extremism is on the rise and fanaticism is marking the US as its biggest antagonist. An insurgency in Iraq reflects Iraqis resolve to remove foreign powers from their home, while most may have been grateful to remove Saddam Hussein most Iraqis are now without electricity, running water, clean streets, or have directly been faced with death and destruction of their families and are living in far worse conditions than four years ago.

The initial onslaught had most of the world rebuking the President and many demonstrations were held throughout the world, so as the war continues the US further alienates themselves from the international community. Condemnations are not only coming from the likes of Hugo Chavez but Vladimir Putin is now claiming that US actions are leading to another “Cold War”.

Most of the world questioned the war’s inception, while most Americans had remained on the couch and watched the events enfold like the latest video game. Now while America is waking up from its coma and finally questioning an unjust war, there remains a fraction of the population desperately trying to cling to the ways of the past. Many of us are flabbergasted that there are those who vehemently defend the President and stake claims of patriotic duty when it comes to this war.

Yes, some of them may be considered kooks or crooks but in reality many of them may righteously believe it, and if they were to change every piece of their identity and existence would crumble in front of them. They have been told since birth the promise of democracy and that the US is always the good guy. The “my country, right or wrong” credo or that “boys become men with war” logic has been ingrained in their heads and anything that questions that is an affront on their own individual being. My advice is to be patient with them for they do not know better, besides as everyday ends the memories of the last “good war” fade further away. The image of war and glory is being lost like the memories of World War II and everyday more and more people are waking up to the realities of war.

As I listened to the speakers on Friday, I pondered the direction of the war. While there was no pressing need in the House chamber that day, the message and debate of the war is expanding further. Cindy Sheehan was in Vermont for more than just that, she was scheduled on a whirlwind tour of the state in a hope of gaining further support in calling for impeachment of the President (and Vice President). For other reasons, I attend her event in Rutland, VT and witnessed the full momentum of the drive for impeachment. In addition, to her speaking was Dan Dewalt, (Newfane, VT select Boardman who initiated his town’s Impeachment resolution), Iraq war vets’ Adrienne Kinee and Matthew Howard, and Nation reporter John Nichols. People gathered around to hear their words.

Everyone there wants to see and end to the war except for a man who duped organizers by claiming he was a vet from Iraq. He gained the microphone and began to confront the crowd with the US’s righteousness in Iraq. While the crowd patiently listened to him, he was eventually asked to end his comments. Debate followed into the streets in what I saw as that man desperately needed more attention. I could see that Dan, Adrienne and Matthew were a bit flustered by this lone fanatic, but as I told Adrienne and Matthew not to worry about him and that they were doing the right thing by speaking out and voicing their conscience.

A threshold has been crossed and the paths of ending this war are approaching quickly and that while there are those who are still clinging onto the anachronistic notions of violence there are enough people who know the war is wrong. Cindy Sheehan may have started the progression of debate against the war, however the people now are overwhelming pro-peace. Unfortunately, Cindy had to loose her son, I hope not another mother losses her son, or another Iraqi.

Robb Kidd

“It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labour of peace.” Andre Gide, French Writer and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 1947