Evolving Peace

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Glacier Water

On a recent vacation in Maine, we drove past a reservoir near Kennebunk Port and my partner Sarah stated to me that the reservoir must have extreme security precautions taken being so close to the home of former President George H. Bush. I replied that it didn’t matter to protect it since the Bush’s probably got their water flown in directly from melting glaciers. While my rational may be exaggerating, I feel that the mentality is not that far off from the reality of the American public.

News stories reported last week, that while 66 percent of American’s realize that global warming is being caused by human activity very few actually want to alter their lifestyle to help slow it down. I fear that while many are aware of this enormous problem that a branch of our population will ignore it. The dichotomy of look at me I’m so important, I can afford to drive a gas guzzling SUV or I can consume as much as I want is so prevalent.

Here in Vermont, the legislature has been looking at proactive approaches to reducing our impact on global warming but unfortunately they have been meeting hesitation. An added tax on vehicles that produce less than 20 miles per gallon has been met with so much opposition one would think that the state is threatening to take away the family pet. Rhetoric charging that “I can’t put three car seats in fuel efficient vehicle” has been at the forefront or that it will be an unnecessarily cringe on their rights is seriously flawed. There are many vehicles that obtain higher fuel efficiency and that purchasing of those would ultimately save gas and money.

So what is the big deal about a $150 dollar tax on those high pollutant vehicles, if I am so inclined to do my part on slowing down the causes of global warming the rest of the citizenry must as well? Just as a bottle of water or water from a melting glacier causes greater expense, if you can afford the expense you might as well pay for it. There is no right in the Constitution to pollute or desecrate the environment and if reality does not cause a shift in attitude maybe just an added expense will impact society to change. The governor may come up with some catchy phrases in condemning a tax; however the reality of the matter is that global warming is real and that if the government fails to act we as society might as well whistle to taps on our ways of life.

The so called “greatest generation” during the World War II era scrimped and saved to help fight off the Nazi oppression, so why can’t the kinder gentler compassionate nation of the early 21st century do it’s part and help save the world. There are many scientists who have projected serious worldwide catastrophes as an imminent threat from global warming, so what are the reservations? Are we as society too in love with our possessions and accumulation of stuff? While legislatures debate over methodology to tackle this issue, we as a society have to move away from the logic that more is better, because remember “he who dies with the most toys, still dies.” We can continue on with this pace of mass accumulation; however there will be future consequences at stake.

While I traveled past the town of Kennebunk, Maine and the miles of stores littered amongst the road, I just wondered if man will ever get it and strive for creating an environmentally and economically sustainable society. I for one am trying to do my part and if you are not, please do. Our children and grandchildren depend on it.

Robb Kidd

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, April 27, 2007

Montpelier Storm

The weather is a little gray today, and that is fine by me. We had temperatures soaring into the 80’s and while the temperatures set to cool for the week Montpelier was rocked by a storm. The storm was not due to any weather pattern or a flood of the river, but of a rise in energy and passions for the calling of impeachment of the President.

This past Wednesday, shortly after ten I arrived into the cafeteria of the State House amongst a sea of citizens demanding that their leaders recommend impeachment. I was there actually for some other matters; however I am in complete support of the efforts. I was amazed at the impressive showing. So many folks present there, all decorated with signs stating their names and where they were from. It was impossible to ignore the issue of the day. Organizers claimed about three hundred were in attendance and word spread around that it was the largest numbers to attend a session in the house. The house was rocking with emotions and folks from all corners of the state where there to make their point.

A call for democracy, return of order to the United States Constitution, ending the war in Iraq, and justice was the mission of the day. While the outcome of the vote fell short of its passage another chink in the Teflon of this presidency has been punctured. Speaker of the House Symington, a Democrat, reportedly had been refusing to allow a vote to be taken, but amongst pressure from the citizens she had no choice but to call a vote. A rumor mentioned to me that her refusal can be attributed to her friendship with Congressman Peter Welch. Congressman Welch has been appointed to powerful committees by Nancy Pelosi, US Speaker of the House and if Welch proceeds with Articles of impeachment that could affect his relationship within party leadership circles. Whatever the case, the vote failed; however it is not the end of the matter, but just the beginning of another chapter.

I hope that this impressive grass roots movement grows. While I am at odds with the pragmatic approach displayed by the Democrats towards impeachment, there is still the reality that the Senate would not vote to convict the President and Vice-President. Those who are aware of the issue realize that our democracy has been willfully hijacked by criminals and that the issue is of grave importance. Yes, I want impeachment, but unfortunately there remains a percentage of the population that just doesn’t care or even gets it. However, failure to allow justice to be served on this administration sets a dangerous precedent for future presidents by justifying circumvention of our system of laws.

So while in the Senate, Senator Leahy continues with oversight hearings on Alberto Gonzales and domestic spying and Peter Welch is in the House is issuing subpoenas on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s role of deceitful manipulation in the case for war, another domino falls on the charade of the presidency. Each day another individual changes their mind and before we know it we will see him impeached. Movements don’t happen overnight and unlike our propagandist history books that tell us that magically overnight Congress decided to pass civil rights it takes work and time to convert a population. Each step forward, although it may look like it was futile is one step closer to goal. Debate just echoed the VT House chambers and soon those same words will be coming to Washington, D.C. I personally would like to thank my two Vermont Representatives Warren Kitzmiller and Jon Anderson for voting in favor of the resolution and the Vermont Senate for passing it last week, that is how democracy works.

Wednesday’s storm rocked the house, and with the rise of Thursday’s sun a sense of calmness was present. After witnessing the scene of just the day before, it seem as if the State House was a quiet oasis from the busy world, but legislators were diligently back to work and onto creating solutions for the problems of the day. While impeachment was just one issue of a day, there are many issues going on without your involvement. To those who rallied up for impeachment, while you see the necessity for accountability on the national front, your state houses are going on without you. Use the energy of impeachment to make change within..

Robb Kidd

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” Howard Zinn, Author of “A People’s History of the United States

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

VT House Impeachment Moves US

The other day news reverberated around the country that Vermont’s Senate valiantly passed a resolution in support of impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. While there are those who debate the merits of such actions as being frivolous since according to them state legislative policy has nothing to do about national politics, I whole heartedly refute that notion. But when Congress fails to do its duty and protect the Constitution it is necessary for citizens to call on their legislature to urge action.

Knowing the importance of the issue, Vermont Senate President Pro-Tem Peter Shumlin responded to the call and listened to the people, unlike the lack of action by Vermont’s Freshman U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders who once remarked that there is no difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and now that the tide has turned he now mocks anyone who says those same words. Vermont’s freshman Congressman Peter Welch does not spare much better, since he campaigned solely on attacking President Bush. So my advice to him would be to start acting because so far his bark is definitely worse than his bite and that succumbing to the whims of Nancy Pelosi and the party line is a path of defeatism.

Except for the hearings of Senator Leahy, the Vermont Congressional delegation and all the other states(I must add) are failing to protect our constitution and that is where we need leadership. The Vermont House will embark on another historic day tomorrow and I hope that it begins a full scale domino effect onto the United States Congress and resolves that justice be served.

Impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are the most prevailing issue facing national politics today and it’s imperative that we as a nation speak out against the deceitful ways of our executive branch. At a time in our nation’s history when we have a populace struggling to pay for health care, school communities are forced to slash budgets and more and more workers are unemployed we have a Presidential administration that is more inclined to lie to the public and wage preemptive war against other nations. The country is being bankrupted by their failed policies while our towns and communities are struggling to pay for health care and education for our youth.

Tomorrow, despite hesitancy from Vermont’s Speaker of the House Gaye Symington the Vermont House will finally have it’s chance to chime in on the debate. Here in Montpelier, it shall be an interesting show and I hope it expresses Vermont’s prerogative to begin healing the nation from the treachery of George Bush and Dick Cheney. So as word stretches to all corners of the country that despite the chicken-hawk leadership of Nancy Pelosi, people in large quantities support impeachment of the President, and Vermont is leading the way foward.

While the mainstream media probably ignored the topic of the day and rather focused on the Virginia Tech shooting or the Don Imus story, Representative Kucinich introduced Articles of Impeachment on Dick Cheney. Kucinich not a darling of the media and for that little or no attention was given to the issue; however that does not remove the validity of it. The Rupert Murdoch’s of the world and the Democratic Leadership appear not to want a see a serious look into the crimes of the President since it is evident they are just as responsible for being their loyal lap dogs to their criminal acts.

I was taught that our democracy is “We the People,” and that it is why the unitary executive authority of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney must be removed from office. The powers of the Constitution are what make this country great and pre-emptive bombing on other countries in order to dominate the world’s oil reserves is criminal. Impeach the liars; otherwise “We the People” is dead.

Robb Kidd

The following words are from Dennis Kucinich addressing the media in regards to the Articles of Impeachment of Dick Cheneey April 24, 2007.

“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; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the government; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.

These words from the Declaration of Independence are instructive at this moment. Because not only whenever any form of government, but whenever any government official becomes destructive of the founding purposes, that official or those officials must be held accountable.

“Because I believe the vice president's conduct of office has been destructive to the founding purposes of our nation. Today, I have introduced House Resolution 333, Articles of Impeachment Relating to Vice President Richard B. Cheney. I do so in defense of the rights of the American people to have a government that is honest and peaceful.

"It became obvious to me that this vice president, who was a driving force for taking the United States into a war against Iraq under false pretenses, is once again rattling the sabers of war against Iran with the same intent to drive America into another war, again based on false pretenses.

“Let me cite from the articles of impeachment that were introduced this afternoon, Article I, that Richard Cheney had purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States armed forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security.

“That despite all evidence to the contrary, the vice president actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

“That preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the vice president was fully informed that no legitimate evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The vice president pressured the intelligence community to change their findings to enable the deception of the citizens and the Congress of the United States.

“That in this the vice president subverted the national security interests of the United States by setting the stage for the loss of more than 3,300 United States service members and the loss of 650,000 Iraqi citizens since the United States invasion; the loss of approximately $500 billion in war costs, which has increased our federal debt; the loss of military readiness within the United States armed services, through an overextension and lack of training and lack of equipment; and the loss of United States credibility in the world affairs and decades of likely blowback created by the invasion of Iraq.

That with respect to Article II, that Richard Cheney manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and the Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida in order to justify the use of United States armed forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security.

“And that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the vice president actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida.

“That preceding to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the vice president was fully informed that no credible evidence existed of a working relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida, a fact articulated in several official documents.

“With respect to Article III, that in his conduct while vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran, absent any real threat to the United States, and has done so with the United States's proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security interests of the United States.

“That despite no evidence that Iran has the intention or the capability of attacking the United States, and despite the turmoil created by the United States's invasion of Iraq, the vice president has openly threatened aggression against Iran.

“Furthermore, I point out in the articles that Article VI of the United States Constitution states, and I quote, "This Constitution and the laws of the United States shall be made in pursuance thereof and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land. Any provision of an international treaty ratified by the United States becomes the law of the United States."

“The United States is signatory to the U.N. Charter, a treaty among the nations of the world. Article II, Section 4 of the United Nations Charter states, and I quote, ‘All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.’

“The articles conclude by pointing out that the vice president's deception upon the citizens and the Congress of the United States that enabled the failed United States invasion of Iraq forcibly altered the rules of diplomacy so that the vice president recent belligerent actions toward Iran are destabilizing and counterproductive to the national security of the United States of America.

“These articles of impeachment are not brought forth lightly. I've carefully weighed the options available to members of Congress and found this path the path that is the most important to take.

“The justifications used to lead our nation to war have unquestionably been disproved. Brave soldiers and innocent civilians have lost their lives in a war the United States should never have initiated. The weight of the lies used to lead us into war has grown heavier with each death. Now is the time for Congress to examine the actions that led us into this war, just as we must work to bring the troops home. This resolution is a very serious matter, and I will urge the Committee on Judiciary to investigate and carefully consider this resolution.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Locally Impeached

As I have written in my last post we as society need to give thanks and praise to our elected officials when they follow the path of consciousness and do the right thing. To those outside of Vermont, Friday April 20, 2007 the Vermont State Senate voted to recommend that President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney both deserve to be impeached. Contrary, to what the Vermont’s congressional delegation, Vermont’s Senate has determined that this Presidential administration has committed crimes and atrocities that are going to affect all of us for years to come and that politics whether it be within the halls of Congress or our small town halls all issues are deeply affected. All politics is local and until we as a society make amends with what has occurred at the national level, we as a democracy can not move forward.

It is a crime that we as a society have to debate for sources of funding for education and health care while there are unlimited resources for global wars based on lies. Once we stop the false needs for wars maybe just by chance we can have all the money for human needs and not just for the destruction of the planet. So when one governmental body makes a bold move and recommendations impeachment of a standing president we as a society should reflect on what has transpired.

I thank Senate President Pro-Tem Peter Shumlin for allowing this historic vote to move forward and foreshadowing the general mood of the population. We the people of Vermont have asked for it and we the people of Vermont have received it, the next step is now for the Vermont House of Representatives to pass the same legislation and while there meets resistance from speaker Gaye Symington, I remind the populace that the Vermont legislature represents us and if the speaker is so inclined to fail to respond to the people’s wishes we the population have the right to not support her.

At this present juncture in time I am inclined to support Senator Shumlin since he valiantly proved to act to the best of his ability and with that resolve I refuse to stand behind Speaker Symington. Speaker Symington is obstructing justice and to me that is just guilty as those who have perpetrated the crimes against our constitution. Speaker Symington, ignoring of the impeachment issue is inexcusable, for the people have asked for it. Impeachment is local and in case you have not noticed almost forty local towns overwhelming voted for impeachment. Let’s impeach and move forward towards seeking answers for education, health care and funding for renewable energy. America has been plagued by a cancer like administration and as any treatment prescribes eradication we must do the same within the government. First comes impeachment and then comes the healing.

So while the Vermont State Senate choose to act and the US Congress and the Vermont House continues to dillydally in the process of impeachment the country’s safety and security rests in the hands of a man who has lied, tortured and is responsible for the deaths of countless individuals. I thank the Vermont Senate and I urge the rest of elected officials to follow their lead. It is important that American begins to heal but until we fully analyze the inner valleys of our democracy and punish those who led us astray we will be stuck in a perpetual cycle of cronyism and opportunism. Those who have led the country astray must pay, and thank you Vermont State Senate for answering our pleas.


“Impeachment is not a remedy for private wrongs; it's a method of removing someone whose continued presence in office would cause grave danger to the nation.” Counsel for President Bill Clinton

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thanks Leahy !!!

In our times there is a lack of thankfulness admitted towards our public servants. While “public servants” such as George Bush, Dick Cheney and Tom Delay do not deserve any thanks a feeling of distrust is left upon our system of government and too frequently we as a society fail to thank our elected officials or individuals who are making a difference and doing good deeds within our society.

Today, I was at a conference regarding the issue of local food accessibility and was fortunate to receive some thanks. I was there not as a conference attendee but as a representative of the organization I have been working hard with creating positive and progressive change. I choose not to indulge which group I am with as my ideas do not represent the organization; however I can attest as an organization it is advocating for positive change. So after a series of discussions with various other attendees a UVM student approached me and we briefly conversed. After a moment I asked him what he was involved with and he told me that he was part of group of people going around and giving hugs to those who are doing good things for the earth. He then asked me if I would accept a hug. I obliged and was honored to be thanked.

As an individual who has been working hard to help create a positive change, I feel that at times I am all alone in a heartless world and that society just does not care. What good does it matter to fight so hard for something when all that society does is cast you out and continues it’s consummation of Big Macs and drives high pollutant SUVs? So with a day like this where I was given a hug by a complete stranger, I was thrilled that someone cared.

I am not in search of personal thanks or inflation of my ego by revealing the need to give thanks. There are countless individuals and organizations that thanks are due, and your support can do wonder. I would personally like to thank them all for the things they do, but coming to my mind there is one voice that stands out today. I think the time is due for all those who care about American Democracy to personally thank Senator Patrick Leahy for his passionate charge to justice. While there are still those within the Democratic Party who seem to be happy with the party’s role of being the meek opposition, Senator Leahy has been using the power of the Senate Judicial Committee Chairmanship to obtain answers and restore justice to America. At least someone is speaking out against the crimes and injustices that have been allowed to take place. Congress is no longer a loyal lapdog to the President’s doomed policies of failure and cronyism with Senator Leahy at the helm..

Watch, if you want to see True Patriotism at it’s finest:

So as an American and a believer in Democracy, I am thankful to be represented by Senator Patrick Leahy, and we Americans owe our thanks.

Thank you Senator Leahy!!!!

Robb Kidd

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” Thomas Jefferson.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kucinich to Impeach Cheney

Throughout Vermont there has been a whole lot of hoopla regarding impeachment of the President. While almost forty towns passed resolutions urging our elected officials to act out and bring about articles of impeachment of the President, the criminals who have hijacked our democracy are allowed to continue their unabated destruction of the planet. Enough talk has been said about the President and Vice-President, and the rule of law and justice calls for action.

After six years of unchecked powers the Bush/Cheney cabal is on its final throes. Yes, Senator Leahy has been using the power of his chairmanship of the Senate Judicial Committee and rightfully demanding answers from the administration and yes, Congress has begun initiating legislation to end the war in Iraq; however that is no where’s near enough to answer for what has occurred in the last six years in Washington.

In today’s WashingtonPost.com, columnist Mary Ann Akers wrote that Congressman Dennis Kucinich is introducing Article’s Impeachment for Vice-President Dick Cheney. Congressman Kucinich also candidate for President has been written of by the “mainstream” media and has been a lone voice for justice in Congress demanding answers from this President and Vice-President well before it became political savvy. Dennis Kucinich while some have written him of being too “new-age,” has been a lone voice of progressive change in Congress, unlike the “Madison Avenue” marked up candidates juiced up on corporate money. At least, one of the Presidential candidates has the guts and resolves to act on their conscious. The true roots of the Democratic Party are in the grassroots and what we have been calling for is impeachment.

The Democratic Party has a choice, they can squelch the legitimate call for democracy by continuing to show the colors that have been painting a dismal hue on its losing banner the last decade or they can become the real voice for progressive change. There are those Democrats who hide under the cloak of elections and say that Americas will not vote for Democrats if they began impeachment proceedings. They fail to remember that the American public overwhelming voted for the Republicans who actively sought out impeachment for Bill Clinton’s frivolous moral crimes. Meanwhile, the Republicans not only regained their majorities in the House and Senate they also obtained the White House. The Democrats continually have shown an image of weakness and if they fail to operate in strong manner and draw up articles of impeachment they might as well hang up the towel in 2008.

America and the world have had enough of the Bush administration fatalistic handling of our nation’s affairs. This administration has fabricated evidence in their case for war, manipulated the judicial system as a weapon for political vendettas, tortured prisoners and illegal spied on innocent American citizens. Failure to support impeachment of the President and Vice-President is a failure to protect the Constitution. All conscious elected officials in the United States have the duty to do whatever is necessary for impeachment, whether it be in their state legislatures or the United States Congress; otherwise a dangerous precedent will be outlined for future presidential administrations. Impeach Bush and Cheney now.

Robb Kidd

“When people ask if the United States can afford to place on trial the president, if the system can stand impeachment, my answer is, "Can we stand anything else?"” George McGovern- US Senator and Presidential Candidate 1972

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Lives of Others

Sunday was a rainy/snowy afternoon and instead of the usually outdoor activity we went to the Savoy Theater to watch a movie. For those outside of Montpelier, The Savoy is a small and cozy independent theater in town, unlike the mega-pictures that litter our American landscape. I for one am not a big fan of the big screen or movies in general, so yesterday’s choice of activity was an exception for it was a date, since I have a partner who is frequently captivated by movies. The movie of choice wasn’t the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles or some other Hollywood fluff story but a powerful description of life in post-World War II East Germany. “The Lives of Others”, I heard others saying “is the best movie I have seen in a long time.”

The general story line revolves around the STASSI (East Germany’s secret police) and their campaign to monitor and place under surveillance suspected citizens. The central characters were a playwright, an actress and a STASSI agent. The movie follows the surveillance of a famed East German Playwright that was ordered to be watched by the Minister of Culture. While we have been taught here in America that part of the greatness of our country is that we do not have this type of activity going on here, a casual observer of the movie can be look at it as more evidence of the greatness and freedom we Americans have. On the contrary, I looked at it as what the evolution of current political policies of the United States could lead to.

The either your with us or against” mentality can lead to a slippery slope that brings American society further away from freedom and into an oppressive totalitarian government and if we as we society do not watch our freedoms we could lose them. One scene of the movie shows a STASSI agent declaring that he enjoys the monitoring of artists, since it is so much more entertaining than the usually peaceniks or preachers. That tactic should sound familiar to us here since our government has been caught illegally spying on peace activists and religious organizations. Who is our country spying on?

While we may not have the STASSI or the fear of it, the encroachments on our civil liberties have been moving closer towards that. The advent of 9/11 created a whole new federal department, The Department of Homeland Security to protect the nation. Yes, the country needs protection from future terrorist attacks; however it has become just another secretive bureaucratic institution that the nation already ahs enough of. All ready the country has the FBI, the CIA, The NSA, The Secret Service, Military Intelligences and thousands of other police forces to “monitor and protect” us.

The President had declared as a reassurance to our civil liberties that “any time you hear the word ‘wire-tap’ we must get a court order.” The Federal Intelligence Surveillance ACT of 1978 set up secret courts for extreme cases that needed jurisdiction in secrecy. As a result of the abuses of power by the Nixon administration Congress set limitations and created a system that supposedly checks on indiscriminate abuses of power. While I am hesitant about secret courts, the President and his administration deem them unnecessary and have spied on hundreds of citizens without any oversight.

On top of those misdoings, it has been discovered that the CIA has had secret torture and detention sites throughout the world, in violation of international laws. The famed Guantonoma Bay facility has irked the attention of humanitarian groups and civil libertarians throughout the world. Meanwhile, individuals are deemed “enemy combatants” at the government’s discretion and not allowed trials. At present rate there are little safeguards to prevent these tactics from spreading to the home front. We can already see it set in motion by the egregious firing of US District Attorneys. Firing for political purposes is a dangerous precedent and it creates a system of career opportunism and party loyalty over justice and laws. The justice department is not a tool to orchestrate political vendettas.

Documentation is strong on how far the government has begun to remove your civil liberties and it seems that the majority of the nation our gladly and willingly trading in their rights. Thankfully a few individuals are standing up against that system. The truth of the matter is that the country has not been brought to the status of East German as of yet, but as a shadowy reminder from the past, we as a population have to be weary of the forces from above. Years ago, at a physical therapists office I saw a sign that revealed the message “Use it or Lose It,” likewise today the message is as strong as ever, Civil Liberties “Use it or Lose it.”

Robb Kidd

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Step it Up-Today....

It is a balmy 36 degrees this morning as I awoke to begin another adventurous day. No, today I am not going to climb any mountain, but participate in a call to STEP IT UP2007 and to act on climate change. The message that will be broadcasted from throughout the country today will demand action against climate change will be like climbing a mountain. Today, April 14 2007 myself and many other committed citizens are standing out and voicing our concerns about global climate change. The proverbial mountain is in the fact that we need a hard shift of societal ways to rectify the downward spiral human ingenuity has created.

While, it is 36 degrees right now and the advent of another winter storm brewing in the distance the fact of the matter is global climate change is happening. Winter took a long time for itself to show its face in the capital city of Montpelier and vice versa it is taking a long time to now leave. To a critic that is a sign that global warming is not happening while he/she may fail to notice the average changes. Despite more snow in the forecast, the truth is the earth’s atmosphere is steadily rising. We may have our steady cold fronts or our long drawn out heat spells but in reality those are just fluctuations in our individualized climates. The major problems exist within the global temperature which is causing the receding of glaciers, the melting of the polar ice caps and greater evaporation rates of water resources.

The exact after effects are the only true forms of debate left open. Predictions of higher intensity hurricanes, devastating floods and severe droughts are rampant. To know for sure which will happen is left for time to tell, however in the meantime you suppose we sit around and wait. For those readers, in Vermont well all witnessed the preparations for the impending Montpelier flood of 2007 just a few weeks ago and it has been determined that flood preparations cost the city about $20,000. There is little mention being echoed that the cost was a waste because prevention is the best form of defense. The best way to prevent a flood would have not to build a city on the banks of two rivers. It is too late for that now and it would be unrealistic to move the city and undo what previous generations have done, so prevention and preparation is the only course at hand.

Likewise with climate change, we do know that it is happening and we do know that man has adversely affected the earths temperatures through carbon emissions; conversely it would be unrealistic to undo what has been already been done. Like a flood, we prepare and look at solutions preventing from it happening. Just like a flood, global climate change has many causes. There may be some natural elements but in general human development has exasperated it is conditions. As for global climate change, we know that the causes are due to primarily of carbon emissions. Carbons emissions are emitted from the burning of fossil fuels and we burn fossil fuels the power our homes and cars and make and ship the products we consume.

While federal and state governments have ignored the issue and corporate industries have hampered effective legislative policy we as an individuals have the right to demand a solution. In addition, we all have the individual responsibility to act ourselves, whether it be using our cars less, buying a hybrid vehicle, eating local foods or simply consuming less. There are many of us out there already doing that and I hope that more will come, but in the meantime our government needs to protect our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. That right of happiness does not come from the right to own a hummer or to pollute the planet, but the right of having clean air and a vibrant ecological earth in balance.

So as I embark on my journey for today, I hope that the rest of the country wakes up and realizes what is being doing to the planet. We have only one home and that is the planet Earth, it is not disposable despite what you may have been seen on T.V. If you were not at one of Step It Up events this weekend, please write to your elected officials and demand that they support legislation to cut carbon emissions by eighty percent by the year 2050. This planet is not just yours and mine but your children’s and grandchildren’s.

Robb Kidd

"We have not inherited this earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children." Native American proverb

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kilgore Trout is Dead

The fictional character named Kilgore Trout has died, well almost. Waking up this morning I gazed outside my window with the view of the snow falling down while glancing at my computer screen and saw the news that Kurt Vonnegut had died. The man known as Kurt Vonnegut may have just left the planet, but his words and characters will be around for a long while. With his passing, I hope his vision will spread and wake up a culture that has gone mad.

I have been asked many times of what influenced me to become the way I am and as the question has resonated through me many times, I see the many routes and influences to my own being. To my partner, Sarah upon meeting my family she thought I was adopted since lined up against my “conservative” parents I am quite different and not a spitting image of my folks or my brother. There is not one influence to my soul, for there are many influences, from the captivating writers, to enchanting musicians, to gravitating artists and to the passionate humanitarians. For Kurt Vonnegut, I would say he was my favorite all time writer. There have been many others that enhanced my living but captivating me with Vonnegut’s words opened up new possibilities and for that I pay great homage to his memory.

At a bookstore in New York1997, I once met Kurt Vonnegut. It was a book signing for his book TimeQuake. He gave a brief talk and afterwards, a long line of individuals waited to meet him and have him sign his book. Although, I too waited, it appeared as if a bunch of lemmings were lined up waiting to here some prophetic advice from this aging writer. By the time I got to him, I cordially expressed my gratitude for his writings and he looked at me with a blank stare as if to say “what am I doing here.” It reminded of his book Breakfast of Champions in which the whole town shut down for its celebration of the “Arts.” What was I there for, making this old man sign books for hours? Does it make my copy of TimeQuake anymore special or valuable? Well anyway, he signed the book in an illegible manner with his trademark asterisk, symbolizing the human asshole.

I first read Kurt Vonnegut when I was a computer science major in college, when the book Player Piano materialized into my possession. Player Piano outlines the development of machines replacing the need for man. For readers who are unfamiliar with it, that is where Vonnegut got his label as a science fiction writer. At the time, I felt as if computer sciences were teaching me to become a machine with little room for personal thought and exploration, and how right the timing was to be introduced to Vonnegut’s words. Yeah, like I said there were other influences that pulled me away from that path, but here it was on paper exactly as I felt in mind.

I passionately enjoyed all of his other books. The one-time banned book, Slaughterhouse Five catapulted my interest in historical knowledge. Barely written at the time, Vonnegut documents the ghastly firebombing of the city of Dresden, Germany. Dresden a city that had virtually no military significance, but untold the “Allies” bombed the hell out of the town at the near end of World War II and without mercy killed innocent women and children. I had already begun to have series reservations with the United States military policy throughout the world and to read horrific stories of the “last good war” invoked my passions of peace.

Vonnegut’s writing steered me into a different direction and for that I am grateful that he existed on this planet. If you have not read any of his works, I suggest you do, well quite frankly you learn more with one book than a month of television and maybe just by chance you will see what a crazy world we live in, besides we must keep Kilgore Trout alive.

Robb Kidd

“Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.” Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, April 08, 2007

White Easter

I had dreamed of a white Christmas this past year and unfortunately it did not happen but as the Easter holiday has come, we here in Central Vermont are enjoying the magnificent beauty and purity of fresh white snow. As I ate my breakfast this morning at Coffee Corner in downtown Montpelier, I over-heard a grumpy old man muttering laughs about global warming. While today is Easter and visions of spring are the norm for this holiday, Central Vermont is covered with a white blanket of snow. To the uneducated or the grumpy old man that is proof enough to them that global warming is not happening; however ignored by those skeptics is the vast scientific evidence proving that average world temperatures are rising, glaciers are receding and the polar ice caps are melting.

Most internationally acclaimed scientists have proven that global warming is happening and that it is caused by man. Unfortunately, there are those who still refute man’s involvement; however they now do admit global warming is happening. Those who are refuting it are closely aligned with the oil industry or some other pollutant industry. Republican and right wing think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute have been attributed to paying and financing skeptics to refute scientific data. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence and International attention on global warming, industry powers are still attacking the evidence. Scientific skepticism has been around for centuries whether it is from religious or business powers they have corrupted their authority to influence the ignorant.

Vermont is not a stranger to snow in April or an occasional snow in May, so despite those critics I am not deterred from expressing concern. While yesterday, I basked in the marvelous sights of a snow covered mountain and enjoyed the view atop Camel’s Hump, Vermont’s highest mountain unadulterated by human development, I pondered what man is doing to the environment. Climbing atop this peak there are little signs of human activity outside of the track’s in the snow or the occasional trail marker. At times throughout the climb my mind wandered with wonder. No motorized vehicle and no microwave oven, just my dog Ella and my friend Paul.

Through my latest climb, topics of discussion changed like the elevation changing of the trees, oaks to pines and then to spuces. We discussed many aspects of modern life and in particular the lack of relationship to nature. Man has become so disconnected with nature and the simplest elements of life. A generation ago it was not out of the ordinary for one to build their home out of the trees of their land and raise and cultivate their food from that same plot of land. Every piece of one’s necessity could have virtually been taken care of right there, no need for a Wal-Mart or any other fancy department store. What a contrast from today’s world, where a relative of mine just told me that her new home is close to everything in suburbia. “I am forty minutes to work and fifteen minutes to the mall.” Unfortunately, to maintain that life in suburbia she must commute daily for forty minutes in a sea of cars, each individualy nudging their way forward just to go to work.

The societal claims of “progress” is a myth and instead of progressing society is digressing itself into oblivion. As a society we have become more and more disconnected from the basics of life and we are fracturing our own happiness. Life’s become too revolved in work and consummation of goods that there is very little time for reflection and enjoyment of life. We as a society have become nothing more than consumers as a way to divert our attentions from the miseries of daily lives. Although there have been advancements in modern conveniences in the last fifty-years psychological studies have determined that the average American is less happy than their counterparts of fifty-years ago. Contrary, to popular belief today’s man has less leisure time despite the advancements of “time saving” conveniences. In the last fifty years we have seen our forests and farms plowed over and the forces of “progress” falsely claim we are better off.

So, while living near a mall can be convenient, and while the world revolves around what possessions one can consume, the fragility of our planet is showing signs of deterioration. Now, Vermont may have been covered by a new blanket of snow it does not refute the claims of global warming or the eminent crisis to come. Serious looks at the ways of “modern” living and realistic planning for our future health are due. No longer can a society such as present day American society subsist without alteration of its course. As I look out and see the purity of the white snow I am hopeful in seeing a rebirth with the coming of spring as well as with the ways our society handles its relationship to the earth. Today is a good day to start your change. In addition next Saturday, April 14 all throughout the country (yes in your backyard too) many other folks are going to call on their leaders to “Step It Up.” Global warming is and will affect your life immensely.

Robb Kidd

“What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?” Henry David Thoreau

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bad Industrial Food

In supermarkets around America, the public is sold goods that most of us will never know where it came from. Children today are growing up not knowing that milk comes from a cow or that Chicken nuggets come from an actual chicken. Society has become more and more disconnected from our food source and as a result our health and vibrancy of our rural countryside is deteriorating.

The news in the last month warned us about the mass recall of pet food and to many pet owners worries spread about the contamination of their treasured pets food. Menu Foods the producer of many brands of pet food distributed a deadly toxin within their products and pets were poisoned by what normally nourishes their life. Weeks have surpassed and the containment has been attributed to coming from rat poison or bad wheat-gluten, but their true sources have not been fully accounted for. The foods that our pets consume are not as stringently regulated as what is produced for human consumption; however this production model of the food supply shows the dark repercussions of the potentials.

In the last year, we have seen many national recalls of food due to some form of contamination. The recall of Skippy Peanut butter, a staple for many children’s diet, was due to salmonella poisoning caused by a leaky roof at their processing facility in Georgia. Con Agra foods producer of many other “fine” products is now being faced with lawsuits. To a major supplier such as Con-Agra that is just the nature of the business and while lawsuits hang over their head, the same conditions that produced the outbreak drive in their profits. Other forms of national food recalls have occurred recently such as the e-coli bacteria in spinach or lettuce at Taco-Bell.

These contaminations of food are not an isolated incident but a verdict of the present state of the industrialized food supply. Despite being highly regulated, illness attributed to food is spreading like wildfire. In addition to the rise of contaminated food we as a society are faced with other threats to our health from our food. Animals and crops are being altered with genetic modifications in an effort to produce meatier products or crops resistant to adverse conditions. The alteration of the genetic makeup has the potentiality for causing great alarm.

As we have just witnessed the magnitude of food recalls within the United States, I question what has become of our food supply. As a youth, I was feed primarily a diet of natural raised ducks (I was told chicken) and vegetables from a garden and I am worried about having accessibility to natural and organic products. Ideally, I would like to have land to produce my own food and distance myself from the food supply chain, but unfortunately I am unable to at this moment. As a recourse to this, we as a society need to have a food supply that is primarily local to our environment and not shipped anonymously throughout the globe. The only way for that to happen is that we as society demand that the stringent regulations and policies that favor industrialized farmers be removed from the small scale farms. The next outbreak may not be in your pets but just maybe in yours.

Robb Kidd

“If you knew how meat was made, you'd probably lose your lunch.” KD Lang

Thursday, April 05, 2007

No Money, Act Locally

Dominating coverage of potential political candidates recently seems to be too focused on how much money each candidate has raised. While there are a whole plethora of candidates to choose from for the office of president it seems that the American media prefers the candidates who are able to obtain the most amount of money with little regards to policy or track record.

The other day, Hilary Clinton was hailed as the front runner since she raised 26 million; however just twenty million dollars of that money can be used for the primary, so that entitles Barrack Obama the leader, since he raised 23.5 million. I fear this trend of politics that candidates are decided based on their ability to raise money, since it leaves room for American democracy to be overly influenced by big money. Elected officials are supposed to answer to the will of the people, but with the introduction of money interests candidates who had obtained the support from Oil companies, Nuclear Industries or “High Tech” companies tend to favor legislation favorable to their donors. I ponder to question on where this money is coming from and how much influence is being peddled onto them.

As had been revealed recently in a New York Times article, the top 300,000 Americans earn 440 times the amount of the bottom 150 million America, so as a result the top 300,000 have an unfair advantage to dictate policy and control the political system as they fell fit. So while corporate America jockeys up their support and place there dollars on their political horse we Americans are left on the infield of the track looking on and hoping for maybe a candidate that supports the slightest interest to our plight.

I am doubtful that any of these major candidates truly represent the average American but as my pessimism rides on the national political spectrum, I am hopeful on changing what occurs around me locally. In individual towns, counties and states a lot more can be achieved, your voice is stronger to your locally elected officials and that is where the true roots of democracy are. We are made to believe that politics revolve around what goes on in Washington, while it tends to be the case revolving around issues such as the War in Iraq and taxation; however the daily policies of our lives are affected much more of what occurs locally.

So, while I read the disturbing stories of the money involved in national elections, I am weary about the corruptibility of the national system. The message portrayed on the national level is that if you have 50,000 dollars you can become appointed ambassador of Belgium if you donate money in attacking your candidate’s opponent. While the rich and powerful of the upper classed dictate the resolve of our national government, we the people have a voice within our local communities. In statehouses and town halls policies are being dictated without your involvement, if you want to make a difference act locally and speak your voice. The true voice of democracy comes from the people on the ground, not from the barrel of the President’s gun.

Robb Kidd

“The people of this country, not special interest big money, should be the source of all political power.” Paul Wellstone, deceased U.S. Senator Minnesota