Evolving Peace

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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Flooded in Time

They say time flies when you are having fun, but I wonder what it does when you are not, does time then linger. Two years ago, the treasured city of New Orleans was ravaged by the powers of Hurricane Katrina and its population desperately cried for help. Left to its own, New Orleans resembled a scene from Mad Max rather than the historical congenial party atmosphere. What happened there was nothing more than a symbol of the catastrophic weakness of the United States government and therefore a populace has been awakened.

New Orleans and its people were left fending for themselves; nowhere in sight was there assistance from above, because the resolve of the nation had been to fight a “War on Terror.” Haphazardly, the United States military had been sent out in search of mythical bogeymen known as terrorists. Billions and billions of dollars have been spent on this war and it is expected to reach to two trillion dollars; however the fact still remains that “terrorism” is on the rise and the master-mind Osama Bin-Laden is nowhere to be found.

We have a federal government that is out chasing bogeymen, while the people of the nation are left to their own demise. The interest of Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and the others outweigh the needs of the people and for those who still do not know it there is oil in Iraq. The leadership of this country has sold out to the oil companies and any form of representation has been stripped away and disguised as protecting us from terrorism. How can the wealthiest nation in the world rationalize spend trillions of dollars fighting for democracy while on the other hand ignore its own needs at home.

Just as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986 that struck the Ukraine region of the Soviet Union had demonstrated to the world the futileness of the Soviet system, the harsh realities of New Orleans show a mere disdain of reason by the United States political system. The need of the few had outweighed the needs of the many and now America is awakening to the dangerous doctrine of neo-conservatism/corporatism. The false agenda of the neo-Conservatives have been destroying the basic assumptions of America and likewise it soon too will crumble just like that of the Soviet Union. The people of the Soviet Union saw that its role in the centralized system had been replaced by the dogma of those above and they choose to disband it. Comparatively, we see more and more centralization within the corporate structure and soon the people here will stand up and so no more.

As the anniversary of the Katrina flood has just past, I hope that its memories live on with us all. The government had abandoned its duty of protecting and serving its people and when ever a government derelicts its duty it is the right of the people to disband it and start anew. The memory of Katrina is not so distant from our minds, so I ask to you all has anything changed and will FEMA and the FEDS be there to save you from the storm or that matter Osama. As time goes on, are we having fun, or are we just lingering on?

Robb Kidd

“Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.” Thomas Jefferson

Monday, August 27, 2007

Financially Modified Organisms

In the world of politics, money has supplanted all given notion of ideals and justice. Principles have been left behind and too many political candidates ponder to the interests of big money. While the rule of people has been left out, democracy has been infested by the rise of FMO’s, which I call Financially Modified Organisms.

In the agriculture world, the prevalence of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) has taken a hold of all our food products. Unknown to man is what the repercussions that will take place from these organism. Plants and animals are being genetically reformulated to be resistant of certain diseases and carry certain characteristics. Some may say that is good, but unbeknown is what the future will bring. Are these organisms going to alter the natural world and wreck havoc by creating super-organisms that society will be able to control or are will the mutate and form greater health risks unto humanity? That is the question, we shall see.

Like wise in the political world, politicians are no longer people but voice boxes of the powers of money. Judicial courts have ruled that series restrictions on the power of money are a violation of free-speech. Therefore the super concentration of wealth is mutating the course of politics. Candidates who are able to raise money are the one’s who are given the loudest voice and of course there are paid for the by the some people who have already profited by the system. In all likeliness, the FMO’s are going to broadcast the message of those who got them there and their messages of change are just capitulations to the masses below and as the path of GMO’s we can see a corruptness to this unnatural approach.

What we must do is remove ourselves from this pathway and push for greater public financing of campaigns. Through public financing, candidates will have to answer to people and not to the realms of corporations and the upper crusts of society. As well, a stronger focus on local governmental controls, where one individual has a greater say helps counteract the influence of money. “Thinking globally, but acting locally” has greater effects on society and whereas we have a government by the people, we can make it for the people. As the influences of our financial modified organism (politicians) begin to dissipate we will move one step closer to true representative government.

Robb Kidd

“Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.” Gandhi

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Voices, Voices and More Now!!!

All things must pass, for I have been told. This week I ventured off into a new direction in life and as I end one page in this chapter of life I am embarking towards a new personal frontier. For the last year I have been quite persistent in posting my views and opinions on what I perceive to be as a world gone mad and although I would like to continue that path I am going to have to curtail my writings just a bit. While I do appreciate those who have commented from time to time and the anonymous readers who have stopped by and partaken in my world, I would like to encourage more from you all.

We have reached a critical juncture in the status of American democracy and with the looming environmental crisis we are facing this is no time for you to sit back and play a passive role with the world around you. What is needed is for each and every citizen who has an opinion to express it and speak it loud. There are multiple ways to do that, for this blog has been one of my mediums, however the most important route is through everyday conversations. Your friends, neighbors, casual acquaintances and everyone you meet must be aware and stop hiding in fear for the current path will get us nowhere. Stand up and speak your mind and you’ll be surprised more people agree with you.

So, while I have chosen a new path for myself and for it I will not have the luxury of time to post as frequently, however I hope to see a higher frequency of debate within the world around me. The past is behind me and as I embark into my new direction I hope that the debauchery of this American President and his disregard of the natural world will pass soon too.

Robb Kidd

PS: I recommend reading my partner's words in her marvelous reflection on the peace activist, Grace Paley.

“You can't let go and you can't hold on. You can't go back and you can't stand still. If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will.” Robert Hunter, The Wheel

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Money:False Change

It behooves me to hear the stories about the how much money is being raised for the Presidential election. Just the other day, a stealth fundraiser was held for Barrack Obama in the Green Mountain state and he raised a paltry $250,000 from this event. While many Vermonters are struggling to pay for food, education and the upcoming winter heating season, it seems that there is plenty of money to go towards an election campaign of someone who just might be the Democratic nominee.

While, personally I have not been sold on the geniality of the Barrack Obama campaign since I still have not heard a single word of real change mouthed from his lips, except for that he’s not G.W. and that he represents hope, I am still flabbergasted at the amount of attention this man can get. What irks me the most about his campaign is that while he has been painted by his supporters as a wholesome picture he still is a man of the system and as far as I am concerned that does not make him any different.

Throughout his political career he has consistently taken campaign money from the nuclear industry and coinciding with the influence of that money he has voted without fail in support of the industry, even though as rational humans we all know of the cataclysmic dangers of nuclear power. Not stopping there he has fully supported the doctrine of nuclear armaments and has not ruled out usage of them. Any candidate that supports nuclear either directly or indirectly is living in an insane universe therefore does not have the wherewithal to be a leader of a changed America that is to lead the world towards the goal of peace.

So, while it appears a rash of persons have drunk the Obama Kool-Aid and are dishing out tons of money towards his campaign the real vehicles of change are struggling to make ends meat. Here in Vermont, there are numerous organizations and potential candidates who would salivate over just a fraction of that money, however it has now been sent off as a mere fraction of the presidential election campaign. Countless organizations throughout the country and Vermont survive on budgets that are smaller than that while they have been successfully advocating for change. To implement real change it begins within our homes. Strengthening our communities and states with actions directed towards your home is much more palatable than say contributing to a major party candidate who mouths the words of change.

While more and more money is raised to flood the nation with false messages of change, there is an absence of money going to the real vehicles of change. David Brower, passionate environmental activist had coined the phrase “Think globally, Act locally” not just as a silent cry of despair but as a mere beacon of wisdom. Successful changes occur in our own backyards and diverting our attentions to large scale proportions weakens that resolve. Instead of adding to the futile frustrations of a presidential election race, consider supporting a valiant cause or candidate at home for that is where real change begins.

Robb Kidd

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives” American Philosopher, William James

Monday, August 13, 2007

Water World

Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink”. Water one of the most precious ingredients to the life of man, its supply is dwindling down and with the talk of “Peak Oil” a more important resource has been left trickling amongst the current. In the Americas, one might see a measly sprinkler watering a precious lawn or a lush green golf course lining the deserts floor while little thought has been given to the most precious commodity of them all. Water resources are coming harder to find and tensions are brewing about a coming storm that even the CIA has listed water resources as a major tension of concerns.

Yesterday, swimming in the blue waters of Lake Champlain and looking upon the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont, I pondered the vastness of this invaluable resource. My attention lured while splashing around of what toxins where floating along with me. I do know that Lake Champlain is pollute, not as much with industrial wastes as per say the Hudson River or the famed Cuyahoga River in Ohio that a few decades ago caught fire from toxic residues. The lake, although cool and refreshing has primarily been affected by farm runoff(Update: 8/14 Burlington Free Press has story attributing pollution to urban runoff). While most Vermont farmers are respectable stewards of the land they have inadvertently led to the demise of the lake. Conservation programs have led to protecting this valuable watershed, but as with most other conservation programs it has been under funded and ignored by the powers that be.

Splashing, through the lake I looked for fish, but my eyes did not see any. Whether, the fish were just too scared of my presence or that there is just a lack of them I do not know. One thing I do know that America’s lakes and rivers are heavily contaminated with mercury that wild fish are not recommended to eat. So despite being in a vast beauty of creation, many of the creatures are not healthy to consume. America’s fascination with energy, in particular coal has placed toxic chemicals into the air and given time has emerged within our water systems.

The rivers in Vermont are not so pure as well, as I have recently learned. The State of Vermont officially does not recommend that people swim in the rivers as for biological containments such as e-coli are stronger than before. Latest news has discovered invasive algae known as rock-snot that are threatening the rivers. What looks pure and clean may not be as much as once has and with the looming threats of climate change we may not know what is next.

Not to give any reasons to worry, the fine companies of Pepsi and Coca-Cola have figured out a way to save us for they have entered the business of bottling water. Enormous water resources are being drained and sold as marketable commodities known as Desani and Aquafina so you too can go pollute your environment, but rest assured American ingenuity will provide you with safe and clean water.

Within the American landscape, there are vast areas of the country without water; the famed Colorado River does not even reach the sea any longer. Water is diverted to fill swimming pools, water golf courses and subsidize the sprawling industrial sized farms of California. Pockets of the Middle East are about to erupt over the valuable resources, while we Americans lackadaisically waste away our precious resource. Two thirds of the human body is composed of water, so as a fore warning why destroy what is our life blood. We have heard the angry cries of No Blood for Oil, but as the way humanity goes we may just see Blood for Water, I hope not.

Robb Kidd

“In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference” Rachel Carson author of Silent Spring.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Home Run Distraction

“It is high it is far and it’s gone”, “Way back, back, back … and it’s out of here” are the words that strike the American pastime of baseball. Barry Bond’s just broke a record and the baseball world and the American news media has shined while many a man, woman and children are left struggling to survive. A record of mighty proportions one could say, however while their attentions have been driven to a man linked to the usage of steroids a deleterious Presidential administration has been allowed to go unscathed from their deceitful ways.

Americas are so distracted by frivolous news that one could get a quick glance and feel that all life depended on was the outcome of a baseball game. “I went to a Red Sox game on Saturday and up above home plate I couldn’t help notice the press box: five, six, seven tiers of desks, filled with print, radio, television, and who knows what other media all reporting every move and anomaly. It dawned on me that there are more reporters covering the Sox, just one baseball team, than cover the Pentagon” William M. Arkin of the Washington Post, which I copied from the Progressive.

Baseball has been acclaimed to being America’s pastime, which I too have enjoyed in my years past, until one day I realized that it was just part of the political machine. Many diehard Red Sox fans will attest to the vileness of George M. Steinbrenner, notwithstanding their furious rivalries there is much more to Mr. Steinbrenner than the baseball world. He had acclaimed his personal wealth from bilking the US Navy with his massive ship building business in Tampa, Fl. He was convicted of illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and then pardoned by Ronal Reagan. Then as we can all attest to the 2001 World Series, some critics have compared President Bush’s ceremonially first pitch as being nothing more than a party pogrom unifying the masses for support of war. “Watching from owner George Steinbrenner’s box, Karl Rove thought, It’s like being at a Nazi rally” as stated by reporter Bob Woodward. George has more at stake seeing the war industry propelled than whether or not the Yankees win a game.

It does not stop with the Yankees, for the New York Mets organization was originally founded by a partnership that included the Walker family (Barbara Bush’s lineage.) Also for a time period, President Bush was an owner of the Texas Rangers, who while he was Governor swindled the city of Arlington, Texas in building a stadium for their team. Or with the case of the media, CNN’s and WTBS mogul Ted Tuner was owner of the Atlanta Braves. Fox and Rupert Murdoch have practically cornered the Sports market and obtained exclusives rights to MLB, the NFL and NASCAR while simultaneously corrupting political debate with their unfair and biased news empire.

Fresh in people’s minds is the horrific collapse of I-35W in Minnesota, coincidentally the next day the Minnesota Twins were supposed to have a ground breaking ceremony to commemorate the building of a new baseball stadium. While the demands and needs of baseball have out-leveraged the needs of ordinary citizens, billionaires such as Carl Pollad (majority stock holder in Pepsi and owner of the Twins) have shackled communities into subsidizing their franchises while leaving infrastructure left to collapse. Oh, yeah and before you Red Sox fans boast any further owner John Henry’s personal plane has been linked to being used in the CIA’s illegal rendition of “suspected terrorists.”

There are countless stories of how the baseball industry has collectively captivated the American public into its own form of the Roman Coliseum. While the media captivates to the entertainment of a game, Rome is still burning but you would never know for that is not news. Barry Bond’s homerun ball nestled into the seats of frenzied fans while Americans are being denied the honesty and integrity of Washington, D.C. for the media has capitulated to the powers that be.

Robb Kidd

“Baseball is not necessarily an obsessive-compulsive disorder, like washing your hands 100 times a day, but it's beginning to seem that way. We're reaching the point where you can be a truly dedicated, state-of-the-art fan or you can have a life. Take your pick.” ~Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, 13 April 1990

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

American Vacation

When in Rome do as the Romans, are words we have heard over an over throughout our life; however too frequently when we Americans venture of to somewhere outside our home we tend to forget that. This past week I had enjoyed the pleasant company of my lovely mother to the Green Mountain state. Unfortunately, her visit was marked with the mentality when in Vermont do as all the other Americans. Must see Ben and Jerry’s, have to go to Cabot Cheese and a pleothora of other must see were the agenda of the week.

For almost ten years, I spent working in the travel industry and much to my dismay I was consistently asked by my clients on what there was to do in a particular destination. I had senior citizens asking me while I was in my twenties on what they should do. “Where should I go to in New Orleans” or “how much time do I need in Yosemite,” were frequently asked questions. Often, I would answer with a bit of sarcasm with replies such as “if I told you were to go, you would come back and get me fired,” or for the national parks “it depends on what you do, it may take you a week to hike Mt. McKinley.” The American tourist industry is so fascinated with doing and “seeing” places that I feel that too frequently no one stops to smell the flowers.

Back on the topic of my mother’s visit, she left the other day and now thinks she knows Vermont and is back home telling all her friends and family the stories of how they make cheese at Cabot and that “Tom(Ben) and Jerry’s(frequently called that by mother and eighty-something year old aunt) is a wonderful tour.

America’s roads and highways are filled with ginoarmus(of course that’s not a word) RVs, busses and SUV’s filled with tourists stopping at “the treasured sites” never having to leave the comforts of home. There are strip malls and fast food outlets just like the rest of the littered American landscape. “The comment oh look they have a Wal-Mart or Mc Donald’s” not oh, look at that majestic mountain, the exhilaration of the river, or the vibrancy of the downtown. Americans are fixated to see, but in reality they never even leave home. When I was in travel sales, all I had to say about a particular destination was that it “had good shopping and restaurants, and of course an occasional beach or golf course and that was all most people needed to know.

I do enjoy the occasional tourist activity, but it does not fill my curiosity of travel. I have traveled countless times to the San Francisco Bay area and it wasn’t until my latest trip did I venture to Alcatraz (yes, I did enjoy it), however Alcatraz and other destinations is barely breaks the surface of what the place is about. I no longer work in the travel business, for I had conflicting interests for I was tired of sending people to destinations knowing that I was adding to the destruction of the destination.

Hawaii, a favorite of mine receives millions of tourists a year; unfortunately the revenues obtained are sent out of state towards the profits of the mega hotel chains, leaving the native Hawaiian people left struggling to survive, many with two or even three jobs. Here too in Vermont, a tourist industry has evolved catering to the self contained ski-resorts, leaving Vermonters struggling to make ends meat. Tourism is a double-edge sword; whole communities are lead to believe that it is necessary for them to cater to them while on the other hand the traditions and ways of living are squeezed out to make room for the tourists demand.

I sure don’t know what the answer is to this conundrum, but I truly hope that as humanity evolves society can realize that life is not as portrayed by Disney World. A moose does not pop up on command nor is life the way it appears in a brochure. Vermont is not Shelburne Farms just as much as Hawaii is not Pearl Harbor. The world is a beautiful place but only with your eyes open.

Robb Kidd

“They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ronald Douglas McScissorhands

A few days ago, the Central Vermont Localvore’s presented Montpelier with a plethora of culinary delights all cooked with local ingredients and prepared by some of Vermont’s esteemed chefs. The State House has lawn was flooded with hundreds of Vermonters including the Governor. The Governor as it seems was the case was there for his usual photo shoot and not for a genuine support for the next day he was in Berlin, Vermont cutting the ribbon of the rebuilt Mc Donald’s. I guess you can say the proof was in the pudding.

The Governor either was meeting Ronald Mc Donald or he has decided that his respect for Vermont farmers and the health of the food supply is conditional to those he speaks with.

True to his nickname, Governor Scissorhands:
"It's an affordable place to have a meal. It provides dozens of jobs," Douglas told a crowd gathered on hot black pavement outside the building. "And the good nutrition and fitness at your amenities here will help us with that as well," the governor said before cutting a thick red ribbon with a giant pair of scissors.- From the Times Argus

The governor spoke without mentioning that the majority of the Mc Donald’s menu consists of processed foods and its super-sized image has been attributed to the expansion of obesity rates in America to the level of epidemic proportions. The Mc Donald’s s system has thrived on squeezing out all facets of our food industry. Whether it is in the large scale feed lots, subsided corn fields or the vacant desert like strip mills, MC Donald’s has a history of squashing small scale farming and family business in favor of non sustainable farming and profit driven agenda. McDonald’s is not an affordable place to have a meal because we are now facing larger health risks from the Mc Donald’s super size image, greater environmental cleanup costs and taxpayers are continuing to pay billions in subsidies to support industrial corn which is used to feed the cattle it’s unnatural diet.

As for the faulty logic of job creation, this topic is a farce for the governor to hail. The McDonald’s corporation has received millions of dollars in tax breaks or subsidies under the guise of job creation and most employees are paid on or about minimum wage. The simplistic picture coded instruction manuals do not teach future job skills and is merely a dead end job proposition. While most employees of McDonalds are shortly employed politicians continually hail their job creation while forgetting that smaller in state and family owned restaurants fail to receive their market shares.

The American landscape has now become littered by fast food chains and in many locations the mom and pop shop has become a distant memory. As with the big-box store it is not job creation when jobs and businesses are removed from an already viable source, therefore a corporate business that extracts the dollars from the local economy and exploits the landscape should not be a model to praise. The Mc Donald’s corporation spends more money marketing to children than they do to paying wages, and therefore creating a whole new generation of malnourished consumers and under paid workers. While the Governor cuts another ribbon and fails to live past one day of hailing the triumphs of healthy local foods I hope that it becomes another nail in his political coffin. I can see through Governor Douglas’s phony smile and I just wonder when others will see through his deceit.

Robb Kidd

“Eating at fast food outlets... is simply a manifestation of the commodification of time coupled with the relatively low value many Americans have placed on the food they eat.” Andrew F. Smith, ‘Encyclopedia of Junk food and Fast Food’ (2006)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eating Locally on the Lawn

Amongst, the hot noon sun the Vermont State House lawn was cooking with the joys of locally grown produce and meats. Today it was not a political demonstration neither calling for the impeachment of the President nor calling for the end of the war, but was a celebration of the abundance of locally grown foods.

Under a tent on the state house lawn Vermonters enjoyed the culinary skills of Vermont chefs in a tasty display of the meats and produce of Vermont. Today, August 1 began a week long challenge by the Central Vermont Localvore group for Vermonters to consume locally grown food (within 100miles). This time of year Vermont is blessed with a plethora of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats that such a challenge is not that difficult to achieve.

There are many amongst us who have taken up this challenge and it is not just the stereotypically crunchy, granola eating, Birkenstock wearing hippy but of all walks of life. Amongst the long lines of people were businessmen in suits, mothers with children in tow, state employees and of course being in Montpelier a mixing of political leaders who had all grazed upon the fresh servings.

I respect all those who had attend this event, even the ones I fundamentally am opposed to. Among the political leaders who attended that I did see were Governor Douglass, Secretary of Agriculture Roger Albee, Speaker Gaye Symington, Rep. Floyd Nease and Rep. Tony Klein. (I apologize for any that I missed or did not see.) I even joked with one of them that I guess there are a lot of Vermonters too broke to eat and that they wouldn’t miss the opportunity for a free meal and it was precisely followed with the response that the “soup kitchen must be closed.”

The crowd flowed through the tent which seemed like it was for hours and the line had spread throughout the state house lawn. Hundreds of people arrived, maybe just for the free meal but hopefully with the intentions of supporting local foods. There are many benefits to eating local foods, envirnomentally, economically and health.

Environmentally, eating locally helps cut down on usage of fossil fuels used in the transportation of food. A typical American’s dinner plate travels thousands of miles, so by eating locally you directly conserve energy and slow down the rate of global warming. Economically, by supporting local food sources money is retained within the local economy and therefore it builds a stronger vibrant community. For Health, eating local seasonal foods creates a balanced diet rather than that of eating foods artificially processed that humans are not genetically prone to.

Today, August 1, 2007 I am proud to live within a community that strongly support it’s naturally produced products. Each day, when one chooses to eat locally it helps support a community that has been fragmented by the industrial economy as well as preserving our working landscapes. I can not say that I will exclusive eat local foods,(for my culinary skills are not as diverse as I would like, however Sarah thinks they are) however the more that I do the better off I know that our planet will survive.

Robb Kidd

“Think Globally Act Locally,” attributed to David Brower, Friends of the Earth.