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, October 23, 2008

Political Dollar Power

As the election campaigns wind down to the end, I am gladly awaiting it to be over. Although, I am actively involved in the Vermont Gubernatorial race I am looking forward to the day when people can talk about issues again when it pertains to politics. I am sick of the political diarrhea about Obama, McCain, Palin or Biden and for whatever it is worth I am sick of the large sums of money wasted to tell America who should represent you.

In the news, the USA Today reported this election season has already cost 5.3 billion dollars by the candidates. Imagine if all that money was instead spent on social programs, what kind of progress we could have made stimulating the economy, educating people, housing homeless, or healing the sick. We would have had a greater possibility for real change rather the mere lip service the candidates spew repeatedly about change.

These elections are a scam on democracy and all that matters to pundits is how much a candidate can raise, or mere election frivolity. News dominates coverage based on a candidate’s ability to raise money and not on their ideas, honesty, or past leadership skills. In Vermont, we have a Governor, who has raised over a million dollars, a Democrat challenger over three hundred thousand dollars, and the Independent (Progressive) over one hundred thousand dollars. Add those numbers to the seven hundred sixty thousand dollar fund raiser last summer in Norwich, VT and you have a lot of money for a state in a deep recession and pinched to fund schools, repair bridges or pay workers.

Then once you compare those numbers to how much money was provided in the bank bailout (770 Billion) a pattern emerges. The candidates are funded by those with money, and therefore once elected they reward their donors with favorable legislation. Whether it is with missile defense contracts, paving jobs, or large scale bank bailouts, the system compromises elected officials.

So, as we see more money than ever going into the campaigns we see the policies increasingly favoring those of wealth. Unfortunately, it is not going to change until we as a populace vote based on ideas and issues, and move away from the party dominated money system. So, as the countdown to Election Day clicks away, I hope people begin to wake up to the reality that their vote is practically meaningless since it has already been co-opted by the elites and wealthy of the nation. In reality the real solution calls for everyone to be political informed 365 days year. Once political involvement reaches that level the power of democracy and reason will overcome the power of money. Come election day go out and vote, but remember democracy counts on you being involved the rest of the year.


Robb Kidd

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blind Faith in Party

Everyday, I keep searching for light at the other end of the tunnel or the proverbial grass is greener on the other side of the hill but unfortunately everyday I seem to get further away from finding it. Somewhere over the rainbow, I am sure there is a better way, but what now has emerged in public discourse is nothing more than slight of hand tricks by slick magicians fooling the flock with mindless rhetoric.

I would love to say that it is better somewhere else, but unfortunately the border country of Canada(for those who did not know the US borders Canada) narrowly reelected the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. Harper whose mere obedience to the corporate neo-conservative ideologue is just as scary as it is here South of the Border. It turns out Harper is a shrill for the oil industry just as much as Bush and Cheney. Nevertheless, I sit here on this rainy fall day, contemplate how to chang the world.

On my pet peeve list for today, is blind party allegiance or anti-one-party-allegiance. Over the last eight years America had seen the Republican undivided party allegiance lead America into a preemptive war and bankrupt the country. Republicans followed their leader (Bush) onto the sinking ship, and with each passing day they grew fervently more supportive. Likewise, the oppositional Democrats instead of standing up strong and offering alternatives, they capitulated and advocated for only lesser war and slightly restrained corporate power, and totally selling America short.

Now we have an election coming and once again “it is the most important election of your lifetime.” Unfortunately, once again the national media/establishment had anointed their candidates far before America was ever given a choice, so were are stuck with Obama and McCain.(Not to mention Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, or Ron Paul)

Which President Candidate supports the following?

1. Advancing usage of Nuclear power and using nuclear weapons.
2. Bailing out the failed Wall Street system of corruption
3. Expanding Missile Defense systems.
4. Continuing favoring Israel while alienating Palestine as a policy
5. Expanding the usage of “Clean” Coal while simultaneous saying they will curb global warming.
6. Continue or expanding War in Afghanistan.
7. Supports the Federal Reserve as an institution.

If you answered John McCain you are right; however if you answered Barrack Obama you are also right. So the next question is, do you have a choice?

Now that I pissed of the Obama faithful and the pragmatic party people, I ask one more question, why can’t the LEFT be LEFT?

Going to the polls next month and voting strictly on party platforms and party labels is more of the same dogmatic approach used faithfully by Republicans everyone was so vehemently against. I want to see a real change but America was bamboozled by the media into believing the “viable” choice was between Clinton and Obama (Edwards, the womanizer spoke to the supposed liberal base for a short while). Any candidate who prescribed to anything different was marginalized, ridiculed and silenced by the establishment that democracy was never given a fighting chance.

Like religious zealots and fundamentalists, the parties are underhandedly subverting the American political system. The flock is supposed to take their statements at face value and not question their judgment because they are not “Republicans” or they are not “Democrats.” On a recent exchange with a Vermont blog, I was told candidate worship was a dangerous thing, however the writer an ardent partisan and former party employee could not see past his party allegiance. Which is worse actively supporting the party system which has failed or supporting a candidate with clear differences?

We need to support candidates that have the wherewithal to speak directly on issues and not speak in convoluted tongues. Candidates that are part of the “We Know Better” establishment have failed us time after time and therefore must change. The politics in our nation and our states is not working, so why should we follow the same ground rules?

Robb Kidd

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.“
Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bank Aid: Keep on Rocking on the Free Market !

The buzz and hum of Bank-Aids and Bailouts are captivating America and many other nations; however to me I am more in tune with Farm Aid. Farm Aid is a more preferential route for the country to take, nevertheless the power brokers would rathere follow the desires of the Bankers and Wall Street over the proverbial Main Street or Farmer John.

Just about a week ago I posted my thoughts on the emerging financial crisis, and I concluded the “bailout” orchestration is a result that the crisis affects the wealth and privilege. The average American has been struggling for years, and all the average American has gotten is minor tax refunds. Nonetheless, America’s family farmers have been struggling for the last century. There has been no bailout, no fancy aid packages; just an industry favored Farm Bills favoring the commodity markets and factory farms. American farm policy has been following the “Get Big or Get out” mantra of Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, a mere parallel to the rest of the American economy.

After years of family farm struggles, I see a pattern emerge in the wreckage of the US economy with that of the failures of the Soviet Union. Similarly, the Soviet Union’s forced “collectivism” policy exterminated peasant farmers. By the barrel of the gun, the government forced peasants off their lands. Conversely, in America it was the stroke of the banker’s pen, instead of the barrel of the gun. A Wall Street dominated system bamboozled American farmers into poverty, and lobbied for preferential treatment benefiting the giant agro-business like Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Monsanto. As it was with the Soviet Union, the hens have come home to roost and the seeds of their greed have trapped them in a crumbling system and no longer can the mantra of “ it’s to big to fail” can survive.

Appropriately, during the “rich-mans” crisis, I went to the annual Farm Aid concert in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp(now includes Dave Mathews) organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. However, obviously since it is still going on twenty-two years later there is still more work to done. While amongst the financial “chaos” I relate the plight to a 60’s slogan, and update it for today. “It will be the day that all our farms have all the money they need, and Wall Street holds a concert to bail them out.

For the last twenty-two years Farm Aid has educated Americans about the plight of family farms and the horrors of the factory farm. The factory system is a determent to the American countryside. Factory farms weaken the rural economy, by removing control of the food supply and production to an office in Chicago. It is the ultimate irony in agriculture intensives regions that there are people suffering of starvation. Corn rich Iowa has shortages of fresh vegetables, while America is flooded with high fructose corn syrup which rots Americans teeth. Furthermore, in order to keep up farmers must produce greater quantities in order to stay afloat in the commodity foods pool. Why shouldn’t farmers get paid for what they work, rather what Wall St tells them it is worth?

Environmentally, factory farming has deleterious environmental effects. In order to feed higher demands industrial farms use excessive amounts of petroleum based fertilizers and toxic pesticides. Farm runoffs, pesticide residues, and oil usage exasperates environmental calamities whether it be with pollution or climate change. Small diversified family farmers reduce those impacts dramatically.

Moreover, the food delivery mechanisms are highly wasteful. Food on average travels in excess to 1,500 miles to reach your plate. Centralized food production cultivates the need to transport food longer distances. So instead eating local grown produce and raised meats from your neighborhood family farmer not only reduces the impact on climate change, but even better supports your local economy.

Supporting the local economy is the best thing one can do in these chaotic economic times, for who is more important to you, the farmer or Morgan Stanley. Food is essential and in reality the dollar is just pieces of paper. All the money in the word will not buy you bread when there is none, so instead of bailing out Wall Street, let us aid the farmers and feed the people. I’m sure if farmers are taken care off, then the firm of Nelson, Young, Mellencamp and Matthews can play for Wall Street. Wouldn’t it be great? I can hear the classics now…

“Keep on rocking on the Free Market”,
“Can’t wait to get on the free market again, making money with my friends,”
“Ain't that America, home of the free market,” and
“I buy too much I trade too much I want too much, too much.”


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

Ps. I wanted to write about Farm Aid a few weeks ago, but the not so sudden downturn in the economy had kind of changed things.
I leave you with this question:

Do you need an economists to tell you which way the economy is going?