Thursday, December 20, 2007

Who has military support?












This has been covered by the media, but not as frequently as false claims of military support come from candidates such as John McCain. McCain has stated that he has the most support - when in fact two candidates have much more support: Barack Obama and Ron Paul. Both candidates adamantly against the Iraq War since 2002. This says more about the shape of our military and the policies that have put them there. Overextended tours in Iraq and Afghanistan are crippling our military strength and soldiers want it to end now! As a veteran of the Iraq War ( OIF III ), I also support any candidate who will get us out of these conflicts.

The clip from USA Today:

WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Ron Paul have little in common politically, except their opposition to the Iraq war.

Both top a new list of presidential candidates receiving campaign contributions from people who work for the four branches of the military and National Guard, according to a study released Thursday by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama, an Illinois senator, brought in more donations from this group than any White House contender from either party. The Democrat announced Wednesday his plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2008.

Paul, a Texas congressman and the only GOP presidential hopeful who supports an immediate troop withdrawal, comes in second.

This does not put into perspective with other candidates. I found one website looking solely at Republican candidates. Obama beat them all, but nonetheless here is a list from July:

NAME: TOTAL [ARMY] [NAVY] [AIRFORCE] [VETERAN] [USMC**]

RON PAUL: 24,965 [6,975] [6,765] [4,650] [5,075] [1,500]
MoneyMcCain: 17,475 [6925] [6305] [1795] [800] [1600]
Romney: 3,551 [2,051] [0] [1500] [0]
Giuliani: 2,320 [1,450] [370] [250] [250]
Hunter: 1000 [0] [1000] [0]
Huckabee: 750 [250] [0] [500]
Tancredo: 350 [350] [0] [0]
Brownback: 71 [71] [0] [0]
Thompson: 0 [0] [0] [0]

Units are contributions in dollars by employees of the respective military organizations.

Source: Finance Reports for the 2007 July Quarterly.

Percentages**:

49.5% Ron Paul
34.6% McCain
7.0% Romney
4.6% Giuliani
2.0% Hunter
2.3% Others

The once maverick McCain clearly has support from the military. But if anyone has a mandate or political capital gained from military support - it is Barack Obama, then Ron Paul. McCain takes 3rd place, yet you only hear him talk about how isolationist Paul is.

A McCain Administration would dishearten our military if elected. He would make recruitment and retention goals that much less attainable. Veterans and service members can take comfort in the latest polls, because McCain is looking more tired politically than ever before.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Regressive Ron - Progressive Greens









If I were a die-hard Republican and against the Iraq war, my only choice for President would be Ron Paul. He is an old school politician known as a Libertarian. To someone of a liberal mind, he doesn't make a lot of sense: let states decide major issues not in the Constitution. And also income tax is "unconstitutional" even if authorized by the 16th amendment.

This is a very defining moment for the Republican party. I believe it marks the take-over of their party by the Neo-Conservatives. 9/11 illuminated this wing, and brought it fully public. The Project for the New American Century had ideas, including the spreading of democracy globally, starting with Iraq. Republicans have embraced these ideals, including many liberals. The anti-tax and fundamentalist wings were disregarded for the most part, as government spending outpaced economic growth. Our national debt is now over $9T, and even Hillary can't remember what Ross Perot was grumbling about.

The major issues that no party wants to discuss are Peak Oil, the National Debt, and the inherent racism in our society. We can pretend these are not issues, as both parties currently are. Oil production most likely peaked in 2006, the National Debt is out of control, and we have not yet dismantled the tools of discrimination. How can we move forward as a nation when these threaten our economic and social security more than terrorism ever will?

Ron Paul does deal with these issues, but not with the intent of a progressive or Green. He envisions an America far different - even if he dismantles our militant empire. I cannot live in an America that varies so drastically from state to state. Paul still thinks we are a nation of nations, but the Civil War ended that utopian vision. We need to be a progressive rather than regressive nation.

There is only one party that vigorously takes on these issue: the Green Party. We already know what the major two parties will do: nothing or exacerbate these problems further. The Libertarians and Constitution Parties would move our nation backward, and allow the magical "free market" solve these problems. Unity08 is still in conceptional stages in creating a new party. The only one left standing and capable of change are the Greens.

Cynthia McKinney, Elaine Brown, and Jared Ball are all running for the Presidency within the Green Party. The average amount each American will donate to a Presidential candidate is less than $3. Small donations by a committed group can sway an election, unlike how the media portray big donors as the primary catalysts for change. Any amount you can assist them with or the Green Party is more than most citizens care to give. You can participate in changing the direction of America, or you can sit on the sidelines and watch others do so.

And sorry Ed Felien, I will not attend a Republican caucus next February. Thanks - but truly no thanks to this particular invite. The Republicans need to find who they are in this century. America needs a party to stand up to them, and we know the Democrats will not cut military obligations or funding so as not to appear "weak." Therefore I support the Greens adamantly. Let's debate the purpose of American militarism and whether it really makes us more secure long-term.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

GOP YouTube Debate



The night after the YouTube debate, I decided to log onto YouTube and check it out myself. I was surprised at how lively this debate was, considering how much Republican's were initially reluctant to try the new format out. GOPers do not like to be asked questions by fictitious characters such as snowmen.

The worst candidate was easily Mitt Romney, who waffled more questions than I thought possible. His lack of answers makes me believe he supports torture, will enforce marriages through various schemes, and a police state. This after he states he is "more liberal than Ted Kennedy." Anyone who adamantly supports Romney after this debate, is fooling themselves and supporting an opportunist.

The candidate who held is own was probably Guiliani, though he is despicable on the issues, but actually answers questions the majority of the time. McCain seemed like an angry white male the entire time. Huckabee made a humorous statement: that Jesus would never foolish enough to run for public office. ( which is why Ajahn Brahm has stated numerous times that any President of the United States probably does not have good karma )

Ron Paul was clearly the most divisive of candidates in the GOP currently. He states the obvious and the crowd is shocked. Would America be okay if the Chinese were occupying the United States to free us from a dictator? Even after this dictator were deposed, would we be happy with such an occupation - especially if they were then importing massive amounts of our coal? The crowd remained rather mute, apart from those who agreed with him. The question has yet to be answered by GOP supporters, that is if they didn't ignore it completely.

The fact that the military overwhelmingly supports Ron Paul is not enough for those who control the GOP. They can make the claim that he is hated by the military instead, and because Americans are so disconnected from those in the service, many will believe it. Yet this veteran supports him enthusiastically if he is able to do what he says. And if you pay attention to how the media attacks Paul, it becomes obvious that as one put it "an increasingly authoritarian establishment feels threatened." As it should, because not all Americans are going to continue being complacent in our current environment.






National Debt Clock




The Republican Party is clearly not going to end its debt spending crusade. The only things they plan to cut are "non-defense related." If you are going to cut government spending, you cut ALL of it. If we are overspending by 10%, then cut all budgets by that amount. If you need more for the military, then negotiate cuts from other places in the budget. The only solution to this is a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced Federal budget, with no provisions for war and no excuses. If America goes to war, then the extra money should come through taxes or other such fund-raising - not through debt. Excessive military spending comprises the entirety of our national debt, and the GOP refuses to acknowledge this fact. Their solutions to our National Debt is currently non-existent.

A Republican president cannot make abortion illegal, make guns available freely, or deport immigrants. The President can easily shape the size of our military overseas. If we bring home the troops from Iraq, Korea, Japan, and even Iceland we can begin to reduce the strain on our troops and Federal budget. Our National Debt could be paid off and Social Security made solvent. By the time the Baby Boomers all retire, we can say we solved the crisis and didn't have to raise taxes. We may even be able to reduce taxes! But our imperialistic empire cannot sustain itself on the backs of the working class, and must be reigned in now or we will all pay the price.

Many take issue with Paul's stance on immigration. He would like America to remain sovereign, and send those outside of our system back. There needs to be a way for temporary workers to come to America. Yet our immigration problem reflects a lack of discipline on the part of other nations to improve the conditions of their people.

A simple issue that reflects a lack of government planning is population growth. Estados Unidos has 14.16 births/1,000 population while in Mexico it is 20.36 ( 2007 CIA estimates). Mexico needs to promote family planning. Only when birthrates drop can jobs growth catch up with population growth - or surpass it as it has in the US. So is enforcing immigration laws and implementing comprehensive solutions can make nations more accountable for such inaction. Liberals tend to forget this frequently, but also believe we should not force other nations to do what we want them to.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Peak Oil Production - July 2006














There are many in America scared about energy. I am quite concerned. In America, we have little to fall back on. We do not know our neighbors, nor what their strengths and weaknesses are. We have abandoned proximity for mobility.

James Howard Kunstler once said we would see Peak Oil in our rear-view mirror. If that is true, then we have peaked in July 2006, with global production of 85.5 million barrels a day. Saudi Arabia is producing less each year, as predicted by Matt Simmons. It is hard to dispute an energy crisis is now, and the Long Emergency has begun.

Though I do not own a car, this does not make me immune to the price of oil or the economy. And while Europeans already pay more for oil, they have not reduced their consumption. Therefore peak oil will affect them, albeit less than America.


Our road and transit infrastructure need more investment in Minnesota, yet we are reluctant to increase taxes because oil prices are significantly higher. But how do we fund fixing our roads and bridges? Can we disregard m and wait until they catastrophically affect the trucking industry and average drivers? To me, it seems foolish - yet this has been current Minnesota policy. That and Governor Tim Pawlenty borrowing money to fund road projects ( at excess of $2B ). Funding our roads with debt makes our roads a liability not an asset. If they are an asset, we should pay for them now and not later.

Energy research has also been lagging. Had pressure not been put on the Bush Administration, much of our energy research projects would have been axed. The priority of non-hydrocarbon research and development has increased in the last two years, but still needs to be at least tripled. It should be our top priority if we wish our quality of life to maintain and eliminate CO2 production.

I would like to find solutions to our energy problems. A possible solution would be drastic action to reduce our consumption, starting with rationing. This would wreak havoc on our economy in the short-term but reap enormous benefits long-term. The Oil Depletion Protocol is one such option. Does America or any other nation have the stomach for such foresight?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hate Crimes Laws in America are spelled W-E-A-K



According to statistician Caroline Harlow, an ordinary crime becomes a hate crime when a perpetrator chooses a victim because of a particular characteristic. It can be skin color, sexual orientation, physical disability or religion. And there must be evidence that hate prompted the crime.

I would argue that we should not base hate crimes solely on physical attacks. The psychological damage is as bad if not worse than physical violence. Intimidating and threatening others through symbols or language of hatred are intolerable. How would you feel if you were attacked for who you were, and then when you tried to do something about it were told to "keep quiet" or "not to worry about it?" Would you not feel and intense mix of outrage and helplessness? To have these situations exist anywhere is intolerable. We cannot be called a civil society unless we confront them directly.

Let's say someone displays a noose in front of African Americans or says all Jews should have died in Auschwitz. What this person saying is that something is inherently wrong with these groups of people. Somehow they are inadequate or inferior. It may just be pure hatred, all of the above and more. Either way, to have this communicated is violence. It is the same as holding a gun to someone's head and saying "you must die today because you exist." But it is worse because currently, you really cannot do much about it.

Would punishing someone in America for these types of hate crimes go against the admirable First Amendment? Many would say neo-nazis and skinheads have freedom of speech, and I agree. But everyone must be held accountable for their actions. You can't go into an airport and start talking freely about bombs and hijackings. You can't even joke about it - terrorism is a serious matter. No one disputes that. But when you talk about race relations or homophobia, people think minorities are whining or asking for special treatment. White Americans frequently get angry about the perceived "special treatment" because they have no personal experience on the receiving end. White Americans consider the vague threat of terrorism more a priority than the immediate fact of hatred permeating throughout our culture.

The outrage over this issue in White America is quite pronounced, the unapologetic apathy that is. Few seem to think that the remarks by Don Imus were much to worry about. Please forgive me for repeating them, because they illustrate this situation more clearly. He called women from a college basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Not only did he degrade them for being women, but also for being of African descent. And White America remained mute, until asked by the media what they thought. Then a majority simply said they did not care, a majority of 90%.

Polls show that when Don Imus was fired over his remarks 48% thought MSNBC was too harsh, 47% thought it was about right, and 4% thought they were too lenient. Imus attacks the existence of African American women and all he loses is his job. Gabriel Keith displays a noose to fellow college journalists, and only loses his job. Don and Gabriel and start working on something else, but their actions have left wounds and scars that they refuse to acknowledge.

America's hate crime laws do not stand on their own. They are simply attached to existing laws that threatens a persons physical existence that are no less important (i.e. threats,assault,rape, ). Are we really supporting a person's right to exist? Intimidation - AKA criminal threatening - is defined as fear of imminent bodily injury. Displaying a noose is not within the current parameters, unless we include mental and emotional disturbance. These explicit changes are necessary, lest we ignore the elaborate system of racism inherent in our society. And by ignoring them, we are complicit in allowing them to continue.

Racism is defined as prejudice plus power. One measures racism in society by results, the facts and statistics that give us a portrait of where we are. The polls of Americans clearly show we consider hatred to be a non-issue. We must confront the fact that we are essentially a society that is filled with hate and have yet to confront it. America is in denial of the problem, and therefore cannot face it.

So when you see acts of bigotry, hatred, and bias in yourself and others - make it known to as many as you can. Confronting such acts have a ripple effect in a nation like ours, still basking in ignorance. Shine a bright light on the wrongdoings and wake our society up from its complacency, in what capacity you can.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Twin Cities in a transit pickle


While my suburban and exurban counterparts may be unaware, the practicality of their habitation is highly threatened by the rising price of oil. Never in the history of the Twin Cities has this happened. In fact, our history is very short indeed. Minnesota is just 150 years old, and began very simply.

"Transit and the Twins" was published by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company in 1958. They went bankrupt, were bought out by the state, and are now known as MetroTransit. After reading, it becomes apparent that both Minneapolis and Saint Paul were developed using solely hydrocarbons. The primary energy source being coal. Transit using streetcars became the preferred method, and was a for-profit venture.

In the early 20th Century, oil was cheap and America was the world's biggest producer and refiner. Cars became sought after and roads were subsidized heavily to promote their usage. Transit companies paid the taxes to build the roads we now drive on, and were not subsidized until governments bought them out. Those that became public assets soonest, tended to benefit the most - as is the case in New York City.

But during the growth of both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, as soon as a streetcar line was built - so was nearby development. Both cities were beneficiaries of was is now known as transit-oriented development. Often the planners of streetcar lines would succumb to corruption by investing in the lands near where they were to be built.

But either way, we had a much more urban atmosphere concentrated in a clear manner. There were cities and there was the rural country. One could get to most places using transit, as jobs, home, and shopping were highly concentrated. Just looking at the 1950 census map, one can easily see where the true cities are compared to now.

The best analogy of what has happened is the Big Bang. As a city, we have spread out as energy was cheap and abundant. When oil surpasses $100 a barrel, the suburban inertia will persist. It will even as its inhabitants go through the economic turmoil once thought impossible.

But the collapse will be more painful to America and capitalism than that of Communism. A unipolar juggernaut will not exist. Resource wars may become commonplace and brutal.

Initially I do see large cities like Minneapolis reacting sooner to higher oil prices - with higher crime and violence. But this is a city much more capable of withstanding long-term changes than say Maple Grove. Cities are like animals. They need to evolve or face extinction. Any part of the Twin Cities surviving the Long Emergency, will be the most economically and therefore energy efficient.

I highly recommend one find and read this very informative book! At least it gives one interesting facts of the Twins creation. I had no idea that Saint Paul once had more millionaires per capita than any other city on Earth! ( this largely due to the plundering of rainforest lumber in what is now Washington state ) I also enjoyed the competitive history of Minneapolis vs. Saint Paul and the annexation of Saint Anthony. After all, I do benefit from all the amazing parks in both cities!

And a solution to our mess? Many and multiple. I believe in more transit options and renewable energy such as wind for starters. But with a sprawled population, we need all those who can to start taking the bus and trains to work, shopping, etc. You can't support solutions solely on paper ( or carbon offsets). You have to live them and find what best works.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Target's Lackluster Response

It seems that Target cares more about selling lead-coated toys from China than organic foods from the Midwest. Their response to my questions over their Archer Farms brand makes one cringe at their pathetic attempt. They don't even bother to check the context of their reply! ( what is that DVD about and why are they talking about Horizon Organics?)

The primary concern now is that Aurora has a giant farm in Gill,Colorado ( Weld County) that bothers its neighbors in many ways. The county commissioners want the farm to shrink down its number of cows from 3000 to a more manageable number. Aurora says it will bankrupt them and cost millions. But do factory farms really help the environment and local economies?

The bottom line: we need more corporate accountability. And those who support Organic should ensure that its standards match their values.

My original letter to them is here: http://textclips.blogspot.com/2007/09/target-sells-non-organic-at-organic.html

This is their response:

TARGET ( insert bullseye logo here )

October 26, 2007

Dear Kevin Chavis:

-Thank you for contacting Target® Corporation regarding your experience with returning your son's DVD. Robert Ulrich, Chairman and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, President, and Troy Risch, Executive Vice President have received copies of your letter and have asked me to respond on their behalf. Please accept my apologies for any frustration and inconvenience you experienced.

Target works to provide guests with quality merchandise at affordable prices. By utilizing an extensive qualification and review process, Target ensures all required organic certifications are valid and up to date. Additionally, Target remains confident that the Archer Farms organic milk we provide guests adheres to the national organic program (NOP) regulations.

Based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) dismissal of complaints, Target will continue to utilize Aurora Organic Dairy as an organic dairy provider. For additional information regarding the USDA's dismissal, visit www.ams.usda.gov/NOP/TodaysNews.htm

Thank you again for bringing your concerns to our attention. I'll make sure to share your comments with our Buying, and Quality teams for review.

Sincerely,

Lindy

Target Executive Offices
PO Box 9350, MS 1A-X, Minneapolis, MN 55440-9350

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Lies of Joyce Meyer















Joyce Meyer Ministries attempts to portray itself as a humanitarian and Godly organization. Yet its magazine from April 2007 contains blatant lies, misrepresentation, and subtle ignorance. It contains more political discussion than one would assume from a so-called nonpartisan religious group.

The primary concern of mine is the obvious American Exceptionalism. Somehow America is great because we are Christian, and other countries need to be converted. The example in Joyce's April 07 issue is Thailand, Burma ( they call it Myanmar), and Laos. They call it "The Golden Triangle."

They claim that it is a region "known for its abject poverty and drug addiction." Personally, I do not think of nations solely for by their negatives but also by its many positives. If I only looked at America through this negative view, I would hate my country for its malicious treatment of others for greed. But I think America has many positive traits that can overcome these negative elements.

But Joyce conveniently ignores current statistics such as:

1) The global drug trade does not center on this region. Nor do its users represent a vast portion of its nation. According to the BBC:

Fewer people take illicit drugs than smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, but the numbers are growing, and the figure is currently estimated at between 3% and 4% of the world population. Most widely used is cannabis, but synthetic stimulants are booming in popularity - especially among urban youth. Meanwhile, in some countries, heroin is finding a new market among the fashionable and wealthy.

Many Americans smoke pot, at least 34% have tried - a lot higher than in the countries stated. Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's heroin and is trafficked primarily through the former Yugoslavia to Europe.


The poverty of this region is falling. If Joyce wanted to focus on nations not improving, she might want to focus on the Christian nation of Ethiopia. The current regime in Ethiopia is American friendly; Meles Zenawi is nonetheless a tyrant. Christians in America have decided to support a tyrant rather than assist the people in Ethiopia to improve their lives.

The photo on the left shows where poverty is increasing and decreasing as of 2004. Notice that the nations Joyce is targeting are not increasing in poverty, yet their Christian numbers are not rising dramatically.

3) The attack on Buddhism. Now Joyce notices that Christianity is having a hard time in growing here. Christianity denies many tenets of Buddhism such as reincarnation, karma, and the fact the people are not primarily evil. Buddhists see humanity as essentially good, but ignorant.

The fact is that Joyce Meyers is just another James Dobson. Her magazine is against stores such as Victoria's Secret, because it promotes sex. Homosexuals, because they should be "cured." And the American preoccupation with "sensuality." While Buddhism has perspectives on theses, none are essentially evil. It is how we live our lives that can keep us in this ignorance. Simple adherence to rules without knowing why we follow them seems more foolish than questioning them. You won't read this in her magazine, because questioning her interpretation of the Bible is deemed a sin by her and her legion of followers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Making a difference through Coffee


I already buy Peace Coffee, Cafe Fair, and Equal Exchange coffees frequently. But I recently found Yuban coffee at Rainbow. Instead of being Certified Organic, Fair Trade, and shade grown - it is Rainforest Alliance Certified. What does that mean?

According to their site it means: Rainforest Alliance Certification is a comprehensive process that promotes and guarantees improvements in agriculture, forestry and travel. Their independent seal of approval ensures that goods and services were produced in compliance with strict guidelines protecting the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities. To receive the Rainforest Alliance Certification, farms are inspected yearly and the certificate is only issued if the specifications are met and continuous improved is demonstrated. By following Rainforest Alliance guidelines, coffee producers can improve worker conditions, provide training, reduce waste, reduce costs, implement better farm planning and monitoring, and use the resources nature has provided without damaging them for the future. These things make a farm more stable and generally more prosperous for years to come.

On the Rainforest alliance website they state:

Kraft Foods, Inc.

As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, Kraft, with brands such as Maxwell House, Yuban, Kenco, Jacobs, Gevalia and Jacques Vabre, is passionate about coffee. In 2003, Kraft and the Rainforest Alliance launched a partnership to move Rainforest Alliance Certified sustainable coffee to mainstream markets. To date, Kraft has purchased more than 50 million pounds of coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and has successfully launched six coffee products in Europe and the US that feature the Rainforest Alliance seal. Kraft’s commitment to Rainforest Alliance certification has had an impressive impact on coffee producing regions, where thousands of farms have adopted the sustainable agriculture standard, resulting in better worker housing, healthcare, education and the protection of forests, wildlife and rivers. Farmers have invested the premiums Kraft pays for its Rainforest Alliance coffee in an array of improvements ranging from a school in El Salvador that the Ciudad Barrios Coffee Cooperative built for a nearby community to reforestation by farmers in the severely deforested Convencion Valley of southeast Peru, where shade coffee farms provide the only refuge for many threatened animal species.


I am going to buy these products, not just because I tried them and still enjoy their taste. But I want to reward these large corporations for actions that move our society forward. This is a fine example of how capitalism can work if consumers are constantly vigilant about change. I want to see Yuban 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified in the decade! They have done so in European nations, but the US market is much larger. We need more consumers to switch to the sustainable alternatives forged by both small competitors and mainstream brands like Yuban!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Greens and Libertarian candidates for President?

Now I know this is controversial - but there are opportunities for those who support the Green and Libertarian Parties to change the major ones. This is apart from running against them - but within. Both candidates are almost like mirror images of Libertarian and Green tendencies.

Ron Paul raised over $5M in the 3rd Quarter - putting him in 4th place after Guiliani, McCain, and Romney. Paul is the chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus in the House of Representatives, and a former presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. He has never voted for a tax increase but adamantly opposes pointless war and the National Debt.

Dennis Kucinich also is in 4th place among Democratic support, after Clinton,Obama, and Edwards. Kucinich was previously chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. He supports Single-Payer Universal Health Care and having our troops represent the United Nations in Iraq instead of solely American interests.

I think that BOTH of these candidates deserve to be President only because they would radically change the direction we are currently moving towards. While they may have radical ideas on some issues, it is the Corporatocracy we must truly confront.

The Corporatocracy feel that Americans cannot truly change their objectives. These two campaigns are proving them wrong. Both have started grassroots campaigns that have been lit up in the past few months. While neither is in the top 3, they have surpassed what the MSM ( mainstream media) claimed their potential was. They denounced both immediately as "long-shots." They cannot say that any longer.

If anyone truly wants change in American politics, but don't want to support a third party - these are your candidates. Donate to them now. There is no point in being afraid to talk about them openly. After having mentioned both of them to members of their respective parties, it became apparent that their name recognition was beyond what the media would like to tell us.

Below are a list of their important issues. One can read more about them at their sites.


Ron Paul
American Independence
Border Security & Immigration
Debt & Taxes
Health Freedom
Life & Liberty
Privacy & Personal Liberty
Property Rights
Social Security
The Second Amendment
War & Foreign Policy

Dennis Kucinich
Strength Through Peace
A Healthy Nation
Survival of the Middle Class
Securing Constitutional Democracy
A Sustainable Future
End to Poverty
Saving Capitalism

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Target should improve its Organic Standards

I think it is important that stores like Target sell organic products. But they are just profiting without truly informing consumers of the benefits to the environment, economy, and health of consumers. Now it turns out their standards really aren't as great as we had hoped.

Rather than reiterating what I have already written to them on this post, please visit my recent post if you want more information regarding the Target organic issues. Until you know all the facts, I urge you to shop locally first, organic second, and big box stores last.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Phillip Morris strikes again!



I walked into my block's SuperAmerica to get a Coke Zero today. Waiting at the long line of customers at the counter I spotted a bright red handout. It stated boldly "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH." About what you may ask? A cigarette tax hike of $6.10 a carton. Is that 60 cents per pack?

The brochures have been printed by Phillip Morris and have a spiffy website that looks grassroots. But it is corporate, and they know that each tax increase decreases future addicts (AKA customers).

I think smokers should first consider how much they are paying currently for their addiction ( or habit). Calculators like this one are really great!

Once you see your annual costs, you may decide to cut back or quit again soon. ( you should, even though it takes 7 times of quitting to actually do so)

But if you are a smoking advocate, then I urge you to use the same calculator and add in the extra 61 cents per pack and see how much of a difference that makes. It makes quite a dent, but still won't deter you to quit until you are ready.

But teenagers and younger children will be deterred by high prices. But do higher priced cigarettes help all consumers who purchase them? After all, we are imposing a tax whether called it by name or not.

In Minnesota we have a "Health impact fee" that has been supported by our legal system. Why is this legal? Because a pack of cigarettes does not count its actual cost to its consumers - primarily its health costs. Therefore, to give Minnesotans a taste of a packs true cost, we charge them more and call it a fee. If smokers paid the entire health impact, it would be around $9 a pack. Now that is a cost children an adults will dislike, but it gives us the costs upfront of what we choose to do now. Don't you wish every product did that for you - rather than banning them? We'd all make healthier choices through capitalism, rather than against it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hopes of Obama dashed



The Pakistan comment was disgusting. Invading Iran is also not an option. A true peace candidate would have never proposed something so vile. Instead of invading them we should work with them to create a stable society and root out terrorism?

His support for "clean coal" and turning coal into fuel will not put America on a sustainable energy track. These issues alone mean an Obama America would prosper only short-term - if at all.

My support for Kucinich diminished upon realizing that he gave up his delegates to Kerry in 2004. I have never or will ever support such a pathetic politician - one who never authored a groundbreaking bill in the Senate. Kucinich supports the Department of Peace, opposed the Iraq war from the beginning and was the only Congressperson to support Keith Ellison in his primary here in the 5th District. He's a great guy, working to change his party.

But how can I support a party that allows wiretapping and increasing military spending? A party that won't pay down the national debt. Only the Green Party supports what I do. Unless Michael Bloomberg brings up the important issues in his election bid ( i.e. peak oil) I support the Green Party candidate for President in 2008.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

NEWSFLASH: Humans are the dominate species on Earth


The ignorance of humanity never ceases to amaze me. And when people awaken to what is truly happening, I am amazed they have done so! Global Warming seems to irritate so many people. The question has changed - it's not whether it is real - what are we going to do about it?

Nathaniel states:"All you global warming people need to just stop...take a look at the world and realize that humans are not the problem with the world."

1) The Great Wall of China is visible from space
2) It took 300M years for oil (and coal) to be created from previous life. It will take humanity 300 years to go through most the oil.
3) Acid rain is the effect pollution has on the environment - care to drink from a local spring as people have in the not to distant past? Our waters are not safe anywhere. So much coal has been used in India and Bangladesh that Banglis have little drinkable water ( most has been contaminated with mercury )
4) The photo is of the Earth at night. Tell me again these lights emanate from nature and not humanity?

I keep doing as you say, Nate. I look around and see nature doing amazing things, and humans doing wonderful things to improve our collective quality of life. Unfortunately, humans must find a way to stay within natures boundaries - because we are subject to them at some point. Nature affects us and we nature. Just ask a farmer if humans affect the Earth - because if we didn't he would have no job.

Nathaniel statment #2: " How can you record the C02 emissions over 400,000 years when we obviously did not have instrumentation to record that."

Ice core samples from the Antarctic are the primary source. We know the earth is more than 400,000 years old. Therefore we are smart enough to devise ways to meausure Co2 levels. If you do not believe mankind is that smart, then that is your opinion. Facts have this annoying habit of proving themselves true.

Again, I do not see any debate on Global Warming occurring without ridiculing and ignoring all scientific thought. The debate ended when China capitulated - America's oil industry gave up long ago. Ideological Conservatives are nearly where their own party is taking a stance - that we should just give up on dealing with Global Warming and give in. ( similiar to what they say about Democrats giving into terrorism )

If only humanity realized how serious Global Warming is compared to petty terrorism.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Forced to go carfree?


A lot of people consider Greens to be a bit like members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) instead of typical people who don't mind chatting on their deck while drinking a cold one. Having spent a year now working with members of the local Green Party, I understand many are a bit quirky - but not loony. Their political ideas are also more extreme than members of the DFL - but the DFL can be more extreme than Greens.

I won't go into details at this moment about every issue. But one issue I feel strongly about is promoting a carfree lifestyle. We all know what Bush said during his 2005 State of the Union Address: "America is addicted to oil." CNN likes to repeat that quote quite often. But that is only the first step in dealing with an addiction - and few can quit addictions cold turkey. Therefore having Americans go carfree won't involve outlawing driving - but it may include things like a carbon impact fee and support for carfree infrastructure.

Mallard Fillmore may annoy me at times, I have mixed-feelings about this particular strip. I think it great that the creator is more green than your average Democrat. Conservatives typically portray themselves as actually living by what they believe in. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised he thinks that supporting a carfree society is wrong. Or does he just oppose government intervention, taxes, and partisan tactics with regards to this issue? Unfortunately the government already favors cars more heavily than the anti-car mantra now gaining momentum.

If you look at the Green Party of Minnesota platform you will see in line H that:

1) We support more efficient gasoline consuming vehicles
2) tax incentives for alternative energy vehicles
3) more bicycle lanes and racks
4) free transit in downtown areas of Minneapolis and Saint Paul
5) automobile free zones

in line C:

1) That we want our government to prepare for Peak Oil and focus on relocalization efforts

Nowhere in our platform does it say that we will force everyone to give up their cars. When a society is addicted to a substance, it is quite difficult to ban it. Though contrary to common thought, the prohibition of alcohol was a success ( it took 30 years for alcohol consumption per capita to reach its pre-prohibition levels). It would be better to support the post-carbon infrastructure.

Before any carbon tax is enacted, it is best to start with simple measures. Oil producers should lose lofty tax breaks. Car owners should pay the actual costs for using roads and other subsidies. Then it becomes easier for users to see their actual financial impact. CAFE standards should be increased at a certain rate for the rest of the century. Putting 10 times more money into energy research and development would yield amazing results as well. These are ways Congress can deal with our oil addiction right now, in a bipartisan manner.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Instant Runoff Voting


The July 27, 2007 edition of Almanac covered all 4 active political parties in Minnesota. The primary topic seemed to be instant runoff voting ( IRV). The Green, Independence, and DFL parties have endorsed IRV, while Republicans remain ignorant and/or afraid.

Most partisan Republicans are scared of IRV. After all, Norm Coleman thought Jessie Ventura would be a "spoiler" to the DFL by inviting him to the 1998 gubernatorial debates. Conservatives only vote for their party - but liberals tend to be less partisan to Democrats. Thus the elections of 2002 and 2006 went to Pawlenty because the Independence and Greens appear to have taken DFL votes ( because without IRV, no one really knows). Some even consider Ross Perot to be a spoiler that elected Bill Clinton.

Republicans claim that America has the most successful democracy, and we should not tinker with it. They question IRV's Constitutionality. The worst argument is the claim that IRV forces people to "vote against their values." Personally, I think IRV has served Ireland and other nations well since it was adopted. ( Ireland's economy has boomed since IRV's adoption there )

If IRV does anything, it will make all political parties more conscience of voters needs and wants. It will increase those able to participate in debates, and broaden the discussion of issues. IRV will bolster civic involvement beyond the 2-party system - towards a more equal system. The Republicans, being the last third party to break that threshold, seem the most adamant at keeping the status quo in place.

Does America want to continue voting and thinking in binary? Or do we in Minnesota want to reform our elections to improve our local democracy? I see nothing wrong with IRV as I supported it passing in Minneapolis. Now our twin city is contemplating it also. I urge you to support the Better Ballot Campaign in Saint Paul! The only obstacle are a few conservatives and MCCL. But it will still take effort to complete.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Minnesota Peak Oil and Global Warming Conference



I recently attended this amazing conference! It is great that Minnesotans are very concerned about preparing for peak oil and Global Warming AND believe in mitigating their effects. 20% of attendees were politicians ( local to state government ) , 40% were government employees, and the remaining 40% were representatives of local organizations. I went primarily as an individual that is embedded in the Green Movement ( also work in community garden , get neighbors involved, and am on its leadership board)

My state is a leader in taking on Global Warming. Minnesota will join the states of California, New Mexico, and Arizona in setting CO2 limits next February! We will reduce CO2 by 20% by 2020 ( which is easy) and 80% by 2050 ( which will require major lifestyle changes ). It is amazing that Tim Pawlenty chose to sign the bill, because it requires Minnesota to do this or forgo building any future power plants.

The Democrats can't get Republicans to back a 15% renewable energy initiative by 2020 - but Minnesota will be at 25% renewable by then. If America passed a 15 percent national renewable mandate on electric utilities, it would result in a 50 percent increase in wind power, a tripling in the use of biomass and a 500 percent increase in the use of solar power, while cutting greenhouse gases 6.7 percent below what they otherwise would be by 2030. It is unfortunate America lacks such visionary leadership when the opportunity is still available. ( John McCain or Rudy Guiliani may change that if Dems don't win in 08 )

Minnesota will also have to adapt to a warmer climate, more like that of Kansas. Therefore we must also allow avenues of prairie species to migrate to our ecosystem. The DNR and the MPCA all state this is of great importance as our environment rapidly changes. Also, since the Federal government has no plan for Global Warming preparedness currently, local governments must deal with them. Therefore local leaders must prepare now, otherwise when disaster hits they won't be re-elected.

Peak oil may already be occurring, though as Julian Darley stated at the conference, peak natural gas will probably hit us first. This just as 1/3 of Minnesotans are late on their winter gas bills. Half of them will have their gas shut off until they turn it back on in the fall - theoretically.

We must relocalize now, the stated goal would be to live our lives within a 5-minute walk. That is a tough goal, but is quite possible if we choose to make it happen.

Mason commented the other day about our interdependency on roads and oil:
" [..] the food you eat, clothes you wear, or the stuff you use was brought to you by roads. [..] the people who work to make/produce stuff use roads to get to work. [Yet] how many metrotransit people drive their cars to work?"

He takes this to the heart of the issue - because we are all interconnected in this web of energy use. Is living carfree futile, just because "others do it." It takes energy to make your food, things you use, and then to transport it - so why not use all the energy you feel like? Many still believe that Global Warming isn't real ( if even aware of it ). Many are also unaware that every drop of oil we use diminishes the wealth and opportunity of future generations. My intention is not to chastise everyone for doing too little, but to ask us each what we can do to resolve these moral issues. What can we all bring to the table to solve this crisis?

Costa Ricans expend 1.3T of CO2 per capita, while American expend 20T per capita. The average Twin Cities commuter puts about 2.6 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere every year by driving alone to work. You may think this is a ridiculous comparison until you look at quality of life indicators. Both countries have the same average life-span - and Costa Rica even has Universal Healthcare. So, yes, America could expend 5% of the energy it uses now and STILL lead a quality life. The world would be better for it, and Americans may even be healthier as well!

But those who will find it most difficult adapting are those who usually face the brunt of problems - the working poor. In Nairobi, those who live in the slums of Kibera must walk miles to dead-end factory jobs. They are paid between one and two dollars a day. Yet they walk by roadways of busy cars, matatus, and buses that they will be lucky to afford travel in. ( and these roads are impossible to ride a bike in! Believe me - insane! ) They live in shacks made of whatever materials one can get a hold of.

The poor are always in desperate situations, trying to just survive. I strongly believe in prevention: a sane family planning policy should be in place globally. It should educate everyone, but make participation in effective solutions voluntary. Those mindful of this solution should make this happen whether through NGO or government form.

Regardless the huge obstacles, some progress is being made locally in transit:

IN THE TWIN CITIES

In 2005 and 2006, the number of miles traveled for each person in the metro area was recorded as 1 percent below the peak year, 2001, when the Met Council calculated 26.2 miles of driving per person.

TRANSIT USE RISING:

In 2006, transit use in the Twin Cities rose 6 percent mainly as a result of higher gas prices, Met Council research manager Todd Graham said. That's a shift of about 7,500 workers from cars to transit, a number that's half of 1 percent of the total number of people driving, he said.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Are more road user fees needed?


When Minnesotans think about who pays for roads, they think that only car owners do. But in reality, we all do.

I do not own a car, but through local property taxes and Federal taxes, I pay for more roads than I will ever see. This is not an entirely awful scenario if I am able to get to the places I need to by transit. And if the roads are sufficient for Minnesota drivers. Roads are what allow me to take buses, and light-rail cannot serve every culdesac in the Twin Cities.

But there are many who feel that the roads are insufficient, especially when our population is still growing rapidly. ( this is where one could argue for better population policies, i.e. free sterilization ) Since the Twin Cities is the fastest growing metropolitan in the Upper Midwest, it would be wise to ensure our transportation system remains efficient. There is a greater investment needed in roads, but our transit system is grossly underbuilt. In fact, our transit system needs more light-rail lines to even call it modern.

With oil prices jumping 25 cents a gallon last week, it boggles my mind why Minnesotans balk at a 10 cent a gallon tax. After all, the oil industry is not going to freely build our roads - or a transit system that enables us to cut gas consumption. But if you don't mind paying more than $3 a gallon for gas, then why advocate to save 10 cents a gallon when it is $2.50?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

GOPs time to accept Global Warming


If New Gingrich can accept Global Warming, why does the rest of his party seem inept? Here is clearly the GOPs most effective leader ( as opposed to Bush ) who actually looks at the facts and can accept it.

This is a small clip of his statement for those like Senator Inhofe and The Global Warming Swindle adherents.


Obviously there are reasons for conservatives to be reluctant to tackle the issue. They are against any increase in the size of government, and dealing with Global Warming could mean a larger UN role. If the UN does start taxing hydrocarbons, we would need a global democracy. If I were a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, I would be pushing for this. We could them impose our view of "democracy" onto the entire globe. That could be good or bad depending on how it is done and sustained.

What is best would be the creation of a UN tax, then a timetable for global democracy. Democratic elections in authoritarian regimes would be imposed by the UN, and tax revenue could not be spent until the planet had converted. When the entire planet achieves democracy we could then have a global United Nations election. Any other ideas out there?

Segregation still exists in America


My husband and I retired and were looking for a warmer climate and better cost of living. Ashburn is the best of everything - small town charm, friendly people, inexpensive living, and a great place to raise a family.
-Sue Mastrario moved from New jersey in 1992


This comment was taken from the Ashburn Chamber of Commerce website. Yet for 15 years after their prom remained racially segregated. Small town America has a sense of charm - primarily if you are white and Godly. Hicks are quite prevalent oustide of metropolitan areas, but the backwards mentality must be challenged. They can be 21st century hicks, with a more conscious perspective.

I hear from many male caucasian friends and acquaintances that "equality has been reached already for everyone." It isn't always stated overtly, but often it is. If that were the case Social Conservatives would have no reason to exist. Obviously we need to continue the progressive social agenda of true equality and opportunities for all beings. The argument is always about to what degree. Obviously I feel 100%, but most Americans feel we don't need that quite yet.

Here's the AP article:

ASHBURN, Ga. (AP) - There have always been two proms for students at Turner County High School in Ashburn, Georgia: one for whites and one for blacks. But not this year. The students have decided to hold one prom, with every junior and senior invited. The theme for the April 21st dance is "Breakaway." About 55 percent of students at Turner County High are black and most of the rest are white. Senior class president James Hall, who is black, says it was time for a change. Ashburn, which is located about 75 miles south of Macon, has about four-thousand residents. There also was another big change this year. Instead of a white and black homecoming queen, there was just one, a mixed-race student.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Minneapolis Libraries - Best in America


The Minneapolis Library System is more than a center for research and academia. It is a cultural asset to the diverse residents of Minneapolis. The depth of its catalog appealing to young manga fans and those of classic literature. And music from the Dixie Chicks to Chicks on Speed.

The library enhances culture here by its the willingness to purchase materials requested by patrons. Rather than questioning the merit of each purchase intensely ( as outstate systems do) they prefer to obtain them. Instead of buying 100 copies of Harry Potter, they buy 50 and purchase 5 copies of 10 additional books/cds/dvds that are much less "mainstream."

And yes, I ended up buying the Harry Potter books because I couldn't wait months to get one at the library. I have lent it to friends, so it has gotten use. But I would rather have it this way than deprive the library of its inclusiveness.

A prime example of a fringe item the library purchased that few suburban counterparts would is Doctor Who:The Complete First Season. I requested this through my local library on Franklin Avenue. Doctor Who is my favorite TV Show: a British, science fiction, drama. Only shown on cable and not mainstream Americana. The single copy was requested so many times they ordered 5 additional copies ( one criticism is that all copies will go through the one branch on Franklin Avenue). This type of situation can be multiplied many times throughout this amazing library system.

The Minneapolis Library System embraced the concept of the Long Tail long before it was coined. Many conservatives claim that government should be run more likes businesss. While government is not a business, it can learn from their effieciencies. And the Minneapolis Library System has shown innovation long before businesses took on its concepts. A merger with the Hennepin County Library System will diminish this priceless institution.

I challenge anyone out there to check out their website at mplib.org and search for things they consider "fringe." Search an author/musician/actor you love but few know of , I bet they have nearly every copy of their published works . You can request items online and have them delivered to a local branch - similiar to Netflix. One can easily see this is all proof that the Minneapolis Libraries are the best in the entire United States.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Global Warming - more facts needed?















What more do the skeptics need to hear?


Why do some claim that we should use whatever resources we want abundantly? But we must borrow endlessly to do so, and ignore the consequences of such actions.

Global Warming is a direct consequence of such affluenza. The First chart was taken from An Inconvenient Truth, and depicts a much larger graph than the smaller one published prior. Notice how we are trending much higher in temperatures right now.

Now there are the Antartic ice cores to cover. The second graph quite clearly shows that temperatures there have a relationship to global CO2 levels. Since CO2 levels are exceeding 300ppm, we will experience warmer Earthly temperatures than the last 400,000+ years! That doesn't seem to bother the skeptics.

It's hard enough to get thousands of scientists to reach concensus on anything - and yet they have.

RELOCALIZATION - a wiser reaction

What should appear blatantly obvious to Global Warming adherents, is that humanity will not give up this collision course with reality. Perhaps it would be wiser to focus on relocalization and preparation for this time? Mitigating it appears a nonstarter with the 3 most populated nations on Earth not participating. These nations alone represent nearly half of humanity and half of its material wealth.

It isn't meaningless to work to curb your carbon footprint. Nor is it pointless to reduce our societal impact. But the fact is, even if we curb Co2 emmissions drastically, we still have a rising temperature to deal with. It is possible to do both, as the two can overlap in many areas. But as ecosystems change, preparation will take a more urgent precedent - especially by the most ardent conservative skeptics of today!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Global Warming challenger?

I have recently heard of the The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary by Martin Durkin. Only through a website of a friend, who I know questions the issues thoroughly. ( but our own perspectives exceedingly differ )

The graph at the left depicts world temperatures for the last 120 years, as opposed to Al Gore's of a much greater stretch of time. What I find most disturbing about it is that humans have been using hydrocarbons longer than 1940 - they were called coal and oil. The first billion humans would have not have existed by the 20th century if hydrocarbons not been used until 1940.

Next, temperature changes that are ascribed to Global Warming are long-term. 20 years is not long-term. If we go back to the original usage of coal, we have been adding carbon to the atmosphere for hundreds of years longer than the Model-T ever existed. In 1748, America first delved into coal-mining. 50 tons were extracted from our Earth that year alone. When we look at the long-term effects of carbon in our atmosphere, they do not appear for about 100 years. So temperatures in 1940 to 1960 were affected by carbon put in our atmosphere around. It just so happens this is a time when the world and America went into an economic depression.

The primary argument in the documentary appears to be that the sun is more of a factor in Earth's temperature fluctuations. While the sun does affect us, here is a response from a scientist working for Britain.

Peak Oil - the markets vain attempt to ignore it

I am also concerned about this very charged statment: "Global warming is natural and will occur no matter how much we destroy our economy in a vain attempt to stop it."

The Global Warming argument is a good for those who believe in it to reduce hydrocarbon consumption. But others needs to hear about Peak Oil and its economic ramifications.

20% of American wages are spent on cars. That comes to around $700 a month per person. If we cut our vehicular consumption, where would that savings go? Back into the economy, and not to the Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela who sell us oil. Not as much to Japan, China, and Korea who make our cars. Why not conserve for these reasons alone?

Obviously cars have negative environmental consequences. One can greenwash this fact by stating that 95% of a car is recycled. But also 90% of the time it remains idle in a parking spot or stop light. If 10,000 people got together and pitched in $3000 each, they could build a light-rail line. They could support it for far less than $700 a month. But this economic model does not exist, because individuals cannot build light-rail lines anymore than interstates. ( individuals seldom have the right to take land as government does - looking out for one's self interest are not public-oriented )

America is so dependent on oil, we are heading for an economic dowturn. 100 years from now, we may end up selling all of our own coal to China, while stuck without oil in our engines. That would be the real tragedy of an addiction - having to quite cold turkey due to economic circumstances than choice.

Overpopulation is an issue, intertwined with immigration,family planning, and geopolitics. When you add that many people to the world over a short period of time, hydrocarbon usage whill increase exponentially. That is why it is so hard NOT to believe that Global Warming will not come about. We cry about 40,000 "overpopulated" wolves when a city of 40,000 humans is called a "large town."



What the Global Warming and Peak Oil skeptics appear to lack is perspective. It is smart to question when and to what extent these events will create. But it is utterly ridiculous to write them off completely because your political ideology does not accept it. Nature and Earth doesn't give a damn about your political beliefs, the truth cannot hide forever. Though when we all know for certain, it is probably too late to mitigate it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Why this blog?


I changed the description of this blog:

1)Envisioning a society that values compassion and wisdom.

The global society has lost its moral compass long ago.The pursuit of money appears to trump all other issues. If you have money, you are expected to spend it as lavishly as you can afford. Yet marriages falter primarily due to economic stress. When we do things to help others without reward, we are called fools. Compassion must be valued and not ridiculed for being altruistic or utopian.

The American people have long been ignorant. We may be able to read, but we don't read much. American Idol and 24-hour cable news have dulled the senses of the public. We can do whatever we want and think that the outside world does not affect us. To assume that politicians and scientists will solve all our problems is blind faith. We must question their intentions and ideas before having faith in them. We need to be a society that values wisdom, and also cultivates it on an individual basis.

2)Supporting peace and justice for all beings.

All beings deserve a peaceful life, with basic freedoms. The world's people need more rights. American should support this wholeheartedly, along with the United Nations. Implementing The Universal Declaration of Human Rights globally is a good place to start.

All beings deserve a decent future and life - including animals, plants, and the planet. While it is difficult to do no harm to any being, it is ignorant to not value them. We should value all beings and thank them for the sacrifices they make for us. If we feel the sacrifice is too much, we work to change things starting with ourselves (i.e. chickens who live caged and de-beaked their entire lives )

How can one support war or lethal acts towards other beings? It is not possible to prove that they are skillful acts. It is equally ridiculous to think that they improve our collective karma. We must cultivate a society that values life and practices nonviolence.

3) Preparing for a post-oil world.

While oil has not peaked yet, the fact it will is inevitable. We must conserve what oil we have and build a society that can outlast it. The post-oil infrastructure must be built and supported now. If we procrastinate, this may be mankind's last century.

Mankind was not the first beings of its kind on Earth. We were just the most successful thus far. If we die off, there will be other beings to inhabit this Earth. May we use these bodies we currently inhabit wisely, and pursuade others to do so as well.
---

If anyone wants to blog on this post, I invite them to join me. There are no other pre-requisites than the above listed. No one is barred from joining, apart from those who feel incompatible with the above listed values.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Downloading Music for free is spelled T-H-E-F-T


I have been "online" since 1996. Got a copy of Doom 2 for "free." Purchased my first cd online from cdnow.com and books from Amazon in 1997.

In 1998 I downloaded my first MP3 - and fell in love with digital music, though broadband was nowhere in sight. Also bought my first cd-writer and began making and trading music.

In 2000, living in Saint Cloud I installed my cable internet myself, and never paid for it because they never did come to install it. I first downloaded Napster and Gnutella. I loved "free" stuff - and found not just music but videos and software.

Kazaa in 2001.

But I slowly got sick of the poor quality and reliability of "free" stuff. Some were the wrong files. Many files were cumbersome to install, and when installed didn't work perfectly. Some didn't work at all. Some even contained viruses.

But the PC world is morally corrupt. It is the culture created around it. PC Owners from America in 1990 to China in 2006 all have enjoyed pirating and copying files of all types. Though many do pay for these programs, many more enjoy using them for "free."

Not that buying an Imac changed my opinion. Purchasing most of my music used, I didn't really think I was supporting artists much anyways. The library doesn't mind assisting either.

But not all music is easily accessible. Itunes makes it easy to find music I like. It isn't that expensive and money still goes to the artists. I can find what music tracks are popular - buy those ones and forget the rest of the disc (unless I get it).

But I cannot find myself downloading a filesharing program on my Imac. I have no worry about viruses. But from an ethical standpoint, if I don't purchase what I appreciate who will? Who will pay for the next season of Doctor Who? Okay, yeah British taxpayers - but still. What you like should be supported when you can. Otherwise no one will.

So that is my stance. If you can support your favorite artists, please do. Even if you got an album online for free, buy it and give as a gift. Whoever you give it to will appreciate it, in addition to the artist being supported.

I love independent music in addition to a select few popular artists. The American Assn. of Independent Music in addition to others support paying for music. I used to hate the RIAA, but it is true that the industry is facing hard times. Support the music you love, with more than a click of the mouse but a few quarters from your piggy bank.

Visit Music United for more details on the issue.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pierre Bottineau should be light rail


The Twin Cities is already the best metropolitan for anyone to live in Midwestern America. But it lacks decent transit. This will have to be improved upon in the next 20 years for it to continue its high livability standards.

The Hiawatha Light Rail opened despite constant criticism from skeptics. It was touted by one Republican as the "train to nowhere." Yet it has achieved more than its proponents ever imagined. The University LRT will have at least twice the ridership of Hiawatha, and wouldn't started sooner if Hiawatha had not been such a success.

I believe in living carfree, and supporting the foundations of a post-oil world. But transit isn't just for those who choose not to own cars. 2/3 of bus riders and 80% of train riders own a vehicle. Transit gives drivers a break from not just high gas prices but stressful traffic and accidents. It would be wise to continue building a system that our citizens can be proud of.

That brings me to the Pierre Bottineau BRT project in northwest Hennepin County. I think it should be light rail, because it would have much higher ridership. There are more benefits to a LRT line than BRT. And the demographics of this area are ripe for a line. North Minneapolis and its adjacent suburbs do not deserve to be ignored in the future transit makeup of the Twin Cities. I would even consider moving to this area because it is more lower middle class. Without easy access to the amenities of Minneapolis I will not.

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat agrees with me on this issue. A Republican who is a true conservative. Republicans can't continue acting as if the next 3 months are more important than the next 3 centuries. We need leaders who will work for a better future for our families. We need more true conservatives who understand the value of government and are wary of it being wasteful/corrupt.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Keith Ellison the only Non-Christian in congress?


Some believe having a Muslim in Congress is bad, but allowing him to proclaim it with the Koran is too much. It reminds me of the GLBT Republicans, that when running for have to pretend to be straight. But anywho, a notoriously "pro-family" organization has a new survey: about Islam. It seems a bit skewed in its results already, unabashedly against Muslims.

One thing that disturbs me are the claims that Islam gives women few rights. Okay, maybe the Taliban was harsh - but they do not represent Islam. That would be like the Inqusition representing all of Catholicism and Christianity. Women have had the right to vote in Islamic democracies and a say in society long before the feminist movements of the 20th AD. What is ironic is that Muslim nations have produced more heads of state than Western Nations. Examples:

Moving beyond Islam, what about my own philosophy: Buddhism? There will be two sworn in the same moment that Keith Ellison is. And you hear not a peep from the media, well maybe a small NY Times article. But we Buddhists do not truly enjoy controversy as much as perpetuating truth and uncovering falsehoods.


Representative-elect Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat will use the Bible citing it as an American tradition. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, has stated there not to be a Buddhist equivalent to the Koran or Bible. Even the Dhammapada, originating from the Mahayana branch of Buddhism, doesn't cover all of Buddha's teachings.

What does this say about the multi-religious future of America? Probably what Ms. Hirono says that we should have "respect and tolerance for other religions.” That is something Representative Virgil Goode,the AFA, and others of various faith and non-faith could work towards. A nation that truly values peace,freedom, and all it entails is where America needs to be.