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True security can be found only if we recreate local economies for the everyday necessities.

These days whenever a conflict happens anywhere in the world, local security is threatened. Revolt in Libya has sent gas prices to around $3.50 per gallon. Drought and extreme temperatures have sent grain prices to all time highs. The world is perched on the brink of a food catastrophe. “In early January, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that its Food Price Index had reached an all-time high in December, exceeding the previous record set during the 2007-08 price surge. Even more alarming, on February 3rd, the FAO announced that the December record had been broken in January as prices climbed an additional 3 percent. “

I don’t have to tell you about job security when we live in a time when huge multinational corporations think of little but the bottom line and will gladly send your job overseas if they can find, and they will, someone to do it cheaper.

For thousands of years now people have been moving together from small family groups, to clans and tribes to villages and finally to cities. Today people in cities are totally reliant on outside sources for about all their daily needs. Indeed every city, town and village in America with few exceptions is totally dependent on others for the things they need just to survive.

Contrast this to the America of just a few generations ago when a community could provide for the basic necessities and many of the amenities of life themselves. These communities all had their own personalities. When a community provided for itself, many of these jobs required skill and a fair amount of physical ability. Today we sit in offices then pay for exercise. Those of who work in factories find the work to be a mind numbing menial experience. Businesses decided that by breaking up tasks into small parts any trained ape could do the job. Therefore the workers become expendable. Likewise few if any understand or gain the skills needed to create on their own. In short, there are no longer craftsman, only workers.

I propose we need to go back in many ways to a more human scaled life. Lets stop thinking of our lives in milliseconds. Imagine if the food for your geographical area was grown there by small family farmers, not using huge tractors but small ones along with human labor. Hard work? Sure it is but rewarding, ask anyone who has done it and got the recognition and rewards that it deserves. At one time every town had a mill to process local grains into flour and feed. We need to bring back mills. Yet again this would provide jobs grinding and processing the grains brought by local farmers and hobbyists.

This food would be distributed by local transportation to local sites for sale or preserving. The growing, transportation, retail and preserving all would be local businesses providing local jobs for local people. A local food bank preservation system could insure carry over during times of bad harvests. A overabundance could be traded with other local communities for things they may have that we would not.

Lets consider shelter. Communities should have forested areas large enough to supply local timber for building homes and businesses. Properly manages forests could be a source of lumber, nuts and fruits, recreation, and habitat. Again these forests could be a source of jobs for those managing the forest, lumberjacks, and here I again would say not a extremely expensive machine but people working with more human scale tools. We would need transportation of the timber, mills to cut it into boards, drying it into usable lumber and again retail people. All these local people doing local jobs for local people.

Another necessity is clothing. A community had the ability to completely clothe itself at one time in our past. Through a marriage of modern thought with classic grace I believe we could do it again. Even the concepts, design and creating of new ways to do old things on a local scale could employ local people. There are so many ways a person could fit into that kind of communities that the result is a vastly richer life than what we experience today.

Local economies would be much more sustainable. Travel for work would be much less than it is today. Goods would likewise travel mostly short distances. Communities would have a much greater say in what they eat, drink and do with their lives. People once again could take pride in what they have accomplished and pride in their communities. Our families, jobs, environment and communities would be much more secure.

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Until a few months ago I was pretty much in the Obama camp, even though he didn’t seem to be putting the emphasis that I would have liked him to on environmental issues, I felt he was the lesser of two evils, and really, what options do we have?

Well, that thought stuck in my mind.  In describing myself I have in the past said, I’m Green.   To me that term means that living in a simple, not damaging way is the most important thing.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew there was a Green Party out there.   So after reading something about Obama allowing drilling in the Arctic, giving the green light to the southern portion of the XL pipeline I decided to check into this Green Party and see what it was all about.

My initial reaction was skeptical.  I think that is the typical reaction, but I was determined to consider what I was reading and dig deeper and really consider this option.  I am glad I did.  I started with Jill Stein.   Right away I started to see how our democracy was in trouble.

In reading about Jill’s history I found that as a doctor in Massachusetts she was involved in, well let’s let her share this herself, “Having witnessed the ability of big money to stop health protective policies on Beacon Hill, Jill became an advocate for campaign finance reform, and worked to help pass the Clean Election Law. This law was approved by the voters by a 2-1 margin, but was later repealed by the Massachusetts Legislature on an unrecorded voice vote.”

You read that right, voters spoke and said we want money out of politics and we will pay for fair and equal ability to share your platform to us voters.  Then a few years later, in an unrecorded vote those politicians in office did away with the will of the people.   The majority of those politicians were Democrats.  This was the start of my eyes opening.  From there I saw much that I found disturbing.

Think about it, in America, with a Democratic president we have:

  • the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
  • the National Defense Authorization Act that gives the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.
  • use of assassination as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, including collaborative assassination through intermediaries.
  • the use of drones that kill many innocents and destroys any ability to live a normal life because of the climate of fear it creates.

This is just a small sample of disturbing things.  In my life I have found it is not possible to make someone change their mind.  They have to be open and honest and not fearful, something that is hard to do.  My mind is filled with things that seem glaringly obvious now that were subverted just a few months ago.   It is my wish that something I say could be that illuminating spark that opens eyes and helps us to be able to move into a new,  brighter, more democratic American future.

http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2010/democracy.php

We hear talk of the recession going on in Europe.   How they have been applying austerity measures to make things better for several years now and things are only getting worse.   Those calls for austerity also are being heard here in the USA.   Everyone seems to have an opinion.  This is a very complex issue and not something that an armchair philosopher is going to figure out in his or her head.  In fact, it is the level of complexity in so many areas of life today that is the problem as far as the average person giving any real, knowledgeable direction to coming to a solution.

This leads us to an important question.   Is this complexity a byproduct of our modern society or is it unnecessarily opaque and complex?  For if it is indeed a byproduct of our society, what does that say for democracy?  How can the people, meaning the collective will of the average citizen, give adequate  guidance to the policies and direction our government should go on issues they can not understand?  However if the reality is that many of these issues are being made more complex to hide or mask wrongdoing or to give advantage to one group over another then rectifying this should be an immediate goal.

As I read the posts on Facebook, and listen to the news on NPR I can’t help but feel something has gone terribly wrong in Washington.  Regardless of who we vote in office, those in power today seem to be following their own agenda.  That agenda seems motivated by greed.  Today I learned of what is called political intelligence.  It is exactly the same behavior that would put them in jail on Wall Street.  It is insider trading.   Policy makers decide on a facet of a bill concerning business, sell that information to these informants who in turn sell it to hedge fund operators who make millions on it.  It is wrong and I am amazed that it is legal.  Yet not only is is happening, but bills to register these people was stopped by the house Republicans.  That is just the facts.  This is just one of the myriads of wrong things going on up on capital hill.

Religion

No subject is more volatile than religion.  I’m sure you have heard it said, don’t talk about religion or politics.  Which to me seems strange, both are subjects that people use to guide their lives with.  You would think critical thinking and being correct would be important.  And it is, the problem is everyone believes they are already correct and you trying to change them is a grave danger.   More so religion.  Now before I can talk too much about religion I should share my background.  I was not raised religious, both parents said they believed in god but never went to church and their faith extended to my dad saying look in the bible for answers.  Dad did become very religious late in his life.   As for me, I dove in head first around 20 and took the next 14 years steeped in study and fervency.  Pentecostal… saved, sanctified and filled with the holy ghost.   I’d share in more detail but I trust you get the picture.

Long story short, I refused to abandon my intellect and while studying I found so many errors and logical weirdness that in the end I had to conclude that it was all a man made fantasy.  It is this view I still hold today.  However for many years I viewed christianity as benign, a helpful crutch for some, a source of comfort for others.

As I saw how much hate, division, and how the intellect was stunted and curiosity blunted I realized that christianity and religion was not a neutral thing but a tool to control the masses.   Believers, a good word, they are trained to believe what they are told, regardless of how illogical and far fetched what they were told was.  God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.   Even if you explain to these people that the bible they read is been proven by top christian scholars to be completely made up, that NO originals exist and that there are more versions of the new testament than there are words in it,  they still will cling to somehow that god said it and it was all ok.  Pastors know this stuff.  They know that for instance Moses did not write the first 5 books of the bible.  They know about the revisions, the errors, the books added, removed from canon.  My point?  Religion trains people to be unthinking drones who follow.  Sounds strong?  Try to change a religious persons mind on about anything.  Facts do not matter.   Logic does not matter.  The ability to think freely has been stripped from their minds.   So no, I no longer view christianity as a peaceful, loving, comforting, helping ideology.

Work

You know there is nothing more important in life than work.  Work is the glue that holds everything together.  How many families have been torn apart from lack of it.  Work, good work is not mind numbing, dehumanizing drudgery.  That is one of the main problems with what is being offered as work today.   I am a lucky one.  The work I do involves variety, problem solving, physical movement, and ingenuity.   I have a boss that really gets it.  She knows I am there for the same reason she wants me there, to get a job done.  We trust each other.  I am not a cog in a machine but part of a team.

Too much of work is not at a human scale.  We sit or stand in one place doing the same repetitious movements, each a minute part of a whole.  There is not satisfaction in such work.  No one is a craftsman anymore.  This is on purpose because a worker is a nobody.  Easily trained, easily replaced.  And since no one actually builds a whole project there is little chance of someone being able to start their own business.   When our founding fathers were alive this thinking was unheard of.  If you were a silversmith working with a master you learned a trade.  If you worked hard and had skill you would be able to go out and start your own business.  That is the model in the hearts and minds of our founders.   I believe we need to get back to these roots.  Yes things will be more expensive if it is made at a human scale.  But what we buy will be made with pride and better built.  This goes towards a local economy and that is a post for another day.

Jon Stewart has a clip he did on Foxconn that highlights, in Jon’s enlightening way, the evils of what is being called work today.

Check it out.

Food… no not eating it, but who has control of it. Very few corporations own ALL the food you get, unless you get it from a local farmer. Those local farmers are under the gun. Our government/big business is trying to destroy them. Control the food and you control the people. This site is from Maine. One man, milking his cow and selling what he can’t use is being sued by the State. They have a local democratic law that says they can sell and buy their local food. They are being ignored. Check this out. Consider having these rules in your community. YOU would want your will for yourself and your family respected. Stand with our brothers and sisters in Maine.

http://localfoodlocalrules.org/