Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Go vegan and save ZERO animals per year

Friday, August 19th, 2011

U.S. Government Buys $40 Million Worth of Chicken Nobody Wants from

Put simply, despite the fact that people are eating significantly less chicken, the U.S.’s chicken inventory is up more than 13 percent since last year. Any other business that ignored consumers’ desires would be forced to suffer the consequences of their negligence, but not chicken growers. The USDA, which already buys millions of dollars of meat per year for the school-lunch program, has agreed to purchase the extra $40 million worth of chicken in order to “provide support to the broiler industry,” according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In 2009, the government bought $60 million in surplus turkey.

Broiler hens

Broiler hens

Most vegans discover the horrors of factory farming, or have some philosophical epiphany about the suffering of non-human animals, and give up meat and other animal products. By eschewing meat, we reduce the demand for it, thereby putting economic pressure on farmers to raise fewer and fewer animals. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons to not eat it, but vegans typically don’t want their money going to support a cruel and exploitative industry.

It turns out that the federal government is negating the effect of our meat “boycott” by buying up all the dead chickens and feeding them to school children. And, of course, they are doing it with our money anyway in the form of forcibly collected tax dollars.

I add this latest insult to the pile of federal expenditures that offend my personal values: animal experiments, dairy subsidies, non-defensive wars, etc etc etc. How do you like that big government now?

On occasion, we manage to brow-beat Congress into doing something positive for animals. Since animal advocates are still a small minority, we are more often brow-beaten into sending in our tax dollars to support animal cruelty, such as buying up our “excess” meat and pumping it into schools.

This is a perfect example of why I’m now a small government voter. I’m not going to get a government that’s compassionate toward animals any time soon, but I might have a shot at getting some more people in office who oppose using tax dollars for garbage like this.

On a related note: Ron Paul for President 2012

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Bill Clinton is a full-fledged vegan

Friday, August 19th, 2011

When I read the headlines, I thought the reporters probably just didn’t know the meaning of vegan. But it appears that Bill Clinton really is a full on vegan! Check it out in the Boston Herald. He’s vegan for his health, but no doubt swayed in that direction by his daughter Chelsea, also vegan. Way to go, Bill!

The infamous junk food lover, who underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2004, is now a full-fledged vegan. He consumes no meat, no dairy, no eggs and almost no oil.

“I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat now,” Clinton told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So what motivated Bubba to change his lifestyle? After he needed another heart operation last year, he realized exercise and cutting calories wasn’t enough to battle his family history of heart disease.

“I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette,” Clinton said, “because even though I had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on much of the cholesterol in the food I was eating, I still — without any scientific basis to support what I did — was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol without knowing it. So that’s when I made a decision to really change.”

Now an advocate for cardiovascular health, Bubba’s Clinton Foundation has joined the American Heart Association to promote exercise and offer better lunches in schools.

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Pointless Vandalism of Asheville Businesses

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
Smashed up windows at the Grove Arcade

Smashed up windows at the Grove Arcade

I remember being angry at how messed up the world is. I even remember thinking people who engaged in “civil disobedience” that involved stealing from and destroying property of big corporations were heroic.

Even at my angriest, I never would have even considered wrecking the storefronts of small, family-owned businesses in a little mountain city like Asheville. The only chain store in the effected area, which is a Subway restaurant, escaped unscathed.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

About 10:45 p.m. Saturday, a group of between 20-30 people wearing dark clothing, some wearing masks and carrying backpacks, threw items, including newspaper boxes, through windows of several businesses along O’Henry Avenue. A front window of the Asheville Citizen-Times was shattered, as were multiple storefronts at the Grove Arcade. An ATM was smashed at the RBC on O’Henry.

Multiple cars parked on Battery Park had their windows smashed.

The violence is likely linked to the observance of May Day, a day for marking worker solidarity that has been seized upon for anti-capitalism displays of violence, especially by self-proclaimed anarchist groups in Europe.

Several in the group yelled unintelligably as they vandalized. The group walked south on O’Henry Avenue and turned left on Battery Park Avenue. Some walked through the alley beside the Citizen-Times, where several employees of the paper had rushed to ensure the safety of their cars.

Talk about your random acts of senseless bullshit. For goodness sake, one of the vandalized shops, the Grove Arcade Copy Shop, has a big photo of the sweet-looking couple that owns the place right inside one of the smashed windows.

A comment on the article sums it up perfectly:

…this bunch of momma’s girls and boys who decided to get all radical in the most soft, liberal sympathizing, white-bred town they could find. LOL! Way to really show “the man” and take “the struggle” to the epicenter.

The Grove Arcade, where all this took place, is full of nothing but small locally-owned businesses, most of which take pride in supporting local artisans, farmers, and other local businesses. They are already struggling to survive in a down economy.

Since many of these “kids” were in their early- and mid-twenties, I am sure they came up with some amazing justifications for why they ran through downtown Asheville smashing stuff up. Wish I could hear what it was. I hope they all feel really stupid about this some day soon. Preferably from the inside of a jail cell.

The businesses that were vandalized include the Asheville Citizen-Times, RBC Bank, Grove Arcade, Grove Arcade Copy Shop, and The Eye Center.

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Vegan Republicans, unite! All 2 of us!

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I’m a vegan who turned Republican. Here’s an article from a Republican who turned vegan. OK, well, almost vegan. He’ll get there.

Read the article: Rise Up, Vegan Republicans!

Yes, I know what you’re thinking – you’re either vegan or you’re not. But he is going vegan the same way I initially went vegetarian. I said I would eat vegetarian unless my dad was making me dinner. It’s called a transition period. So give the guy a break, and the benefit of the doubt, and read the article for the interesting points that he raises.

Here’s an excerpt:

Cultural anecdote two: “You can be a Republican who eats a vegan diet, but you can’t be a vegan and a Republican. Vegans value the sanctity of life, which is in conflict with Republican values.” So said a poster named Bart on Bart was adding to his thread called “vegan ideas and info are a threat to corporations, hence a threat to the GOP, hence Bush allows spying on vegans.”

I hadn’t noticed spy cams at my local Whole Foods in Los Altos, Calif., so I will be sure to glance up next time I’m inspecting the arugula. President Bush’s successor, we know, is both pro-arugula and pro-Patriot act. Surely that conflict is cleaving President Obama’s very soul. Bart could be right; the spy cams might still be up there.

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Rethinking my escape from America

Sunday, August 30th, 2009
Our land in Panama

Our land in Panama

Several years ago, in response to insane real estate prices and ever-decreasing civil liberties, my partner and I decided to do something drastic: leave the United States. I found an online resource called Escape from America magazine, which offered information on other countries across the globe to which Americans were relocating. We chose Boquete, a beautiful town in the mountains of Panama. Perhaps a bit impulsively, we bought some land there. 4 years later, we’re still here in the U.S., albeit in the mountain city of Asheville which suits us much better than Seattle.

I often hear friends talk about leaving the country “if the shit hits the fan”. And I admit, it is nice to know that I could escape to Panama and pitch a tent on my land if I really needed to. But when I really think it through, I have to conclude that if things did go crazy (and maybe they already have?) that the U.S. is exactly where I want to be.

If you read survivalist or self-sufficiency books and websites, most of them will tell you that the most important thing to get you through a long-term crisis is a community of trusted neighbors and friends. Who is the first to be targeted when times get tough? Foreigners, outsiders. That is not a unique feature of Americans. That is a common human trait throughout the world. Move to another country and when the chaos spreads there, you will then be the outsider.

And you can’t just show up in a new country, bags in hand, and expect to be allowed to stay. Panama, for instance, only allows you to stay for 90 days at a time. Most expats get around this by taking their passport to Costa Rica every 90 days, getting it stamped, and coming back into Panama. But unless you have a job skill that is rare, you had better have an income stream. Panama will not allow you to work without a work visa, in order to protect jobs for their own citizens.

There are plenty of great reasons to move abroad and plenty of places that welcome Americans, including Panama. It would be a wonderful place to live and we may still end up there one day. And I am sure that at this point, there are other countries which have far better economic opportunities than we now have here in the U.S. I am only suggesting that moving abroad because it is safer from an unknown future difficulty is not necessarily the smart move.

Instead, we changed our focus to where/how could we best enjoy a good quality of life here in the United States. Asheville has a mild climate in summer and winter, which means you can grow food just about all year long. It is protected by the mountains from most natural disasters. And the people here are absolutely wonderful. In 4 years of living in Seattle (13 years for John), we were not able to build the strong community of friends that we gained here in just our first year.

We’re building our little homestead in Asheville and building up an invaluable community of people. We have no intention of going anywhere any time soon.

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Bacevich for President…or Congress…or anything

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Bacevich is a breath of fresh air. Wouldn’t it be nice if people like this guy were on the ballot? Go to the Bill Moyers Journal website to watch part 1 and part 2 of this interview with Andrew Bacevich.

Bacevich talks to Moyers

Bacevich suggests that, as a country, we keep looking outward for the causes of our problems when we should instead be looking inward. Just goes to show that we really do get the government we deserve. As individuals, we tend to do the very same thing. Our government is a direct reflection of who we are.

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GOP attitudes toward Ron Paul are changing

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I have not been involved with Republican politics for very long, so take this report for what it’s worth.

When I first started meeting Republicans in this area, Ron Paul was regarded as something of an absurd anomaly. If they didn’t come right out and laugh at him or insult him, it was only because they knew there were Ron Paul supporters in the room and they were trying to be polite.

In the last couple of weeks, that attitude has changed somewhat. It still seems to be a widely held opinion that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is either “crazy” or “scary”. But now, when people say Ron Paul’s name (which they do surprisingly often) they follow it up with, “there are a lot of things I like about Ron Paul.” Or “He really seems to understand our economic problems.” Or, even more interestingly (and I’ve heard this sentiment multiple times), “I may even have to vote for Ron Paul.”

I’m not trying to suggest that the whole GOP is singing Ron Paul’s praises. It isn’t. But his message is starting to get through. Progress is being made. And in a race where most Republicans dislike all of their options and can’t settle on a candidate, there may just be hope for Ron Paul after all.

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Travel food for the vegan health nut

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Healthy vegan raw travel food

I’m leaving for New Hampshire tomorrow, as part of Operation Live Free or Die, to help win the first presidential primary for Ron Paul. Staying healthy while traveling for 9 days is a challenge under any circumstances. A vegan health nut staying healthy in the midst of republicans and libertarians is near impossible. I’ve only ever done this successfully for a couple of days, but I’m convinced it can be done longer term with a little preparation.

I will need to bring snacks and supplements that require no preparation, pack up small, and can make it through airport security. Here is what I have come up with for my trip.

Raw energy bars: I made these myself and dumped in whatever I had around that looked nourishing. They contain sprouted buckwheat, sprouted quinoa, apple, pear, ground flax seeds, barley grass powder, and a hint of vanilla. I also made a second batch with shredded coconut, cacao (raw chocolate) powder, and maca powder, for some extra energy in the morning. These taste absolutely horrible, by the way, but I can eat just about anything if I know it’s good for me.

Manna bread: This sprouted grain bread is very nutritious and very dense. I can break off a chunk for a satisfying snack.

Greens+ Chocolate Energy Bars: I am very addicted to these and have never been able to stop myself from eating them when I buy more than one. I bought 9 for my trip and will attempt to limit myself to 1 bar per day. It will be an interesting experiment. I know it’s really just another candy bar, but it’s very healthy as candy bars go: no sugar, no gluten, high fiber, high protein, and alkaline.

Also included in my travel stash are some supplements: Probiotics, MSM, B12 tablets, and noni pills, to keep my immune system working at full capacity. I’m also bringing along some digestive enzymes for those times when I have to eat some less than ideal food.

Some extra good news is that I will be staying with another vegan Ron Paul supporter, which is amazing luck, and there will be plenty of good produce and snacks in town. But I won’t be able to eat the same healthy meals I normally make at home, like my daily green smoothies, and I’m sure to be stuck without many food options at some point during my trip. I am hopeful that this nutrient-packed foods will keep me healthy and energized on the Ron Paul 2008 campaign trail.

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Leading the evil GOP into the light

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Repent GOP - The end is nearIf you haven’t been a Republican for the past decade or so, there is a good chance that you regard the GOP as the root of all evil; forever on the side of corporate greed, marching the country into perpetual war based on lies, and cramming Jesus down every last heathen’s throat. But if you look at the history of the Republican Party it is supposed to stand for smaller government, lower taxes, and personal responsibility. That may or may not be your idea of good government, but it certainly is not an evil point of view.

At least in the time that I’ve been old enough to vote, the Republican Party has been hijacked by big spender, big government, social conservatives. We have a party that says it is OK to borrow billions of dollars from China in order to finance the “War on Terror” but America is doomed if homosexuals get married or if cancer patients smoke a little marijuana. Not a great set of priorities. What to do?

One possibility is to flock to the Democratic Party. We can vote them into office, en masse, and they will get us out of the war and stop the tyranny of the Bush administration. Oh, wait, we did that already, and the Democrats didn’t do jack squat. They voted to renew the Patriot Act (that means you, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards), they continue to fund the war, and they won’t even discuss impeachment. OK, so now what?

Take back the Republican Party. Get involved. In many counties, the GOP is in a sorry state. They desperately need volunteers. They need precinct chairmen, they need help at the polling stations, and they need members to just show up at events and meetings. Become a delegate. If you’re a “Ron Paul Republican,” don’t feel like you aren’t welcome in the GOP. If you believe that the federal government should be fiscally conservative and limited in its authority over local governments and individuals, then you are a Republican.

Complaining about how the GOP has been hijacked doesn’t help. Just like any organization, the GOP is only as good as its active members. So get active. Go in with a genuine interest in rebuilding a strong, honest party that truly represents what the people want.

If the Republican Party is not for you, get involved with the Democratic Party. They are going down like a sinking ship too, now that they’ve proven themselves to be such a disappointment. They could use some help getting back on the right track. No matter what your political bent, I think we can all agree that it’s about time we have a choice between the greater of two goods, rather than the lesser of two evils.

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Crazy shit for Ron Paul

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Ron Paul BlimpDoes anything compare to the ingenuity, enthusiasm, and hard work that Ron Paul has inspired in his supporters? Every time I think the grassroots has had its grandest hour, they go and do something even more crazy and awe-inspiring. Initially, it was mostly a whole lot of clever videos, songs, and blog posts about Ron Paul. Supporters, including myself, couldn’t stop seeking out online media to learn more about the candidate and his chances of winning. Lately, the effort has shifted into massive real world projects that would never be remotely possible for supporters of any other candidate to achieve (although they do occasionally try). Here is a list, in no particular order, of efforts that have made my jaw drop. In many cases, I believed the goal was set too high and failure was certain, but I have been proven wrong every time.

  • November 5th Money Bomb – This legendary fundraiser changed the corporate media’s attitude toward Ron Paul overnight, raising well over $4 million dollars in one day. The official campaign didn’t need to do a thing.
  • Operation Live Free or Die – Hundreds of people are taking time off of work to go to freeze their butts off in New Hampshire, so that every voter in the state knows who Ron Paul is, and what he’s about. It’s hard to get people to leave their homes for a couple of hours even to attend a potluck. But for Ron Paul, they are willing to leave home for days or weeks at a time to get him elected. The organizer quit his cushy job at Google to coordinate the effort. Others have quit their jobs to participate.
  • Tea Party – Not only does it look like the December 16th money bomb will be significantly bigger than the first one, it has also turned into a massive publicity event in Boston, where volunteers are expected to travel from all around to reinact a modern version of the Boston Tea Party, this time dumping the IRS, the Fed, the Iraq War, and any number of other unconstitutional federal programs into the harbor.
  • Ron Paul Blimp – I’m sorry, the what??? A blimp! Awesome. Ron Paul supporters must agree because they have already given $135,000 to pay for this effort. They need to collect $200,000 by midnight on Friday so make sure you send in your money ASAP.
  • Granny Warriors – These dedicated ladies painted their RV up with Ron Paul messages and have taken it all over the country to campaign for Ron Paul over the last year. They barely see their homes because they travel so much. They have virtually given a year of their lives in support of Ron Paul.
  • Ron Paul Love Bug – A supporter in Asheville, NC decorated his beautiful new VW bug with Ron Paul bumper stickers and message decals to help spread Ron Paul’s message wherever he goes. Word has it that he gets a lot of attention, and reactions have generally evolved from curiosity to support.
  • Ron Paul Yacht? – I can’t find any pictures, but I hear there was a Ron Paul yacht outside the recent Florida debate. Huckabee is reported to have asked Ron Paul if he arrived on the boat. There was a huge show of support in Florida. Guiliani commented on the large numbers of supporters for Ron Paul.
Ron Paul Love Bug

Ron Paul Love Bug

These are a few examples that spring to mind, but equally inventive efforts are happening all over the country, and in fact, all over the world. Can you imagine groups of Giuliani, Clinton, Romney, Huckabee, or Obama supporters pulling off even one of these endeavors? Several have tried to at least mimic the “money bomb” success, but none have come close. Because, while other candidate may have supporters who think they’d do a good job, Ron Paul has supporters who believe there is nothing more important right now than to get this man elected. The only thing more amazing than what grassroots supporters have done for Ron Paul’s campaign is the slew of imaginative efforts that are bound to follow.

Did I leave off your favorite Ron Paul grassroots effort? Let everyone know about it in the comments section.

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