Saturday, January 29, 2005

Red & Green

Conservatives don't like anything that they perceive to be a handout or any policy that places fetters on THEIR ability to pursue the almighty buck. Support any strategy that tries to balance the financial ledger between the haves and the have nots and you're bound to be labeled a "tax and spend" liberal, or, far worse, a s-o-c-i-a-l-i-s-t!

Look at what happened to our public welfare system. Conservatives didn't like the fact that poor people -- lazy bums in their eyes -- were provided with cash benefits and food stamps. So, they pushed through the insidious Welfare-to-Work concept. Now, folks must toil away at minimum or less-than-minimum wage work -- if such work is even available -- to receive meager benefits that, combined with their meager pay, rarely provide enough to cover the basics like rent, food, childcare and good health.

Conservatives also don't like anything that could be termed a trade barrier. If another nation subsidizes a domestic industry, conservatives come running out of the woodwork like roaches, screaming that this places an unfair hurdle in their midst. How can we compete against these unfair advantages, they whine.

Yes, conservatives believe in everyone toting their own weight and allowing the free and unfettered market to reign supreme...

Unless, of course, THEY happen to be the chief beneficiary of liberal "tax and spend" policies. THEN, all of a sudden, they seem to become champions of all things liberal or socialist.

Case in point. Klamath County is one of the most conservative counties in Oregon. If Klamath County voters were given the sole power to decide the governorship, Lon Mabon or Bill Sizemore would be installed as state leader for life. Homosexuality would be outlawed and the state police (and any God fearing person too) would be encouraged to shoot any suspected homosexuals on sight. Migrant farmworkers wouldn't be paid at all -- They should be thankful we allow them the opportunity to toil in our "God Bless America" fields.

So, one would think that Klamath County residents are against ANYTHING that even hints of being moderate, liberal or s-o-c-i-a-l-i-s-t.

For the past 50 years, Klamath County farmers have had access to electricity at artificially low prices. The government allowed the predecessor of today's Pacific Power to build dams on area rivers in exhange for the agreement that the electricity generated would be sold to the farmers as cheaply as possible, far cheaper than is paid by any other Pacific Power customers. (In other words, all the other customers are subsidizing the farmers in Klamath County.) This sweetheart deal was put in place in 1917 and was to last for 50 years. However, Congress renewed the deal in 1956 and set the new termination date for 2006.

Now, these dyed-in-the-wool conservatives are growing increasingly angry at the prospect that their subsidized electricity may soon come to an end. It seems that toting one's own weight or participating in the unfettered free market is now not so damned important.

I certainly understand their concern. Current estimates are that their electricity rates may increase by up to tenfold. That's a big hit to anyone's bottom line. Many farmers, who are just barely making it now, will certainly go under. When that happens, there will be a lot of families suffering mightily.

For me though, this represents the major problem with conservative thought. On the whole, conservatives are against a whole slew of equalization policies UNLESS such policies benefit them personally. In such cases, all their holier-than-thou rhetoric conveniently is swept under the rug. As soon as they get what they want, they move the rug and reinstate the rhetoric.

If Klamath County farmers were true to their stated ideals, they wouldn't be fighting the apparent end of their sweatheart deal -- no, they would welcome it. In fact, they would never would have accepted it, in the first place.

Unfortunately, conservatives only show a "what's in it for me?" attitude. They don't seem to care one wit about the safety, health or fortunes of anyone else. From my vantage point, that's a sorry way to live one's life. It makes it next to impossible to create livable communities.

Friday, January 28, 2005

About Your Host

One of things that many visitors frequently want to know is: Who is this person who writes all this stuff on this blog? While a lot of hosts will only provide you with some cryptic information (that doesn't tell you a whole hell of a lot!), I'll try to satisfy some of your curiosity.

If you'd like to email me, for whatever reason, click here.

If you DON'T want to read all this, then simply go to my Blogger Profile.

My name is Trey Smith and I reside in South Bend, Washington. I was born in 1957, so depending on when you read this, you'll have to do a little math to figure out my current age. Though I no longer work much due to disability, before I became disabled I worked in the following fields: Social Work, Mitigation Investigation, Third-Party Politics, and Nonprofit Management.

I've been married to my darling Della since 1985 and we have no children by choice. While we don't have a human brood, we do have several dogs and cats.

As to my political leanings, I consider myself a Green Radical Socialist. I'm an avid environmentalist. I publish a weekly e-zine called Greener Times.

If you spend any amount of time on my blog, you will quickly come to realize that I absolutely DETEST the institution of religion. I personally believe that religion is responsible for much of the woes society and our planet are subject to. While I have no problems with other people's personal beliefs (this statement is only sort of true), the machine of institutional religion seems more concerned with earthly power, control and amassing egregious amounts of wealth than with any other topics.

I've considered myself a philosophical Taoist for quite some time. I don't believe in a God, the devil, prayer, sin, resurrection, heaven, hell or salvation and I spend next to no time worrying about an afterlife that may or may not exist. My focus is in the now. I believe the purpose of life is life itself. Being.

So, why am I being so open and candid about who I am? I suppose one reason is that I have Asperger's Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism) and people with AS tend not to be as guarded as most people. I also figure that, if you were motivated to do a Google search on me, you could find out much of this information anyway. So, I'm saving you the time and trouble. :)

[If you did perform such a search, you would discover that I ran for Governor of Oregon in 1998 as the Socialist Party candidate and that I've also been very involved with the Green Party and advocating for peace and justice.]