The Merging of Green and Tea – People Over Party

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  The blue and red pills that have shaped our country are causing Tea Party groups, the Occupy movement, and more and more self-professed Independents to step away from party lines and start moving towards the concept of “common sense”.  Or, as discussed in Richard Maybury’s Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused?, moving towards a place of economic liberty and social liberty.  Which was, in essence, what several of our Founding Fathers had intended.

 

An article entitled Tea Party, OWS & Blue Republicans: Is This Phase Change?

 

by Robin Koerner states, “Except for a few at the extremes, no one is saying that the State or corporations are always and inherently evil. The problem, rather, is with what they have been allowed to become.”  Can’t we agree on that?  Not all government is bad and not all “big” businesses are bad – but it is corrupt people, with large amounts of power, which are bad.

 

Nine items that both sides of the proverbial political aisle can agree on, eloquently explained by Koerner, include:

 

1. The Federal Reserve System is not benefitting the people of this country and should be eliminated.

2.  We need to end the revolving door between businesses, industry, and government officials (if officials are or have been associated with companies that could benefit from government funding – do not allow them to participate).

3. You should be able to create wealth from hard work, taking risk, and saving money – not from means like fractional reserve banking.

4. Privatizing profits and socializing losses are bad business and bad policy.

5. Wars that are not in self-defense are bad and dangerous.

6. If we engage in military activity there must be a direct correlation in how it will make us safer.

7. We should utilize and embrace the Bill of Rights.

8. Never ever should you be punished for telling the TRUTH (e.g. the “Patriot” act).

9. If a government program is not producing any of its intended benefits, then it should be eliminated.

Amazingly enough, these are the core issues that are affecting our monetary system and quality of life.  In 2012 let’s agree on these issues, and then “hire” elected representatives to do their job and actually focus on getting things done to tackle these.  By doing this we will start to change this paradigm of needing the “right or the left” to do it for us.  We – the people – are supposed to do this, and we must elect representatives that actually represent the interests of the people.  Not the party.

Regulations, Fees, and Taxes

I’ve been traveling across the beautiful state of Colorado. During my journey, I’ve met a lot of small business owners that share in the frustrations that I experience as a small business owner. During this election and down economy, we as a community must change the current system to have it better for small businesses. But first, it’s important to understand the effect of small businesses on our community.

Why should we care about small businesses?   Small businesses are the heart and soul of a community – they are able to efficiently provide products and services that are tailored to a specific community’s need.   We all know the tragedy of the box-store – a lot of products at a low price, but not necessarily anyone who wants to help you (even though the back of their blue-jackets say they do).  Those big stores are oftentimes lured into communities with attractive tax-breaks packages, and as soon as those benefits end, that store leaves the community.  Small businesses are different in that they are tied to their community – the people who own small businesses generally live there in addition to working there.  These people have their children in the schools that are located in the community. When small business owners pay their taxes, these taxes are going to pay for public services that they will use. They earn money to invest into houses, roads, and the hope that the community will grow and continue to provide for their time invested there.  This understanding of their time and investment, makes small business owners the heart and soul of that community – they are an integral part of the economic development that takes place.

Here are two examples of small business owners that I’ve met during my journey across Colorado.

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CASE A:  A well-known nutritionist and health coach, Jane, has inquiries from her customers about starting to prepare meals and sell them, so these customers can have ready-made healthy meals made from local ingredients.   Jane does her due diligence and goes to talk to the local health department about what she needs to do to be in compliance.  The health department tells her that she has to pay three different fees for licenses.  Looking through the state health department book , the bureaucrat determines that what she is doing has never been done before. The procedure then becomes to hold on everything and wait until they call her back to tell her whether or not she can operate at all.  In the meantime, since Jane is going to be serving meat, the city health department tells her that she must be USDA certified – even though she gets the meat from a USDA certified and even though restaurants around the rest of city who also serve meat, do not have to be USDA certified!  Jane is halted from buying raw ingredients and products (sales tax revenue for the city), and then selling healthy, ready-made meals to her customers (sales revenue for the city).

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CASE B: A young entrepreneur, Tanya, has several farmers from around the area contact her because they have not been invited to participate in a newly-run market on a newly-developed part of the city called the Historic Riverwalk Project (funded by city sales tax revenue).  Tanya decides that she will also start a small farmers market, where anyone is welcome to participate, providing they pay a small fee to help cover her costs.  Doing her due diligence, she goes to the various City and County offices to make sure she is in compliance.  To even run her market, she is required to get and pay for a background check (approx.  $10) at the police department (even though she has a concealed carry permit [approx. $300]).  In order to have electricity, she is required to pay a fee every week (approx. $15), for every vendor (total of approx. $60), in addition to a fee every week for the event itself  (approx. $35). Furthermore, she is required to hire a certified electrician (approx. $60) every week to check the plugs that are being plugged into a building that is a city/county building which is already certified!  At the first event she is told that each vendor needs to have a certified GFI plug-in or adapter to plug into the already-GFI-certified building ($20×4 = approx. $80).  For an 8-week event, this is approximately $1040 just to plug in four electrical cords every week!  The health department tells Tanya, that even though her vendors coming from other parts of the state have insurance and are licensed to sell food in their respective counties, they must re-certify their products with their city health department (approx. $150).  This is a price that these vendors cannot afford, and decide not to come from other counties into the city for that farmers market (city sales tax revenue).   The money is extracted from Tanya and her market, so she does not make enough money to realize a profit, and she decides to not bring vendors (sales tax revenue) and products and services to the community to sell their wares (sales tax revenue).
Two small examples in a growing example of what small businesses are up against in order to survive.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) – No Joke

This post originally posted at TishaTCasida.com.

Part of my frustration in the past ten years has been being the canary in the coal mine for my family and friends who just have no idea how dangerous certain chemicals are. After my over-exposure to pesticides/insecticides as a child, I have left my now 29-year-old body in a state that is super-sensitive to chemicals that I come in contact with.

Sometimes they are perfumes, sometimes cleaners, and sometimes other scents and antibacterial lotions/potions that are chock-full of chemicals that in small quantities can actually be dangerous. Small quantities become large quantities when you take into the equation all of the other chemicals that are raging in our food, air, water, etc.

Today the culprit is methyl nonyl ketone, which is in some strange pet-repellent that was sprayed in my parent’s home. Now, of course the MSDS sheet and other information says things like “Carcinogenic Effects: Not available”, “Mutagenic effects: Not available”, “Teratogenic Effects: Not available”, “Developmental Toxicty: Not available”. Nothing is known. Now, everyone would like you to think that the unknown is because there is no problem there – I, canary in the coal mine, can tell you that this chemical has some ill-effect on something because I can sense it. It sets off my senses and makes me feel ill.

Unfortunately in our society, such a warning is not enough. So, this is a battle cry. An opportunity to educate others – a cry out to others who have chemical sensitivities or MCS – that you are not alone. More and more people will become sensitive as our human bodies start to recognize that they are full-up of poison. Only then, will so many people change. But, it has to start somewhere, it has to be written, it has to be expressed.

We do that here – albeit the fate of a canary for anyone who recognizes the dangers of the pollutants that we fill our environment, our home, and our body with.

Conscious Capitalism – Bridging the Gap Between Capitalism and Sustainability

An unfortunate stranglehold has taken place amongst the words and the emotions we have concerning capitalism and sustainability.  Swarms of Wall Street capitalists turn into blood-feasting vampires wanting to profit off of people’s despair.  Meanwhile ‘sustainability’ has become a catastrophic national and international power-grab for land, energy, and people’s choices of consumption.  Capitalists are often looked at as evil and greedy people concerned only about their own wealth and well-being.  Folks who use the word “sustainability” are often looked at as tree-hugging, wealth-distributing environmentalists concerned only about the legislation that attempts to force people’s actions.

More and more good Americans are finding themselves caught in the middle, caring about freedom to earn a comfortable living (making money) as well as about the environment (don’t we all like clean air and water?).  We are okay with capitalism because it creates economic well-being and freedom.  We would like to live in a healthy environment but do not want a federal or universal entity telling us how to make that happen.

I have often lamented about the dangers of categorizing people based off of labels (conservative, liberal, ‘the right’, ‘the left’, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, etc.).  I watch copious amounts of emails every day, fly in and out of my inbox yelling at “the other side” for being “so atrocious, so wrong, so evil”.  Do we really think this is doing us – THE PEOPLE – any good?  NO – it is not.  The more we fight with each other about the issues, the more power those with really dangerous plans for our liberty gain toward accomplishing their pernicious deeds.  The people doing true harm to our country and our world want us to fight, they want us to label each other, and they want us to spend all the time in the world on organizing against the “other side” which we have so aptly labeled and categorized.

This must move beyond the “us versus them” mentality if we are to truly have any peace, prosperity, or liberty in our country.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them”.  This is what we must do if we are to solve the problems we are facing.  Just think about if we took 25% of the time we “complain” about the other side and instead use that time to do something positive and actionable.

For instance, be nice to someone who calls themselves a capitalist and ask them about how they spend their money or if they are interested in donating to any relevant and purposeful (and legit) foundations or causes – you may be surprised about how much of their money they “give away”, voluntarily, to others.  For instance, be nice to someone who is involved with a sustainability fair or event and ask them about what they are trying to accomplish with their movement – you may be surprised to find out how much they really care about people’s health and that relationship to the health of the environment.  All of this can be done voluntarily when free people act in their communities, doing well by doing good.

You see, there is nothing wrong with caring about money and there is nothing wrong with caring about the environment.  We, as Americans, need to start at that point when we have discussions about capitalism and sustainability.  HOW THESE TWO THINGS ARE CREATED, IMPLEMENTED, AND ACCOMPLISHED are what are important.  And, if you talk to most people, they agree that they want more control over their money and wealth, and they agree that they like to keep decisions closer to ‘home’ or closer to their own community.

We will never all agree, and that is a beautiful thing – it makes us autonomous, sovereign, and free.  What we must do is work together to find common ground and produce a strong and positive force that will be able to create a prosperous, peaceful, and free community.

– Tisha Casida & Jeff Hanson

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