…just back from the border

Joe talks with Mr. Fitzimmons in Bluffton’s Twisted Whisk Cafe

Brandon Fitzimmons was just back from the southern border when I met with him. Mr. Fizimmons works with a Jesuit non-profit that has set up a Soup Kitchen and shelters for immigrants stuck in Mexico, trying to get into America. He said the situation, in no way, was “black and white” on the border. While there may be some drug cartel people, and such, many of the people there are legitimately fleeing dire poverty and just as legitimate violence, Mr. Fitzimmons said. He also said it’s essential to “humanize” the situation and deal with it in all it’s complicated gray areas. Note: Mr. Fitzimmons said he wasn’t going to vote in Campaign 2016 because none of the presidential candidates matched up with his core beliefs across the board. I did. And when he found out about my campaign, he said: “I turned my no vote into a Joe vote.” I, of course, liked that. Note 2: I am currently vying for the nomination of the American Solidarity Party. The Party’s core values do, indeed, match up with mine across the board.

Seamless transportation?

blogs.voanews.com photo

“Leave the driving to us…” I was readin part of the book A Century of Graphic Design this morning. In a section titled: Design for Transportation, it noted how one transportation company wanted to portray their mode of transportation as a “seamless and efficient system.” My wife Liz, as a public relations consultant back in New Zealand, worked on a campaign to inspire more people to ride the bus to work, and so on. The ad campaigns revolved around saving money, being more environmentally friendly, foregoing the hassles of parking… It only worked, in part. People, many people, are addicted to their automobiles. That simple. In fact, how many would seriously consider, even for a minute, taking, say, a Greyhound bus on vacation? Not many. New Green Deal, or not, we need a major paradigm shift when it comes to transportation in this country. And our administration would have some cutting edge ideas…

a new “old” agricultural paradigm

This book notes that we need a “…plant-soil partnership that improves the productive and protective qualities of the farm.” I recently interviewed a philosophy professor at Ohio Northern University who teaches a “Food Ethics” class and questions whether this is the dominant paradigm anymore. For example, he discusses with students that many modern artificial pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, while helping with growing cycles in the short term, tremendously damage the soil in the long term. On a research stop at an organic farm in Yorkshire, Ohio, Dan Kremer also explained to me that these toxins also get absorbed in the plants, and by extension, people consume them in their foods. Our administration would create incentives for much more organic growing. The following is a link to the article I wrote about the Food Ethics class…

This might sound ‘corny,’ but…

a slice, or rather a ‘stalk,’ of Joe’s agriculture research notes

Corn is the most produced crop in America, coming in at about $24 billion a year. There are a significant amount of U.S. government subsidies for growing corn. This, for one, creates an unfair advantage against small farmers in other countries trying to sell to markets that the U.S. is also competing in. “America strong!”? Hardly. American greed. Secondly, and this is fascinating, I just interviewed a professor of philosophy for a newspaper article. He teaches a “Food Ethics” class. He said with this “glut” of corn, food producers have, in turn, come up with multiple uses for it — including a WHOLE lot of corn syrup that goes into practically everything these days. This syrup, in turn again, then becomes addicting to many. Look around. Some 66% of Americans are now overweight, with 33% being considered “obese” –with all the attendant healthcare issues, and such. This corn syrup thing is part of it. Note: In regard to the first point raised above, the Catholic Rural Life Association, as an example, notes their “faith traditions” commands care for “poor and vulnerable people.” And they support policies that promote local “food security” in the U.S., and around the world. So, through government subsidies and a substantially bigger farm, I’m able to undercut a small farmer in, say, the Honduras, who is selling to a local market to be able to provide, at the very least, just the basics for his family. Is this a moral issue? Well sure it is. For a look at how our administration would adjust America’s agricultural paradigm to align it much more with the common good, for everyone, see…

‘Water, water, everywhere, but…’

Jesus said: “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded…” This National Geographic magazine notes, among a whole lot of things, that one in eight people worldwide don’t have access to clean drinking water. We in America do. So… Our administration’s foreign policy would include lobbying to mobilize a sweeping Water Conservation Initiative across America. This would include the likes of way more home cistern systems, rain barrels, low flow toilets, landscaping that needs less water… to name just a few strategies. Concurrently, we would set up a fund designated specifically to get way more “clean drinking water help” into the Third World in the form of well water projects, cistern systems for storing water, solar ovens to heat water to kill the pathogens… At an Alternative Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin several years back I attended a Solar Oven Seminar. It was explained that an adequate solar oven for heating the water, cooking food, would cost as little as $10. Note: We are so often caught up in promoting “American interests” worldwide, that we lose sight, perhaps, of “God’s interests,” which, I’ve got to believe are represented quite simply in the quote at the top of this. This is how you: ‘Make America Great Again.’  And by extension, apparently, part of how you get to Heaven.

“It’s the economy stupid?”

“Its the economy stupid!” This political campaign slogan mantra is bandied about, either implied or implicit, in every presidential campaign cycle. Ours, however, is a different take on the “economy.” As an example: I was just reading in the book Justice (In A Global Economy) that, for instance, what we eat has multiple ramifications. Several days ago, I interviewed a philosophy professor at Ohio Northern University who teaches a “Food Ethics” class. He said he teaches the class that “traditional farming” these days, while increasing growing and profits in the short term (creating a “booming economy”), in the long term it can have some extremely detrimental effects. For instance, he noted that massive corporate farming fields of genetically modified crops are regularly sprayed with toxic, artificial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. This, over time, destroys the nutrients in the soil. What’s more, during an interview I did with author David Orr, who was also the head of Oberlin College’s Environmental Science Program at the time, he said these toxins were making “chemical cocktails” in consumers’ systems — ‘exploding’ into diseases like cancer. [One in three Americans now get cancer in a lifetime.] The author of the Justice book recommends we readjust our paradigm by growing much more organic food, shopping locally at Farmer’s Markets and such, and avoiding a lot of non-nutritional junk food. As for the latter, as an example, Americans could take the savings from, say, drinking pop, and fund well-water-projects for many more of the almost one billion people in the world without even the access to the basics in clean drinking water. That might well be a component of an ‘economy’ much more in line with the economy God might want for our society. Spiritual common sense. For more on our agricultural platform, which addresses a number of these issues at length, go to…

Africa at an ag. crossroads…

A vignette that’s emblematic of the crux of some of the article. –photo by Robin Hammond

I just read a rather detailed article on “African agriculture” in National Geographic magazine. It noted that it was on the rise and that Africa, itself, while having a lot of fallow land and plenty of water for irrigation, nonetheless still has the “…largest ‘yield gap’ of anywhere on earth.” The article also noted that the World Bank, other donor countries, and corporations are stepping up to increase this ‘yield.’ Problem is, the article (by Joel K. Bourne, Jr.) explains that big farming is colliding, in many parts of Africa, with small farming. Corporate farming concerns are, for instance, buying up big swaths of land in, say, Mozambique — with the government doing little to protect small farmer land rights in this. As the big farms take over, they then continue to increase exponentially (as has happened in America). What’s more, big farming practices include things like using massive amounts of toxic, artificial pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers… that, in the long run, damage the soil, the environment, and, well, consumers (cancer risks, and such). In the article, a partial argument is made to help current small farmers there be as sustainable as possible by helping them in various ways. For instance, “African Century Agriculture” provides small farmers with more seed and mechanical devises to weed. It also provides “extension agents” to teach these small farmers about “conservation agriculture,” the latest in seed treatments, and such. They currently work with some 900 farmers. Note: Our administration’s policy would be too increase, ‘exponentially,’ aid to organizations like African Century Agriculture to help buoy the small farmers of Africa. Given Africa is the “hungriest continent” in the world (scores of people starve to death every day there), our priority — devoid of myopic, selfish “American interests” — would be to, well, do what’s morally right to help people with constant “food insecurity” issues. And our agricultural platform stance, in part, outlines projects that we’ve researched across America to mobilize a lot more help for these people. This is, really, how we can: Make America Great Again — in God’s eyes. [Our Foreign Policy addresses some of all this as well.] Note 2: The article also noted that the “specter of climate change threatens to hammer Africa’s [crop] yields.” So our administration’s policy would be to also work on, ‘exponentially’ again, curbing climate change.

food terrorists?

In the book This Hungry World, it notes that in Central America there is a food that is a mixture of ground corn, cottonseed meal, yeast and Vitamin A. The protein it provides, according to what I was reading, is almost as good at the protein value in milk. What’s more, “incaparina” costs about three cents a day per: child. The book also notes, however, that many families there make less than a dollar a day. So… On a stop in Vermont several years ago, I interviewed a Mary Knoll priest who is stationed in Cambodia — where there are a lot of similar hunger issues. What’s more, he said with Americans wasting billions of dollars a year on a host of non-nutritional junk food and beverage — in the face of such dire world hunger — it makes us nothing less, in God’s eyes, “food terrorists.” You know, when you think about that objectively, much less spiritually, you have to say he’s right. Note: As president, I’d use the office as a “bully pulpit” to try to get this across to Americans. In fact, a good deal of our “Foreign Policy” spins around much more “just” distribution of resources worldwide. Note: Besides violence, may are fleeing Latin America because of the stark poverty. Peoples’ kids are hungry!

‘Plimpton presidency’

Joe working on an organic farm in Lisbon, Ohio –photo by Steven Piscura

It will be a ‘Plimpton presidency,’ as it has been a ‘Plimpton candidacy.’ George Plimpton was a “participatory sports journalist.” That is, he would actually play whatever sport he was writing about to better understand it in portraying it. For instance, before writing the book Paper Lion, he participated in part of training camp with the Detroit Lions and even ran three plays at quarterback during an exhibition game. I, as an example, tout organic farming in our platform. So myself, and our family, worked for extended periods on several organic farms over the years. This was not some “farm photo-op deal.” We worked long, sweaty hours for weeks, sometimes months on end, bailing hay, cutting wood, working with animals… For more on our agricultural platform in general… Note: I told the Country Today newspaper in Wisconsin that another part of our agricultural platform revolves around lobbying for big corporate mega-farms to be classified as “monopolies,” and broken up. Our country would do best to go back to small family farms, which was once the backbone of the country, and should be again.

Doomsday Clock: tick, tick, tick…

Doomsday Clock businessinsider.com photo

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists kept the Doomsday Clock at an ominous two minutes to doomsday a few days ago. This, it was noted, is as close to doomsday that we’ve been since the Cold War. I was recently reading part of the book Beyond The Cold War. The book notes that a nuclear crises can arise from either a sudden, acute imminent threat; or the gradual deterioration of international relations over time that could lead to the same threat. “The most effective, improvised action to be taken in anticipation of a possible thermonuclear war is evacuation of civilians to shelter in rural areas.” Uh… Conversely, our administration would propose an extremely proactive set of strategies to build peace worldwide through a U.S. Department of Peace. Note: What’s more, Mother Theresa once said, for instance, that abortion can lead to nuclear holocaust as well. [Abortion is legal in all but six countries in the world, with America coming in at a staggering 60 million abortions now, and counting.] So a multi-prong approach would be to mobilize the U.S. Department of Peace strategies, in tandem with ending abortion. And we have a plan for the latter as well.