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Archive for the ‘Trey Smith’ Category

Inadvertent Keystrokes: Different Shades of Green

Posted by Trey Smith on January 30, 2009

In our society, the word green tends to engender one of two concepts: environmentalism and money. I often find that, because of my philosophical viewpoint, these two images constantly butt heads.

On the one hand, I’m an avowed environmentalist — what some derisively call a treehugger. I believe that global warming and climate change are incontrovertible facts and that our society is set up to operate in an unsustainable manner.

On the other hand, economic justice is just as important to me. I find it vulgar and profane that a small minority of the world’s population lives in opulent splendor while the vast majority struggles to get by each day. I embrace the mantra Live Simply So Others Can Simply Live and I believe that, if more people followed this rule, our world would not be so poisoned by such economic inequality.

In essence, I believe many of the world’s ills could best be solved by a marriage of environmentalism with economic justice. Unfortunately, neither concept has been embraced by the powers that be and, when one of them partially is invoked, it always seems to be at the expense of the other.

For example, here in the U.S., various levels of government recently have created a variety of tax incentives to encourage people to utilize renewable energy and/or make use of less-polluting technology. Here I’m referring to tax credits for installing solar heating/cooling systems in your home or purchasing hybrid or plug-in electric vehicles (to name but a few).

On the surface, these seem to be excellent mechanisms to encourage folks to lead more sustainable lives. While it is certainly unfortunate that far too many people seem motivated to do the right thing for our planet ONLY when it benefits their economic self-interests, at least these types of strategies seem to get many people moving in a better direction.

When our elected leaders promote these various schemes, they do so in a way to make it appear that ANY citizen can take advantage of the tax credits or allowances. But the truth of the matter is that only the well-off will have the wherewithal to make these sorts of investments and, thereby, receive the economic benefits.

So, in reality, working class folks are giving money (taxpayer dollars) to rich people to induce them to buy a Prius or install solar panels on their roof. This is yet another example of the insidious transfer of funds from the least wealthy to the most wealthy (Robin Hood in reverse)!!

In the end, while such tax schemes sound laudable, they truly don’t address the problem in a meaningful way. And the main reason they don’t truly address the problem is that the vast majority of Americans are in the middle and working class — the very people who can’t afford to take advantage of these tax breaks, in the first place.

So, while a very small minority are driving hybrids or heating/cooling their homes from renewable energy, the majority are driving clunkers and heating/cooling their homes with coal-fired or nuclear energy. The overall positive impact is minimal.

If our government was truly serious about moving this nation toward sustainability, then we must pursue strategies that ALL Americans can take part in. For one idea, government could provide subsidies to the middle class and working poor to purchase hybrids and/or wind and solar heating/cooling systems.

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Inadvertent Keystrokes: It’s ALL About Race

Posted by Trey Smith on October 22, 2008

In recent days, both the Obama campaign and the media have accused the McCain camp of playing the race card.  McCain & Palin have been shown on camera using code words like “welfare” and “redistribution of wealth”.  It is said that both are trying to make whites think twice about voting for the man from Illinois by using words that conjure up stereotypical racial images.

While I think there’s no question that this is precisely what McCain and Palin are trying to do, the issue of race has permeated the entire campaign season.  While few people have focused on the issue of race, it has dictated the way the media — both mainstream and alternative — has reported.

If you might think otherwise, then I suggest you consider how the two presidential and two vice presidential candidates have been covered.  The media has gone after John McCain and Sarah Palin with great ferocity.  Every word uttered is dissected over and over again.  Every appearance is analyzed times ten.  Even Hillary Clinton during the primary and Sen. Joe Biden in the present have been scutinized beyond belief.

For the most part, Barack Obama has been given a free pass.  And the sole reason the media has not gone after Obama like everyone else is because no one in the media wants to be accused of racially-biased reporting.  So, the media has bent over backwards in their coverage of the Democratic nominee — so much so that it amounts to self-censorship.

For me, this explains why Obama can look into the TV cameras and decry that John McCain wants to give hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to the upper 5%, while at the same time, Obama is one of the biggest champions of the current bailout scheme.   Under Barack’s urging, a sufficient number of Democrats switched their votes to ensure passage of the Bush Administration’s $700 billion taxpayer-financed corporate giveaway.

But $700 billion is just the tip of the iceberg.  On the news today, I heard that the government — over the objections of most Republicans — plans to release another $300 billion!  Folks, when you add up the money that was doled out BEFORE the $700 billion and the additional funds being given away now, we’re talking about over $1 TRILLION of yours and my money.

John McCain wants to give corporate special interests tax breaks so they can keep more money in their pockets.  Barack Obama merely wants to hand them the money outright.  I don’t know about you, but it sounds to me like six one way and half a dozen the other.  The end result of these two strategies is eerily similar, yet the media is hammering away at McCain’s position only.

Fear of being labeled a racist or racially-biased is allowing Barack Obama to peddle what — in any other election year — would be a suicidal strategy for a Democratic presidential candidate.

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