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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize: UPDATE

Willie Nelson

The campaign for a Nobel Peace Prize for Willie Nelson's Farm Aid work and other causes continues. Thus far, over 20,000 have supported the effort by liking Willie Nelson for a Nobel Peace Prize page on Facebook.

Willie Nelson's efforts for Farm Aid, his work on alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives deserve a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. (Full details of Nelson's career and commitment to humanitarian efforts are here.)

Willie Nelson has been helping family farmers for over 25 years and has raised awareness of healthy foods while raising funds for the cause.

Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $37 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land.

John Mellencamp is campaigning to get Willie Nelson a Nobel Peace Prize. The interview took place on SIRIUS XM Willie's Place at Farm Aid 25 in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Thanks everybody for liking Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize page on Facebook!


Willie Nelson Fans Launch Nobel Peace Prize Campaign » News » Willie Nelson

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At 8/11/2011 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Paul Dionne said...

Thanks Thrasher!

At 8/11/2011 10:11:00 AM, Blogger Peter Johnson said...

I always liked him, and I know he's done good work, but I never liked the fact that Willie has licensed his songs for use in Fast Food commercials. That seems, at best, a little contradictory.

That, and the evidence he's good friends with the boss of one of the most unscrupulous factory farms in existance...just seems a little odd, that's all. To be on good terms with such a person is one thing, for the sake of furthering your cause - but to be good friends is quite another. You could say Willie's personal friendships are none of our business, but as potential money donors to Farm Aid...that makes it our business.

I think Farm Aid does really excellent work, but Willie himself doesn't always inspire much confidence in it. It's for that reason I choose to support other farming/animal based charities rather than farm aid - I like to know where the charities I support stand, and sometimes Farm Aid just doesn't seem able to give that reassurance.

At 8/11/2011 08:47:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Peter, The fact that Willie's songs have been used in Fast Food Commercials doesn't mean that it was done with his approval. Some artists, which I believe is the case with Willie, don't always own the rights to their own songs. Just as Michael Jackson owned the Beatles catalog and Paul McCartney owned Buddy Holly's. back when Willie had his run-in with the IRS, Willie sold the copyrights to his catalog to an investor to help pay off his tax debt. As for his friendship with the 'Factory Farm' guy, I personally think that speaks volumes for his charactor as a human being and as a man. It obviously hasn't swayed Willies stance in his beliefs nor has it lessened his efforts to continue with such a noble cause as Farm Aid. Maybe it would enhance Willies Outlaw image if he were to 'beat the guy up'? Just because Willie chooses rather to be friendly with a person who has different political views doesn't mean he's selling out to the other side. Instead, willie being Willie is exactly why he is the perfect spokesman for the cause. He's a lover of mankind, including farmers, and his lifestyle has won the trust of millions who have already contributed over the past 25 yrs so it doesn't appear that your argument holds any water

At 8/11/2011 09:26:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Peter, ya know, the more I think about your post, the more contradictions I see crawling all over it. You say "I always liked him and you know he's done good work", but skip down a paragraph and you say that "Farm Aid does excellent work but Willie doesn't always inspire much confidence in it". After I offered evidence explaining the use of his songs in those commercials, maybe you could reveal who his good friend is? After all, for you to tarnish Willie's name and charactor in print without offering any evidence is almost as unscrupulous as being the boss of a factory farm. Then, in the same paragraph where you state that "Farm Aid does really excellent work", you go on to state "I like to know where the charities I support stand, and sometimes Farm Aid just doesn't seem able to give that reassurance" Well, Peter,what other 'Farm Based' charity could you possibly choose to support? To my knowledge, Farm Aid is IT! If reassurance is what you are after, just ask the thousands of Family Farmers that have been assisted. There isn't a more 'transparent' charity in existance. All the documents are available for you to scrutinize if you have any doubts to its legitimacy. As for Willie, who would you think could better serve or represent the cause? Neither Willie nor the rest of the board takes any pay for the work that they do. It's exclusively on a volunteer basis. Enough said, but if your gonna come on here and spew nonsense, expect to be called out and answer for your mess.

At 8/12/2011 06:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep your calm Big chief

At 8/12/2011 07:20:00 AM, Blogger Peter Johnson said...

Bigchief - firstly, I had no intention of causing any offence, so I am sorry if I have. If you reread my post you will struggle I think to find anything disrespectful about Willie other than "it's a little odd". If indeed Willie's songs have been used without his approval then yes, I do think that qualifies as a little odd (and pretty sneaky, as is to be expected with these corporations!). Judging by your double post on the matter, I would say you have thought about my message a little too much and read things into it that are simply not there. If Willie has no control over the use of his songs then I certainly regret making the assumption I did, and I'm not afraid to say that. Everything else that I wrote I stand by, especially as much of it is pretty complimentary! You seem to take offence at me saying nice things about Willie as well, I meant them sincerely and certainly will not retract them. I don't see what the contradiction is, to be honest.

I am not interested in any kind of discussion of what makes a worthwhile charity - I mentioned my (generally-favourable) view of farm aid in context, not as any kind of slight. It does do excellent work. My personal views on farming; if all people do is buy factory farmed meats most of the time, and family farm food as and when it's available, then nothing is going to improve much at all, and will almost certainly continue to get worse. As factory farms produce 99% of meat, it seems likely that is what is going to happen. That's my relatively educated opinion on the matter, and you can draw whatever conclusions from that you like. One way or another, we have to cut out all factory farmed meat if any real difference is going to be made to the farms that matter. I don't think that's a unachievable aim in the long term.

So, As the post above me says, please do calm down, no offence was meant and I'm sorry if it was caused. I have been polite to you, and would be appreciative if you could return the favor in future.

At 8/12/2011 09:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the early nineties, the fast food chain Taco Bell made a donation to Farm Aid to show their "support for the American farmer". Surely by coincidence, Taco Bell took the opportunity of the check presentation to premiere their new commercial, featuring none other than Willie Nelson (not just his music, but Willie personally). So maybe that is the way things work in the corporate world, but I'm not sure I like it.

At 8/12/2011 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks guys for keeping this on the level.

We would just say, that when you look at the big picture on Willie, he's an impressive guy with impeccable credentials:

Founder, Willie Nelson is the founder of the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

Founder, Willie Nelson Biodiesel Fuel

Co-chair of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advisory board

Chair, Tsunami Relief Austin to Asia

Honorary trustee of the Dayton International Peace Museum

Member, Board of Directors, Habitat for Horses

And much more can be found in our nominating petition @


At 8/12/2011 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Willie Nelson is the official spokesperson for a chain restaurant/steakhouse called the Texas Roadhouse, which he promotes through TV etc.

And who do you think supplies most of the meat for the Texas Roadhouse? According to wikipedia and various other sources on the net (I stress, I CANNOT verify this personally - maybe someone can confirm or even disprove), their food is sourced from Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods, the two biggest factory farms in the world...Anyone who has ever studied factory farming at any level will doubtless be very familiar with these two, they're as notorious as you can get. To say they have a significant investment in destroying the planet is an understatement.

As Thrasher wisely points out Willie has a very commendable history in other areas too, which is important, but I don't see any reason why we shouldn't seek explanation for his numerous apparent connections to factory farms - we are (quite correctly) being told to fight them after all? Perhaps Willie should start following his own advice.

At 8/12/2011 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made the mistake of eating at a Texas Roadhouse once and Willie's pictures are prominent throughout the restaurant. The food was a disaster and if it is sourced from Smithfield then that explains it. Sad. Between this revelation and Neil's partnering with Tyson last summer, it seems hypocrisy is running wild among the Farm Aid founders.

At 8/12/2011 05:49:00 PM, Blogger Peter Johnson said...

At least, with Neil, his pairing with Tyson was for a charitable gesture. It was, in my opinion, completely ill-advised and probably incredibly naive, but his heart was surely in the right place. But if indeed it's true that Willie does choose to advertise for these various factory farm-style food places, including ones in which he is apparently part owner and spokesperson, then that strikes me as being a whole lot more disturbing. Not least because it is hypocritical. Don't get me wrong, being slightly hypocritical is to be expected, for anyone. You do what you can, knowing full well you could probably do a bit more. Hypocrisy is a sign that you are at least doing something right (just ask any vegetarian who wears leather shoes, for example). But this goes way beyond that. You go to farm aid and donate your money, then one of Willie's restaurants and buy a meal, and you've basically wasted a significant portion of your farm aid donation. It's one of those situations where you really can't have it both ways and expect huge changes to be made. There's probably a reason in there somewhere as to why farm aid hasn't really been able to make much progress in the last 20+ years.

At 8/12/2011 07:19:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Peter, I'm sorry if you took offence to my response to your post. In my zealous attempt to point out the discrepancies in your comments,my intent wasn't meant to attack you personally. My feelings, although I maybe somewhat naive, were founded on what I do know about Willie and his charitable contributions based upon his credentials such as those listed by Thrasher. My oversight of any hypocrisy on Willies behalf or Neil's for that matter is probably due to my not seeing the forest for the trees. While I do recall the Neil/Tyson controversy a while back, this is the first I've heard of Willie's partnership with Smithfield, Tyson, or any other involvement with the 'enemy'. These are some pretty strong accusations that if they can be proven to be true could cast a long, dark shadow upon the entire Farm Aid Organization regardless of how noble their efforts appear to be. Why hasn't the 'Board' been called out on the matter?

At 8/12/2011 07:32:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

... Is that 'calm' enough for ya? Also, I do think that those who wish to participate in these discussions should identify themselves by name or title other than 'Anon'. It's way to difficult to discern which 'Anon' is which when attempting to give responses to their comments. just sayin ...

At 8/12/2011 07:32:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Peter - OK, you've made your point here.

Now. What *exactly* are doing to make a difference?

Because if your contribution to the good food movement is to criticize, than you're part of the problem and not helping with a solution.

It's easy to criticize. Anybody can be called a hypocrite. Willie. Neil. Thrasher.

So how about you? Are you a hypocrite?

Also, a lot of accusations here without all of the facts at hand. Before posting here, do your homework. Some of these accusations are ancient history. Times change, people learn, and they move on.

Lastly, it is grossly unfair to Willie, his family and friends, to take an example of what might be a mistake or something beyond his control and somehow make that negate a lifelong career of HUGE accomplishments.

Do not diminish what Willie has done for all of mankind because of your slanted judgements.

He's a better man.


At 8/12/2011 09:07:00 PM, Blogger Peter Johnson said...

Firstly, thank you bigchief! No offence taken, of course. Thanks for the nice note. We both care about the topic, which is what matters. Have a nice weekend.

@Thrasher, I can truthfully say I have been making significant changes to my entire life in order to benefit family farms and factory farm animals. At the very least, I try my best to eat no factory farmed animal foods at all. I write about the subject, and am engaged in numerous other pursuits to help do my bit for the situation. And yes, I am still a hypocrite in some ways, agreed. I have no wish to go into it in more detail than that. I think it highly (and uncharacteristically) disingenuous of you to take this attitude, and hope you understand by now I am firmly on the side of the farmers. If you wish to alienate me (and others) on this issue then I cannot stop you, but I think you would be making a mistake. From past experience you seem to enjoy alienating people (rarely do you come across as friendly) and I for one would prefer it if that wasn't the case. I enjoy coming to your site. I would love to contribute here, respectfully, without having to worry about you getting worked up. I know a lot of others feel the same. I thought the days of needless censorship and insults on here had been relegated to the past.

I assure you, when it comes to this current issue, i have done my homework, so to speak, and my intentions are pure, so please have the good taste not to patronize me. If you genuinely care about the farmers, then I think you should let people speak and debate. Otherwise, no good is ever going to come to the farms. You have an ideal platform to let this happen, an excellent website with good natured contributors on a relevant topic. Maybe even you may learn something. Obviously I cannot force you. I send this message with all due respect and hope it is taken as such.


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