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Category Archives: Great American Rip-Off

Chumph’s Racism Destroying Agriculture

So…What happens if the Chumph gets his wish to deport all illegal aliens in this country…

The Agricultural industry in the US collapses.

Despite incessant whining by the white right snowflakes of flyover country…There just aren’t going to be any white folks out there picking cotton as long as they can get a welfare check, Even if you raise the pay to be competitive with other work.

Tell me again “who” is exactly unwilling to work for a living?

Wages rise on California farms. Americans still don’t want the job

Trump’s immigration crackdown is supposed to help U.S. citizens. For California farmers, it’s worsening a desperate labor shortage.

Arnulfo Solorio’s desperate mission to recruit farmworkers for the Napa Valley took him far from the pastoral vineyards to a raggedy parking lot in Stockton, in the heart of the Central Valley.

Carrying a fat stack of business cards for his company, Silverado Farming, Solorio approached one prospect, a man with only his bottom set of teeth. He told Solorio that farm work in Stockton pays $11 to $12 an hour. Solorio countered: “Look, we are paying $14.50 now, but we are going up to $16.” The man nodded skeptically.

Solorio moved on to two men huddled nearby, and returned quickly. “They were drug addicts,” he said. “And, they didn’t have a car.”

Before the day was through, Solorio would make the same pitch to dozens of men and women, approaching a taco truck, a restaurant and a homeless encampment. Time was short: He needed to find 100 workers to fill his ranks by April 1, when grapevines begin to grow and need constant attention.

Solorio is one of a growing number of agricultural businessmen who say they face an urgent shortage of workers. The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border. Now President Trump is promising to deport more people, raid more companies and build a wall on the southern border.

That has made California farms a proving ground for the Trump team’s theory that by cutting off the flow of immigrants they will free up more jobs for American-born workers and push up their wages.

So far, the results aren’t encouraging for farmers or domestic workers.

Farmers are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines.

Growers who can afford it have already begun raising worker pay well beyond minimum wage. Wages for crop production in California increased by 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today, farmworkers in the state earn about $30,000 a year if they work full time — about half the overall average pay in California. Most work fewer hours.

Some farmers are even giving laborers benefits normally reserved for white-collar professionals, like 401(k) plans, health insurance, subsidized housing and profit-sharing bonuses. Full-timers at Silverado Farming, for example, get most of those sweeteners, plus 10 paid vacation days, eight paid holidays, and can earn their hourly rate to take English classes.

But the raises and new perks have not tempted native-born Americans to leave their day jobs for the fields. Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey.

Instead, companies growing high-value crops, like Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa, are luring employees from fields in places like Stockton that produce cheaper wine grapes or less profitable fruits and vegetables.

Growers who can’t raise wages are losing their employees and dealing with it by mechanizing, downsizing or switching to less labor-intensive crops.

Jeff Klein is doing all of the above. Last year Klein, a fourth-generation Stockton farmer, ran a mental ledger, trying to sort out the pros and cons of persevering in the wine business or quitting. He couldn’t make the math work.

Wineries pay Klein a tiny fraction of what they pony up for the same grape variety grown in Napa, and the rising cost of labor meant he was losing money on his vineyards. So in October, Klein decided to rip out 113,000 Chardonnay grapevines that once blanketed land his family has owned for decades. Now they lay heaped into hundreds of piles, waiting to be taken to the dump.

“I try to make any decision I make not emotional. When you’re running a business, it has to be a financial decision,” he says, sifting through the mangled metal posts.

Five years ago, Klein had a crew of 100 workers pruning, tying and suckering his grapevines. Wineries paid $700 for a ton of grapes, and Klein could make a solid profit paying $8 an hour, the minimum wage.

Last year he could barely get together 45 laborers, and his grapes sold for only $350 per ton. Klein knew his vines were done for when California passed laws raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2023 and requiring overtime for field laborers.

“There’s not enough guys, and everybody is fighting for everybody else’s guys,” he says. “In Napa and Sonoma, they’re getting $2,000 a ton [for grapes]. So, those guys can afford to pay $15. For me, I’m just trying to break even.”

Although Trump earned Klein’s vote, he worries that recent executive orders ratcheting up deportation plans and calling for a wall are putting a chokehold on an already tight pool of workers.

“That’s killing our labor force,” says the 35-year-old grower.

Already, fewer Mexicans had been willing to risk border crossings as security and deportations escalated under the Obama Administration. At the same time, Mexico’s own economy was mushrooming, offering decent jobs for people who stayed behind.

With the grapevines he has left, Klein is doing what he can to pare his crews. Last year, he bought a leaf puller for $50,000, which turns the delicate process of culling grapevine canopies into an exercise in brute force. The puller hooks onto a tractor and, like an oddly shaped vacuum cleaner, sucks leaves from grapevines.

He used to spend $100 an acre culling the canopies, which allows the right amount of sunlight to hit the grapes and turn them into sugar balls. Now, he says, “It will cost me 20 bucks, and I can get rid of some labor.”

Klein says he’ll spend the next five years replacing his 1,000 acres of grapevines with almond and olive trees, which require a fraction of the human contact to grow.

About 80 miles west in Napa, growers aren’t facing quite the same challenge. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa go for nearly $6,900 per ton, 10 times more than in San Joaquin County.

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Read the Rest Here…

 

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Here in Virginia, this is one of my neighbor’s Tomato Fields. This one is run by a major company, and the crop can wind up in anything from your Marinara and Spaghetti Sauces under a major label, to canned tomatoes, depending on what they plant. There are about 300,000 to 3 million plants out there on this field (of which the photo is only of a small part). All of these tomatoes are picked by hand by immigrant labor. Teams of hundreds go out to pick the crop, twice, before the plants are killed, and a second crop is planted. Typically they get two crops a year in Spring to fall. If the Chumph deports these workers…There ain’t gonna be any Mamma Ragu anymore.

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Republican Racist Redistricting Ruled Illegal in Texas

Same old racist Republican shit in Texas – Overthrown…For now.

Jim Crow gets a pass under the Chumph.

 

 

 

 

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Roland Martin Unloads on the CBC and Black Legislators

Those familiar with my blog have heard me say it a number of times. A lot of black legislators out there aren’t doing much but showing up at picture events and going o Cabarets. Roland Martin takes these folks to task. Why is it there is no serious opposition to the Chumph and Republicans. Why is it, any Democrat can vote for a massively unqualified Uncle Ben Carson’s confirmation to provide some racial cover for the most racist administration since Wilson, and not have all 43 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus standing on their desk the next morning?

As black voters, we are going to have to take the position that “either you are going to fight for us, or get the fuck out!” It is way past time to cull the useless, accomodationalist – garbage.

The New Jim Crow is allowed, an enabled by the failure of black legislators to stand up.

Media Host Roland Martin Challenges State’s Black Leaders in Passionate MLK Speech

TV One commentator and host Roland Martin challenged African American legislators and other officials to aspire to the goals, dreams, and ideals of civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a speech last week in Sacramento.

Martin, a journalist, and the host of TV One’s NewsOne Now, asked attendees at the California Legislative Black Caucus’ (CLBC)’ annual breakfast “ Are We Satisfied?  He said he was not satisfied where we are but encouraged attendees to reflect and recognize King’s birthday as a way to renew their commitment to what King fought for during his lifetime.

“When it comes to equality. When it comes to freedom. What are you satisfied with?” Martin asked. “Are you advocating for the very policies he stood for? Are you advocating for the very people he stood for?”

King, a champion for racial, social and economic equality organized boycotts, protests and marches, won a Nobel Peace Prize, spoke out against racism in the United States and delivered some of the most influential speeches in American history.

King’s 88th birthday was Jan. 15, a day before the national holiday named after him and held each year in remembrance of his legacy. The Atlanta-based Baptist minister, was gunned down by an assassin on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.

The Golden State’s eleven-member CLBC’s breakfast took place on Jan. 12 at the Sacramento Convention Center. At the event, over 250 people honored King and celebrated individuals that have a commitment to work for the betterment of California’s African Americans and more.

Martin expounded with a self-proclaimed “spirit of discomfort” said he was not satisfied with the standing of African-Americans in America today.

“I’m not satisfied if you come asking for Black votes, but can’t hire Black companies,” said Martin alluding to the relationship between elected officials and African American businesses vying for state contracts. “I’m not satisfied when you come asking for Black votes, but can’t fund Black media.”

“I’m not satisfied when you say, ‘We’ll offer internships, but won’t hire full-time for critical positions,” the television personality continued. “In this particular state, where are your dollars being spent? Who are you actually supporting? I’m not interested in internships.”

Martin said King spoke about education, police brutality, voting rights, and economics; all issues that concern the African-American community today.
Martin said when it comes to educating Black youth he stands for success in the classroom.

“If it’s working for a child I’m with it 100 percent,” he said. “I would expect the Black Caucus in California – when you have constituents and children in some of the worst schools – to say, ‘I will provide an opportunity for you whatever it looks like.’ For some reason we are having a 1950s’ dialogue about education, but we are in 2017.

Martin said African-Americans should not be satisfied with the progress in the U.S. as of now. He said King focused on what racial and social and economic challenges lay on the horizon. The renowned media figure challenged Black caucus members to do the same.

 

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The Line on the Chumph Not Surviving His Term

The line currently at the bookmakers on the Chumph being impeached before the end of his first term is 7/4. Pretty heavy odds with only 24 hours in office.

I am not sure that Impeachment is a legal necessity. I believe (but may be wrong), that the Election can be effectively annuled on a Court finding that he indeed accepted illegal monies and assistance from the Russians. This is all new territory here. But such an apprach would effectively make everything since the “election” null and void.

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As Donald Trump Becomes President, Bookies Bet Big on Impeachment

“Completely one-way traffic in betting.”

 

As Donald Trump prepares to be sworn in as the next president of the United States today, bookmakers are currently offering odds on whether Trump—the least popular incoming president in four decades—will get impeached or be forced to resign. Some even predict that he won’t survive the first six months in office.

That’s according to the online betting site Paddy Power, which has placed the odds of Trump failing to complete his first term at 7 to 4. The odds of Trump getting impeached in the first six months stand at 4 to 1. Other offerings include bets on the inauguration itself and the future of his marriage to Melania Trump.

To be sure, political pundits are still reeling from one of the worst-predicted election results in recent memory, and the mechanisms to impeach a president are far more difficult than one might hope. Yet, Matt Shaddick, who oversees the popular betting site, told the Independent that there has been “completely one-way traffic” in betting trends against Trump’s survival in office.

 

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Why The Investigation of Trump-Putin Money Is Going Nowhere

Three words…Federal Bureau of Investigation AKA the FBI.

Led by Trump Traitor James Comey. The guy who is under investigation himself for releasing false information on Clinton just before the election.

The fix is in.

FBI's warning of white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement nearly forgotten news 1x1.trans

The FBI is leading an investigation into Donald Trump’s connections with Russia

Trump is about to take over a government that has suspicions about whether he has been compromised by Russia

The FBI is leading a multi-agency investigation into possible links between Russian officials and President-elect Donald Trump.

The bureau will be joined by the CIA, National Security Agency, and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit, according to The New York Times on Thursday. They will reportedly be looking into intercepted communications and financial transactions involving Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman; Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser; and Roger Stone, a Republican political operative and Trump confidante. One official told the Times that intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications were provided to the White House.

The report did not say whether Trump himself or his presidential campaign have been directly implicated in these investigations or whether they involve the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee. All that is known for sure is that they at least partially encompass Trump’s past business dealings with Russia, as well as Manafort’s previous work in both Russia and Ukraine (when the latter state was controlled by a Putin puppet). Sources also told the Times that some of Manafort’s contacts were under surveillance by the National Security Agency because of possible links to Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the infamous KGB.

The legal standards for opening one of these investigations are not very high, and as a result prosecutions are uncommon. Because Trump will soon oversee the agencies conducting these efforts, he will have the power to hinder or even outright squelch them.

“We have absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation,” said Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks. Manafort was even more defiant, emailing the Times on Thursday evening that claims he had interacted with the Russian government were a “Democrat Party dirty trick and completely false.”

There are numerous connections between Trump and Russia that are beyond dispute. It is a fact that Manafort worked for pro-Putin politicians in Ukraine (his denials notwithstanding), that Trump advisers like Rex Tillerson and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn are also connected to Putin, that Trump took little interest in the Republican Party platform except to make sure that it wasn’t too harsh on Russia, that he openly encouraged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, and that he had to turn to Russian financial interests tied to the Putin regime to fund his business ventures when major banks stopped lending him money.

That said, if the FBI has been aware of these investigations since before October, it will raise serious questions about why FBI Director James Comey didn’t disclose them to the public when he did choose to disclose a warrant into Hillary Clinton’s emails, which were ultimately about “nothing at all.”

 

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Representative Elijah Cummings – “If You Knew What We Know…”

You’d be rioting in the streets, quite honestly.

I don’t quite get why Cummings is going to the coronation. I don’t get why he isn’t raising holy hell. I don’t get why there isn’t a massive sit down demonstration in the House, denying the Rethugs the ability to conduct business …Until this information is given to the American people.

 

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Hubris Leads to Black Restaurateur’s Spectacular Failure

Washington, DC., New York, Chicago, San Fran, LA, and Dallas All host great restaurants – of which a half dozen or so compete on the World Stage of greats.You want to open a restaurant and claim it belongs you better be on the very, very, very top of your game. Legendary locations for exquisite cuisine include The French Laundry, Per Se, Alinea, or  Le Bernadin are world famous. The top 5, 10, or 50 list is hotly contested and changes from year to year. Per person seatings generally run from $80 to $300 before the wine tab.

In the Washington, DC area that list include perennial favorite, The Inn at Little Washington, as well as relative newcomers Minibar, Rasika, Komi, Fiola, and French traditional stalwart L’Auberge Chez Francois.

So when an upstart opens a new place with a price tag of $1,000 a seating, at 4 times the price of 2 of the highest Michelin rated restaurants in the US, you better be able to  produce something so spectacular, people faint at first tasting.

Alas… This foolish brother couldn’t “walk the walk”.

Just from a single guy standpoint, if I’m picking up a $2,000 tab – everything from the decor, ambiance, food, service, wine better be so good – my date hands me the room key to the Presidential Suite she paid for at the hotel…With the bottle of champagne!

I’m not paying 4 times the going rate for some of the very best restaurants in the world…For a place whose decor looks like “Early Howard Johnson’s”

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Shaw Bijou Dining Room @ $2,000 for 2

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The competition — The Inn at Little Washington Veranda Dining Room @ $300-$500 for 2

Shaw Bijou, one of D.C.’s most expensive restaurants, has closed after less than three months

Fail! Chef Kwame Onwuachi lost his debut restaurant after less than three months of business.

The Shaw Bijou closed today, and the owner says the blame for the restaurant’s two-and-a-half-month existence is shared among all the principals.

Kelly Gorsuch, the principal owner of Shaw Bijou, says he saw himself as a silent investor, providing the capital for first-timers chef Kwame Onwuachi and general manager Greg Vakiner to build and run the high-concept restaurant they had been planning for years. But in retrospect, Gorsuch says he should have pushed the duo more from the start.

He says that the restaurant’s pricey tasting-menu dinner wasn’t filling seats or covering costs. So on Sunday, Gorsuch called Onwuachi and Vakiner into a meeting and told them he was closing Shaw Bijou, effective immediately. Gorsuch and the other principal investor Glenn Paik could no longer afford to keep the place running.

Neither Onwuachi nor Vakiner could be reached for comment.

“[The restaurant] bled too much, at too much of a clip, to be able to salvage it,” says Gorsuch, the president of Gorsuch Holdings, a company that operates upscale salons and other luxury brands. “It just cost a lot of money. It was a very expensive business. I’ve never quite seen that in business at all. That was new for me. The numbers were staggering.”

The closing of Shaw Bijou, first reported by Washingtonian, brings an abrupt end to a restaurant that endured wild mood swings before it served a single meal. Even before appearing on “Top Chef,” where he finished sixth out of 17 contestants last year, Onwuachi was a hot commodity. He not only had a compelling back story, but he also had an impressive run with Dinner Lab, a series of pop-up dinners in which the chef consistently impressed diners. Onwuachi’s appearances on “Top Chef” only contributed to the buzz around the young cook, even though he had never run his own restaurant or managed a kitchen.

The hype took a turn in August when Onwuachi and his team announced the price tag of their 13-course tasting menu, which would take diners on a journey through a converted townhouse. It wasn’t long before Washingtonians realized that dinner for two at Shaw Bijou could top out at $1,000, immediately making it one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. Diners couldn’t understand how someone with such a thin resume could compete with the likes of José Andrés, Eric Ziebold and Aaron Silverman.

When Shaw Bijou opened on Nov. 1, the early reviews were mixed. In his First Bite review, The Post’s Tom Sietsema enjoyed several of his savory courses but found the desserts fell flat. More dispiriting, the critic realized that after dropping $500 per person on the meal, he was still hungry. Washingtonian gave the place two stars in a review that couldn’t make sense of the story that Onwuachi was trying to weave.

Two months into its existence, Shaw Bijou slashed its prices and its offerings: Onwuachi rolled out a seven-course, $95 tasting menu on Jan. 3. The chef also offered up a little humble pie. “Humility creeps up on you when least expected,” Onwuachi noted in a letter. “The opening of this restaurant has taught us just that.”

But Gorsuch says it was too little, too late.

“I think all business is difficult. You have to be able to move and change and adapt quickly, especially when you’re starting out,” Gorsuch says. “It wasn’t happening. It wasn’t where it needed to be.”

The owner says he had been trying for weeks to convince Onwuachi and Vakiner to change the concept, but he says he couldn’t convince them.

“I think the biggest problem here, from the get, was that we were not listening to the guests,” Gorsuch says. “We spent two years working on this thing . . . I don’t care what the industry is, you put your people first and you care about the guests and you care about the details. . . I mean, numbers can be tweaked. You can cut things, but you have to have those elements.”

Gorsuch says he had spent most of Sunday trying to find jobs for the servers, cooks and bartenders at Shaw Bijou. The owner wasn’t as concerned about the chef and general manager. The longtime friends, who first met while attending the Culinary Institute of America, will probably find a new home soon, Gorsuch says.

“They’ll be fine,” the owner says. Onwuachi “had tons of offers before us.”

Gorsuch says this experience has shaken him. He’s never closed a business before. “This is probably the roughest week I’ve ever had,” he says.

But more than that, Gorsuch is upset by the lost opportunity. He says he believed in the team behind Shaw Bijou. He thought they could have pulled off the concept with proper oversight.

“The game plan was always to be super innovative,” Gorsuch says. “For all the things we did wrong, the talent that was in that building was special.”

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in American Greed, Great American Rip-Off, Men

 

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