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Hillary Wins! Give it up, Bernie!

Hillary’s landslide win in California puts a punctuation mark on her campaign to become the Democrat nominee for President. Sanders last gasp effort to carry California couldn’t overcome a better ground game, a better party network, and Clinton’s strong ties to both the Hispanic and black communities.

Hillary is going to beat the Chump, and with momentum, keep the Senate in Democrat hands, and possibly take the House back. I think the American voters have had about enough of whack job, wild eyed extremism – and it is time to take the trash out.

I also believe that in order to keep that majority, Hillary and the rest of the Democrats had better pay rapt attention to the sort of economic changes sought by both the Bernie Bros., and which feuled the Chump’s rise.

Time for Bernie and co. to quit pouting, and go home – until the convention, where they certainly can have an impact on the Party Platform, help energize the faithful for the upcoming vicious battle against the Chumpazoids, and start building a consensus for Progressive candidates at the national level in the house and senate.

What kind of loser will Bernie Sanders be? He’s got three choices

During his barnstorming rallies to massive audiences, Bernie Sanders is fond of declaring “enough is enough!” And after the latest round of primary results, many Democratic party leaders will be hoping Sanders now feels similarly about his own campaign.

Sanders and his team should take immense pride in what they’ve achieved over the past 12 months. On July 8 2015, the RealClearPolitics polling average had the Vermont Senator on a mere 14.3%, almost a full 50 points behind the apparently bulletproof Clinton. To the extent he was noticed at all, Sanders was treated by the press and Clinton supporters as a benign but crusty uncle, well-meaning but toothless.

One year on, Sanders has emerged victorious in more than 20 states, and at one point in April he reduced the gap in that same average to just 1%. And those victories are just half the story.

Most importantly, Sanders and his followers have played a role in forcing Clinton to embrace her own progressive instincts rather than taking to the safety of the centre ground. He has also ensured that “socialism” is no longer a taboo word in American politics, at least not in a Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Winnie Wong, the digital strategist behind #FeelTheBern, will probably never want for work again.

Despite all these achievements, Bernie has fallen short. So what should he do now? If we look to the recent past, there are a few well-trodden routes he can take.

Path #1: unity at all costs

Sanders doesn’t have to set his own example of how to unify the Democratic party after a divisive and close primary campaign. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton herself showed everyone how it’s done.

After an equivocal statement on the night of the last primaries, Clinton formally dropped out four days later and gave Obama a full-throated endorsement. Later that month, in a symbolic gesture, the two former rivals made a joint appearance in the aptly-named New Hampshire town of Unity, where they had both captured 107 votes in the state’s primary.

And to cap it all, it was she who stopped the (well-choreographed) roll-call of delegate votes at the Democratic convention to formally seal Obama’s nomination. She then used her convention speech to declare: “Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president.”

Despite the lingering bitterness of a rancorous nomination battle, her friendship with Republican nominee John McCain, and the encouragement of hardcore supporters (rallying under the slogan Party Unity My Ass), she then hit the trail and worked hard to help secure Barack Obama’s victory.

Path 2: Berning down the house

Another option for Sanders is to act as a disruptive force and weaken Hillary Clinton ahead of the general election, as Senator Ted Kennedy did to President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

John F Kennedy’s younger brother had already shown he cared little for party unity by challenging a sitting Democratic president, and he continued to show contempt for the principle even after Carter won enough delegates to secure the nomination.

Path 3: viva la revolución!

Perhaps the best parallel for Sanders is the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who ran two trailblazing campaigns for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and 1988. Sanders, mayor of Burlington at the time, was one of the few white politicians to endorse Jackson’s 1988 run – and like Sanders today, Jackson was hardly beloved by the Democratic establishment, but on his second attempt he finished a surprisingly strong second place to the eventual nominee.

The culturally and racially diverse “rainbow coalition” that Jackson formed in 1984 helped propel Democrats to victories in the 1986 midterms, and his strong performance in 1988 suggested that the power of the coalition was only growing.

While Jackson hoped to become the first African-American to run on a national ticket, Dukakis refused. He nonetheless enjoyed a primetime speaking slot at the convention, and his campaign secured changes to primary rules that made the voting process fairer and more proportional. These changes are now credited by some with opening the door to Obama’s victory a generation later.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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Going Green – The Black Farmer Makes a Comeback

After over a century of discrimination and destruction, the nation’s black farmers are making a slow comeback. Destroyed by a combination of denial of Agricultural Loans by the Government so they could modernize, predatory zoning and land theft, and land covenants which in some areas kept them from eve being able to expand enough to be competitive – the current trend reverses that started in the Great Migration.

We are at the dawn of Urban Farming, where deserted factory buildings can be converted to support 4 story tall vertical farming racks which produce anything from lettuce to carrots. First heard about this being done in Detroit several years ago, and since then it is gradually expanding across the northeastern US urban landscape. The problem with this for prospective black farmers is the high initial costs being a barrier to entry. Setup costs run from $90-200 per square foot, and even with production per square foot being 4-8 times greater than old style farming, it still takes a while (years) to amortize that.

The comeback of black farmers is contrary to a landscape where mega-corporate farming has become the norm. By focusing on organic and naturally grown crops, and bypassing the retail middlemen, farming is profitable again. The market desire for “organic”, not tainted by pesticides or growth hormone food is also a driver. Factory farms at this point cannot meet that need. Fishing is also becoming increasingly farming, and while corporate level farms concentrate on mass production of high demand product like salmon and catfish, the ability to produce contaminant free shellfish is a fast growing industry dominated by small players because the cost to entry is fairly low.

The folks they discuss in this article are very small operators. In my part of the world I am more used to black farmers who have 40 or more acres under till, although they are using the traditional farming methods.

The new faces of farming. The Black Dirt Collective with co-founder Blain Snipstal, second from left.

After a Century In Decline, Black Farmers Are Back And On the Rise

These Black farmers don’t stop at healthy food. They’re healing trauma, instilling collective values, and changing the way their communities think about the land.
A few years ago, while clearing dried broccoli stalks from the tired soil of our land at Soul Fire Farm in upstate New York, I received a cold call from Boston. On the other end was a Black woman, unknown to me, who wanted to share her story of trying to make it as a farmer.

Through tears, she explained the discrimination and obstacles she faced in a training program she’d joined, as well as in gaining access to land and credit. She wondered whether Black farming was destined for extinction. She said she wanted to hear the voice of another African-heritage farmer so that she could believe “it was possible” and sustain hope.

The challenges she encountered are not new. For decades, the U.S. Department of Agriculture discriminated against Black farmers,excluding them from farm loans and assistance. Meanwhile, racist violence in the South targeted land-owning Black farmers, whose very existence threatened the sharecropping system. These factors led to the loss of about 14 million acres of Black-owned rural land—an area nearly the size of West Virginia.

In 1982, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights extrapolated the statistics on land loss and predicted the extinction of the Black farmer by the year 2000.

They were wrong. While the situation is still dire, with Black farmers comprising only about 1 percent of the industry, we have not disappeared. After more than a century of decline, the number of Black farmers is on the rise.

These farmers are not just growing food, either. The ones you’ll meet here rely on survival strategies inherited from their ancestors, such as collectivism and commitment to social change. They infuse popular education, activism, and collective ownership into their work.

And about that woman who called me from Boston? Years after we first spoke, I called her back. Turns out, she is still at it.

About 80 miles southeast of Baltimore, Black Dirt leases 2 acres that long have been home to the Black freedom struggle. Harriet Tubman once rescued her parents and nine other people from enslavement in this place, which was one of the first stops on the Underground Railroad.

The 10 farming-collective members who work here today revere Tubman’s example and work to continue her legacy of revolutionary social change. In addition to growing natural food for markets in D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia, they host hundreds of people each year for activist training programs. They continue the farming practices of their ancestors, such as “going through together,” a southern Black practice of working collectively in neighbors’ plots and sharing the harvest. They are also part of the North Carolina-based Seed Keepers Collective, and focus on preserving seeds of the African diaspora, including millet, sorghum, cotton, and sweet potatoes.

“It’s like jazz music in a sense,” Snipstal explains, referring to Black Dirt’s collaborations with like-minded farmers around the country. “We are always riffing off each other, even if we don’t tell one another.” …Read Other Stories of Black Farmers Here...

 
 

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Afrofuturism

Fascinating…

The Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership, now on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC

 

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Morgan Freeman – The Future of Green

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Best Educated Janitors…

Fresh on news that there are 21 million Americans out of work – there is the question of the undremployed–

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?

Two sets of information were presented to me in the last 24 hours that have dramatically reinforced my feeling that diminishing returns have set in to investments in higher education, with increasing evidence suggesting that we are in one respect “overinvesting” in the field. First, following up on information provided by former student Douglas Himes at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), my sidekick Chris Matgouranis showed me the table reproduced below (And for more see this).

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Now I’ve said for a while that one the the great myths of the new depression is the existence of high tech jobs needing high education. At this point there are millions of college educated out of work or substantially underemployed. You cannot fix the roots of the current economic malaise by by generating more job seekers – no matter how well educated or qualified. The brutal fact is, very little of our current economy is actually dependent on new technology. Think of it this way – the leading cell phone platform is dependent on thinking and aa technology concept first developed in Xerox Labs in the 70’s. Very little of the development today of “new technology” is actually “development’ = it is actually execution against old technology. So if you trin them – what would this new legion of scientists and engineers do?

And there is the crux of the problem.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Great American Rip-Off, The Post-Racial Life

 

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