While the press and organizers knew Bernie would be in Santa Monica on 7/26/19, volunteers got last-minute notice and most supporters in the area got no notice at all. But by the end of the extended warm-up, supporters filled the high school amphitheater, eagerly chanting and cheering for Bernie Sanders. Nina Turner did the final warm-up and Jane Sanders introduced Bernie.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak after touring the Lima Army Tank Plant at Joint Systems Manufacturing in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
In a bipartisan deal that one anti-war critic said demonstrates how thoroughly “broken and captured Washington is by the Pentagon,” 219 House Democrats and 65 Republicans on Thursday voted to approve a budget agreement that includes $1.48 trillion in military spending over the next two years.
Just 16 Democrats—including Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)—voted against the two-year, $2.7 trillion budget agreement. Largely due to expressed concerns about the deficit, 132 Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) also voted no.
“For the love of god, can we all stop pretending like this is somehow anything other than a continued orgy of unprecedented, wasteful, and obscene spending at the Pentagon.” —Stephen Miles, Win Without War
The House passage of the budget deal, which President Donald Trump quickly applauded on Twitter as a victory for the military, comes after the Congressional Progressive Caucus threatened in April to tank the measure in opposition to its out-of-control Pentagon outlays.
But most of the Progressive Caucus voted for the agreement on Thursday, pointing to increases in domestic spending.
“It’s not a perfect deal by any means,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement ahead of the vote. “This deal does not address the bloated Pentagon budget, but it does begin to close the gap in funding for families, by allocating more new non-defense spending than defense spending for the first time in many years.”
Stephen Miles, executive director of Win Without War, took issue with the latter claim in a series of tweets Thursday.
“You’re no doubt hearing a lot of crowing from Democrats about how the deal they struck with Trump gives more money to ‘non-defense’ spending than to ‘defense,'” Miles wrote. “Let’s be clear that by every measure, save the one they’re using, that’s simply not true.”
“Under this deal, the Pentagon and its affiliated programs will get $1.48 trillion over the next two years. The entire rest of gov’t, including the VA btw, will get $1.30 trillion. That’s $178.6 billion more for the Pentagon than the whole rest of gov’t,” Miles wrote. “So, for the love of god, can we all stop pretending like this is somehow anything other than a continued orgy of unprecedented, wasteful, and obscene spending at the Pentagon.”
William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, wrote for Forbes this week that the budget deal “vastly overpays for the Pentagon.”
“At $738 billion for Fiscal Year 2020 and $740 billion for Fiscal Year 2021,” wrote Hartung, “the agreement sets the table for two of the highest budgets for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy since World War II.”
“The agreement sets the table for two of the highest budgets for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy since World War II.” —William Hartung, Center for International Policy
“The proposed figures are higher than spending at the height of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, and substantially more than the high point of the Reagan buildup of the 1980s,” Hartung added. “And the Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 numbers are only slightly less than spending in 2010, when the United States had 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, roughly nine times the number currently deployed.”
The sweeping 2020 budget agreement is expected to pass the Senate next week, and Trump has signaled he will sign the measure.
The deal, McConnell said, “achieves the No. 1 goal of the Republican side of the aisle, providing for the common defense.”
As Common Dreamsreported on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came under fire from progressives for striking the budget agreement with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Specifically, critics highlighted the deal to suspend the debt ceiling until 2021, a move that could give Republicans power to cripple the next president’s agenda.
“If you really listen,” wroteSplinter‘s Paul Blest, “you can almost hear [Texas Sen.] Ted Cruz yelling on the floor of the Senate that Congress shouldn’t raise the debt limit by one more dollar unless President Bernie Sanders promises to drop his demand for Medicare for All.”
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
1. Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, Mothers on the March Against Police Murders – 154th Week!
Hall of Injustice
850 Bryant St.
DEMAND POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY
All are invited to join us (Even if it’s for a few minutes) to demand that District Attorney George Gascon charge police officers with murder. Stand with ALL families who have lost loved ones to police murders. This is a movement towards police accountability. If we keep accepting the way things are, we’ll, never make any true progress that benefits the people. Since Gascon has been the DA in San Francisco, he has not charged any police officers.
Calling for Justice for:
Joshua Smith, Kenneth Harding Jr., Peter Yin Woo, Steven Michael Young, Dennis Hughes , Pralith Prolouring, Dale Stuart Wilkerson, Alex Nieto, Giovany Contreras Sandoval, O’Shaine Evans, Matthew Hoffman, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Alice Brown, Herbert Omar Benitez, Javier Lopez Garcia, Mario Woods, Luis Gόngora Pat, Jessica Nelson, Nicolas McWherter, Nicholas Flusche, Damian Murray, Keita O’Neil, Jesus Adolfo Delgado, Jehad Eid, and Derrick Gaines (killed by a police officer hired by SFPD)
The above named all were killed by SFPD during DA Gascon’s reign – NOT ONE police officer has been charged!
2. Friday, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, “BASTA FREE CHELSEA AND JULIEN ” VIGIL DEMO – Weekly demo
4. Friday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Eyewitness Cuba: The New US Attacks & the Ongoing Revolution
2969 Mission St. (nr. 16th Street BART)
$3-$10 donation – no one turned away
In the ongoing U.S. offensive against any nation taking an independent path, the Trump administration recently labeled Cuba part of a “Troika of Tyranny”, along with Venezuela and Nicaragua, and tightened the 60-year long blockade against the island nation. Join us for firsthand accounts from activists recently returned from Cuba about the ongoing gains of the socialist revolution and how the new restrictions are affecting the Cuba economy.
EastSide Arts Alliance, the Global Uchinanchu Alliance (GUA) and the Okinawa Kenjinkai Study Group (OKSG) present: Final Fridays Films of Solidarity & Resistance “Our Island’s Treasure”
film screening, Q and A with the filmmaker, and yuntaku/talk story
Have you heard about what’s been going on in Henoko, Okinawa? What is #RiseForHenoko? Maybe you’ve heard about how local residents have been protesting the building of a new U.S. military base in Oura Bay? The ongoing landfill work to create this base is destroying thousand-year-old coral reef structures, and threatens the aquatic life in the bay, including the Dugong, a manatee-like marine mammal that is close to extinction.
A lack of U.S. media attention has meant that most people in the United States don’t know about the social and environmental crisis in Okinawa that worsens every day. Teenaged filmmaker Kaiya Yonamine created a documentary this year to shed light on what’s going on. She explains on her website, https://www.riseforhenoko.com:
My name is Kaiya, and I am a 17-year old Okinawan-American high school student from Portland, Oregon. I recently went back to Henoko this spring because I was frustrated with the silence of the media around this crisis.
I wanted to make a documentary to show the world what’s happening. My documentary, “Our Island’s Treasure,” focuses on the current destruction of the beautiful Okinawan ocean in Henoko and the fight by native Uchinanchu people to protect it
6. Saturday, 12Noon – 4:00pm, Art Build #TarSandsFreeSFBay
Bridge Storage & ArtSpace
23 Maine Ave.
Join Protect the Bay Coalition, Stand.earth and many others Saturday, July 27th for story telling followed by creating beautiful art for the movement!
Closest public transportation options: Richmond Bart and a 20 minute walk, 72M bus line headed towards Point Richmond and get off at 2nd street and MacDonald Ave and walk 5-7 minutes.
Protect the Bay Coalition is newly formed with a targeted campaign to stop more tar sands tanker ships from crossing through our San Francisco Bay and exporting heavy tar sands crude oil from a proposed wharf expansion project at the Phillips 66 refinery located in Rodeo. https://www.protectthebay.org/
We will start our Saturday afternoon with an informal storytelling session connecting the resistance of fossil fuels and weaving in the importance of art, music/songs and the impact it makes in our movement.
Join us in painting banners, screenprint patches and flags. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint on, sunblock, hats, and bring a water bottle. Open to the public, family friendly, please RSVP by clicking GOING on this event page.
7. Saturday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Commemoration of student massacre in El Salvador
Redstone Labor Temple
2940 16th St.
Second Floor Theatre (Teatro del Segundo piso)
On July 30, 1975, students from the National Autonomous University of El Salvador were marching to protest repression by the military, which had taken over the campus in Santa Ana on July 25th. During the march, more than 100 students were either killed or wounded by the military.
This commemoration is to honor those whose lives were stolen during the struggle for liberation against military forces. It is vital to keep the spirit of the 1975 student movement alive so we can build solidarity in the fight against the current Bukele-Trump alliance.
Join us for a panel discussion on how the events of 1975 mobilized resistance, and folkloric dance by Grupo Maiz!
8. Sunday, 3:00pm Medicare for All – What is HR 1384 Yhr 2019 Medicare for All Act – meeting
518 Valencia St. (2 blocks fr. 16th St. BART)
A panel of Single Payer Now speakers:
Barbara Commins R.N., and a member of SF Berniecrats Health Committee.
Jim Cowan: and a member of Progressive Democrats of America.
Barry Hermanson, Green Party member.
Jamie Sheldon, and a member of SF Berniecrats Health Committee.
Jeanne Crawford, and a member of SF Berniecrats Health Committee.
Don Bechler, Chair-Single Payer Now
Monday, July 29
9. Monday, 8:00am – 12Noon, Pack the court for Juan Jose!
630 Sansome St.
Join us for a quick check in at 8am to prepare packing the court for Juan Jose! This will be part two of his asylum hearing.
*Please note the content of this hearing can be triggering for some folks attending, please check in with the organizer if you have any questions or concerns, all information will remain confidential *
More about Juan Jose :
Jose Juan Erazo Herrera came to the U.S as an unaccompanied minor in 2016. He had been suffering from child abuse from his mother and eventually became homeless in El Salvador, which made him susceptible to police violence and gangs threatening his life. When Juan Jose entered the U.S he was apprehended by ICE at the Texas border and released to his brother in New York. In New York, he was unfortunately targeted by a gang member who recognized him from El Salvador and out of fear Juan Jose participated in an assault on a classmate from school. He spent 6 months in county jail and another 6 months in juvenile hall as a result. When he was released, ICE picked him up and detained in Yolo County (ORR “secure” facility) here in California. Juan Jose has been in immigration detention since he was 17 years old, he has lost 2 years of his life to this system that does not work to repair harm and recently celebrated his 19th birthday on March 15th. Juan Jose has been fighting for his freedom inside detention and has taken part in two hunger strikes that happened in Yuba where detainees were demanding better conditions.
Sponsors: Free Juan Jose & California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
10. Monday 8:30am – 9:30am, Stop Union Busting Bullying Attacks At SFUSD Agaist UESF Teacher Margaret Reyes
SF Superior Court Building
400 McAllister/Polk St
Press Conference / Rally
Stop The Union Busting Attacks At SFUSD Against UESF Teacher Margaret Reyes SFUSD & Vicent Matthews-Hands Off Margaret Reyes
SHUT DOWN The Corrupt Racist PAR Program
The San Francisco Unified School District has been using the Peer Assisted Review PAR program which was supposed to help improve teacher’s profession to bully, coerce and terminate senior teachers, African American and Latino teachers. UESF member Margaret Reyes who was a grammar school teacher was being bullied by her principal.
The district then said she had to be placed in the PAR Program and one of the “coaches” was the same principal who was bullying her. She refused to go into PAR and was harrassed and illegally terminated without a Skelly hearing which is required under the law.
She will be having a hearing on this illegal action by SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews which has been backed up by the school boar
The SFUSD also with the support of the UESF supported a parcel tax to fund the PAR program with over $1 million a year and in the parcel tax initiative allowed the district to place teachers in PAR without agreement of the union.
Former Berkeley Federation of Teachers steward and teacher Brian Crowell was also investigating program and he was retaliated against and discovered the union president Nancy Cambell was also on the payroll of PAR while she was terminating teachers. This program needs to be exposed and shutdown.
11. Monday, 11:00am – 12Noon, Press Conference: Justice for Armando
Daly City – City Hall
Join us for a press conference at City Hall as we file our administrative complaint against the Daly City government for their police department’s unlawful transfer of Armando Escobar-Lopez to ICE custody in May. A complaint allows Armando the right to receive compensation and remedies for the harm inflicted on his life.
We need justice for Armando who has been falsely imprisoned for over two months while facing deportation, and a new policy to end all collaboration between ICE and the Daly City Police Department.
12. Tuesday, 12Noon – Wednesday, July 31st 5:00am, Block Party to Abolish ICE
630 Sansome St.
Stand together to demand an end to concentration camps where families and children are separated, imprisoned and abused and murdered, to demand the abolition of ICE, DHS, Police, prisons, borders and all the state apparatuses and mechanisms that serve to lock people away and oppress us.
Join our block party to make our presence be known!!!
FREE food & agua frescas !! DJs & Performances Art & Crafts
Childcare & Space for Children to play together
This is a community event to build with each other and to let ICE know will NOT let them continue to arrest, detain, deport, and kill anyone. This has to STOP NOW.
From Black & Brown For Justice Peace and Equality / Mothers On The March Against Police Murders.
Why Are We Boycotting Manny’s?
The owner of Manny’s is occupying a place that the Latino community fought for! Residents of the Mission community have fought for many years to make sure that community organizations create venues/space that would benefit the black and brown community. We believe that this should be a cultural center for the youth of this area, especially at a time when so many are being displaced.
The owner of Manny’s also support the occupation of Palestine by a so-called Zionist state of Israel that is committing genocide of the Palestinian People. Zionist also are involved with training police in the US.
Join us, Stop the Displacement of Black and Brown People from the Mission, help us denounce Zionism and help STOP the GENOCIDE of the Palestinian People by the state of Israel.
Do NOT be fooled on what he might tell you he supports, check his actions. Do research, study & learn. Until Palestine is free from the oppression that the Israeli government enforces, the people will fight.. Manny moved into a neighborhood that’s probably going through the most drastic change in gentrification. He’s posing as a positive figure for OUR community but is a proud Zionist.
When some of his patrons laugh at the photos of Palestinian children who have been maimed, or killed – that sends a strong message of who Manny and some of his supporters are!!
We join in solidarity with BDS (Boycott,Divestment& Sanctions) that has called a boycott to all Israeli products.
Wednesday, July 31
14. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, NO U.S. EXTRADITION RALLY – FREE JULIAN ASSANGE
1 Sansome St.
Join us July 31st at the British Consulate General in San Francisco to rally against the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite Julian Assange.
Please bring any signs and bull horns you have.
The attack and International law-breaking arrest by the British government and police on Julian Assange, with the direct support of the US-controlled Ecuadoran government and the US government itself, is an attack on ALL journalists, whistleblowers, and democracy. It is aimed at closing down all alternative media. There are multiple other examples of attempts at this happening daily. While there is no prosecution of the war criminals exposed by WikiLeaks, Assange, Chelsea Manning, and other journalists, journalists and whistleblowers are under attack and imprisoned, or even killed.
Sponsor: Bay Action Committee to Free Julian Assange
Each daily action will be conducted by a different sector or community group (librarians, health care workers, poets, musicians, dancers…).
Actions can be whatever you’d like, with your own specific message — it’s up to each group. Some groups may be there longer than the 12Noon -1:00pm slots.
We’ll be sending out a Media Alert to the press about the month of actions and will include a calendar and media contact person for each group.
There may also be a culmination demo of ALL groups (whoever wants to participate) on Sat Aug 31 at Noon.
If your group is planning“DIRECT ACTION”It is suggested you attend this training:
Sunday, August 4, 11:00am – 3:00pm, Nonviolent Direct Action Training
4799 Shattuck Ave.
This training will take participants through many of the strategies, tools and considerations of non-violent direct action, including power and privilege, de-escalation, blockades, legal, direct action organizing models, and the opportunity to form affinity groups. This training will be an important place to get plugged in for upcoming actions around the Climate Strike Week of Action beginning on September 20.
The Judiciary Committee chairman resisted using the actual word. But he said his oversight efforts were, in effect, an effort to determine whether Trump should go.
Congressional Reporter Published 07.26.19 (thedailybeast.com)
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that his committee was “in effect” conducting an impeachment inquiry, even as he shied away from using that exact phrase.
“The committee is exercising its authority to investigate all of these scandals and to decide what to do about them, which could include articles of impeachment,” said Nadler at a press conference. “Whether you call that an inquiry, or whatever you want to call that, that’s what we’ve been doing, and are doing, and will continue to do.
The appearance of Nadler and members of his committee was intended to amplify Democratic talking points after Robert Mueller’s testimony and to outline their next investigative steps. But that was overshadowed by questions over the prospects of impeachment. In addressing those questions, Democrats were as clear as they have been to date that the very purpose of their current oversight efforts was to determine whether to launch impeachment proceedings.
Since Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday, six Democrats have come out in favor of impeachment, including Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), the highest-ranking member of party leadership to do so. Currently, an estimated 100 members of the House back impeachment, and those who do have grown increasingly vocal that Democrats have to make a decision soon about whether proceedings will happen or not.
Nadler has dismissed talk of a September deadline on such a decision. And after admitting that there was little real daylight between what his committee is currently doing and what an impeachment inquiry would look like, the congressman sought to cast a wider aperture in describing his goals.
“If an impeachment inquiry is if you’re considering only impeachment, that’s not what we’re doing,” said Nadler. “We’re investigating all of this.”
Yet, members of the Judiciary Committee who also spoke on Friday freely talked about their efforts within the framework of impeachment.
“I’d say we are in an impeachment investigation,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). “As to the result of the investigation, it could lead to articles of impeachment, or it could lead to something else.”ADVERTISING
During Friday’s press conference, it was announced that the Judiciary Committee was moving to file a court application in hopes of securing grand jury material in Mueller’s report so that, in Nadler’s words, they can have the strongest possible hand moving forward. Nadler also said the committee was prepared to sue to enforce a subpoena for testimony from Don McGahn, the former White House counsel who is viewed as a key witness for Democrats.
The success of those efforts could go a long way in determining whether Nadler continues to consider his work a de facto impeachment proceeding or a formal one. Earlier in the day, he laid down a marker that would cause him to be unequivocal about calling for articles of impeachment. If the White House were to defy court orders for information and testimony, he told CNN, “there would have to be an impeachment.”
JUST NOW: “There would have to be an impeachment. “@RepJerryNadler on what happens if the WH defies court orders.@NewDay
As he navigates these tricky political propositions, Nadler also faces scrutiny from party leadership, which remains firmly on the side of slowing down impeachment talk. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated in an earlier press conference on Friday that impeachment is not happening anytime soon. “We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed,” she said. “Not a day sooner.”
WASHINGTON—Admitting she had worries about the rise of left-leaning activist groups within her party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed concerns Thursday that outspoken progressives could do permanent damage to Democrats’ reputation as ineffectual cowards. “They mean well, but if they continue to aggressively push their agenda like this, they run the risk of fundamentally altering the public’s perception of Democrats as bumbling, feckless chumps,” said Pelosi, adding that this brash brand of politics could be easily manipulated by Republicans to paint the party as something other than a bunch of sniveling wimps who are too weak-willed and complacent to stand up for anything with even remote political risk. “I understand where these groups are coming from, but while it might feel good to vent their frustrations about the state of the country, they could undermine what I believe should be our core 2020 argument: We are dithering, incompetent doormats who are infinitesimally less objectionable than our opposition.” Pelosi also noted that her concerns shouldn’t be overstated, as she knew it would take more than a few activists for voters to associate the Democratic party with the vaguest inkling of courage.
Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, left, was forced to resign Wednesday after nearly two weeks of sustained protests over his leaked chats and accusations of corruption. President Donald Trump and Republicans declared victory following the testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who maintained that he had not exonerated the president of obstruction of justice, while Democratic leaders signaled their continued reluctance to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. (Photo: World Travel and Tourism Council/Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)
While many progressives were dismayed to learn on Thursday that Democratic leaders remain reticent to call for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, some looked with admiration at the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who successfully forced their governor from office with days of non-violent protests.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation Wednesday night followed nearly two weeks ofhistoric, sustained demonstrations by Puerto Ricans angry over leaked messages showing the governor and his associates denigrating his constituents, as well as a corruption scandal.
Puerto Ricans have given “their fellow Americans the blueprint to remove Trump,” wrote one progressive critic on social media.
Meanwhile, in the wake of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reportedlydismissed Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) suggestion in a closed-door meeting that House committees begin drafting articles of impeachment against the president.
“Don’t wait for politicians—organize general strikes and get in the streets! It’s time we show Trump where the real power is!” —Jesse Hagopian, Rethink Schools
At the hearing, Mueller testified that Trump was “not exculpated” for obstruction of justice. His testimony confirmed that Trump ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller and told former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to order the Department of Justice to limit the special counsel’s probe.
A number of observers noted after the hearing that those facts—along with Trump’s alleged violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, advocacy for violence against his political opponents, attacks on the free press, and other alleged misconduct—provided enough evidence for Democrats to draft articles of impeachment.
“In less than 16 days from the time the first news broke of his horrible and hateful comments, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is expected to resign after mass protests,” tweeted Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer. “I can’t even recall all the horrible shit Trump has done in the last 16 days.”
One observer noted that Puerto Ricans in New York rallied at Grand Central Station in support of people living on the island territory.
A poll taken this month by the Washington Post/ABC News showed that 37 percent of American adults currently support beginning impeachment proceedings. A surveyreleased by Gallup on July 3 revealed that 45 percent of Americans, including 81 percent of Democrats, say the president should be impeached—a greater share than that which backed impeachment proceedings when officials began pursuing impeachment for Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
“The Puerto Rican people showed how you impeach a bigoted politician: Don’t wait for politicians—organize general strikes and get in the streets!” wrote author and educator Jesse Hagopian. “It’s time we show Trump where the real power is!”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.
For skeptics who reject the global warming thesis, reforestation also addresses the critical problems of mass species extinction and environmental pollution, which are well documented. A 2012 study from the University of Michigan found that loss of biodiversity impacts ecosystems as much as climate change and pollution. Forests shelter plant and animal life in their diverse forms, and trees remove air pollution by the interception of particulate matter on plant surfaces and the absorption of gaseous pollutants through the leaves.
The July analytical review in Science calculated how many additional trees could be planted globally without encroaching on crop land or urban areas. It found that there are 1.7 billion hectares (4.2 billion acres) of treeless land on which 1.2 trillion native tree saplings would naturally grow. Using the most efficient methods, 1 trillion trees could be restored for as little as $300 billion – less than 2 percent of the lower range of estimates for the Green New Deal introduced by progressive Democrats in February 2019.
The Guardian quoted Prof. Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, who said, “What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed.” He said it was also by far the cheapest solution that has ever been proposed. The chief drawback of reforestation as a solution to the climate crisis, per The Guardian, is that trees grow slowly. The projected restoration could take 50 to 100 years to reach its full carbon sequestering potential.
A Faster, More Efficient Solution
Fortunately, as of December 2018 there is now a cheaper, faster and more efficient alternative – one that was suppressed for nearly a century but was legalized on a national scale when President Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. This is the widespread cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-intoxicating form of cannabis grown for fiber, cloth, oil, food and other purposes. Hemp grows to 13 feet in 100 days, making it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available. Industrial hemp has been proven to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop, making it the ideal carbon sink. It can be grown on a wide scale on nutrient poor soils with very small amounts of water and no fertilizers.
Hemp products can promote biodiversity and reverse environmental pollution by replacing petrochemical-based plastics, which are now being dumped into the ocean at the rate of one garbage truck per minute. One million seabirds die each year from ingesting plastic, and up to 90 percent have plastic in their guts. Microplastic (resulting from the breakdown of larger pieces by sunlight and waves) and microbeads (used in body washes and facial cleansers) have been called the ocean’s smog. They absorb toxins in the water, enter the food chain, and ultimately wind up in humans. To avoid all that, we can use plastic made from hemp, which is biodegradable and non-toxic.
Other environmental toxins come from the textile industry, which is second only to agriculture in the amount of pollution it creates and the voluminous amounts of water it uses. Hemp can be grown with minimal water, and hemp fabrics can be made without the use of toxic chemicals.
Environmental pollution from the burning of fossil fuels can also be reversed with hemp, which is more efficient and environmentally friendly even than wheat and corn as a clean-burning biofuel.
Hemp cultivation also encourages biodiversity in the soil, by regenerating farmland that has long been depleted from the use of toxic chemicals. It is a “weed” and grows like one, ubiquitously, beating out other plants without pesticides or herbicides; and its long tap root holds the soil, channeling moisture deeper into it. Unlike most forestry projects, hemp can be grown on existing agricultural land and included as part of a farm’s crop rotation, with positive effects on the yields and the profits from subsequent crops.
A Self-funding Solution
Hemp cultivation is profitable in many other ways – so profitable that it is effectively a self-funding solution to the environmental crisis. According to an April 2019 article in Forbes titled “Industrial Hemp Is the Answer to Petrochemical Dependency,” crop yields from hemp can range from $20,000 to $50,000 per acre. Its widespread cultivation can happen without government subsidies. Investment in research, development and incentives would speed the process, but market forces will propel these transformations even if Congress fails to act. All farmers need for incentive is a market for the products, which hemp legalization has provided. Due to the crop’s century-long suppression, the infrastructure to capitalize on its diverse uses still needs to be developed, but the infrastructure should come with the newly opened markets.
Hemp can break our dependency on petrochemicals not only for fuel but for plastics, textiles, construction materials and much more. It has actually been grown for industrial and medicinal purposes for millennia, and today it is legally grown for industrial use in hundreds of countries outside the US. Before the US ban, a 1938 article in Popular Mechanics claimed it was a billion-dollar crop (the equivalent of about $16 billion today), useful in 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane. New uses continue to be found, including eliminating smog from fuels, creating a cleaner energy source that can replace nuclear power, removing radioactive water from the soil, and providing a very nutritious food source for humans and animals. Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive derivative of hemp, has recently been shown to help curb opioid addiction, now a national epidemic.
Hemp can also help save our shrinking forests by eliminating the need to clear-cut them for paper pulp. According to the USDA, one acre planted in hemp produces as much pulp is 4.1 acres of trees; and unlike trees, hemp can be harvested two or three times a year. Hemp paper is also finer, stronger and lasts longer than wood-based paper. Benjamin Franklin’s paper mill used hemp. Until 1883, it was one of the largest agricultural crops (some say the largest), and 80 to 90% of all paper in the world was made from it. It was also the material from which most fabric, soap, fuel and fiber were made; and it was an essential resource for any country with a shipping industry, since sails were made from it. In early America, growing hemp was considered so important that it was illegal for farmers not to grow it. Hemp was legal tender from 1631 until the early 1800s, and taxes could even be paid with it.
Banned by the Competition?
The competitive threat to other industries of this supremely useful plant may have been a chief driver of its apparently groundless criminalization in the 1930s. Hemp is not marijuana and is so low in psychoactive components that it cannot produce a marijuana “high.” It was banned for nearly a century simply because it was in the same plant species as marijuana. Cannabis came under attack in the 1930s in all its forms. Why? Hemp competed not only with the lumber industry but with the oil industry, the cotton industry, the petrochemical industry and the pharmaceutical industry. Many have speculated that it was suppressed by these powerful competitors.
William Randolf Hearst, the newspaper mogul, owned vast tracts of forest land, which he intended to use for making wood-pulp paper. Cheap hemp-based paper would make his forest investments a major money loser. Hearst was a master of “yellow journalism,” and a favorite target of his editorials was “reefer madness.” He was allied with the DuPont Corporation, which provided the chemicals to bleach and process the wood pulp used in the paper-making process. DuPont was also ready to introduce petroleum-based fibers such as nylon, and hemp fabrics competed with that new market.
In fact hemp products threatened the whole petroleum industry. Henry Ford first designed his cars to run on alcohol from biofuels, but the criminalization of both alcohol and hemp forced him to switch to the dirtier, less efficient fossil fuels that dominate the industry today. A biofuel-based infrastructure would create a completely decentralized power grid, eliminating the giant monopolistic power companies. Communities could provide their own energy using easily renewable plants.
None of this is new news. Hemp historians have been writing about hemp’s myriad uses and its senseless prohibition for decades. (See e.g. The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer, 1992; Hemp for Victory: A Global Warming Solution by Richard Davis, 2009.) What is news is that hemp cultivation is finally legal across the country. The time is short to save the planet and its vanishing diversity of species. Rather than engaging in endless debates over carbon taxes and Silicon Valley-style technological fixes, we need to be regenerating our soils, our forests and our oceans with nature’s own plant solutions.
The Bank of North Dakota opened for business on July 28, 1919, a full century ago. As its 100th birthday approaches, historian Mike Jacobs describes in the Grand Forks Herald the conditions that drove the creation of the public bank — conditions that are echoed today. A celebration will take place at the Bank in Bismarck on Monday July 29 (Facebook event).
Jacobs writes:“The real catalyst, however, was a dysfunctional private banking system. The state had far too many privately owned banks, more than 800 of them in 1920. Many of them were seriously undercapitalized and all of them were dependent on Twin Cities banks. At the same time, milling and transportation interests preyed on the state’s farmers. A long effort to establish a state-owned terminal elevator failed, and frustrated farmers took matters in their own hands, accepting a program to develop the state’s economy by using the state’s own financial resources.”
Read BND’s updated website about the value BND returns to the state’s residents today. For a full historical overview, see BND’s new microsite. For more inspiration, read Insurgent Democracy by Michael J. Lansing and watch Northern Lights, the award-winning film (Cannes) set in the bitter winter of 1915 that chronicles the beginnings of the Nonpartisan League.
In California, the California Public Banking Alliance has organized a Public Banking 100 Years Day of Action on July 29 to support CA’s Public Banking Act AB 857 as it makes its way through one last Senate committee, the floors of Assembly and Senate, and if successful, onto the Governor’s desk.
Imagine we’re no longer battling Trump Administration abuse of asylum-seekers on our southern border and we have a chance to “do the right thing.” What would we do? How about a Marshall Plan for Central America?
The original Marshall Plan (named for U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall) spent the equivalent of $100 billion in today’s dollars to rebuild Western Europe following World War II. Many complex calculations went into spending that kind of money, yet today few would call it a mistake. But why would we consider a similar undertaking in the current circumstances? The answer requires a vision of the future, along with an understanding of the past extending beyond the headlines of the present. In his 2013 book, “The Right to Stay Home,” activist and journalist David Bacon wrote of Mexican farmers finding themselves considering the difficult and dangerous trek to El Norte, after their livelihoods were destroyed by the cheap American corn flooding their country as a result of the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Bacon posed the question of whether there should be a “right not to migrate.” Today’s situation is more complex. Migrants now predominantly come from three separate countries—El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—and for many violence has replaced poverty as the driving force. Yet the fundamental question remains the same: What would it take to make tomorrow’s potential refugees decide staying home was a better option than giving their life savings to smugglers and risking their lives crossing deserts and rivers?
What also remains the same is deep U.S. involvement in the history of those countries—history that Central Americans know, and North Americans mostly don’t. The longest-running U.S. intervention in the region has been in Guatemala, starting with the 1954 CIA-engineered overthrow of the country’s democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz, continuing with using the country as staging ground for the 1960 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (putting down a local rebellion in the process), and involvement in the country’s civil wars running into the 1990’s.
The most expensive intervention may have been El Salvador where $4 billion (equivalent to $9-10 billion today) was invested in fighting insurgents in the 1980–1992 civil war (including a secret $1.4 million CIA investment in a presidential election.) The most recent intervention was the U.S. government’s clandestine support of the 2009 overthrow of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, a country where we had also trained Contra soldiers to overthrow the Nicaraguan government in the 1980s. People flee these countries today because this history has produced three nations that have in this decade all recorded murder rates ranked in the top ten in the world.
As Bacon noted, while “proposals for human rights for migrants in the United States and Canada have won some attention … proposals … for alternatives to forced migration, have not.” Certainly not in Washington which budgets $4 billion annually on border security—and about $180 million in foreign aid to the three countries.
So, is the situation driving the asylum-seekers our problem—in the sense of being something our government had a hand in creating? Yes. Is it something we need to spend large amounts of money on? We already do. As we know, when the threat of communism was the issue, we spent big. And if the issue in Central America were Islamic terrorism, ample funds from the nearly $6 trillion we’ve spent fighting that would certainly be available. Why not then find the funds to create alternatives to forced migration?
How exactly? Exactly, I don’t know. But the Green New Deal has persuasively demonstrated that if we want to move a big idea politically, we need to agree on the nature and the magnitude of the problem before we fight about the details.
How much longer will we watch the suffering and inhumanity before we agree that we need to do something big, call it what we will—common sense, compassion, or a Marshall Plan for Central America?
This Coming July 31st Statewide MFA Actions JOIN US TO CALL ON GOVERNOR NEWSOM TO KEEP THE PROMISE OF MEDICARE FOR ALL WITH RALLIES IN LOS ANGELES, OAKLAND & MORE ON JULY 31st, 2021 The 56th anniversary of Medicare is July 30th and healthcare advocates are using the day after this anniversary to call on California Governor Gavin Newson to keep his promise to bring single payer healthcare to California and for federal representatives to redouble their effort for “Medicare for All”. To make universal state-sponsored healthcare coverage a reality Gov. Newsom would need to apply for a waiver from the… Continue reading →
The Institute for the Critical Study of Society at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library Sunday Morning at the Marxist Library OUR CURRENT SCHEDULE (NOTE: These are all tentative and may be changed. Please check back the week before, or sign up for our weekly reminders/updates at firstname.lastname@example.org) Sun, Dec 27, 2020: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm CONFIRMED: The Three Concepts of Freedom Synopsis: In this session we will compare and contrast the Liberal, Democratic, and the communist concepts of freedom. We will discuss that the Liberal freedom consists of the legal guarantees against outside intrusions. Democratic freedom emphasizes the right to participate in the… Continue reading →
Earlier this year, we released our list of the 19 House Democrats who we believe are most likely to cosponsor HR 1976, the Medicare for All Act, next if they feel enough pressure from their constituents. We also published a list of Congressional districts whose representatives are the top campaign recipients of corporate health care money and must be held accountable for their ties to Big Pharma and the private insurance industry. While you don’t live in one of these two types of priority districts, we still need your help. That’s why we’re coming to you today with an exciting opportunity: … Continue reading →
Ecosocialist Book Club: Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s As Long as Grass Grows Join the DSA SF Ecosocialist Committee’s book club biweekly on Mondays in August – August 2, August 16, and August 30 at 6:00 p.m. -7:15 p.m. We’re reading and discussing Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock. Open to all! Register now using the link here.
Neighborhood Outreach to Renters in the Fillmore Interested in tenant organizing? Join Neighbors United for our weekly phonebank, Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. We’ll be calling tenants in the Fillmore to let them know about their rights, and how to access rent relief. On June 30th at 6:00 p.m. in Jefferson Square Park, we’ll be hosting a tenant’s rights bootcamp. Want to become more involved on a regular basis? Join our weekly meeting on Sundays at 12:00 p.m.
Intro to DSA Recurring March 3, 2021 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Come learn what Democratic Socialists of America is doing to build the socialist movement in San Francisco. There will an introduction to the mission of DSA, the socialist project, and what our organizers are doing locally. Bring your questions and a friend! RSVP at dsasf.org/intro-mtg-registration
Next General Membership Meeting Our next General Membership Meeting will be Wednesday July 7th, at 6:30pm. Please RSVP here. We’ll be considering the endorsement of Janani Ramachandran for AD-18 in the East Bay. More details to come! In Solidarity, Claire Lau Co-Chair, San Francisco Berniecrats San Francisco Berniecrats, FPPC # 1391193. Financial Disclosures at SFethics.org. Click here if you’d like to receive only activist alerts (fewer emails).
A More Equitable Future for Traffic Tickets Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: August 5, 2021 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm WHERE: Online CONTACT: Event website EVENT Register California gives out more than four million traffic tickets each year, the majority of which disproportionately fall on Black and Brown communities across the state. It also has the most expensive traffic tickets in the country, with the bulk cost of these tickets being driven by numerous fees on top of the base cost of the ticket. Failure to pay the full cost of a ticket can result in even greater penalties, including added… Continue reading →
Join us Thursday for another engaging conversation on our national organizing call at 6PM EST. We’ll be discussing the Supreme court and Birddog strategies with Center for Popular Democracy’s very own Julia Peters from CPD’s Innovation Team! We’ll also be discussing Medicare-for-all and Senate filibuster updates happening in our progressive fight. Hope to see you all Thursday at 6PM. Register here to join! Thank you, Innovations, Center for Popular Democracy CPD Action 449 Troutman Street, Suite A Brooklyn, NY 11237 United States
ISF Federal Working Group meeting: Thursday, August 5, 7:30–9 PM. Register here for a Zoom meeting to help us develop strategies to influence our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to enact a progressive agenda.