We are all rubbing the crusties out of our eyes, reengaging with democracy and the mess created while we were asleep. As the attached article reaffirms for US citizens, our underlying goal is a self-governing Republic. But how do we as individuals affirm that effort – how do elected officials maintain that form?
Cyber attacks and the lack of transparency about them were hugely undermining to what corporatists have left of our democracy in this last election. The lack of urgency by the FBI and the unwillingness to publicly notify soon-to-be voters by Obama about Russians hacking the DNC left information that would directly influence us and as well as the rate it was dispersed at in the wrong hands.
While transparency should come from the Obama administration, The Intercept_ offers to verify and publish proof of Russian interference.
We can’t all be ‘patriotic whistleblowers’ but we can all begin to oppose the forces while rule our self-governance.
Journalist Chris Hedges weighs in on the “downward spiral of hating those who hate you,” which seems especially relevant given the current political climate. Read an excerpt from his article here, and find a link to the full article on NationofChange below.
The self-righteousness of the liberal class, which revels in imagined tolerance and enlightenment while condemning the white underclass as irredeemable, widens the divide between white low-wage workers and urban elites. Liberals have no right to pass judgment on these so-called deplorables without acknowledging their pain. They must listen to their stories, which the corporate media shut out. They must offer solutions that provide the possibility of economic stability and self-respect.
From the regional organic farmer associations to the Organic Trade Association to NYFC to your humble Greenhorns here, there sure are a lot of associations composed of or supposedly representing farmers. So maybe you’re asking, do we really need another one?
Well, first thing to consider here is that there is actually no national organization that represents only organic farmers. The second thing to consider might be the recent failures to pass adequate GMO labeling legislation in congress. We’re wondering if the entry of another national player might change the field of agricultural policy. Does this mark a shift in the organic/sustainable ag movement in which organic farmers more seriously set their sights on federal policy?
“We have a tremendous opportunity to bring organic farmers’ voices and their experience with agriculture to policymakers in Washington, D.C.,” said Kucinich. “Policymakers have not yet grasped the significance of organic agriculture for resilient, reliable, non-toxic food production, and its ability to mitigate climate change while restoring our nation’s soil health. We have an opportunity to benefit organic farmers, while positively impacting our nation’s health and mitigating our climate crisis.”
The following message is from our friends at the Cornucopia Institute and references the recent GMO labeling law, so called the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, which purports to mandate GMO labeling while, in reality, does not give the FDA the ability to enforce the act, allows companies to opt for labeling practices that are not –er– exactlylabeling, and (perhaps most dangerously) takes the right away from states such as Vermont to enact their own GMO labeling laws.
Reliable sources say that the DARK Act will soon be up for another vote.
Last time, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) didn’t have the votes to pass his bill to take away states’ rights to label GMOs. Many of those who voted against the bill were pro-GMO Senators who take campaign contributions (and their talking points) from companies like Monsanto. But realizing they would take a lot of heat from their constituents, they voted no in the hope that a more palatable “compromise” bill might come along.
The Senators who voted against the DARK Act last time could easily flip their votes to support a “compromise” (capitulation) to block Vermont’s law and replace it with a weak federal standard, because of—what else?—pressure from the big corporations who profit from toxic pesticides and GMO foods.
Food, safety, modernization—all good words. But the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) President Obama signed into law in 2011—giving the Food and Drug Administration new authority to regulate how food is grown, harvested and processed (i.e. produced)—places costly burdens on the small farmers who can least afford them.
What is the FSMA?
Prior to the law, the FDA’s approach to food contamination was reactionary. When instances of foodborne illnesses were reported, they responded, often with voluntary recalls. The new regulations, finalized last year and currently being implemented in phases, mark a distinct shift in an agency strategy that seeks to prevent contaminants from entering the food supply in the first place.
Food poisoning is a problem nationally. According to the CDC, of the 48 million Americans who get sick from eating tainted food every year, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die. Furthermore, massive recalls and settling the inevitable legal fallout costs the food industry billions. In addition to authorizing the FDA to issue mandatory recalls, the FSMA has incrementally unveiled 1,286 pages of new safety regulations.
While the food industry’s largest producers can afford to accommodate the various certifications, infrastructure changes and inspections that the law now mandates, small farmers already struggling to compete in their local markets risk getting priced—and regulated—out of business. Counter-intuitively, this is happening as consumer interest in food that hasn’t been doused in pesticides, wrapped in plastic and shipped halfway around the world should be offering regional farmers expanding economic opportunity in the form of community supported agriculture (CSAs) and weekend markets. To read more, click HERE.
On March 17th Washington-state-based independent farm worker union, the Familias Unidas por la Justicia(FUJ), began a 28-day tour from Bellingham, WA to the US-Mexico border to galvanize a boycott of Driscoll berries to be undertaken in solidarity with their contract negotiations with their employer and Driscoll-supplier Sakuma Berry.
So far, they have:
walked 1,090 miles
visited 13 different cities
gotten 13 new boycott committees to join the international boycott of Driscoll’s berries
The boycott will continue until union contracts are signed for both Familias Unidas por la Justica and El Sindicato, the independent farmworker union from San Quintin Mexico that went on strike and endorsed the boycott last March. For more updates on the tour, visit FUJ’s Facebook page.
Greenhorns, we’re all in this together. Keep boycotting Driscoll’s, its subsidiaries, and the brands that use its berries. (See this info graphic.)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is slated for an up-or-down vote in Congress. Proponents say it’s about free trade. But it looks more like corporate colonization.
One issue unites three U.S. presidential candidates from quite different positions on the political spectrum. Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP is a trade and investment agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations now awaiting an up-or-down vote by the U.S. Congress. Trump says it’s a bad deal for the United States. Clinton says it will cost jobs and lower labor, food safety, and environmental standards. Sanders says it is a corporate assault on democracy.
Trump is right: It’s a bad deal. But he’s wrong that it’s bad only for the United States. It’s actually bad for all of the 12 countries. Clinton is right that it will cost jobs and lower standards, but she’s wrong that the problem is failing to set the bar high enough.
Only Sanders names the most essential reason we must reject the TPP: It is an all-out corporate assault on democracy. Its approval would empower corporations to further hamstring efforts by any member nation to address the potentially terminal environmental, social, and economic threats of our time.
International agreements like the TPP are a corporate lobbyist’s dream. Click HERE to read the playbook for creating them.
Enter the Young Farmer Success Act, which would extend the student loan debt forgiveness granted to persons in public service by the Higher Education Act of 1965 to full time farmer and farm workers. It’s in the senate now! What you think? Is farming an act of national service? Then join up with the folks over at FarmingIsPublicService.org.
As Eric Hansen, policy advocate for the NYFC says, “It’s incredibly valuable to invite your member of Congress out to the farm. Show them what you’re doing, what contributions you’re making to your community. You’re providing jobs, you’re producing food, and you’re helping to secure the rural economy. Show them the service you’re providing and explain your own struggle with student loan debt.”
The recent legal challenge brought by TransCanada seeking $15 billion in damages over the Obama Administration’s decision to reject the Keystone Pipeline, has raised new questions about the TPP. The suit was brought under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which grants corporations special rights to challenge U.S. laws and undermine climate policy. The TPP includes the same corporate rights provisions, and would allow an additional 9,000 foreign corporations to challenge U.S. laws.
“The TransCanada case is a red flashing warning sign about whose interests these trade deals represent. These same corporate rights provisions have successfully challenged rural communities’ democratic rights to limit fracking and regulate mining,” said IATP’s Climate Director Ben Lilliston. “This deal is literally in climate denial—the words climate change are nowhere in the text. Yet the TPP supports an extractive, climate-damaging mode of globalization that has led to mass deforestation, fossil fuel withdrawal and an energy-intensive industrial model of agriculture.”