Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Climate Change Blame Game: How a Revolution in Agriculture can Heal the Planet

The Climate Change Blame Game:

How a Revolution in Agriculture can Heal the Planet

 

Katrina_Hurricane

Hurricane Katrina as seen from space.

 

A friend of mine recently shared an article on climate change. The central arguments were that whenever the government is telling you to do something, you should probably watch out. Just because we can prove that global temperatures have risen on average doesn’t prove who is responsible. There is tons of evidence that the earth has gone through many huge climate shifts and ice ages in the past and while the effects have been rough for some (goodbye dinosaurs) the end of the ice ages opened up tons of land that was previously unusable such as Europe and North America. Maybe in the future Greenland or Antarctica could be the next Garden of Eden? To hear this point of view from someone who actually believes it check out the article here.

This is an interesting perspective. The article isn’t really disputing global warming/climate change, it’s saying “Don’t blame me!” It’s also arguing that massive climate change and the things that go with it (flooding of a majority of urban centers, species extinction, etc.) are part of living in a changing world and we should adapt, move if necessary and not freak out so much.


I can concede a few points to you here. There are multiple factors that influence global warming and some, like solar flares, meteors and volcano eruptions are out of our control. On the other hand tons of other factors are effected in huge ways by our lifestyles and industry. What is the point of debating who is to blame when it’s clear what we could do to help?

One of the biggest and most well know factors in global warming is the fact that excess carbon dioxide catches heat radiating off the earth and keeps it from escaping. (In much the same way that clouds insulate and make cloudy nights warmer than clear ones.)

What people don’t talk about is where this excess carbon dioxide came from and the fact that we desperately need it back in the soil for fertility. Carbon is a pollutant in the air, but a priceless resource in the soil.


Carbon matter in farming is better know as organic matter and is the basis for the soil’s fertility and ability to hold water and nutrients. This is the black compost that makes up our topsoil, but in recent history it’s been estimated that 98% of our world’s topsoil has already been lost. Carbon matter in topsoil naturally decomposes and slowly releases gasses as it breaks down while at the same time plants breathe in carbon dioxide and turn it into physical carbon that is left in the soil when the plant dies and sheds it’s leaves in the fall. This is the carbon cycle. In a healthy ecosystem carbon is collected and stored faster than it is released. A healthy farm can work in much the same way. In a lot of places traditional and indigenous agriculture techniques were as effective as wild ecosystems at doing this. Sustainable agriculture calls for at least breaking even but what we really need is regenerative agriculture to rebuild our depleted soil resources.

Conventional agriculture is one of the worst offenders. When you till the soil it creates a ton of microscopic activity that breaks down soil and makes a bunch of new nutrients available to plants, but unless those nutrients are replenished with additions of compost the soil gets used up. That’s what happened to the once Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. Bad agriculture can turn a forest into a desert within a few lifetimes. Adding chemical fertilizers basically does the same thing; speeds up decomposition and uses up the soils reserves without giving anything back. We can do this with great results at first, as long as we keep adding fertilizers, but over a decade or so the soil gets depleted and eventually becomes barren so it can’t grow anything. Chemically fertilized soils quickly go from being alive, with up to a billion organisms in a single teaspoon to being dead and sterile. Another side effect is that this creates a dependence on buying the fertilizers and if a farmer has a bad year and can’t afford them he or she may need to go into debt, mortgage the farm and risk loosing everything. Sustainable agriculture allows the farmer to produce almost everything the farm needs and the waste from one crop or animal becomes the food, bedding or fertilizer for another. Very little needs to be bought and so the farm is more resilient to hard economic times.

 

We need to switch to regenerative agriculture. Just as bad farming is one of the worst offenders in climate change, good farming offers the most effective solution. Small scale diverse farms with a good mix of types of plants and animals can speed up the production of plant matter and then the animals, microorganisms and compost savvy farmers can help incorporate it into the soil where it can be stored and not lost.

 

Think of sustainable farmers like reverse coal miners. Mining carbon from the sky and then burying it in the earth. There is even a technique from the Amazon where farmers do controlled smoldering of plant matter to turn it into charcoal that is then buried. This locks the carbon into a permanent form that won’t break down over time. (Burning the wood with barely any air prevents the carbon from bonding with oxygen to for carbon dioxide.) Burying the charcoal creates a stable and rich black soil that will stay fertile and productive for thousands of years, even in a climate where torrential rain usually leaches away tons of nutrients.

Modern soil scientists are just now “discovering” that a number of North and South American indigenous peoples had developed some of the most sophisticated and productive agricultural systems in the world. Food systems centered around salmon runs, oak forests and camas roots for the NW Coastal Tribes and around the buffalo and prairie for the Lakota Plains Tribes were the most advanced in the world in terms of productivity and sustainability. They were so advanced and low maintenance that colonists couldn’t even tell that the humans were an integral part of the system. Settlers thought they could improve productivity by decimating the buffalo, introducing cattle and tilling the prairie for wheat but the result was the dust bowl, one of the worst human made environmental disasters in recent history.

Good farmers know that they need to be building their soils. They are the architects and choreographers of an elaborate dance between humans plants and animals, both tended and wild. It isn’t rocket science but it is skilled and interesting work that needs to be done with local knowledge and long term goals in mind. Good farming requires family farms where long term productivity is valued as much as short term productivity. A fertile farm is a legacy and an heirloom to pass down to future generations. When corporations own all the farmland they have no incentive to play the long game. They don’t love the land.

Cutting down on our emissions of greenhouse gasses is a big part of the solution to climate change. At the least we can move towards renewable energy like solar, wind, micro-hydro and wave energy and also use sustainably harvested plant based fuels where possible. Firewood ends up being a net zero fuel because the tree cleans up as much carbon in it’s life as the tree can put off in smoke going up the chimney. But using less is only part of the solution. We need to be actively collecting carbon and storing it in the soil. We can take a pollutant and create a resource.

Climate change deniers get caught up in the blame game and miss the big picture. The same industries that are causing or contributing to global warming are also poisoning our air, soil and water with toxic chemicals. You don’t have to believe that climate change is happening or is bad to believe that poisoning each other and our children is bad and that corporations need to be stopped and held accountable!!! You don’t have to believe that humans are responsible to decide we need to get inspired and have a plan for replenishing our depleted renewable resources like topsoil and mature diverse forests. If we don’t admit that there is a problem we can’t get started fixing it. We need you on our side. Lets work together to heal the world. Or at least try and head in the right direction. There are a lot of us and our small actions add up.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Wolf is a small scale farmer and permaculturalist from Portland, Oregon. She traveled the world farming and gardening in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Spain and before studying with the internationally renowned Linnaea Ecological Gardening Programme in BC, Canada. She has started and managed small farms and CSA programs in Canada and Oregon and continues to be an activist for environmental healing through agriculture.

 

MORE READING AND BACKGROUND:

Climate Change Explained by the World Wildlife Federation

John Oliver hosts a mathematically representative climate change debate, with the help of special guest Bill Nye the Science Guy, of course.

You Can Farm by Joel Salatin

Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food  by Wendel Berry
Losing Ground: Re-thinking soil as a renewal resource

 

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Oregon Voter’s Guide for NE Portland

by Dreamtime Compass

Ballot '16 Primary

 

NOTE: I changed my registration from Independent to Democrat for this election!

FEDERAL:

#1: President: Bernie Sanders!!!

#2: US Senator: Kevin Stein

  • Endorses Sanders!
  • On the Issues: Single-Payer Medicare based healthcare. No corporate money/lobbyists in politics. Treat marijuana businesses like other businesses. Anti bad Free-Trade, TPP, NAFTA etc. No cuts to Social Security
  • Running against Ron Wyden who is a Hillary Superdelegate and has a terrible record on a number of key issues including trade. Wyden has done some good things too but Oregon can do better

#3: US Representative 3rd District: Sara F. Wolk.  Write in anyone as a symbolic gesture! Write in me!

  • Earl Blumenauer is a Hillary Superdelegate running unopposed. As far as I know he has done a lot of good in other areas from agriculture to trade. Let’s put some pressure on him to switch his endorsement!  Looking into other districts, Suzanne Bonamici is also a pledged Hillary Superdelegate! Where’s the democracy?  Kurt Schrader led a Pro GMO bill and is opposed to GMO lableling. Let’s not vote for Monsanto sellouts.
  • Please write to Earl Blumenauer and ask him to cancel his Hillary endorsement as a superdelegate. Superdelegates are undemocratic and are misleading the people into thinking Bernie never stood a chance!

STATE OFFICES:

#4: Governor:  Julian Bell (D)

Kate Brown has endorsed Hillary and is a superdelegate and reports are mixed with most seeming to show her as uncommitted but some counting her as pledged to Clinton. Kate Brown has done a good job so far but there are also concerns.

  • Kate Bell raised the minimum wage by such a small margin that counting inflation it might as well have gone down. She passed a law to phase out coal power in Oregon, but her plan focuses on natural gas as the alternative which may not be any better. Kate increased education funding by 7.4 billion and that’s great! I think she is trying and if it wasn’t for the Hillary thing she might have had my vote.
  • Writing in Cliff Thomason is an option too… He is a S. Oregon Hemp Farmer and his platform is innovative and and focused on strengthening local economies. Please look him up. I wish he made his positions on other issues like coal, environmental issues and taxes more clear. His slogan, Make Oregon Great, is very reminiscent of Trump…
  • Julian Bell is endorsing Bernie and is making climate change his central platform!!! He also has a great stand on the housing crisis! On the other hand he pronounced Oregon as Argon, like the gas. 😦  Where is this guy from! Why is nobody in Oregon from Oregon anymore!???

#5: Secretary of State: Write in Paul Damian Wells, INDEPENDENT!!!!

  • Paul is running on a platform of election reform for a non-partisan primary where the best 2 candidates progress regardless of party. He would also get rid of state funding for partisan primaries which are unfair to 3rd party candidates and voters!
  • Paul is fighting for the idea that corporations aren’t people-they don’t have rights (UNDO CORPORATE PERSONHOOD!!!! Corporate personhood was the legal downfall of democracy and is at the root of corporate immunity and unaccountability in our country! It is probably the single most important issue and he is the first candidate I’ve seen talking about it!)
  • Brad Avakian is the most progressive democratic candidate with a strong record. He is my second choice. Want’s to expand the office and audit corporations, fight for equality and the environment but is very focused on issues that aren’t in the job description, as his opposition pointed out.
  • Devlin and Val Hoyle both played a role in disenfranching 3rd party voters, especially independents. Major dealbreaker for candidates to an office that  overseas elections! https://www.oregonoutpost.com/betsy-rolled-by-devlin-on-election-reform-task-force/
  • Val Hoyle killed a 2015 bill that would have banned the buying and selling of ivory in Oregon and is under attack by the humane society.
  • I wish one of these candidates would take a stand for Ranked Choice voting but none did! Paul Wells plan is a step in the right direction!

#6: State Treasurer: Tobias Read

  • Tobias Read is running unopposed by other democrats but female candidate Chris Telfer is running as an Independent. She seems good too.

#7: Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum is running unopposed.

  • Seems okay as far as I know.

#8: State Senator 22nd District: Lew Frederick is running unopposed.

  • Seems good! Says he will work to better protect us against environmental pollutants like from the Bullseye Glass catastrophe!

#9: State Representative 43rd District:  Tawna Sanchez

  • First Nations activist, community builder, progressive and native Portlandian!
  • Roberta Phillip-Robbins looks good too.

#10-23: State Judiciary and DA: All are running unopposed.

CITY OF PORTLAND OFFICES:

#24: Portland Mayor: Sarah Innarone

  • From Portland! Endorsed by Mark Lakeman of City Repair and the Village Building Convergence.

#25: City of Portland Commissioner Pos. 1: Amanda Fritz

  • Endorsed by Jeff Merkley. The Senate’s only Bernie Superdelegate

#26: City of Portland Commissioner Pos. 4: Chloe Eudaly

Chloe Eudaly for Portland City Council is the only candidate running who has shown strong support for rent control and renter protections.

#27: Metro Councilor: Sam Chase

  • Great platform Sam! Endorsed by Bike Walk Vote along with other incumbents incumbents: Craig Dirksen, Sam Chase, and Bob Stacey!
  • Kudos to opponent Colby Clipston for his work against citizens united. Keep up the fight!

#28: County Measure 26-174. A 5 Year Levy for Oregon Historical Society Library, museums and educational programs: YES

#29: City of Portland Measure 26-173. Temporary fuel tax for street repairs and traffic safety (10 cents per gallon for 4 years): NO

  • measure should target trucking industry! While I do think it’s generally good to tax gas by the mile, the majority of damage is done by large vehicles. I would like to see a statewide tax on vehicles over a certain weight or size.  I don’t like to support taxes that target the poor along with the rich. This would be hard on struggling Portland low income families.

#30-31 Democratic Precinct Committee-person: Write yourself in for this 2 year term grassroots position. They are short on candidates so you can get it if you really want. They need 4 men and 4 women.

 

THANKS FOR VOTING! please comment if you have advice on who to vote for in other districts or if you disagree on any of my choices and think we should hear you out.

 

 

Election Math for A 3 Way Race: The Bernie vs. Trump vs. Hillary Throwdown

 

Best Ship of State

cartoon by Brian Narelle

 

Close your eyes for a second and take a moment to imagine this future…You are standing in the streets of Philadelphia outside the Democratic National Convention surrounded by 100,000 Bernie or Bust protesters when an announcement comes over the loud speakers.

“Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination and will be taking on Donald Trump in the general election for President of the United States!” The speakers boom. “And now Bernie Sander with his concession speech…”

The crowd goes wild chanting and booing but Bernie comes on quickly. After thanking his supporters and talking about the numerous instances of electioneering and voter suppression Bernie makes a shocking announcement, “I have decided to continue my candidacy and I will be running as an Independent allied with the Green Party this November!”

If you are convinced that having two liberal candidates against one conservative would split the left vote and throw the election I have good news for you. Bernie Sanders is not Ralph Nader! We don’t have to look very far to offer another possibility. Just next door in Canada, Justin Trudeau was recently elected Prime Minister. Trudeau was able to defeat the conservative nightmare Stephen Harper despite the fact that Canada has two major leftist political parties and only one conservative party!!! [1] In Canada the population is fairly evenly split between the three parties. In contrast barely over a quarter of Americans are still registered Republican. Canada had it WAY worse than we do!

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won by championing a bipartisan progressive agenda like Bernie’s, not a moderate one! His very first promise as prime minister was to guarantee major election reforms like ranked choice voting and a popular vote!!!  We have a right to have our votes counted equally and to be free to vote our conscience without fear of wasting our vote!!!! Lots of countries do it differently and it’s time we had a president willing to fight for real democracy! Bernie is America’s only presidential candidate that supports systemic election reform.

That’s all great news for Canada, but how much does our election really have in common with theirs? Our political demographics have changed dramatically in the last 8 years, only 26% of Americans are registered Republican, just under 29% of Americans are registered Democrats and over 42% are now Independents. [2] Surprised?

Now lets say that Hillary is the Democrat, Trump is the Republican and Bernie is the Independent. If most people voted their party line, the winner would be Bernie Sanders with close to 40% of the vote and he could even win by double digits! Hillary would get second place and Trump would get third.

That’s a bit overly simplistic you might think and this is fairly complicated so I looked up some statistics and decided to crunch some numbers: You may know that most polls show Bernie winning against Trump by way bigger margins than Hillary in 2 way match ups, but I also found some interesting NBC polling data fresh off the press [3]:

  • 52% of Independents would vote Bernie. 30% of Independents would vote Trump
  • 30% of Republicans under 30 would vote for Bernie and around 12% of Republicans in general would vote for Bernie over Trump in a general election. 

If you split the Democratic vote the same way it is currently split in the primary (H-55% B-45%) and then you factor the Independent and Republican splits here are the results:

AND THE WINNER OF THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL THREE WAY RACE IS…….

BERNIE SANDERS- 38% 

(Trump-29%      Hillary Clinton 16%)

Bernie beats Trump by 9%!!! That’s pretty damn good!!! Factor in a few more months for Republicans to learn more about Bernie and for Hillary to implode in a vortex of scandal and he could even do better. Time will tell. For now let’s keep fighting for Bernie to win the Democratic nomination in July and then go from there. KEEP THE FAITH!

By now you should be thoroughly convinced who the strategic vote really is, but I do have to address the fact that most people don’t understand how much ground the 2 party system has lost in the last decade. People feel like the democratic nominee is invincible and there are very real fears that anyone running against her can’t stand a chance. Some of you math wizards may have noticed that the totals for the 3 political parties add up to 97% of registered voters. (The other 3% is the Green and Libertarian voters.) On the other hand my totals for our three way race only add up to 83%. The missing 14% is our undecided and strategic Independents and they are not to be underestimated.

Our strategic and swing voters this election are a diverse bunch. We have Bernie supporters who believe that Hillary is the lesser of 2 evils but would rather have her than risk Trump. We also have lifelong Republican women who would secretly vote for Hillary. The pull to vote for our first ever female candidate is even stronger when you stand her up next to openly sexist and offensive Trump. The third group is the Christian Right. It’s hard to argue that Trump is the candidate for family values or the religiously devoted. Add in Pope Francis’ support of Bernie and the Christian vote is anybody’s guess. Another swing group is the anti-corporate strategic voter who thinks Trump is the only outsider with a chance. They may not prefer Trump, but they would rather vote for him than risk Hillary.

My guess is that these groups will more or less cancel each other out. At the worst, having Bernie in the race will ensure that anti-corporate voters have an option other than Trump and I don’t think he could possibly secure more than half of the swing vote. Even in the worst case scenario, if Bernie got none of the strategic voters and they were split evenly between Hillary and Trump, Bernie would still beat Trump by 2 percentage points. More likely is that Hillary would dominate among swing voters with her historic candidacy and she would come in squarely in second place.*

Trump is the looser in this race, Hillary is the spoiler candidate, and Bernie is the strategic choice and the winner.

With the strategic voters and those voting their conscience united Bernie would win by a landslide!

 

by Sara Wolf    6/16/16

 

*Other possibilities:

If Clinton were to succeed at convincing a significant number of Democrats who voted for Bernie in the primary to vote for her strategically it could change the outcome of the race:

  • If you split the swing vote evenly between the three candidates but give Hillary half of Bernie’s Democrats… Bernie Wins.  (B:38+5-7=36, T:29+5=34, H:16+5+7=28 )
  • If you split the swing vote between only Trump and Hillary and give Hillary half of Bernie’s Democrats… Trump wins (T:29+7=36, B:38-7=31, H:16+7+7=30)
  • If you split the swing vote evenly between the three candidates but give Hillary 90% of Bernie’s Democrats… Trump wins. (T:29+5=34, H:16+5+12=33, B:38+5-12=31)
  • If you split the swing vote between only Trump and Hillary but give Hillary 90% of Bernie’s Democrats… Trump wins. (T:29+7=36, H:16+7+12=35, B:38-12=26)

If Bernie dropped out entirely, Hillary won most Democrats, Trump won most Republicans and they split the Independent vote 31/27 based on the numbers in an article by Real Clear Politics [4]… It’s a tie between Trump and Hillary with the Green Party and Libertarian candidates getting collectively almost as many votes as Trump or Clinton. (T:19+2+13=34, H:21+2+11=34, 3rd Parties:18+5+6+3=32 )

  • Independent 42%:  T:13, H:11, 3rd:18
  • Republican 26%:  T:19, H:2, 3rd:5
  • Democrat 29%:  T:2, H:21, 3rd:6
  • 3rd Parties 3%: T:0, H:0, 3rd: 3

If Hillary dropped out and Bernie and Trump split the swing voters, Bernie would win with a huge majority. This is also the result we would get if our country used Ranked Choice Voting. This is the result that reflects the will of the people. Bernie would win an epic landslide victory with 61% of the country behind him. (B:38+16=61, T:29+7=36)

There is no strategy in which Hillary can be expected to win decisively, with or without Bernie. This is why I am encouraging Bernie to stay in the race and and run a strong campaign educating voters why he is the only strategic choice.

Thanks for checking out the Dreamtime Compass journalism department! To read more about the candidates and why Bernie has my vote read on:

 

SOURCES:

 

[1] “A Big Lesson America Should Learn From Canada’s New Prime Minister” http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/10/20/3714126/a-big-lesson-america-should-learn-from-canadas-new-prime-minister/

[2] “Democratic, Republican Identification Near Historical Lows” http://www.gallup.com/poll/188096/democratic-republican-identification-near-historical-lows.aspx

[3] “Who’s More Likely to Beat Donald Trump — Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?” http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/who-s-more-likely-beat-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-or-n570766

[4] “How Clinton vs. Trump Could Play Out”
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/05/20/how_clinton_vs_trump_could_play_out_130616.html

The math crunching from article #3 and current democratic pledged delegate math that was the basis of my non-strategic analysis:

  • If Trump wins 15% of Independents and Bernie wins 52%, and Independents are 42% of voters that equals 6% Indie Trumpers, and 22% Indie Berners.
  • If Trump wins 88% of Republicans and Bernie wins 12%, and Republicans are 26% of voters that equals 23% Repub Trumpers, and 3% Repub Berners.
  • If Hillary wins 55% of Democrats and Bernie wins 45%, and Democrats are 29% of voters that equals 16% Dem Hill-trudgers, and 13% Dem Berners.
  • Totals: T=6+23=29       B=22+3+13=38        C= 16

note: all numbers were rounded to the nearest whole number at each stage in the math. Close enough for me. Sample problem:

Republican breakdown: (26÷100×88=T   26÷100×12=B)

HILLARY CLINTON’S FREE TRADE POLICY THROWS MARGINALIZED PEOPLE UNDER THE BUS

Nascar Hillary

What if political candidates had to wear the logos of their corporate sponsors?

I recently read an article entitled “The #BernieOrBust Movement Throws Marginalized People Under The Bus.” Have you seen it or heard the sentiment? Well, it got me all fired up! When I first heard Donald Trump’s hate mongering rhetoric I vowed to do everything in my power to keep him out of the White House! When I heard other Bernie supporters say they would never vote for Hillary in the general election even if Bernie lost I thought they were being selfish and idealistic to a fault. After all I am a lifelong Democrat and as much as I wish the Democratic Party was better, the Republicans are undeniably worse. I’m idealistic but I’m not stupid and sometimes we have to be strategic. But then something funny happened… As the primary progressed and I started doing more extensive research on Hillary and the Clinton administration my views on the subject started to shift. So, here is my response, respectfully:

I agree that a Trump or any Republican President would be catastrophically awful, however, the catastrophic effects of Clinton era economic policy are not to be underestimated either. Hillary’s positions on free trade, corporate lobbyists and special interest groups in government, and corporate immunity from local government’s regulations, are at the root of our nation and the world’s problems. Hillary’s stance on these issues is very clear, after all she was a corporate lawyer for Walmart and her Campaign is headed by corporate lobbyists (like her campaign manager from the Podesta Group that was recently implicated in the Panama Papers for example.[1]) Unfortunately Hillary is not alone in this. She is in agreement with every singe establishment politician or President in my lifetime on this issue. This one issue is why both parties are in crisis right now!

Before we go any further I have to make it clear that the Bernie or Bust movement is a strategy to pressure the Democratic National Committee and the superdelegates to support Bernie Sanders and vote for him as the Democratic nomination. We know the superdelgates were bought by the Hillary Victory Fund before Bernie started his campaign [2], but ultimately their job is to choose the Democratic candidate who can actually win in November and this primary isn’t over till it’s over. Bernie or Bust is sincere and committed to Sanders for the long haul, yes, but at this stage it is actually the most effective way to prevent the situation you and others fear; a split left vote that could open the door to a Trump presidency. The truth is that Hillary just doesn’t have the support she would need to win decisively and neither does Trump. They could both loose to eachother, especially if another major scandal breaks or if the FBI investigation gets ugly for Hillary. Bernie is the only one who can predictably and decisively win the general election!

We need Bernie because he is the only candidate that has consistently made a point of fighting for election reforms like campaign finance reform, a popular vote, making election day a holiday, and switching to ranked choice voting. Bernie supporters are fired up about election fraud and voter disenfranchisement! We are deeply concerned that the establishment isn’t, especially after the election fraud scandals in Florida and Ohio that decided the 2000 and 2004 election for George W. Bush!!! We need a national policy that audits official vote counts that don’t match up with exit polls. We need to be able to verify that voting machines aren’t hacked!

Aside from fraud and evildoing, our election system is outdated and ineffective by design. We need to switch to a system like Ranked Choice Voting where you mark your first, second and third choice on the ballot and if your first choice doesn’t stand a chance your second or third choice would be counted instead. This process of elimination goes on until a candidate has a majority. Ranked Choice Voting is much simpler than our current system in practice and it produces results that better represent the will of the majority. Ranked Choice Voting gets rid of the need for strategic voting because it eliminates splitting the left or right votes if there are more then two candidates and it eliminates the Nader Effect. It would also increase voter turnout by undoing the need for a separate primary and it unravels the two party monopoly. Ranked Choice Voting is used by Australia, Ireland, the US Military and many other countries, states and local governments. People love it and there is already a bipartisan national movement to put it in place. Learn more at fairvote.org. Unfortunately, we probably won’t get systemic election reform until we have President Bernie in the oval office so how can we win this election with our current broken system? Most of us know that polls have consistently shown Bernie winning against Trump with much higher margins than Hillary in a two candidate general election but what happens if Bernie doesn’t win the democratic nomination? [4a] Armageddon?

If you are convinced that having two liberal candidates against one conservative would split the vote and throw the election I have good news for you. Bernie Sanders is not Ralph Nader! We don’t have to look very far to offer another possibility. Just next door in Canada, Justin Trudeau was recently elected Prime Minister. Trudeau was able to defeat the conservative nightmare Stephen Harper despite the fact that Canada has two major leftist political parties and only one conservative party!!! [3] In Canada the population is fairly evenly split between the three parties. Actually the Conservative party of Canada had just over a third of the votes in the previous election. In contrast less than a quarter of Americans are still registered Republican so they had it worse than we do! Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won by championing a bipartisan progressive agenda like Bernie’s, not a moderate one! His very first promise as prime minister was to guarantee election reform like I described above!!! We have a right to vote, to have our votes counted and to be free to vote our conscience without fear of wasting our vote!!!! Lots of countries do it differently and it’s time we had a president willing to fight for real democracy!

Hypothetically, what would happen if we had an election with three major candidates like Canada? Our political demographics have changed dramatically in the last 8 years so let’s look at the numbers. 26% of Americans are registered Republican, just under 30% of Americans are registered Democrats and over 40% are now Independents. [4b] (This is not counting those who live in states with closed primaries and changed their registration to Democrat to Vote for Bernie in the primary so the real Democrat numbers are lower and the real Independent number is higher.) Surprised? Now lets say that Hillary is the Democrat, Trump is the Republican and Bernie is the Independent. If most people would vote their party line, the winner would be Bernie Sanders with close to 40% of the vote and he could even win by double digits! Hillary would get second place and Trump would get third. Factor in strategic voting and a more detailed analysis and Bernie still probably comes out ahead, but we can be sure this would be a fight and that nobody would be throwing away their vote. Truth be told Bernie has significant Republican, Democrat, Green and Libertarian support so he could actually win an over 50% majority, even in a three way election by bringing in voters who don’t usually vote or who usually throw away their vote on candidates that don’t stand a chance.

Now lets look at another scenario briefly: Trump vs. Clinton and Bernie drops out. Let’s say Trump gets just 10% of Independents plus the Republicans. In this scenario Bernie’s voters split up, Bernie Democrats vote for Hillary and Bernie Independents vote Green or Libertarian. The results: Trump wins with 36%. Hillary gets second with 30% and Green and Libertarian candidates get a record showing but still are in a distant 3rd and 4th place with roughly 15% each. This unfortunate scenario is why I think that Bernie Sanders is not only the moral choice but also the strategic choice! Don’t drop out Bernie!!!

Now, strategy aside, lets get back to the issue at hand. Is the Bernie or Bust movement a privileged luxury for the white middle class? Is Trumps social agenda worse than Clinton’s economic agenda for marginalized peoples? For the first time ever we have two candidates, Bernie Sanders and shockingly Trump as well, that are standing against disastrous free trade deals and and unaccountable big banks. Both Sanders and Trump are calling to stop the TPP and free trade agreements that send our jobs overseas and both are calling to audit the Federal Reserve, which has never happened before. [5,6] The surprising popularity of both of these candidates is due to the fact that the people know how directly devastating these free-trade and global scale banking monopolies are for marginalized peoples! (Granted Trump only seems to care about marginalized whites and his honesty or capacity to do anything, good or bad, is questionable at best. Why would Trump the Billionaire be on our side of this issue? Because his empire was ruined multiple times by these banks and the inside engineers of the recession. They profited, Trump went bankrupt.) The fact that Trump is on the right side of this one is the reason that he could actually win the support of enough Independents and Republicans to beat Clinton. The people know that the establishment is looking out for corporate interests and corporate control of our government. The progressives have been fighting globalization for a long time now. The conservatives have been fighting big government. Now many people are realizing that these are two sides of the same coin. The people don’t believe that the establishment has their best interests at heart.

These free trade deals and big banks have given multinational corporations the right to exploit the workers and the environment of third world “developing” countries with total legal immunity! Individual countries under the TPP would not have the right to hold corporations like Monsanto and others legally accountable or to ban GMOs or Monsanto’s pesticides if they deem them to be destructive. Countries who sign on loose the right to set their own minimum wages or workplace safety laws. [7]”If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits.” [8]  Free trade agreements by definition sign away our rights to control our local economies or to protect our workers and our environment . The reality of this is so ugly that it must be implemented overseas where Americans rarely if ever get a glimpse into the underbelly of our consumer goods. Please read up on this in more detail! In practice, this is literally slavery overseas minus the room and board! This is the legalization of the rape of our planet to a scale that has never been seen before! This is hundreds of garment workers locked into and unable to escape burning factories in Pakistan and Bangladesh. [9] This is a Brazilian river running red after a dam burst at an iron ore mine in southeastern Brazil, unleashing 50 million tons of highly toxic mud and mining waste. [10] This is the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank making third world countries sign away their rights to education and health care in order to qualify for a loan to fight famine. This is American and Western corporations getting the contracts to rebuild these countries’ infrastructure in our own image and to the detriment of entire ecosystems and indigenous communities. This is Globalization, the modern face of Colonialism. This new era of free trade is the Clinton’s biggest legacy. The TPP, NAFTA, the Colombia Free-Trade Agreement, and The Panama Free Trade Agreement are just the tip of the iceberg! [11]

Within our own borders this policy amounts to small scale, local and sustainable companies unable to compete and the result is catastrophic job loss. [12] Clinton/Greenspan era economics, aka. trickle down economics, was as much to blame for the recession as Bush was and it pains me to admit it! [13,14] What happens when a country goes from being a producer economy to a consumer economy without jobs available? What happens when the stock market crashes and your pension and life savings disappears overnight? Somebody ends up with that money. It does not just disappear! The stock market is a gamble and the house always wins in the end. When families homes and cars are repossessed and people find themselves unemployed on the brink of homelessness or starvation, young unemployed people are forced to turn to crime or else enlist in the military to get by. The Clinton Crime Bill has put more people in prison than ever before. [15] We have more people in prison per capita than any other country in the world. How is that working out for marginalized peoples? This is the Military Industrial Complex in action. This is institutionalized racism at it’s worst! The prison community becomes America’s slave labor force and the military population ensures that we have the troops we need to ensure that uncooperative governments around the world will fall into line.

If freedom and democracy are really our military agenda then why did Hillary Clinton legitimize the overthrow of Nicaragua’s first democratically elected government? Why did she allow a military coup to take over despite reports of massive, systemic election fraud in Nicaragua? [16] Why did we overthrow the relatively moderate societies in Iraq and Libya while we don’t bat an eye at ultra conservative and oppressive Saudi Arabia? Clinton is the modern bearer of an oppressive and calculating strategy for American world dominance. Read the People History Of The United States of America by Howard Zinn to learn the history they never wanted you to know about.

Bernie Sanders would rather see the American working class making a living wage and going to college than going to jail or war and I think that his plan would save our country a ton of money in the long run. Obama Care already has Oregon HMO’s making record profits because of the decrease in the uninsured ER visits that come out of the hospitals own pockets.This is despite the fact we still have a long way to go and that we still have a Big Pharma monopoly resulting in unchecked inflation of drugs and medical care. Ideally healthcare and any other publicly funded institution would be not-for-profit. Medicare for all and heath care reforms could begin to put this profit share back in the pockets of the taxpayers. College and a living wage instead of prison and welfare would do the same! Reinvesting corporate subsidies and corporate handouts into tax breaks and grants for sustainable small and smaller businesses who pay their workers a living wage is a good investment.

Our people’s well-being is a good investment. Small businesses, family farms and the local economy is a good investment. Systemic change to our economic policy would get the money circulating through our communities and stop it from being siphoned away to multinational corporations, their offshore bank accounts and their shell companies. This is the kind of change that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been advocating for decades! A strong local economy is the backbone of the kind of small government that conservatives have been looking for and a strong local economy is the kind of grassroots community oversight that progressives have been fighting for too. Thriving communities full of small businesses are the dream and they are also the backbone of economic resilience. Local business owners should know and love their town or city of operation because they live there, they should care about their hometowns local issues, they should know their employees. Regional chains make this a stretch. National and international chains make this impossible. Any time a chain sends the majority of it’s profits away to a CEO or investor that is money that disappears from the local economy. We don’t need to be subsidizing that and we don’t need to be subsidizing companies that are too big to fail! Our economic policy needs to subsidize and support businesses that keep the majority of their profits circulating back to employees and investing in their local areas.

The alternative is globalization enforced by the military industrial complex. Hillary’s regime change foreign policy directly undermined Libya and Syria’s stability and left the region vulnerable to extremist takeover. Her interventionism and meddling painted any legitimate, democratic faction of those revolutions with the stench of colonialism and undermined their credibility. Well that goes two ways. Hillary received millions of dollars from a number of morally questionable countries just before granting them all huge weapons contracts. [17] Is that bribery or treason, I’m not sure, but this and many other examples have collectively undermined Hillary’s credibility. I don’t trust her and the Bernie or Bust movement doesn’t trust her either. Now Hillary has the audacity to try and attack Sanders on gun policy? When he has been outspoken for gun control and against these regime change interventions from the beginning!?! Extreme poverty and war are the major causes of gun violence! Hillary Clinton’s philosophy leads to both.

I respect that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a hardworking career woman who didn’t let the patriarchy or sexism stop her. I respect that she has been a pioneer and a hero to career women for decades but she is not a democrat and she is not for the people. Saying what she has to in order to pander for the votes of the LGBTQ community, people of color, undocumented workers, Muslims, people in poverty, and women is not enough and is not sincere in light of the big picture. Policies that directly undermine all human rights are destructive to all humans, all families, and especially these minorities and marginalized people that most of Hillary’s supporters genuinely care about. This is why Hillary and the Republicans will never get my vote! This is why I will research and support down ballot candidates that support Bernie and outvote incumbents that endorse Hillary. That is why I will continue to vote for Bernie Sanders for President of the USA.

NOTE: If you know of good or better sources that support my arguments or find any inaccuracies please comment below so I can make corrections.

[1a]”Panama Papers Scandal Hits the Clinton Campaign” http://www.breitbart.com/hillary-clinton/2016/04/07/panama-papers-scandal-hits-clinton-campaign/

[1b] “Bernie Sanders Was Right to Oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement [CC]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a25fZFKtJ7s

[2]“How Hillary Clinton Bought the Loyalty of 33 State Democratic Parties

[3] “A Big Lesson America Should Learn From Canada’s New Prime Minister” http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/10/20/3714126/a-big-lesson-america-should-learn-from-canadas-new-prime-minister/

[4a]”Bernie Sanders says he consistently beats Donald Trump by bigger margins than Hillary Clinton does” http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/mar/08/bernie-s/bernie-sanders-says-he-consistently-beats-donald-t/

[4b] “Democratic, Republican Identification Near Historical Lows” http://www.gallup.com/poll/188096/democratic-republican-identification-near-historical-lows.aspx

[5] “Trump And Sanders In Agreement? The Strange Politics Of Free Trade” http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddavenport/2016/04/01/trump-and-sanders-in-agreement-the-strange-politics-of-free-trade/#7f9fe8e828bc (note: please disregard the final paragraph as propaganda for big money interests. After all, it is Forbes)

[6a] “What would a President Trump mean for the Fed?” http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/24/news/economy/donald-trump-federal-reserve-audit-the-fed/

[6b] “The Biggest Scam In The History Of Mankind Explained In 7 Minutes” https://www.facebook.com/thefreethoughtprojectcom/videos/1738896179663975/

[7a] “Did Hillary Clinton’s State Department help suppress the minimum wage in Haiti?” http://www.politifact.com/global-news/statements/2016/apr/21/lee-camp/did-hillary-clintons-state-department-help-suppres/

[7b] “7 Articles To Read Uncovering Hillary Clinton’s Haiti Record” http://haitiantimes.com/7-articles-to-read-uncovering-hillary-clintons-haiti-record-14284/

[8] “Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance” http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-the-tpp-and-global-food-dominance/5359491

[9] “Workers Die In Bangladesh Factory While Making Clothes For Walmart And Othershttp://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/11/25/workers-die-in-bangladesh-factory-while-making-clothes-for-walmart-and-others/

[10] “A Disaster Prompted by Economic Activity: Brazil’s mining dam disaster, the worst in the country’s history, will continue to cause irreparable environmental damage for years.” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/photography/2015/12/_brazil_mining_dam_disaster_toxic_sludge_and_irreversible_environmental.html

[11] “IMF, World Bank & WTO – Neo-Colonial Tools For Enslaving Nationshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA3kV3TIBfg

 [12] “Bernie Sanders Answers Many Common Questions We Have About “Free Trade”” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lDqwvAMcVQ

[13] “Bernie Sanders Confronts Alan Greenspan” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJaW32ZTyKE

[14] “Elizabeth Warren vs. Hillary Clinton (2004)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12mJ-U76nfg

[15] “Bill Clinton concedes role in mass incarceration” http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/politics/bill-clinton-crime-prisons-hillary-clinton/

[16] “She’s Baldly Lying”: Dana Frank Responds to Hillary Clinton’s Defense of Her Role in Honduras Coup” http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/13/shes_baldly_lying_dana_frank_responds

[17] “Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department” http://www.ibtimes.com/clinton-foundation-donors-got-weapons-deals-hillary-clintons-state-department-1934187