Category Archives: POLITICS

George Washington was the first farmer politician but Lincoln was the last.

GET THOSE DUST BOWLS OFF THE SHELF

Midwest Farm Bubble Continues Collapse As Farm Incomes Expected To Crash In 2017

Earlier this week the U.S Department of Agriculture released its biannual report of farm incomes which paints a very bleak picture for the American farmer.  In its first forecast for 2017, the USDA sees real farm cash receipts down 14% versus 2015 and 36% from the previous high set in 2012 as farm debt continues to soar and leverage surges to all-time highs. 

As the Wall Street Journal notes, the deadly combination of rising input costs, lower grain prices, a strong dollar and excessive leverage will likely force many of America’s Midwest farmers out of business in 2017.

Costs for seeds, fertilizer and equipment climbed so high and grain prices dropped so low that he still lost more than $120 an acre. Afraid to come up short again, Mr. Scott decided last fall not to plant 170 acres of winter wheat, close to a third of the usual amount. U.S. farmers sowed the fewest acres of winter wheat this season in more than a century.

Agrinomics: Yield per Acre

Adam Smith called it the rent of the land, the individual farmer, the man on the spot, was best suited to get the most out of the land. Karl Marx, didn’t want to let the farmer do his own thing for fear he would rape the soil to produce as much as possible today and not worry about tomorrow.

The Rent: Today Illinois farm land goes for $425/acre the farmer produces 180 bushels of corn on that acre and then sells it for $6 a bushel $6 x 180 = $1,080 less $542 for all that good fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, etc. he’s at $538 minus the $425 rent leaves him at the end of the harvest with $113 per acre profit.

180 bushels @ Dec 2016 price of $3.33 X 180 = $599.40 less $542 for all that good fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, etc. he’s at $57 minus the $425 rent leaves him at the end of the harvest with $-368 per acre loss.

“No one just grain farms anymore,” said Deb Stout, whose sons Mason and Spencer farm the family’s 2,000 acres in Sterling, Kan., 120 miles east of Ransom. Spencer also works as a mechanic, and Mason is a substitute mailman. “Having a side job seems like the only way to make it work,” she said.

She and her husband have declared bankruptcy before. Farmers around Sterling lost $6,400 on average in 2015, the latest available data, after profits of $80,800 a year earlier, according to the KansasFarm Management Association.

REINVENTING AGRICULTURE

“No one just grain farms anymore,”

The commodity grain farmer after Nixon’s 1971 devaluation of the dollar got a dollar more for a bushel of corn. The mid-west farmer could get 140 bushels per acre in 1975 at $3.00 per bushel for a gross of $420 per acre. 2017 corn averages $3.50 but yield per acre has risen to 180 bushels. Ipso facto $3.50 times 180 equals $630/ acre. That’s good right? Not if you factor in the Nixon Greenspan Bernanke credit bubble. $3.00 in 1975 has the buying power of  $13.96 today. 2) economically viable to the farmer

John Reganold, a professor of soil science and agroecology at Washington State University, said a 4) crop’s yield is just one of four metrics by which it should be considered sustainably productive.

Equally important, he argued, is whether a crop is 1) environmentally safe, 2) economically viable to the farmer and 3) socially responsible by paying its workers well, for example.

“For any farm to be sustainable, it must meet each and every one of these four sustainability criteria,” Reganold said by phone Tuesday.

When organic farming practices are compared to conventional practices using all four of those metrics, the FOE report argues, the organic practices hold an advantage considering their resilience to increasingly pressing agricultural challenges, including climate change and water scarcity.

4) crop’s yield Yield in 1929 was 20 bushels per acre. Compare that to today’s 180 bushels on the same dust bowl mid-west acre.

“Increasing the proportion of agriculture that uses sustainable, organic methods of farming is not a choice, it’s a necessity,”

Claire Kremen, a conservation biology professor at University of California at Berkeley, writes in the report.

It’s Dust Bowl time again: the soil is depleted, the farmer is deeply in debt, the stock/bond market is about to crash and farm land value is drying up. No more wheat, soy or corn means it’s a good time to start a garden or become an organic farmer.

IT TAKES A VEGAN TO RAISE A VILLAGE

The “Vegetarianism in America” study published by Vegetarian Times showed that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. Approximately 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all.

 “Agriculture, the Produce of the Land, is the SOLE or the PRINCIPAL Source of the Revenue and Wealth of every Country.” – Adam Smith.

The Vegan-Vegetarian set are a bunch of picky eaters. Since, they have to deny themselves anything good to eat – they are the eat to live sufferers – they painstakingly make sure that it’s organic, locally grown, regeneratively farmed and environmentally sustainable. The remaining 96.8% of the population doesn’t care about soil degradation, GMO ingredients, pesticide residues, algae plumes or the evils of industrialized agriculture; only does it taste good and how much does it cost?

“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.”– Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 1776, (pg. 473)

The Vegan-Vegetarian loyalists favor their local farmers’ markets over Whole Foods to support their community economically. The only time that the American farmer made any money was between the end of slavery (1870) and until the end of WWI (1914). After the war Henry Ford turned his auto manufacturing expertise to cranking out ‘Farmall’ tractors which triggered Adam Smith’s caution algo: Equipment, Seeds & Fertilizer “the rise in the real price of manufactures, decreases the price of the raw produce of the land – thereby discouraging agriculture.”

The introduction of mechanization eliminated nine out of ten family farms because more land was needed to support the cost of the equipment that ended up producing commodity row crops, corn, wheat and cotton. The unemployed farmers moved to Detroit for five dollars a day wages which their wives spent buying canned goods at Barney Kroger’s or A & P.

The Vegan ladies 80% and Vegie ladies 60% and their corresponding male sympathizers are leading the way to establishing the farmer-villager relationship and the:

“The Great Commerce of every Civilized Society is that carried on between the Inhabitants of the Town and those of the Country.”

2017 statistics say that the Vegan-Vegetarian consumers number 17 million or 5% of the population. However, to make ‘American Agriculture Great Again’ we have to get the meat-lovers buying 100% grass-fed beef and family farmed pork, poultry and dairy. Before WWI 80% of the people lived in rural villages, now that 80% lives in metro-areas. Before WWI local farmers supplied 95% of the foodstuffs for the neighboring villages. How can we get them down on the farm again?

DUST BOWL IIWhen this happened in 1937 they packed up and went to California. There hasn’t been a dust bowl since then, why? FDR subsidized irrigation by pumping the Ogallala Aquifer down to keep those row crops growing. Now when the water runs out – current usage is a negative two meters per year – the great plains states will be forced to return to great prairie states. The Vegan-Vegetarian Left-Wing Millennial Marauders will disembowel the Industrial-Agriculture Complex and raise little happy villages all across the land.

LAST CHANCE HOWARD BUFFETT FOR AG SECRETARY

“I am more discouraged than I was when I started. The problems are so huge,” Mr. Buffett says.

In February 2007, his SUV pulled into Fufuo, a village in central Ghana. Accompanied by Ghanaian agronomist Kofi Boa, he hurried into a large cinder-block building where 30 farmers had been waiting, sheltered from the sun.

Back home, Mr. Buffett owned 800 acres of corn and soybeans and a fleet of the most modern John Deere implements. Now, he hoped to learn something from farmers who scratched the dirt with sticks and machetes. Mr. Boa, the agronomist, had been coaching them to replace slash-and-burn farming with a practice he called “no-till.”

In many African villages, poor farmers—who are often women—had traditionally made room for their crops by chopping down the brush and trees on a few acres of tribal land. It is hard on the farmer and the environment. The land is laid bare to erosion. As the soil deteriorates, farmers work harder and harder to produce food until they have to move on to another spot, repeating the cycle.

Mr. Boa told Fufuo’s farmers to disturb the ground as little as possible. Other than poking holes in the dirt to plant their seeds, the ground was not to be hoed or vegetation burned. Organic residue—such as leaves, stalks, and roots—was valuable, not trash. Fufuo’s farmers were taught to make room for their seeds shortly before planting time by squirting the competing vegetation with Chinese-made weed killer dispensed from backpacks.

The village quickly discovered that no-till plots yielded bigger crops with far less labor. The mulch acts as a sponge when it rains, banking water for crops, and then breaks down into plant food. The time the farmers saved by no longer hoeing weeds and cutting brush was time for money-making endeavors. Some started to raise cocoa trees, a crop prized by Ghana’s government for its export earnings; others began to raise chickens, feeding them with their surplus grain.

“How many seeds of corn do you plant on a hectare?” asked Mr. Buffett as he peered through thick eyeglasses and jotted down answers in a notebook. “Can you farm more land now?” he continued. “How much corn did you harvest?”

Further convinced he should support the no-till training of farmers, Mr. Buffett left. After his SUV drove off, swallowed in red dust, the farmers were told that their visitor was the son of a billionaire named Warren Buffett.

Trump’s Current Pick for Ag Secretary

Sonny Perdue III, the former governor of Georgia, is president-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidate to be his U.S. secretary of agriculture, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Perdue, 70, would succeed secretary Tom Vilsack. Perdue met with Trump on Nov. 30 and told reporters they talked about agricultural commodities traded domestically and internationally. While Perdue is the front-runner, the decision isn’t final, the person said.

Howard Buffett is a farmer, a very rich farmer, who is developing sustainable, regenerative agriculture in the US and Africa. Howard’s father’s bridge buddy, Bill Gates, is working the health track in Africa and India. Howard is saving Africa from hunger through ‘no-till’ farming. Trump still has time to pick a farmer over a politician as Secretary of Agriculture.

US Agriculture is not a swamp – it’s a barren lot that stretches from coast to coast with nothing on it but junk-yard dogs.

Subsidies

Factory Farms

Industrialized Farming with Chemicals

Degraded Topsoil

Depleted Aquifers 

HOWARD GRAHAM BUFFETT FOR TRUMP’S AG SECRETARY

Howard Graham Buffett serving meals in Sierra Leone in 2007. He spends up to 200 days a year on the road, doing foundation work. (Jeannie O’Donnell / The Howard G. Buffett Foundation)

Howard, Warren Buffett’s farmer son, is one man, a rich one man, working in all 54 African countries developing sustainable farming on the continent with the biggest problems in hunger, poverty, soil, infrastructure, economics and politics. Howard’s dad is bridge buddies with Bill Gates who is also saving Africa. There is hope in 2016 that the Bern fires up the base like Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, while the well informed Buffett Gates partnership puts their money where it’s needed – like not in Panama.

howard-b“USAID and others have been at this for decades,” he said. “By now, according to projections, we should have ended hunger. So my point is, what we’re doing isn’t working.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Buffett told me. “I’m a farmer. I know what I can get from improved seed. I know what I get from fertilizer. They’re huge. But technology can’t build organic matter. It can’t create topsoil. It can’t magically protect water quality. It’s a quick fix, and Africa needs a long-term solution.”

Instead of a green revolution for Africa, Buffett favors what he calls a “brown revolution,” or, to quote the distinguished agricultural ecologist Sir Gordon Conway, a “doubly green revolution”—a focus on environmentally sustainable agriculture that minimizes erosion, preserves and regenerates soil, and makes the land more resilient, while also increasing yields. In contrast to the green revolution, the brown revolution is a tortoise-like approach: Its impact is gradual. Over the past decade, patiently, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to identify and promote practical, low-cost methods of conservation farming—cover crops, no-till farming, locally bred seed varieties—that improve African soil quality and crop yields without chemical fertilizers and costly imported seeds. “If you take a place like Africa,” Buffett told me, “where they have the most degraded soils in the world, very limited nutrients, ground that is farmed to death—literally to the point where you have to move on and farm another piece of ground—and all you’re doing is throwing on synthetic fertilizer, it’s like trying to put an oxygen mask on a cadaver and expecting it’s going to start breathing again.”

1028-pmad-mbuffettThe foundation owns and operates four research farms—4,400 acres in Decatur, 1,000 acres in Nebraska, 3,900 acres in the high desert of southeast Arizona, and the farm in South Africa, spanning 9,200 acres—where scientists from Texas A&M, Penn State, and Purdue are conducting experiments on how best to grow crops in places with little water and poor soil. In South Africa, the foundation is testing 14 different cover crops—among them cowpea, lablab, and pigeon pea—to learn which ones best reduce erosion and improve soil fertility. In Arizona, the foundation replicates the conditions faced by poor African farmers: drought, little or no fertilizer, oxen tilling the land. Tests are under way to measure the precise relationship between water and crop yields. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/how-warren-buffetts-son-would-feed-the-world/476385/

 

12_f_buffett-0011Established in 1999, his Howard G. Buffett Foundation’s (HGBF) primary mission is to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations. It apparently spends $50 million a year on various programs around the world, particularly in Africa.

Not surprisingly one of his biggest projects is improving lives of poor farmers, themselves often starving. His goal is to help teach them methods that they can afford to implement after his programs end. He also insists they learn accounting.

This is apparently in contrast to the approach used by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization to which his father has pledged more than $30 billion, which relies more heavily on introducing technology to third world farming. “He’s really pushing a system that is similar to what we have outside this door in America,” explained Howard to Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, “I told him that we have got to stop doing it like we did.”

“Your father gives money to Gates. You come out and say it’s all wrong. Is this sibling rivalry?” asked Stahl. Gates and Buffett, the country’s two richest men, have become good friends, often playing bridge, celebrating birthdays and traveling together on vacations. Howard responded that Bill, who they call brother Bill, is the smartest guy in the world besides his dad, but pointed out that he understands agriculture quite well and had used a similar approach unsuccessfully when first starting to give away money.

warren-howardSome details about Howard that Stahl didn’t cover include the fact that Buffett’s son is a writer of more than half a dozen books; sits on the board of Sloan Implement, a privately owned distributor of John Deere agricultural equipment; and also previously served on the boards of food processor Archer Daniels ADM +0.74% Midland; Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world; and ConAgra Foods. He has also traveled to more than 95 countries documenting the food and conservation challenges. In 2005, he received the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award, and in 2007, he was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Programme. In 2011, he received the World Ecology Award.

It could be a long time before Howard succeeds his father – “He won’t leave until he’s buried in the ground,” Howard told Stahl – and even longer before anyone knows if he proves to be a decent successor. Still he’s certainly proven himself to be a worthy scion of an admirable man, one who has his feet firmly planted in the earth.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2011/12/11/who-is-howard-buffett-60-minutes-gives-glimpse/#6b099cdd6c03

INFRASTRUCTURE IS SPELLED WITH A ‘P’ AS IN PERMACULTURE

permaculture-hobbit-houseAs I was pontificating about how you could have an urban income and a rural lifestyle by raising 50 goats on five acres, my fellow teachers were educating others on Permaculture. Not wanting to expose my blissful state of ignorance to embarrassment I avoided my right of tuition free class attendance. However, Shelby, the sustainable agriculture and “Five Acres to Independence” advocate, took their course including the farm visit.  When Shelby raved about the farm’s sawdust toilet I discounted Permaculture, whatever it was about was not for me.

Currently living the expat life of the idle Social Security recipient in Antalya, Turkey I’m more interested in the debate between Fiscal and Monetary policy. Slow learner that I am, I have learned that the government deals with the Fiscal while the Federal Reserve monkey’s around with the Monetary. The debate synopsis is that the world and the US are going to hell in a sawdust toilet.

bernake-wheelbarrowThe FED since Greenspan has printed at least $10 trillion of ‘thin-air’ paper money with zero results and is now begging the politicians for Fiscal stimulus in Infrastructure. Trump is right there with them wanting to build walls, bridges and airports. Since 80% of the voters live in the city and another 19% live in the burbs the real 1%’s are still down on the farm. Alas alack rural redmeat farmers didn’t take classes in Permaculture, let alone practice Regenerative Agriculture because the Fiscal poohbahs don’t see the NEED!

dwarfgoatsonpasture

“What are you going to do when the well runs dry?”

  • Eliminate all Agricultural Subsidies
  • Organic only farming – no Monsanto, no pesticides, no herbicides, no chemical fertilizers
  • Outlaw Factory Farming – pigs, dairy, poultry, fish
  • Legalize Raw Dairy – if California can do it, every state can do it

WE WEEP FOR MAHMOUD AND HIS KARAKUL SHEEP

karakul

A group of Karakul sheep. The lambs are born black but soon develop the variable adult coloration. The Karakul is a Central Asian fat-tailed sheep breed with a almost goat-like fleece and an ability to withstand heat and drought. Similar animals can be traced as far back as 1400BC and the Karakul may well be the oldest breed of domestic sheep. The breed is named after Karakul or Qaraqul, a city in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, near the Caspian and Aral Seas. All parts of the animal – milk, meat, fat, wool and pelt – have their uses.

The fat-tailed sheep is a general type of domestic sheep known for their distinctive large tails and hindquarters. Fat-tailed sheep breeds comprise approximately 25% of the world sheep population, and are commonly found in northern parts of Africa, the Middle East, PakistanAfghanistanIran, North India, Western China, Somalia and Central Asia.

The earliest record of this sheep variety is found in ancient Uruk (3000 BC) and Ur (2400 BC) on stone vessels and mosaics. Another early reference is found in the Bible (Leviticus 3:9), where a sacrificial offering is described which includes the tail fat of sheep.

Sheep were specifically bred for the unique quality of the fat stored in the tail area and the fat (called Elyah, Arabic:[4] ألية ) was used extensively in medieval Arab and Persian cookery. The tail fat is still used in modern cookery, though there has been a reported decline, with other types of fat and oils having increased in popularity.

mahmood-bazwaya-iraq-lost-shepherd-exlarge-169Before ISIS, he would get $130 per sheep, selling up to 50 a month ($6,500). Today he’s forced to offer a pair for $200.  A 45-year-old shepherd Shukar Mahmoud is stuck at a checkpoint with his flock. The Kurdish guards won’t let Mahmoud past their checkpoint to sell his sheep in their areas because they say they’re “Arab sheep.” It’s not an official rule. It’s just the rule today.

bazwaya-iraq-lost-shepherd-exlarge-169Behind Shakur Mahmoud, the danger he fled; ahead a kind-of “sectarian bureaucracy.” Beyond the checkpoint, there’s a camp for displaced people where Mahmoud’s family waits for him, but for now this is where his journey ends. Though he has — literally — run for his life, he’s not leaving his sheep behind.

“I can’t leave my sheep,” he says. “They are my life.”

Fat-tailed sheep are hardy and adaptable, able to withstand the tough challenges of desert life. When feed is plentiful and parasites not a major factor, fat-tailed sheep can be large in size and growth. The carcass quality of these sheep is quite good, with most of the fat concentrated in the tail area – it could account for as much as 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of the weight on a 60-pound (27 kilogram) carcass. The fat-tailed breeds seen frequently in the US are the Karakul and Tunis.

lamb-bazwaya-iraq-lost-shepherd-exlarge-169The wool from fat-tailed breeds is usually coarse and frequently has colored fibers. It would be of limited value in commercial markets. Today it is used primarily for rug-making and other cottage-type industries. Bedouin women make rugs and blankets from the wool. Some of their handiwork can be purchased in the villages of EgyptShearing in Egypt is done once or twice a year with hand clippers. There is a reluctance to use electric shears because of wool quality and the difficulty in getting replacement parts when they become dull or worn out.

vendortail-fat2My Palestinian goat vendor in Katy and I were trying to offload our “Two-toothed” goats on the Pakistani, Egyptian, Muslim community of Houston for $1.25/lb. The Egyptians especially kept bugging us about “sheeps with fat tail,” I said I know, I know, every place I went in my USAID Egyptian Ag-Research visits they had those, but we don’t have them in Texas.  The Philistine researched the fat-tail and vowed next year to use the goats as a loss-leader to auction off Karakul’s with a minimum opening bid of $5.00 a pound.

 

OCCUPY FARMERS’ MARKETS

Milk March

When our sale of raw goat’s milk depended on Yuppie couples driving out to our farm fifty miles southwest of Houston the “invisible hand” of desperation slapped me upside the head with my MBA diploma. Granted, I was not an honor, or even a near honor graduate of Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead school of business but Anala Goat Company’s on-the-farm sales of $200/week versus a $500/week feed bill foretold, a future going-out-of-business sale. Maybe with a catchy tagline e.g. “Had Milk.”

Shelby, the CPA Systems Analyst brains of the outfit, had already poured money, not milk, into building the dairy, buying the goats, dogs, cows, the land and equipment in order to obtain a Grade ‘A’ Raw Dairy License. In addition to rigorous monthly testing of our product, the Texas Department of Health limited sales to on-the-farm only. The delivery of raw dairy to retail stores, farmers’ markets, or even door-to-door was subject to all kinds of bad things like revoking our license.

salt march

Over a double stack order of nachos and fajitas, I asked myself, “what would Gandhi do?” He said, mirror my ‘Salt March to the Sea’ by occupying the Houston Farmers’ Market. I learned at Case Western to look to Harvard Business School case studies for further guidance. Of course, I found zippo raw goat’s milk case studies but Gandhi’s protest of England’s Salt Tax led me to the Boston Tea Party’s, “taxation without representation” caper.

I admit, even as an architect, it was a challenge to connect salt and tea tax revolts to barriers to entry of off the farm sales of raw milk. After all, our neighbors trucked that nasty arugula and okra to the market, waving their ‘organic’ cred banners.

My third data point was the 1920 Prohibition Act.

Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.

The sale of raw dairy has been Prohibited since 1912 to the present day. California never eliminated raw dairy from retail stores. Texas, Oregon and five other states allow on-the-farm sales only. I joined the Weston Price Foundation, listed analagoatcompany.com on their website www.realmilk.com and setup my 10 x 10 tent on Saturdays at the Houston Farmers’ Market.

MONETARY FEUDALISM

feudalism_then_nowAspirational career options for an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs personality test, were architect at the top and farmer at the bottom. After thirty years of very limited success trying to make my fame and fortune as an architect I gave farming a shot. My ten year goat farmer experience taught me how to survive and thrive as a member of the 98.5% Everyone Else proletariat.

My second wife and mother were both Aquarians, someone born between January 20 and February 19th. “Aquarians know too much about everything, which is a blessing and a curse.” They are like the teacher that knows all the right answers and everybody else are the students each with different levels of understanding. Fortunately for America, Abraham Lincoln was an Aquarian and held fast to his belief, that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

BLOOM WHERE“Bloom where you are planted,” was my Aquarian wife’s mantra, her truth, her philosophy of life. It was one of the first cross stitch patterns she completed. She had it framed and intentionally hanging on the wall in our bathroom, as a daily reminder. I didn’t pay much attention or think much of it until we bought nine hectares of land, with a barn, in the countryside, 50 miles southwest of Houston. The acreage 150 years ago belonged to a plantation that was sold to the slaves that had been freed by that earlier Aquarian, Abraham Lincoln.

Shelby, my ENTJ Aquarian wife and livestock farming visionary, chose this location because it was the cheapest real estate in the Metropolitan Houston area.  ‘Race’ was the major cause for the low cost of land, Shelby and I, were the only white people in this poor farming community, surrounded on all sides by 3rd generation Czech  farms and businesses. Except for the Post Office, all grocery stores, gas stations, or anything you wanted to buy stores, were in the adjacent villages of Needville, East Bernard and Wharton. We didn’t care, we were there to raise dairy goats, not show horses. We were there to, bloom where Shelby planted us and blooming meant joining the 3% income crowd.  In 2001 that number was $150,000 ($200,000 in 2016 dollars).

Hilary-QueenToday, you need a $250,000 annual income to escape the maddening Everyone Else club. Wherever we are planted from Bangladesh to Boston, three percent is the magic number to be a player, but as in Las Vegas, the house odds guarantee that only two percent make it to financial independence. Half of those two per-centers never had to sweat it as they were born rich. George ‘W’ and Trump got their two per-cent creds at birth, while Obama and Hillary chose the Elected Officials route to Financial Independence.

I literally, slept in the barn, with fifty goats for a month until Shelby found a forty-foot park trailer in the “Thrifty-Nickel,” that we called home in our first “down on the farm,” year.  Although we planted ourselves in October 2000 we didn’t start to blossom until six years, later. That was a very long, long time and at least, a half million, pre Bush-O-Bama dollar investment. Only, an all-knowing Aquarian could find the funds, patience and resources to endure such a long growing season, two years longer than honest Abe took to free the slaves.

Shelby had carried with her, “Five Acres to Independence,” since high school, after university, she added “Your Money or Your Life” as her guide to financial independence.

Shelby and Abe are no longer with us and I have re-potted myself two, three and four times since ending my farming career to enjoy the expat lifestyle in Antalya, Turkey where “everyday is truly a holiday and every meal a banquet.” Unfortunately, I am still dependent on my PGBC pension and SSA income to continue endow my life of Riley retirement.

Seeds of discontent, aka worry, started sprouting when I began gambling on Binary Options to supplement my endangered entitlements income source. The good news, after three years of practice and six months for real, I’m at break-even status. The bad news, the more I learn about money the scarier it gets. Five and a half days a week five trillion dollars changes hands in the world currency market. That doesn’t include my daily $1 wager at  https://marketsworld.com/ because binary options are derivatives, bets on what the real money traders are betting.

untouchablesMy real worry is that the Central Bankers today’s Monarchs and the Bankers, the Landed Gentry of yore, don’t have a clue on what to do about the global economic situation. Remember when Alan Greenspan said that:

“his whole intellectual edifice had been destroyed?”

As an architect I tried to get the Corporate Elite to hire The Austin Company to design, engineer and construct their production facilities. This came to be an ever increasing challenge as manufacturing – Austin’s 100 year-old bread and butter market – moved overseas. China took the company’s bread and butter away and following bankruptcy and my pension was salvaged by the PGBC. Our Central Bankers, Bankers, Top Bureaucrats and even our Top Professional financial analysis say that the PGBC and SSA are broke. However, the scariest scary is our Elected Officials telling us, “not to worry about it.”

Hell No, We Won’t Go!

rubinJerry Rubin, the First Millennial Revolution leader at the 1968 Democratic Convention

Millennials, today are defined as those ages 1834 in 2015. The 2016 Presidential Election is being compared to 1968 where 18-34 year-old’s were born between 1934 to 1950. Jerry, Bernie Sanders and I were Pre-K Baby Boomers and like today’s Millennials we were pissed-off. Although JFK started the Vietnam War, LBJ, being from Texas, had to draft all the 18-26 guys he could find. Jerry was too old, Bernie filed for Conscientious Objector and I dragged my S-2 Deferment Card through seven years getting a BS of Architecture at the University of Cincinnati.

USMCFortunately for my father, I graduated in May 1968, unfortunately for me, I got drafted into the Army. Because ‘fools rush in where architects have already been’ I joined the Marine Corps. My prescience was validated at Quantico, as I was the only architect in our 265 man USMC Officer Basic School class in December ’68. We did have another weirdo from Harvard. Don’t remember his name, just recall asking him multiple times, “what in the hell happened to you? Why are you here?”

whhsRubin attended Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills High School, co-editing the school newspaper, The Chatterbox and graduating in 1956. I was an ‘Effie” no an ‘E-Flat,’ an 8th grader at WHHS in 1956 and avid reader of the Chatterbox but Jerry Rubin was just one of many Rubin’s at the ‘Free’ Municipal College Prep 7-12 high school. U.S. News & World Report[2] ranked WHHS 36th in the nation in 2008.

While in high school Rubin began to write for The Cincinnati Post, compiling sports scores from high school games. He attended Oberlin College, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and later went on to graduate from the University of Cincinnati, receiving a degree in History. Rubin attended the University of California, Berkeley in 1964 but dropped out to focus on social activism.[1]

JerryRubinEdgedJuly FOURTEENTH the day of the CONVINCING STORYTELLER: July 14 people are convincing-and how! What confidence they don’t gain by a forthright, trustworthy image they magically induce through an assuming charm. Some born on this day boldly inspire confidence from the first meeting. Others win hearts through precisely the opposite; a low-key, even self-deprecatory approach. Those July 14 people who impress one as conservative or even colorless can nonetheless be very credible due to their objectivity and professional image.

Soon Rubin was leading protests of his own. Rubin organized the Vietnam Day Committee, that led some of the first large numbered protests against the war in Vietnam.  Vietnam Day Committee was a unique early antiwar organization in that it enjoyed large local participation and is believed to be a forerunner to the national movement against the war in Vietnam.[7]

Rubin was one of the founding members of the Youth International Party (YIP) or Yippies, along with social and political activist Abbie Hoffman and satirist Paul Krassner.[8] The Yippies  were influenced by Marshall McLuhan’s ideas on the importance of electronic communication, and believed that if radical events were made more entertaining the media, especially television would give them greater coverage.

As Rubin recollected:

… [T]he more visual and surreal the stunts we could cook up, the easier it would be to get on the news, and the more weird and whimsical and provocative the theater, the better it would play.[9]

Rubin’s appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings is a good example of the Yippies emphasis on conducting political protest as theater, and creating as much attention as possible to their dissent by turning it into a spectacle. Rubin was subpoenaed by HUAC in Washington but instead of pleading the Fifth Amendment as was common, he entered the room dressed in a rented 18th-century American Revolutionary War uniform, proudly claiming to be a descendant of Jefferson and Paine. “Nothing is more American than revolution,” he told the committee.[10] Rubin showing total lack of concern or worries, lightheartedly blew soap bubbles as members of Congress questioned his Communist affiliations. He subsequently appeared before the HUAC as a bare-chested guerrilla in Viet Cong pajamas, with war paint and carrying a toy M-16 rifle, and later as Santa Claus.[11][12]

As Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain remark in their book Acid Dreams:

It was a political ploy designed to make a mockery of the HUAC proceedings; the congressmen were caught off guard, and Rubin’s stunt became page-one news throughout the country.[13]

Another media stunt that gave the Yippies free publicity, not only in United States but all over of the world, was when Rubin, Hoffman and others brought the New York Stock Exchange to halt by tossing money into the air and watched gleefully as the stockbrokers scrambled vehemently for the bills.[9] Yet another successful act in Yippies “guerrilla theater” was when during the Presidential elections of 1968 the Youth International Party nominated their own candidate for the U.S. Presidency.

The nominee was Pigasus the Immortal, a 145-pound (66-kg) pig that they felt was a realistic alternative to Richard Nixon or his presidential opponent, Hubert Humphrey. At the official introductions at Pigasus’ first press conference, Rubin, while holding the candidate in his arms, demanded he be given Secret Service protection and be brought to the White House for a foreign policy briefing. He also promised, on behalf of Pigasus, a fair election campaign and if Pigasus won the election he would be eaten. This would, maintained Rubin, reverse the usual democratic process in which the pig is elected “and proceeds to eat the people.”[14]

In his book DO IT!: Scenarios of the Revolution Rubin says “media does not report “news” it creates it. An event happens when it goes on TV and becomes a myth.”[15] He goes on to say:

TV time goes to those with the most guts and imagination. I never understood the radical who comes on TV in a suit and tie. Turn off the sound and he could be the mayor! The words may be radical, but the television is a non-verbal instrument! The way to understand TV is to shut off the sound. No one remembers any words they hear; the mind is a technicolor movie of images, not words. I’ve never seen “bad” coverage of a demonstration. It makes no difference what they say about us. The picture is the story.[16]

In October 1967, David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam asked Rubin to help mobilize and direct a March on the Pentagon.[17] The protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial as Dellinger and Dr. Benjamin Spock gave speeches to the mass of people.[18]

From there, the group marched towards the Pentagon. As the protesters neared the Pentagon, they were met by soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division.[18] who formed a human barricade blocking the Pentagon steps.[17] Not to be dissuaded, Abbie Hoffman, co-founder of the Yippies, vowed to levitate the Pentagon[18] while Allen Ginsberg led Tibetan chants to assist.[18] Eventually, things turned ugly. By the time the group’s 48-hour permit expired, approximately 680 protesters had been jailed and 50 hospitalized.[18]

As one member of the march recalled:

Then someone in authority decided that the Pentagon steps had to cleared. Rifle butts came down on people’s heads with dull ugly wet sounding thumps. Blood splashed on to the steps. There were shouts of “Link arms! Link arms!”, mixed with screams of pain and curses. People were dragged off and arrested. The brutality was appalling and the people standing on the steps began throwing debris at the soldiers. I saw a garbage can sail over my head. I feared people might be trampled in panic as they tried to escape from the clubs and rifle butts.[19]

In spite of the brutality of the police the spirits of the demonstrators was not dampened. Many were exhilarated by what had transpired and some felt it was an event that would mark a turning point. “It made me see we could build a movement by knocking off American symbols,” said Jerry Rubin.[20] He added:

We had symbolically destroyed Pentagon, the symbol of the war machine, by throwing blood on it, by pissing on it, dancing on it … painting ‘Che lives’ on it. It was a total cultural attack on the Pentagon. The media had communicated this all over the country and lots of people identified with us, the besiegers.[20]

Rubin later played an instrumental role in the anti-war demonstration that accompanied the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago by helping to organize the Yippie “Festival of Life” in Lincoln Park. He spoke along with Hoffman at an anti-war rally at the Grant Park bandshell on August 28, 1968 and instructed demonstrators to resist if riot broke out. However, the extent of violence between Chicago police and demonstrators (which an official government report called a “police riot“) was not anticipated by the Yippie leaders. Some 1,500 people including civilians and police were injured.[6]:11 The arrest and trial of the Yippie leaders (known later as the Chicago Conspiracy Trial) which began on September 24, 1969 eventually led to the conviction of Rubin and seven others on charges of incitement to riot,[6]:10 including Abbie HoffmanRennie DavisJohn Froines,David DellingerLee WeinerTom Hayden, and Bobby Seale.[21]

The defendants were commonly referred to as the “Chicago Eight“. Seale’s trial, however, was severed from the others after he demanded the right to serve as his own lawyer and was sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court, making the Chicago Eight the Chicago Seven. The trial developed into a quite spectacle, or “hippie-guerillas theater” as Rubin described it. Rubin, Hoffman and other defendants intentionally and successfully made a mockery of the court, widely covered by the press, with reporters fromNew York Times and Washington Post reporting on it.

Rubin who famously declared the trial to be “the Academy Award of protest”[22] at one point paraded back and forth in front of Judge Julius Hoffman (no relation to defendant Hoffman), thrusting his arm in a Nazi salute and shouting “Heil Hitler!”[23] On another occasion he and Hoffman showed up at the trial wearing judge’s robes, and when asked to disrobe, it became apparent they were wearing a blue Chicago police shirt underneath the judicial gown.[1] “The day Abbie and I came in wearing judges’ robes was a stoned idea,” he later said. “It was a turning point in the trial in terms of theatrics, and it just went on from there.”[24]

In spite of the danger of being busted Rubin was determined to smoke as much marijuana before the trial as possible. “I got stoned a lot for the trial because it was such complete theater – a front-row seat to history – and marijuana intensifies every experience.”[25]

Judge Julius Hoffman‘s own behavior during the trial did not exactly reduce the spectacle of the trial either. At one point he had Black Panther leader Bobby Seale chained and gagged in full view of the jury.[26]

Rubin, along with the six other defendants, was found not guilty on the charge of conspiracy but guilty (with four other defendants) on the charge of incitement. He was also sentenced by the judge to more than three years in prison for contempt of court. All the convictions for incitement were later overturned by an appeals court, who cited judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. Most of the contempt of court citations were also overturned on appeal.[27] The retrial was held in 1972.[6]:12

 

Hang in There Bernie!

3D

Hang in There Bernie! Abe Ran Against the Slave-owners (Hillary) and Stephen Douglas (Trump) to Win the 1860 Election with 40% of the Vote. Let Abe be with “Not Me, Us.”

“LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT,” Abe Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address, New York, New York, February 27, 1860

In October 1859 Abraham Lincoln accepted an invitation to lecture at Henry Ward Beecher’s church in Brooklyn, New York, and chose a political topic which required months of painstaking research. His law partner William Herndon observed, “No former effort in the line of speech-making had cost Lincoln so much time and thought as this one,” a remarkable comment considering the previous year’s debates with Stephen Douglas.

An eyewitness that evening said, “When Lincoln rose to speak, I was greatly disappointed. He was tall, tall, – oh, how tall! and so angular and awkward that I had, for an instant, a feeling of pity for so ungainly a man.” However, once Lincoln warmed up, “his face lighted up as with an inward fire; the whole man was transfigured. I forgot his clothes, his personal appearance, and his individual peculiarities. Presently, forgetting myself, I was on my feet like the rest, yelling like a wild Indian, cheering this wonderful man.”

With a deft touch, Lincoln exposed the roots of sectional strife and the inconsistent positions of Senator Stephen Douglas and Chief Justice Roger Taney. He urged fellow Republicans not to capitulate to Southern demands to recognize slavery as being right, but to “stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively.”

MAP+ELECTION+PRIMARYNew York State in the 2016 Primary Election is Abe Lincoln’s 1860 Election battle. Sometime ago we divided the country into Red States and Blue States based on their vote in presidential election years. Red’s for the Republicans and Blue Democrats. These are further color coded by county, zip code and electoral vote count.

Trump is my Stephen Douglas character representing the roots of sectional strife: racism, religion, and above all income inequality. Hillary is the poster child for the slave owners, today known as Crony Capitalists. Bernie is the second coming of Lincoln who shouts across the river, to “stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively,” end the corporate oligarchy that enslaves Americans regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.