Thoughts on Earth Day 2013: Down With Monsanto!

earthToday is Earth Day and in celebration, let’s put  a major middle finger up to Monsanto... If you don’t know about them, get familiar, this is the most gangsta of the big agribusiness companies. They have worldwide reach and their presence is felt by many in the most tyrannical ways..

First of all they patent seeds and make folks all over the world pay for those seeds to plant corn and other crops. because of wind and other types of weather Monsanto seeds oftentimes wind contaminating other people’s crops. When this happen the laws are now such that people have to pay Monsanto for the crops that grown that exhibit traces of their patented seeds. So for example, if corn is naturally white, a company  like Monsanto may have developed corn that’s yellow in their labs.. They patent the seeds so that yellow corn that doesn’t even yield seeds grow..

Now let’s say a farmer paid x amount of dollars for these patented Monsanto seeds and due to wind, rain etc, some of those seeds go onto the property of his might think that’s no big deal. But in reality it is.. When that neighbors crops grow and all of sudden he has corn that’s yellowish vs white, Monsanto lawyers will come a calling demanding payment ..This sort of tactic is happening globally..This is just the tip of the fight around GMOS (genetically modified foods) which is what Monsanto is all about..

It’s a damn shame that the NAACP sided with Monsanto and the GMO industry when  historic legislation was introduced on the California ballot, last November. That was Prop 37 which would’ve required food companies to let you know you were using GMOs.. Millions came out in support of the Law.. the NAACP sided with Monsanto..  It was a damn shame..

It was equally shameful when President Obama went along and signed HR 933 which contained a rider dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act. This means Monsanto can not be stopped by courts for growing GMOs even if those things raise major concerns or are even dangerous…  Lots of people made excuses for Obama, saying he had to sign the bill otherwise the government would’ve been shut down.. blah blah blah.. We didn’t see him objecting too much when he signed the rider. We haven’t seen him objecting now or even supporting the efforts which included petitions with close to 500 thousand signatures..

While some tried to excuse Obama, saying his hands were tied, we see that his hands were not tied when he appointed former Monsanto executive Michael Taylor as the deputy director for the FDA.. what was his excuse for that?

Shame on Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee and had an opportunity to hold hearings on this rider when HR 933 was put before her.. She knew about the mass outcry, but caved in to lobbyists and refused..

The Obamas, the NAACP and maybe even Sen Mikulski will probably celebrate Earth Day today thus confusing folks as to where they really stand.. let the record show they supported something that was terrible…Down with Monsanto.. Down with GMOs.. That’s a globally held perspective!..

Check out this conversation about Earth Day via League of Young Voters..

3 New Hip Hop Videos from the Bay Area that Hit & We Should All See

Mistah Fab hits us across the dome with one of the better videos that speak to our conditions in 2010

Mistah Fab

Definitely digging the new video from Oakland’s own Mistah Fab This is Cool / Is a great song w/ a powerful message that challenges is and is coming from someone who has been through a lot.. Gotta applaud more songs like this.. Keep it coming such messages are needed..

Another dope song that’s coming from the Bay Area and shot in San Francisco is Razor Sharp Thoughts featuring Shamako Noble and Pasha.

We gonna repost this joint from Oakland rapper AshEL who teams up with Sticman from dead prez to do battle with Monsanto and the food industry.. The song has a great concept and nice wordplay.. Food is a drug.. It can help you or hurt you.. I like the way these cats break it down..

New Hip Hop Song feat AshEl & Sticman of dead prez Smashes the Food Industry

Junk Food Food FightI love when Hip Hop artists do songs like this.. The beat is hitting. The lyrics are on point.. The concept is scorching.. What a great way to talk about the evils of the Food Industry.. This song called ‘Food Fight‘ comes courtesy of Oakland artist AshEl “Seasunz” Eldridge of Earth Amplified and Sticman of dead prez/RBG..I like how these cats flip the script and make u wanna put down any and all junk food with this song.. There hasn’t been a food justice song this good since ‘Beef’ by KRS-One.. and dead prez‘s Be healthy

Maybe our good friends at the NAACP who went out and supported Monsanto when Prop 37 came up on the Cali ballot which would require food companies to label all GMO foods, should see this video.. Mad Props

KRS-One Beef

Dead prez Be healthy

Election 2012: Davey D’s California Statewide Proposition Picks & Voter Guide

With a few days left before Election Day, which is Tuesday November 6th 2012.. I wanted to weigh in on a few of the California state propositions and measures.. Yes all the attention is between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and billions are being spent to get one of them in the White House.. While watching that contest where more than 3 billion dollars has been spent, i wanna remind folks that neither Obama or Romney have any say so on ending the death penalty or 3 strikes in Cali..There are propositions on this years ballot where voters can make those two factors disappear or forever remain.. The hell with those who tell you voting doesn’t matter when you can walk in a elementary school classroom in any hood and damn near every hand is raised if you ask ‘do you have a parent. older sibling or close relative in jail?

The hell with those telling you not to vote when you look at the fact we built 34 new jails in Cali over the past 20 years vs one university. Most doing time are for minor or low-level drug related offenses.. Many of those incarcerated are also getting out with no rehabilitation, training or prospect for employment so they wind up re-offending and heading back.. While the prison population booms, we have a powerful set of corporate backed politicians, many of them Democrats sadly, who are gung-ho about privatizing the California University and college system. The head of the CSUC system recently said students are lazy and that anyone who was a super senior, meaning they been there more than 4 years needs to be kicked out to make room for new students.

Chancellor Charles B Reed who recently stepped down, ignored the fact that tuitions in some universities have increased by 300% in the past 5 years..yes you read that right tuition has increased by 300%  Schools that were once free for all Californians now have students strapped with loan debts of 15, 20 and even 30k by their 3rd and 4th years. Many students are holding down 2 and 3 jobs which means their stays at the university are longer, but we still have people like Reed and many on the Board of Trustees at CSUC and on the Board of Regents at UC who not only think like him, but are hell-bent on implementing more tuition hikes and policies to destroy these once revered public schools.. There are propositions on the ballot that will immediate stop proposed fee hikes and turn things around.. Obama and Romney have nothing to do with any of this…

There is a measure on the ballot that will make foods companies tell you when they are using GMOs (genetically modified organisms). It’s a bill against big agribusinesses like Monsanto who routinely sue farmers and other countries and small farmers because their patented seeds blow into other people’s farms and sprout up. Monsanto considers it theft. They’ve also been spending 10s of millions to defeat Prop 37. Obama and Romney have nothing to do with that…

This Monday at 4pm on Hard Knock Radio heard on 94.1 FM KPFA we will being doing a round table with community folks about the propositions… In the meantime here’s  a few resources to get you acclimated and here’s my personal endorsements..

Cali Calls Voter Guide 2012

Davey D’s 2012 Proposition Picks

Proposition 30-Vote Yes Save Education..This is a proposition against the 1%. It’s a vote against those who wish to raise tuitions and privatize the  UC, CSUC and community colleges. The measure will temporarily raise sales taxes on the wealthiest Californians, many who pay lower rates the majority of us.. Keep in mind many of the folks pushing to raise tuitions at these schools got to go to them for free. There’s no excuse for students coming out of UC to be owing more in student oans then students coming of Ivory League schools. Education is a Right not a Privilege.. VOTE YES on PROP 30

Proposition 31 Vote NO… Govt Accountability.. This proposition is designed to streamline the often confusing and stagnant budget process in Sacramento. It highlights a pay as you go ethos, meaning that no program can be supported unless there’s money to pay for it or there is a revenue stream attached to it.. It also allows any governor to unilaterally cut out programs. It also allows local city government to set up its own rules as to who is and isn’t for state funded programs. I don’t know any way to describe this but to say its a slick confusing austerity measure program where the belief is that our budget crises is caused by folks who are recipients of safety net programs vs those who game the system by not paying their full share via tax loop holes etc.. I say VOTE NO on PROP 31

Proposition 32 Vote No... This is a real sinister bill. It masquerades like it’s a campaign finance reform bill when in reality its a pro-corporation anti-union bill. Given the obscene amounts of money spent on national and now local elections, many people are eager to get behind any bill that would reign the spending in and put a dent in the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The problem is this bill doesn’t do that

Prop 32 is put together by folks who have the backing of large corporations, Big Oil, Superpacs, the Koch brothers and Karl Rove types all who would be exempt the campaign restrictions put into this bill. I kid you not, big businesses would be free to spend as much as they want like they always could on campaigns. Prop 32 is a bill designed to silence the few unions that are left..Keep in mind 30 years ago 20-25% of workers belonged to a union.. Nowadays its less than 7%..

Under Prop 32 workers in Cali who are trying to unionize Wal-Mart would be prohibited from giving money to campaigns that support their cause like raising the minimum wage, but their bosses who run Wal-Mart which spends millions on campaigns, candidates and superpacs, would be allowed to give unlimited amounts of money to anti-union candidates. This reminds me of Prop 209 from 15 years ago which was against affirmative action but advertised itself as a Pro- Civil Rights Proposition. This is a deceptive bill. Don’t be fooled   VOTE NO on PROP 32

Proposition 33 Vote No. This is yet another proposition put together by big corporation with a deceptive premise. Its a bill put together by Mercury Car Insurance where they say they wanna add a hefty surcharge to certain drivers supposedly to save you money. That’s some real laughable BS. Here’s the breakdown..

Insurance companies have been pissed off ever since Cali voters put the clamp on them several years back. At every turn they been attempting to find loopholes and new ways to charge folks new fees. This is the latest scam. They wanna be able to raise rates on any driver who hasn’t had car insurance for 90 days in the past 5 years even if they didn’t own a car.. Yep you read that right..Even if you didn’t own a car they wanna charge you.

Over the past 5 years we had a crazy recession which meant in order to pay rent and put food on the table, many California cut back on everything from cable to internet to car repairs and to car insurance. Hella people, in particular students gave up their cars because things got so bad. The insurance companies now wanna go back and look at everyone’s records, see who dropped insurance and then raise their rates, even if they had stellar driving records.. They said they would make exceptions for soldiers and the unemployed. Don’t be fooled. Unemployed is not the same as Under-Employed which is what most Californians are and were over the past 5 years. VOTE NO on Prop 33.

Proposition 34 Vote Yes.. This a proposition designed to repeal the death penalty. On the surface the bill is no brainer for those of us who feel that far too many innocent folks are on death row, its inhumane to kill and unfairly and disproportionately applied to poor people and people of color. The flip side to this is that while it repeals the death penalty and convert folks to life in prison without the possibility of parole, it would also dead much of the appeals process.

The main complaint in some civic circles is that death row has cost tax payers millions and even billions because of the long appeals process each inmate under takes to save his/her life. While Prop 34 would stop folks from going to the death chambers it would also limit the appeals, so in theory you might have an innocent person doing life behind bars with no chance for appeal. This aspect has been cause for concern and divided many on the issue. I know many who have been incarcerated and heard folks who once were on death row speak to both sides of this issue.

I thought long and hard about this and decided to vote for Prop 34. First and foremost I wanna keep people alive especially if they are innocent. We can fight to make sure cases where its clear there are innocent folks locked up and get them free. We can’t bring innocent folks back who are killed by the state. VOTE YES on Prop 34

Proposition 35 Vote No.. Human Trafficking.. One of the worse things going on in this country is human trafficking. Here in Oakland its a major problem that extends well beyond petty criminals and wanna be pimps. There are serious organized rings that make Human Trafficking an international affair and it needs to be stopped with all those involved severely punished.

Prop 35 will increase sentences, but from the folks I spoke to who really study the criminal justice system, the language while well intentioned is also seriously vague which is a red flag.The way its written is that many consensual sex workers and prostitutes will be caught up getting harsh sentences vs the real culprits and pimping types who often remain hidden in the shadows. Its like a war on drugs where street sellers go to jail but king pins don’t.

We don’t wanna see another 3 strikes situation where we still have violence and hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders locked up.. Many of the human rights and criminal justice advocates from the ACLU to Women’s Prisoners Coalition are not feeling this bill I think this needs to go back to the drawing board with clearer language and perhaps even a collaboration with those who don’t wanna see all sorts of folks unfairly and disproportionately swept up. A vote against this bill should not be the end in terms of folks fighting to end human trafficking. If folks choose to vote yes.. considering how bad this problem is.. I understand. I say VOTE NO on PROP 35

Proposition 36 Vote Yes.. End Mass Incarceration. This is a proposition designed to repeal California’s infamous 3 strikes law. Its return to Prop 66 which was proposed several years ago and was set to win before Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger threw his weight behind opposing it at the 11th hour. The prop lost by less than 5 thousand votes. Sadly there were many at that time who proclaimed voting was a fraud and didn’t mean anything so lots of folks stayed home and sat on their butts while many in their family and the community languished and still languish in Cali jails for non-violent minor offenses under 3 strikes. For example Black folks make up 7% of California’s overall population of 40 million and consist of over 45% of those incarcerated, the overwhelming majority for non violent offenses. This is a chance to get things corrected.

No this is not a bill designed to cuddle violent offenders. This is a bill designed to get folks out who shouldnt be there in the first place. We need to be working toward rehabilitating folks not warehousing them and thus far 3 strikes has done nothing but make money for the prison industrial complex without applying resources, time and attention to root causes of crime.. VOTE YES on PROP 36

Proposition 37 Vote Yes Food Labeling Bill.. We live in a day and time where millions of people are concerned about GMOs (genetically modified organisms and how they are used in foods we routinely consume. The feeling is many are not fully tested and the many do not want to be unwitting guinea pigs. GMOs come out of the pesticide industry and is motivated as a way to not lose crops vs making sure people’s health is improved. Many big agribusiness farms are behind the GMOs as well as big seed patent giant Monsanto.

Over the past few months tens of millions of dollars have been spent by corporate farmers and their lobbyists along with Coca Cola to stop Prop 37 which would require many foods to be labeled if they contain GMOs. The campaign to oppose Prop 37 has suggested that food prices would rise if they are required to include GMO labeling. They have also resorted to calling labeling GMOS a ‘deceptive practice’, using the language of activists and community groups. .

Millions of folks including myself say BS.. Outlets like Monsanto and their millions somehow got the  NAACP to oppose Prop 37 which is a damn shame when you consider most civil rights groups and countries all over the world including Russia and China support labeling GMOs found in foods…It shows you the power of money. The rest of us are 100% behind this important initiative.. Right now there are 20 states with Food labeling initiatives.. All eyes are on California and the millions of fear based ads run by agribusiness to defeat the measure we say VOTE YES on Prop 37

Proposition 38 Vote No.. raise Taxes for Everyone.. This proposition basically came about in response to the push to tax the wealthiest Californians who don’t pay their fair share.. In short tax the 1%. This is basically embodied in Prop 30 and directly connected to stopping fee hikes at state colleges etc. Prop 30 is the measure proposed by Gov Jerry Brown..

The 1% folks got together and crafted Prop 38 which would raise taxes for 12 years on most Cali folks thus putting increased burdens on poor and working families. Prop 38 will absolutely do nothing to Stop the 6 billion dollars in deficit trigger cuts to happen later to education if passed. Prop 30 will stop immediate cuts..The concenses is the billionaire behind the measure Molly Hunger did this to confuse voters especially when she uses wording like this money can’t be touched by politicians in Sacramento. All money in Sac is touched.. Don’t be fooled.In the case of Prop 30 vs Prop 38 there is a transparency aspect to it where all can see where and how the money from these extra taxes are being used..  Vote NO on Prop 38

Proposition 39 Vote Yes.. Close Corporate Loopholes.. The best way to describe this bill is that it’s a way to stop instate outsourcing. In this case what we have are scores of big corporations here in Cali who operate in other states but don’t pay their share in Cali taxes. They use all our commons from freeways to police, fire and other infrastructure, but pay taxes elsewhere. They do this fancy financial trickery to avoid paying.. This bill closes those loopholes and is pretty much a no brainer..It would also push for companies to provide more jobs and training..Look if any of us do work out of state we pay taxes on the income earned.Lets make sure the big boys in business do the same.. VOTE YES on Prop 39

Proposition 40 Vote Yes Redistricting.. One of the most contentious process in government is around the issue of redistricting and how boundaries are drawn.. Over night we’ve seen long time incumbents removed from office that’s to the redrawing of district lines every ten years. The folks in charge have long been politicians. In some states it’s the governor. In other states it’s a governor and his appointees. In any cases district lines have been drawn to satisfy the political goals of those in power.

California decided to do something about this and had on the ballot a couple of years ago a proposition that created a council of citizens who got to redraw district lines. Needless to say this didn’t sit well with some Sacramento politicians, in particular Republicans have been the main opposition to this. If it fails redistrict lines will have to be redrawn again.. Call it a case of sour grapes on behalf of the GOP.. We say VOTE YES on PROP 40