Tag Archives: hope

Envisioning a Major Veterans Rally

A caution: this event would likely be most powerful if there is no campaign rhetoric at all. Not needed!

Support for veterans recovery and empowerment would be a strong first step in a sequence of celebrations of our innovation and compassion as a people. It builds upon Bernie’s strong record as a Senator making veterans issues a personal and legislative priority. The rally could be broadcast live stream, via youtube, and on network time (make them complete to get it! )  Use network commercials  & social media to promote it.

Bernie, Jane Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard come on stage to celebrate a series of veteran empowerment programs– a few of many examples are:

• Legal and action organizations helping veterans to avoid foreclosure.
• Operation Freedom Paws training veterans to train comfort dogs and the PTSD vets who will benefit from their companionship.
• a team of Tripod dogs (3 legged) performing with wondrous capability and ready to start visiting VA hospitals and children’s hospitals. (A seed project to organize and fund. )
• Community support networks for PTSD veterans.
• A program to heal combat dogs home from war with PTSD.

This is change happening now. You tell me, how are we going to multiply these programs? Tell me how I should support this sort of grassroots support for veterans as President. Tulsi Gabbard asks for guidance on legislation she’ll introduce.

With this and other similar events buying time, the campaign can test development of an action campaign organization & funding in parallel with the Campaign organization. (Discussion of Bernie’s long-term agenda is balanced with action now, in order to enlist a broader range of people ready to hear that common sense set of ideas.)

Move on through other realms of grassroots innovation, creative programs in Black & Hispanic Communities; the new wave of labor organizing; social and environmental entrepreneurship; innovative schools in low income communities breaking out of the teach to the exams assembly line unlearning; breakthrough community health care programs . . .

See Bernie Win

Bernie Sanders’ campaign team is hard at work registering voters, getting them out to vote and hopefully rolling through the next state primaries with victories and new delegates. As I approach 82 years of life on Earth I feel that I’ve never seen a campaign as important as Bernie’s breakthrough popularly funded campaign. His agenda for change is just plain old common sense to my ears.

I believe Bernie Sanders is sounding the wake up call to bring us out of a horrific economic, political, military, and environmental nightmare. We don’t have time to sleep on under this dark cloud. I seen only common sense and common decency in Bernie’s “revolution”

But what I’m hearing from many  of my friends is that they need to see a sign that he knows how to achieve change at this level. They’re hungry for change now, so they can be patient as Bernie moves on his major agenda once we elect him.

I’ve reached out to the incredible networks I’ve gained across my sixty years of working for the common good. We’re seeing visions of how the uniqueness of Bernie’s campaign could go further.

Its simple: start acting now! Call upon the movement to celebrate and support the thousands of innovative compassionate projects and programs around the country. Create a parallel action campaign organization to support and raise funds for action.

We’ll detail how this action campaign could unfold, how it could support veterans, laid-off workers, workers acting to build unions, low income communities, victims of racial injustice, immigrants, middle-class families sinking into poverty . . . you name it!

See Bernie Win!



Teviston slideshow: a Black Okie Community

I produced this narrated slideshow on Teviston—one of California’s Black Okie Communities—for the Framing Migrant Labor exhibit at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Agrella Gallery. My photos of the Wilson family are part of an exhibit that features Matt Black’s work, along with photos by Otto Hagel and Morrie Camhi.

Christopher Swan responds with Commons Sense

Christopher sent the following e-mail and his essay, Commons Sense to remind us of our creative edge in sustainable transportation, water, and energy. He projects that this level of innovation will continue in spite of the next two years of Red dominance in Congress.


From my standpoint we are watching desperation grasping at straws, panic reaching for the last bite and ignorance babbling about realities misunderstood.

In reality a bunch of republicans barely squeaked by, all in states they already dominated or gerrymandered. They have no mandate, no platform, plan or clue, other than fear and hate.

They may do damage at the federal level, but they’ve already destroyed any remnant of Congressional credibility. Much of what they threaten to destroy is accepted practice in business and local government, so their actions wouldn’t matter. The very fact that they live in a bubble of fear, relying on media that’s nothing but lies, means they have no idea what to do about anything.

Consider the story of Kansas, the Kochheads home state. Six times they tried to stop wind power and failed. Why? One image told the story, it was an interview with a farmer on a PBS show. The farmer stood out on the prairie and spoke of two assets: grass and wind. Behind him, perhaps 50 feet away, was a large bison and there were perhaps a thousand more visible stretched into the distance, beneath a long line of tall wind turbines. And who helped finance the wind turbines you ask? Well, seems John Deere company has gone beyond tractors and combines. Deere is a lot more respected name in farm country than Koch ever will be. Oh, and the Kansas City Star had an editorial a few years ago in support of turning a big chunk of western Kansas into a “Buffalo Commons.”

I think we do not have a national media anymore, and much of the news is driven by little more than hysteria. I have long since decided to focus on the positive. What I discovered was a society doing amazing things, but one largely unknown to most Americans. The progressive forces of transformation are busy, and they’ve not stopped because of the federal government, or any other government, nor have they been bought out by corporations, many of which were founded by people who seek transformative change.

Lest anyone doubt the reality I would urge you to just do some random searches. You might try “photovoltaic rate of sales” or “price”; or “ecological restoration of MIssissippi River” (or “Chesapeake,” or “SF Bay Area”); or “railroad renaissance.” The latter gets millions of hits on revitalization of US freight railroads, there’s also about 50 new urban rail systems since 1980s, and far more railway activity going on outside US.

Why do photovoltaics matter? At current rate of sales “PVs” plus wind and solar thermal power will supplant all other energy sources in less than 20 years, and there is no way to stop the growth. Why does restoration matter? Sequestration of carbon is best accomplished by plants, and grasslands are optimum, so restoration of prairies is a big deal, as is restoration of rivers and watersheds. Why do railroads matter? One coach costing $2 million lasts 40 years and in that time replaces 6 million cars costing $150 million, all while using a fifth the land area, a quarter the energy and costing a third the cost of driving.

And those are just the big trends. There’s also new modes of farming, a revolution in water tech and a whole host of changes related to urban design and encouraging people to walk and ride bikes. Plus new materials and more efficient appliances. Plus new modes of organization and employee ownership. Plus micro-banking and the rise of crowd funding. But wait, there’s more…

The attached essay might be useful in restoring a little sanity to the situation. Feel free to forward this note and the essay. Commons Sense,




This clear space

Ten years ago I struggled to live in the clear space
                           between hope and despair.
           Chinese tanks
                  had crushed the Goddess of Freedom
                                      in Tiananmen Square.

Now, just eleven days from the turning of the century,                  
                                  I am filled with hope,
              growing feelings of hope
      that we are at a great divide.
                                  I fear I’ve lost that clear space
                where true actions flow like water.

But I’ve walked, at sunset and twilight,
                      the high desert land of San Cristóbal.
          I’ve watched Julia Butterfly climb down
      from the redwood she named Luna.
                      Only two years of her young life up there and
                Maxxam bowed to her pure will.
   I’ve breathed the perfume of tear gas and pepper spray
                                             on the streets of Seattle
           and I’ve gone home
                   to campuses and neighborhoods
       organizing around the world,
                  calling my brothers and sisters
    to the great task.

I walk the skies
                       the waves
                                  the rivers and
                                the fields.
                  I am the deserts and the forests.
                                     No need for hope or despair.
                          I am this world
             this universe
    this clear space.

December 20, 1999