March is Trump Indicted
If you have read this blog for a long time, you may have noticed i name my months. This is inspired by the revelation that the Slavic languages do not name their months after Greek and Roman gods, but rather important things happening in the natural world around them.
And every so often when i am feeling reckless and clever i will name the month after a forecast of something which i think will happen. In February of 2011, i predicted Egyptian dictator Mubarak would fall. He did. In October of 2011, I predicted the closed reactor at North Anna, shuttered by an earthquake, would not restart and i got this one right as well. In May of 2012, i correctly predicted Japan would close all its reactors. In March 2011 and Sept 2011 i predicted Lybia’s Qaddafi falling and got it wrong, tho he did fall in Oct 2011, so i was pretty close.
In August of 2012, i predicted Syria’s dictator Assad would fall. I was completely wrong, and he reigns comfortably today.
I’ve waited two years to make the leap, but i am calling this March “Trump Indicted”. And i actually have placed a $100 bet on this with my old friend Amanda.
Why do i think Trump will be indicted this month particularly? Well, when i first made the guess it was based largely on the progress of the District Attorney Fanni Willis of Fulton County Georgia, who late in January said, “decisions are imminent ” in the Georgia election fraud case (where Trump said “find me 11,780 votes”). She said this when asking a judge to wait on releasing the grand jury report, because it might adversely affect the criminal case against Trump and others.
I was recently alerted to the effort by the Georgia legislature (which passed some of the most racist and restrictive voting laws in the nation after Jan 6th, with the intention of giving the legislature the power to throw out the popular vote in future election) to allow it to actively interfere in state criminal investigations like the Trump investigation in Fulton County. In the worst case, these criminal charges against Trump, recommended for indictment by two grand juries might get dropped if Georgia governor Brian Kemp signs this bill (approved by the lower houses) into law.
And since i have made this prediction, new developments in the Manhattan case against Trump’s crimes connected with the payoff of hush money to Stormy Daniels may have put reluctant DA Alvin Bragg at the front of the list of possible indicting state attorneys. Specifically, Bragg has invited
Trump in to answer grand jury questions in the hush money case. This is not a subpoena, which is largely useless because of 5th amendment protections. And it is unlikely Trump will choose to testify, but this step of inviting the likely target of an investigation to answer questions for the grand jury (before being charged), is an excellent indicator that this case is ready for trial, because the DA would not do this until all the other evidence is processed.
The hush money case will focus on the testimony of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen who has already done 3 years in prison for these crimes he admitted to. Because Trump sloppily tried to take the repayment of Cohen as a business expense for legal services, this relatively minor business fraud charge might then also acquire an additional tax fraud component. But this entire case is viewed as somewhat extraordinary, and might not go forward for political reasons.
And given all the other tremendous illegal things Trump has done (conspiring to overthrow the government, endless emoluments violations, stashing secret documents, threatening elected leaders both domestic and international, and more) it feels like a cheap shot to go after such a relatively small charge given his large and impressive collection of crimes.
There are other criminal investigations of Trump. Most importantly, perhaps, are the two being handled by Special Counsel Jack Smith. The first is the basically open and shut case of Trump stealing classified documents and then refusing to give them back when caught. The law is clear, his violations are clear, he was given lots of chances to cooperate, and he blew it off completely, making public statements admitting his guilt and basically demanding the stolen documents be returned.
The other case is the conclusion of the Jan 6 insurrection charges. This is a very complex case, where literally hundreds of people have already been tried, and most of them convicted, of storming the Capitol following Trump’s request. This case is complex, because it involves conspiracy charges, which require proving both intent and an organizing effort by multiple people. Important convictions of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are the building blocks for this case. And what may well be happening is Special Counsel Smith is waiting until both cases are completed before indicting Trump on either. This could easily put the Department of Justice indictments off until 2024.
It is worth pointing out that Trump has already gotten away with a tremendous number of crimes, which he is not being punished for. The Muller Report famously provided a complete road map for indicting Trump on 10 counts, including multiple obstruction of justice charges. Nothing seems to be being done with this collection of crimes. Alvin Bragg stopped the process for indicting Trump and the Trump organization in the Manhattan district, which led to two of his top prosecutors resigning in protest.
Trump has been exonerated for emoluments crimes because he was no longer in office, despite ample evidence he is guilty. It is worth pointing out that Trump and his corrupt Justice Department did everything they could to slow these cases in the courts until after he was out of office and could dodge responsibility. Trump’s unusual frequency of law breaking has been one of his shields.
And Trump is breaking new laws every day. Recently, he said he would release everyone who had been arrested in relation to the Jan 6 insurrection. This is material support of insurrectionists, which is itself a criminal offense. And an offense which includes the option, if convicted, to bar Trump from seeking political office. He also recently wrote that Biden is hiding part of his border wall which was “sitting there waiting to be installed,” and “put it in a hiding area.” Which is not in itself illegal, just crazy.
[All the images for this post were created using OpenArt.AI using the prompt “Trump in prison surreal”. Interestingly, the new fancy DALLE 2 program rejected this prompt as too political.]
There is a tremendous amount of second rate analysis out there. If you listen to the coverage about East Palestine Ohio train disaster, you will hear all manner of madness on the right, but even the progressive and liberal media focuses on the civil war era breaks and some union suppression.
So where do you go if you are looking for deeper and more sophisticated analysis? Well, i go to Arlo. A Twin Oaks member who has lived at Twin Oaks most of their life. Now as full member, Arlo is a prolific political podcast listener, so i asked them to give me the two best podcasts of each week. One of them for the news which is not being well covered, and the other for general interesting insights.
They shared an excellent podcast on why the Ohio fire is so problematic. It explores the problem of the department of Transportation being a captured agency. [I’ve written about the Nuclear Regulator Commission as a captured agency.] This means the industry controls the policy and enforcement (or lack of enforcement). They share information about how chemical and railroad lobbyists clawed back the Obama era regulations on hazardous materials transport that paved the way for this accident. They explore why high profile politicians like Pete Buttigieg who could easily advance useful safety regulations will actually almost certainly do absolutely nothing.
Arlo and Mina – circa 2022
I am sure i will be sharing more of his work in the coming time.
NY Times article on Ira
Feb. 1, 2023
They Call Her the Godmother of Southern Seeds for a Reason
For a quarter of a century, Ira Wallace has nurtured seeds and gardeners: ‘When you say her name in our community, all this love comes up.’ Ira Wallace, 74, has played a key role at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for about 25 years, and is referred to by those she has mentored as a godmother.
By Margaret Roach Feb. 1, 2023 6 MIN READ
It was the allure of peanut seed that drew a big-dreaming beginning gardener to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog decades ago. I was madly imagining a zone-defying adventure with the tropical legume in my decidedly Northern plot.
What I found at Southern Exposure amounted to a lot more than mere peanuts, and way beyond the packets of collard seed and okra that I added to my order from their list of Southern specialties.
I began an education there — and at Seed Savers Exchange, and a few other like-minded catalogs that are no longer around — centered on the lesson that seeds are no mere commercial product, but the embodiment of our living history.
In those catalogs, I received encouragement, and information, to learn to grow each crop organically and save its seed, rekindling a traditional skill that empowers us to feed ourselves season after season, while helping to keep seed strains going.
For some 40 years, Southern Exposure has stewarded an ever-evolving list of regionally and culturally important seeds, now numbering around 800 varieties. And for about a quarter of a century, Ira Wallace, 74, has played a key role at the company, which has been owned since 1999 by the place she has long called home.
Peanut seed has been in the Southern Exposure catalog almost since the beginning, about 40 years ago. The Fastigiata Pin Striped variety has large, wavy pods, with nuts that have orange skins marked with purple when they’re dried.
The farm-based Acorn Community is a secular, egalitarian intentional community on 72 acres in Mineral, Va., that supports “radical sharing” and “encourages personal responsibility,” according to its website. Such ethics, and the energy forged by its communal spirit, have been assets in the face of the seed industry’s modern era of dramatic consolidation and its focus on the pursuit of patented varieties.
Four multinational giants that are also in the pesticide business now own much of the precious genetics of our agricultural crops; seed has become intellectual property.
But not here. Southern Exposure offers heirloom and open-pollinated seed, each variety with a story to tell — a link to those who grew it before, and the places it originated.
One that Ms. Wallace looks forward to each year is roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), a big, beautiful plant that produces “the zing in Red Zinger tea,” she said. It used to be grown in Florida, where she was raised. It’s sometimes referred to as sorrel or Jamaica sorrel; in the 1890s, it was called Florida cranberry.
Ms. Wallace screens seeds of her favorite Whippoorwill cowpea, an heirloom that traveled with enslaved Africans to the Americas and was eventually grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
‘Collaborators, Not Competitors’
Southern Exposure mails out about 80,000 catalogs each year. In 2022, it filled 52,000 orders, most to customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, with a segment of shoppers elsewhere wanting a taste of the region — as those long-ago peanuts promised me. Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato, with giant fruits exceeding two pounds and sometimes reaching four, is one such headliner.
As if her role there and as the elder at Acorn were not enough, Ms. Wallace applies her seemingly inexhaustible energy to other forms of nurturing as well, and to teaching. Prepandemic, she was a Girl Scout leader and “the math lady” at the local library, using math games to engage children with numbers.
She has also mentored countless grown-ups who were curious about seed farming, helping to connect them with other growers who could share information and equipment, improving their chances of success.
She even mentors other seed companies.
Okra, a mallow family member, has been part of the Southern Exposure assortment from the start. The current catalog lists 20 varieties, including Puerto Rico Everblush — early yielding, bountiful and delicious.
Credit…Chris Smith/Utopian Seed Project
“I remember a really early conversation, where Ira told me small seed companies needed to be collaborators, not competitors,” said Chris Smith, the executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a North Carolina-based crop-trialing nonprofit. He expressed gratitude for Ms. Wallace’s role in helping to jump-start the Heirloom Collards Project, which he is part of, and her early support of another small Southeastern specialist catalog, Sow True Seed, where he worked.
The role she has assumed has been described by many — including Ms. Wallace herself — as that of a godmother.
“When you say her name in our community, all this love comes up — a standing ovation every time, from all the young’uns and friends who sit at her feet, whom she has blessed,” said Bonnetta Adeeb, of Ujamaa Seeds. Ms. Wallace has advised Ujamaa, a collective of Black and Indigenous growers focusing on culturally relevant seed, which just introduced its second online catalog.
Witnessing this traction is joyful for Ms. Wallace, and even a little surprising, in the best way — particularly set against the backdrop of the last century’s sharp decline in Black-owned American farms, to fewer than 1 percent today.
“The seed world is a particularly white aspect of the sustainable agriculture movement,” she said. “Where Black people were coming in at all to farming was in CSAs and that aspect of the food system — not to grow seed.”
She is delighted to support Ujamaa’s young and emerging seed farmers, alongside retired educators and those in the BIPOC community who want to farm, she said: “This is definitely something I didn’t think I was going to see.”
Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato, an heirloom with giant fruits that can sometimes reach four pounds, is a longtime headliner in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.
Southern Peas, Greasy Beans and More
There are flowers and herbs in the Southern Exposure catalog, too, but it’s the traditional Southeastern vegetables whose stories pull me back every year.
This is where I met greasy beans and certain other pole beans, including Selma Zesta, whose pods remain tender even after the beans have swelled inside, providing green and protein in each mouthful.
Ms. Wallace has a special affection for the Whippoorwill pea, a Southern pea or cowpea — not the green shelling or English pea (Pisum sativum), but Vigna unguiculata, the same species as asparagus beans. Whippoorwill traveled with enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, where it was eventually grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Move over, kale: Collards are just as versatile. The Heirloom Collard Project, whose members include Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure, Ujamaa and the Utopian Seed Project, hopes to convince us all to grow some.
Credit..Chris Smith/Utopian Seed Project
Cowpeas, which grow on vines, can be shelled and eaten green or used as dry beans.
“I can’t do without them,” she said. “They remind me of my grandmother, who raised me, who always grew them, and they’re inexpensive protein. The vines build the soil, and you can feed them to your critters if you have animals on your farm. What’s not to like?”
A dozen collard varieties sport leaves ranging from green and blue-green to the yellow-green ones of Yellow Cabbage Collards, a North Carolina heirloom whose leaves form a loose head. Maybe the most striking is a variegated Florida heirloom; half of its leaves display white markings in winter.
And move over, kale: Collards are just as versatile, whether they are harvested young or fully grown, to steam or sauté; or serving as the wrapper for dolmas; or even dehydrated and crispy. The Heirloom Collard Project, whose members include Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure, Ujamaa and the Utopian Seed Project, hopes to convince us to make room for a row.
The South’s population has evolved to include new immigrant communities, and the Southern Exposure list has changed accordingly. Alongside longtime regional family heirloom peppers is Pimiento Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean sweet pepper with two-inch, pumpkin-shaped fruits.
Go Ahead, Try Some Okra
In the way that the South’s population has evolved, so has the Southern Exposure seed list. Alongside Doe Hill golden sweet bell pepper, a pre-1900 Virginia family heirloom, is Pimiento Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean sweet pepper with two-inch, pumpkin-shaped fruits. An Acorn Community member whose mother is from Latin America volunteered with Ecuadorean seed-saver groups, forging the connection.
“We realized that, just like the European immigrants spread their versions of different vegetables around, that the current immigrants have communities and varieties,” Ms. Wallace said. “We’re trying to make that a part of the web of American heirlooms we offer.”
Many gardeners, particularly Northern ones, may not have grown a single okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), a mallow family member. It has been in Southern Exposure’s assortment from the start, as if preparing the ground for Mr. Smith, whose book, “The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration,” became a 2020 James Beard Foundation Award winner.
The current catalog lists 20 okras, including the winner of Mr. Smith’s 2018 trial of 76 varieties, Puerto Rico Everblush — early yielding, bountiful and delicious.
“A lot are family heirlooms, like the Shows okra, which we sold out of the first year of the pandemic and just got back in,” Ms. Wallace said.
But some are “just fun,” she added, like Okinawa Pink, from Japan: “It’s such a bright pink color that kids come to it like bees to honey.”
One of Ms. Wallace’s must-have crops is the yellow potato onion, a perennial onion that Southern Exposure reintroduced in 1982, from a strain dating to before 1790.
Peanuts in Colors, Onions in Aggregate
The peanuts that first pulled me in have been there alongside okra since the start, or thereabouts — and not just familiar-looking reddish-brown ones, but those with variegated, striped and black nuts.
Also marking decades on the list are yellow potato onions (Allium cepa var. aggregatum), a favorite of Ms. Wallace’s that is also popular with customers, and is shipped out each fall as bulbs. Southern Exposure reintroduced that perennial onion in 1982, from a strain dating to before 1790. “That’s something that, every year, we never have enough of,” she said.
It’s one of her must-have crops — like a larger shallot, but with more true onion flavor. Adaptable to all of the United States, except for Florida and South Texas, its bulbs are exceptional keepers, lasting a year or longer under good storage conditions.
The last word of its Latin name, aggregatum, is a tipoff to the multiple onions that grow in aggregate — a group of individuals nested together. And one of its common names is mother onion.
Somehow it all seems to fit that this particular godmother to so many seeds, and seed people, would have a rapport with a mother plant that thrives, and produces, in community.
Margaret Roach is the creator of the website and podcast A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.
The price of independence
Professional political campaigns at the US Senatorial level must protect themselves from the many “helpful” constituents who want to waste their precious time with their under formulated notions of how to win their race. For a quasi-independent political group like our Flip Project it is quite hard to convince the official campaign to give us any time. The lovely out-of-state volunteer campaign coordinator is happy to put all people on their door to door canvass. But if we want to do something other than that, their hands are tied. For us, the price of our independence is we need to out perform door to door canvasses.
This year, with a very short campaign duration (thank you Georgia’s new “election integrity”/ voter suppression laws), we have chosen to promote free rides to the polls as what we think our volunteers can deliver that will be the most effective way to get out votes. We are producing assets, like the Spanish language poster below, with a QR code that lands or our splash page, which gives out information on free rides (with ride services or friendly volunteers), polling locations and election protection practices.
We are scrambling to get these assets translated into almost every language, except Vietnamese which broke for Trump in the most recent presidential election. We support everyone’s right to vote, and especially we want to promote voting among non-English speaking citizens, and we promote the languages we are especially excited about. At this point, we only have enough enough money to do poster and other physical promotional materials in English and Spanish. The other languages likely to see translated assets for this election are Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Bangladeshi and possibly Pakistani, these will be promoted over social media by our air team. In the 2020 Georgia runoff, we did translations of election materials into 13 languages.
2020 Presidential results national results by ethnic group.
Turns out there are a bunch of studies showing the correlation between access to a car and voting. The above graph shows the somewhat shocking thing which happens in the US, and even though we might not like the behavior, we can not deny the behavior. People who don’t own cars are on the order of 30% less likely to vote than people who do have a car in their household. [What i found interesting in this, is that the absentee ballot use is basically unchanged, where i had thought people without access to cars would significantly increase their use of absentee ballots – but they don’t and instead they often simply do not vote.]
Our high tech partner in free ride share is plus1.vote and their findings shocked us a bit. They found that social media campaigns for their services were far less effective than their other techniques. One of their techniques is to use geographic and demographic data to locate prospective free ride candidates and then push the free ride directly into their Uber wallet. Then they don’t even have to mess with a promo code, they can simply push a button and they will get a free ride to the correct polling station for their pick up.
Looking for high Democrat voting with low auto ownership
We are also digging into the data to find the best places to promote free rides. There is very granular census data we have gotten for free, which combined with political data gives us the ability to look at locations in metro Atlanta which have high Democratic voter preferences and also low car ownership – the sweet spots for free ride to the polls services.
Flip Project Ground Team L to R – Paxus, Jacqueline, Vicky, Spiderman (aka Mark)
We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner of the project staff in Georgia now (several more folks are coming up). In a beautiful coincidence, the Indian restaurant we went to dinner at overlooked the Hosia Williams Mural (seen in the background of the above picture). In 2020, we help revitalize this mural, we had a GOTV artwork competition near here and several of the current staff met for the first time in this location. For this all out-of-town group of activists, this spot feels like coming home.
There is still time to support this campaign and a significant need. I am also humbled and thankful for the many friends and family who have donated and insured that we can keep this project going. This is a very close race and perhaps our effort will be the piece that pushes us to a win, as we helped in 2020 Georgia senate runoff.
Georgia Senate Runoff Election 2022
Schedule your Free Ride to the Polls
- Uber – promo code “GAVote” (via Plus1.vote starts Nov. 28)
- By Phone 888-977-2250 (via RideShare2Vote.com)
- Where can I vote during the EARLY election? Sat Nov 26-Fri Dec 2
- Where is my polling place for the LAST day to vote? Tues Dec 6
- How do I protect my vote from being disqualified?
- Drive people to the polls (with RideShare2Vote.com)
- Distribute Free Ride posters etc (with the Flip Project)
This information is provided by The Flip Project
The English Free Ride QR code comes here
Eleccion Segunda Vuelta al Senado 2022 de Georgia
Ordena tu Transporte Gratis a las Urnas
- Uber – codigo promo “GAVote” (mediante Plus1.vote – empieza Nov. 28)
- Por telefono 888-977-2250 (mediante RideShare2Vote.com)
Informacion al Votante:
- Donde voto para la eleccion ANTICIPADA? Sat Nov 26-Fri Dec 2
- Donde puedo votar para el ULTIMO dia de la eleccion? Martes Dec 6
- Como Protego mi Voto de ser descalificado?
Alistarse como voluntario:
- Llevar gente a las urnas (mediante RideShare2Vote.com)
- Repartir posters de Transporte Gratis etc. (mediante the Flip Project)
Esta informacion es proporcionada por The Flip Project
The English Free Ride QR code comes here
In 2020, it was obvious. We had just finished campaigning in Maine to unseat nationally unpopular Susan Collins. Our team was exhausted, but we knew control of the Senate would rest on the results of the 2 Georgia runoffs. We decided to bring part of our Maine team (and a few new friends as well) to Georgia, where we won, twice. Our calculated gamble saved us from two more years of Moscow Mitch McConnell’s gridlock.
In 2022, it is less obvious. As the smoke clears on the midterms, we know several things:
1) The polls were wrong and there was no red wave.
2) The Democrats maintained control of the US Senate.
3) It still makes sense nationally to return for this year’s Georgia runoff to get that 51st seat.
“But if we have the Senate, and the Republicans hold the House,” you might ask, “Aren’t we just looking at two years of legislative gridlock? Why bother?”
There are three main reasons.
- First off, judicial appointments are determined by the Senate, and do not require a House vote. Unlike the 50 seat situation where the VP must constantly break ties, 51 is a real majority that is harder for the endlessly obstructionist Republicans to slow down. As we know from a collection of recent judicial decisions from the reversal of Roe v Wade to letting Trump off the hook for his crimes, judges matter. Experts tell us that the 51 seat majority will significantly increase the number of federal judges who get appointed. Currently, with both parties having equal numbers on every committee, every judicial vote has to go to the full Senate where VP Harris breaks ties. With 51 seats, majority control of all committees goes to the Democrats.
- With 51 votes, we don’t have Joe Manchin as de facto president. Currently, the even 50/50 split means big legislation (like Biden’s Build Back Better bill) can be held hostage by a single Senator. This happened with Biden’s infrastructure bill, Manchin killed it and delayed passage of the much smaller package by almost a year.
Manchin protects Oil Companies profits over his constituents
- Truthfully, a bunch of these senators are quite old and one may well die during their term (and/or retire due to illness or scandal). This would spark a snap election in some states which will again determine control of the chamber, while in others the governor may appoint an interim replacement to fill the seat until the next regularly scheduled statewide general election. Some states require that the interim senator is the political party as the senator leaving office, but not all of them. The 51st seat is vital insurance that we won’t be in this bad situation yet again in a few months – or still worse.
Soooo…. We’re coming back to Georgia in force.
We’ll be drawing from a number of successful techniques learned in 2020. We aim to do things that are more effective than door to door canvassing, and reach people who might not open their door to a stranger/canvasser. How impactful? In 2020, along with our partner Block Power, our ATL VoteTree activation helped deliver 24K votes. With a 93K vote margin in the Warnock race, our collective effort represented 23% of the vote.
Like last time, our nimble boots-on-the-ground team will be guided by the Warnock campaign, nonprofit strategists, and will be well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. We aim to deliver sticky art/music activations and blaze a path to the polls by empowering free rides to the polls in multiple languages. It’s the kind of bold, creative stuff that creates big buzz and big impact.
In the face of a cacophony of noise and profound voter fatigue, the days of knock-and-drop canvassing are over. We’re returning to Georgia to help take the Warnock campaign to the finish line.
And We. Will. Win.
We’re grateful for introductions, energy, and of course, your financial support– and for the next few days, an anonymous donor will match your contribution. Thank you!
If you want to volunteer your time please write quickly to email@example.com or better 541-505-0803
We’re currently looking for new people to help with:
Remote (air team support from your home)
- Demographic and voter data analysis
- Social media campaign
Ground Team in Atlanta
- Street theater and public events
- Door knock with the Warnock campaign
- Distribute posters, flyers, signs, and business cards reminding people to vote, and how they can get a free ride to (and from) the polls, especially in non-English speaking parts of the city
Like your life depends on it
Shal asked me to use this platform to encourage people to vote and i wish i had done it earier.
I choose this image because this election, more than any in my life is about privilege. If the Republicans win, it will mean everyone who is not a straight white male is going to lose rights. It means Trump will have won in bringing the country to a post truth age, where the bigger your lie and the larger your platform (i’m looking at you Fox News) the greater the deception you can perpetrate and the more crimes you can get away for unpublished.
So my ask is that you increase your game. If you have voted, please do some phone banking. If you are already phone banking, call your old friend who used to warn about creeping authoritarianism and ask them to do some as well. And of course, if you have not managed to get out and vote, please do at least that, otherwise you are likely to deeply regret it.
There are lots of close election, there are lots of places to work.