Posts Tagged ‘progressive’

Reaching For The Impossible

March 17, 2020

The NY Times headlined “Bernie Sanders Wants to Fight On. He Has His Reasons.” (Sydney Ember, 3-16-20). Politico headlined “‘Who is going to advise him to drop out?’: Bernie may not be ready for quick exit” (Holly Otterbein and David Siders, 3-17-20). Both articles investigated and speculated as to what could be the reasoning resisting a quick exit. Through interviews with campaign staffers, political operatives and analysts the articles arrived at the tried and true conclusion that it must have something to do with leverage – the ability to get certain concessions within the Democratic platform and policies based on the strength of committed delegates. It was pointed out that already Joe Biden has made some concessions to Sanders originated proposals (free college education, health care). But the answer to why the man tilts at windmills was left untouched. In an essay entitled “Teaching the History of American Radicalism in the Age of Obama” (1-2-17) Eric Foner offers a studied insight. The writing is from a book entitled “Battles For Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History” which is composed of his essays spanning 40 years published in The Nation. Mr. Foner is a historian (professor) at Columbia University. The History of Radicalism essay describes the final class of this name which Foner regularly taught at Columbia. First, a contextual review of difference, the Bernie Sanders difference in lived aspirational outlook: “A revealing moment came at a press conference at the end of November 2008, when he [Barack Obama] was asked how he reconciled his campaign slogan, “Change We Can Believe In,” with the appointment of an economic team largely composed of the same neoliberal ideologues who had helped bring about the financial crisis. “The vision for change,” Obama replied, “comes…first and foremost…from me.” As I mentioned to my class, one can compare Obama’s top-down remark to a comment attributed to the early twentieth-century socialist Eugene Debs: “I would not lead you to the promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.” Debs understood that movements, not just political leaders, make social change possible. Obama has never really learned that lesson. To be sure, he sought to cultivate an identification with history by embracing the civil rights movement, though this is hardly a controversial stance at a time when Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is a national holiday and even Glenn Beck claims his legacy. But even then, Obama embraced a sanitized version in which the movement represents a fulfillment of basic American ideals, not the unfulfilled “revolution of values” that King hoped to see. Obama doesn’t invoke the radical King who spoke of “democratic socialism,” launched the Poor People’s Campaign, and supported the antiwar movement.” It is undeniably clear, from such a context, where Sanders is found. However, it is the last paragraph of Foner’s essay that illuminates as to why a quick exit is incompatible with Bernie Sanders: “On the first page of the course syllabus, I always include the words of Max Weber, a rebuke to those who believe that critics of society should set their sights only on “practical” measures: “What is possible would never have been achieved if, in this world, people had not repeatedly reached for the impossible.””


Trump Lite

March 12, 2020

Joe Biden’s on a roll. Seemingly, out of nowhere, his campaign was “revived” and assumed front runner status. Analysis stresses “seemingly” because the negative logic found in the “nowhere” was one of sustained, “Anyone but Bernie” corporate press coverage in the past year. Like the workings of dark matter (or money for that matter), the shaping of public opinion was there in the “nowhere” while the large enthusiastic crowds were not to be found at Biden’s rallies or fund raisers. Now the negative logic (“Anyone but Bernie”) has shifted to the positive logic of the Democrats’ great need to coalesce around a single candidate. Even South Carolina’s super delegate “king maker,” James Clyburn, is keen on suspending the primary electoral process and anointing the king. Shades of 2016! The real fun begins with imagining one or more Biden/Trump televised debates. Some of the gold which could be mined by late night hosts would include the rambling irrelevances both men are prone to, the non-existent events each hearkens back to shamelessly (and, unlike for Hillary Clinton, unaccountably), the verbal gaffes, mispronunciations and brain farts, and the lack of actual policy projections through relying on going way back in the way back machine for answers to present day problems – The Donald’s Make America Great Again and Joe’s Bring Back The Status Quo. Political journalists won’t point out the similarities between Obama’s tapping Goldman Sach’s Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary after the 2008 meltdown, Trump’s Steve Mnuchin, and Biden’s corresponding probability of a Michael Bloomberg or Jamie Dimon (in keeping with the previous status quo, of course). “Good for some but not everyone” echoes throughout not only Trump’s current response to the Corona Virus pandemic, but also with Biden’s projected expansion of the ACA, which has been gutted by the courts and legislatures (Who is going to pay for it, and how?). Analysis surmises the debates will end up as a macho lucha libre slug fest between two masked-to-cover-only-the-grey wheezers. Their appeal will be for a WWE Smackdown decision as to who is the hero and who is the heel. The choice for the viewer will be totally commercial — a mythic America Great time versus an equally mythic Status Quo pre-Trump time. Few will consider the day after inauguration in the upcoming marketing of Trump and Trump Lite.


How Bernie Sanders Has Already Won

March 4, 2020

The recent headlines after the Super Tuesday primaries may indicate otherwise, but the headlines behind the headlines, and not about the election, tell another story. The Washington Post headlined “Pence says every American can get a coronavirus test”, the AP “Pence tells governors money for coronavirus costs is coming”, and the NY Times interjected “Waive Fees for Coronavirus Tests and Treatment, Health Experts Urge”, while its editorial board headlined “We Are Ignoring One Obvious Way to Fight the Coronavirus: Paid sick leave could slow the spread of the disease and its impact on the economy.” And finally, The Week’s obvious “Coronavirus is making some Republicans reconsider the merits of free health care.” To be reminded of just what a huge impact Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All has already had on our self-governance, consider the soo yesterday “Republicans blocking coronavirus bill that limits how much drug makers can charge for vaccine: report; A vaccine for coronavirus is in the works, but experts suggest it is at least a year away from becoming available” from Raw Story. Citing a Politico article they report “”Democrats are insisting the spending package include significant funding to purchase large amounts of coronavirus diagnostics, treatments and vaccine, when it becomes available, which would then be made available to the public free of cost, according to a senior Democratic aide,” reported Politico. However, “Republicans are trying to eliminate the ‘fair and reasonable price’ federal procurement standard for the vaccines and treatments that will be developed and purchased with the emergency funds. ‘Fair and reasonable price’ is a basic standard to prevent price gouging in federal contracts. Without the language, drug makers could charge the government above-market rates, meaning fewer Americans will have access, according to the Democratic aide.”” But this only follows when one listens to NPR’s Morning Edition (the morning after Super Tuesday) report headlined “Delays In Coronavirus Testing Creates Confusion, Questions”. Turns out that Dear Leader’s CDC guidelines rigidly specify who requires testing, who can be tested and who must be refused (who cannot be tested). Doctors are finding their hands tied when faced with testing follow ups to symptoms diagnosed. But no surprise there when one also reads “Coronavirus: Republican senator tells Trump to ‘let the professionals do the talking’ after he repeatedly contradicts expert health advice” headlined by The Independent, same day! Analysis concludes that Sanders, who vociferously and continuously presses for universal health care coverage, has already won. His advocacy for Medicare For All has already entered the lexicon of American self-governance. Analysis finds that Americans want universal health care sans the private corporate vampires. They are just restrained from admitting it out loud.

Food For Thought

February 6, 2020

During the past mayoral election of November, 2019, just over 26% of Newark’s registered voters took the time, made the effort to vote. The number of votes re-electing the incumbent mayor was equal to 10% of the population of the city as a whole, 16% of those registered to vote. Yawn was the collective reaction. Indeed, the numbers were even less than previous years; in other words the downward trend is considered the norm. Oh, but the recent brouhaha in Iowa is definitely not a yawn. In all the “new tech is the answer to all our problems” reviews, the real news was that voter turnout in the Democratic caucus was also down. “According to a NBC News entrance poll, even first-time voters — the young backbone of the progressive forces — dipped below past years as well. In 2008, first-time voters soared to 57%, thanks to the enthusiasm over Barack Obama’s campaign; last night, an estimated one in three voters was a newcomer. And it gets worse: Past turnouts were already at such cringe-worthy lows. In 2016, only 15.7% of Iowa’s voting-eligible population took part in the caucus. Our record turnout, thanks to Obama’s campaign in 2008, clocked in at 16.1%.” (Forget Iowa’s stupid app: Democrats can’t ignore the dismal turnout if they hope to win My caucus in Iowa City had 60 fewer people than four years ago. Tepid turnout will re-elect Trump for sure, Jeff Biggers, 2-5-20, Salon) In an interview with USA Today’s Nichelle Smith (‘Overwhelm the system’ to thwart voter suppression, Stacey Abrams counsels blacks, 2-4-20) Abrams responds with “I think there are two pieces to focus on. One is ensuring that voter suppression does not have its intended effect, which is by making it more difficult to vote, people decide not to bother trying. Our goal through Fair Fight and Fair Fight 2020 is to ensure that people know about the obstacles that are being placed in their way, but (are encouraged to) vote in even larger numbers to overwhelm the intention of the system. The best way to defeat voter suppression is by having such a high turnout that the barriers to voting have limited effect. The second piece I want people to pay attention to is the 2020 Census. While people don’t often think of that as a voting rights issue, it’s directly related not only to the allocation of congressional leaders, but to how the (voting district) lines are drawn for school boards and for city council and county commissions and state legislatures.” Analysis wonders where the barriers are in Newark. Even more pressing is why has no one noticed? But in terms of the greatly hyped aspirations of the Democrats with regard to the 2020 presidential election it gets even more messy. Buttigieg and Sanders came out of Iowa neck and neck. Between the two of them is the actual “showed up to caucus” backing of over half of Iowa’s Democrat nominating participants. Immediate news out today gives Sanders an enormous campaign contribution haul in January, 2020. Active, engaged participation is there and yet Jeff Biggers  can still, quite accurately, write “The real discussion, post-Iowa, is whether Tom Perez’s Democratic Party can galvanize the necessary vision, enthusiasm and opposition to beat Donald Trump in November — or not. Will an entrenched party leadership under Perez allow Sanders, Warren or Buttigieg to rise in the front ranks? It’s about the Democratic Party uniting around a bold vision that not only challenges the empty promises of Trump’s economic claims, devastating environmental rollbacks, and reckless immigration and global policies, but inspires new and dispossessed voters to show up on Election Day. Battered by the trade wars, a farm crisis and historic flooding, Iowa should not have been a tough playing field to rouse enthusiasm. Rising health care costs and climate change remain the top two priorities of caucus-goers. But with Democratic leadership that has refused to allow debates on climate change, stacked the convention committees with members of the corporate establishment, and eased debate requirements for billionaire Michael Bloomberg, you have to wonder:” Analysis also wonders how such pressing issues could drive turnout in a national election and yet not exist at all in a local mayoral contest just one year prior. Food for thought


Ohio’s Issue 1

October 13, 2018

The New York Times is practically synonymous with in-depth reporting, maybe one of the few journalism institutions still able to afford it. Recently they made news by reporting on how the uber wealthy move money around and avoid paying taxes, etc. (something impossible for 99% of regular citizens). The subject of that reporting was the Trumps (and now the Kushners). “Political” is what the supporters of the wealthy scream (or are paid to say) in order to delegitimize the investigative findings. Probably the same will result when Bob Mueller presents his findings. Sigh. On the surface it is hard to find the “politics” in a recent New York Times Magazine in-depth report, Trapped by the ‘Walmart of Heroin’ A Philadelphia neighborhood is the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the East Coast. Addicts come from all over, and many never leave. (Jennifer Percy, 10-10-18). Then again, it is a plethora of actual “politics” though the reporting is not political. Analysis found the safari through the piece to be analogous to the early in-depth reporting of Michael Jackson’s Neverland after his demise. Although Jackson’s Neverland was the (un)limits of the uber wealthy, Percy’s coverage of the ‘Walmart of Heroin’ is the (without bottom) depths of destitution. A quickie synopsis of an intense and very lengthy article is that, for various reasons, a recreational drug tourist who “Googled “really bad drug areas.” A neighborhood in Philadelphia came up: Kensington.” Users who otherwise held done day jobs would shop there. The history of this site, where any and every drug is available and openly used, the trash and homeless encampments that accompany this metastasizing beast, its history and economics as well as the state’s (city’s) efforts to rid itself of this scourge are the stuff of the investigative reporting. The state is not very proficient at dealing with a health crisis (and has a record to show for it). Philly was no different, first trying to “arrest their way out of it,” followed by repeated attempts at treating it as a health concern – disease. The repeated attempts NOT to “arrest their way out of it” resulted in failures that the city in turn used to learn and try a different, more nuanced approach, which likewise failed. Etc. Ad nauseam. Analysis was reminded of the century old (and ongoing) efforts to abate another addiction – nicotine. Its popularity, and availability, were so prevalent and over reaching that designating it as a disease, let alone a health concern of the state, was, well, completely “political.” Like Coke, tobacco products were sold in vending machines for the longest time. The state’s track record of dealing with it is abysmal. States used “tobacco settlement money” as a contribution to their general fund with some going to window dressing like “Just say no.” Along with our president they found a way to capitalize on the negative, taxing tobacco in order to raise even more for their general fund. Instead of “arresting their way out” they opted to tax their way out while saying it was all in the names of more jobs, better economy and something about boats rising and the tide. The “politics” involved with the designation and interpretation of some social phenomenon as in reality a scientific occurrence, like a health crisis, is the stuff of Bruno Latour’s book, The Pasteurization Of France (1988). LaTour writes of the “politics” involved over a lengthy span of time to establish Louis Pasteur’s claim of bacteria as a source of disease. It wasn’t accepted as being so overnight. Indeed, it was actively resisted (power, wealth, influence, etc.). Fast forward to the contemporary reception of climate science (the Anthropocene) or Bayer’s use of glyphosate (Round Up, Bayer now owns Monsanto). No, the state has an abysmal record of addressing and dealing with any health crisis. It is always “political.” If it wasn’t “political,” what would it possibly look like? Carl Hart on why it’s time to legalize drugs: “What is wrong with people making that choice?” Psychologist and author on the myths of the opioid “epidemic,” and why it’s time to ask Americans to be adults, Chauncy DeVega (9-26-18) peels back a corner of what it might be. A quickie synopsis of DeVega’s interview with Carl Hart includes, but is not limited to, myth busting – not all use is addiction (Is Bill Clinton addicted to cigars?), functioning addiction (able to hold a job, pay bills, raise a family, etc.) and malignant addiction (a disease addressed by therapies of recovery, etc.). Scary stuff until one realizes that just such approaches are already used by various countries (Netherlands, Switzerland come to mind). The alternatives of “arresting our way out of it”, “Just Say No” pedagogies, along with abstinence only sex education and forced slavery as immigrant labor opportunity, have a track record of promoting the myth while eliding any solution. Yes, what Hart speaks of, and Philly tries (and tries again), is messy, precarious,  discomforting, and very “political”. The future solution of a health crisis, the disease and scourge of illegal drug possession and use, the stigma, the tragic consequences of incarceration and its avoidance are uncertain, unpredictable. They are found only in the “doing” of solution, not in the myth of certain outcome. Ohio’s Issue 1 may be inaccurate, tentative, imperfect, and fraught with “politics” but it is a “doing” of solution rather than a continuation of theoretical proposals while continuing to “arrest our way out of “ a very real (and “political”) health crisis.


“I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends”

April 3, 2018

2-19-18 WKSU’s Jeff  St. Clair did a radio report entitled Monogamy and Smiles are the Results of a Neurochemical Change That Made Us Human. It was recently rebroadcast. Analysis found it very compelling. From the broadcast: “Kent State professors Owen Lovejoy and Mary Ann Raghanti worked together on a recent paper that looks at how a neurochemical change in our brains became the turning point in human evolution.” ““Cooperation is something that’s very uniquely human. We start cooperating by the time we’re 1 year old. This doesn’t happen in other ape species, so it’s hard wired.” Raghanti believes that early in our history something switched-on in our brains that sent us on a different path than our closest relatives, and it wasn’t our smarts. “Our brain was the size of the chimpanzee. We hadn’t expanded the cerebral cortex yet,” says Raghanti, “so whatever it was that changed our personality occurred without that cerebral cortex.” Raghanti has been dissecting the brains of humans, chimpanzees and other primates over the past decade to see what could account for the differences in our behavior. She looked at the chemicals that trigger our thoughts and actions – the neurotransmitters – and where they’re active in the brain. It was a lot of work counting all the neural connections. “We very laboriously section every single brain into very thin sections, and then we stain it, and put it under the microscope and we have special software where we can quantify the number of axons which gives us a measure of the enervation.” She didn’t see many differences, until she got to the part of the brain called the striatum. Nestled deep in the brain, the striatum plays an important part in decision-making and is home to the all-important reward system, the same system that gets hi-jacked by drug addiction. But Raghanti found that in early human ancestors that reward system developed for another purpose. “Our reward system gets triggered by helping other individuals,” says Raghanti. The chimpanzee is our closest living relative, but we differ in how part of our brain is wired. In humans dopamine is dominant in the striatum, which coordinates social interactions, while in chimps acetylcholine, key for aggression, dominates. That pathway is missing in apes. Instead, Raghanti found they’re hard-wired for aggression.” “Lovejoy says if evolution is survival of the fittest, it doesn’t make sense if instead of competing, you’re helping each other, which is what humans do. “Why do you cooperate with other people unless it gives you more offspring? I’ve never really understood that on a basic selection basis, until Mary Ann made this discovery.” For Lovejoy, all the pieces come together knowing that the human brain is hard-wired for teamwork.” ““Hominids have a form of social structure that no other primate has,” says Lovejoy. “We have something we call social monogamy.”” Analysis finds it intriguing that “the same system… gets hi-jacked by drug addiction.”

The Oxymoron Of Conservative Mongrel

March 15, 2014

Originally, Analysis was going to consider the Ohio Governor’s desire to change Ohio’s tax structure within the budget. John, the governator, “appears” to embrace change, something usually associated with liberals. In the recent, not so subtle dismissal of the candidacy challenge by Tea Party darlink Charlie Earl, the governor positioned himself as THE conservative choice. Being associated with change, allows him to hedge his bets (hey, he worked for the now defunct Lehman Brothers, what do you want?), maybe come off as a “progressive conservative” (a chimera indeed!). Before regressing to Nugentian mongrelization, Analysis was going to look at just how much “change” was involved with the governator’s proposals. Salaried talking heads have focused on the three tax increases meant to subsidize a tax rate decrease (ostensibly to keep the wealthy from fleeing to the richer ‘burbs of Florida, or Colorado). It is a three legged stool with one portion of revenue expected from the “somewhere over the rainbow” shale oil promise, another from the ever continuous actuality of the Commercial Activity Tax being increased (since things are so much better in Ohio today than 4 years ago, and, well, there is now increased commercial activity), and the last leg from a whopping increase in the cost of cigs and other nicotine related products. The latter, traditionally referred to as a “sin tax,” receives unequivocal support from many sides since it will motivate people to “kick” the addiction habit. The two former are expected to meet stiff opposition from the oil and gas lobby as well as the retail association lobbies. Most pundits predict those will get severely watered down. Analysis finds the entire ploy disingenuous and cynical. Already the culture “assumes” (as something totally natural) that the various lobbies, trade associations and PACS will protect their turf through financial incentives to the legislators in this election year while John, the governator, comes off looking like a reformer, a proponent of “change”. Should the “sin tax” actually succeed at getting people to seek relief from their addiction, then the tripod would collapse since one of its legs would no longer be contributing revenue. The cynical presumption is: let’s cash in on folks’ addiction. No “change” there. To do like Colorado, or Washington State, and unabashedly embrace the “sinfulness” of the constituency and tax another addictive sin, would not grant pedigree to a mongrel “progressive conservative”. Besides, today’s real and actual (statistically verifiable) gateway drug is prescription pain medication, the makers of which have an even more powerful lobby than oil and gas/retail sales combined, and much more incentive to make sure it retains its number one gateway drug status quo (research, dear reader, “over the counter” ephedrine and its relation to methamphetamine for background). The governor is definitely using the conservative approach by cashing in on addiction without disclosing the approach’s reliance that it stay that way, remain the status quo. Ditto was done with (casino) gambling, guaranteed through a constitutional amendment. That tax revenue was supposed to go to schools (not gambling addiction prevention programs). However, when the nitty gritty sausage making of John, the governator’s, budget proposals were squeezed out, individual schools found themselves required to “show me the money” before they can access any of the gambling “sin tax” revenue they are entitled to by law. The governor champions a 3 to 1 matching grant for the dispersal of what was the school funding involved in the original amendment. High rolling schools, already flush with cash, will be able to fund class trips to China, while those in receivership will be lucky to charter a bus to the statehouse. No, it is all more of the same continuance of status quo, no change; “progressive conservative” is a conservative mongrel.

America’s contemporary Duck Dynasty camouflage culture of conservatism is much more interesting to analyze. The Ohio Governor’s tax proposals are only an appetizer of political governance being more about lobbies, PACS and money than democracy. The main course is a much more convoluted challenge, steeped in American history and culture. “Anti-union workers sue Volkswagen, UAW over Tennessee plant” by Amanda Becker writing for Reuters (Mar 13, 2014) continues the ahistoric, “Bizarro” world narrative that Analysis has considered in previous posts. Reinserting itself into due process, the Koch brother’s union death wish in America finds winning not to be enough (the only good _ is a dead _ ). The “anti-union workers” are asserting their right to have their “anti-union” identity recognized as such, though vehemently opposing any form of representation (Gasp! That would be a union) – a class action without a class! (but demanding its right to be recognized as such!! Principle is principle, Analysis surmises.) Ted Nugent, Texas and “principled” conservatism aside, this is not pre-civil war America. As pointed out by previous postings referencing Generation Like (as well as even a rudimentary knowledge of the history of “Japanese” management), capitalist production and marketing are in the 21st century of networking, collaboration and information sharing. German VW has embraced that while American conservative corporate sales leaders appear to be elsewhere. It would be no surprise if the expansion of SUV production, guaranteed by corporate sales leader Senator Corker, never takes place. VW may well reconsider, believing that these folks in Tennessee are crazy. They don’t want what we want (representation and input in our production management approach) and not only that, but they now are suing us in order to maintain the status quo. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Analysis finds this difficult to fathom. From a cultural perspective it is as if someone is saying that we don’t want representation, we don’t want to be involved with any decision making regarding what we do. We want to show up at work, be told what to do, and go home with our paycheck after a week’s work, thank you. You run the company, make all the decisions and just keep us employed while we dance and sing carefree on your plantation. This is the closest to a status quo that Analysis can come up with, and change to that is definitely a threat. It does explain why any attempts to drag America’s conservative corporate sales leaders into the economics of the 21st century, an economics of networking, collaboration, information sharing and disruptive technologies, is met by such virulent resistance and opposition. Delivered today, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation would be decried as a jobs killer. Change is not for the lovers of Ted Nugent and the ever “apologizing for racist remarks” Tea Party fringe of conservatism. Even corporate sales leader and former VP candidate Paul Ryan embodies this aspect of Duck Dynasty conservatism. In another Reuters article (3-14-14), “Paul Ryan to meet black U.S. lawmakers after ‘offensive’ remarks” by David Lawder, the camouflage is fading, bad. “Representative Barbara Lee of California, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Ryan’s remarks a “thinly veiled racial attack.” “Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black’,” Lee said in a statement.”

Webster’s has “conservative, 1. Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.”


November 21, 2013

Once, at a business seminar, the speaker stressed that the only constant we can rely on is change (a bit disturbing to most of the “invested” business audience; change is such a hassle, sigh). That was during the heyday of disruptive innovation, primarily the personal computer which was eating the big mainframe guys’ lunch but also videos, CD’s, self serve, a plethora of cars from Japan, etc. It wasn’t called “disruptive innovation” then (though it was change, and disruptive to most), just sound business advice from savvy successful entrepreneurs.

A recent exchange in the online Newark Advocate commentaries (re; an article about Walmart defending its employees’ soliciting for contributions to afford a decent T day) reminded me of that. The main imbroglio was between a “liberal” point of view (Walmart should more equitably share their success with those who helped achieve it) and the ready-made answer given by a “conservative” (no one is forcing the employee to take a job there). The New Oxford American dictionary gives “a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics” as the definition of conservative. Wiktionary gives about the same, but shorter: “A person who favors maintenance of the status quo or reversion to some earlier status”. NOA defines “liberal” as a person of liberal views (obvious to say the least!). Liberal as an adjective is defined variously. “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values” is the first given. Wiktionary is only a tad better: “One with liberal views, supporting individual liberty”. That same day AP ran a couple of quickie articles, “How many nuts should you eat for your health?” and “Study ties nuts to lower cancer, heart death risk.” In fact the former article even states “Regular nut eaters were less likely to die of cancer or heart disease, in fact, were less likely to die of any cause during a 30-year Harvard study.” (Eureka!). To pollinate the almond crop in early spring (next to marijuana, the most lucrative agricultural cash crop in California) now requires over half the bee hives existing in America. Last year, the migrant commercial beekeepers who supply the bees for pollination fell short in meeting this demand. Not that there was suddenly an overabundance of almond trees. Rather, there is a steady depletion of bees (and beekeepers). There is, however, an overabundance of reasons given for this change. They are irrelevant. What is relevant is that this disruptive change is what the business speaker spoke of at the seminar. “A person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes” is on precarious ground in dealing with the healthful (and tasty) properties of almonds, their relationship to bees, and our topical/systemic pesticide reliant agricultural practices. Favoring “maintenance of the status quo or reversion to some earlier status” doesn’t cut it with regard to addressing or solving the problem (of change, of the continuous loss of pollinators). No amount of digging in one’s heels and insisting that if “it was good enough for granddad, it’s good enough for me” will deal with the change that is already in progress. Wiktionary defines a “progressive” as “A person who actively favors or strives for progress towards improved conditions, as in society or government.” NOA gives “a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.”