Monthly Archives: February 2020

Lawmakers vote to repeal minimum wage exemption for nannies and maids – Virginia Mercury

Posted: February 29, 2020 at 11:40 pm

Virginia lawmakers finalized passage of legislation Friday that repeals minimum wage exemptions for domestic workers such as maids and nannies.

The advocacy group Care in Action, which advocates nationally for the workers, said Virginia is the first state in the South to adopt such protections.

Weve been waiting for this victory for 400 years, Alexsis Rodgers, the groups state director, said in a statement. Due to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow era laws, domestic workers were left unprotected and seen as less than compared to other workers. Today, we let Virginia and the rest of the country know that domestic workers are valued workers and must be treated as such.

Domestic workers are already covered by federal minimum wage laws, which mandates workers be paid $7.25 an hour, but the law means the workers will be able to file unpaid wage complaints at the state level.

It also guarantees the workers will be included in any legislation raising the minimum wage at the state level, which lawmakers are still negotiating. Thats one of the reasons Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, said she proposed the legislation as a standalone bill.

We wanted to be sure at a minimum the domestic worker exemption went away, she said.

The legislation does not include au pairs, who are foreign workers who come to the country through a program regulated by the federal government.

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Five Slave Rebellions and Acts of Resistance They Forgot To Mention – Black State

Posted: at 11:40 pm

When American kids learn about slavery if they learn anything at all about slavery, they do not learn about the resistance and fight against slavery by those who were enslaved. Captured human beings did in fact wage many uprisings against the slave republic that was the southern United States. Although it took the Civil War to overthrow state sponsored slavery, we want to give a shout to those who fought and died to destroy the regime plantation by plantation. Let us at least attempt to put to rest the myth of the docile slave. A review of slavery uprisings, reveal that our ancestors captured from their homeland and enslaved in a foreign land were anything but docile they were fighters who watched their captors, and when the opportunity presented itself they fought or died trying.

5. Stono Rebellion

Stono Rebellion was a slave uprising that began in the then British colony of South Carolina in September 1739. It was the largest slave uprising in the British mainland colonies with approximately 25 white slave owners killed. Led by a man named Cato, who with 60 other slaves who may have been soldiers in the Kingdom of Kongo headed south to Florida to secure their freedom. At the time the Spanish offered freedom to those enslaved in Florida. Although they were ultimately defeated by a militia, their uprising created great fear in South Carolina which at the time had a larger slave population than free. This led to the Negro Act of 1740 which among many things prohibited the assembly of enslaved Africans, and prohibited learning to write, earn money, and raise food.

4. Igbo Landing

In May 1803 75 captured Igbo from modern day Nigeria upon arrival to the U.S. captured and killed their enslavers, causing the grounding of the slave ship. Instead of submitting to slavery, the Igbo turned around and marched back to Africa. These ancestors chose to drown in the marsh over a life of slavery. Igbo landing is now a historic site in the sand and marshes of Dunbar Creek in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

3. 1811 German Coast Slave Uprising

The countrys largest slave revolt had been largely omitted by the history books. In January 1811 slaves from what was known as the German coast of Louisiana organized and set out to march to New Orleans and end slavery. Upwards of 500 slaves participated in two day twenty mile march, killing captors, burning plantations and crops along the way. Although, the uprising was ultimately defeated by an army militia. The silence of this history is the legacy of this uprising. It so threatened the slave-ocracy it was the Voldemort of slave rebellions, it could not be spoken of again. On November 8-9, 2019, this uprising was reenacted, bringing again to life the history and recognition who gave their life to end slavery.

2. Poison and Arson

Often not mention in the history of slavery is to the extent to which captives being held as slaves chose the weapons of poison and arson to free themselves.


Poison was at times used as the weapon of choice in eliminating slave masters. In 1751 South Carolina enacted a law providing the death penalty without benefit of clergy for slaves found guilty of poisoning white people. Georgia passed a similar law in 1770 citing the frequency of poisoning slave masters.


Arson also posed a huge threat to the slave-ocracy including the remaining remnants in the North. For instance, although New York was on its way to outlawing slavery, For people being held in captivity in Albany, things were not moving fast enough enough. So in November 1793 they burned half the city of Albany down. In March and April of 1814 the city of Norfolk, Virginia was plagued by fires several times a day creating a panic in the city.

Arson was more frequent than poison and according to some scholars represented the greatest danger to Southern society.

1. Im out. Runaway is rebellion.

Americans for the most part know that many people held as slaves escaped, risking life and the life of the family they left behind in leaving the brutal conditions of slavery. But as a culture we fail to connect these acts in their totality. They were not mere individual acts, these acts of defiance when seen as a collective tell a different story. There were networks for escaped people who were held as slaves, and there were heroes like the great Harriet Tubman who led many to freedom. Consider the words of the great historian John Hope Franklin, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Few contemporaries would deny the cruel and brutal treatment accorded to those who defied the system. Slaves escaped with the mark of the whip on their backs irons on their ankles, brands on their cheeks and foreheads, and missing fingers and toes. Joe, Bill, and Isaac left the Richard Terell farm in Roanoke County, Virginia, with Irons around their necks.

Escaping the horrors of slavery was too an act of defiance thats due recognition as such.

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OPINION: The crisis in student loan debt offers a chance for reparations – The Hechinger Report

Posted: at 11:40 pm

The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

Editors note: Black students are more likely than their peers to borrow money for college, struggle with repayment and default on student loans. With the debt problem for black students in particular reaching urgent levels, The Education Trust and The Hechinger Report have partnered on a series of op-eds to amplify the voices of people studying solutions to the black student debt crisis.

Here are some examples of why, after more than a decade of research into their involvement with slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, a handful of universities are beginning to consider reparations:

The first slave recorded in Massachusetts was owned by Harvards school master.

The first nine presidents of Princeton University owned slaves.

The personal physician of Dartmouth Colleges president boiled the body of a Black man named Cato to furnish a skeleton for anatomical study, and his skin was turned to leather at the campus tannery and fashioned into a medical instrument case.

One can still stroll upon sidewalks and past buildings built with bricks made by enslaved laborers at the University of Virginia.

It is well past time that colleges and universities begin to heal wounds, both old and new, and the black student loan-debt crisis may be one of the most efficient uses of their reparatory funds.

African Americans heavily rely upon higher education as the gateway to upward mobility. The combination of the wealth gap, rising tuition costs and reliance upon student loans, however, is now saddling black students with disproportionate amounts of debt.

Meanwhile, the black student loan-debt crisis needs urgent remedies.

For many, attempting to climb the economic ladder means trading one form of economic distress for another. For colleges interested in giving financial weight to their declarations of forgiveness and justice, reparations should not be restricted to direct descendants of those enslaved by universities because universities profited from countless slaves owned by others as well.

Like other institutions, dozens of U.S. colleges and universities have uncovered an overabundance of records documenting their culpability in slavery, Americas gravest sin.

Reparations offer a solution because simply providing preferential admissions to the direct descendants of the enslaved workers who built and maintained these institutions ignores the historical context in which universities benefited from chattel slavery. Universities benefited from what I refer to as an Atlantic plantation complex, where they profited from an intercontinental trade centered around slaves, the products they produced and the bequests bestowed by their owners who dotted that complex.

Many of the nations oldest and most prestigious colleges are coming to grips with the fact that enslavement generated the capital that led to their creation.

To fully grasp the extent of institutions liabilities, though, we must look beyond slavery because universities participation in racial injustice extended well beyond abolition.

Related: To pay for college, more students are offering a piece of their future to investors

For instance, universities in the Jim Crow era both in the North and the South excluded black students while taking in their tax dollars. College students and staff undoubtedly were participants in lynch law. The esteemed faculty of these institutions pumped out the bunk scientific racism that buttressed Jim Crow, cemented Social Darwinism and unleashed the scourge of eugenics. The consumption of, and participation in, blackface minstrelsy on and around campuses was almost a rite of passage for decades, and it lives on today through social media and frat parties.

Neither the abolition of slavery nor the end of segregation nor the election of President Barack Obama has stopped these institutions from engaging in, or tolerating, acts of racial aggression. Despite continued resistance by student activists, universities across the nation too often seem unable or unwilling to doggedly police acts of psychological or physical violence against minority students.

While colleges obviously have little control over the private actions of their students, they could do more to rein in university police officers who engage in racially biased behavior similar to that of non-university police forces. Officers working for some universities disproportionately stop and arrest black people, both students and non-students alike. Some university police officers are not averse to deploying unnecessary violent force against people of color, as demonstrated by filmed encounters involving police from Yale University, Barnard College, the University of Chicagoand Rice University. Worst of all, however, are the actions of Portland State and University of Cincinnati police officers, who have used lethal force against non-student black men.

The all-too-frequent interactions between university police forces and non-student African Americans are one symptom of the continued practice of urban campuses devouring working-class minority neighborhoods. With the help of university police and municipal tax breaks, colleges continue to gentrify these spaces in their attempts to attract and comfort wealthier (white) students, and in the process displace black residents through rising rents.

Universities should devote their reparation funds toward making higher education more affordable for black students.

Programs must consider past and future students alike.

For black former students, universities could refinance outstanding loan balances at zero percent interest. For future students, a combination of grants and reduced tuition would help to reduce the racial wealth gap and could eliminate the black-white student loan-debt gap as it stands approximately $4,000-$7,000.

The universities with the largest endowments often the same institutions with the longest legacies of racial exploitation should form partnerships with HBCUs to strengthen their financial footing and establish programs aimed at eliminating hiring and wage discrimination in the workplace.

Related:Debt without degree: The human cost of college debt that becomes purgatory

Institutions should not rely upon financial reserves alone to fund these initiatives. Universities should consider adopting a system similar to the one devised and approved by Georgetown student-activists and slave descendants: adding a small fee to students annual bills to defray a portion of the reparatory spending. Such measures would go a lot further in uplifting black students and achieving social justice than more spending on studies and conferences.

Removing racist imagery and changing the names of buildings are welcome gestures, but they do little to even the balance. Someone must take the lead in addressing the black student loan-debt crisis head on, and universities should use their financial and social capital to attempt to make amends through reparations.

This story about reparations and student loans was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education, in partnership with The Education Trust. Sign up here for Hechingers newsletter.

Luke Frederick is a doctoral student at Georgetown University, where his research focuses on the policing and incarceration of free blacks and enslaved workers in antebellum America, and research director for the Ohio Student Association.

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Letters to the Editor: Readers weigh in on Democratic candidates – Charleston Post Courier

Posted: at 11:40 pm

Support Warren

I have worked in politics and on campaigns off and on for 20 years, since I was 19, constantly in search of a candidate who is inspirational, wise, thoughtful, brilliant, authentic, idealistic yet realistic, visionary yet practical, tough yet compassionate, a leader of honesty and integrity, a president who is a strong leader yet also one of the people.

I finally found my candidate: Elizabeth Warren.

I have been through a lot these past few years, battling tragedy, loss, illness, just as our country has been through a lot. Warren inspires me, she lifts me up, and she can do that for this whole country.

We need a president who inspires us to believe that great things are still possible, that big dreams are attainable, that hard work pays

off, that no one is left behind, a president who will work to help make these truths, dreams, ideas and ideals a reality for all Americans.

If my mom were still living, she and I would vote for Elizabeth Warren together. I trust Warren to be by the side of all when she is president.

President Elizabeth Warren. Gosh, that sounds awesome! Lets make history, South Carolina. Lets dream big and work hard together.


Farr Street

Daniel Island

Reflecting on Bernie Sanders recent laudatory comments on the Castro regime in Cuba, I am wondering what good he might find in the Chavez/Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela.


Confederate Circle


I would like to make some comments regarding the Feb. 24 Post and Courier letter to the editor regarding Bernie Sanders for president. I am 70 years old. I am not an attorney, but I have been a CEO or president of several financial companies in my lifetime. Here are my concerns:

Geographic cost of living differences do not support one standard $15-an-hour wage because earners will be impacted differently. Do not forget any rise in wage expense will result in higher prices for goods and services, or lower company profits, which Sanders wants to tax at higher rates to pay for his agenda.

My fathers example to me was to make sacrifices to pay for his childrens education. My first job out of college paid me $500 a month and I saved to ultimately pay for my daughters college education. I am sure millions of other parents did, and do, the same thing. Why is that no longer acceptable?

I depend on Medicare. I have a deductible, have a supplement to help cover the costs Medicare does not cover, have a drug policy to cover what Medicare does not cover. My deductible and premiums went up this year. Dont be fooled: Medicare is not free. Watch what happens when hospitals and doctors have to accept Medicare-approved billing limits when there are no longer private insurers paying the larger charges.

There are not enough billionaires to cover all of what Sanders plans to give us for free.


Old Tavern Court

Mount Pleasant

The next president of the United States will be the commander in chief of our military.

There are only two people running for president that have served in the military. All the others turned their back on this country, but now they want the country to support them.

How can you be commander of something that you know nothing about?

The two people who served are Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg, both in combat zones.

If you are a veteran or serving in the military, then you need to vote for one of them. I am giving my vote to Tulsi Gabbard. She seems to be a Christian. So if you are Christian, vote for Ms. Gabbard.

Vote for what is best for this country. Some of the men running for office claim a woman cant be president. If you are a woman, prove them wrong, vote for a woman. I do not know Ms. Gabbard and have never spoken to her.

I just want what is best for my country. Again, forget party this one time.


Linwood Lane


I see The Post and Courier is very interested in S.C. Congressman Jim Clyburns 2020 presidential endorsement.

That is curious, considering the congressmans comments to the media last week when he had the audacity to say that African Americans unemployment during slavery was better than today because, in his words, they were fully employed during slavery.

With many of his voters and constituents forebearers, indeed, being slaves, Clyburn was incredibly insensitive to the district he represents and to the entire nation.

Instead of eagerly awaiting Clyburns endorsement, all candidates should be running from it.

In fact, it seems to me that our congressman is so out of touch with his constituents and the history of slavery that he should not run for reelection himself.


Former state senator

Water Street


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Why The Right Should Make Immigration A Race IssueAnd How – The Federalist

Posted: at 11:40 pm

Over the past few years reports by BuzzFeed News and American Affairs described how some businesses try to hire low-wage immigrants over Americans. They post job ads, as required by the H-2 guest worker program, but in towns far from the job site. They ask for Spanish-speaking workers although the work is in a non-Hispanic area. They set strict requirements that only Americans must meet. Some flat-out say they never hire U.S. workers.

These practices have resulted in multiple complaints from Legal Aid, legal briefs filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and at least one instance of federal imprisonment.

Derrick Green was a casualty of these practices. In 2012 the father of six was fired by Hamilton Growers after just three weeks of picking squash. Greens quick dismissal reflected a pattern. According to the EEOC, in 2009 Hamilton Growers fired or pushed out the overwhelming majority of Americans while few Mexican guest workers met that fate.

Something similar happened in 2010 and 2011. The next farm Green worked for also preferred guest workers over Americans, and he was fired after a few days.

Farms and other low-wage employers often argue they need low-wage immigrants to keep costs down. That argument, however, must be weighed against the fact that mass low-wage immigration hurts American workers, especially poorer ones. Research supports this idea.

A 2016 National Academy of Sciences report stated that a high degree of consensus exists thatspecific groups are more vulnerable than others to inflows of new immigrants. The NAS report identifies nine studies that show harms to Americans with low levels of education.

Given Americas racial politics, it makes sense that the left tends to ignore the racial dimensions of low-wage immigration. You see, Green, and most of the workers fired by Hamilton Growers, are black. Two-dozen black people also brought a lawsuit against J&R Baker Farms. A former employee said they got rid of their black workers in 2010. A supervisor at Hamilton Growers once allegedly said: all you black American people, f you alljust go to the office and pick up your check.

Since blacks are disproportionately represented among poorly educated Americans, they bear the brunt of low-wage immigration. The left, which claims to be both pro-black Americans and pro-low-wage immigration, of course downplays this tension.

Conservatives also downplay this tension. We dont highlight enough how much low-wage immigration harms poor African-Americans. This omission is political malpractice.Republican pollster Patrick Ruffini showed that speaking to working-class minorities70 percent of whom dont have a college degreeis the best way for Republicans to adapt a diversifying America. Simply put, we must become the party of the entire working class, not just the white working class.

To get from here to there, conservatives should recognize that as long as it doesnt cannibalize other ways of understanding our country, and that Americas worst moments dont define us, theres nothing intrinsically wrong with using a racial lens. The fact that the left overuses this analysis does not mean we should underuse it.

Unfortunately, decades of missteps have made us inept at discussing race. Since were going to have to start doing so more, and to learn along the way, we should choose our battles carefully. When doing something new, you must crawl before you walk. We should thus engage on issues that play to our strengths and on which voters already trust us.

Low-wage immigration is perfect in this regard. We almost have no choice but to double down on the issue. Opposition to low-wage immigration will define conservatives for the indefinite future. So we may as well use it to reach black votersthe minority group we should prioritize outreach to.

Further, low-wage immigration is an issue we know how to discuss. When we engage with black Americans, we will be able to reframe a message were already good at delivering.

Conservatives also have well-fleshed out policies to address low-wage immigration. For all the intra-right disagreements, there is a conservative approach to immigration that can rely on decades of right-leaning policy research.

The political calculus is also simpler. Both the left and right agree that many blacks oppose low-wage immigration. So not only does this topic keep our coalition intact, it raises tension within the Democratic one. Especially since Democrats have gone all-in on open borders, blacks who care about this issue have only one viable option, unlike on issues such as lowering crime sentences.

Leftists act as if black politics consists only of police brutality, Civil War statues, and reparations. But low-wage immigration deeply affects blacks and should also be a black issue. Its our job to make the connection.

Consider the liberal trope that American institutions are racist and were designed to hurt blacks. On hearing these arguments, conservatives usually just protest. Although protest may be necessary, it doesnt have to end there. It would be smarter to concede that general point then pivot to immigration.

We should not be afraid of this concession. American slavery was uniquely evil, and its legacy has clearly shaped many American institutions. Although specific liberal arguments can be overwrought, this point is uncontroversial.

If all American institutions are rooted in slavery and discriminate against black people, that includes all institutions, including immigration policy. We should force liberals to explain why they have ignored this, and highlight that people who look like Green are the main victims of our anti-black immigration system.

We must stress how much African-Americans need policies like border security and e-Verify. More than any other group, they need a tight low-wage labor market, and will benefit from conservative immigration policies. Leftist immigration policies have a profound disparate impact against blacks, something we should repeat mercilessly.

We can we also use immigration to expand the debates about reparations. African-Americans themselves dont agree on what it means, and its often viewed as much more than cutting a check. Both scholars and activists argue that reparations must address underlying structures.

That is why social policies as diverse as voting rights, health care, housing policy, student debt, and small business loans have all been framed as reparations. Immigration is always missing from this sort of analysis. But if housing policy and health care can be viewed as reparations, then so can e-Verify. The RAISE Act is a much better reparations bill than anything Democrats have offered.

Centering black outreach on immigration is not just smart politics. Making these arguments will allow us to engage with race in America on our own terms. Instead of running away from the topic, we would broaden our national conversation. America would no longer able to reduce black people to the issues that leftists choose.

Black Americans have always debated how to best achieve economic progress. Many reasonably believe that fighting racism must lead this struggle. But other prefer to focus on socioeconomics directly. Perhaps nothing better illustrates this intra-black tension than the official name of Martin Luther King Jr.s famous 1963 gathering: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The point here is not to settle this dispute, but to highlight that African-Americans themselves disagree on whether fighting white racism is more important than fighting for black jobs. Democrats have chosen the first path. Until now we have chosen neither, which helps explain why we lose black voters by such a staggering margin.

But there is a sizable black market for the other path, and we should try to reach them. Nationalism and opposition to low-wage immigration will help. At its core, these positions are about valuing all Americans and their jobs before others. This message will resonate with many black Americans.

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Amazon Go Grocery: This Is The Future Of Shopping, Whether We Like It Or Not – Forbes

Posted: at 11:40 pm

SEATTLE, WA - FEBRUARY 26: A shopper enters Amazon Go Grocery on February 26, 2020 in Seattle, ... [+] Washington. The store in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is Amazon's first large retail grocery location that uses the cashier-free model. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Amazon has unveiled its Amazon Go Grocery in Seattle, expanding the initial concept of a store without tills, evolving from a simple convenience store selling a few products to a practically complete supermarket with sections of various types, including fresh products.

This is the next phase of Amazons Just walk out technology and its application to more complex shopping contexts, ridiculing the skeptics lightweight arguments against it. The value proposition here is clear: as you take the items off the shelves, you place them in your trolley in the same bags you will use to take them home. Go in, take what you want, and walk out the door, without standing in line. It couldnt be simpler.

Whats more, the lower costs involved mean Amazon can offer its customers better prices than its rivals. But what Amazon really wants to do is to offer its customers a better experience, one that requires taking full advantage of the new technological environment. The complaints of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which has criticized the company for jeopardizing millions of quality jobs and has threatened to make this a campaign issue in the November 2020 elections, ignore the fact that Amazon is actually the company that has created the most jobs in the United States in recent years, more than half a million, and also tends to pay its employees, even at the lowest levels, significantly above the industry average.

When the company launched its first store in beta mode exclusively for employees, I noted that there are more than three and a half million supermarket cashiers in the United States who are paid an average of $10.78 an hour (the minimum wage at Amazon is $15 an hour), with no formal education requirement, and with an estimated decline of -4% for the decade from 2018 to 2028. These forecasts do not seem to take into account the effects of the development and possible generalization of a technology such as Amazons, as well as the need for other competitors in the distribution field to incorporate similar technologies if they do not want to go out of business.

The future of distribution does not include workers on tills doing a job that, while it may seem reasonably dignified today, makes no sense. When, in a few decades, we tell our grandchildren that people used to work as cashiers in supermarkets and describes what they did in their day-to-day life, those youngsters will see that as a kind of slavery.

Eliminating jobs makes sense when they impose repetitive and dehumanizing routines on us and because they result in lower productivity and more errors than a machine produces. Ultimately, a technology like this does not seek to eliminate jobs, but to put humans where they really add value, rather than by carrying out meaningless mechanical tasks.

Amazons scaling up from small shops to large supermarkets is just another step in a process that, whether some like it or not, is called progress. This is what has led to the disappearance of many jobs that seemed normal in previous centuries and today we would consider meaningless. And there will be many more to come. How is the world economy going to accommodate the disappearance of more and more jobs? Are we going to console ourselves by thinking that a similar or greater number of other types of jobs will be magically created in the future?

In this race for efficient automation, supermarket cashiers will soon be joined by drivers, brokers, assembly line workers and an ever-increasing range of jobs, while society will have to deal with the paradox that greater wealth generation through machine work may result in widespread impoverishment. To prevent this we need to redefine the social contract. Until we understand this, we will continue to try to measure the economy with the wrong indicators, criticizing interesting initiatives, reverting to religious approaches such as in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, and repeating the mistakes of the past.

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The Only Way to Stop Bernie Sanders – The National Interest Online

Posted: at 11:40 pm

Moderate Democrats missed a rhetorical opportunity to hit Bernie Sanders on the failures of socialism Tuesday night.

At the South Carolina debate, Sanders defended himself for having pointed out the few policy successes of socialist and communist dictatorships. That is different than saying that governments occasionally do things that are good, he said.

Hundreds of millions of people have been allowed to rise out of poverty in China, since Reform & Opening, and the literacy rate did increase in Cuba. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, competing to stop Sanders and grab ahold of the moderate mantle, continued to hit the self-proclaimed socialist, suggesting that he is soft on left-wing human rights abusers.

Sanders was right, however, on the essential factual points he made. His opponents attacked him instead on the optics. This is not about what coups were happening in the 1970s or '80s, this is about the future, Buttigieg said. (Similarly, no one disputed his claims that the Soviet Unions Moscow had a properly functioning subway system. And if you think public transportation isnt important, ask people how they get to work if they live 21 miles away and there areno buses running.)

But the moderate Democrats missed a key opportunity to hit him on how Marxist socialism failed in the countries he was referencing, particularly China. His claim that China lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty only applies starting after 1978, when Deng Xiaoping took over as leader and began the series of reforms that would push China in a more free-market-oriented direction. If anything, rather than attempting to dismiss the point, emphasizing the success of Chinas post-1978 economy could point to the success of the market economy.

China reversed its communization of farmland. Farmers, individually managing plots of land under post-Mao reforms, were able to keep their surplus, incentivizing them to produce more efficiently. During the old communist era, everyone was supposed to work the same land, eat in the canteen, and eat similar meals no matter how productive they had been. Naturally, most people didnt work hard.

Although there were some efforts to grade peoples effort, trying to grade work would have been very difficult even if it were done without bias, which it was not. (Marx advocated for the idea of labor vouchers in his Critique of the Gotha Programme, and the Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China both had to each according to his contribution written into their original constitutions.)

Distributing land use rights to individual farmers vastly increased output. Deng also began the arduous process of ending the iron rice bowlfiring tens of millions of people employed by hulking, unproductive state-controlled factories and enterprises for life.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders advocates a federal jobs guarantee to guarantee everyone a stable job that pays a living wage. That is going in the direction of Chinas failed iron rice bowl and in the opposite direction from its successful anti-poverty program. It would be enormously expensive and likely inefficient.

If someone did want to draw a comparison between Sanders and socialism, they could start there. However, if you look at the rest of his agenda, he does not advocate taking over businesses. He does not advocate nationalizing oil or creating a dictatorship of the proletariat. (Trumps plan to take the oil is actually more communist in some ways than Bernies plans.)

In fact, the countries Bernie always cites as models for his agendaSweden, Norway, Denmark, etcare all prosperous capitalist countries. The UK and Canada, with their socialized healthcare systems, are actually more economically free than the U.S., according to the Heritage Foundations Index of Economic Freedom.

So Sanders really isnt much of a socialist. His positions are very close to those of Elizabeth Warren, who explicitly calls herself a capitalist. Sanders, too, advocates for maintaining a capitalist systemjust reforming it. That is what Marx derisively called bourgeois socialism.

Another lesson from China, then: A planned economy is not equivalent to socialism, because there is planning under capitalism too; a market economy is not capitalism, because there are markets under socialism too. Planning and market forces are both means of controlling economic activity, Deng said during his Southern Tour in 1992.

The great social welfare states of Scandinavia Sanders lauds are only possible because they have dynamic economies, built on market capitalism, which create the wealth necessary to afford generous benefits.

If we (and this includes Sanders himself) must insist that Sanders is a socialist, then we have to admit that this kind of socialism is not inconsistent with capitalism. People from left-wing and right-wing persuasion have tried for too long to simplistically define policies into one of the two boxes.

Now the progressive left, including Sanders, has been trying to appropriate socialism, by calling Medicare, Social Security, and FDRs New Deal programs socialist. Inadvertently, they adopt the language of the John Birch Society and the Tea Party.

What has happened is that after social welfare programs have been called socialist for so long, the term has lost or redefined its meaning. If Obamacare is going to be smeared as socialism, and if any proposal to expand social welfare or provide greater protections to consumers and workers is going to be so vilified, then young left-leaning kids think, Maybe socialism isnt so bad.

It is dangerous if one wants to prevent actual leftist policies and even revolution, to constantly block all proposed reforms of the bourgeois system at a time when income inequality is perceived as being at historic levels, when even the Republican Party felt a need to emphasize the plight of the working class in the 2016 election. If grievances go unaddressed and people begin to lose faith in the democratic system, then they might look elsewhere.

Now we get back to what Sanders said about Cuba and Communist China. Well, maybe if dictator Batista didnt abuse the Cuban people so much, neglect their educations, and pay more attention to serving the United States interests than that of his country, then there would not have been so much motivation among the Cuban people to get rid of him?

China, during the Kuomintang reign, was relatively impoverished, if growing in spurts, but what growth did come did not find its way to the peasants, who were largely abused under the semi-feudal system in which landlords ran politics at the local levels. Some landlords were better than others. Others would sell the children of debtors into slavery. But even with the nicest landlord, the system itself was such that peasants were still bound to the land. It is not surprising at all that the peasants embraced revolutionaries who promised to liberate them and redistribute the land.

Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang had not succeeded, lacking the capacity and the will, to do land reform on mainland China, sealing their fates. Then when Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, he did redistribute the land.

The U.S., during its administration of post-WWII South Korea, began the process of land reform. Right-wing authoritarian Park Geun-hye, staring down communism in the North, established national healthcare. It was not just because they thought it was the right policy, which they did, but also because they did not want to create the conditions that would bring about communism.

Now if the Democratic moderates and the moderate Republicans who fear Sanders more than Trump do not want something worse than Sanders to come about in the future, they must do more than dismiss everything. They must address the grievances that led to Sanders.

Currently based in China, Mitchell Blatt is a former editorial assistant at the National Interest, Chinese-English translator, and lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong. He has been published in USA Today, The Daily Beast, The Korea Times, Silkwinds magazine, and Areo Magazine, among other outlets. Follow him on Facebook at@MitchBlattWriter.

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Trump hails India’s ‘impressive strides’ on moon exploration, pledges greater cooperation on space –

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India's rapid progress in lunar exploration has the attention of the president of the United States.

During a speech Monday (Feb. 25) in India, President Donald Trump said the United States plans to cooperate more with India in the realm of space, after the "impressive strides" made under the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Chandrayaan moon exploration program.

"India and the U.S. are ... working together on the future of space exploration," Trump said at a stadium in the city of Ahmedabad; his remarks were livestreamed worldwide. "You are making impressive strides with your exciting Chandrayaan lunar program that is moving along rapidly, far ahead of schedule, and America looks forward to expanding our space cooperation."

Video: Trump praises India's space programRelated: Presidential visions for space exploration: From Ike to Trump

India has a data-sharing agreement to provide images from its Chandrayaan-2 mission to NASA for the Artemis program, a multinational initiative (led by the U.S.) to put astronauts on the moon again by 2024, according to the Times of India.

Chandrayaan-2 arrived at the moon in 2019 to begin a multiyear mapping mission to get high-definition photographs of the surface, photographs that could be useful for future landing missions. The country attempted to send a lander named Vikram to the surface, but the little machine was destroyed in a crash-landing .

A predecessor mission, Chandrayaan-1, confirmed ice water on the surface of the moon in 2009; water is considered an important resource for human missions. India plans even more work after this pair of missions, with Chandrayaan-3 already under development for a launch and another landing attempt next year.

The two countries are collaborating on other projects outside of lunar exploration, too. NASA and ISRO plan to launch a new satellite in 2022. The satellite, called NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite, can monitor floods, glacial changes and soil moisture.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Costa Rica featured at Space Exploration Educators Conference – The Tico Times

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Costa Rica was featured at the Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC2020) at the Space Center in Houston, Texas earlier this month.

A presentation from Sandra Cauffman a Tica who is director of the Earth Science Division at NASA alongside authors Bruce Callow and Ana Luisa Monge-Naranjo, introduced an audience of educators about Costa Ricas involvement in space programs.

Their session focused on how to engage Hispanic youth to pursue STEM careers.

Kids cant be what they cant see, Cauffman said. People have to have a name for something, to understand the change it represents, and recognize it as desirable. They have to have examples to accepting it and taking steps to get there.

The presentation also served to highlight Callow and Monges book, To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA, which tells the stories of a dozen Ticos, including Cauffman, who have represented the country at NASA.

Having role models such as the ones outlined in the book is all about putting a name to that something, Cauffman said. Our session provided tools for teachers to discuss these something scenarios to describe potential futures and identify desired outcomes.

The books is very clear about the role models and the future we created on how we achieved it. We all took different paths, but one common thread to all is that we never gave up.

Callow, a Tico Times contributor, said it was the first time he had attended the Space Exploration Educators Conference and that Cauffman had made a great impression on the educators who attended their session.

The common theme is we try to get students to focus on what steps they need to take in their lives for them to achieve what they want to achieve, he said. We use the Costa Rican NASA people as concrete examples.

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Relativity Space will 3D-print rockets at new autonomous factory in Long Beach, California –

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Next-generation rocket builder Relativity Space is moving to a new home.

Relativity Space, which aims to revolutionize spaceflight with its 3D-printed rockets, will soon be based out of a 120,000-square-foot (11,150 square meters) space in Long Beach, California, company representatives announced Friday (Feb. 28).

The new facility, which is close to Relativity Space's old Los Angeles headquarters, will house business operations and the autonomous factory that will churn out the company's Terran 1 rocket. That vehicle is scheduled to fly for the first time next year.

Video: Meet Relativity Space, home of 3D-printed rockets

Related: 3D-printed rocket engine launches new era of space exploration

"Relativity is disrupting nearly 60 years of prior aerospace technology by building a new manufacturing platform using robotics, 3D printing and AI," Relativity Space CEO and co-founder Tim Ellis said in a statement.

"With no fixed tooling, Relativity has enabled a massive part count and risk reduction, increased iteration speed, and created an entirely new value chain," Ellis added. "Im confident our autonomous factory will become the future technology stack for the entire aerospace industry."

Ellis once worked at Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos' spaceflight company. Fellow Relativity Space co-founder Jordan Noone is a former SpaceX employee. The duo formed Relativity Space in 2015 and brought it out of stealth mode a few years later.

The company aims to vastly increase access to space via 3D printing and intelligent automation. This approach leads to rockets that are much less complex, much more reliable and much faster to build than their traditional counterparts, Relativity Space representatives have said.

For example, the 95-foot-tall (29 m) Terran 1 has just 1% as many parts as "normal" rockets do, according to a description on the Relativity Space website. The two-stage rocket, which will be able to launch a maximum of 2,750 lbs. (1,250 kilograms) to low-Earth orbit on each $10 million mission, can be built from scratch in less than 60 days.

Terran 1's payload capacity, by the way, puts the vehicle in a niche between smallsat launchers such as Rocket Lab's Electron booster and bigger rockets like SpaceX's Falcon 9.

The new headquarters adds to Relativity Space's growing footprint around the country. The company already leases a 220,000-square-foot (20,440 square m) factory building at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, for example. Relativity Space also has an agreement to use two test facilities at Stennis, and the company has secured the right to launch Terran 1 rockets from Launch Complex-16 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Relativity Space's vision extends far beyond the United States' borders, however far beyond Earth orbit, in fact. The company wants to eventually help humanity colonize Mars.

"We believe in a more inspired future with people thriving on Earth and on Mars," the Relativity Space website reads. "In the early days of settlement, intelligent automation and lightweight, compact 3D printing are fundamental technologies needed to quickly establish a new society with scarce resources."

The design of the company's Aeon rocket engines can accommodate that Red Planet vision. The engines burn liquid oxygen and liquid methane, both of which could be produced on Mars, as SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has stressed. (SpaceX's new Raptor engine, which will power the company's Starship and Super Heavy Mars-colonizing transport system, also burn oxygen and methane.)

Though Relativity Space does not yet have any launches under its belt, investors have expressed considerable confidence in the company. Relativity Space snared $140 million in a funding round last fall, bringing the company's total investment haul to $185 million.

And customers are already starting to line up to ride Terran 1 to space. For example, Relativity Space recently announced contracts to launch payloads for Momentus, Telesat, Spaceflight and Thailand-based startup mu Space.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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