FEELING LIKE CASSANDRA

10 11 2012

One of the most popular archetypes depicted in The Iliad is that of Cassandra, daughter of Priam, the King of Troy, who was gifted by Apollo with the ability to see the future clearly.  She accepted his gift but rejected his advances, and so he added a little something to that gift:  she could forecast the future accurately, but nobody would believe her.  And that, my friends, seems to be the fate of the Green Party.

I said two weeks ago that I would be here tonight, “either crowing or eating crow,” and I’m sad to report that I have a well-baked crow on my plate tonight–and I’m a vegetarian!  Yeow!  Despite the best-financed and organized national Green Party campaign since Ralph Nader ran in 2000, Dr. Stein received only about 400,000 votes nationwide–by far the best Green Party showing since Nader’s 2.8 million total, but far short of our hopes and expectations. Her showing in Tennessee–6500 votes, about 0.26% of the total–was typical of her nationwide showing, which was about 0.3% of the national total.  Well, at least we weren’t  way behind the curve here.  But there are other peculiarities about that total, which I’ll explain a little later.

Martin Pleasant’s Senate campaign was our other statewide race.  We had hoped that the fact that the Democrat Party had renounced their elected candidate would result in a big bounce for Marty, but it was not to be.   Either there are a lot of Tennesseans who think Bob Corker is way too tame, or there are a lot of people who just aren’t paying enough attention to know anything more about who they’re voting for than whether there’s a “D” or an “R” after the person’s name.  “G”?  Does not compute!  Putative Democrat Mark Clayton pulled in 700,000 votes, a hundred thousand of them right here in Davidson County, where he nearly beat Bob Corker, while our man Martin Pleasant only got the attention of about 8,000 voters. Clayton actually won Shelby County. Maybe his strong anti-gay stance resonates with socially conservative African-Americans?  According to the Washington Post, Clayton raised less than $300 for his campaign.  A twentieth of a penny per vote.  I’m jealous.  Bob Tuke, the last “real” Democrat to run a serious Senate campaign in Tennessee, raised around a hundred thousand dollars and only got a few more votes than Clayton.

But hey, the Green Party seems to be everybody’s unwanted stepchild.  The Tennessean left Martin Pleasant out of their voters’ guide.  The Nashville Scene left him out, too, just as, nationally, Dr. Stein got nowhere near the level of attention the mainstream media paid to Ralph Nader.  Can’t let that happen again!

Here in Tennessee, we did a little better on our local races.  Read the rest of this entry »





THE GREEN TEAM

9 06 2012

We held our Green Party of Tennessee nominating convention in mid-May, and, to our delight, came up with nearly a dozen candidates for office, from U.S. Senate to the Tennessee House of Representatives.  I’m going to introduce the candidates to you, in more or less their own words, and talk a little about their  respective electoral contests.

Let’s start with Tennessee House races.

In district 55, we have Susan Shann, who has this to say about herself:

I have occupied many roles: singer / songwriter, music teacher, spiritual seeker, political activist, environmentalist – just to name a few.  I created Earth Revolution, a local-access TV program dedicated to highlighting the good work of  “green” businesses and non-profits in and around Davidson County, and started Transition Nashville, a group inspired by the global Transition Movement, which is working to turn Metro Nashville into a network of localized, resilient and sustainable communities, I see this campaign as another way to speak to my great concerns in life: the protection and preservation of our planet, and thriving, sustainable, socially just communities in which everyone can enjoy access to high quality health care, healthy food, and other necessities.

She is running against Democrat Gary Odom, who is otherwise unopposed.  This is an ideal situation for a Green to run in, since there is no chance Susan can be accused of “spoiling” Odom’s chances for re-election.  While Rep. Odom is one of the more “progressive” members of the Tennessee House Democrat minority, the Republican majority has systematically ignored every substantive bill he introduced.  Nothing personal, that’s just what they’re doing to the Democrats. Hey, if they’re gonna ignore you anyway, you might as well shoot for the moon, and I’m sure Susan’s presence in the race will radically enlarge the possibilities by showing people what lies beyond the nodding complacency of the corporatist Democrat Party imagination.
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Susan’s our only Nashville-area Tennessee House candidate, unfortunately.  I thought long and hard about it, but in the end decided that my health, while on the mend, isn’t up to the stress that being in a tight three-way race in my district would engender.  Give me another two years of feeling good, and I may well be ready to jump in.

We have four Tennessee House candidates in the eastern part of the state.  In District 16, Brian Moneyhun is taking on Bill Dunn, one of the most reactionary members of the Tennessee Legislature.  Dunn has sponsored several “nullification” bills, such as the “Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act,” which attempted to remove firearms and ammunition manufactured in the state from Federal purview.  Another is the “Health Freedom Act,” which attempts to remove the state from the horrible socialist grip of Rombomacare.  Apparently, nobody has told Dunn that the question of whether states can nullify Federal legislation was settled by an event known as the Civil War in the 1860’s, and that the Supreme Court decided, in Raich vs. Ashcroft. that the feds can control commerce even if it doesn’t cross state lines.  I don’t agree with the Raich decision, and apart from its anti-slavery conclusion I’m not sure what to think of the War Between the States, I’m just saying that nullification is not the law of the land.  Dunn has also been instrumental in tightening restrictions on abortions and “controlled substances,”  sponsoring the notorious bill that encouraged Tennessee teachers to preach Creationism, and pushing for drug testing of welfare recipients.  In other words, he’s carrying water for ALEC, not his constituents, and so his record gives Brian plenty of ammunition.

In the 15th District, Calvin Cassady will be in a two-way race with Democrat Joe Armstrong.  This will be an interesting race in an interesting district.  The fifteenth district has been carefully gerrymandered to include UT Knoxville and its off-campus student community, and the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Knoxville.  Armstrong had no opposition in the 2010 election, winning it 5,000 to nothing, but in 2008 he was opposed by a political unknown with a familiar name, Rachel Ray.   No, not the Rachel Ray.  This Rachel Ray spent only $20 on her campaign, according to official filings, declined to be interviewed, and still got more votes than Armstrong received in 2010, but since he turned out over 12,000 supporters in 2008, he won by a comfortable margin.  Five thousand votes for twenty bucks has to be one of the best expense-to-vote ratios in American political history, and indicates that there is some discontent with Armstrong in the district that Cassady may be able to turn to his advantage.

Here’s my take on Armstrong:  he’s vulnerable because he’s a classic corporate liberal.  The guy is a Democrat, sure, but he’s an insurance agent by trade, part of the corporatocracy that has kept this country from having a decent publicly funded health care system.  And that ties into a lot of other issues.  The high price of health care, and of for-profit health insurance, has a widespread ripple effect on our national culture.  First, it sucks wealth out of the middle class and into corporate coffers, and is a big contributor to the ongoing impoverishment of America.  Second, the way health care in this country is tied to employment stifles innovation.  It makes people cautious about striking out on their own.  Maybe our system was even designed to keep people in a corporate line, or maybe that’s just an unintended consequence of a profit-oriented insurance and health care system.  Anyway, Armstrong, despite his NAACP and Urban League connections, is part of the problem, not part of the solution, and that, I think, is his Achilles heel.

Here’s what Calvin has to say about himself and his campaign:

I am currently an MPA (Masters of Public Administration) student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where I have a 4.0 GPA. I make my living as a real estate investor, fixing up properties in East Knoxville and renting them out.  I  also work as a part-time delivery driver for a local sandwich shop.

As a Tennessee state legislator I will work for low, fair, and equitable taxes that foster investment and economic growth but at the same time encourage income equality. I want to maintain Tennessee as a world-class location for doing business.

I will work for the regeneration of our inner cities through New Urbanist principles, and focus infrastructure improvements on cities and towns rather than four-laning rural highways to nowhere and encouraging urban sprawl.

I will focus state-wide efforts on energy and water use efficiency measures and tax breaks to improve our energy use per unit of GDP. Every unit of energy saved by the end-user means up to 5 units of energy saved at the power plant and a cleaner, more sustainable Tennessee.

I will reform the drug laws in the state by abolishing mandatory minimum sentencing for victimless crimes and strive to end costly state incarceration for non-violent drug offenders.

In the Eleventh district, Don Land will be involved in a three-way race with incumbent Republican Jeremy Faison and Democrat Marjorie Ramsey.  Faison is a home-schooled Christian who beat incumbent Democrat Eddie Yokely by a 4-3 margin in the 2010 election.  Ramsey is a retired factory worker and Democrat Party functionary who does not seem to be running a very aggressive campaign.  Her candidacy may fall into the “dirty job but somebody has to do it”  category.

Susan “Flower” Parker is our candidate in the 3rd District, where she will be involved in a three-way race with first-term Republican Scotty Campbell and Democrat Leah Kirk, who seems to be running a going-through-the-motions campaign–she’s had a Facebook page for a couple of months, but hasn’t put anything on it.

Here’s a statement from Susan:

I am a Tennessee native, born and raised in Bluff City, the mother of two teenagers attending public high school. I work as a substitute teacher for the Sullivan county public school system, and particularly enjoy teaching special education classes; my mother continues teaching high school here in Sullivan County , and will be starting her 45th year in the fall of 2012.  I am an ETSU grad.  I look forward to serving my community to create a better world. My wish is to increase equality for all. I support the local economy and want to find ways to strengthen it. I believe that protecting Appalachian art and culture is a key to our future.

Putting a special ed teacher in the Tennessee House seems like a good idea to me!  Very appropriate!

Those are our Tennessee House candidates.  Why no Tennessee Senate candidates?  Beats me!

music:  Jane Siberry, “Superhero Dream

Next we come to the U.S. House of Representatives races.

In the 7th District, Green Party stalwart Howard Switzer will be taking on incumbent Marcia Blackburn and Democrat Credo Amouzouvik.  Howard says, by way of introduction:

I am an architect specializing in historical restoration and innovative ecological building methods. I was co-chair of The Green Party of Tennessee from 2002-2003 and have been a member of the Green Party’s National Committee for 10 years. I was the Green Party candidate for governor of TN in 2006 and 2010.  I run for U.S. Congress as an agent of change to redirect national priorities away from service to dominant financial interests and toward supporting networks of viable, self-reliant communities, with a focus on human well-being and happiness, by adhering to basic values.

Howard has been the TNGP’s candidate for governor twice, and doesn’t just talk the Green talk–he walks the Green walk, and has done so for many years.  Focussing on a single Congressional district instead of the whole state will enable Howard to give the people of west-central Tennessee a more intense, and much needed, exposure to Green values.  As I’ve often said, we’re not “left,” we’re not “right,” we’re about what makes the most sense, and Howard is an excellent embodiment of, and spokesman for, common sense.

Among his opponents, Marcia Blackburn scarcely needs an introduction; she is cut from the same cloth as Michelle Bachman.  Credo Amouzouvik is a classic Democrat party stalking horse– a wounded Iraq war vet and a recent immigrant from West Africa.  His platform, as set forth on his web site, expresses all the highest ideals of the Democrat Party, the ideals that the DP’s leadership uses to suck in the masses.  How soon will Credo realize that the Dems are all too willing to sell him down the river for corporate gain?  Could he end up going Green?  Not this year, but the contest will give Howard a chance to connect with him. We’ll see!

in Tennessee’s 6th District, our man Pat Riley has a big advantage:  the Democrats aren’t even bothering to field a candidate after right-wing nut job Diane Black beat their last contender by a 7-3 margin.  Judging by his campaign statement, Pat is member of the libertarian wing of the Green Party:

A VOTE FOR ME IS A VOTE FOR FREEDOM.

 I have worked as a health education specialist, teacher, and real estate developer. I am currently a houseboat broker and singer-songwriter. I am a simple man, with a simple plan:

 1.) Stop the wars that are bankrupting the USA

2.) Abolish the IRS

3.) Audit the Federal Reserve

4.) Stop illegal immigration

5.) Stop the war on drugs

6.) Preserve all our  Constitutional rights including the 2nd amendment

I believe in Ron Paul’s message. However, I favor green, sustainable jobs and peaceful coexistence with nature.

The Democrats and Republicans have just about bankrupted this country. It’s time to vote GREEN.

 A VOTE FOR ME IS A VOTE FOR FREEDOM.

Here’s a link to a campaign song/video that Pat wrote and produced.  Contrary to our peacenik public image, he’s not the only Green I know who likes to exercise his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  We’re a big tent.  Pat’s platform could play well in his largely rural Highland Rim district.  If Diane Black, by some slip of fortune, gets edged out by her even more rabidly reactionary challenger, LouAnne Zelenick, things could be seriously up for grabs in the Sixth.  You never know.

In the 5th District, which is mostly Nashville, there’s a host of Republicans scrambling to be the sacrificial lamb who takes on Jim Cooper, our solidly corporate Democrat Congressman.  The Green Party’s John Miglietta will carry our standard for the third time.  Here’s his bio and campaign statement:

I have a PhD in Political Science and am a professor at Tennessee State University. I have been active with the Green Party for the last several years at the national, state, and local levels.  I am running because the two major parties are not adequately addressing  the issues confronting our country. One of the issues that I am focusing on is American foreign policy. Our country needs to emphasize human rights and respect for international law.  The US should cease intervening in other nations and bring all US military forces and security contractors home from Iraq and Afghanistan. I will also work to end the stranglehold that corporate lobbyists have over government. I also advocate universal single-payer healthcare. My website is http://www.johnmiglietta.org/ and will be launched soon.

While his website isn’t up yet, his Facebook page is, and you can find it here.  It will be very interesting to see how John does, now that he will be running with the Green Party label, rather than as an “independent.”  Nashville’s “progressive” community has traditionally favored Cooper, apparently hoping that if they show their support, he’ll listen to them.  The record, however, shows a different pattern–if you support Jimbo, he will take you for granted.  The way to get his attention, folks, is to send him a message by voting for John Miglietta.  You know darn well the Republicans haven’t got a chance in this district!

In the Second Congressional District, the opposite holds true.  Incumbent Republican John Duncan rolled up 85% of the vote in 2010.  Our candidate, Norris Dryer, could eat into that margin, especially since any discontented Democrat who wants to let the DP know it’s too complacent and corporatist can vote for Norris without worrying about voting for a “spoiler.”   Norris says of himself:

I was born in Elkhart, Indiana on 4/12/43, and earned degrees in Mass Communications and Music History from Indiana University and Boston University respectively. I had a 41 year career in radio, mostly public radio, and continue to play violin in 3 East Tennessee orchestras, Knoxville, Oak Ridge and Kingsport. I was raised a Republican, became a Democrat while at IU and joined the Knox Greens in 2002.  In 2003, I ran for Knoxville City Council as a Green candidate in a non-partisan race, and, although I didn’t get elected, I got 17% of the vote in a 4 person race. I think most Americans are really fed up with our 2 party system, which gives Greens a real opportunity.

Bob Smith is our First District Congressional candidate.  That’s a kind of strange race for us, since the Democrat candidate, Alan Woodruff, served as our lawyer in the court case that got us on the ballot, and Alan has expressed concern that Bob’s candidacy might cost him, Alan, the election.  The First District, however, has not elected a Democrat since 1879, and the Republican incumbent, Phil Roe, got over 80% of the vote in 2010.  If either Alan or Bob can even put a dent in that, then the times are, indeed, a-changing.

Here’s what Bob has to say about himself and his candidacy:

I was born in Titusville, PA and grew up on part of the Seneca Reservation at Kinuza, PA. When I was 18 I joined the Navy, and spent almost 21 years there, mostly working with aircraft armaments.  I spent 11 months and 13 days at sea around the time of the Cuban Crisis on a Radar Picket Ship, doing Air Control for the overflights of Cuba, and pilot retrieval  if they got into difficulty. In 1980 I got out of the Navy and moved to Texas.  I couldn’t go home, because, thanks to Kinuza dam, my hometown was under 700 feet of water. I married Jean in November of that year, and she has remained my steadfast partner ever since.  I spent most of the 80’s and 90’s working at military-related jobs both in the U.S. and abroad, including “doing time” as a civilian contractor in Saudi Arabia.  As i approached retirement, I got bitten by “the Green bug” and realized that the Green Party was an excellent way to express the Native American values with which I was raised.  My platform as a Congressional candidate is to bring those values to bear on the many problems that have arisen since illegal immigrants from Europe hijacked my continent.

And, last but not least, there’s our U.S. Senate candidate, Martin Pleasant, of Knoxville.  Like many races in Tennessee this year, the Democrat facing off with Corker seems to be somebody who’s running because a sacrificial lamb was called for.  Nobody thinks Corker can be beaten, it seems, and since the Republicans have a lock on our hackable, computerized voting machines, it’s possible that if  Jesus Christ Himself ran as a Democrat, even He couldn’t beat Bob Corker.

There’s an important reason why the Greens are running a Senate candidate, even though the race is certainly Quixotic, at least in terms of the possibility of a Green victory.  The reason is that, in order to maintain our place on the ballot, according to state law, a statewide Green Party candidate needs to receive at least 2.5% of the vote.  There are only two statewide races in 2012–the U.S. Presidency, and the U.S. Senate.  Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein could do it for us, but running Martin Pleasant for Senate gives us two chances instead of one.  Presuming the voting machines are fair, that is.  And that’s a dicey proposition, as I’ve said many times before, but one we have to take.

And that’s the show for this week, and my show for this month.  I had intended to talk about the continuing nefarious Obama-Monsanto connection, and what’s happening with the Occupy movement these days, but those stories will have to wait.  Local news first!  And finally, a song for our candidates, sung by yours truly:

music:  Brother Martin, (if you‘re a) Green Party Figure  (first link goes to Facebook site, second to a $0.99-to-download site, third to a free download site–you can listen to it for free on any of them)





GOP WINS MIDTERMS BY DEFAULT

14 11 2010

The recent election was a good one for Republicans, and the mainstream, corporate media are busy spreading the big lie that this represents a “turn to the right,” a rejection of Obama’s leftist policies,” and similar drivel.  I’m here to tell you that nothing of the sort happened.

OK, sure, the Republican party now has a lot more say in the national and many state governments, and this will push government policy in a somewhat different direction, but Obama’s policies have never been leftist, and great numbers of people did not change their minds and vote Republican.  Great numbers of people were very disappointed with Obama’s failure to deliver any of the progressive agenda, from health care reform to foreign policy, and stayed away from the polls.  The result:  “a different electorate“–older and more conservative, got to decide the results.

Why did so many of Obama’s 2008 constituency stay away from the polls?  As Dubya once attempted to put it, “Fool me once, shame on you–fool me twice, shame on me.”  Many former Obama enthusiasts were not up for being fooled twice.

How did Obama fail to deliver?  As Green Party activist Scott McLarty puts it,

Which Democratic president escalated the Afghanistan War, protected Bush officials who okayed torture and other abuses of the US Constitution and international law, maintained warrantless spying on US citizens, hired Wall Street front men like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, authorized more taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts and new taxpayer-funded nuclear plants, appointed a ‘Catfood Commission’ to explore Social Security reductions, opened up more coastal waters to offshore drilling, promoted the myth of ‘clean coal’ and permitted more mountaintop removal mining, and left a substantial residual occupation force, including military contractors, in Iraq? You know who.

I would add to Scott’s list: Obama’s failure to prosecute not only Bush-era war criminals like John Yoo and Dick Cheney, but financial meltdown criminals like…gee, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, two of his closest advisers.  Obama’s small gestures at helping people who were being thrown out of their homes were widely and correctly perceived to be ineffectual, in line with his overall policy of helping the rich and letting the middle class catch the dreck and pay the bills.  And that “Catfood Commission”? the “Deficit Commission” was a rigged jury, and it comes as no surprise that it recommends cutting Social Security (i.e., forcing the elderly to eat cat food) so we can continue to fund military adventures in the oil-rich regions of the world.  Under Obama, the American empire and its military budget have remained sacrosanct, as has the so-called “War on Drugs.”

When you throw in the way the Obama administration has been in bed with Monsanto from the get-go, and current moves to investigate anti-war activists for possible  (albeit highly unlikely) collusion with terrorists, what’s left to like about the “hope and change” guy?

To add insult to injury, we also had White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs bitch-slapping the progressive movement:

“They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality….they ought to be drug tested.”

What a way to “energize the Democratic Party’s base”!

For a lot of people, that was three strikes and out right there.  With Canadian health care, a radically downsized military, and an end to the war on some drugs, this country would be on the road to the right track–but, to the neoliberals running the Democratic Party, “that’s not reality.”  That such obvious common sense is “not reality” in this country speaks directly to who’s in charge and the nature of their agenda, which is not “leftist” at all.  Democrats, just as much as Republicans, exist to serve their corporate masters…er, donors.

And thus it is deeply ironic to see the “Tea Party” and the Republicans portrayed as “a populist uprising.”  What kind of “populist uprising” is funded by billions of dollars of corporate money and calls for deregulating big business, ending environmental protection, cutting taxes for the wealthy, and sharply curtailing aid to the poor, sick, and elderly?  This is not your father’s populism, kids.

The Democrats’ failure at the polls was not due only to their own incompetence; it was compounded by the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which allowed virtually unlimited spending by the corporate sector…oh, yes, and the unions, too, but hey, they’re pretty much broke and toothless these days.  Through this opened flood gate, about four billion dollars poured, washing away Democrat after Democrat.  It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for them.

This decision from the Supremes should not have been a surprise; after all, it was largely the same bench that anointed the Cheney/Bush junta in 2000.  Republicans like to decry “judicial activism” when a judge overturns a truly unjust law, but they are strangely silent when “judicial activism” favors their agenda.  In both these cases, the Supremes, despite promises to the contrary at their confirmation hearings, kicked precedent out the window and made law out of whole cloth.  In both cases, after a few sputtering protests, the Dems dropped trou, bent over, and took it.  “Oh, baby, make it hurt so good!”

Let’s face it. One major party in this country, the Republicans, is largely sociopathic; the Democrats are the sociopath’s enabler.  They’re not in opposition to each other, they’re a co-dependent team.  The Democratic Party mindset is not healthier than the Republican one.

Their mutual addiction is corporate money.  No matter which party wins the election, corporate influence on our government grows.  At this point, it’s good to remember what Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  the man who saved capitalism from itself, had to say about this influence:

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”

Thanks to Ralph Nader for that quote.

To reduce it to Tweet length:

When government is controlled by big business, that’s fascism.  Our government is controlled by big business.  This is fascism.

“Democrat”? “Republican”?  Doesn’t matter.  Our electoral process, and our government, are demonstrably controlled by big business.  We are living in a fascist country. Obama is not a “socialist,” he’s a fascist–and so is Sarah Palin. Whether it’s Republican Rand Paul’s brown  shirts stomping a woman protester or  Democrat Max Baucus having single-payer advocates arrested at a Senate health care hearing, the intent and the result are the same.  “Democrats”?  “Republicans”?  Fascists.  As Paul Simon commented so many years ago in Mrs. Robinson:

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Listening to the candidates debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you’ve got to choose
Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose

If I’m trying to sing, it must be time for a music break.  Here’s some Greg Brown for you, and after that I’ll talk about how our little David of a Green Party fared against Goliath in this election.

Greg Brown:  “Fooled Me Once”

OK, here’s the Green Party’s election wrap up:

Greens drew enough votes in Massachusetts, Texas, and New York to give the Party the right to be listed by name on the ballot in the next election cycle.  In Massachusetts, Green/Rainbow Party candidate Nat Fortune pulled in over 100,000 votes in his bid to be State Auditor, just over 5% of the total.  Gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein didn’t do quite so well, receiving only 32,000 votes, but she raised enough money to take part in public debates with the duopoly candidates.  Yep, money talks!

In California, on the other hand, Green governor candidate Laura Wells received over 100,000 votes, but was arrested just for showing up as an audience member–with a ticket , no less–when she tried to attend the Brown-Whitman debate.  What was I saying about this being a fascist country?  The plutocracy allows us freedom of thought and action as long as it doesn’t pose a serious threat to them.  But I digress….

In South Carolina, Green Party Senate candidate Tom Clements, whom I featured in an earlier story,  received over 120,000 votes, about 9% of the total.  Democrat Alvin Greene, who did not campaign and is under indictment on felony obscenity charges, got 360,000 votes.  Talk about “yellow dog Democrats”!

Here in Tennessee, the news was not so good.  We were only able to field two candidates, Howard Switzer for Governor, and John Miglietta for Nashville’s seat in the US House.  Both candidates were constrained by lack of funding and the need to keep their day jobs–Howard as an architect, and John as a professor at Tennessee State–and were not able to do much in the way of campaigning or publicity.  Howard received about 1800 votes, off 25% from his  his previous total, and John received less than 400 votes, only a tenth of his 2008 mark.  About the best I can say concerning Howard’s showing is that voters in all but 5 Tennessee counties cast ballots for him, even if the so-called “hippies” at the Farm were no help–Howard only got 18 votes in Lewis county.  C’mon guys!  Won’t even throw down for one of your own when you know the Democrat’s a loser?

In addition to time and funding issues, both Howard and John suffered from a more crowded ballot and the state of Tennessee’s continuing failure to name the Green Party on its ballots.  We are an internationally known and recognized brand, dammit, and voters deserve to know our party affiliation!  We will be talking with our legislators about this soon, believe me.

There’s two more questions to address in this electoral report:

1)was the voting honest?

2) how will this influence the course of events in the US and the world?

Honesty–so far, there are few allegations of fraud, although, with touchscreen machines, it’s very hard to tell.  It looks to me like this election was “thrown” by throwing the Democrat Party’s progressives out of the boat and by conservatives throwing lots of money at it.  Who needs to cheat when you can buy an election fair and square?

My predictions for the future–we will continue to drift helplessly towards the waterfall.  The party of dithering has been replaced by the party of denial.  Whether you do nothing about the waterfall that you know lies ahead or deny there’s a waterfall ahead, there’s still a waterfall in our future, and we’re still unprepared as a nation for the end of cheap oil and American hegemony.  This election just makes it clearer that the government will not bail us out.  We’re going to have to do it on our own.   You’re not going to hear that on the news, for two reasons:  one, it’s not new, and, two, the revolution will not be televised.  Never has been, never will be.  You just gotta do it.

music:  Gogol Bordello, “Raise the Knowledge”





MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN

12 09 2010

To hear them tell it, West Tennessee Republicans pulled off an electoral miracle in Memphis in August.  In a combined primary and general election, even though voters in the Democratic primary outnumbered voters in the Republican primary, Republicans swept every county-wide general election race, taking control of the state’s largest, predominantly black, heretofore predominantly Democratic city.  Was this a foreshadowing of the power of the predicted Republican comeback in 2010?

But gosh, then all kinds of pesky questions started to crop up.  Many voters had been turned away from the polls because computer records showed they had already voted, even though they hadn’t.  In spite of that, the official tally counted over 6,000 more votes than the recorded number of voters.   Numbered rolls of printed tape from the machines, the “print record” of computerized votes cast on them, disappeared and were not counted.  Poll watchers could tell they were missing because the votes are numbered sequentially, and numbers were missing from the sequence.  Furthermore, polling places had not opened on time, and had closed temporarily during the day due to “malfunctions” of the computerized voting equipment.  Ah, Diebold!  Gotta love ’em!

Somewhere, Boss Crump is smiling.  He was a Democrat, but he appreciated good work.

The next act of this drama involved investigators finding some of the missing ballot rolls in trash bags, in the election commission’s  trash.  There were also disclosures that some of the vote-recording computers involved had not been sealed prior to the election and had been quietly sent home for the personal use of election commission employees after the election, that there had been a “ghost race,” a kind of cybernetic “fifth column” in the voting machines that would have made it much easier for a hacker to switch votes around–and there were many reports of gross vote-switching, when people pressed the touch screen for one candidate, only to have the opponent’s name light up.  And, to top it off, the Election Commission refused to allow independent auditors to check their computers on the grounds that the Diebold software in the computers was proprietary.  Like I said, ya gotta love them Diebold folks!

And how did the Shelby County Election Commission respond to this?  Well, they ‘fessed up that they had  “mistakenly” loaded the computerized voting equipment with a program from the previous election, which was why folks were turned away on the grounds that they had already voted.  Sorry ’bout that…no big deal, right?  Uh-huh.  The commission, dominated by Republicans, went ahead and certified the election, with the two Democrat members making nice and going along.  This is a foretaste of the November election, all right–rigged by Republicans, with the complicity of clueless Democrats–which may point to another reason why Shelby County’s elections turned out so strangely.  If the party’s candidates (think Mike “me-too” McWherter) don’t speak to the real needs of real people, they might not get a lot of voters enthused.

As I’ve written elsewhere, you don’t have to switch a lot of votes in a blatant way to throw an election.  A combination of restricting access to the polls and jiggering the voting machines ever so slightly is an excellent recipe for staying under law enforcement’s radar.  It worked for the Republicans in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004.   2008?  Let the country go to hell and blame it on the ni-I mean, socialist Obama.  But, I digress….

Back in Memphis,the losing candidates have filed a lawsuit–but, in a state increasingly dominated by Republicans, there’s a good chance that will get nowhere.  Hey, last winter we Greens filed for a summary judgment to get Tennessee to list our party’s name on the ballot, in accordance with recent court decisions, and we’re still waiting for an answer.  “Justice delayed is justice denied,” as Rev. Martin Luther King used to say, and we are not getting justice in this lawsuit.  Of course, if they thought the election might be close, the Republicans would probably move heaven and earth to get us on the ballot and, in their minds, divert votes from the Democrats.

Democracy or dirty tricks?  Judging by their conduct elsewhere, computerized hi-jinks aren’t the only kind being employed by the Grand Old Party to insure their victory in November.  In Arizona, Republicans are taking advantage of a loophole in the state’s election laws to “nominate” Green Party candidates without the approval of the state’s Green Party.  In South Carolina, with the possible help of crossover Republican voting and/or those notorious computerized voting machines, an unemployed US army reject (nothing necessarily wrong with that, actually) somehow came up with the $10K filing fee and won the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat held by Republican Jim DeMint.  Some people want to how he paid that ten thousand dollar filing fee.  I want to know why, in a supposed “democracy,” it costs ten grand up front just to get your name on the ballot.

For that matter, why in this supposed “democracy” are Howard Switzer and John Miglietta, the Green Party of Tennessee’s candidates this year, appearing on the ballot as “independents,” in spite of court decisions that make it obvious that the Green Party has every legal right to be listed by name?

The Green Party does have its name on the ballot in South Carolina, and the good news is that many Democrats are realizing that the Green Party’s nominee, Tom Clements, is a far more viable candidate than Greene, who is currently under indictment for felony sexual harassment.  OK, McWherter isn’t that much of a putz.

But, as Republicans strive for control by any means necessary, the whole ossified system is coming apart.  Reality will prevail, and those of us who know how to live in reality will be the survivors, while those who believe they can bluff and bluster their way through life, who believe that their fast food, credit cards, SUVs, and air-conditioned McMansions are “not negotiable,” will find themselves SOL, to put it in a radio-friendly way.  We will prevail.

music:  Bob Dylan, “Memphis Blues Again”





A DAY AT THE RACES

6 11 2008

I spent election day as a paid poll worker, showing people how to use touch-screen voting machines.  I found this extremely ironic, but played by the rules and kept my amusement and skepticism to myself.  I was working in a mostly-black precinct in a mostly-Democratic county in a mostly-racist (excuse me, I mean Republican) state.  There was no reason for anybody to mess with the machines or the voters where I was, and everything went smoothly.  No votes were flipped, only two people were turned away for not having enough ID, and only one person was asked to cast a provisional ballot, out of 156 votes cast that day.  We all thought it would be much busier, but once we studied the voting rolls and discovered that about three-quarters of the eligible voters had voted early, we realized our hardest job of the day would be staying awake and alert.  Election day was strictly a mop-up operation.

The lack of voting “problems,” i.e. hacked voting machines, and the paucity of complaints about disenfranchisement seems to have been a nationwide phenomenon.  Obama won in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.  The first two states were the most recent sites for election night robberies, and Virginia was widely considered to be this election’s equivalent.  My sense is that Repugs could see the writing on the wall and so didn’t try to flip votes, since the likely consequence of trying to cheat in an election you lose is investigation and punishment.

Here in Tennessee, the Green Party’s results were encouraging.  Chris Lugo tripled the number of votes he drew in his 2006 Senate run, going from about 3,000 to over 9,000, while first-time candidate John Miglietta fell about 500 votes shy of Ginny Welsch’s 3600-vote pinprick in the leg of the mighty Jim Cooper.   Oh well, Ginny spent a lot more money.  Are people hypnotized by brand names or what?  My precinct polled 2-1 for Obama, but gave Cooper a landslide and split evenly between Republifascist Lamar Alexander and Obama Democrat Bob Tuke–sorry, Chris, you only got 3 votes out of the 155 cast yesterday up where I live.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that people can think voting for Obama is voting for “change we can believe in” and not see that supporting Cooper and especially Alexander is shooting that change in the foot, if not the kneecap.  Well, you know what I think about the likelihood of serious change under Obama’s leadership.  As I quipped to a friend of mine, all those “Change” signs will take only a few modifications to be perfect for panhandling–like, “Change I can believe in–but bills would be better,” or something like that.  Mr. Obama faces a challenge at least as serious as the one faced by Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, perhaps more serious because, at that time, we still had domestic oil production, a manufacturing infrastructure, a population accustomed to and capable of hard physical labor, and medical costs were not out of hand.  That’s just the top of the list.

Speaking of the top of the list, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney got almost 2500 votes in Tennessee, which shows the value of getting on the ballot–in 2004, GP candidate David Cobb was a write in and only 33 people wrote him in.  (Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin each got one write-in vote in the precinct I worked.)  Ralph Nader, who is thought of as a Green by most people who aren’t in the Party, increased his vote in the state from just shy of 9,000 four years ago to just shy of 12,000 this time.  If there’s a mathematical continuity of increase for Chris and Ralph, Chris can expect to be elected to the Senate in 10 years, but Ralph Nader will be 138 before he carries Tennessee, even without factoring in the dip from the 20,000 votes he garnered as the Green Party’s nominee in 2000.  I hope he lives that long.   Gotta love ‘im when he says:

Dear Senator Obama:

In your nearly two-year presidential campaign, the words “hope and change,” “change and hope” have been your trademark declarations. Yet there is an asymmetry between those objectives and your political character that succumbs to contrary centers of power that want not “hope and change” but the continuation of the power-entrenched status quo.

Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys. Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart. Why, apart from your unconditional vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, are these large corporate interests investing so much in Senator Obama? Could it be that in your state Senate record, your U.S. Senate record and your presidential campaign record (favoring nuclear power, coal plants, offshore oil drilling, corporate subsidies including the 1872 Mining Act and avoiding any comprehensive program to crack down on the corporate crime wave and the bloated, wasteful military budget, for example) you have shown that you are their man?

In a post-election interview, Nader was bold enough to say that Obama could be a great President or “an Uncle Tom” for the powers that be, which caused the interviewer to launch a totally misguided attack on him.  Hey, Rahm Emmanuel is going to be White House Chief of Staff–what part of “Uncle Tom” don’t you understand?  Nationwide, Nader got about 539,000 votes, and Cynthia McKinney got about 119,000.  Too bad we couldn’t have figured out a fusion ticket.

I went to an election-night party at Green Party candidate John Miglietta’s; the room was full of people with Obama t-shirts, social activist-types who supported Miglietta over Cooper but viewed Obama as “one of us” and who felt that his election was an affirmation of their values, permission for them to press ahead with their programs and agendas, conveniently ignoring the facts of Obama’s career that Nader so eloquently set forth.  I think that’s the good news about Obama’s election.  Whether he supports them or not, the activists are going to cut loose, and that is going to shake things up for the better in this country, but  I suspect there will be a lot fewer “Obama” shirts at our next election party.

The bad news will come as it sinks in that America has been financially castrated by not just the eight years of the Bush junta’s’s ripoff reign, but by the seeds sown in the supposedly Democratic Clinton years:  the deindustrialization caused by NAFTA and the WTO, the investment bubble blown due to the Democrats’ collusion in the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and the military buildup that is silently sucking America dry.  I think my activist friends are going to bump up against the reality that there is no money for social programs, because the rich got to the trough first and emptied it.   Whatever the rest of us do, we will have to figure it out on our own and among ourselves.  Me, I’m glad I always liked gardening.  It’s probably going to figure large in my future.

In the shorter term, once-and (likely) future candidates John Miglietta and Chris Lugo have announced that they are starting a Green Party PAC with their leftover campaign contributions.  The PAC will enable them to keep raising funds even though the election is over.  This will provide seed money for the next round of Green Party candidates here in Tennessee.  I hope they are many.  Whatever Obama turns out to be, we are going to need a lot more sane, grounded people in politics.

music:  Brother Martin, “Green Party Figure”






SARAH PALIN–BAD COP! JOE BIDEN–GOOD COP?

11 10 2008

I am getting really tired of hearing scary Sarah Palin stories.  I mean, of course she’s the wicked Christian witch of the north, of course she’s ignorant and simplistic and has a very limited worldview, and yes I think that makes her a very poor choice for a leadership position in this country, or even the state of Alaska or the town of Wasilla, where it took only 600 people out of the total population of 5,000 to make her mayor.

And, just as an aside, I’m not impressed by her ability to shoot a moose.  I have been around moose in Vermont, and, while you can’t walk up to them and pet them, they are not particularly shy of humans.  A friend of mine up there commented, long before Ms. Palin became a national figure,  that shooting a moose takes about as much hunting skill as shooting a parked car.   As for dressing a moose, I think that, if you’re going to eat meat, it’s only honest to know how to take it from live animal to what’s for dinner.  My wife can do that, with deer, anyway–we have no moose here in Tennessee–and she’d make a much better VPUS than Ms. Palin.  It is, as the New Agers say, a very grounding skill.  Maybe it should be one of the Vice Presidential prerequisites?   What if we got a vegetarian candidate? But, I digress….

There are two points I’d like to make from my “Deep Green Perspective.”  The first is that Joe Biden is just as scary, in his own way, as Ms. Palin, and the second is that what many see as Ms. Palin’s weaknesses look like strengths to her core supporters, so that when she is attacked for these qualities, it only rallies her base and makes her stronger. Many people don’t understand that we have three colliding worldviews interacting in this election.  When you see it that way, a lot of things start to make sense that seem quite baffling otherwise.  But first, let’s take a critical look at Joe Biden.

A lot of my “left Democrat” friends believe that Obama is playing the Roosevelt strategy, running a conservative campaign that will mutate into a much more radical approach to restructuring the country once he has gotten himself elected by acting more mainstream than he really is.  When I see that he has cold warrior Zbigniew Brezinski advising him on foreign policy and Wall Street insiders like Robert Rubin and his acolyte Jason Furman giving him pointers on financial policy, I have my doubts that foxes like these three will really create a safe henhouse, y’know?  And then we have Joe Biden, “the Senator from MBNA,” a heartbeat away from the Presidency–and sure, Obama’s a lot healthier than McCain, but we’ve got people at Palin rallies screaming “kill him!” when Obama’s name gets mentioned.  Bullets do not respect your healthy lifestyle, folks, and, as I’m going to discuss later, there’s every reason to take those threats seriously.

“The Senator from MBNA” is an epithet Joe has earned by his earnest support of Delaware’s largest corporation, or what was Delaware’s largest corporation until it got bought out by Bank of America, which, with that purchase and its recent acquisition of Merrill, Lynch, is well on its way to fulfilling its name.  Monopoly capitalism….Karl Marx would feel vindicated.  Joe was one of the first Democrats to support the Republican-originated bankruptcy reform bill, which has made it much harder for middle-class Americans to declare bankruptcy.  He voted for it four times over the seven years it took to get the bill passed; Obama, to his credit, voted against the bill, one of only 24 Democrats with enough spine and compassion to do so. Here’s Arianna Huffington on the consequences of this bill:

So what does the bill do? It makes it harder for average people to file for bankruptcy protection; it makes it easier for landlords to evict a bankrupt tenant; it endangers child-support payments by giving a wider array of creditors a shot at post-bankruptcy income; it allows millionaires to shield an unlimited amount of equity in homes and asset-protection trusts; it makes it more difficult for small businesses to reorganize while opening new loopholes for the Enrons of the world; it allows creditors to provide misleading information; and it does nothing to rein in lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable crises. Even in failure, ordinary Americans do not get a level playing field.

All because the credit-card sharks wanted to be sure of getting their pound of flesh.  And Joe Biden is supposed to be a “friend of the working man”?

And then there’s his support for the Patriot Act.  He introduced a similar bill in the nineties, because of the Oklahoma City bombings, and boasted after 9-11 that the Patriot Act was “my bill.”  He has also been a strong supporter of US military intervention.  And there’s his offhand racism–but there’s one key issue of his that impacts me personally.  That issue is the War on Some Drugs.  Biden initiated the creation of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which one wag recently characterized as “the only federal agency with a mandate to lie to the public,” as well as being a prime mover of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug “offenses.”  He introduced and secured passage of the so-called “RAVE Act,” which turned bottled water and glow sticks into drug paraphernalia.  Joe is personally responsible not only for the Patriot Act, but for the “War on Drugs” as we know it.

Now, I’m not going to admit to any so-called criminal activity myself, but I will say that I have a lot of friends who use “illegal drugs,” and the vast majority of them are responsible, hard-working people; but in the eyes of Joe Biden and the US government, they are all unfit to hold a job, drive, or raise children, and should be stripped of their voting rights and all their assets and jailed or re-educated until they see the error of their ways.  We are supposed to vote for  Biden and Obama because they are not as frightening as McSame and imPlalin?  Can you say “Kafkaesque,” boys and girls?  Very good.  How about “Orwellian”?  When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still  voting for evil.  And what does that make you?

musical interlude:  Tom Neilson, “Democrats

Well, enough about the particulars…now for the deeper perspective.  Here’s how it looks to me:

For most of the time since humans became humans, we have lived in small bands of closely-related individuals whose primary commitment was to support each other, whether repelling large carnivores, hunting big game, or fending off raiders from the next valley who thought we were impinging on their hunting territory.  That, in my opinion, is where Sarah Palin, and the millions who support her, are coming from.  They are kind, considerate, and compassionate–with their own people.  The rest of us don’t count, and if we attack any one of them, we have attacked them all.  Loyalty to their pack and obedience to its leader are their supreme virtues.  Questioning consensus reality is treason; active dissent from it is even worse, because we have to hang together to survive in a hostile world.  If you want to know more about these folks read Bob Altenmeyer’s The Authoritarians.  It’s available for free, online.

I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but about three-quarters of the people in the world are still in the grip of this us-versus-them mindset, even though the saber-tooth tigers and the great herds are all long gone, and People Who Are Not Like Us live in the next apartment, not a day’s walk away through the woods.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama, I believe, have evolved beyond this primitive, anachronistic world view–but that does not constitute an endorsement!  They see that the whole human race is in it together on this planet and have a somewhat egalitarian approach, believing that debate among equals is no sin, unlike the Palin-McSame crowd.  However, the Biden-Obama worldview is so firmly committed to materialistic rationality that it incurs the hostility of those committed to the primitive religion of McCain-Palin consciousness, while it in turn is hostile to higher mysticism–hence the support for the war on some drugs and the commitment to the neoliberal, corporatist, ant hill/consumerist/growth agenda, which is as dangerous to the soul and ecology of the planet as the neoconservative, corporatist, ant hill/consumerist/growth agenda; the two differ mainly in how much they trust the ants–excuse me, I mean common people–who will populate the worlds they envision.  Palin-McSamers think humans are basically evil and will do the wrong thing unless watched constantly; the Biden-Obama crowd has seen far enough to postulate the perfectability of human nature, but will constantly be confounded by both  the prerational and postrational impulses that arise from deep within, because the possibility of post-rationality is not comprehensible to them; they, with Freud, think that religion is necessarily primitive, and they have little tolerance for it in either case.

Well, some small percentage of the population, myself included, (at least that’s what I like to think) has gone beyond the polarization games of American politics, and we are neither afraid of the bad cops (McSame/Palin) nor drawn to co-operate with the good cops (Obama/Biden).  We could get along just fine in a world without cops, thank you, and we have a feeling that our numbers are growing exponentially.  If the struggle between the good cops and the bad cops doesn’t destroy the planet’s ability to sustain human life, we will likely take over when they have cancelled each other out.  It’s just a question of time.

Meanwhile, I’m not going to be scared into voting for the good cop.  I’m going to vote for the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney, as well as local Green candidates John Miglietta and Chris Lugo.  And if all the “left Democrats” got fed up with being left by their party’s consistent selection of center-right, neo-liberal, pro-growth, ecologically ignorant candidates and did the same, we would have quite a little movement on our hands, and maybe we could get this country moving again.  It’s just a question of time; but time, my friends, is running out.

music:  Bruce Cockburn, “Gospel of Bondage





ONCE MORE UNTO THE BREACH, GOOD FRIENDS….

11 05 2008

The Green Party of Tennessee met in a smoke-free back room at Nashville’s Italian Market last Saturday.  I’d like to say we decided the future of Tennessee, with Party co-chair Katey Culver playing the part of capa di tutti capi, but overall I’m afraid our effect on Tennessee politics is just not that powerful.

The party is, however, beginning to make itself felt.  Chris Lugo, who is once again the party’s candidate for US Senate, reported that the two months he spent as the only person seeking the Democratic nomination finally shamed the Democrats into running somebody against Lamar Alexander, who has been all but endorsed by our so-called Democratic governor.  It’s a bad news/good news situation for Chris–while he’ll be in competition with a Democrat, candidate Bob Tuke is calling for a slow, “phased withdrawal” from Iraq and escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, leaving Chris as the “get out now/settle by non-military means” candidate.  The rising tide of frustration with the war and the Democrats’ failure to end it, plus the fact that this is Chris’s second run, will hopefully improve his showing.

The party nominated TSU political science professor John Miglietta to run against 5th District Congressman Jim Cooper.  John has a tremendous advantage over just about anybody else the Green Party could run, because he is not now, and never has been, a hippie, unlike most of the rest of the party.  If most of us got anywhere close to mounting a serious challenge to the two-party system, the Demopublicans would have no trouble finding dancing skeletons in our closets, which they would use to fan the flames of voter hysteria, and, if necessary, have us arrested or at least publicly humiliated for daring to think for ourselves.  But John, bless his heart, is just as square as they come, and he still sees things our way.  That means a lot to me. For him, it means he could go all the way to the top.

One of my old hippie teachers used to talk about the importance of acceptance of our ethos by “honest squares.”  This is actually quite scientific; if the hippie/Green world view can be arrived at by someone through a process completely independent of the counterculture, that amounts to independent validation of the results of the decades long “thought experiment,” to borrow a phrase from Einstein, that was originally launched by the late and much lamented trio of Dr. Hoffman, Dr. Leary, and Aldous Huxley.  Well, this doesn’t have much to do with our current race for political office and against time, and will probably embaras the hell out of many Greens, but I just had to go and open my big mouth, now, didn’t I?  Well, I’m not responsible for the fact that the Green Party’s lineage goes back through the North American Bioregional Congress to the Haight-Ashbury Diggers to the San Francisco Mime Troupe.  I just think we should be proud of it, that’s all.

Back to the subject at hand!  We also selected delegates to the party’s national convention, and determined who they should vote for–five out of eight are committed to Cynthia McKinney, with Kent Mesplay, Kat Swift, and “uncommitted” each getting a delegate.  I have a hard time getting excited about Green Party Presidential candidates.  In my view, it’s just a publicity stunt unless we’ve got a shot at getting a majority in Congress.  We’re a grassroots organization, know what I mean?

Anyway, Cynthia is black, she’s a woman, and she hasn’t sold out.  I wish her well.

Speaking of grass roots,  I wish I had a whole lot more candidate news for you.  I wish we had a crew of people running for the state legislature, where many races are uncontested, but we are awfully thin in the ranks.  However, we do have a plan afoot that could change that.

The plan is our Ballot Access Lawsuit.  The Demoplublicans have written the rules for getting on the Tennessee ballot in such a way that it is virtually impossible for any other parties to get their party name printed on the ballot.  The only problem is, that’s unconstitutional, according to a court in Ohio, where the laws were about as tortuous and monopolistic as they are here.  The Tennessee legislature could have changed that, but, being made up of Demopublicans and Republicrats, they had more important things to do, like allow mountaintop removal in Tennessee.  So, we are having  to sue in Federal court to overturn Tennessee’s laws.  Since it’s the same Federal Court that overturned Ohio’s laws, we think we have a reasonable chance for success.

The State Attorney General, being a committed Demopublican, doesn’t want to let the Green Party on the ballot, and so he is doing everything he can to drag this case out past this year’s election, just as the state’s election officials are doing everything they can to stall legislation that will replace the state’s touchscreen voting machines with equipment that will produce a verifiable, recountable paper trail.  Put that together with the fact that the US has more people in prison than any other country in the world, a quarter of the world’s known prison population, in fact, and you can get downright cynical about what a wonderful, free country this is.

Well, anyway, the Ballot Access lawsuit will put our party name on every ballot in the state, even if the newspapers won’t give us the time of day.  That could just be the little match that starts the big fire.  Maybe that’s a lot to hope for, but the future of the human race is at stake.  “Once more unto the breach, good friends…..”








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