HI, MY NAME IS MARTIN, AND I’M ADDICTED TO HOT SHOWERS

5 06 2013

I have been aware of the looming collapse of our ecosystem for over thirty years now.  In the early 80’s, my friends and I concluded that, at some point, humans would cause the extinction of some species that would later prove to have been vital for our own survival.  We’d heard of the Club of Rome, and thus were also aware of the possibility of peak resources and the “Limits to Growth” that they might dictate.  Nevertheless,it seemed to us that, unchecked, humanity would turn the planet into one vast, and ultimately starving, city.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s, climate change crept into our discourse, but at the time it seemed like something that our great-grandchildren would experience.  Well, we were wrong about that.  Things are happening at an increasing rate of speed, and the rate of increase is increasing, but not in quite the catastrophic way we expected.  Call it the collapse of a thousand cuts.

Some of them are certainly huge, catastrophic cuts, like Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina,  (not to mention the Pacific typhoons that have been devastating Southeast Asia, although we have heard little about them in the USA news bubble), or like the new breed of supersize tornadoes that have been bulldozing the American Middle West.  But every one of those mega-disasters is composed of thousands upon thousands of individual human stories:  homes, businesses, and neighborhoods destroyed, with every family and every person in them trying to find a way to cope and recover, far from the boundaries of their comfort zone.

My wife and I had long felt secure here in our hollow, with hills on all sides that protect us from strong winds, yet elevated enough to avoid flooding.  “No more water, the fire next time,” according to the old spiritual, and so it was for us.  Our home caught fire, possibly due to old, faulty, shoddy-to-begin-with aluminum wiring, an old, cracking, shoddy-to-begin-with chimney, or a gnawing rodent with a taste for insulation, or some combination of those, and substantially burned down on the night of April 16th.  A month and a half later, we are living out of a genuine, certified (albeit privately purchased) FEMA emergency trailer, clearing what’s left of our stuff out of what’s left of the house so it can be torn down and rebuilt, and slogging through the slow process of our suddenly dislocated and disorganized daily life…far from the boundaries of our comfort zone. Read the rest of this entry »





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…..”





A DAY AT THE RACES/DEMOCRATS BEHAVING BADLY

11 03 2006

I’m pleased to report to you that the Green Party here in Tennessee is running its fullest slate of candidates ever in next Fall’s election. The Party’s recent nominating convention produced candidates for Governor, U.S. Senator, and 1st and 7th House districts, as well as a couple of local contests.

Howard Switzer, a resident of rural Linden, Tennessee, is the gubernatorial candidate. He is an architect by profession and one of the founders of the state’s Green Party. His wife, Katey Culver, a permaculture designer and also a founder of the Green Party, is running for the U.S. House against Marsha Blackheart—I mean Blackburn—in the Seventh District. Marcia Blackburn is famously from Brentwood, one of the richest zipcodes in the USA, but Brentwood was gerrymandered into the seventh district. It’s only connected with the rest of the predominantly rural, low-income southwestern Tennessee district by a narrow corridor, which also juts up to include Clarksville, a military town and Republican bastion. I guess our Tennessee solons brought in some consultants from Texas to do the last redistricting. Don’t want them poor folks electin’ someone who’ll actually represent ’em. No. Good luck, Katey—may you surprise us all, especially Marsha.

Chris Lugo, of Nashville, was nominated to run for Bill Frist’s Senate seat, which Bill, thank goodness, is vacating. Chris is in the cleaning and recycling business, and also runs the Tennessee Independent Media Center, a web-based alternative newspaper for those of us here in the midsouth. Full disclosure: a lot of my writing on local issues gets printed at the TNIMC website, and I volunteer my editing talents there also. Chris has a website for his Senate run, featuring his platform, which I think could pretty well serve as the platform for everyone on the ticket.

Robert Smith is the party’s candidate in the first district, which is in the far east of the state. He is a Vietnam veteran and a founding member of an ecovillage near Greenville, and a Native American off the Seneca tribe.

In the two green-tinged local races, Martin Pleasant is running for county commissioner in Knoxville, a race that is technically non partisan, and Jonathan Davidson, who has not sought the endorsement of the Green Party although he is affiliated with it, is seeking a Nashville-area house seat. There’s still almost a month to go until the deadline for filing (April 6), so more candidates may be in the wings. Stay tuned. I’m considering it—but I’d have to give up this radio show to do it. Why don’t you? Just go on down to your county electoral commission and get a petition, and find 25 of your friends to sign it, and you, too, can have your name on the ballot in November. There will be another chance for Green Party endorsement at the state party convention in May. I’ll be happy to help you any way I can.

That’s the good news. Now for the bad news.

First of all, you won’t know by looking at the ballot that any of these folks are running on the Green Party ticket. Due to the way the Democans and Republicrats have fixed the ballot laws in this state, a party has to win more than five percent of the vote in a statewide election WITHOUT its party tag on the ballot, in order to have its party tag on the ballot, or present a petition with the equivalent number of signatures on it, which comes to about 37,000. High hurdles….

Now, for more bad news. The Democrats are working to keep the Greens off all ballots, completely. H.R 4694 (“Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act”) would grant full public funding to nominees of parties (i.e., Democans and Republicrats) that had averaged 25% of the vote for House races in a given district in the last two elections. All others (i.e., third party and independent candidates) would be required to submit petitions signed by 10% of the last vote cast for partial funding, and 20% for full funding.

Furthermore, candidates who don’t qualify for funding would be barred from spending any privately raised money on their campaigns. Ten to twenty percent of the last vote cast—that’s 35-70,000 signatures in the average congressional district. Just getting that many signatures, even with copious volunteer help, would require serious fundraising. This bill effectively cuts small third parties out of the U.S. electoral process in the name of campaign finance reform. We’re not the problem, but we’re getting fixed—like a dog gets fixed. Well, isn’t that nice?

Whatsamatter with you, you need more than two choices? How unAmerican! This is not something coming from the Republifacists, mind you. This is coming from people even a cynical Green like me is inclined to think of as the good guys. Barney Frank and Henry Waxman are two sponsors of this bill.

Barney Frank!!?? Greenbashed by the gays!! Barney, how could you!! And Henry Waxman!!??

Here’s the skinny: several of the other sponsors of this bill faced Green competition suggesting that their sponsorship is retaliatory. They will be facing Green competition again this year, I’m sure. Get used to it, people.

Commenting on this, D.C. Statehood Green Party activist T.E. Smith said, “The Democrats behind this bill have as little regard for democracy and open elections as Republicans who have used altered district lines and other methods to fix elections. Hiding this stratagem in a bill for public financing of campaigns makes it doubly shameful.”

“An obvious motivation behind HR 4694 is panic over a Green insurgency. Voters have realized that the Democratic Party has given President Bush and the GOP a pass on various abuses of power and radical actions, such as the invasion of Iraq and the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, which most Democrats declined to filibuster. The time is ripe for a non-corporate independent third party, and many Democrats are worried,” added Mr. Smith.

Well, the good news about this bad news is that it is coming from the Democrats, and the Republicans aren’t likely to let it get very far. They like left-wing splinter parties that take votes from Democrats, y’know? So, the Republicans are good for something. Of course, if we were a serious threat to them, they’d sic Karl Rove on us without a second thought…one of these days, folks, one of these days.

music: Terry Allen, “Big Ol’ White Boys”

Comments

Chris Lugo’s new website is located at http://www.chris4senate.com/
Posted by webmaster on 04/07/2006 01:40:19 PM

and Robert Smith’s blog can be found here: http://1bigtree.tripod.com/robertnsmith_greens/
Posted by brothermartin on 04/07/2006 04:27:36 PM








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