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Green Party: Time to revive peace movement, stop bipartisan policy of endless war

p gp revive peace movementFrom Green Party US:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Green Party of the United States is calling for a new antiwar movement in response to the renewal of U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Greens said that dropping bombs in Iraq and Syria is unlikely to bring peace and stability to the region. The open-ended campaign includes more than a thousand U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq.

Green Party candidates and leaders strongly condemn the violent extremism of Islamic State militias but asserted that there are ways to respond without military force (see “53 National Religious Groups, Academics, and Ministers Urge Alternatives to U.S. Military Action in Iraq,” published August 27 by Win Without War, http://winwithoutwar.org/religious-letter-iraq). Continue Reading

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Green for Greens: Nancy Wade and Paula Bradshaw for Congress (IL)

Green For Greens is about highlighting some of the most exciting Green candidates across the United States – and asking our readers to contribute what they can to help these candidates succeed. We are committed to building a party of peace, justice, democracy and ecology, free of corporate money and control, and the best way to do that is by supporting the courageous candidates who are spreading our message and building our party every day.

p rich whitney debate protestFor years, the two-party establishment has attacked Green Parties around the country for daring to offer voters another choice, but perhaps nowhere has the crackdown been more intense than Illinois. After Green gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney earned over 10% in 2006 running against Democratic incumbent Rod Blagojevich (who soon afterward went to federal prison for massive corruption), the IL Democratic machine pulled out all the stops to fight off the Green surge with a combination of dirty tricks and discriminatory ballot access laws. In 2014, although the Greens submitted nearly 30,000 signatures to qualify their statewide slate, the IL Democrats took advantage of the state’s notoriously anti-democratic ballot access laws to kick the Greens off the ballot.

NancyWade

Nancy Wade

Yet the Illinois Greens persevere in their quest to rid their state of corrupt machine politics and return the reins of government to the people. This resilient spirit is embodied by Nancy Wade and Paula Bradshaw, who are both making their second run for Congress.

A Spanish teacher and longtime community activist, Nancy Wade is running in Illinois’ 5th district (Chicago and DuPage County) on a bold progressive platform that includes taxing the 1% to pay for mass job creation, Medicare for All, overturning Citizens United, slashing military spending and ending the MidEast wars. In 2012, Nancy Wade earned 5.7% of the vote in the same race.

Contribute to Nancy Wade for Congress now!

Paula Bradshaw - Green Party candidate for Illinois CD 12

Paula Bradshaw – Green Party candidate for Illinois CD 12

Paula Bradshaw of Carbondale (in Southern IL) comes from an active family: her husband is Rich Whitney, IL Green candidate for governor in 2006 and 2010, and her daughter Jessica Bradshaw became the first Green elected to Carbondale City Council in 2012. Paula Bradshaw’s campaign is centered around the Green New Deal platform of creating millions of family-supporting jobs in the transition to a sustainable society. In 2012, Paula Bradshaw earned 5.6% of the vote in the same race.

Contribute to Paula Bradshaw for Congress now!

Despite the efforts of powerful political elites to suppress the Illinois Green Party, these strong women are bringing the Green message of peace, justice, democracy and ecology to thousands of new voters. Show your support for their courageous efforts by making a contribution to their campaigns today!

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LeAlan Jones running for Congress in IL-2 special election

LeAlan Jones, the Illinois Green Party’s 2010 US Senate candidate, has announced his candidacy for the special election to fill the IL-2 congressional seat vacated by outgoing Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.  From his Wikipedia profile:

LeAlan Marvin Jones is an American journalist who lives in Chicago’s South Shore. His radio documentaries have received critical acclaim and numerous awards. Jones was the Green Party’s 2010 nominee for United States Senate from Illinois.

Check out his campaign website at LealanForCongress.org.

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Georgia Greens Back Cynthia McKinney for Congress

Following weeks of rumors and media reports about her intentions, Stone Mountain, Georgia resident Cynthia McKinney, a six term member of the U.S. Congress and the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States has filed an FEC-1 “Statement of Organization”. In this filing she declares her intention to seek the nomination of the Georgia Green Party for Congress of the United States.

“Greens welcome Ms. McKinney’s entry into the race,” said Adam Shapiro, chair of the Georgia Green Party. “We hope we can work together to restore to the Fourth Congressional District leadership committed to expeditiously ending this nation’s illegal and immoral wars.”

The Georgia Green Party will convene its Nominating Convention on Saturday June 2nd, 2012, from 10am till 4pm at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Public Library; 5234 LaVista Road; Tucker, GA 30084. This Convention is expected to consider endorsing former state party cochair Denice Traina in her bid for election to the nonpartisan Augusta-Richmond County commission. In addition, the Party anticipates considering the nominations of both Ms. McKinney in her bid for Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District and Kwabena Nkromo who has announced his intention to seek the Party’s nomination for the State Assembly in District #57.
Continue Reading

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Jeremy Cloward Moves Forward In California Congressional Race

Election results were delayed tonight as firefighters from the 10th congressional district who have joined the battle against the raging wildfires around Los Angeles were given the chance to cast their ballots beyond the ordinary close of polls. However, with over half of the district’s precincts now reporting, it has become clear that no candidate will gain a majority of the votes in the election.

The top Democrat out of five Democratic contenders, John Garamendi, currently has just 26.62 percent of the vote. The top Republican out of five Republican contenders, David Harmer, currently has only 20.31 percent of the vote. It would require an astounding bias in the reporting of results for either candidate to pass the 50 percent mark.

This means that John Garamendi and David Harmer will continue as their parties’ nominees, with their eight rivals out of the race. Green Party candidate Jeremy Cloward, plus a candidate for the American Independent Party and another candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party, will also continue all the way to Election Day, November 3.

With a much less crowded field, Cloward will have the opportunity to take his message to more voters, especially given the Democrats’ choice of Garamendi. Garamendi has become unpopular among many progressives because of his position in support of a court ruling upholding Proposition 8, which outlaws marriage equality for same sex couples.

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Democrats Working To Hide Spy Abuses Even As They Bubble Out

When government agencies release a report on a Friday, you know that there’s someone who’s hoping that news about the report will get lost in the weekend news cycle and be forgotten by Monday. When that government report is released on a Friday evening in the middle of the summer, it’s a sign of something particularly embarrassing.

That’s just what happened with the release of an inspectors general report about the use of Big Brother spying techniques by the White House against law-abiding Americans within the borders of the USA. There’s a lot to cover from this report, but here are some highlights:

– The Bush Administration was engaging in much more surveillance against Americans than has been revealed so far. The report calls this spying “extraordinary and inappropriate”, but the inspectors general won’t reveal to the public just what it involved.
– Top officials concluded that the Big Brother spying wasn’t actually very effective in protecting Americans against terrorism.
– Congress was not informed of the spying as required by law.

That last point is extremely important because of two other factors:

– Much of the warrantless spying against Americans continues under President Barack Obama
– The story expanded last night with leaked information that Vice President Dick Cheney himself was directing intelligence agencies to keep information about spying secret from the U.S. Congress.

What makes this a Green Party issue? For one thing, the Green Party is opposed to government secrecy and violations of Americans constitutional rights. On a political level, the Green Party can be strongly differentiated from the Democrats and the Republicans, as both of these political parties are involved in the cover-up of government surveillance programs against the American people.

Not only has the Democratic-led Congress failed to conduct any meaningful inquiry into the illegal spying, but last year, many Democrats, including then-Senator Barack Obama, joined the Republicans in passing the FISA Amendments Act, a law that legalized massive electronic surveillance of our private communications and provided retroactive immunity to telecommunications corporations who helped George W. Bush with his spying programs. Furthermore, President Obama has opposed efforts by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to reveal the extent of electronic spying against Americans.

Last month, in order to start to control the abuse, a small number of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee introduced a measure into an appropriations bill that would increase the number of members of Congress who would have to be informed of CIA spying activities. Almost immediately, President Obama announced that he was opposed to the measure, and would veto any legislation that included such requirements for increased oversight.

How did the House Democrats react? They backed down, saying that they’ll work with the White House to cripple to oversight provision.

At the very time that it’s becoming clear that the Republicans’ illegally kept secrets about government spying from Congress, Obama and the congressional Democrats are working to make sure that the secrecy continues. The Democrats aren’t repairing the Republicans’ attacks against the Constitution – they’re continuing them. It’s going to take another political party with true progressive values to undo the damage.

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Obama Keeps Bush Torture Memo Mum. Will Progressive Dems Do Anything?

One of the most common arguments against the Green Party comes from within the Democratic Party, in the form of the plea that activist energy ought to be focused on reforming the Democrats from within, rather than challenging them from without. The Democratic Party is a powerful organization, it’s said, and if progressive reformers could take over the party, they could change it and create a great deal of positive change.

I’m familiar with this argument, because I used to make it myself. During my time on the New York State Democratic Committee, I would write earnestly to Greens, urging them to join the Democratic Party, to reform it from within. Obviously, I’ve given up on that idea since.

The main problem that progressives encounter within the Democratic Party is a tremendous pressure to conform, to promote the Party in general, and not to speak out when its politicians support antiprogressive policies, with the idea that if the Democrats could just gain control over government, the Democrats would shake off their temporary concessions, and a progressive agenda would finally benefit.

In 2009, we finally have a federal government that is solidly Democratic. So, we can fairly evaluate now whether the strategy of working within the Democratic Party to reform it can work. We can ask, how progressive are the progressive Democrats?

I ask this question in the context of a growing crisis of secrecy and dishonesty from the Obama Administration on the issue of torture. Earlier this year, President Obama argued that he has the right to suppress lawsuits by people who have been tortured as a result of the U.S. government’s practice of extraordinary rendition. Then, Obama insisted upon violating the Freedom of Information Act in order to keep photographic evidence of torture by the military a secret. Last week, the Obama Administration informed Congress that it opposed legislation to prevent torture by requiring the videotaping of of military interrogations.

Yesterday, Obama added to his protection of torture secrets by delaying the release of a CIA memo that purportedly demonstrates that the intelligence agency informed the Bush White House that its use of torture was profoundly illegal. The Obama White House promised to release the memo yesterday, and people waited, and waited, but the memo never came. This is the third Obama postponement of the memo’s release. These delays are taking place, the Obama Administration says, so that officials have the chance to keep portions of the memo redacted – blacked out.

Why, if the Obama Administration truly opposes torture, is it so consistently working to keep America in the dark about the extent of government torture? Where, if the Democratic Party has any progressive potential at all, are the progressive Democrats?

There is a group of Democratic politicians in Congress who are willing to call themselves progressives. They’re called the Progressive Caucus. There isn’t a single Democrat in the Senate that’s willing to join the caucus, although independent Senator Bernard Sanders from Vermont is a member of the group. In the House of Representatives, there are 75 members of the Progressive Caucus. The Clerk of the House lists 255 Democrats in the House. That makes just 29 percent of Democrats in the House who are willing to organize in the name of progressive reform.

That number is just a count of House Democrats who are willing to even go by the name of “progressive”. The number who are actually willing to reliably act to promote progressive reform is even smaller.

This brings us back to Barack Obama’s repeated delays of the release the CIA torture memo. Given the President’s refusal to let the public know the truth about the crimes of the Bush Administration, it’s up to Congress act. Early this year, Congressman John Conyers introduced H.R. 104, a bill that would establish a “national commission on presidential war powers and civil liberties”, investigating the unconstitutional activities of the Bush Administration, identifying particular crimes for the purpose of prosecution. This commission would have subpoena powers to demand documents like the CIA torture memo currently being withheld by the Obama White House.

Unfortunately, H.R. 104 has been buried by the House Democratic leadership. It’s been sitting in the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties for months – and the Progressive Caucus hasn’t been much help in getting the legislation out of committee. Only 34 out of the 75 members of the caucus have gone to the relatively small trouble of cosponsoring H.R. 104. That’s just 45 percent of the caucus, which is just 29 percent of the Democratic membership of the House.

With the Presidency and Legislative Branch firmly in hand, 2009 is the time when the promises of progressive reform of the Democratic Party is most likely to be fulfilled. Yet, we can see that the group that’s supposed to contain the most progressive members of Congress can’t get the majority of its members to support an investigation of the crimes against the Constitution that took place under George W. Bush. Even Lynn Woolsey, one of the chairs of the Progressive Caucus, hasn’t added her cosponsorship.

This remarkable inaction is a clear sign that the Democratic Party isn’t going to be reformed from within. There are some progressives within the Democratic Party who mean well, but the overwhelming majority of Democrats are either not progressive, or have been co-opted by the Democratic leadership’s campaign of promises that it never intends to keep.

If you want progressive action from a politician, don’t vote for a Democrat. Vote for the Green Party candidate whenever you can.

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31 Democrats in Congress Vote For Secret Interrogations

Editor’s note-Jonathan Cook is our newest contributor and I believe this, his first piece, may not have been noticed by many, so I put it back atop the list to be sure others saw it as well.

As the Green Party moves toward the 2010 congressional elections, we should expect most progressives to react with the standard Democratic line of dismissal: “I like what ____ and the Green Party stand for, but they’re just not a credible part of this election.” Of course, credibility in an election is determined by the voters, and if more progressive voters could be convinced to vote for what they actually believe in, rather than what they’ve been duped to believe they must accept in the name of pragmatism, the Green Party and its congressional candidates would be quite credible in many congressional races.

If voters are to consider credibility in an election, we need them to focus on the credibility of ideas first. Voters will be more likely to do so if we can show that Democratic candidates, and the Democratic Party in general, are adopting policy positions that don’t match the Democrats’ progressive promises. In order to accomplish this, we need to become students of the U.S. Congress, keeping close watch on the details of legislative activity on display through the Library of Congress, but rarely reported upon by corporate journalists. Search through the dreck, and you’ll find Democrats in Congress engaging in some truly rotten politics.

For example, last week, 31 Democrats voted against a measure that would prevent torture and other abusive interrogation techniques by requiring the videotaping of all military interrogations, except for tactical interrogations that take place on the battlefield itself, where videotaping equipment is not available. The measure, an amendment to the Defense appropriations bill, was inspired by the Walsh Report issued this January by a Pentagon task force. That task force concluded that video taping interrogations had been successful in civilian law enforcement, would provide more reliable intelligence, and would protect both prisoners and interrogators.

Yet, 31 Democrats in the House of Representatives, listed below, voted against this measure. They followed the right wing argument that any regulation of interrogation is a bad thing that puts us in danger of terrorist attack.

Altmire, Jason
Arcuri, Michael A.
Baird, Brian
Barrow, John
Boren, Dan
Bright, Bobby
Cardoza, Dennis A.
Chandler, Ben
Childers, Travis W.
Costa, Jim
Cuellar, Henry
Davis, Artur
Davis, Lincoln
Dingell, John D.
Donnelly, Joe
Ellsworth, Brad
Gordon, Bart
Griffith, Parker
Holden, Tim
Kilpatrick, Carolyn C.
Kosmas, Suzanne M.
Kratovil, Frank Jr.
Marshall, Jim
Matheson, Jim
Murphy, Christopher S.
Peterson, Collin C.
Ross, Mike
Shuler, Heath
Space, Zachary T.
Taylor, Gene
Teague, Harry

With this one vote, these Democratic U.S. Representatives made themselves vulnerable on many issues to progressive opposition from their own Democratic constituents, as well as from Green Party challengers in 2010. The issues involved include torture, government secrecy, reliable standards of evidence in military tribunals, effective government intelligence, and the dismissal of the military’s own recommendations for reform.

Yet, not one professional journalist has written any article about this legislation, and the 31 Democrats’ votes against it. If the mainstream news media won’t report on antiprogressive Democratic votes like this, how can voters take this behavior into account when they decide how to vote in 2010?

There is an answer to that question: We Greens need to bring them the stories of regressive Democratic acts in Congress that the corporate journalists won’t write about. We can stop accepting the role of victims of the corporate media, and we can challenge it, creating our own media to show why it’s the Democrats, not the Greens, that lack credibility.

It’s this mission that leads me to join the effort here at Green Party Watch, and to offer an independent voice for my own region through Upstate Greens. The elections of 2010 may seem a long time away, but we need to act now to set up the media networks to challenge what surely will be, as before, a roaring silence in the mainstream’s coverage of Green campaigns.

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Update on Illinois races

As reported earlier here at Green Party Watch, four IL Greens were kicked off the November ballot by lawyers for the Democratic Party. Kinda reminds me of lyrics by Woodie Guthrie.

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

Anyway, back to the story.

The Daily Herald of suburban Chicago covered the story, as did the Herald and Review.

The Pentagraph has a few comments at their website worth reading, and I think this comment sums up my feelings:

Our election process in this country makes me sick!!! I guess we only get to vote for candidates the government picks out for us. Some democracy! What a crock!