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European Parliamentary elections to be held this week

The European Parliamentary, which establishes a wide range of policies that apply to all member states, will hold elections this week. Here are a sampling of stories related to those elections:

The coming of the Greens from The Guardian.

The European Parliament Is a Powerful Force for Progress in Gay Rights from UK Gay News.

Greens confident of gaining MEPs from The BBC.

PinkNews.co.uk poll: Tories top pick for gay voters, Greens top for EU election from Pink News

Greens see chance of election breakthrough from Times Online

Salma Yaqoob says “Go Green at the Euro Elections” from TTKN News.

These are just a few of the more than 1600 news stories you can find here.

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McLarty: Fire Departments and Health Care

Green Party Media Coordinator Scott McLarty writes an editorial about single payer healthcare, comparing our modern health insurance based health care system to the way we once approached fire protection.

Imagine that you needed a special insurance policy before calling the fire department in an emergency, or you’d have to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for the firefighters to put out the fire.

So why do we tolerate a health care system that’s run the same way?

McLarty goes on to explain exactly where the savings in single payer healthcare comes from, the profits and overhead of corporate for-profit systems that add cost, but no value.

The overhead for Medicare, based on administrative costs but without the demand for profit, is about 3%. Why not convert to a public system, expanding Medicare to cover all Americans, perhaps saving us a third of the cost by eliminating the insurance and HMO middlemen — a system comparable to our public fire departments?

McLarty goes on to ask why we don’t have single payer healthcare today, and answers

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the amount of such (political) contributions (from HMOs and Insurance interests) was over $46 million in 2008

Do yourself a favor and read the article and Digg it a bit higher if you enjoy the article.

Thanks to Lou Novak for Digging this article first.

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California Mayor explains plastic bag ban

Larry Bragman, Mayor of Fairfax, CA, worked with fellow Green Party city council representative Lew Tremaine to pass a city ordinance banning the use of plastic carrying bags. In the front page video, Bragman explains what role San Francisco taking this first step had in emboldening the city to protect the environment, and how pointing out the cost to rubbish haulers for carrying these non-biodegradable to the landfill brought the trash haulers to support the ban. Polidoc Productions is responsible for this and many other fine Green Party oriented videos.

To watch a video of Larry Bragman and Lew Tremaine at a Green Party of California press conference, click the article headline.

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California Greens and San Francisco Greens Endorse Labor Teach-In

On May 9th workers in the San Francisco Bay Area will be gathering to discuss the recent economic crisis and will plan the moves ahead for a unified effort for the difficult days ahead. The gathering was initiated by the San Francisco Labor Council, South Bay Labor Council, and Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign. It was endorsed by the Green Party of California and the San Francisco Green Party. The effort is being organized by labor unions, community organizations, student groups, single payer healthcare advocates and various political organizations in the region.

In a letter the Executive Director of the San Francisco Labor Council Tim Paulson wrote:

“Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I want to urge you and your members to participate in a teach-in and mobilizing meeting scheduled for May 9, 2009 at the Plumbers’ Hall (1621 Market Street, between Franklin and Gough) from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. This event is being co-sponsored by Bay Area Labor Councils. This event is of special importance because it will highlight an action plan developed by the San Francisco Labor Council that includes the following goals:
• No layoffs. Massive job-creation programs.
• Tax the rich—don’t bail out the banks.
• Pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
• Single-payer healthcare for all.
• Affordable housing for all. Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
• Funding for jobs, social services and infrastructure, not for war.
• Stop the ICE raids and deportations. Legalization for all.
This May 9 event will propose large public actions to promote this action plan. We believe this plan is not only good for working people in San Francisco, but for the country as a whole since we cannot get out of this deepening recession unless working people are working at union jobs with union-scale wages, they enjoy good health, and they have the security of a home.” (excerpted)

The people of California continue to pay for the consequences of the financial manipulations of the large multi-national corporations and investment banks. Unemployment in California has risen to 11.2%. 135,000 default notices on mortgages were sent out in the first three months of the year in California, an 80% increase from the fourth quarter of 2008 and a 19% increase from the previous year period.

In a Press Statement released April 1, 2009 Laura Wells, Green Party candidate for California State Controller in 2002 and 2006 declared: “Anger over the unprecedented transfer of public money to private corporations must be channeled into political pressure on Mr. Obama and Congress members, and into electing candidates who stand for people instead of powerful lobbies.”

The Green Party stands with working people not just on election day, but every day. From this event there will be a plan developed for a Solidarity action that begins to unify the various social forces of our community towards  common action with a common agenda. Greens in the Bay Area have been urged to attend the Teach-In and to visibly demonstrate our solidarity and our commitment to the cause of social justice.

Those in the region who plan to attend are urged wear Green Party T-shirts and can help hand out brochures from the Green Party presenting our support. Green public officials and candidates for public office in past years and years to come are invited to join and speak at the open mike. Coalition leaflets for the Teach-In are online in PDF format here

People wishing to help out the day of the Teach-In should contact Martin Zehr at 415-337-5773. people wishing to donate to the San Francisco Green Party can do so online at:  this page.

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Illinois Green thanks his supporters

In a message posted at his campaign website, Steve Alesch discussed the results of the first Green Party campaign in Winfield Township, and his plans for the immediate future, including a possible run for Congress from the 13th District. The full text is linked via this article’s headline, or by hitting the “Read more” link.
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New feature at GPW

Beginning at the beginning, I will undertake the effort to provide at least some information about each state’s Green Party. Please do not assume that what is written here is complete or even fair, as I will have to depend on what Greens I can find in each state along the way. There is no set time table for these reports so don’t be upset if the state you are most interested in doesn’t get covered as fast as you might like.

The hope is that we can help bring new involvement to each state, and perhaps reinvigorate state parties that have lain somewhat dormant in recent months. Of course many states are not even close to needing any help from me, and in those cases I feel sure that readers will find their own way to use provided links and other resources.

The first state on the list is Alabama.

According to my contact in Alabama the state party is in serious need of new members and new leadership. The party leadership has, by and large, avoided deep involvement in national GP politics and thereby tried to avoid burn-out. Even so, Alabama has not yet become fertile ground for the Green Party. While apparently a bit worn out from years of trying to carry the banner aloft without much support the state’s leadership is committed to the long tern success of the Green Party and our ideals.

The most vital things the current state party leadership wants are new membership and some indication that their efforts will bear fruit.

I invite any readers who live in Alabama, or who have friends or family who live there, to comment here or write me at GreggJocoy@yahoo.com. I believe that Greens who attend the School of the Americas protest at Fort Benning GA will have a chance to meet folks from Alabama who share our Green Values, and while a protest is not enough to build a foundation for a growing Green Party, it may well give the Alabama Greens the sort of fresh ideas and new people they need to get the ball rolling again.

As I explained to my contact in Alabama, my goal is to focus attention on each state one at a time in hopes that we can help make them a bit stronger. This is not a national party effort. No one has “approved” this effort. No one, other than you, is being reported to. No one is responsible for doing anything with this information. It is just an effort by one Green to help other Greens in the belief that we are all stronger if each individual Green is stronger and if each Green has a viable group of other Greens to work with.

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Eco Action Committee issues brochures for Earth Day, water, 7th Generation Amendment

The Green Party’s Eco Action Committee has recently issued three brochures designed to promote ecological protection.

The first, issued on March 7th and covered here at Green Party Watch earlier, addresses water issues here and abroad.

The second, issued on April 4th, addresses a proposed Seventh Generation amendment to the Constitution which would read

“The right of citizens of the United States to use and enjoy air, water, sunlight and other renewable re-sources determined by the Congress to be common property shall not be impaired, nor shall such use impair their availability for use of future generations.”

This proposed amendment has been encouraged by Winnona LaDuke, GP Vice-Presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000.

The third, issued on April 14th, addresses Earth Day, and the Green Party’s role in protecting the planet. That brochure, just in time for Earth Day 2009 can be found here.

All these brochures are free to download and distribution by individual Greens is a great way to build, or create, a strong local group of like minded people into a focused Green Party chapter.

H/T to Mato Ska of California for the links.

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Green News Roundup

The Green Party of Suffolk County issued a Social Media Release via pitchengine.com announcing the election of Suffolk County Green Matthew Lavery to the Green Party House Campaign Committee. In the release they point to his experience in the Green Party in Norwich, Norfolk England, and his work on a campaign for the European Parliament for Rupert Read, who is a Norwich City Councilor. The announcement includes a video.

Indian Country Today covers an appearance in Seattle March 18 – 19 for discussions on diversity and environmental stewardship by Winnona LaDuke, Green Party Vice-Presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000.

The High Springs Herald carries a story about Michael Canney, who is running for Seat 4 in the April 14th Alachua (FL) City Commission election. His website includes information about Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson Jr., who it seems resigned, and now is about to be re-appointed without discussion. H/T to Anita Stewart for the story, posted to her FaceBook page.

In this article at the News Gazette, Republican Mayoral nominee Rex Bradfield bemoans his loss in that race, expresses dismay that the voters voted along party lines, and explains that he thought the Green Party nominee Durl Kruse would take votes away from the Democrat.

Over at Independent Political Report, writer Ross Levin covers the campaign of Lee Scott Laugenour for Lenox, Massachusetts town select board. Langenhour is an active member of the Green-Rainbow Party and, according to this article at the Berkshire Eagle, is a ten year resident of the town, serves on the board of the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, and has been married to his husband for four years. To carry the thanks forward, Levin pays kudos to Green Ferret.

Levin also writes about Green Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, CA here, noting that she is pushing for green building requirements in that city. The Contra Costa Times reports that the proposal is

“in the middle of the pack when it comes to how stringent its requirements would be for commercial construction, and a little above the middle when it comes to residential construction.”

Finally, in a press release the Green Party national office announced that the District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on the Green’s constitutional challenge to the manipulation of presidential elections. The statement says that the court has issued a ruling that, while dismissing the plaintiff for lack of standing, did not reject the validity of his arguments challenging the Electoral College based on the Mal-Apportionment Penalty clause of the 14th Amendment. The case was filed pro-se by Asa Gordon of the DC Statehood Green Party.

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The Green Party, Nuclear Power, and Party Discipline

Is the Green Party too rigid in its opposition to nuclear power? Is nuclear power a safe alternative to fossil fuel? Are the Green Party concerns about the long term (seven generations) impact of nuclear power more important than the short term energy consumption needs of today’s generation?

Based on the interest in this story last week, I felt compelled to post this interesting story out of the UK. A Green Party Candidate for Parliament is finding himself in hot water for suggesting that atomic energy might have a role in fighting climate change. From The Independent:

Chris Goodall, prospective parliamentary candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, upset many party members with his assertion in yesterday’s Independent that atomic energy has a role to play in the fight against climate change. Mr Goodall was one of four prominent environmentalists disclosed as having had a change of heart about the nuclear issue, having moved from an anti-nuclear stance to believing that atomic power is a necessary part of the energy mix in the struggle to cut carbon emissions and halt global warming.
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EcoAction Committee Passes Water Resolution

RESOLUTION
Presenter: EcoAction Committee

Contact: Martin Zehr, 415-337-5773, m_zehr@hotmail.com


Subject: Protecting water is a priority for the Green Party
at the national, state and local levels.


Background and Purpose: Water is the source of life. El agua es vida. The Green Party seeks to safeguard the well-being of future generations and restore ecological systems. Clean and available water is a critical priority which government can and must secure for all people.


Proposal: The National Committee of the Green Party of the United States provides the principles listed below as guidelines to Green Party candidates and organizers to increase the visibility of water issues in Green campaigns and increase our ecological focus in electoral and political activities.


We propose:


• to work together with our neighbors in making decisions on water issues that recognize the stake that
future generations have in those decisions; (Future Focus)


• to recognize our dependence on a finite supply of fresh water, the importance of oceanic waters and the aquatic life that provide oxygen and food for the planet; and to respect the integrity of ecosystems and the natural patterns of water; (Ecological Wisdom)

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