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Green Greetings Tennessee,
By now you have received five or six email messages from me and know that I am the digital communications coordinator for the Tennessee Green Party. In our Green Party elections held last month, I was elected to a two-year term as Tennessee state party co-chair, replacing Jeremy Writt, whose two-year term expired in June 2023. The Tennessee Green Party operates with two co-chairs with staggered terms. The other co-chair, Jon Roberts, is serving a term of 2022 – 2024.
As a brief introduction, I am a native Tennessean, who has lived in the state off and on for about 50 years. I have a doctorate in economics and plan to feature a few email editorials that will address the continual mainstream media retort, “how are you going to pay for that?” After graduating 2nd in my class from law school, I practiced law in Tennessee for about 22 years. In past careers I worked as a postdoc and government contractor with Oak Ridge National Lab, where I worked on expert system computer programs, war gaming for Pentagon sponsors, and environmental clean-up of chemically hazardous and radioactive waste; an investment banker in London and Frankfurt for Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse – I lived in Germany during the reunification of East and West Germany; a structured finance specialist on the electricity trading floor of TVA – Enron was an occasional trading partner.
Following the collapse of Enron and the implosion of the power trading markets, I switched to Health Economics & Outcomes Research, a niche field within the pharmaceutical industry, and have done related work and medical writing for the past twenty-one years. For all of 2022, I worked on clinical evaluation of medical devices used in eye and brain surgery. This year, I have switched back to pharmaceutical consulting and work for a start-up that is currently engaging in Phase 1 and 2A clinical trials for intravenous drugs that “nuke” melanoma tumor cells and gastro-intestinal cancers by emitting alpha particles (protons) into those cells. My free time is spent reading articles related to prevention of the metabolic syndrome and other diseases of aging. We may form a separate TN Green Party discussion group on life extension / healthy lifespan / anti-aging medicine if there is any interest.
In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein received 15,993 votes in Tennessee, which was 0.64% of the total votes in Tennessee that year. In the 2024 presidential election year, the Green Party currently has at least one candidate who is much better known than Jill Stein and already has garnered more pre-election media attention than our past few Green Party presidential candidates. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume more Tennesseans will hear about him, he will campaign “in trump country” including Tennessee, and his vote total will be twice that achieved by the Green candidate in 2016. I am setting a goal for the Tennessee Green Party to reach out and encourage non-voters and disillusioned voters, and those who feel their economic concerns are ignored by the Democratic and Republican parties, to vote Green in 2024. As a measure of our success in expanding the Green Party in this state, we should seek to earn the votes of 32,000 Tennesseans. That will not happen unless we do the groundwork to get our party’s nominee on the November 2024 election ballot in Tennessee. [Bernie Sanders received 129,128 votes in the Tennessee Democratic primary of 2020, and Sanders’ supporters are Progressives who might find a home in the Green Party next election cycle.]
The outgoing co-chair and secretary/treasurer, whose terms ended in June 2023, left the Tennessee state party in good financial shape. We use a program called NationBuilder to maintain a list of our members and to send out email notices. NationBuilder is also the host server for our state party website. The subscription to NationBuilder is paid through the end of this calendar year, and both of the outgoing officers were enthusiastic supporters of the NationBuilder program.
Unfortunately, NationBuilder is comparatively expensive for our purposes. If we continue to subscribe to NationBuilder in 2024, we will use up the remaining funds of TN Green Party. If we add 200 new names to our email membership contacts, then the cost of NationBuilder will double, and we would run out of funds by July 2024. Good stewardship requires us to find alternatives to NationBuilder and to change the way we maintain a presence for prospective voters in Tennessee.
You probably receive email messages from a dozen organizations each week. Check to see if the bottom of any of these organizational email messages indicates what program is used to distribute messages. For example, I receive a weekly newsletter from CounterPunch media, and the bottom of the message says it is powered by Constant Contact. The monthly subscription to Constant Contact is even more expensive than NationBuilder, but we may have to think outside the box and, e.g., retain a computer programmer in Indonesia to create an email marketing/management program for us. We are open to suggestions.
And now, let’s hear from our Tennessee Green Party members who wrote back responses to the last few emails distributed from this account.
State Party Co-Chair for 2023 – 2025
Green Party of Tennessee
Great newsletter, Michael, right in line with my thinking on all that....except part 2.
I don't think opposing Howie's position in support of the NATO proxy war constitutes Jill abandoning the Ukrainian people in their time of need.
Most Greens think there are better ways to support freedom in Ukraine than supporting this war which is rife with corruption.
Such as The Green Road Initiative that has been providing a home away from home for people seeking to avoid the war until peace is negotiated.
The West claims Putin is a war criminal, Putin claims that under the UN charter.he had a moral responsibility to act to stop Kiev's extermination of the Russian speaking population in Ukraine.
The US Empire's hubris is isolating the US and EU from the rest of the world as nations swell the membership of BRICS in opposition to the US Dollar's hegemony.
They all want to use their own currencies, reclaim their national sovereignty and resources for the benefit of their own people.
I think it is a good step toward the decentralization of power, an apocalypse for the power elite.
30% of the world's countries are under US sanctions so they have been shifting from export production to domestic production as China and Russia have.
This is what all nation's need to do and the US does not need 900 military bases around the world, it needs to rebuild its domestic production capacity.
And we need to reclaim our own national currency, sovereignty and resources from the global financial dictatorship (BlackRock/Vanguard) for the benefit of our own people.
Yes, in order to get the change we want it needs to be a movement, and a broad coalition to elect not just a President but a Congress dedicated to advancing the common good.
I've seen a couple of comments saying that Howie Hawkins had declared as a candidate, but no such thing turns up when I Google him and 2024. When Hedges and some others in videos from your earlier emails took the opportunity to trash-talk Howie, I thought he probably had. Howie's podcast today included Howie's reservations regarding West's staying power as a candidate, and faulted him for having been going to go with the People's Party this time, Bernie in 2016, and backing Biden in 2020. He also took a shot at West as recognizing problems without going into solutions, though it seems early enough for that. He essentially said that the war on Ukraine was the only stand-out issue where the two were divided, and cited the Ukrainian Left as sources shaping his own viewpoint. Still, the internal name-calling has begun, even if it is just coming from aggressive supporters.
Yes, I regarded the "brother and sister" thing as outside the religious leanings, as well. I don't paint him with the same brush as I might an evangelist. For a brief period, I had the thought that he might be (consciously or otherwise) seeing if he could provoke the T. rump crowd into assassination mode so he could go out a martyr, but shook that off.
Actually the Green Party CAN win, but not the way is attempting to do so. Never push on a door clearly marked "PULL"
As a university student focusing on physics In the 1960's, I was at the forefront of atomic research. As an adult I can add 3-mile island and other events such as the use of nuclear facilities by Russia to threaten, and if not curtailed, harm the denizens of a country. We have plentiful energy sources that are not equivalent to exchanging the pot for the cauldron. Even during a budgetary hyper crisis, governments are assiduously resisting self-sustaining, natural energy sources and steepening the cost/energy hill to even consider them.
If 21,700+++ nuclear devices are not deterrent enough it is only because citizens are tolerating people who bring a negative agenda to the podium and still seek to conquer the world. For a politician proposing and supporting might suffice, but as a manager I believe it is our civic duty to drive, without violence, this negative agenda into the burrow from which it came The wretched few who present fossil fuel contamination as a polar opposite to low costs are purposefully pushing the market for as much as it can bear.
As a point of priority, we should be winning rather than struggling.
I propose we focus our attention sharply while giving these important matters the consideration and expertise they deserve. In order of priority my #1 is protecting our republic from the vicious assault it is suffering. The means I suggest to begin this is to depart from standard party procedures by demanding in an enforceable written contract that all candidates swear to uphold the constitution and avoid specific behaviors with threaten the rule of law subject to dismissal from office if probable cause of breach of contract is clearly demonstrated. "No office holder should be Above the Law; neither should any candidate or ex-office holder. We can organize a specialized committee of legal experts and interested citizens to reify this seed of democracy in action.
Please consider my informal thoughts for our group to mull it over and begin winning by becoming the only party to put country above politicians.
Nice to see this--thanks for putting it together! Is this something that's been going on for a while, that I didn't know about because GPTN didn't have a valid email for me for a while?
If you're asking TN Greens what we think of a "Hawkins/Stein faction split" in the party, well, I'm definitely on the Stein side. I have no use for Howie Hawkins and will leave the party if he is the nominee for Pres or VP.
I don't entirely agree with Cornell West, but he is honest and a great orator. (I'm not saying Howie isn't honest--I'm sure he is, but his Russophobia and willingness to pimp for arming Ukraine is a total turnoff.) I only wish we had a parliamentary system so we could make him head of the party, figure out a district he could win and have him run there, and thus get his voice into Congress, at least.
After twenty years of GP activism centered around our unsuccesful struggle to get on the ballot here in TN, I have come to the conclusion that 3rd parties are as welcome in the US as second parties were in the USSR, and have about as much chance of success at the national level. Our whole electoral system is constructed to keep new parties from building from the local level, which is the only way to start a genuine party. I see the GP serving as a kind of a dissidents' club, but also organizing at a local level to create co-operative/mutual aid groups that could either expand into political parties if the country loosens up or become the basis for local self-government if the country falls into chaos, which, I think, is the more likely of the two.
Anyway, thanks for picking up the GP. I wish you success beyond our wildest dreams.
I've been out of the loop for a while. A few years ago, I took on a spot in the national committee. I encountered a lot of abuse from the get-go. It seems that, at some point, Obama had declared the term "Oriental" unacceptable and racist. None of the people attacking me for not having known of that could offer a reasonable explanation for the taboo, but bolstered their abuse with clauses like "I shouldn't have to tell you. . .". To me—and, apparently, to a fair number of people who would, historically, have fit the bill—this was a needlessly divisive and disruptive "thou shalt not," but once duly informed, I accepted it—but continued to be attacked over it for months. I disagreed with much of the exclusionist rhetoric that was going on in the committee (this was at the time when Connecticut and Alaska were both kicked out of the national party, as Covid hit and complicated political processes).
I also ran afoul of science denial. Science was being rejected and mocked where it intercepted with identity politics.
The horrific impacts of endocrine disruption became a taboo topic, because of their implications for gender issues. If you look into the hormone mimic problems, you will almost immediately encounter discussion of development of physical sexual development, and not much more looking is required to find research relating to brain development and the pre-programming of hormone secretion during puberty. There are a host of studies linking fetal exposures to gender-related behaviors across a spectrum of species.
If, on the other hand, you look to endocrinology as studied by people working directly with humans enduring gender identity issues, it won't take long to encounter people who have been working in the field for decades and take it for granted that there is a connection between these problems and endocrine disruption. Dr. Shanna Swan would be a good jumping in place, and is the one who comes most quickly to mind.
To me, having a position on gender disphoria implied having a position on endocrine disruption. Instead of discussion of the broader issue, I was attacked for insulting affected people. Reasoning was replaced by a click that stormed my references with tales of having a collection of Barbie dolls. The administrators, or whatever they called themselves, were all for the collection.
It is extremely difficult for me to regard the US party as remotely close to serious. I say this despite seeing a need for many of the party's selected issues to have an audible voice in the direction of the nation. If we can't get past letting the "hipper than thou" gang attitudes and thin skins limit conversation, I have to question whether this party has any business criticizing the Demoblicans that are running/ruining the country and the planet. We may be the closest thing going, but the ever-popular notion of fighting against "lesser evils" is uncomfortable for me when I think about my time on that committee. . . .
Astonishing that I connected with so appropriate a person (Michael Guth doing hormone replacement therapy research) for that. When I was dealing with the Barbie fans, there was a fairly current video from a European convention, featuring various people working with gender dysphoria, and touching on hormone mimics as part of the picture, though my memory of specifics has faded. My response to the doll thing was to acknowledge the poster's acumen, because doll heads (commonly finding their way into children's mouths) were a source of hormone disruptors.
I noticed the quotes yesterday, and whatever else of my blathering came along with it, I think the link for the Commission on Presidential Debates documentary excuses it all. [ I maybe should try to be more circumspect in future.] BTW, if you watched that one, the fellow who ran an independent/3rd-party campaign against Reagan and Carter was the only such candidate ever provided entry to that platform on the basis of polling at 15%. [Perot, later, was given that access because everyone thought he would harm others more than themselves, and with the boost of the first debate I think he actually became the front-runner for a brief period, but he wasn't polling above 10% before his debate appearance.]
His name was John Anderson, and at the time that the League of Women Voters decided that he could debate if he polled at that level he had already polled in the mid-20% range, so it was never a question of whether he could build to 15% from a dead start but rather it was one of whether he could avoid dipping and staying below that mark after already having the name recognition and approval to poll much higher than 15%. I think the documentary fails to point that out. At the time of the League's decision, he had been out of the country (boosting his foreign policy chops) for a couple of months, while Reagan and Carter were frantically campaigning, so his numbers had dipped below the mark, but on his return to the country and the race, he brought them back well above 15%. He was an advocate for Ranked Choice Voting, and later became involved in a group called "Fair Vote." He's dead, now. I believe this website is for that group.
I don't know how long or deeply you've been involved in things Green. For background, I barely noticed the Green Party until the 2016 election cycle. I spent a large chunk of my life sleeping under bridges, in alleys, behind billboards, under shrubbery, and in the occasional mission bed, and since I had no physical address I was denied the option of registering to vote. I also, of course, lacked the information infrastructure to have a clue what was going on and still lack access to health care at a level that would keep my head clear.
I lived in Seattle at the turn of the century, and a social worker finally got me registered in 2000, in time for voting in that election cycle. I had read Earth in the Balance (the, later, movie version was called "An Inconvenient Truth") and Our Stolen Future (Theo Colborn and friends) two or three years earlier, and was stoked to be able to vote for Gore that year. My main focus, though, had been the option of voting against Slade Gorton, a senator from Washington State who, for decades, had been deeply in the pockets of various industries. It was gratifying when he lost that election, though I was (and remain) a bit sickened by the POTUS outcome. I entered the 2016 cycle complacently bobbleheading over the assumption that Hillary would be the nominee and my choice—but then I began checking out audiobooks of her writings from the library and playing them as "muzak" while doing things around my apartment, and went all "WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???"
Bernie's 2016 run caught my eye and I was all in until the option disappeared—but by that time I had run into Stein's campaign, and I haven't looked back. I often lost entire days to arguing with people on Facebook over the propaganda hits she was taking, and my "cover photo" for Facebook for the last few years has been a shot of Stein tagging the bulldozer at Standing Rock with "I approve this message!"
I got active, to an extent, in the last POTUS cycle, found a TN Green FB page that had been inactive for years, and used that to bring some people back to the surface in time to get a ballot petitioning drive going for Hawkins/Walker. I pretty much burned out after my brief effort to work with the national committee.
As a pointing finger, rather than as an effort to inform, Hawkins's campaign brought down a lot of attacks on him over what they were calling "Russiagate" at the time. If you look for them, you probably can find a Jill Stein interview or two where she is led into trashing Hawkins over that, and it was pretty well established that the two were on entirely different pages on that subject (though you may also find evidence that Hawkins's position there was being grossly misrepresented by other candidates' muckraking during the primary—multiple campaigns were doing nothing much other than trashing Hawkins as a plan). It might be well to check some of that out, if you haven't already, to help round out your view of a "Stein/Hawkins rift" in the party.
At least in 2016, Stein had a former Green POTUS candidate as a campaign manager. Hawkins didn't, and I think it will give West a major boost that he has that asset in his run. If a useful percentage of West's former students support him, things could get interesting.
Gore, by the way, had what I believe was more of an event than a policy gestalt (though I may be wrong) called a "Green New Deal" late in the first decade of this century. That involved his partnership (which narrowly missed being billed as "Blood and Gore") with a Brit whose last name was Blood, and that was an investment company based in the UK (where, I think, there had been a Green campaign using the title in a way closer to what Hawkins began here).
Apart from "self-introductory" content, this was all aimed at potentially padding your BSQ during the months of hard work ahead of you. [BTW, on Facebook, I've already been running into people attacking Greens with nothing but repetitions of the disinformation campaign that Stein endured during 2016's run.]
According to Wikipedia, Merrell Williams, Jr was the Brown & Williamson employee who, instead of destroying internal documents, dropped a box of them at the door of Stanton Glantz. Glantz developed them into a book called The Cigarette Papers, and went on to become an international anti-tobacco activist. The flood of tobacco industry documents that were (largely as evidence in court cases) brought into the public domain over the decade or so following that initial publication and the light it shone on the industry's was pivotal in a conviction of nearly all major tobacco companies (one CEO turned "state's evidence") in a RICO case.
The industry's clout has protected it from the really serious impact that would be expected, but Williams's action was still pretty enormous.
He was, initially, known only as "Mr. Butts" in relation to the box of papers.
Oh, and I tracked down this list on Ballotpedia. I kept running into people (on FB) attacking the promotion of West and exclusion of "all the other candidates" in our primary, but no one gave any names. I still have no idea whether any or all have qualified as "official candidates" in the Green Party's internal parlance.
I recall that Randy Toler has been talking about running this cycle for years, but know nothing of any other non-West candidates listed.
Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of American Politics