Happy Independence Day!

[CLICK ON TITLE TO VIEW A FORMATTED VERSION OF THIS PAGE]   Happy Independence Day.  This week I have been thinking about demand and supply.  To what extent is the Green Party offering a “supply” for which there is little demand?  We should review the party’s key values and see if there is any way that we can increase the party’s appeal without sacrificing values at our core. Similarly, I have taken the demand and supply concept to heart and realize that a majority of the Tennessee Green Party members receiving these email contact messages may not want them.  Instead they want to be left alone. When I was a Green Party “member” for 2016 – 2022, I scarcely heard from the party.  In 2020, a handful of candidates were running within the party for president, but the only name that I recognized was Howie Hawkins.  I voted in a vacuum like most party members that year.  The same goes for the Tennessee state party elections for coordinating committee members. In the coming year when you are given a chance to vote on the Green Party candidate for president, the coordinating committee should supply you with one-paragraph summaries of each candidate.  Similarly, those who run for office within the state party should be given the opportunity to supply one paragraph bios to be included on the ballot.  Otherwise you are voting blind or not at all, and that defeats the goal and purpose of democracy. As far as these discussion item / news item email blast messages, I will be moving them off the NationBuilder platform and either to a separate email account or to a Google Group.  For three years 2016 - 2019, I ran (with the help of two friends) an Internet-based discussion group called Progressive Thought Leaders.  At its peak, we had about 800 members, and I averaged 3 or 4 posts per day.  I kept that up for several years – so you can do the math and figure that I posted about 1,200 messages/year.  However, Google+ made the posting so easy.  I could grab the headline from a news story, Google would automatically find the most appropriate picture related to the story, and the post would appear on a Google+ discussion board with a glossy, eye-catching photo and my own eye-catching headline. I could post to Google+ and type a few sentences to highlight the story in just 30 seconds.  So it was easy to pop in and out of Google+ even during “working” hours.  In contrast, I find I am spending 2 – 3 hours collecting information for these email blasts and need to find a more efficient way to open a broader discussion of the issues. Google+ was really nice but shutdown by Google in March 2019.  I completely forgot about Google Groups until someone sent me an invite this morning.  This email news item blast will be my second to the last one to all Tennessee Green Party members using NationBuilder, and my next email either this weekend or next week will provide details for how to sign up / join the new discussion group.  Hopefully, you will find participating in a discussion group is great fun – and much better than merely receiving a long email.  Our discussion group was occasionally invaded from time to time by trumpsters, evangelicals, and antisemites; and it turned out to be fun trading barbs and defending our policies to them. On to the news.  Lets start with…. a poem.  This poem was provided by Major Jackson (Major is his first name – not a military title), a poet and professor of literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  Major is the new host of the podcast The Slowdown, and if you want to spend 5 – 6 minutes each morning listening to a poem, then you should subscribe to The Slowdown. Today’s poem encourages us to do more than celebrate the narrative of our country, to reflect on our sacred inheritance with its sacred past. — Major        America, I Do Not Call Your Name without Hope by Dean Rader                     after Neruda America, I do not call your name without hopenot even when you lay your knifeagainst my throat or lace my hands behind my back, the cuffs connectingus like two outlaws trying to escapehistory’s white horse, its heavy whipa pistolshot in the ear. Lost land,this is a song for the scars on your back,for your blistered feet and beautiful watch, it is for your windmills, yourmagic machines, for your fists. It is for your wagon of blood, for your dogsand their teeth of fire, for your sons and the smoke in their hearts. This is foryour verbs, your long lurk, your whir.This is for you and your fear, your tar,for the white heat in your skin, andfor your blue bones that one day may sing.This is for your singing. This is for the past,but not for what’s passed. This is for daybreakand backbreak, for dreams, and for darkness.This song is not for your fight but it is a songfor fighting. It is a song of flame but not for burning.It is a song out of breath but a plea for breathing.It is the song I will sing when you knockon my door, my son’s name in your mouth.   “America, I Do Not Call Your Name without Hope" by Dean Rader from SELF-PORTRAIT AS WIKIPEDIA ENTRY © 2017 Dean Rader. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Copper Canyon Press. Neruda was a Chilean poet who received the Nobel prize in literature.  Interestingly, Latin American countries have a tradition of appointing their poets as diplomats to become ambassadors.  Neruda became Chile’s ambassador to France. https://www.theweek.in/leisure/society/2020/09/09/a-poet-diplomat-ode-to-latin-america.html#:~:text=%22In%20fact%2C%20Latin%20American%20poets,the%20Nobel%20Prize%20in%20literature. __________________________________________________________ Heather Cox Richardson writes a newsletter on current event politics, while still working full-time as a professor of history, that has a wider circulation than almost all American newspapers. Today her newsletter reads as follows:   "And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of Black and Indigenous slavery by defining “men” as “white men,” and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edges of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other. America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal. What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to reshape America into a nation in which African Americans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese, and Irish were locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a “proposition,” rather than “self-evident.” “Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal to include Black men, men of color, and eventually women.But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, pledged their “Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor” to defend the idea of human equality. Ever since then, Americans have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives, for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”Words to live by in 2023.  Heather Cox Richardson ____________________________________________________ With those lofty ideals, we ask what political party today most closely embodies them.  The Republicans?  Hell no, they represent a Neofascist Catastrophe.  The Democrats? No, their loyalty goes first to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex.  The Democrats are a Neoliberal disaster!  Basic rights, human rights take not a second seat, but a third seat.  The Green Party? Well, it is struggling, and most people do not take it seriously, but it goes farther than any of the other American political parties towards helping America live out the promise of its creed. _______________________________________ [One Tennessee Green Party member writes in to say these email blasts contain so much information that he feels overwhelmed.  True, but I can’t subdivide them into four messages, because members would be upset to receive 4 emails for every one that I have sent out.] __________________________________________ Can you feel excitement and energy in third parties this year (more than in 2016 or 2020)? Here at Slate, we’ve been looking toward the 2024 presidential election, wondering how America will feel about a Biden-Trump rematch. Alexander Sammon has some thoughts: “A recent CNN poll pretty aptly describes the current state of play of the 2024 presidential cycle: Presumed Democratic nominee and current President Joe Biden is seen favorably by just 32 percent of Americans, while 56 percent view him unfavorably. Presumed Republican nominee and former President Donald Trump is viewed favorably by 33 percent of Americans, and unfavorably by 59 percent. Let that sink in. These are the favorites for the presidential nominees of the two major parties. Have we ever—in this modern, political, poll-tested era—seen two favorites be so thoroughly loathed this early in the process?”That’s why this week we are running a little series called Two Bad, exploring Americans’ lackluster enthusiasm for the 2024 election and the problem of the third-party candidates. First up is Alex’s essay exploring the “big third party energy” this cycle is already giving off. Illustration by Anjali Kamat Next, Addison Bauer and Molly Olmstead dug into the history of third-party candidates, dating all the way back to the 19th century, to try to understand why they got into races and what happened when they did, from Eugene V. Debs to Teddy Roosevelt to Strom Thurmond.And finally for today, Lee Drutman asks the question you may have been wondering too: “How do we escape this doom loop of escalating binary partisan warfare?” he writes. “The way out is to change our voting rules so more parties can play a productive—not destructive—role in our politics.” Drutman explains some of the benefits, and even outlines how we could get there. Tomorrow, the Slatest is off, but we’ll be publishing the rest of our package, and Drutman will be on What Next on Wednesday making his case for multiple parties. ____________________________________________________________ From former U.S. Labor Secretary (and Progressive) Robert Reich: What does it mean to love America? Republicans claim they do, but... In this video, I have tried, I’ve really tried, to imagine what they are referring to. But I keep coming up short (ahem). There must be something -- how they care about the people, the cities, the rural areas, the land, our history and principles -- there must be some ways we can see how they love America. As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow, it’s a chance for us to reflect on what loving our country is really about. Check out this week’s video as I think about this question and expose how Republicans really feel about America, then please share it with your friends on social media and help us expand our reach. Watch & Share Republicans claim to love the American people, yet they consistently oppose raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, and student debt relief -- reforms that most Americans believe would improve their lives. So what do they love? Our great cities, where 80% of Americans live? Maybe not. Trump says: “Leave Democrat cities. Let them rot.” Okay, so do Republicans love rural America? If they did, they wouldn’t try to cut funding for Medicaid expansion, for rural infrastructure, and food stamps, which rural communities rely upon even more than cities. They must love American history, right? Freedom of speech? Separation of church and state? Hmmm... maybe those aren’t their strong suit either. Some of us have a different definition of patriotism. We see it as loving freedom: actual freedom. The freedom to speak and think and assemble and unionize, to love whom you love, be who you are, read what you want. Freedom from gun violence, corporate greed, and pollution. We believe true patriots don't put loyalty to their political party above their love of democracy. With Independence Day parades, BBQs, and fireworks happening throughout this extended holiday weekend, I hope you’ll watch our new video and consider what each of us can do to take back patriotism from those who just don’t get it. Let’s reclaim the true meaning of patriotism together. Robert ReichInequality Media Civic Action _____________________________________________________________________ https://www.axios.com/2023/06/30/supreme-court-lgbtq-wedding-website The Republican-dominated, reactionary Supreme Court gave open license to business discrimination against LGBTQ people.  Can restaurants refuse service?  Grocers?  Fitness centers?  Car dealers?   ____________________________________________________________________ Videos Show 'Jaw Dropping' Crowd Ahead of Trump's South Carolina Rally https://www.newsweek.com/trump-supporters-tout-jaw-dropping-crowd-size-ahead-rally-1810306 "The South Carolina trump crowd is jaw dropping. The line literally doesn't end," tweeted Baldwin, who also described Trump supporters in another tweet as being part of an "INSANE TURNOUT in South Carolina. Thousands of people here before 8am. Enthusiasm through the roof for Pres. Trump and the MAGA movement." ____________________________________________________________ Florida moves forward on radioactive road paving plan as Gov. DeSantis signs new law https://www.npr.org/2023/06/30/1185280180/florida-roads-radioactive-desantis-signs-law   Hey everybody, do you want to drive your cars on Florida roads/highways and develop cancer from radiation exposure?  Who cares about environmental contamination these days? ______________________________________________________   Fox News appoints Jesse Watters to replace Tucker Carlson as the host of the 8 PM program, and Jesse Watters is not sure U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is actually a woman.   https://themessenger.com/news/insurance-execs-quit-talk-after-foxs-jesse-watters-challenges-kamala-harris-gender-report   Who said the Republicans and their propaganda machine at Fox Not-News weren’t charming? ____________________________________________________________________   Solar helps Texas carry energy load as heatwave puts power grid to test State has managed to avoid rolling blackouts amid three-digit temperatures thanks to its supply of solar power, experts say   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/28/texas-heatwave-power-grid-solar-energy   Thank god for green energy, renewable energy, despite Republican legislators’ efforts to stamp it out. ___________________________________________________________ The best podcast of the week award goes to Revolutionary Left: The podcaster is just barely making it.  He has no idea how he will pay $800 - $1,000 per month in student loan repayments.  He went to community college and the Univ. of Nebraska – not Harvard.  His sister’s family is essentially one degree away from bankruptcy due to his niece’s medical debt. Alyson and Breht discuss the recent rulings by the Supreme Court, a wildly anti-democratic, thoroughly corrupt, and staunchly reactionary institution that the American right has spent years and billions of dollars capturing in order to impose its minoritarian rule on an American majority that firmly rejects what they stand for. And they do it all without having to worry for even a second about pesky things getting in their way: like democracy, human rights, or basic accountability to the American people.  (Caution: podcast contains profanity) https://revolutionaryleftradio.libsyn.com/student-loans (I can’t get that link to play the podcast, but if you subscribe to podcast player, then you should be able to search for the most recent episode.) ___________________________________________________________ If RFK Jr. does not get the Democratic nomination, then Cornel West would be interested in talking with him about combining their voting blocks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtLmv1BcVpA ____________________________________________________________ Max Blumenthal SPITS FIRE in UN Speech on Ukraine   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTlYXV3OEvY   __________________________________________________ “We have tried Black faces in high places” and they sold out the working class. Cornel West is NOT an Obama-type spineless politician. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29UcBVemA1s   ­The following quote from Simone de Beauvoir sounds like Green Party values, and I plan to use it as part of my signature block for now. Michael Guth State Party Co-Chair, 2023 – 2025 Green Party of Tennessee “One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion.” – Simone de Beauvoir        

War and Whistleblowers

Green Greetings Mike, My last email contained a link to the podcast ON THE MEDIA from WNYC – the public radio station of New York city.  Their last podcast contains so many gems of wisdom that it deserves to be featured with this email to Tennessee Green Party members.  The topics for this email are whistleblowers and war.      Brooke Gladstone: Yet whistleblowers, over the past few decades, have changed the course of history more than any other time, you say, and that Daniel Ellsberg was the catalyst. Can you give me a few examples of whistleblowers we likely wouldn't have had without him? Tom Devine: In the Iraq war, the marine science advisor, Franz Gayl, he was requested, semi-ordered, by the Chief Field General in Iraq to free up vehicles that would actually protect the troops against landmines. They're called MRAPs. They were using Humvees that weren't even designed to protect them against landmines. 90% of our fatalities and 60% of our casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were from landmines. Thanks to his whistleblowing, the MRAPs were delivered. The casualties went down to 5% from landmines. Nuclear power plants, and there was a story on Netflix about three nuclear engineers who stopped the three-mile island clean up from turning into a complete knockdown that would have taken out Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, Baltimore and Washington DC. They exposed that instead of losing track of 10,000 gallons of radioactive waste, it was 4 billion gallons of radioactive waste at our nuclear waste stuck, which forced a big upgrade in the cleanup. Human rights abusers. Until not that long ago, people were coming in from foreign countries. The US government would stop them, accuse them of drug smuggling, without any evidence. Usually it was attractive women, usually it was near the end of a shift so they could get overtime. If they didn't find any drugs on the travelers, they would do body cavity searches. If that didn't work, they would take them to a hospital and do up to four days of laboratory tests, during which time those people couldn't contact their lawyers, their family, and thanks to a courageous customs inspector, Cathy Harris, that blew the whistle on this, that was changed from four days to two hours. I could keep going on and on, but these people make a difference. The truth matters. They've been changing the course of history ever since they got rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act that can be traced back to Dan Ellsberg. Brooke Gladstone: Thank you so much, Tom. Tom Devine: Thanks for having me. Brooke Gladstone: Tom Devine leads the Government Accountability Project. Source: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/legacy-daniel-ellsberg-and-pentagon-papers-on-the-media     Brooke Gladstone: How did you feel back in 1971 when you discovered that the New York Times was about to publish the Pentagon Papers? Les Gelb: That's a very good question because to be perfectly frank, as I think I've been throughout this interview, my first instinct was that if they just hit the papers, people would think this was a definitive history of the war, which they were not, and that people would think it was all about lying rather than beliefs. Look, because we never learned that darn lesson about believing our way into these wars, we went into Afghanistan, and we went into Iraq. Brooke Gladstone: Do you think that's why it's important to clarify what the real lesson of the Pentagon Papers is? Les Gelb: Absolutely. We get involved in these wars, and we don't know a darn thing about those countries, the culture, the history, the politics, people on top, and even down below, and, my heavens, these are not wars like World War II and World War I, we have battalions fighting battalions, these are wars that depend on knowledge of who the people are, what the culture is like, and we jumped into them without knowing. That's the darn essential message of the Pentagon Papers. Brooke Gladstone: Les, thank you very much. Les Gelb: You're very welcome. It's so hard for people to swallow all this because of all these years of hearing the other story. Again, I don't deny the lies. I just want them to understand what the main points really were. Brooke Gladstone: Les Gelb led the team that wrote the Pentagon Papers. He was also a former columnist and correspondent for the New York Times, and a long time head of the Council on Foreign Relations. He died in 2019. Source: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/what-press-missed-about-pentagon-papers-on-the-media2   Seymour Hersh: After I'd done the first story, I ran into this wonderful soldier. He's now dead, Ronald Ridenhour. There's a prize now given in his honor every year. Ronald Ridenhour was a soldier who learned about this right away and tried to get something done through the system without any success. He gave me a company roster, and I began to find the kids. What happened is they had been in the country, this company, Charlie Company, for about 10 or 11 weeks. They all have been told, you're going to be fighting North Vietnamese regular army. They saw nobody. They were a hundred guide strong company. They lost maybe 15 or 20 guys to snipers and bombs. They were very angry, and they were beginning to take it out on the (Viet Namese) population. They were told March 15th, tomorrow morning, you're going to meet the enemy for once. They did what that army did. Then they toked up with their joints, and the enlisted men and officers drank. They got up at 3:30 to kill and be killed. They jumped on choppers, they go to this village, they march in looking scared to death, thinking they're going to be in a firefight. There's 500 people sitting around making breakfast, all women, old men and children. No young men of fighting age. They gather them in three ditches. Calley orders his young man to start shooting. One was Paul Meadlo, and he shot and shot and shot. When they were all done, they sat along the ditch and had their lunch. Don't ask me how, why, and they heard a keening. One of the mothers in the bottom of the ditch had tucked a boy underneath her, two or three-year old boy, and he climbed up out of the bodies full of everybody else's blood and began to run in a panic, Calley said to Paul Meadlo, this kid from southern Indiana, "Plug him." Meadlo, one-on-one, couldn't do it, although he'd fired maybe 10 clips of 20 bullets each into the ditch. Calley, with great daring duke, took his carbine and ran behind the kid and shot him in the back of the head. Everybody remembered that. The next morning, they're on patrol, Meadlo gets his leg blown off to the knee, and they call on a helicopter to take him out. While he's waiting, he starts issuing an oath, a real oath, a chant, "God has punished me, Lieutenant Calley, and God is going to punish you. God has punished me," and the kids, when they finally began to tell me about it, and I didn't learn about this for two weeks although everybody knew this story, when one told me, they all told me. I hear this story, he lives in southern Indiana. I just dial away, and I call every exchange in Indiana. Finally, New Goshen, which is below Terre Haute, which is below Indianapolis, which is below Chicago, that's where he lives. I fly to Chicago, go to Terre Haute, get a car, go to New Goshen, and spend hours. It's a chicken farm. Meadlo is back. It's a year and a half after the incident he was shot. He's home now on this farm, rundown, chickens all over the place, a shack house. This mother walks out. I introduced myself, my ratty suit again. I said I was a reporter, I wanted to talk to him. I knew what happened. She said, "Well, he's in there." She said, "I don't know if he'll talk to you." Then she said to me, "I gave them a good boy and they sent me back a murderer." [music] Brooke Gladstone: Journalist Seymour Hersh. Source: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/seymour-hersh-my-lai-on-the-media     Kate Webb: I couldn't understand the war [in Viet Nam]. There were arguments in pubs. I was in Sydney, Australia then, and the boys who were marching out were getting paint thrown at them. Brooke Gladstone: Like Kazickas, Webb bought a one-way ticket. When she got off the plane in Saigon in March of 1967 to find a job, she was 23. Eventually, she made her way to UPI and became Cambodian bureau chief when her predecessor was killed. She covered the Tet Offensive, and over strong objections in Washington, broke the story of Cambodian leader, Lon Nol's disabling stroke. She saw many friends die. She was tough on reporters who took needless risks. Then she was taken captive by North Vietnamese troops on the south coast of Cambodia. Kate Webb: It's one of those things that's fascinating if you live to tell it. I was able to see how the other side operated, in a limited way, of course. When you're tied up and marching all night, you don't see much. Brooke Gladstone: How about the experience itself, what it was like simply to live as a prisoner of war? Kate Webb: Physically, it was very tough. I lost 10 kilos in three weeks, walking all night on bare feet. That's 12 hours a night, next to no food. You have to keep urging yourself on as if you're a small child. You talk to yourself and say, "Keep going."   Brooke Gladstone: For Palmer, being female was by now an advantage. Some sources were more inclined to open up to a woman, but there were drawbacks as when she was offered a tour and lunch by General Minh, the commander in chief of the Saigon region. She thought they'd eat at HQ, but a table was set up in his trailer with a big double bed. Laura Palmer: I thought, "Oh, my God. What have I walked into?" He asked me if I liked music. I said, yes, I liked the Rolling Stones, and he liked The Carpenters. Then he looked at me with all earnestness and said to me, "Miss, Laura, would you go-go for me?" [laughs] Brooke Gladstone: She said no. Laura Palmer: What I really wanted to say was, "You son of a bitch. People are dying under your command." This was one of the top five generals in Vietnam, and you're having lunch with me, giving me a fake Cartier lighter, and asking me to go-go for you. I thought, "There is no way if there's this much corruption at the top that they will ever win the war."   Brooke Gladstone: Martha Gellhorn, that Veteran War reporter who cut her teeth documenting The Rise of Adolf Hitler, wrote that "Of all wars, I hated Vietnam the most because I felt personally responsible. I'm talking about what was done in South Vietnam to the people who we supposedly had come to save, Napalmed children, destroyed villages. My complete horror remains with me as a source of grief and anger and shame that surpasses all the others." Jurate Kazickas: This was a war like no other for everybody. Brooke Gladstone: Jurate Kazickas. Jurate Kazickas: To get that close to the fighting, nobody ever is numb to it. There were many people who had nervous breakdowns. There were several suicides among male reporters. It took its toll. It really did. Brooke Gladstone: Jurate Kazickas, wounded in Kasan, is a writer who has co-authored several books on women's history. She later began a foundation to support charitable work in Lithuania where she was born. Laura Palmer, who hitchhiked to Vietnam, continued her journalism career as an author and at Nightline on ABC News. She later worked as a pediatric hospital chaplain. In 2019, she was ordained as an Episcopal priest. Kate Webb, who'd been taken prison in Cambodia, died in 2007.   Clip: Daniel Ellsberg, at a recent press conference, you said you were willing to accept any responsibility or anything that came from your part in the Pentagon Paper. The latest indictment says 115-year prison term and $120,000 fine. Are your thoughts still the same, that you're willing to accept any consequences? Daniel Ellsberg: How can you measure the jeopardy that I'm in to the penalty that has been paid already by 50,000 American families and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese families? It would be absolutely presumptuous of me to pity myself. Source: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/women-covered-war-vietnam-on-the-media   We conclude with  an article by 89-year old Ralph Nader, whose mind is still sharp as a tack. (Reprinted by permission under Creative Commons license) Here's an Idea for Congress: Stop Funding War and Start Funding Peace U.S. lawmakers must learn to say “no thanks” to more Pentagon money than requested and use those funds to help save hundreds of thousands of lives in America lost every year to domestic problems. RALPH NADER Jun 04, 2023Common Dreams 4 The Military Budget, which devours over half of the entire federal government’s operational expenditures, has been exempted by President Joe Biden and the Congressional Republicans from any reductions in the debt limit deal just reached. Also exempted are hundreds of billions of dollars in yearly diverse corporate subsidies to big business freeloaders. Most of the cuts will slash the domestic programs that protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of the American people. Cuts will also be made to the starved IRS budget, further weakening its capacity to pursue super-rich tax cheats and giant corporate tax escapees. The GOP insisted on continuing its aiding and abetting of grand-scale tax evasion that fuels bigger deficits. Biden also agreed not to restore any of Trump’s tax cuts on these same plutocrats and corporatists who refuse to pay for the undeclared wars of Empire from which they massively profit. The failure of Congress to provide support for desperately needed programs such as Head Start and other programs to reduce child hunger, homelessness, and poverty involving 80 million people, either without health insurance or under-insured, is beyond shameful. Welcome to America—Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, sleepwalking its way through Sucker Land. It gets worse, People. Not only did the Pentagon, and indirectly the giant munitions corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics get exempted, they were told by both the GOP and the Democrats to get ready, in the coming years, to receive additional tens of billions of dollars that the Generals and Biden didn’t even ask for. Biden wants to increase last year’s Pentagon budget by $48 billion, and the blank-check solons on Capitol Hill are inclined to match him. Except for a few dozen progressives, the support for this Niagara of dollars is bipartisan even though the Pentagon budget is and has been unauditable. Yet, since 1992, the Department of “Offense” has been violating the federal law that requires DOD to submit an auditable budget to Congress every year. Every Secretary of Defense has admitted this noncompliance and promised to correct it. Yet year after year the violation of law continues. No one can fathom the waste, redundance, and gigantic cost overruns by the coddled big business military contractors with their government-guaranteed arrangements. Without Congressional investigatory hearings, without instructing the Congressional watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) to do its neglected, underfunded specialized auditing, and without giving voice to budget experts like William Hartung or knowledgeable military professionals like retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson and MIT Professor Emeritus Ted Postol, the Pentagon has gone unchecked. The two-Party duopoly has turned Congress into a giant shovel of unaudited money for the military to secure misguided bragging rights for your Representatives and Senators back home about being “strong on defense” rather than watchdogs over your tax dollars. Meanwhile, back home, schools crumble, existing public transit is dangerously antiquated and in need of repair, as are bridges, roads, clinics, ports, airports, public drinking water systems, and waste management facilities. Care for the public lands and national parks suffers massively due to deferred maintenance. Funding to deal with land erosion, toxic water, and air pollution is in short supply. The failure of Congress to provide support for desperately needed programs such as Head Start and other programs to reduce child hunger, homelessness, and poverty involving 80 million people, either without health insurance or under-insured, is beyond shameful. Why is the United States, the richest nation on the planet, providing less to its citizens than Western European countries and Canada? Answer: the runaway power of Big Business over public budgets! Moreover, we are woefully unprepared for the coming pandemics, as we were for Covid-19, and for worsening natural disasters of climate violence perpetuated by the giant fossil fuel companies (e.g. Chevron and Exxon Mobile) that control Congress. But hey, our war machine can remotely vaporize a cluster of young men idly standing on a dusty road in Yemen with a drone operator pushing buttons in Virginia and Nevada. Over a trillion and a half dollars will be spent on upgrading our nuclear bombs with the same amount being wasted on strategically useless F-35 fighter planes. And remember citizens, when the government talks war, organizes for war, has military bases in a hundred countries, and provokes belligerence, wars are likely to happen. Not even the money spent on one F-35 is being devoted to waging peace, initiating ceasefire negotiations, and launching efforts for international arms control treaties as occurred under former presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. There is no Department of Peace, and the State Department is more bellicose than the Pentagon in its war of words. We’ve been waiting for Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) who has yet to put a bill in the hopper to create such a department—a purported priority of his since long before his election to Congress. One can hope that the Pentagon Brass—the generals and admirals, some of whom anticipate retiring to become consultants to, or executives of, the corporate weapons industry, would teach the rampaging Congressional Yahoos a lesson in patriotic restraint. Congress must learn to say “no thanks” to more money than requested and use those funds to help save hundreds of thousands of lives in America lost every year to toxic pollution, preventable negligence in hospitals, the opioid epidemic, tobacco, alcohol, occupational hazards, and more. Absent that prospect, the dozens of small citizen peace advocacy groups and organizations such as Veterans for Peace should establish a national “Rein in and Audit the Military Budget and Save American Lives Day” to spark a nationwide grassroots mobilization focused on Congressional offices on Capitol Hill and in the states. There is no time to waste! Fill the reception rooms of Members of Congress with citizens for peace and justice for a change. Let our elected officials start hearing the rumble from an aroused people conveying irresistible arguments backed by irrefutable evidence. Tell them to stop the arms race and pursue arms control treaties before autonomous weapons of mass destruction and miscalculations lead to World War III—the final world war. Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely. RALPH NADER Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate and the author of "The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future" (2012). His new book is, "Wrecking America: How Trump's Lies and Lawbreaking Betray All" (2020, co-authored with Mark Green). Full Bio > As always, share your opinions with us:  [email protected] My email message this weekend will feature comments from four or five of our members.   Michael Guth Digital Communications Coordinator

News for Greens: Nuclear Power, Ukraine War, The Nation magazine

 wanted to wait until mid-week before sending out another email blast, but as you will see in the content that follows, the news in some of these stories is already over a week old.  News of interest to the Green Party is rolling out faster than we can keep up with all of it.  Comments to these email blasts are also starting to pick up from our membership. ITEM 1:  NUCLEAR NOW documentary by Oliver Stone (available at local theaters, Apple+) First, let me point out that I live in Oak Ridge.  The atomic city, once the state’s largest employer – a rank now occupied by the University of Tennessee – is still the home to nuclear reactor research and its legacy of chemically hazardous and radioactive waste. A few weeks ago, acclaimed director Oliver Stone, who endorsed and voted for Jill Stein in 2016, appeared on The Hill’s Rising program to tout his 2022 documentary, Nuclear Now. Those of you who watch Rising will note that he was interviewed by a comparatively neutral and unfamiliar host. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6GGJWelpBA&t=23s Stone argues that we cannot meet our carbon emission goals (USA’s or world’s) without nuclear. According to Stone, renewable energy has been tried and failed. Ask yourself if that is a fair statement.  Did any utility across the country invest even 10% of its total capital on power production in renewable energy?  What would the country look like if we had mandated utilities spend not less than 25% of all power production on renewables? According to Stone, Hollywood and the mainstream media are responsible for generating hysteria against nuclear power and conflating nuclear weapons with nuclear power. Stone also takes potshots at the Greens, but it is not clear if he means the Green Party USA and Green Party of Germany, or Greenpeace. He admits that he voted Green (in 2016) and that even he makes mistakes. Stone produces very compelling documentaries. His Untold History of the United States https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Untold_History_of_the_United_States#:~:text=The%20Untold%20History%20of%20the%20United%20States%20(also%20known%20as,in%20America's%20global%20role%20since  is among my top three favorite documentaries of all time.  His 2022 documentary tying up loose ends in the JFK assassination is striking and leaves viewers 99% sure that the CIA orchestrated the assassination. Stone claims radiation kills cancer. This subject is actually one of my research areas, and the statement is not accurate. If it were true, everyone with cancer would get irradiated and go back to living their lives.  Radiation can kill some limited tumor forms of cancer but with less than ideal results. Stone claims the accident at Three Mile Island did not pose a serious health/ environmental contamination risk, i.e., the reactor was not going to melt down but shut down. That claim is disputed in an interview two days ago by WNYC’s On the Media program interview of Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project.  Devine claims that 4 billion gallons of contaminated/radioactive waste, not 10,000 gallons as reported at the time, were in danger of release from Thee Mile Island’s nuclear waste dump.  https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/legacy-daniel-ellsberg-and-pentagon-papers-on-the-media  I was not able to independently confirm that claim.  However, Devine states these facts are all explained in a Netflix documentary, which I plan to watch when I re-start my subscription in August. Next, Oliver Stone appeared on Breaking Points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTHxciTbbA The “conservative populist” host Saagar Enjeti, a Republican and former intern for Tucker Carlson, is the sole interviewer. The progressive co-host Krystal Ball is missing. Writing in Current Affairs magazine, Nathan Robinson asks “And then we need to ask ourselves once again: What is this “right-wing populism,” exactly, with which we on the Left are supposed to comfortably ally ourselves? And if we get past our common criticisms of the Democratic establishment (which Trump makes too, and which he is often correct about), we remember that right-wing populism is simply the politics of Trump and Bolsonaro. It is racist, sexist, xenophobic. It is a giant fraud—Enjeti speaks ofa politics that is “pro-worker” yet “socially conservative” (i.e., economically left but bigoted), but Trumpism isn’t even pro-worker. In practice, this politics leaves governing to the ultra-rich, people like Steven Mnuchin and Betsy DeVos, while gutting workplace safety regulations and trying to destroy workers’ ability to unionize. It is, as we can see from Enjeti and Trump’s approach to the current protests, not on the side of the dispossessed, but actually supports crushing them with the force of the state. It may sound a little socialist at times, but it is not the socialism of Karl Marx, who thought the workers of the world should unite. It is, instead, strictly nationalist. A kind of “national socialism,” if you will.” https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/06/isnt-right-wing-populism-just-fascism Stone repeats his same comments on the need for nuclear power and minimizes risks compared to the carbon in our air. Saagar offers “red meat” to Stone asking what leftists have gotten wrong about nuclear power. Stone eats that up. A group unaffiliated with the Green Party USA has a web site captioned Greens for Nuclear Energy.  https://greensfornuclear.energy/ The Green Party USA position:  https://www.gp.org/talking_points Oppose Nuclear power The Green Party remains opposed to nuclear power. New nuclear power plants would take too long to build to assist in cutting emissions in the time frame needed. From Platform - End the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy is massively polluting, dangerous, financially risky, expensive and slow to implement. Our money is better spent on wind, solar, geothermal, conservation and small-scale hydroelectric. COMMENT FROM TN GP MEMBER TO PRIOR EMAIL: As for the "states' rights" side of things, I am no authority. The unprecedented jettisoning of two states a few years ago, I can tell you something about those unique situations. In one case, a state party opted not to involve itself in the effort to support a POTUS campaign. Their state was being hit very hard with covid at the time, and its responses made things like petitioning a problem. They chose, in that year, to focus on local issues. Someone among them, as I recall, also said something supporting (in their state) a "lesser evil" vote, since there would be no Green on the ballot. Lots of fur flew over that. I don't recall all the details, but I didn't think the problems justified losing the party. In the other case, there was apparently a connection with at least a couple of the candidates from our primary, and the state party received a form after our nominated candidate had funded and pushed the signature gathering necessary to obtain a ballot line, and the form did not yet have the candidate's name filled in. The person in control of the state party (which had apparently been propped up through the activity of one of Hawkins's team members, and rejuvenated by setting a few people up as party administrators) said, "Oh, thanks. How nice of you," and then put someone else's names in the form and filed it.  I began that discussion strongly opposed to removing the state party from the national. As it evolved, though, there was much acrimony and little apparent chance of replacing the people who created the problem. As the participation of the candidates who rebelled (after doing all they could to sew chaos during the primary season) against the national party decision became more apparent, my fervor diminished. That state was Alaska, and the difficulty of building a new infrastructure within a population so widely spread out was one of the few arguments to be made against disassociation. I believe that there were candidates in our 2020 POTUS primary whose purpose was an attack against the Green Party, and not a legitimate effort to become the candidate. Supporting the nationally nominated candidate is, I think, a requirement within the agreement for affiliation between state and national parties. I have not seen Nuclear Now, but I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to go pro-nuclear power at this point.  New plants cannot be constructed and put into operation quickly enough to get us out of our global warming crisis.  The claim in one interview that modern nuclear power plants burn up their own waste does not mesh with reality.  Do you want to discuss this topic?  Are there any pro-nuclear power Greens in TN? ITEM 2:  The Howie Hawkins vs. Jill Stein division, if any, within the Green Party nationally is not based on any cult of personality.  Rather, the division stems from their positions on the Ukraine war. Hawkins does not want to abandon Ukraine in their time of need and thus is perceived by same as being pro-war.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmExssNQeRY&t=2829s   Here is a new interview of presidential candidate Cornel West in which he explains his position on the Ukraine War.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r83LQVEeAn8 Bernie would not go for the jugular. “Bernie is one kind of brother, and I am a different kind of brother.” Crimes against humanity: “Invasion and occupation of Iraq is a crime against humanity for me,” indiscriminate bombing/shooting of Iraqi civilians “An Iraqi life has the same value as your precious life and my precious life.” Boy oh boy!  You don’t hear American or British or Canadian politicians talking like that! Biden as a grand architect of mass incarceration is another crime against humanity.  While the United States represents about 2 percent of the world's population, it houses around 20 percent of the world's prisoners. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate#:~:text=While%20the%20United%20States%20represents,percent%20of%20the%20world's%20prisoners. Cornel wants to stop the war as the only way to stop the horrendous suffering of the Ukrainian people and to turn off the spigot for the military-industrial perpetual war machine. Let us know if you agree with Cornel West’s approach to the Ukraine War.  How would he get Putin to stop bombing Ukraine?   COMMENT FROM TN GREEN PARTY MEMBER TO PRIOR EMAIL: In one or another of the Cornel West interviews I've watched over the last few days, he commented that he was doing several each day. His access to media outlets seems far to exceed what other Green Party POTUS hopefuls have enjoyed over the last decade or two. That—even considering that it is nearly all "alternative media—could be enough to do great good. If his numbers climb in the polls, and he becomes the Green nominee, his magic number will be 15%, as that would get him a podium at the televised POTUS debates.  [If you haven't encountered it yet, this fairly short documentary from 2016 is packed with info and things that can be explored elsewhere, if desired.]https://youtu.be/iIAh9mlvLmo If that happens, 5% of the actual vote would become feasible, and that would, I believe, turn the Green Party into a "Minor party" in US political parlance. That would affect funding dramatically.   ITEM 3:  THE NATION magazine, Cornel West Has No Business Running for President I had thought The Nation was a source of good journalism primarily due to John Nichols’ reporting and editorials on elections from 2016 – 2023 (Chicago mayor’s election earlier this year, Wisconsin Supreme Court election in his home state).  But a recent article by Joan Walsh and its happy endorsement and goading by the magazine’s podcast clarifies that The Nation is on the side of the Democratic Party, warts and all.  https://www.stitcher.com/show/start-making-sense/episode/start-making-sense-cornel-west-should-not-be-running-for-president-plus-the-gop-vs-divorce-304457711 This video from the Due Dissidence channel on YouTube expresses my own view of the Joan Walsh hit piece. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p25kywqknBo As always, share your opinions with us:  [email protected] Michael Guth Digital Communications Coordinator

Debt Ceiling Bill Canard

[CLICK ON TITLE TO SEE FORMATTED VERSION OF THIS EDITORIAL]  We would like to explore a new way of engaging with Green Party of Tennessee members and email subscribers by presenting an editorial with each email newsletter.  If you like or dislike this feature of the newsletter, please let us know.  If you would like to join in a Teams call audio/video discussion of this issue, we can arrange that!  Future topics we are considering are:  (1) After the BLM Movement -- "What the GPTN could learn from BLM's lack of policy focus" or softer "What the GPTN could learn from our brothers and sisters in the BLM movement"  Two 6-minute podcasts by Briahna Joy Gray interviewing a guest.  The links will be posted in the article. (2) "Is it just a coincidence that most of California's single-payer bills have been introduced by lawmakers in the LGBTQ community? How can we further galvanize the community around this life-saving issue? "  12-minute podcast by Code Wack (HEAL California)  (3) "How will you pay for that?"  Bogus arguments to prevent policies designed to lift up the most economically disadvantaged in our society. The first editorial deals with the recent debt ceiling bill enacted by Congress and signed by President Biden.     THE DEBT CEILING CANARD Biden set a horrible precedent that will come back to bite the president in 2025 and potentially every year after that.   By Michael Guth               Writing in The Guardian, Senator Bernie Sanders wrote of the debt ceiling bill, “Let’s be clear. The original debt ceiling legislation that Republicans passed in the House would have, over a 10-year period, decimated the already inadequate social safety net of our country and made savage cuts to programs that working families, the children, the sick, the elderly and the poor desperately needed.”   “The best thing to be said about the current deal on the debt ceiling is that it could have been much worse. Instead of making massive cuts to healthcare, housing, education, childcare, nutrition assistance and other vital programs over the next decade, this bill proposes to make modest cuts to these programs over a 2-year period. . . .”   “At a time when this country is rapidly moving toward Oligarchy, with more wealth and income inequality than we’ve ever experienced, I could not in good conscience vote for a bill that cuts programs for the most vulnerable while refusing to ask billionaires to pay a penny more in taxes. Wall Street and corporate interests may be enthusiastic about this bill, but I believe it moves us in exactly the wrong direction.”  The full article is available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jun/02/bernie-sanders-debt-ceiling-bill              Biden made unnecessary concessions, when he had legal and constitutional tools available that would have eradicated this debt ceiling canard once and for all.  Instead, Biden and his dubious advisers pursued a politically motivated strategy:  Biden would claim that is the champion of bipartisan agreements.  But this was not a negotiated settlement that advanced the professed policy objectives of the Democrats.  Rather one-side (Biden) gave concessions and sacrificed programs that would appeal to the Green Party (nationally and Tennessee) as well the progressive wing of the Democratic party.  The other side (Republicans) gave up nothing and achieved a stack of concessions from “I’ve served in the Senate over forty years” Biden.  Masterful?              If there had been no agreement, then the truth of this debt ceiling hoax would have been revealed:  the federal government would have continued business as usual.  Any skirmish over a violation of the debt ceiling statute would have been quickly resolved by the Federal Reserve, acting as agent for the Department of the Treasury, by continuing to pay on Social Security and other government expenditures, or would have been resolved in the courts with one or more decisions that disgruntled legislators may never threaten the full faith and credit of the United States.              Can you imagine a former president calling on members of the Freedom Caucus in Congress to pursue a default of the United States’ financial obligations?  Do such blatant attempts to undermine the institutional integrity of the United States government amount to a form of treason?  (“Under these ratified amendments, the argument for the Debt Limit Statute becomes a form of treason. Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment ...”  New Republic, Jan. 6, 2023) (emphasis added) (“We are seeing continuous circuses in Washington of people not thinking about the long-term interests of the United States, but about scoring points in a political football game. . . . ‘If I don't get my way, I am going to destroy everything.’ It is treasonous, and I don't use that word lightly."  Georgetown Associate Professor of finance quoted in Fool.com, May 31, 2023)              Biden’s desire to diffuse a mainstream media-fomented crisis came with a “bipartisan compromise” at the expense of the environment, anti-poverty programs, student debt relief, and tax enforcement.  Back when Obama was negotiating the debt ceiling with Speaker John Boehner, cuts in spending would have been across-the-board in military and non-military funding alike. Now Biden conceded the decoupling of military from non-military spending, with the result that military spending will skyrocket while cuts would be born entirely by non-military programs including social security, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, transportation, and every other non-military expenditure.              In Tennessee, how many of us remember when Governor Phil Bredesen implemented draconian cuts to the TennCare program?  Imagine that austerity policy playing out on the federal stage year-after-year due to the (bogus) debt ceiling statute.              Biden’s concessions on domestic programs are much worse than we realize due to the mainstream media blatant attempt to divert attention with headlines such as “Default Crisis Averted” or as the New York Times put it, “Catastrophe Avoided.”  Those of us in the Green Party will soon realize this agreement is a tragedy.              One final note, the 1917 federal statute on the debt ceiling was passed to allow the federal government to borrow as much as it needed to fund military expenditures for World War I.  The 1917 debt ceiling limit was so high that its purpose was obvious: the U.S. government (then led by Woodrow Wilson) had no financial constraint on necessary borrowing to finance the war.  The modern-day Republicans have distorted that 1917 debt ceiling statute and turned it on its head by using “debt ceiling” as a crippling stranglehold to stop the executive branch from discharging its duty to spend the funds Congress has already appropriated and authorized (instructed) the executive branch to spend.                Let us know what you think of this editorial and want to join in a discussion of this issue.               For more analysis of this topic, please watch David Sirota’s interview on Democracy Now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plVKjAermPc or his article at The Lever entitled “This is What Biden Considers a ‘Big Win’” https://www.levernews.com/this-is-what-biden-says-is-a-big-win/