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Archive for October, 2008

Drinking the ACORN Kool-Aid

Posted by Trey Smith on October 28, 2008

by Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for Huffington Post

Virtually the entire mainstream electronic media drank ACORN Kool-Aid this month brewed up by the Republican National Committee. Almost no one seriously challenged John McCain’s comical assertions that ACORN, a grassroots voter registration group, “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

While the Republicans had the distracted media searching for links between Obama and ACORN, RNC operatives were busily completing one of the most massive voter suppression and purging efforts in American history, stealing hundreds of thousands of Democratic votes across the embattled swing states and striving to arrange chaos and endless lines at the voting booths next week.

First the facts about ACORN. Months ago, we obtained, as part of our investigation for Rolling Stone magazine, the Republican’s list the GOP alleged were the very worst cases of vote and registration fraud by ACORN and similar groups. We went through the names the GOP asserted were “obviously, undeniably and clearly fraudulent” voter registrations.

First, there was Melissa Tais, a dubious ACORN registrant. Her two voter registration forms show, admittedly, suspiciously different signatures. Republicans suggested Melissa was part of a massive fraud to allow Democrats to vote twice.

They were wrong. Ms. Tais, a Cerrillos, New Mexico, waitress, told us she had signed one form on a table and one form holding the paper in her hand. Hence, a second, wobbly signature.

Then there was Patricia White, who Republicans claimed was a fictitious voter. When we filmed her at home in Albuquerque, she seemed real enough.

And so on, through the entire GOP list — not one fraud. And these were their best cases out of the five million “illegal voters” who Republican leaders claim have infiltrated America’s voting rolls.

The overblown histrionics about ACORN do not surprise those of us who have been watching the RNC’s election manipulation antics. For eight years White House operatives have been trying to gin up press stories about voter fraud. David Iglesias of New Mexico was one of seven U.S. Attorneys fired by the White House for their refusal to bring voter fraud prosecutions. “We took over 100 complaints,” from the GOP, he told us, “We investigated for almost 2 years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case in the entire state of New Mexico.”

Iglesias, a McCain supporter, has, for the first time, leveled a new and serious charge: Despite finding none of the 200 voters guilty, he says the White House nevertheless ordered him to illegally prosecute baseless cases against innocent citizens, just to gin up voter fraud publicity. His refusal, he says, cost him his job. “They were looking for politicized — for improperly politicized US attorneys to file bogus voter fraud cases.”

Read the rest of the article at


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GT for October 27 – November 1

Posted by Trey Smith on October 26, 2008

Greener Times for the Week of October 27 – November2

Volume 3 No. 28
an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere
Trey Smith, Publisher/Editor
Tom Herring, Columnist

Anything emailed to is subject to be published in a future edition. If you wish to contact Trey personally, for whatever reason, please send correspondence to

In This Week’s Issue

* Rally Round Our Candidate
* Green Party Becomes First Political Party to Endorse Election Integrity Pledge
* Oregon Greens Oppose Top-Two Primary Ballot Initiative
* Thoughts By the Way: Pale Blue Dot
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: Like a Landing from Mars
* News You May Have Missed

Rally Round Our Candidate

from Peggy Wolf of the Washington Power to the People Campaign, 206-859-0206

If we haven’t been introduced yet, I’m a big Cynthia McKinney fan from way back, and I’ve been supporting her work and her election since her visit to Seattle in Nov. 07.

I want to acknowledge that many of us who deeply appreciate the leadership of Cynthia McKinney could have created more cohesion, more unity, and more substantial support for her candidacy than we did. I know for a fact that is true in my case. Some complex and delicate issues came up along the way, and I sincerely hope that soon we will converse across our differences or lack of relationship and reach a point where we’re sharing political consciousness and being very active together in justice work. There’s always gonna be plenty to split us apart. We can’t give in to that if we want to stay true to the 10 key values of the Green Party.

Fortunately, Cynthia, and probably the rest of us, are not just about this election, but about a movement. I don’t know what “movement” means to each of you till we talk about it. I’m talking about uniting with workers and justice-seekers all over the world to bring down corporate corruption and public ignorance and recover cooperative, humanitarian and sustainable self-determination as the base of all societies on this earth.

Cynthia McKinney shows up like no one I know. She is constantly taking in what’s going on and distilling it through her awesome consciousness. Then she tells the world what she sees, and she doesn’t back down. No matter the danger, the fatigue, the relentless mockery, the lack of support, the strain of enduring others’ insensitivities and disrespect. She shows up, she tells it, she doesn’t back down. And she does this nearly every single day.

This message is not only an invitation to come mix it with our mind-blowing candidate. It’s not just a call for unifying across our differences. This letter is a request that you each bring your checkbook on Sunday and throw some financial support behind the woman who goes to bat for us and for all humanity all the time. Is her work something you want to invest in? We know what Cynthia can do for us. Can we show her what we can do for her? Can we collectively make it possible for her to do what she does for us? There is a real need here, and I hope we will actively respond to it. Maybe you already made a financial contribution to the campaign. Maybe you’ve done it a couple times. That’s great. But there haven’t been enough of us doing that, and Cynthia’s compensation hasn’t come close to even covering her living expenses. Our candidate needs our financial support now. Any amount helps.

Nearly everyone who runs for president is independently wealthy. Even the few who aren’t, like Dennis Kucinich, continue to draw a $165,200 or so annual salary as members of Congress while they skip out on their paying job to campaign. And even if that salary isn’t there, those who run from parties controlled or supported by wealthy people benefit from all the fundraising capacity that comes with that territory.

Who’s providing for Cynthia McKinney? Who is making sure her welfare is secure and her life financed while she works so hard and so brilliantly for us all every day?

Some of us might assume the Green Party or the Power To The People Campaign is compensating Cynthia for her work while she runs. You might think she’s been collecting generous honorariums from institutions where she’s spoken throughout the campaign. Fact is, most of her hosts across the country are barred from paying fees to political candidates. Fact is, there is no group or groups, such as the Green Party or nonprofits that can legally fundraise for the candidate, doing so for Cynthia. Those of us who have been campaigning have not been asking folks for donations. So not only are we not financing Cynthia at a level that reflects the value of her professional services, this work she is doing that is so important to us all is draining her personal resources and putting her and her family at grave financial risk.

We can help rectify this. Please give what you can. Make your check out to Power To The People Campaign. If you don’t hear anyone make an ask at the Seattle Central event on Monday, you can turn your check in to me.

I hope each of you will come out on Sunday and Monday to spend time with Cynthia and other like minds at what I believe will be two beautiful and powerful community gatherings in Seattle. Let’s make these events the beginning of new ongoing relationships that will enable us to contribute vitally to a Power To The People Movement.

Events Reminder:

Event #1: Sunday, October 26, 3:00 p.m.
Umojafest Peace Center, 2314 E Spring St (just east of 23rd & Union post office)
Strategies for community organizing, greening and reconstruction. What do we do the day after the election?

Event #2: Monday, October 27, 11:00 a.m.
Broadway Performance Hall at Seattle Central Community College
Hosted by the Black Student Union. The power of student movements for change: How to use your campus as a tool to change the world!

Green Party Becomes First Political Party to Endorse Election Integrity Pledge

from Market Watch published by the Wall Street Journal

Standing For Voters, an internet-based campaign asking candidates to pledge their commitment to fair elections, congratulates The Green Party for becoming the first political party to call on its candidates to take the Standing For Voters pledge.

Ten Green Party candidates have already pledged ‘no early concessions’ and to ‘challenge elections’ if necessary: Presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney; U.S. Congressional candidates Carol Brouillet (CA-14), Rebecca Dewitt (AZ-4), Harold Burbank (CT-5), and Mike Beilstein (OR-4); and five candidates for state and local offices: Dan Kairis of Illinois, Richard Boyle of California, Rick Lass of New Mexico, Allan Hancock of Minnesota, and Charles A. Pillsbury of Connecticut.

“The Green Party led the efforts for recounts in Ohio and New Mexico in 2004 after thousands of complaints of voting irregularities. We consider the demand for fair and accurate elections a special goal of the Green Party,” says Scott McLarty, Green Party Media Coordinator.

The growing non-partisan effort also boasts pledges from twelve Democrats, one Republican, and five independent/non-partisan candidates in local, state, and federal races.

“We’d like to see all of the nation’s political parties endorse Standing For Voters, as the Green Party has done nationally,” says Emily Levy, Standing For Voters Project Coordinator. “As participants in what’s commonly known as ‘our democratic process,’ all parties should commit to fair elections. We welcome endorsements from local, state, and national party organizations, as well as other groups that care about democracy.”

Two of the six presidential candidates have taken the pledge: McKinney and independent candidate Ralph Nader. Barack Obama, John McCain, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin should also take the pledge.

Groups and individuals should ask candidates they support to sign the pledge. “Telling candidates about is an easy way voters can make sure their candidates understand the challenges to fair elections posed by massive targeted disenfranchisement, voter suppression efforts, and electronic voting equipment that can easily be rigged or hacked,” says Levy. “Candidates ask us, the voters, to stand for them. Now it’s time that they also make a commitment to ‘Standing For Voters.'”

Oregon Greens Oppose Top-Two Primary Ballot Initiative

Ballot Measure 65 will create what is known as a Top Two election system in Oregon . It is not an open primary. Under Top Two, only two candidates for each race will appear on the ballot in November. Top Two is used only in Louisiana and, recently, in Washington .

Ballot Measure 65 will drastically change Oregon ‘s primary election. All candidates from all parties will compete in the same election in one big free-for-all. There will be no majority vote requirement. Candidates will advance to the general election with the support of a tiny percentage of voters. That’s undemocratic. And unfair.

Campaigns are already too long and too expensive. BM 65 will make them even longer and more expensive. Candidates will have to start running earlier and will have to raise and spend more money to reach voters from other parties.

Voters should have more than two choices on Election Day. Freedom of choice is the heart of democracy. Why should our choices be restricted?

Based on research conducted by the nation’s leading expert on ballot laws, third party candidates will be virtually eliminated from the November election.

NO ONE in Oregon is EVER denied the right to participate in the primary. Any eligible Oregonian can register with a political party 21 days prior to the election.

“Top Two severely restricts voters’ choices for the November election.”
Richard Winger, Editor
Ballot Access News

“Top Two is unfair and undemocratic.”
Blair Bobier, Programs Director
Civics Education League

Top Two “deprives the voters of a meaningful debate and choice.”
Luke Esser, Chair Republican Party of Washington
OPB Radio 8/20/08

Top Two “limits our democracy rather than expanding it.”
Dwight Pelz, Chair, Democratic Party of Washington
OPB Radio, 8/20/08

Thoughts By the Way: Pale Blue Dot

A weekly column by Tom Herring from Vashon Island. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

Hal has put the controls of spaceship pale blue dot on autopilot and reversed time. The good life is no longer in front getting better, it’s behind us. Yet 99 out of 100 souls in my town have done nothing to prepare for the loss. The material preparations needed are simple to understand, and some are even doable. The attitudes needed are locked in the closet of our denial. Greens, are any of the ten values a key to that door? For my town, for your town?

Bit of rhetoric there. It’s a stretch to see where values come into it. I doubt that us Greens are any more prepared than “them Democrats”. Seems to me here that much of the denial is ignorance, and the rum thing is we think we are informed. A first step out of denial would be to legislate a bonus instead of a fee for dumping that TV set. Zero chance. The requisite step would be to hold town hall meetings in every hamlet, ‘hood, and town in America. Some chance.

Given a regular town hall meeting in my town, truth would stop bouncing off couch potatoes stuffed with network shows, off people who rail against the Wall Street bailout but “know” that something had to be done, off people who “know” that the US cannot abandon the Iraqis to civil war, and off people who “know” that voting for Obama is more important than voting against the system. The truth would sink in: we will soon be elbow to elbow with hardship.

Last December Ross Gelbspan warned that Chicken Little was right, even that the sky had already fallen. (Actually, the fable had it that her name was Licken and that “sky falling” was in current use to mean hysteria, so for Gelbspan to have claimed that there is a talking chicken who knows meteorology was prosaic license.) Turning from libel to fable to fact, there is a broad consensus that if we stop burning fossil carbon altogether then temperature will continue to increase to a level that will drastically alter present agriculture and fisheries. Add that to Wall Street imploding. Add to that Pakistan turning into a committee arguing over who owns the bomb. Et Cetera.

There is no doubt whatsoever that civilization will reverse, nor doubt as to what preventive action can be taken. Like as not, there won’t be enough town halls to generate this action. Instead, the public will continue to be decoyed by the media, as the bull is by the cape, until there is an event followed by imposition of martial law.

Grandstanding? I don’t think so.

Pale Blue Dot is the title of a photograph of planet Earth taken by Voyager 1 from a record distance, showing it against the vastness of space. It is also the title of a 1994 book by scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan. Both the idea for taking the distant photo, and the title came from Carl Sagan, (Courtesy Wikipedia.)

This Week in History

This Week in History, published by Carl Bunin and edited by Al Frank, is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice. Find more info at

October 27, 1969: Ralph Nader set up a consumer organization with young lawyers and researchers (often called “Nader’s Raiders”) who produced systematic exposés of industrial hazards, pollution, unsafe products, and governmental neglect of consumer safety laws. Nader is widely recognized as the founder of the consumers’ rights movement. He played a key role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Freedom of Information Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

October 29, 1975: In “Alice Doesn’t Day,” tens of thousands of women in cities across the US took to the streets to demand equality. Defying mounted police, 50,000 marched down New York City’s 5th Avenue. Dutch women marched on the U.S. embassy in Amsterdam to show their support, while French feminists demonstrated at the Arc de Triomphe, carrying a banner that read: “More Unknown Than the Unknown Soldier: His Wife.”

November 2, 1920: Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs received nearly one million votes for President though he was serving a prison sentence at the time for his criticism of World War I and his encouraging resistance to the draft.

Letters to the Editor

Got something you want to get off your chest? Did an article in a previous edition of Greener Times make you madder than a hornet or cause you to stand up to say, “Right on!”? Well, this space is reserved each week for your comments and opinions.

I am growing more and more concerned about what appear to be obvious fascistic developments in society and the complete lack of public discussion about them. For example:

1. “In a barely noticed development last week, the Army stationed an active unit inside the United States. The Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Team is back from Iraq, now training for domestic operations under the control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. The unit will serve as an on-call federal response for large-scale emergencies and disasters. It’s being called the Consequence Management Response Force, CCMRF, or ‘sea-smurf’for short.”(From Democracy Now! 10/7/08)
2. McCain campaign rallies have begun to resemble Nazi hate rallies. This phenomenon has become so pronounced that even McCain himself is trying to soften it.
3. The economy is collapsing (I point this out in case you hadn’t noticed, well, OK you noticed but I want to call attention to it here).
4. The “bailout plan” favored by the government is a compromise forced upon them by the public but one that still amounts to a fascist economic plan.

Now it is important to keep some things in mind here. Fascism is (according to its founder) the marriage of private business and government power. The role of the state in a fascist system is save capitalism by putting the costs onto the public and then to suppress any dissent. This is what happened in Italy, Spain and Germany (each had different elements, but all shared Mussolini’s basic plan).

When the government buys bad debts from the banks (which is the government’s favored plan) then we have nationalized debt. This is fascist policy.

When a government buys assets (like the banks themselves) that government has nationalized assets. That is a socialist policy.

What Bush has proposed is a combination of the two (this was the compromise) where the presumed ownership stake is defined ahead of time as not an ownership stake but more like a loan. With this plan we have something that is fascist masquerading as a more reasonable policy.

The problem is that capitalism is unstable and it may very well be that we have arrived at the time Marx predicted when he said capitalism would eventually collapse under the weight of its internal contradictions.

The capitalist ruling class has two basic options. One option is to accept that capitalism has hit its final wall and is dying, and prepare an orderly transition to a more rational economic policy. The other option is to prop up capitalism and suppress all dissent, as done in Spain, Italy and Germany seven decades ago.

I don’t think most people in America understand this. They do not really know what capitalism is (but have been taught it is a good thing). They don’t know what fascism is (although they have been taught it is a bad thing) and have no idea how to recognize it. They have no idea what socialism is and have been taught it is a bad thing.

So the public seems to be presented with two options both of which they have been taught are bad (interestingly the public spontaneously lobbied hard for the socialist one). One will likely be enacted but its true nature hidden from the public. The other option will not be pursued (no profit for the wealthy there).

Will we become a fascist state? It appears likely. Can it be stopped? I don’t know but I do know that if people don’t talk about it honestly (i.e. admitting that the current plan is fascist) then there is no hope.
~Richard Curtis, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities and Philosophy~

Pencil Shavings: Like a Landing from Mars

Pencil Shavings appears in this space most weeks and solely represents the opinions of the publisher. If you’d like to read more of Trey’s ruminations, visit The Rambling Taoist.

Let’s suppose the Apollo Space Program in 1970 took on a greater mission than going to the moon — a trip to Mars. You were one of the astronauts and, because it was to be a really long mission, you just arrived back home on dear Mother Earth last week. Boy, are you going to be in for some surprises, not the least of which is how dramatically the political landscape has changed!

Back during your training days in the 50s and 60s, a wide chasm existed between the conservatives and the liberals. While the conservatives thought that everyone should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, the liberals were ushering in Head Start, Medicare, racial integration and welfare. The conservatives always argued for low taxes, while the liberals made sure the wealthy paid their fair share. The conservatives wanted to bomb Vietnam back to the stone age, while liberals took to the streets to demand an end to the war. The conservatives nominated candidates like Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, while the liberals backed the Kennedy boys.

In essence, conservatives stayed on one side of the aisle and the liberals stayed on the other.

My how times have changed!! Today’s liberal seems to be nothing more than conservative-lite. While today’s conservatives want to stay in Iraq for perpetuity, the “liberals” want to bring a FEW troops home and simply switch a lot of the ones currently in Iraq into Afghanistan. While today’s conservatives want to push nuclear energy as a method of averting climate catastrophe, today’s liberals are open to keeping the nuclear energy option on the table. While today’s conservatives want to keep our faltering health care system basically as is, today’s liberals declare that health care is a right, but oppose anything that even sounds like universal health care. While today’s conservatives want to slash corporate tax rates to help our nation out of a financial morass, today’s liberals decry this move as redistributing money from poor to rich while, at the same time, they backed a “bail out” that some estimate is costing each American household between $6,000 – $10,000!!

After looking at these so-called ideological differences and more, I’m guessing you will be looking for the next rocket back to Mars!!

News You May Have Missed

New, Dangerous Greenhouse Gas Tied to Global Warming
A recent study finds that one chemical’s emissions are four times more common in the atmosphere than previously thought, and thousands of times more effective at trapping heat than Carbon Dioxide. What is this mystery gas? Nitrogen trifluoride. Nitrogen trifluoride is one of several gases used during the manufacture of certain computer and television screens, and also in thin-film photovoltaic cells. Oh my. Once again we run into the old dilemma: the manufacturing of the very thing meant to solve a crisis, is actually adding to the crisis…

They Campaigned for Renewable Energy. They Were Labeled Terrorists.
Despite there being “no evidence whatsoever of any involvement in violent crime,” three peaceful environmentalists who engaged in civil disobedience to argue for clean energy policies were fingered as potential terrorists in Maryland…

Seven Things That Could Go Wrong on Election Day
We can go to the moon, split atoms to power submarines, squeeze profits from a 99 cent hamburger and watch football highlights on cell phones. But the most successful democracy in human history has yet to figure out how to conduct a proper election. As it stands, the American voting system is a worrisome mess, a labyrinth of local, state and federal laws spotted with bewildered volunteers, harried public officials, partisan distortions, misdesigned forms, malfunctioning machines and polling-place confusion…

Posted in Greener Times | Comments Off on GT for October 27 – November 1