(Voting (and not voting) your conscience. - promoted by eli_beckerman)
My Green-Rainbow Party voter registration is a stronger statement on the issues that I care about than are the votes that I cast for various candidates. My Green-Rainbow Party affiliation is a public record and is in effect every day.
So what does that mean for the Democratic Party primary on Sep 9, 2014? It means that I will not vote in it.
Not very many other voters will vote in the primary, either. The Lenox Town Clerk predicts an extremely slow day (less than 20% turnout). In my case, I do not participate in that primary because I am not a Democrat (and I would not be given a ballot to cast even if I showed up). Not participating in other parties' primaries is one of the statements that I made with my registration as a Green-Rainbow Party voter.
For the 2014 state elections it's too bad that a Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate did not surface, although the party has nominated three fine candidates running statewide for the offices of Treasurer, Auditor and Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Our small party does sometimes have primaries of its own, which voters registered in other parties may not vote in. When we have had primaries our voter turnout is much higher than it is for other parties.
Softball advocacy for GMO labeling is the kind of boneheaded strategy that several of us were invited to play this morning.
We must play hardball, instead. We are up against food manufacturers who are oppose GMO labeling and who provide lavish funding to Democratic Party political leaders like House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who then block the legislation despite its popularity. DeLeo and the lobbyist donors fully understand the game of political hardball. DeLeo wants the industry lobby money and he knows securing the money is conditioned on doing just the sort of blocking he's doing. Votes that bestow power on his office, though, are taken for granted.
Against this backdrop is a ludicrous game of softball being espoused by MoveOn.
(Good stuff, thanks George! - promoted by eli_beckerman)
I've been going to public lectures on climate change at Harvard, MIT, and other places since at least 1980. Lately I've been thinking that I have yet to hear an ecologist talk about the subject. I've seen climatologists, atmospheric chemists, atmospheric physicists, glaciologists, rocket scientists (thanks, S Fred Singer), oceanographers, and geologists address the subject. But I can't recall hearing an ecologist talk about climate change and ecological systems. This becomes even more frustrating to me when I attend a lecture on geoengineering. In the last couple of years, a joint Harvard and MIT group has been meeting to discuss this topic and the enormous intellectual effort devoted to rather simplistic solutions to complex systems problems is astonishing to me, especially since there seems to be such a great reluctance to engage on the systems issues.
Recently, some friends and colleagues have begun trying to remedy the situation, focusing on the global carbon cycle and, in particular, soil carbon. Part of this is through the work of Allan Savory and his practice of Holistic Management in relation to livestock grazing patterns. Another part is through the work of Tom Goreau protecting and, in some cases, restoring coral reefs. Through their efforts, this year's Northeast Organic Farming Association Summer Conference will have an extensive "Soil Carbon and Climate Track" introducing practicing farmers to ways in which their daily work can sequester carbon from the atmosphere for years, decades, and even centuries, becoming an important tool in diminishing climate change and, just possibly, reversing it.
A few weeks later, the NOFA Massachusetts chapter will host two day-long workshops with Dr. Christine Jones, an Australian soil biologist, on "Practical Options for Food Production Resilience in an Increasingly Variable Climate." One workshop will be in the Boston area and the other will be in Western Massachusetts.
Lastly and certainly not least, they are organizing a conference at Tufts University at the end of November on "Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming." Not only will the conference bring together experts from all over the world to talk about ecosystem solutions to confront climate change and global warming but it is also designed to start a global conversation and network to begin practicing these systemic solutions, sharing what works and understanding what doesn't and why.
This is a development I have long waited for and will participate in as much as I can.
Switzerland came to the Boston area a week or so ago. There was a conversation with one of the political leaders of the country, Doris Leuthard, Councillor of the Swiss Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications, at MIT on "Future Energy Supply and Security in Switzerland" and the next day a seminar on Watt d'Or, the Swiss award for the best energy projects in the country ( http://www.bfe.admin.ch/org/00... ), at Northeastern University to celebrate the opening of an exhibit that will stay up at Northeastern's International Village until September.
I attended both events and learned quite a few exciting ideas from the Swiss and, inadvertently, something more about the limitations of MIT's view of the energy future.
For the first time since Jill Stein ran as the Massachusetts Green Party candidate for Governor in 2002, endorsed by the Rainbow Coalition Party, the merged Green-Rainbow Party is not running a candidate for the Corner Office.
But that doesn't mean that the party is sitting this election out. Instead, three candidates have put themselves forward for statewide office, receiving the party's endorsement and running as a slate. As we announced earlier, MK Merelice, Danny Factor, and Ian Jackson are running for the constitutional positions of State Auditor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and State Treasurer, respectively. Needing 5,000 certified signatures to get on the ballot, the slate had collected 6,646 raw signatures as of July 4, and is aiming for 9,000 by July 27th to protect against challenges by the Democrats and Republicans. For details on how to help ensure the slate makes it onto the ballot, see www.green-rainbow.org.
While Stein is the party's female co-chair, she opted to continue organizing at the national level, following up on her 2012 campaign as the Presidential candidate of the Green Party of the U.S. along with Vice Presidential running mate Cheri Honkala. The Green-Rainbow Party needs 3% of the vote in one of their statewide races in order to regain major party status in Massachusetts, which would result in ballot access for a Presidential ticket in 2016.
How do you, dear readers, feel about not having a Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate this year? How do you feel about the chance of having a slate of candidates for Auditor, Secretary and Treasurer instead? What do you think any of this means for independent politics in Massachusetts?
(The Green-Rainbow Party standing up and standing out compared to Governor "Chevron/Texaco" Patrick, who as recently as May called for "a future free of fossil fuels." If only he put his money (read: political capital) where his mouth is. - promoted by eli_beckerman)
It has been difficult for those of us fighting the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline, educating the public and lobbying policy-makers to get a clear message from our elected representatives and candidates on where they stand on the issue. Will they publicly fight it, will they support it, or will they straddle? At the top political leadership we know clearly where the governor stands; he's on the wrong side. Governor Patrick adamantly and vocally supports this fossil fuel expansion that is a huge step in the wrong direction.
Local politicians like Ben Downing, Paul Mark, and Smitty Pignatelli make statements on the subject that are tempered and carefully parsed. They express no vision or resolve. They instill little confidence that they are willing to stick their political necks out in a very difficult fight. They tell us they are 'torn' and that it's a 'difficult issue,' that it's the feds who are the authority, that the issue must be further 'studied,' and that they will follow the developments 'with interest and concern.' They may suggest that the pipeline should be situated on a different route, but they do not use their leadership position to broadly address the real issue of our continuing dependence on fossil fuels or to challenge the governor or the fossil fuel energy interests who pump money into the coffers of the Democratic and Republican parties.
Candidate Martha Coakley's position statement is no better:
Martha is committed to building a clean energy future in Massachusetts and, while natural gas currently represents a critical piece of our energy mix, she continues to see it as a bridge to cleaner, renewable energy sources. She is also committed to doing everything possible to protect both homes and fragile environmental resources.
As you may be aware, the ultimate decision on this project rests with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and, like Governor Patrick, Martha believes FERC should ensure an open, substantive discussion with local residents before making a decision on the future of the project.
One gets the feeling that, once again, our political expectations are being managed down.
How refreshing, in this context, to hear clarity and firmness in a statement that was issued by an organized, growing, and feisty political opposition to establishment politics, the only political party in Massachusetts whose leaders and candidates neither solicit nor accept funding from private energy interests. This opposition party is the Green-Rainbow Party.
On Friday, May 2, 2014 FossilFreeMIT
( http://www.fossilfreemit.org ) declared a flood zone all around their campus at Hurricane Sandy strength plus projected 2050 sea level rise to publicize their divestment campaign. It was also a good advertisement for the same weekend's annual Sustainability Conference focusing on resilience and coastal cities. Here's how the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer looks under this climate change scenario.
The Green-Rainbow Party is fielding three statewide candidates for the November ballot in an effort to re-establish major party status in Massachusetts and to give voters a choice for badly needed reforms.
Since we last reported, MK Merelice has joined the statewide campaign as the GRP's candidate for State Auditor. She joins Danny Factor who is running for Secretary of the Commonwealth, and State Treasurer candidate Ian Jackson. Notably, Merelice's campaign team is bolstered by former State Representative and Rainbow Coalition founder Mel King as her campaign manager, and Nat Fortune, the 2010 Green-Rainbow Party candidate for State Auditor as her treasurer.
First, the bad news: our government is assassinating people based loosely upon the whereabouts and history of their SIM cards. Without even confirming that their intended target is indeed in possession of this card, the United States government is targeting drone missile strikes based on this data.
First Look is the media and technology venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar along with investigative reporters Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill. Here are Greenwald and Scahill talking about it on Democracy Now!:
Two Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) candidates have stepped forward to run for statewide constitutional offices in 2014. They are Daniel Factor, running for Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Ian T. Jackson, running for State Treasurer. Daniel Factor is an attorney who lives in Acton. He is currently the Secretary of the Green-Rainbow Party. Ian T. Jackson is a software engineer who lives in Arlington and has been active in local affairs. Both candidates received a party nomination at the January 11 State Committee meeting in Worcester.
Factor and Jackson will run as members of a party-coordinated slate that the party says will give the voters of the Commonwealth a truly progressive alternative to a perceived ineffective, corporate-dominated Democratic Party establishment.
And later on:
According to Green-Rainbow Party co-chair John Andrews "We would be particularly interested in an Auditor candidate who would bring gender or ethnic diversity to the slate. We are looking for someone who can speak in support of our themes of economic justice, real democracy, and a healthy environment. The slate effort itself will provide a lot of team support to the candidates, so this is a good opportunity for a first-time candidate."
Apparently they are asking any potential Auditor candidates to submit an application by February 3rd.
Two powerful speeches from the Philippines' climate negotiators, Filipino climate chief Yeb Saño and executive director of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, Mary Ann Lucille Sering, are not to be missed.
After watching them, please sign Yeb Saño's petition calling on governments to make meaningful steps toward climate justice, and help get it to 1,000,000 signatures.
Below is Saño's interview on Democracy Now!, and Sering's speech. You can watch Saño's floor speech here.
Cambridge, MA has been debating a net zero energy and/or emissions standard ( http://www.netzerocambridge.org ) for new buildings over 25,000 square feet since the Spring of 2013, partially because of an ecodistrict plan with MIT and others on a large parcel in East Cambridge (a plan MIT refused to make net zero even though they are rumored to be building a net zero project with some of the same partners in Basel, Switzerland).
The City Manager (Cambridge has a city manager form of municipal government, along with proportionate representation so city politics get weird fast) has established a "Getting to Net Zero" Task Force to study the issue. Cambridge Community Development Department produced a fine overview of the state of the art in larger buildings for zero net emissions at (pdf alert) http://www.cambridgema.gov/~/m...
As the national Ecodistrict Summit was in town recently, the Community Development Department and Sustainable Performance Institute ( http://www.sustainable-perform... ) hosted experts from Integral Group ( http://www.integralgroup.com/ ), a deep green engineering firm to present lessons from the more than 40 net zero buildings they've worked on.
Across the country, there were some strong showings and nice victories for Green Party candidates running for local office. Minneapolis City Councilor Cam Gordon, and Cleveland City Councilor Brian Cummins, were both re-elected. 16 California Greens won local office, which was a record for off-year elections. And in New England, Josh Plourde was elected to the Bangor City Council, Anna Trevorrow was elected to the Portland School Board, and Mirna Martinez was elected to the New London Board of Education.
In Massachusetts, Green-Rainbow Party candidates for local office included three first-time candidates. Joe Carvalho's bid for Mayor of Fall River saw him place second in a field of six to advance to yesterday's election, but fell short of ousting incumbent Mayor William Flanagan. Elie Yarden's campaign for Cambridge City Council saw him place 20th out of 25 candidates for 9 seats. And Francisco White's bid for Boston City Council At Large placed him 16th out of 19 candidates for 4 seats during September's preliminary election. Rick Purcell came in 12th out 13 candidates for Holyoke's eight At Large City Council seats. And Mark Miller, who came within 981 votes of Pittsfield's State Representative seat in 2010, came in 6th in a field of 7 for 4 at large Pittsfield City Council seats.
While some of the most exciting progress for the Green Party has been with municipally elected Greens, the party does not seem to be gaining much traction overall, after nearly three decades of running for local office. I think it's an important time to reflect on those three decades, and the experience we have developed engaging with this admittedly rigged process. The times are a-changing, but I'm not sure our tactics are changing with them. I'm also not convinced they should change dramatically, but I'd like to see them add up to dramatic change. Unfortunately, I don't see it. I invite all Green and Green-Rainbow candidates and supporters, as well as all of our dear readers, to comment here with your reflections. And I am incredibly grateful, even though I haven't made that particularly clear, for the work, sweat, vision and courage that the brave few throwing their hats into the ring have brought to the table.
Though their messages are somewhat different, I was struck by the similarities by the passionate pleas put out this week by comedian Russell Brand and former Green Party Presidential nominee Jill Stein. Take a look at both:
Green Mass Group is an online forum for Green thought and collective action in Massachusetts. It is a community forum for justice, sustainability, democracy and health in the Commonwealth and beyond.
"The sad reality is that we are in danger of perishing from our own stupidity and lack of personal responsibility to life... to create a mess in which we perish by our own inaction makes nonsense of our claim to consciousness and morality."