Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GREEN PARTY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON GAZA


The Green Party of Minnesota condemns the ongoing bombing of the Palestinian territory of Gaza by the Israeli military. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, and many more are seriously wounded. There can be no justification for this violence.

The situation is compounded by the ongoing humanitarian disaster caused by the
18 month long siege imposed by Israel as an illegal act of collective
punishment. The 1.5 million residents of Gaza were already facing
malnutrition and shortages of medical supplies, water, and electricity.
Hospitals that were already barely functioning are now overwhelmed with the
wounded.

We call upon our representatives and our government to condemn these attacks
and to work for an immediate ceasefire. This must be backed up by a cessation
of all aid to Israel as long as it persists in these crimes against humanity
and against international law. The silence of our leaders has allowed the
siege to continue, and it has encouraged this escalation.

We support our 2008 Presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney, as she
courageously takes part in a shipment of medical aid that will break through
the siege of Gaza. She is onboard a ship leaving from Cyprus on a mission
organized by Free Gaza, a group that has successfully defied the siege several
times in the last five months.

This crisis is urgent, and it is likely to be ongoing. Israel has threatened
to continue and to escalate its violence until it achieves its goals. Our
response must be immediate and ongoing as well. In that spirit, we endorse
the following actions sponsored by WAMM (Women Against Military Madness):

Protest the Israeli Actions in Gaza and U.S. Unconditional Support of Israel
Tuesday, December 30th, 10am to 5pm or office closing
1) Minneapolis office of Senator Amy Klobuchar: 1200 Washington Avenue South, Suite 250
2) Office of Congressperson Keith Ellison: 2100 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis

We also encourage our members and the public to contact their representatives.

Green Party of Minnesota

Dave Bicking, Spokesperson, 612-276-1213
Rhoda Gilman, Spokesperson, 651-224-6383

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Senate seat for sale, you say?

By Kirk Anderson

What Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich attempted is about as destructive to democracy as it gets. And yet, selling a Senate seat is not as uncommon as we'd like to think. In fact, the corrupt practice happens with such regularity that our system of government has a special term for it. It's called an "election."

Elections sell Senate seats to the highest bidder -- on the open market, fair and square. Blagojevich's blunder was that he tried to sell a seat behind closed doors, exposing himself as a pariah who does not even believe in the most basic element of our democratic system: the free market. There's nothing wrong with selling a Senate seat when done properly, with the right permits. But Blagojevich's selling out our democratic principles veered into dangerous, intolerable territory: protectionism.

Is it really fair to say our Senate seats are "bought"? In nine out of 10 contests, the candidate willing to spend the most for the prize gets to keep it (Center for Responsive Politics). This is even more egregious when the candidate offers voters little besides a sizable wallet. For Minnesotans and Wisconsinites, Mark Dayton's and Herb Kohl's primary and general elections come quickly to mind. Rich, self-financing candidates often claim they can't be bought. It's a bizarre admission of money's corrupting influence on our elections, and an even stranger solution to it. What they are saying is: "You don't have to worry about money distorting the democratic process on my watch, since I paid for my Senate seat in cash!"

There are those who say the problem with our elections is not too much money, but not nearly enough. In the past, it was fashionable to point out that Americans spend more per capita on yogurt than on their elections (Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Cato Institute and others). In more recent years, potato chips have replaced yogurt as the analogy of choice (George Will). This line of thinking assumes democracy is a commodity that can be bought and sold. This is the same mistake, of course, that Blagojevich made.

When one spends more money on potato chips, one generally gets more potato chips. The Senate-seats-are-being-sold-below-market-value argument infers that when one spends more money on elections, one gets more democracy. But the only similarity in spending on potato chips and on elections is that we end up with more cleverly packaged oil and grease with no redeeming nutritional value. Spending more money on potato chips funds more potato chip making. Spending more money on elections funds more consultants, more lobbyists, more 30-second commercials, not more health care reform. If democracy was a commodity that could be purchased from a drive-through window, we'd have a lot more of it. It is not a commodity that can be put on plastic, it is a process that demands our constant participation.

Of course, part of the reason our system of democracy features the legal selling of Senate seats is that the Supreme Court has determined that money equals speech. Bribing Sen. Windsock is a form of legal free speech, as long as any promises are registered as mere winks and nods and are not caught on tape like an Illinois governor. But if fundraising is constitutionally protected free speech, donating money to Krazy Khalid's Suicide Bombing Training Hut and Outreach Center is no different than writing a letter to the editor extolling the virtues of the Outreach Center's violent extremism. When consumer purchases are regarded as protected free speech, purchasing a senator is just another way of saying, "I drive a Bentley!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reverend Billy's Ten Commandments on Buy Nothing Day


THOU SHALT

1) Forgive people, yourself and everybody else. We all shop too much.

2) Know your Devil. Shoppers are only dancing in the land of ten thousand ads. Consumerism is the system. Corporations are the agents of the system.

3) Respect the micro-gesture. Magicalize the foreground. Fore-go the plastic bag and grab that bare banana– Amen!

4) Practice asking for Sweat-free, Fairly-traded products. That's the rude that's cool.

5) Buy less and give more. Giving is forceful, the beginning of fantastic new economies.

6) Buy local and think global. Love Your Neighbor (buy at independent shops) and Love The Earth (walk to, bike to, mass transit to – the things you need.)

7) Citizens can buy or not buy, produce or not produce. We can change to a sustainable personal economy. Then corporations and governments will change.

8) Envision the history of a product on a shelf. Workers and the earth made that thing. Resisting Consumerism is an act of imagination.

9) Complexify. Don't be so easy to figure out. Consumers tend to regularize. Shopping at big boxes and chains makes us all the same. Viva la difference!

10) Respect the heroes of the resistance. A small band of neighborhood-defenders who staved off a super mall with years of protests? Beautiful.


It's our turn now.
CHANGE-A-LUJAH

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Senate race shows need for runoff system

By: Nick Hannula , Duluth News Tribune

As I write this, the 2008 election for U.S. Senate in Minnesota is, as of yet, undecided. Incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken each won about 42 percent of the vote. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley scored 15 percent. Coleman and Franken are separated by hundreds of votes, with Coleman holding a slim advantage. Per Minnesota law, ballots are being recounted to decide the race’s winner.

Whichever candidate prevails will have barely won a narrow victory to the dissatisfaction of the majority of Minnesota voters; 58 percent will have not voted for the winner.

This race and other recent elections underscore a need in Minnesota to reform election law.

Coleman also failed to meet the 50 percent threshold in his 2002 election. The last three gubernatorial elections — in 1998, 2002 and 2006 — were won with 37 percent, 44 percent and 46 percent of the vote, respectively. And this year, two Minnesota congressional seats were won without a majority of the vote.

The fact that most voters did not choose former Gov. Jesse Ventura, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Coleman, Rep.-elect Erik Paulsen and Rep. Michele Bachmann in their respective races is problematic. Voters’ choices are not accurately being portrayed through the election results.

Third-party candidates have skewed results from whichever candidate is actually preferred by the voters.

The Independence Party and other third parties hold a strong place in Minnesota, and, as such, should not be disenfranchised in our system. Rather, they should exist within a system that allows a candidate, no matter the party, to win with a majority of the vote.

To solve the problem of the non-majority electoral victory, Minnesota should adopt either a two-round runoff system or an instant runoff system.

A two-round runoff system would mean that, if no candidate attains an absolute majority on Election Day, the top two candidates would proceed to a second round soon afterward. The winner at the second round wins the office. Similar systems are in place in states and localities nationwide, including Louisiana and Georgia.

The other choice is instant runoff voting, or IRV. In IRV, voters mark their choices for any given office in order of preference. If their first choice is not among the top two vote-getters, their vote is redistributed to their second choice. For example, in this year’s Senate race, a voter could have marked Barkley as their first choice and Franken as their second choice. As Barkley ended up in third place, his votes would have moved to Franken and Coleman, depending on how individual voters marked their ballots. The end result would have been a majority victory for either Franken or Coleman. This would result in a faster victory for one candidate or the other, but tends to be more confusing than the two-round system.

Whichever choice is made, electoral reform is needed in Minnesota. We cannot have our elected officials take office without the election results being anything but the best representation of the voters’ choice.

Nick Hannula grew up in Duluth, graduating from Denfeld High School in 2006. He’s a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., double-majoring in political science and economics. He interned this summer in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar

forwarded to me by Michael Schaefer

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ordering Plaques Online

I just wanted to state that one of the best sites I have found to purchase plaques is at Accolade Designs. They even work with whatever logo you have created to customize awards of various nature. - KC

Saturday, November 08, 2008

10 Surprising Stories About Election 08 from FairVote

1. Electoral Reform on the Ballot – New Victories and Implementations for Instant Runoff Voting:

This November’s ballot measures showed that Americans are ready to transform our politics. Landslide majorities voted for spoiler-free, majority elections through instant runoff voting (IRV) in Memphis, Tennessee (71% - see www.yesonfive.org) and Telluride, Colorado (67%), which extends a nearly unbroken string of wins for IRV in ballot measures since 2002. Meanwhile, an opportunity to win the ranked choice form of proportional representation lost in Cincinnati (see www.eightisgreat.org) after a late infusion of opposition money and deceptive advertising dropped the majority support won among early voters down to 47%. Other FairVote-endorsed reforms won with more than 70% of the vote in Maryland (for early voting) and Connecticut (for 17-year-old primary voting), while redistricting reform won in California.

Instant runoff voting had a terrific first election in Pierce County, Washington, accommodating a full range of voter choice in a high-turnout general election. If early returns hold up, the system will elect the first women county executive in the state’s history, with her victory dependent on the preferences of the third and fourth place candidates that vaulted her from second into first. San Francisco also held its fifth set of IRV elections; local press lauded the impact it had in reducing the degree of negative attacks that too often dominate our politics.

Stay tuned for major reforms in the coming year that we expect can be won in legislatures and on the ballot. The nation had learned a lot about why we need to care about electoral rules and mechanics. Now is the time for action.

2. The 2008 Spoiler Effect – Key Non-Majority Winners (and non-winners):

Speaking of instant runoff voting, despite the decisive and incontestable victory of, the spoiler problem again showed the need for IRV. Minor party candidacies had a major impact on several races:
  • Even with Barack Obama’s strong national numbers and the low vote totals for minor party and independent presidential candidates, electoral votes in three states and one congressional district were won over the opposition of most voters in that jurisdiction. Obama’s 49.9% of the vote in Indiana defeated John McCain by a margin less than Libertarian Bob Barr’s 1.1%. Obama won North Carolina with 49.7% of the vote (Barr won 0.59%), while McCain carried Missouri with only 49.4% of the votes (where Obama won 49.2 % and Ralph Nader 0.6%). Obama also looks likely to pick up an electoral vote by taking Nebraska’s second congressional district with less than 50%.

  • Nine U.S. House seats were elected with less (and sometimes far less) than a majority of the vote, including Ohio’s Second district that was won with only 45%.

  • The Senate had several non-majority results. In Oregon, Democrat Jeff Merkley will win narrowly with less than 49% of the vote, while Republican Ted Stevens looks likely to be re-elected in Alaska with a similar vote-share. In Minnesota, where fully 14 of the last 20 statewide races have been won with less than 50%, Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley won 437,377 votes (15%) and two other candidates won more than 20,000 votes in an election in which incumbent Republican Norm Coleman leads his Democratic challenger Al Franken by merely 326 votes – they are now going to a recount. IRV would have given the backers of Barkley and the other third party candidates a way in choosing between the frontrunners, both of whom won less than 42% of the vote.

    Meanwhile, Georgia requires its Members of Congress to win a majority of the vote, and incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss leads with 49.8% in a race where Libertarian Allen Buckley won 3.1%. Chambliss will face Democrat Jim Martin in a December 2nd runoff. Turnout is sure to plunge from Georgia’s record participation this week, and the candidates and their backers will spend millions. IRV would have given us a clean winner on election night.

3. Closer Than You Think – How McCain Could Have Won While Losing by Seven Million Votes:

Barack Obama apparently has won 365 electoral votes (if he picks up Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district), which is 95 votes more than needed to win. He also has won a comfortable majority of the national popular vote, defeating John McCain by more than seven million votes. But remarkably a shift of less one-third of a percent of all votes cast would have elected McCain.

Thanks to the current Electoral College system, our President is elected through 56 separate contests (50 states, five congressional districts and the District of Columbia), rather than a single nationwide contest. A shift of fewer than 398,615 votes in seven states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Indiana, North Carolina, Colorado, and New Hampshire) would have given Sen. McCain a majority of 273 electoral votes.

Indeed, in five of the last 12 elections, relatively small shifts of votes would have elected the second-place winner. In 1976, for example, shifts of 3,687 votes in Hawaii and 5,559 votes in Ohio would have resulted in a win for Gerald Ford despite Jimmy Carter’s 1.7 million national lead. Similarly, in 2004, a shift of 59,393 votes in Ohio would have nullified President Bush’s 3.5 million-vote lead nationwide and elected John Kerry.

4. The Electoral College Swing State Map Grew Smaller, Not Larger – The Real Presidential Partisan Geography:

Despite many pundits’ claims that the Electoral College map has been redrawn, this election in fact reduced the number of swing states in a nationally even year. A state is only a true swing state when it has a real chance to decide the election. This year, Barack Obama won by 6% nationally, allowing him to win states like North Carolina and Indiana that he didn’t need to win – and that he would not have won in a nationally even contest this year.

The biggest changes in the underyling partisanship of states have been states moving further into the non-competitive realm, with the number of competitive states (partisanship between 47% and 53%) dwindling. By our partisan measures that are remarkably accurate predictors of likely swing states four years before an election, only 11 states are now likely to be competitive in a 50-50 year in 2012, down from 13 after 2004,16 after 2000 and 33 after 1976. Of the 13 states with the most competitive partisanship, 11 are repeats from 2004, with Indiana and North Carolina moving into competitive range and Michigan and New Mexico shifting to a pronounced Democratic tilt. The great majority of states did not shift their partisanship definition by more than 3%; the biggest movers were two non-swing states, Hawaii (moving decidedly toward Democrats and their home state candidate Obama) and Arkansas (moving sharply toward Republicans)

Look for FairVote’s updated Presidential Election Inequality report to come out by early next year. We will also use information from our Presidential Candidate Tracker (www.fairvote.org/tracker) that showed that the candidates held 99% of their campaign events in 17 states.

5. Making History (or not) - Stagnant Representation of Women and People of Color:

In this year’s presidential election, the candidacies of African American Barack Obama, Latino Bill Richardson and women Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin captured the imagination of millions of Americans. Sen. Obama of course became the first person of color ever elected president. But that excitement did not translate into notable gains for diversity in congressional and gubernatorial races:
  • African Americans if the Illinois governor does not select an African American to replace Obama. Two women won (Kay Hagan in North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire), but there is only a net gain for women of only one seat, making the Senate 83% male.
  • In the House, there was a net gain of only two women – notching women up 0.5% to 16.5%. There were no gains for African Americans and an increase of one Latino, with Ben Lujan’s victory in New Mexico.
  • Women defeated men in the two close gubernatorial elections, but there was no net gain for women in governor’s mansions.
  • Women did win a remarkable seven statewide offices in North Carolina, while, according to the invaluable analysts at the National Conference of State Legislatures (http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket) the New Hampshire state senate became the first woman-majority state legislative chamber in our nation’s history. On the other hand, the South Carolina state senate became the first legislative chamber to not have a single woman representative since 1991, and the share of women in state legislatures stayed flat at 23.7% -- less than 3% higher than it was in 1993.

6. Dubious Democracy – The Power of Incumbency Lives On in No-Choice House Races

FairVote’s Dubious Democracy and Monopoly Politics series of reports on congressional elections have played a key role in generating public awareness of the appalling lack of meaningful voter choice in U.S. House races and how partisan imbalance in districts is the key role in determining most winners. This year again showed the overwhelming power of incumbency, with only a handful of incumbent defeats despite “change” being this year’s campaign mantra. Most incumbents won overwhelming victories, with the average victory margin again sure to top 30% and be far beyond the impact of potential changes in redistricting practices or campaign finance laws. Indeed only one reform would give every voter a meaningful choice in House races in every election: replacing winner-take-all elections with a form of proportional representation, as has become the international norm.

As one measure of the frozen nature of U.S. House races, our Monopoly Politics model allows us to project winners in the great majority of upcoming U.S. House races as soon as we know the presidential and congressional results in each district in the previous election--- with our projections only modified by whether a seat becomes open and by what is projected to be the national two-party partisan division. This year our model projected 157 Members who were not expected to face serious challenges in either a strongly Republican year (55% Republican) or strongly Democratic year (55% Democratic). All of these Members indeed were re-elected, and only 11 did not win by landslides of at least 20%.

7. Voter Turnout and the Swing State Effect – Why Turnout Dropped in Many States:

For years, pundits have argued that young people don't make a difference in elections, but sure wasn’t true in 2008. The organization CIRCLE (www.civicyouth.org) estimates that young people made up a sixth of voters on Tuesday, with somewhere between 22 and 24 million voting – at least a 2.2 million increase from 2004.

This election had the highest overall voter turnout in an American election since at least 1964 -- with a lowball estimate of 62.6%, with ballots still being counted. But our turnout will still be lower than most other well-established democracies, and even that overall rise can be misleading. According to preliminary data, nearly a third of our states (16) experienced a decline in turnout this year. Fourteen of these states were ignored in the presidential race as non-battlegrounds; the only battlegrounds with lower turnout are Pennsylvania and New Mexico. These results are consistent with CIRCLE’s findings in 2004, when eligible voters under 30 were a third more likely to vote in the ten closest states than in the rest of the nation.

This fall, FairVote conducted field research throughout Maryland to determine the most effective tactics to increase youth participating. Results will be released this winter, but in the meantime you can find more information about FairVote's student voting curriculum at fairvote.org/learningdemocracy
. To find complete turnout information for 2008, visit George Mason University Professor Michael McDonald's website (elections.gmu.edu).

8. Winner-Take-All in the Northeast – A New Era of Democratic Domination:

In the last dozen years, Democrats have won sweeping victories in the Northeast, with the region’s Republican Party now on life-support. After the1992 elections, Republicans in New England and New York collectively held 20 of 54 U.S. House seats and held at least one House or Senate seat in every state. The intervening years for Republicans in the region have been devastating, especially in 2006 and 2008. New England’s last Republican House member, Chris Shays of Connecticut, was defeated this week, and Republicans now hold only 3 of 29 seats in New York and no Senate or House seats in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.

The shift has affected down ballot races as well, in both New England and broader swathes of the Northeast. In 2006 Democrats took control of both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature, and this year took control of the New York Senate for the first time in four decades, gained monopoly control in Delaware and greatly expanded their margins in state legislatures throughout the region.

9. Cleansing Republicans from Democratic House Districts – The Roots of Polarization in Congress Lie in Voters and Winner-Take-All Rules:

Each federal election cycle, FairVote projects U.S. House results (www.fairvote.org/mp) based on the impact of incumbency and which party holds a partisan advantage in each Congressional district as determined by the relative performance of the major party candidates in that district compared to their national average. First developed in 1997, our measure of partisanship was adapted by Charlie Cook for his partisan index. Our initial report that year showed just how powerful the role of district partisanship held. After the 1996 election, of the 82 districts that were at least 59% Republican, Democrats held four. Of the 98 districts that were at least 59% Democratic, Republicans held only one.

Since that time we have seen just how powerful the role of partisanship is in determining which party wins open seats. This year, for example, out of 33 open seats with decisive results, there were 29 went to a candidate with the party that would be expected to win in a 54% Democratic year, including eight of the ten Democratic gains. We also have seen partisanship as the most reliable predictor of where incumbents will lose.

Today, after two consecutive strong elections for Democrats, the impact of partisanship can perhaps be most clearly shown by the steep decline in Democratic districts. After the 1996 elections, Republicans held 37 of the 189 districts with a Democratic partisanship, including more than a third of the 91 districts with a Democratic partisanship between 50% and 58%. Today, however, Republicans hold only ten of the 199 districts that now lean Democratic. Democrats indeed hold all of the 146 most Democratic districts, including every single district that is more than 55% Democratic, and hold all but four of the 177 districts that are more than 51.6% Democratic (with one of those seats still possibly shifting Democratic this year if Dave Reichert loses in Washington State). Of the 44 districts that Republicans held in 2005 in districts that were at least 47.4% Democratic, they now hold just 18.

Democrats today are doing somewhat better in Republican terrain, but watch out – if there is any comparable national toward Republicans in 2010, expect a wipeout of dozens of Democrats in such “red” districts. Republicans have the advantage over Democrats of being able to win a majority of the U.S. House without winning a singe district that is less than 52% Republican.

These numbers tell an important story for those seeking less partisan voting patterns in our legislatures. Many of the Republicans who have lost in Democratic districts were particularly respected by moderates, such ahs Maryland’s Connie Morella, Iowa’s Jim Leach and Connecticut’s Chris Shays. What overpowered them was the combination of winner-take-all elections and voters growing more consistent in their voting patterns. The fact is that the crosscutting representatives that some pundits like to extol are less likely to come from competitive districts as from the other party’s districts. And it is those representatives who are not surviving in today’s highly charged partisan climate.

The only remedy for electing people from the minority party in a majority party’s terrain is a form of proportional representation. One modest example had a highly positive impact in Illinois, where in three seat state legislative districts it took just over a quarter of the vote to win a seat in elections from 1870 to 1980. That system opened the door regularly to the kind of crosscutting representatives who are increasingly unlikely to win today.

10. Democrats Winning Control of the Process – A Near-Sweep of Secretary of State Races:

Throughout the 2008 cycle, FairVote has tracked Secretary of State races because of that office’s critical role in most states in proposing and administering election policy. This year, six states' chief election officials were up for election, and it’s likely that Democratic women candidates will win five of them. The results are as follows:
  • West Virginia -- Natalie Tennant (D)
  • Oregon -- Kate Brown (D)
  • Montana -- Linda McCulloch (D) leads incumbent Brad Johnson (R) 49%-48% in a raced still too close to call
  • Missouri -- Robin Carnahan (D)
  • Vermont -- Incumbent Deb Markowitz (D)
  • Washington -- Incumbent Sam Reed (R)
FairVote hopes to work with these (and other) officials throughout their term to debate and implement electoral reforms and improve election administration throughout the country. For more on Secretaries of State and our surveys this year of county election officials that were published in five reports on local preparedness and uniformity in election administration, visit www.fairvote.org/sosresearch

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cam Gordon on Minneapolis School Board Accountability

I am encouraging folks to vote for the ABC/Establishment of School Board Election Districts Referendum
The ballot question reads "SCHOOL DISTRICT BALLOT QUESTION 2 – ESTABLISHMENT OF ELECTION DISTRICTS FOR SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1. Shall the Board of Special School District No. 1, Minneapolis Public Schools consist of six members elected by district and three members elected at-large for a total of nine members? Board of education members elected on or prior to November 4, 2008 shall complete their terms. The six districts shall be of equal population and shall initially coincide with the six park board districts for the Minneapolis Park Board. Three districts shall be given even numbers and three districts shall be given odd numbers."

This would create a board with some members elected at large and some from districts assuring that more families and all areas of the City are represented on the Board. Currently, 48% of school districts nationally elect some or all of the Members from districts. Over the last three years the majority of school boards that received awards for their quality of governance, relations with their communities, and progress on closing the achievement gap from the Council of Urban Boards of Education where boards that were elected by districts. Eleven School Boards in Minnesota currently elect their schools board by some sort of District including the state's largest- Anoka-Hennepin.

As a parent, I have had children in the Minneapolis Schools for over 20 years and it has been a persistent problem connecting with and getting effective and responsive representation from the School Board members, however talented and wonderful they may be. The at-large structure appears to make it most likely the board members will listen to staff and listen to each other and less likely that they will spend time attending and listening to residents at PTO, neighborhood association or other community meetings. Additionally, given the large number of schools throughout the City, it has never felt like anyone on the school board had the kind of in depth knowledge about the particular community, neighborhood and schools near where I live that would lead to me to believe that the particular concerns of those schools and neighborhoods were being reflected and represented well on the School Board.

As a City Council Member I know how valuable it is to have Colleagues on the City Council who do understand, and are accountable to, the residents in their particular part of the City. It helps me understand problems better and find solutions to them that serve the interests of the entire City. I also see how having a Park Board member, state legislators and a County Commission from particular parts of the City also helps me be part of a team or teams, who can work together to serve the neighborhoods we represent. There is no one from the School Board, however good they maybe, who I can turn to and work with in the same way. This was particularly clear earlier this year when schools in and near my ward were fighting for survival. Geographic representation has advantages. Don't get me wrong. I also believe that at-large representation can be valuable too and have often wondered how City Council decisions might be improved if we had one, two or three people, besides the mayor, representing the City as a Whole.
They are both valuable and with its blend of geographic and at-large representation I think that the re-structuring offered by this referendum provides the balance we need to make our school system work better for everyone.

At-large plurality elections are known for being the very hardest for minor party, independent and grassroots candidates to win. Running city-wide forces candidates to depend on doing well in the areas of our City where voter turn out is the highest and not to be as concerned with those areas where there are fewer voters. It also means that candidates typically need more money and/or the endorsements of major parties or well funded groups in order to campaign city-wide.

I believe that this amendment (that is endorsed by both the Green and DFL parties) will improve the School Board's responsiveness and accountability to the people of Minneapolis. It will ensure that every part of the city has a representative, which the current at-large election cannot do, and that there would be at least one board member able to develop a deeper understanding about each area of the City that they will be able to bring to the table during important school board policy decisions. Equality of geographic representation will help the public trust that tough decisions that can sometimes pit neighborhoods against each other are being made with equal concern about the fate of all Minneapolis neighborhoods. This new election method will provide more opportunities for diverse cultural and political voices to gain a seat at the table.


Cam Gordon

Seward neighbor and
Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 2

Cynthia McKinney on Energy Policy

Dear Kevin Chavis:

This is in response to your letter a subject line:
Give us an energy policy for the future, not the past!.

I appreciate your message as I value your views on issues facing all Americans. As a Green Party Candidate for President, I also request your sincere consideration as you make your way to the polls Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

After receiving the Presidential nomination from my Party in July, and having named Rosa Clemente, a phenomenal Black Puerto Rican, Hip-Hop Historian / Activist, and esteemed Journalist as my running mate, we have campaigned across this nation for the support of the American people. We will appear on the ballot in 32 states and as Write-in Candidates in 16 other states.

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, 70.5% of the voters will see our name on ballots. We stand a real chance of securing 5% of the votes in this election, thus making the Green Party US a 'third' political party in the nation. A 3rd seat at the table of public policy making can only enhance the chance of real issues facing the majority of Americans being brought to the forefront of those important conversations held on Capitol Hill.

Rosa and I believe that we offer American voters an option which reflects our nation's very best values. We believe that when American voters have the opportunity, they will go to the polls Tuesday and vote THEIR values rather than being forced to vote for the 'lesser of two evils.'

My opponents ask for your vote promising only to continue the Bush Administration's policy of spending a billion dollars a day on illegal and immoral wars of occupation abroad. They threaten to expand those wars into Iran and Pakistan. In their eloquent speeches, written by highly-paid speech writing professionals, your emotions are targeted creating visions of acts of evil from people who 'hate' us. That's not even fair because I know that you know better than that.

The Iraq war is a clear example of an unnecessary war based on inaccurate intelligence. And we have seen upwards of 4000 body bags and countless wounded Americans being brought home. Nobody even talks about the untold numbers of dead and injured foreign human beings; causalities of this unnecessary war.

Besides the illegal nature of our nation's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are other important issues ignored by my opponents; my campaign has addressed those issues, some of which includes my commitment to universal access to healthcare -- a kind of Medicare-for-all plan; for the restoration of Constitutional Government and for urgent action on global warming. For full details, please visit us online at http://www.runcynthiarun.org and http://www.GP.org/.

Decent Americans deserve a Government as good as its People. As good as you! I invite you to come home to the Green Party today. Come home to the Party of Peace.

Vote Tuesday for Cynthia McKinney for President. Thank you for your vote and support.

Sincerely,
Cynthia McKinney

Paid for by the
Power to the People Committee
Cynthia McKinney for President

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Republican running against Karen Clark in 61A

Kevin,

Thank you for contacting me. I believe that we as a society must break
free from our addiction to oil as soon as possible. But as you
inferred, I do not have much faith in government to accomplish this
objective. For example (in my opinion), the promotion of ethanol in
Minnesota through subsidies and mandates seems to be more of a favor to
the corn lobby than a viable energy solution. I am convinced that in
the long term, sustainable energy is inherently profitable. For this
reason I think the market will ultimately come up with a solution, but
only if it is left free from government intervention. The entrepreneur
who solves the energy problem will probably become the next billionaire.

Certainly, there are things that government can do to encourage this
process. We must end policies and subsidies that favor "Big Oil" in the
name of lower gas prices, and stop trying to preserve the existing
automobile industry. We must be more creative in designing cities and
communities that don't require everyone to have an automobile to get
around. We must end the moratorium on nuclear power in Minnesota. We
can also work to increase public awareness of the growing energy
problem, and to promote development of alternative energy sources, as
long as no specific strategy is mandated due to lobbyist pressure. And
as gas prices skyrocket while oil supplies run out, we must avoid the
temptation to put political (or other) pressure on other oil-producing
countries to favor the U.S. If we do these things, I believe that the
move to alternative energy sources will be a natural result of the laws
of supply and demand.

I hope this answers your question. I have added positions on a few
other issues to my website.

Thanks again -

- S. Andrew Sheppard

[ Note from Kevin: Andrew lives carfree, as I do. But he does not believe we should end our fossil fuel addiction at all. If we are to have a green and sustainable future, we will need government intervention to make that happen, and can do so without destroying the economy. A carbon tax could be enacted, allowing lower income and corporate taxes by the same amount would make the tax increase neutral. A carbon tax would end our addiction, saving Minnesotans from future oil shocks, and steer the economy to a greener path. Sheppard does not have my support in November. ]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Farheen Hakeem's Political Courage












Voters in south Minneapolis district have the right to know where their candidates stand on the issues. Only
Farheen Hakeem has the audacity to stand up for what she believes in and how she will fight for her constituents. This is taken from her Political Courage Test at VoteSmart.org:

Abortion Issues


Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
X b) Abortions should always be legal.

c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.

d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.

e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.

f) Abortions should be subject to a mandatory waiting period.

g) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.

h) Other or expanded principles

Budget and Tax Issues

State Budget: Indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.
Slightly Increase a) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increase b) Education (K-12)
Maintain Status c) Emergency preparedness
Greatly Increase d) Environment
Maintain Status e) Health care
Slightly Decrease f) Law enforcement
Maintain Status g) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Greatly Increase h) Welfare
Greatly Increase i) Other or expanded categories
For Health care, I would like to join with other legislators to bring Single Payer Universal Health care to Minnesota.

State Taxes: Indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.

Greatly Increase a) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Increase b) Cigarette taxes
Greatly Increase c) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increase d) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Status e) Income taxes (incomes below $75,000)
Slightly Increase f) Income taxes (incomes above $75,000)
Greatly Decrease g) Property taxes
Maintain Status h) Sales taxes
Slightly Increase i) Vehicle taxes

j) Other or expanded categories
Undecided 1) Should state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
Yes 2) Should accounts such as a "rainy day" fund be used to balance the state budget?
No 3) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?

4) Other or expanded principles

Campaign Finance and Government Reform Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Yes a) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Minnesota governors?
Yes b) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Minnesota state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
Yes 1) Individual
Yes 2) PAC
Yes 3) Corporate
Yes 4) Political Parties
Yes d) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yes e) Do you support imposing spending limits on state-level political campaigns?
No f) Should Minnesota participate in the federal REAL ID program?
Yes g) Should Minnesota allow homeowners whose mortgage is in foreclosure a one-year deferment on their primary residence?
h) Other or expanded principles
No Answer

Crime Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.

a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and hiring of additional prison staff.

b) Establish the death penalty in Minnesota.
X c) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
X d) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
X e) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

f) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.

g) Support state and local law enforcement officials enforcing federal immigration laws.
X h) Support hate crime legislation.

i) Other or expanded principles

Education Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
X a) Support state funding of universal pre-K programs.

b) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
X c) Support state education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students.

d) Support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams.

e) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.

f) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
X g) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.

h) Support using a merit pay system for teachers.
X i) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.

j) Support allowing illegal immigrant high school graduates of Minnesota to pay in-state tuition at public universities.

k) Other or expanded principles
I support J, but I would term it to be "Support allowing undocumented high school graduates of Minnesota to pay in-state tuition at public universities.

Employment Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
X a) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers and teach skills needed in today's job market.

b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector.

c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.

d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
X e) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
X f) Increase the state minimum wage.
X g) Support laws that prevent employers from dismissing employees at will.

h) Support financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

i) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.

j) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.

k) Other or expanded principles

Environment and Energy Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
X a) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.

b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil, etc).

c) Support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops.
X d) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.

e) Support funding for improvements to Minnesota's power generating and transmission facilities.
X f) Support funding for open space preservation.
X g) Limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
X h) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.

i) Other or expanded principles
I would support increased production of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. I would also support funding for improvements to Minnesota's power generating and transmission facilities if it was to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet.

Gun Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
Yes a) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
No b) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
Yes c) Should a license be required for gun possession?
Undecided d) Do you support current levels of enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Undecided e) Do you support current state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?

f) Other or expanded principles

Health Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.

a) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.

b) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.

c) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

d) Allow patients to sue their HMOs.

e) Require hospitals and labs to release reports on infections that are a risk to public health, while not compromising patient confidentiality.

f) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Minnesota.

g) Support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.

h) Other or expanded principles
I support single payer universal health care.

Social Issues


Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.
Yes a) Should Minnesota recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Yes b) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Yes c) Should Minnesota provide state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples?
No d) Do you support a moment of silence in public schools?
Undecided e) Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?
Yes f) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
No g) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
Yes h) Should the state government consider race and gender in state government contracting and hiring decisions?
Yes i) Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?
Yes j) Should Minnesota continue affirmative action programs?
Yes k) Do you support state funding of stem cell research?
Yes l) Do you support state funding of embryonic stem cell research?
No m) Do you support allowing pharmacists who conscientiously object to emergency contraception to refuse to dispense it?
n) Other or expanded principles

I am confused to what "e) Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?" Students should have the right to pray in schools if they choose, but the school administrators should not require students to attend prayer. For example, is a student wished to do Friday Prayers, which happen at lunch time, the school should not stop the student, and meet their needs. Yet, a teacher can not require all of the students in the class to pray along with the student.

Legislative Priorities

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

The big challenge that I see in the Legislature is to balance the 2
billion dollar deficit without cutting programs and services to the poor.
As your State Representative, I would advocate that housing, jobs, youth
programming, and programs to end poverty are an investment, not an
expense. I will fight to secure general funds to sustain programs for
education and social services, and work beyond party lines to create
solutions to balance the budget, find funding for community programs, and
bring landmark legislation to law.

[ These taken from VoteSmart.org Farheen's primary opponent has this listed on their site:

Mr. Hayden repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff.

I consider Mr. Hayden's inaction to be yet another sign of local DFL corruption, ineptitude, and not truly standing for anything but getting elected. - KC ]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lawsuit seeks $250,000 in damages for police raid

Press Conference:
Friday, October 10, 3pm
Saint Paul City Hall on Kellogg Blvd.

The first lawsuit resulting from the police invasion of a St. Paul home prior to the Republican National Convention will be announced at a press conference October 10. Notice will be served
on the city of Saint Paul that lawyers representing Michael Whalen will seek $250,000 in damages. Whalen’s duplex on Iglehart Avenue was cordoned off by St. Paul police working with the FBI and Homeland Security people. Whalen and his tenants and guests were held at gunpoint for several hours, not allowed to leave – and no one allowed to enter.

It has not been disclosed what prompted the raid. An FBI agent (perhaps Scott Zimmerman) had requested entry an hour earlier. When denied he apparently called the St. Paul authorities
who sent two dozen or so officers into the streets, alleys and entrances of Whalen’s home.

When these officers also were denied entry, they held the premises underarmed guard while police tried to create a legitimate reason for an invasion. After an hour or two, Officer Langfellow
swore that Mr. Whalen had supported Irish Independence some 20 years ago, had co-owned a bookstore for a whole year with Sarah Jane Olsen also 20 years ago, had recently failed to put his address numbers on one half of the duplex and had received heavy boxes by US Mail.

The sworn affidavit, supporting the request for a search warrant, also contained a straight-out falsehood about Whalen’s activities that day. Amazingly, a judge of the District Court
found all this sufficient to issue the warrant – for the wrong address! The items listed in the warrant for seizure did not include Irish literature, letters from Ms Olson, unused address numbers nor the vegan literature in the heavy boxes.

It might be noted that Whalen’s guests included journalists who are part of the growing people’s independent press movement, which documents and web-publishes police abuse around this land of ours. Some of these folks were raided again elsewhere and some were arrested as they documented the new face of St. Paul, formerly the most livable city in America.

Mr. Whalen is represented by attorneys Ted Dooley and Peter Nickitas, both members of the National Lawyers Guild. Dooley will be among the speakers at the press conference.


For further information contact:
Attorney Ted Dooley, 651-292-1515 ; teddooleylaw@winternet.com
make polluting corporations own up to their climate impacts

Dear Blog Reader,

Over the course of this campaign, we’ve heard a lot of talk about oil pipelines in Alaska, “drill, baby, drill,” and even an unfortunate embrace of so-called “clean coal” technology, though no form of coal is ever truly “clean.”

With less than one month to go before Election Day, we need to let our candidates know we’re demanding a comprehensive, modern, green energy policy that will put this country back on the right path in more ways than one.

Right now, we can launch a new green energy plan for the US that is intentionally designed to meet five urgent needs at once. We can:

  1. tackle the rising price of fuel, a hardship for many American families,
  2. transition the US away from its dependence on foreign oil,
  3. push back against the perils of climate change, and
  4. reverse rising unemployment rates, which reached a five-year high in September.
  5. create real investment into our economy that will counter the ongoing Wall Street meltdown, and its impact on Main Street.

While Co-op America members have been making green-energy changes in their lives for many, many years, the time is NOW for a major system change.

We’re challenging each of you to come together with us and tell all presidential and congressional candidates that our country is ready for a clean energy infrastructure that makes it easier to live green.

All of our candidates need to be reminded that if we do this – if we implement a comprehensive green energy policy that calls for energy efficiency, cleaner cars, and renewable solar and wind power – we’ll ALL reap the rewards of a cleaner environment, reinvigorated economy, and more secure future.

When you click through to take our action, you’ll be prompted for your ZIP code, which will bring up all congressional and presidential candidates running for office in your area. Then you can add your own personal touch to our editable message, urging all of the candidates to endorse a greener energy platform. Please take this urgent action today.

Send your message to the candidates now »

For background on Co-op America’s clean-energy recommendations, check our latest editorial, in which we debunk the myths that can discourage progress on green energy, and outline the components that any elected leader should have in her or his energy policy. (Please post it widely online, send it to your local paper, and otherwise help us get the word out.)

Then, click through to our action page for more information on what should NOT be included in our energy policy (off-shore drilling, oil-and-gas subsidies, new coal plants, risky nuclear plants), before using our form to send your own message to Congress.

Thanks for joining with us to keep this critical issue at the top of our leaders’ minds, as we push for action now, and under the new administration in 2009.

Here's to all you do,
Alisa (signature)
Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director, Co-op America


P.S. Clean energy news: The solar energy tax credits were extended for eight years as part of legislation signed into law on October 3. You can now get 30% tax credits for solar installed on your home or business – without a cap on the amount of the credit. Thanks to all of our members who joined with us in pushing for these tax credits!

Take Action!

Tell your presidential and congressional candidates
to support a truly green energy policy.

Act now. »


Help us expand our work to build a greener energy future for America.
Donate today »


Guide to Socially Responsible Investing

Join Co-op America

to keep informed about our work to build a green economy. Receive a subscription to our
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, our green living newsletter Real Money, a copy of the National Green Pages™,
and our Guide to Socially Responsible Investing.
Your membership makes all of our work possible, and shows that more and more Americans are truly committed to a greener future.

Join Now »


Co-op America's latest green-energy editorial explains our position on a truly green energy policy for America. We invite you to post it to your own Web site, link to us, or submit it to your local newspaper. (If you do
any of the above, please let us know!)
Read the editorial »

JOIN CO-OP AMERICA | DONATE TODAY | SEND THIS TO A FRIEND

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Whose Congress is this?


Anyone who still thinks that either of the two major parties represent the interest of Main Street rather than Wall Street should take a look at how much money the members of the US House of Representatives who voted for the "No Tycoon Left Behind" bailout bill have raked in from the same financial sectors responsible for the whole mess in the first place.

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, lawmakers who voted in favor of the bailout bill have received on average 51% more in campaign contributions from sources in the finance, insurance and real estate industries (FIRE industries) over their congressional careers than those who opposed the emergency legislation.

In this election cycle, the 140 House Democrats who voted for the bailout bill collected 78% more from the FIRE industries than the Democrats who opposed it. The data shows that, over their careers, they collected 88% more. While the gap is smaller on the Republican side, those who voted yes on the bailout bill got an average of 23% more in contributions from the FIRE industries in this election cycle than House Republicans who voted against it. In the long run, they got 53% more.

When it comes to raking in cash, party leadership fares even better. House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-MA) received nearly $800,000 this election cycle from sources in the FIRE industries. Ranking Republican committee member Spencer Bachus (AL) received $822,000 from the FIRE industries this election cycle and $3.7 million since 1989.

Unlike the two corporate parties now running Congress, Green Party candidates accept no corporate contributions. When in office, we will not be owned and bossed by Wall Street fat-cats. Green Officeholders are free to vote for what's best for us, the American people, instead of the Wall Street insiders who now run the show.

But to make your voice heard, we need your support. If your Congressperson voted against the bailout bill, thank them. If they voted for it, tell them how you really feel. Support Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente and other Green Party candidates on the ballot in November; and donate to our future today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Offshore Drilling and American Political Party Stances

Since 1981, drilling in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific off U.S. shorelines has been banned under a federal moratorium. Last week, in response to high gas prices and continued dependence on an oil-based economy, the Democrat-controlled House voted 236-189 to open these offshore areas to exploration and drilling. If passed into law, the House bill would allow oil drilling 50 miles from shore with a state's permission and 100 miles from shore without a state's permission. The bill would also remove restrictions on oil shale drilling in the western United States (which the National Wildlife Federation called a "double disaster" for our climate), eliminate some tax credits currently held by oil companies, and require that 15% of U.S. energy production be by renewable sources by 2020.
The Republican view:

The McCain/Palin rallying cry has been "Drill, Baby, Drill!" House Republican leaders spent the summer holding weekly press conferences calling for resumed drilling. Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, strongly supports oil exploration in her home state's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. John McCain - who asks crowds at his campaign rallies for their support for drilling for oil wherever they happen to be standing - states that he will "cooperate with the...Department of Defense in the decisions to develop these resources," illustrating his belief that U.S. energy policy and the invasion and occupation of oil-rich nations are clearly linked.
The Democratic view:

The key word has been "compromise". House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traded support for a 27-year old moratorium on offshore drilling for slightly higher taxes on oil companies, who will likely immediately continue making record profits by passing increased costs onto customers. Instead of focusing on the need for new, truly clean energy sources, Barack Obama trumpets his willingness to work across the aisle on increasing vehicle fuel efficiency (instead of replacing polluting engines with replacement technologies) and further development of so-called "clean" coal. Obama's support for new coal development (and the mountaintop removal and strip mining we use to obtain it) is a step back to a 19th-century, not 21st-century, energy strategy.
The Green view:

We oppose the toxic and environmentally-destructive national oil-based energy strategy. We agree with the experts who insist that new sources of domestic oil could not be discovered, processed, and refined within a decade. We urge immediate investment in strategies that can have both a short-term and sustainable impact on our national energy strategy, such as solar, wind, and other non-polluting alternative energy sources.
As Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney says, "Leave the Oil in the soil." We support leaving it in the soil, ocean floor, shale, and wherever else the oil parties imagine they might find it.
Help the Green Party win investments in sustainable alternative energy sources by investing in the McKinney/Clemente campaign and the Green Party of the United States. Democrats have called for increasing investments in renewable energy sources by a paltry 15% over the next decade - we can make real changes if you pledge to increase your support of the Green Party and its candidates by 15% right now!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Michael Cavlan endorses Farheen Hakeem


I have been incredibly busy, being a Street Medic treating the victims
of police brutality, doing Indy media journalism and telling the stories
that the local and national corporate media refuse to do, exposing our local elected officials complicity in the RNC police abuse etc etc. I have wanted to answer this post and finally get time and the chance.

I will answer as a Trade Union activist, Registered Nurse, having worked organizing with the MNA, proud former member of the Michigan Nurses assoc, ITGWU (Irish Transport and general Workers Union) IVG&ATA (Irish VintnersGrocers & Allied Trades Assoc) and I come a family with a long history of Trade Unionism. I also speak as male feminist and social justice activist.

I proudly and gladly endorse Farheen Hakeem and will be delighted when she becomes my representative. Rest assured, she will in all likelihood win this election.

Recently, the psuedo-progressive organization Take Action Minnesota (formerly
Progressive Minnesota) endorsed, supported and helped Mayor Coleman in his
election. This is the same "progressive" who, along with RT Ryback stood
with the police, giving them the legal authority to brutalize protestors.

This means that those "progressives" in Take Action Minnnesota now have
some serious egg on their faces. Once Farheen Hakeem wins this seat we can
assume that the MNA and Social Workers Union will likewise have egg on their
faces.

Taking this to a deeper level though, there are other questions that must be
asked. The MNA and Social Workers Union both represent professions that are
primarily women. Yet they choose to not endorse Farheen Hakeem, who is a woman.
Can it be that Farheen Hakeem represents people who will not accept the classist,
racist and sexist status quo?

Florence Nightingale was a radical activist for the poor and in opposition to the war of her time, the Krimean War. Farheen Hakeem best represents the spirit of Florence Nightingale in 61B. Sadly, that spirit seems to have been crushed, a long time ago in the Minnesota Nurses Association.

This Nurse, who has walked picket lines during the June 2001 Nurses strike and long time Union activist proudly stands with my sister Farheen Hakeem. She will make history, being the first Green and first Muslim woman elected to the Minnesota House.

The MNA, Social Workers Union and Take Action Minnesota will all be far too busy washing the egg off their faces to notice.

Michael Cavlan RN
Powderhorn

Friday, September 26, 2008

Barkley on Bailout: 'Key Questions Remain Unanswered'

Pre-Election Rush to 'Solutions' Reminiscent of 2002 Iraq War Debate

For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher Truscott
612.423.2582
ctruscott@senatorbarkley.com

SAINT PAUL—Dean Barkley, the Independence Party candidate for U.S. Senate, outlined his concerns about the proposed Wall Street bailout with eight key questions at a press conference Friday morning at the State Capitol:

We should not take at face value that a meltdown of our financial market is imminent. What specific events can be cited that foretell these doomsday prophecies? Specifically, where is credit being withheld and where is there inadequate liquidity in the markets?

What percentage of the financial market is involved in this problem? The banking sector seems to be just fine. Bank America and Wells Fargo are still making loans. Can't the Federal Reserve pick up the slack to provide the capital necessary to replace this source of funds?

Who decided that the sky will fall if a decision is not made by Monday? What was the basis of this prediction? What is happening in the market now that would prove this immediate danger?

Where did the $700 billion figure come from?

Isn't the doom-and-gloom rhetoric coming from the Bush administration creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Why do we need a rush to judgment on this issue?

What specific reforms in leverage requirements, contingent liability disclosure, and regulatory oversight will be implemented to ensure this situation does not resurface.

How will adding $700 billion more to the national debt affect the exchange rate and the price of oil?

Once this precedent is set, who will be next in line? The auto industry? Airlines? Auto loans? Hedge funds?


"In the rush to find 'solutions,' too many key questions remain unanswered," Barkley said. "I'm not ideologically opposed to a bailout at some point, if necessary, but the way in which the Administration and Congress is handling this is reminiscent of the pre-election Iraq War debate six years ago. The American people deserve better than that this time around."

Earlier this week, Barkley called for responsible business leaders and non-partisan politicians, like former Medtronic CEO Bill George and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to be included in the search for answers to the problems affecting certain sectors of the economy.

On Thursday, he said Congress should delay action on the bailout proposal.

"Everyone is worried about the economy, including me," Barkley said this week. "But the worst thing Congress can do right now is rush through a massive bail-out bill before adjourning in just a few days. More than 100 leading economists agree: Let's take a while to breathe, talk to voters over the next month and get a better handle on how the economic indicators are shaking out before we hand over hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street titans."
* * * * *

Barkley, 58, served as the director of the Minnesota Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning under Gov. Jesse Ventura. In November 2002, Ventura appointed Barkley to fill the final two months of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone's term.

The former governor said recently that Barkley is "measured minute by minute … the most effective U.S. senator in Minnesota history."
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