Tuesday, December 30, 2008


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

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!"
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