Category Archives: Politics

Treasurer Tim to leave the Democratic Party

WBUR reported this morning that Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill will be leaving the Democratic Party.  It was covered by 35 news sources based on, including The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and others.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised that his departure from the Democratic Party would receive at least an order of magnitude more coverage than his apparent conflicts of interest.

Good luck with the party change, Tim.  Its a lot more fun outside of a party that controls the 80% of the legislature, but still socks it to the poor with a sales tax increase while not halting the decrease in the corporate income tax rate. 

Yes, you heard that right, the 9.5% corporate income tax changes to 8.75% in 2010, 8.25% in 2011 and 8% in 2012+.  Financial institutions rates will change from 10.5% now to 10% in 2010, 9.5% in 2011 and 9% in 2012+.  My how "progressive" these Democrats are.

UPDATE: Apparently Steve Grossman, former head of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and a past candidate for Governor, will run for Massachusetts Treasurer.

Congratulations to the European Greens

Congratulations to my fellow Greens participating in the 2009 European Parliamentary elections.  Ecolo in Belgium, Europe Écologie/Les Verts in France, the Socialist People's Party in Denmark, Bündnis90/Die Grünen in Germany and Sweden's Miljöpartiet de Gröna did particularly well.  All got over 10% of the vote.  Unfortunately, Comhaontas Glas in Ireland and Strana Zelenych in the Czech Republic, both in government, were trounced very soundly and did not receive any MEPs.

Also, congratulations to the Swedish Pirate Party for its strong showing and electing an MEP.

How we aren’t Japan

Paul Krugman writes:

So far the Obama administration’s response to the economic crisis is
all too reminiscent of Japan in the 1990s: a fiscal expansion large
enough to avert the worst, but not enough to kick-start recovery;
support for the banking system, but a reluctance to force banks to face
up to their losses. It’s early days yet, but we’re falling behind the

He has likened our government's response to that of Japan during its "lost decade" in the 1990s after the crash of its property bubble and resulting financial crisis. 

In a number of ways I agree.  However, there are three things are very different between Japan then and the US now: two economic:

  • US corporations, and likely foreign corporations operating US factories and offices, will not hold back on laying off workers.
  • The US savings rate is abysmal.

and one political:

  • The US is not dominated by one political party.

This later point is the most important one. 

While I have long maintained that the Democrats and Republicans are, in regards to the economy and capitalism, very similar, there are differences.  After all, 36 of 41 Republican Senators supported the DeMint amendment to the stimulus bill which would have reduced federal government revenues by over $3 trillion and further enriched corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

If Obama cannot clean up the mess GW left us by 2010, or at least show enough progress, things could get very difficult for the congressional Democrats on election day.

Live blogging the GRP convention

I have no idea whether there will be wifi at the GRP convention today.  However, I will be live blogging the convention, either here or on my twitter account.  Hope to see you there.

NOTE: I forgot my camera's download cable, so pictures will have to wait until tonight.  I'll put them up at the GRP flickr group.

10:10am Arrived and checked in

10:15am Didn't have wifi yet – twittered the 1st post, now have wifi, yeah!

10:20am Caught the last of the opening plenary:

  • Sandra Harris spoke on anti military recruiting
  • Nancy Lee wood speaking on peak oil
  • Ben Grosscup from NOFA speaking on community farm initiative

10:31am Plenary over, Nat Fortune, co-chair, is thanking plenary participants, convention comm. and Steve Baer for food, Telling us what is next and where the workshops are.  I will not post for the next hour because I have to go run a workshop.

10:40-11:35am lead the Growing Our Membership workshop – great discussion from members throughout the state about local organizing and growing our membership.  Focus on developing goals/strategy for you, your local area and the state party.

12:10pm Office holder plenary started.  Arthur Conquest, Brookline town meeting member, is speaking and, rightfully, chiding us for the lack of latino and african-americans at the convention, that we need to broaden our membership and that we must support Chuck Turner.  Amen!  

12:20pm Other candidate statements and open questions

12:55am Question: how do you keep elected offices accountable: Luc suggested using Chuck Turner's district roundtables

01:02pm Lunch is starting, GRP nominations for Administrative Committee to follow after that.

01:46pm Been having a fun time with the local McKinney campaign organizers talking about the lessons of the campaign.  Folks are eating and mingling.

02:12pm Merelice is talking about the rest of the convention with nominations and elections to the Administrative Committee and our representatives of to the national party up next.

02:26pm Nominations are being proposed and candidates are speaking:

Female Co-Chair: Martina Robinson, Jill Stein

Male Co-Chair: Eli Beckerman

Secretary: John Andrews

Treasurer: Merelice

Membership Director: Lee Scott Laugenour

Fundraising Director: David Dionne

Communications Director: Grace Ross, Lloyd Smith, John Andrews (withdrew)

Female National Rep: none

Male National Rep: Lee Scott Laugenour

Female Alternate National Rep: Jamie McLaughlin

Male Alternate National Rep: none

03:14pm Break up for workshops.  Since I am not running one, I will be taking pictures and posting them later.

03:58pm Heading home.  See you all later!

Update:  I heard that the winners for the elections were:

Female Co-Chair: Jill Stein

Male Co-Chair: Eli Beckerman

Secretary: John Andrews

Treasurer: Merelice

Membership Director: Lee Scott Laugenour

Fundraising Director: David Dionne

Communications Director: Lloyd Smith

Male National Rep: Lee Scott Laugenour

Female Alternate National Rep: Jamie McLaughlin

At least one person's take on the convention is posted at the GRP Facebook group.

Congratulations, Mr. President-elect!

A delayed congratulations to Barack Obama, for winning a resounding victory as President of the United States.  I did not vote for him, as I followed Eugene Debs' saying that "I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don’t want, and get it," and voted for Cynthia McKinney instead. 

Most of my motivation in voting for Cynthia was that I felt she was the best candidate for the job.  However, another of my motivations was simply that she is the candidate of MY PARTY, and, DAMMIT, I support the nominee of my party, especially one who is devoting her time, money and effort to run.  I have been a candidate for a commonwealth-wide office twice.  Running for political office is difficult.  It puts a strain on your life and can put a wedge between you and your family.  As such, I cannot, in good conscience, turn my back on my own party's nominee.

For a Green-Rainbow to say that they won't support our nominee because we need to make sure Obama wins Massachusetts, as if there was any doubt about that, well … it makes angry.  I'll still love them and work with them, but it makes me wonder whether they will have my back.  As Utah Phillips has told us many times:

They were the people working down at the bottom, in the forest, in the mines, in the wheat harvest. Old Jack Miller, who ran the Citizen's Center up in Seattle, Washington, once said, “When we started in the forest, we spoke two different languages, and most of us had never been to school, and we couldn't read or write. We lived in our emotions, and we were comfortable there. We made decisions in our lives for which there is no language. We made commitments to change, to struggle for which there are no words. But those commitments carried us through fifty or sixty years of struggle. You show me people who make the same commitments intellectually, and I don't know where they'll be next week.” And then he added to that hardest of all things, he said that, “We, speaking all those languages, hardly speak to each other. Armed only with our degradation as human beings, we came together and changed the conditions of our labor and the conditions of our lives. You young people, with all you've got, why can't you do that?” Now, that's a very serious charge to lay at our feet.

That said, I am proud that the US finally elected its first African American President.  Took a far too long.

The Opposition – Registering Green in 2008

Posted with permission from Jeremy Cannon.  He sums things up pretty well.

On November 4th, 2008, I will be eligible to vote in my first federal election.

On the ballot will be what seems like the scripted tale of American
governance: The "maverick" war hero Republican and the smooth talking
young Democrat.

Who really wins in this ballet of moderation?

I know who will lose:

People seeking effective universal healthcare.

McCain plans on tearing down any real way to assist people in getting
healthcare with what is the most conservative healthcare plan I have
ever heard be promoted nationally.
Obama has a plan with a lot of specifics that don't add up and when
they do add up, it doesn't equal universal healthcare and sounds far
more expensive than it is helpful.

People seeking marriage equality.

McCain and Obama agree – gay people should not get married.

People seeking an end to war.

McCain and Obama have both voted, whenever possible, to continue the
War in Iraq. Obama was not in the Senate when it started, but he has
voted to fund it every time.

McCain and Obama agree, we need more troops in Afghanistan. Not a
different strategy on combating global terrorism, but more troops in

People seeking education reform.

McCain and Obama agree with Bush – charter schools are a good solution.

People seeking privacy.

McCain and Obama voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act and for FISA.

People seeking clean energy.

Both McCain and Obama have expressed support for the oxymoron of an idea of "clean coal".
Both McCain and Obama have expressed support for nuclear power.
Both McCain and Obama have expressed support for offshore drilling,
even though Obama had clearly been against it until he made his recent
Senator Obama voted FOR the Energy Policy Act of 2005 – which amounts
to a $12,300,000,000 subsidy for big oil and nuclear power.

People seeking budget reform.

Both McCain and Obama have voted consistently for Bush's budgets.

People seeking electoral reform.

Both McCain and Obama have supported excluding people from the debates that do not agree with their corporate agenda.

People seeking corporate accountability

Both McCain and Obama supported the bail out. The same one that
continues to allow people to do the same things that led to the current
economic mess.

You get the idea: John McCain and Barack Obama win – the majority
continues to lose. I will not vote for this. I cannot consciously
support either major party candidate.

So what will I do? I will vote for the candidate that represents me best.
This radical idea was not mine first, admittedly, as George Washington
himself opposed the party system. I do not oppose the party system, I
oppose the TWO party system.

So, I registered Green.

The Green Party, like many other third parties, is funded by the people (not corporations) and provides answers:

YES to Single-Payer Healthcare – accessible to all citizens.
YES to a living wage.
YES to marriage equality – no more discrimination.
YES to ending wars.
YES to education reform.
YES to privacy.
YES to clean energy – no oil or nuclear money.
YES to budget reform.
YES to electoral reform – more than two candidates!
YES to corporate accountability.

I, no longer, have to wonder what will happen to the poor family that
can't afford healthcare, the working mom that just can't make enough
money, the gay couple ready to tie the knot, the brother in Iraq, the
children who need to learn, the conversations I have in private, the
planet I love to live on, the money I spend, the people I vote for, and
the unchecked corporate fat cats that have squandered our future for
their own gain.

The Green Party has the answers to the questions I asked.

Maybe the Green Party doesn't answer questions in the way you support,
but a different third party probably does. I URGE you to look up a
party that supports what you want NOW, not tomorrow.

Jeremy Cannon