Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Greens Demand Impeachment

McClellan revelations demand immediate impeachment, say Greens

• Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald must probe new evidence in
Plame case; Democrats and Republicans who refuse to hold Bush and
Cheney accountable are complicit in White House crimes

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders called impeachment an urgent
necessity after former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's
revelation that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were involved
in the conspiracy to expose the identity of CIA undercover operative
Valerie Plame.

"Evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors from the White House are
staring us in the face. What will it take for the Democratic Party to
move on impeachment? By refusing to impeach, House Majority Leader
Steny Hoyer [D-Md.], Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.], Sen. Harry Reid
[D-Nev.], and other Democratic leaders are aiding and abetting crimes
committed by President Bush and Vice President Cheney," said Peter
Thottam, Green Party member, attorney, and Executive Director of the
Los Angeles National Impeachment Center

Greens called it absolutely imperative that US Department of Justice
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald investigate Mr. McClellan's
assertions about the role of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney in an illegal
attempt to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson after Mr. Wilson
revealed that the President's 2003 State of the Union claim about an
Iraqi nuclear weapons material deal was based on a known forgery.

The Green Party of the United States called for impeachment in July
2003 after President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, which Greens
called an act of military aggression outlawed under the US
Constitutional and international law, and lied to the American people
about the reasons for the invasion.

Since 2003, White House crimes have continued to mount: detention
without trial, surveillance of US citizens without warrant, approval
for torture, "signing statements" purportedly allowing the President
to disregard laws passed by Congress, violation of international laws
and treaties signed by the US, inaction and racist response to
environmental emergencies (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), endangering
public health by tampering with scientific research on global warming.

Greens supported former Rep. Cynthia McKinney's (D-Ga.) impeachment
motion in December 2006
and have praised Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-Ohio) recent introduction
of an impeachment resolution, which was tabled by House Democratic

In recent months, several Green Party activists have protested and
committed acts of civil disobedience to persuade Rep. John Conyers
(D-Mich.) and other Congress members to impeach the President and Vice

"If we had some Greens in Congress right now, we'd already be seeing
impeachment and possible criminal prosecution. Greens would not only
lead on impeachment, their very presence would drive top Democrats and
perhaps some Republican to support it. It's time to replace two-party
collusion with multi-party competition," said David J. Kalbfleisch,
Green Party candidate for the U.S. House in Illinois (10th District)


Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
• Green Party News Center
• Green Party Speakers Bureau
• Green candidate database for 2007 and other campaign information:

"Democrats, retreating on troop withdrawal, impeachment, don't deserve
votes in 2008"
Green Party press release, July 26, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Food Not Bombs Threatend with Arrest

Group Threated by Police for Serving Homeless over Thanksgiving

Nashville, TN: Participants in the Nashville chapter of public meal advocacy group Food Not Bombs were detained and threatened with arrest on Sunday, November 25 at approximately 3pm as metro police found the group sharing leftovers from their picnic with a few homeless downtown residents near the main branch public library.

The group has been having picnics in public space to raise awareness about vegetarianism, food waste, and free expression every Sunday for the past seven years. This is the latest of many such confrontations with metro officials involving helping members of the homeless community, including Walter Hunt's recent anti-panhandling and busking ordinance proposal in City Council and numerous arrests of homeless persons for a variety of capital offenses such as sleeping outside and being visible.

for more information contact:
Nate Cougill
(615) 406-2076

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Commentary: Local Referendum

Many family celebrations of Thanksgiving, like the first one, epitomize
the ideal human community: everyone contributes something, it all makes a
feast, and everyone is filled. That is not happening today, as
governments, especially in the money-creating arrangements with central
banks, depend on military force in order to further the privileges of a
few. Present networks with local governments for compulsory vaccinations
and compulsory evacuations, in what can be arranged emergencies, are
cause for serious consternation.

What we can do is to call or visit the web sites of our own local
government and advise local officials of the real necessity of holding
well-publicized referendums on local emergency plans, with
well-publicized public meetings in advance, both regarding the actual
plans and the manner by which the election will be held.

- Jean G. Braun

Monday, November 19, 2007

Commentary: Future Possible?

by Martin Holsinger

I just returned from a two-week swing through New England, and overall it was a very encouraging experience. I lived in Vermont for several years in the nineties, and in many ways felt as if I had left the US for a saner country. It was very refreshing to visit again and find a place where sanity and counterculture have spread and grown, rather than eroding and fragmenting as they seem to have done here in the south. And no, it wasn’t ”like I’d died and gone to heaven.” There were plenty of problems still to solve, both personal and political, everywhere I went. But it felt like there was the will and intelligence and infrastructure to do it. Let me give you some examples.

There are nearly 600 organic farmers in Vermont, according to the state’s organic growers’ association. Considering the small size of Vermont, this means that organic farmers are pretty ubiquitous. Not quite as ubiquitous as dairy farms—there are about 1400 of those left, down from a 1947 peak of 11,000. But gee, that’s one organic farmer for every thousand Vermonters, and about one dairy farm for every four hundred and thirty people. If we had a similar proportion here in Tennessee, there would be about five hundred organic farms and over a thousand dairy farms just in the Nashville area alone. That sure would be a different Nashville, wouldn’t it?

These aren’t just fruit and vegetable farms. There are meat and field crop producers, as well as some overlap between the organic farm numbers and the dairy farm numbers, so we are talking about the possibility of a whole diet from locally grownorganic food—yes, even homegrown sweets, because there are honey producers and maple tappers aplenty up in the northeast woods. And there are cafes and co-op grocery stores in the small towns, vibrant little community centers where people eat and shop and meet their neighbors and talk and argue and plan and create.

Not all of this food gets consumed locally. In fact, most of it gets shipped down to Boswash, the Boston-Washington urban conglomerate, where the money is. But the Vermonters would like to keep more of their produce at home, and they are working on ways to keep it local, and benefit their communities as they do. The organic farmers have teamed up with a food-policy think tank called Foodworks and Shelburne Farms, an environmental education center, to create FEED, “Food Education Every Day,” an organization which works to get local school and other institutional cafeterias to use as much local food as possible, and to educate schoolkids about the many advantages to locally grown food. They have gotten the state legislature on board, and so there are grants and incentive programs, but the program practically sells itself. I should add that it’s not a ”top down” affair; each school district, in a council of teachers, administrators, farmers, and cooks, determines its own priorities.

They have had to add one step to make it work better, but that step adds value for everyone. In Vermont, the garden season and the school season barely overlap, and everyone involved quickly realized that having a way to process and preserve food would make it more available. So, voila! Small-scale canning and processing has become part of the mix, adding value and local employment. Tomatoes and peppers become salsa or tomato sauce; carrots are made into carrot sticks, bagged, and stored; apples are sliced by the bushel—don’t ask me why, but they found out that most kids will eat more apples if they are sliced first! Processing also enables them to use produce that is not aesthetically pleasing enough to sell fresh.

And then there are the in-school educational programs—soup making contests, with the kids as judges; farm visits where kids get to pick their own carrots, blueberries, apples, or whatever; school cafeteria staff, long the subject of bad jokes, get to do something creative, nutritious, local, and tasty. It’s a win/win situation, and it’s growing. Vermonters did not seem overly worried about political, economic, or even ecological collapse.

I’m glad to know they’re up there and doing so well. I hope their inspiration spreads. We could use some of that energy down here, where locally grown food, organic or not, is still a novelty, and the organic food stores depend on trucks from California and Florida to stock not just their produce, meat, and dairy departments, but all the other grocery shelves as well. Five hundred organic producers in the Nashville area? What have we got now, about five?

What would it take to start growing our growers to the point where we might imagine local farmers providing a measurable share of the food that is eaten in middle Tennessee? First of all, we have to look at our tax codes and land valuation and zoning policies, which make it much more profitable to subdivide land and sell it than to grow food on it. Zoning has to recognize that small-scale food production is a legitimate use of one’s home, although I think there should be some common-sense limits to this! Then there are infrastructure questions—how to help people get into farming, I think the way to do this is to find people who can take on a backyard garden with a fork and a hoe and feed their neighborhood, then help them graduate to a half-acre or an acre and feed their community with occasional help from teenagers, retirees, or people who want some healthy exercise after sitting at a desk all week. And of course there are weather questions. We don’t yet know if last year’s stunning heat and drought was a terrible anomaly, or the beginning of a new pattern. Growers will have to learn to be flexible; we do live in a climate in which, with a little simple protection, salad vegetables and leafy greens will produce all winter, and that’s likely to keep on being the case, no matter what our summers become.

Meanwhile, oil is pushing a hundred dollars a barrel, and there’s no telling where the price will jump the next time there’s a catastrophe to intensify the growing scarcity. Imported food, whether from California or across the ocean, is just going to get more expensive. The sooner we start providing for ourselves, the better off we’ll be.

Martin Holsinger
Whites Creek, Tennessee

Commentary: Iran

By Alan Graf

All this talk about "jumping off on Iran" has me worried. Of course I don't want to see anyone else build atomic weapons but bombing yet another country starting with the letter "I" is not going to make us anymore secure. Remember when you were back in grade school. Almost everyone had to deal with the school bully. He, (it was usually a guy) would make everyone feel afraid by tormenting other kids so that he could keep control of the school yard. Some kids joined him figuring they were better off under his protection, but eventually, he lost it. He got expelled, he got into trouble with the law, he left town or he did something stupid which ended up hurting him. The long and short of it was that even the kids that were on his side didn't like him.

As a country we have a history of doing some good things, e.g., fighting the
Nazis, starting a government based on the Bill of Rights, putting together a
social security system, putting in place the Marshall plan, etc, and most
importantly having respect and tolerance for our cultural, ethnic and
religious differences. But in the words of the hippies, we are blowing our
good karma. We are now the bullies of the world.

Everyone, even our "friends" fear us. After all we jumped off on a country
that was not a threat to us, didn't have weapons of mass destruction, didn't
have an atomic bomb, wasn't working with Al Qaeda, and didn't do anything
to deserve the massive amount of destruction we laid on them. Thus,
everyone fears us. We have acted in an irrational and unpredictable manner
AND we have the most weapons and capable fighting force on the planet.

There is no longer a balance in the world between two world powers. It's
just us deciding what we want to decide, who we are going to bomb, who we
are going to declare war on and who we are going to make miserable. And
judging by Iraq, we don't even have to have a good reason for our actions.

Given this situation, and the fact that we have been manipulating Iranian
politics for many, many years (we installed the Shah of Iran), is it any
wonder that the Iranians don't trust the Big Bully?
Put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if you lived in Iran and the
US was sending war carriers to the Persian Gulf at the same time made public
statements about not taking "any options off the table." If it was me, I
would arm myself to the teeth given the situation in neighboring Iraq.

There is however a better way to accomplish peace for all of us. Armand
Hammer, a legendary businessman,
noted that the best way to deal with the former Soviet Union was to engage
in business and trade with them because in his words, "you are not going to
bomb someone that is making you money."

What we should be doing with Iran is raising the level of business, raising
the level of exchange, including the exchange of students, engineers and
artists, and raising the level of information exchange. The more we really
communicate with the Iranians, the better the world will be for it.

I am not naive. I am a descendant of a Holocaust family. I have heard the
inaccuracies about the Holocaust coming from the mouth of the Iranian
President. He needs an education. But he does not need a pounding on his
head. The Bible says that violence begets violence.

It is time for US to stop the violence and start talking with our enemies.
There is no other choice. Every other option will most likely lead to
another world war, which we cannot sustain.

It is up to US to make this happen. We have a proud history and great
legacy. My fellow Americans. Lets keep that dream alive.

Alan Graf is a Civil Rights and Disability Attorney

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Our Seven Year Nightmare Comes At A Cost

by Bernie Ellis

Seven years ago this month, Bush stole his first election with the help of his Daddy's Supreme Court appointees. Though there is no longer a single state where Bush enjoys majority support and his foreign policy failures abound, Bush still claims to have created a robust economy. Let's look at some comparisons:

Seven years ago, you could buy a Canadian dollar for $.59 -- now it
costs you $1.07.

Then, you could buy a Euro for $.97 -- now it costs you $1.43.

Then, a gallon of regular gas cost $1.44 -- now it's over $3.00 (and
rising fast).

Then we had a balanced budget and a surplus. Since then, Bush has raised
the national debt ceiling five times and we are now drowning in red ink.

Then, home foreclosures were at record lows -- now they're at record

Then a barrel of oil was $36 -- now it's $97.

Then a loaf of white bread was around $2 -- now it's almost $4.

Today, 15% fewer Americans have health care than did back then.

Then we were at peace -- now our brave young women and men are dying in
two wars (and Cheney's itchy trigger finger is aiming for a third.) We
have money now for body bags and Blackwater but no money to fund health
care for poor children.

Then, the dollar was the world's preferred currency -- now other
countries can't dump their dollars fast enough.

This is an economic boom? This is peace and prosperity?

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: "Are we better off today than we were seven
years ago?" Not hardly.

Being good at stealing elections hasn't translated into any other skill
worthy of our great nation.

Bush's illegitimate nightmare cannot end soon enough.

Bernie Ellis
Fly, Tennessee

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Noveber 17th Protests Oppose Missile Defense

The people in Poland and the Czech Republic are increasingly agitated as the Bush administration presses forward with plans to deploy "missile defense" systems in their countries. It took these citizens many years to get rid of the Soviet occupation and now they see their right-wing governments cutting deals with Bush to allow the U.S. to become the new military occupier in their country.

On November 17 there will be a national demonstration in Prague, Czech Republic denouncing plans for deployment of the U.S. radar base. Czech citizens are demanding the right to a national referendum as 68% of the people there are opposed to the U.S. radar facility that will make them a target as tensions increase between the U.S. and Russia.

The Union of Security Forces of the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic will join the national demonstration for Democracy that will take place in Prague. The Union comprises hundreds of policemen, firemen, customs officers, prison guards, judiciary security personnel and former workers of Czech public security forces. This is evidence that the opposition to the U.S. radar is spreading deep into Czech culture.

Solidarity protests are planned in many cities including Rome, Milan, Madrid, Barcellona, Athens, Budapest, Paris, New York and Buenos Aires.

Others around the world are sending letters to Czech embassies in their country. I faxed a letter on behalf of the Global Network last night to the Czech embassy in Washington outlining our support for the November 17 protest in Prague.

Our best wishes to our friends in Poland and the Czech Republic. We stand with you all the way.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502 (Blog) (MySpace profile)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Commentary: War Violations

The Senators did not put their names on it. By voice vote, on November
13, they approved the economy-wrecking, fetus-deforming, $471 billion
Defense authorization. With unseemly haste the same day, President Bush
signed it into law.

Michael Mukasey showed the same urgency. The media reports that his first
act is to fill high level vacancies in the Justice Department - vacancies
which suggest internal struggle at Justice, possibly over presidential
violations of law. The issue of the Mukasey confirmation is critical, not
only because of waterboarding, but because if George Bush attacks Iran
without Congressional declaration of war, that is a war crime and the
Attorney General - or acting Attorney General - must order his arrest.


- Jean G. Braun

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bishops Call for Immediate US Withdrawal

The Bishops of The United Methodist Church called for the United States and its coalition partners to begin an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. In addition to calling for the immediate safe and full withdrawal of troops and no additional deployment of troops to Iraq, their resolution urges the United States and its partners to:

Declare there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq.
Increase support for military veterans of the Iraq war and all wars.
Initiate and support a plan for reconstruction in Iraq, giving a high
priority to humanitarian, social and educational needs of the Iraqi
The resolution is directed to U.S. President George W. Bush, the U.S.
Congress, and leaders of the coalition.

"Every day that the war continues, more soldiers and innocent
civilians are killed with no end in sight to the violence, bloodshed
and carnage," the bishops said in their resolution. They cited the
deaths of more than 3,800 United States soldiers, 300 from other
coalition countries, more than 28,000 wounded and the deaths of more
than 76,000 Iraqi civilians.

The bishops made the call during their semi-annual meeting at a
church retreat center in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. The
bishops represent more than 11 million United Methodists in the
United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. About 125 active
and retired bishops from around the globe attended the meeting.

In calling for the immediate withdrawal, the bishops said their
position is based on the denomination’s position that "war is
incompatible with the teachings and examples of Christ," and Jesus
Christ’s call for "his followers to be peacemakers."

This is the latest in a series of steps the denomination’s leaders
have taken to question the Iraq war. During their November 2005
meeting, the bishops approved a resolution urging President Bush, who
is United Methodist, to create timeline for the withdrawal of U.S.
troops from Iraq.

The bishops called on United Methodists throughout the world to "be
peacemakers by word and deed," by conducting regular prayer vigils
for congregations and communities; to care for all impacted by the
war, including combatants and non-combatants by honoring the dead,
healing the wounded, and calling for an end to the war.

W & E Rehberg
Wild Clearing

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tenncare Waiver Approved

Nashville-According to a new report, Financing Health Care for the Uninsured: Who Bears the Burden in Tennessee, John Morgan, the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee, says that states are moving forward with expanding health insurance coverage and drawing down federal funds to do this. Tennessee can do this as well.

On Wednesday evening, Nov. 14, 6-8 PM, at Brookmeade Congregational Church,?State Representatives Brenda Gilmore, Sherry Jones, Gary Odom, Mike Turner and Senator Jack Johnson will participate in a Town Hall Meeting discussing this report with the public.

The full report is available at:?

Attached is a flier about this Town Hall Meeting. More details will follow on Wednesday morning, Nov. 14.

This Town Hall Meeting is being sponsored by the Local Organizing Group of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

TTPC Remembers Veterans' Day

This weekend, communities all across this nation will honor those who have served their country. Among those who have worn this nation's military uniforms, both in the past or are serving today, are many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. These service members face the prospect of immediate discharge from every branch of the military if they come out of the closet. In addition, many can be denied some of the basic benefits they earned during their service, including health care.

On this Veterans' Day, we hope all will remember both our Veterans' and active Service members who volunteer on behalf of their country, and ask Congress to end all discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in both the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Defense.

Marisa Richmond

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax

Friday, November 9, 2007

Does Peace Bring War?

Does Peace Bring War?
A commentary by Paul Barrow

The most attractive thing on local television news, it goes without saying, is a four-car accident at the corner of 5th and Main with a fire hydrant spewing Old Faithful, an SUV upside down on the sidewalk and people lying in the street. We love our accidents. We prefer to see on the local evening news what the worst idiots in our community have been up to today. I’ve never understood why someone hasn’t just appointed a local police captain to a news position at the local television station, so that we not only get to see the crime scenes but we get reality crime tv. We see the bookings, we chat with the prisoner in the morning as we give him his tray. We see children sobbing because their mother just died in an apartment fire, and we get to look at the scorched naked corpse. We get the mug shots of middle-aged men hitting the wanted list at the local precinct for raping little boys, and then we get to ask one of them after an arrest, “Why’d you do it?”

That’s the local news, right? And this is the interactive age. We know what we like because those stories invariably have the highest viewer ratings.

We like violence in many forms. In the context of the Michael Vic brouhaha, a story in the News Observer in Raleigh, NC, reports that “the Humane Society estimates there are at least 40,000 people nationally involved in dog fighting. And in a recent interview, a state representative of the group said about 1,000 people are involved with the practice in North Carolina alone.’Psychologists tell us that there is a need, a thirst for violence that can be excited through the battling of animals,’ said Bob Reder, the HSUS representative for North Carolina.”

The assertion Dennis Kucinich has about the inevitability of peace rings somehow hollow in context. If war brings a craving for peace, then perhaps peace brings a craving for war.

Peace certainly sustains, at least, a vibrant preoccupation with war toys, war video games, and a steady diet of violence on tv. That’s what appeals to us the most. We are most entertained by the very worst examples of civilized life local reporters can uncover. Is it nothing more than a need for excitement to drive away the boredom of being middle class or do we actually have a deep-seated need to re-live something ancient and primitive in us? If we are willing to accept violence in our daily lives to satisfy a need for excitement or for any reason, it is difficult to believe that life is going to get better.

The inevitability of war or peace is also a question about the nature of man’s spirit and whether or not it is possible to grow emotionally, to grow morally and to grow spiritually. Are we as a race, as a species, growing through our attempts to be civilized? Are we learning through the process how to do it better, how to live equitably with others, to give our fair share, and to take responsibility for what kind of mark our lives leave in this universe? At risk of sounding like Anthropology 101, do we, in the 21st century, know how to use history and its lessons to greater advantage than our ancestors?

Who is leading us toward these goals? Who is not?

To propose the inevitability of war is certainly cause to ask: What kind of war is inevitable? Can we predict that? For example, is a revolution possible in the United States today?

The answer to that is that we’ll fight tyranny as long as we can get a babysitter and don’t have to work overtime this week. To want justice so badly that you’ll drop everything you’re doing to fight for it represents a special state of mind not particularly familiar to most Americans today. On the take-our-country back side of things, we have a country full of vegan environmentalist knock-kneed save-the-spotted owl armchair anti-war activists who like to rally just so long as we can get a crowd of, say, a hundred thou. They’re big on the internet because sitting at a computer and just sitting are really good old country kinfolk who know each other very well.

So let’s face it: War doesn’t come out of your circumstances or mine. I know already from organizing many liberal Kucinich meetup groups, we just aren’t mad enough. War is therefore possible right now, right this minute, through your cooperation, through your complacence, your indifference to what your government is doing. It can also come, as it did with the Iraq war, through a great deception. It comes out of the detachment you have from the lives and sufferings of other people, out of the detachment of government from its own people, and out of the willful ambitions of influential men of great wealth and power who have used their talent and skills to dupe you, to organize you into little automatons each doing some simple little thing, all the while ripping you off. And you, willfully being cogs in the great wheel of someone else’s fortune, all thinking that you deserve less because you’re not as advantaged, you believe you deserve less because what you do is little compared with whom you are doing it for, who thereby, through your compliance, exercise the machinations of governmental intrigue in the desire to pilfer the coffers and resources of other nations and all who have not the power to resist. (that should be re-written, I think.)

As we all know, it’s the strong preying upon the weak. It happens to nations like Iraq worn down from a decade of sanctions till nothing was left but mere rags of people walking about with children diseased and dieing at astronomical rates, all under the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton, a president who was every bit as anxious to go to war with Iraq as George Bush. It’s what the sanctions were for. We wanted a weak nation so that we could go in and overthrow it with no resistance. The history of how the U.S. was using the U.N. to find targets in Iraq during the weapons inspection program is fairly well documented.

It’s war not on our own soil. It’s just on television. It’s out there somewhere. It’s like entertainment to us. We turn it on. We turn it off. War today. Peace tomorrow. Want to watch CNN or America’s Funniest Home Videos? That’s pre-emptive war. It’s a consumer’s war, a war between competing interests for your dollar; that’s what it means to you. It’s really a question of affordability. We look at it less from an ethical sense than from an economic one. How many billions will it cost?

Want to go to war today, son? No? How about tomorrow? Saddam is an evil man. The loss of 3500 young kids doesn’t make a huge dent in the overall sense of strength or moral duty 300 million people have as a group. We may want to get out of Iraq today, but just let some crazy Iranian fly a plane into the Sears Tower. All hell will break loose. We’ve been primed and don't let the conspiracy theorists get ahold of that one.

Fundamentally, the questions is: How do we, as a nation, introduce into our Constitution or into some other legal framework, the kind of law that outlaws war? How do we stop ourselves from entertaining and approving of acts of war by our government? How do we stop being blindsided by the intrigues of certain administrations?

Wise men have struggled with this same question for centuries, and the most modern attempt at a solution is something we call the United Nations. What has become a prototype for unity and cooperation among nations is still the most viable answer, I believe. What we as a nation must do is to relinquish substantial decision-making authority about war to the United Nations and to quit acting unilaterally despite the will of other nations affected. Unilateral action should be considered criminal and a court of international law should be able to try those who commit such crimes. People like George Bush and Dick Cheney should be locked up forever. We must be willing to lay this authority to press the button or pull the trigger at the door of a world community. Differences, cause for issue, should be placed in the hands of an arbitrator and ultimately in the control of the entire body of international representatives. It’s the only real path we must take if we want world peace.

I believe peace is inevitable. It’s inevitable because it is a law of physics. Entropy is a smoothing out of all differences, and social intercourse and global thinking are direct consequences of how that law works among human beings. It is inevitable also because it is necessary if we are to survive. And we will survive.

Paul Barrow is the Middle Tennessee Coordinator for the Dennis Kucinich Campaign

Thursday, November 8, 2007

House Passes Flawed ENDA

House of Representatives Passes Flawed ENDA

Yesterday, after many delays, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.3685, the non-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act, by a vote of 235 to 184.We believe this vote sends the wrong message that flawed civil rights legislation, that is opposed by the community it is supposed to protect, should be approved. Nobody will receive any protection from this bill since it has no chance of passage in the Senate and the President has already pledged to veto it.

Incrementalism cannot mean leaving some in the community without any protections at all. While many have claimed that the strategy of moving the weak, non-inclusive bill is similar to previous incremental civil rights advances, those advances never singled out a part of the community to be exempt from protections, but rather tackled areas of discrimination one at time, such as housing or voting. Anyone who claims that leaving transgender individuals out of ENDA is incremental is saying that they are separate from the rest of the community.

A bill that does not include gender identity may not fully protect even lesbians and gays. According to every pro-LGBT legal groups' analysis, without inclusion of "gender identity," this bill may not provide adequate protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual employees who do not conform to gender stereotypes.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition wishes to thank the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality in taking the lead in opposing this flawed bill and organizing the United ENDA Coalition, which numbered nearly 360 national, state, and local groups who stood together for fully inclusive legislation.

We remain committed to working with Members of Congress, and the new President, to getting a fully inclusive ENDA passed in 2009, which will provide real protections for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

Marisa Richmond

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Homeless Critical of Rescue Mission

The Nashville Homeless Power Project last week released the results of a survey of Nashville's Homeless with suggestions concerning issues at the Nashville Rescue Mission. According to the Homeless Power Project, "From August 22nd, 2007 to September 27th, 2007, the Nashville Homeless Power Project (NHPP) has surveyed 186 homeless people, 113 of whom are currently clients of the Nashville Rescue Mission (NRM). The remaining 73 have been clients in the past. Also in the same time frame, we received anonymous statements from 10 homeless case managers from 7 different homeless service agencies, and the written testimony of 4 Northwestern University students that stayed at the NRM during the month of August.

The survey, testimonials, and various documents which comprise this report were collected because of continual complaints from homeless individuals about the “horrible conditions” at the Nashville Rescue Mission. The NHPP has heard these types of reports without solicitation from hundreds of homeless people, and have heard similar reports from people who stayed at the Mission back in 1997 to present day 2007. The NHPP is confident that this report effectively demonstrates the condemnable reality described by clients of the NRM. Further, we believe that a random sampling of homeless people would reveal similar and countless horror stories of their time at the NRM; it is possibly the recipient of the majority of complaints of maltreatment of all homeless services agency in the city.

The purpose of this report is to facilitate extensive change within the NRM so that it will 1) provide its clients with the dignity and respect that every human being deserves, and 2) improve NRM’s capacity to move people from shelter toward permanent housing. To this end, the NHPP has compiled a comprehensive list QUALITY OF LIFE REQUESTS that NHPP believes will help NRM reach the previously stated goals (this list can be found on pages:9-11). The NHPP does not believe that we have the “only way” to improve conditions at the NRM, but we believe that there are some key actions that must be taken in order for real change to occur:

· NRM should re-orient itself to facilitate “transients” toward housing by assisting them to leave the shelter as soon as they are able to make the next steps toward transitional living or permanent housing, work, services, and/or benefits.

· Such re-orientation should include providing trained referral workers, provision of phones, protection from extreme severe weather conditions, job readiness programs, and storage for people’s personal belongings.

· Mary Crutcher, Coordinator of the Women’s Mission should be removed from directly interacting with Mission Clients, especially with the “transients,” which is the label given to homeless individuals who utilize Emergency shelter services at NRM, but are not a part of their specialized programs.

· Don Worrell, Director of Programs, should be replaced with someone who is a “people person,” and understands how to create a culture that remembers tough love while also treating people decently.

· The NRM should develop thorough staff policies that illustrates its priority to treat all of their clients with dignity and respect.

· The NRM should institute a training course to ensure that all NRM staff members understand NRM policies and processes, which should include measures of accountability to clients"

Monday, November 5, 2007

Greens to Watch on Election Day

The Green Party is off and running with candidates for public office in races throughout the US on Election Day, November 6. The total number of Green candidates in 2007 is 130. At least 225 Greens across the nation currently hold elected office. Greens ran 377 races throughout 2006, winning 67 races (18%). Out of 170 municipal and county races in 2007, Greens won 70 (41%).

45 states and the District of Columbia have parties affiliated with
the Green Party of the United States
. 22 state Green Parties have
ballot access for the 2008 national election as of October 2007.

Several candidates deserve special attention in the 2007 election:

• Chuck Turner is running for reelection to the City Council District
7 seat in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently the highest ranking
African-American Green officeholder in the US. Mr. Turner won his
primary election with 75% of the votes cast.

• Howie Hawkins, candidate for Councilor At-Large in Syracuse, New
York was endorsed by the Syracuse
Post-Standard on October 30
Mr. Hawkins ran for the US Senate in New York against Hillary Clinton
in the 2006 election.

• Grace Ross, for Councilor-at-large in Worcester, Massachusetts
, is one of twelve candidates running
for six seats after finishing sixth in the September 11 primary.


• NATIONAL On October 30, Ralph Nader, Peter Camejo, and six voters
filed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee. The 30-page
complaint details the national Democratic Party's extensive support
for challenges to Mr. Nader's ballot positions, especially efforts to
sabotage ballot petitions and harass petitioners in several states.

• ARKANSAS On October 17, the Arkansas Green Party was notified that
its petition has been certified. It is the only Arkansas party, other
than the Democratic and Republican Parties, that is on the ballot for
all offices.

• NEW JERSEY On October 17, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Neil H.
Shuster ordered that the state grant equal treatment to alternative
political parties. The ruling eliminates some of the structural
advantages long enjoyed by the Democratic and Republican Parties, and
concedes that New Jersey election law must treat alternative parties
as official "political parties" for the purposes of campaign finance,
lobbying, and voter registration. The lawsuit in the case was filed
by the Green Party of New Jersey, the New Jersey Constitution Party,
and the New Jersey Libertarian Party.

• PENNSYLVANIA Carl Romanelli, 2006 Green candidate for the US
Senate, is awaiting a decision from the State Supreme Court on
$80,000-plus in costs he was ordered to pay as a penalty for
invalidated signatures on his ballot petitions. In an equally
troubling and unprecedented twist, the court also encumbered Mr.
Romanelli's attorney, Larry Otter, with fines and costs. Pennsylvania
requires over 67,000 valid signatures for third party and independent
candidates but only 2,000 signatures for Democrats and Republicans
running for US Senator, Governor, or President. Greens have accused
the Pennsylvania court system of intimidating third parties and
independents and freezing them out of major races by exacting such
fines, which are unprecedented in the US. The Green, Libertarian, and
Constitution Parties of Pennsylvania have filed a joint law suit in
the US Supreme Court against the state's blatantly unfair and
antidemocratic ballot access laws.


• Beryl Baker for Tucson City Council Ward 4
• Dave Croteau for Mayor of Tucson

• Janice Brittain, for City Council, Hermosa Beach

• Jean de Smet, for First Selectman, Windham
• Ronna Stuller, for Board of Education, New London

• Kathleen Petitjean, for Council 1st Distict in South Bend, Indiana

• Ben Meiklejohn for Portland School Committee
• Leslie Minton for Portland School Committee

• Maria Allwine, for President of the Baltimore City Council,0,1317880.column

New York
• Margaret Human, for New Paltz Town Councilman (At-Large)
• David Lussier, for Albany County Legislature, District 7 (In a four-way race for an Albany City
Council seat in 2005, Mr. Lussier finished second with 30%)

• Jennaro Pullano, for Mayor, Reading

• Josh Ruebner, Arlington County Board
(five candidates running for two seats)

• Sally Soriano, for reelection to Seattle School Board, North
District 1
• Joe Szwaja, Seattle City Council Position 3


Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

"Sir! No, Sir!" Film Screening

NASHVILLE, Tennessee—Nashville Peace and Justice Center, Veterans for Peace and Café Outloud are hosting a film screening of "Sir! No Sir!" on November 11, 7:00pm at Café Outloud, 1707 Church Street, as apart of the NPJC 2007 film series.

"Sir! No Sir!" is the untold story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam. It was one of the most vibrant and widespread upheavals of the 1960s – one that had a great impact on American society, yet has been forgotten from the memory of that time. This hidden history has archival footage with thoughtful interviews, "perfectly timed with new doubts about the Iraq War" (Variety). Produced, Directed and Written by David Zeiger.

Nashville Peace and Justice Center is a non-profit community-based coalition of organizations and individuals working to create a more peaceful and just society. Since its founding during the first Gulf War in 1991, NPJC has led the grassroots movement for social justice in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. For more information, call 615-336-5700 or visit

Nashville Election Reform Film Screening

Concerned voters in over thirty states have persuaded their legislatures to require voter-verified paper ballots. The Congress of the United States will be voting soon on requiring paper records. Meanwhile, Tennessee remains one of the states most vulnerable to having our elections hacked. On Monday, November 12, join us at the Belcourt Theatre to learn more and to see the theatrical premiere of UNCOUNTED:The New Math of American Elections, a new documentary by Nashville filmmaker David Earnhardt (

David began the filming for UNCOUNTED in 2005 at the National Election Reform Conference, an event which brought activists from more than thirty states to Nashville.

Over the next two years David traveled the country gathering stories of everyday Americans who witnessed elections being manipulated and stolen. UNCOUNTED shows people taking action to try and right the wrongs of U.S. elections -- often at great sacrifice to themselves. The film features a variety of computer, statistical, and election experts who prove how the unethical and illegal manipulation of the vote has changed the outcomes of elections on local, state, and national levels.

The festivities will begin at 6:30 PM with a wine and cheese reception celebrating the theatrical premiere of UNCOUNTED. The film will begin at 7PM and will be followed by a half-hour panel discussion. The admission price for the entire evening is $8. Ticket proceeds will benefit Gathering to Save Our Democracy and Common Cause, two organizations working to get voter verified paper ballots in Tennessee. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at the Belcourt Theatre. Copies of UNCOUNTED on DVD will be available for purchase at the premiere.

To help us prepare for everyone who attends, please send a quick reply by clicking here to let us know if you and any guests will be joining us. For those unable to attend, DVDs of UNCOUNTED are available for purchase online at

Come for the wine, come for the film, come to learn what you can do to help ensure the safety of your vote. Your help is needed to demand Voter Verified Paper Ballots in Tennessee!

Bernie Ellis, Founder
Gathering to Save Our Democracy

Dick Williams, Chairman
Common Cause Tennessee

Commentary: Pavlov and Patriotism

by Joey King
Somewhere back in high school all of us studied about Pavlov’s dog. Just a brief refresher for those who may not remember: dogs naturally salivate when they know their about to eat. Pavlov called this an unconditioned response. A ringing bell by itself means nothing to a dog. He called this a neutral condition. But if you ring a bell before feeding a dog, in time, he will associated the neutral condition (bell) with food and salivate even if there is no food.

The same thing happens in marketing to humans. Take diamonds for instance. Eighty-five percent of women in the US own one although they are quite useless. You can not eat diamonds for instance. Using Pavlov’s research, the diamond industry has conducted a successful 80-year marketing campaign to sell a useless product. Sadly, wars are financed all over Africa with the proceeds of the “blood diamond” trade. Let that sink in for a minute. The demand for useless diamonds is financing the death of human beings in African wars. I am certain that this is an unintended consequence of the diamond trade.

Isn’t patriotism the same thing? Let’s look at a flag for example. Can you eat a flag? It is a piece of cloth. I suppose it would be good as a blanket or a piece of clothing. It might make a good floor mat for my truck, or I might put it at the entrance to my house to wipe my muddy shoes; but that is about it. Why should a red, white, and blue piece of cloth that supposedly “represents” a country called the US evoke a different response than a similar looking red white and blue cloth that is supposed to represent the island of Cuba? At one time flags served a purpose in combat. Battle flags were hoisted high so that the troops could easily see where their unit was. I do not wish to be associated with militarism myself.

The first line of the Pledge of Allegiance says:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag”

Why should I, or anyone else, pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth? I do not say the pledge; it is merely another neutral condition (in Pavlov’s terminology) designed to instill pride in my country. The last time I checked, pride is one of the 7 deadly sins; not that I am a Christian or anything, but they have that one right.

Alexander Pope said, "A patriot is a fool in ev’ry age,” and Samuel Johnson said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” I agree with both these wise men. It sickens me when I see someone like General Petraeus testifying before Congress. They seem to be in some kind of homo-erotic patriotism love affair with the uniform (another neutral condition) and his medals (yet another neutral condition) All of these symbols are designed to elicit a patriotic response in you. How many times will the Congress (usually, but not always Republican) bring up the flag-burning amendment? Since 9/11, I can’t tell you how many times have heard a talk show host, or a congress-critter say something like “I don’t want to question his patriotism but….” Senator John Kerry’s patriotism was questioned in the 2004 presidential campaign. Karl Rove, who did not serve a goddamned day in the military, stooped so low as to successfully question the patriotism of former Georgia Representative Max Cleland. That’s low, but it worked. As unbelievable as that sounds, it worked. Cleland lost his re-election bid

I have been three tombstone dedications for my Revolutionary War ancestors in the last year. The nice ladies from the Daughters of the American Revolution show up and say things like Andrew’s unit “subdued” the Chickamauga Indians; he was a real patriot. No, he was a war criminal. I am quite certain that the Chickamauga Indians of present-day Chattanooga did not like being “subdued” in their own homeland.

Why does every country want to instill patriotism in their people? Is it so that the people will kill for the leaders in a time of war? That is at least one reason I would think. There are 192 countries on planet earth; 180 of them have militaries. To my knowledge (with the possible exception of Bhutan in Himalayas) no country has a department of peace. In October 1935, MK Gandhi wrote, “The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence” Since 180 out of 192 countries have a military, it is hard to argue with Gandhi on that one.

I used to be a fool. For 7 years, I was in ROTC or was serving as a US Army officer for the empire. I am no longer a fool, or a scoundrel; I am a pacifist in the Gandhian tradition. I am at least smart enough to recognize Pavlov’s theory at work when I see it. I hope you are too.

-Joey King is a Peace Activist and former Army Ranger who resides in Middle Tennessee

Greens Respond to Climate Change Report

Green party leaders today said that a new climate change report to be released Monday proves the election of Green Party candidates into office is essential to enforce the immediate and drastic steps needed to combat global warming.

According to an Associated Press news article, the report to be issued
by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center
for a New American Security said that climate change could be one of
the greatest national security challenges ever faced by US policy
makers ("Think Tank: Climate Affects Security," by Arthur Max,
November 3, 2007

The report details numerous disastrous consequences of global warming,
including massive migration, health issues from drought, famine and
disease, and nuclear proliferation.

"Republican and Democratic officials failed to take the steps needed
to confront this global catastrophe for many years when they had the
chance, to the point that global warming is now a certainty," said
Ronald Forthofer, 2002 Green Party candidate for Governor of Colorado
and retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas
School of Public Health in Houston.

"They depend too much on corporate contributions to address global
warming aggressively," added Mr. Forthofer, who is also a member of
the Green Party's Speakers Bureau. "The frontrunners for the
Democratic and Republican presidential nomination are competing for
money from energy and nuclear producers, car manufacturers, water
privatizers, developers, and other corporations who have a vested
interest in preventing the efforts necessary to confront the problem.
Green Party candidates and elected officials take no corporate
contributions and can devote their attention fully to efforts to solve
the problem."

(See's chart of oil and gas industry contributions to
2008 presidential campaigns

Greens have called recent legislation on global warming, such as the
Lieberman-Warner bill, inadequate and corporate-friendly. The
Lieberman-Warner bill's free emissions allowances and the use of
carbon offsets to enable polluting companies meet emissions targets
will delay the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The European
Union, which grants and enforces carbon trading permits, has failed to
reduce emissions ("Smoke alarm: EU shows carbon trading is not cutting
emissions," The Guardian, April 3, 2007

Monday's report expects regional conficts to increase as a result of
competition for land, water and other resources, and predicts "the
collapse and chaos associated with extreme climate change futures
[will] destabilize virtually every aspect of modern life."

"As the highest consumer of energy and resources, the US must take the
lead in setting a good example with a short-term 50-70 percent
reduction of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions necessary to contain
climate change," said Deanna Taylor, co-chair of the Desert Greens
(Utah) and member of the Green Party's Eco-Action Committee. "Wars
for resources like the Iraq War will increase unless we take immediate
action. War financing will continue to steal dollars from human needs
and prevent us from promoting sustainable jobs from new energy
technologies, including energy efficiency and renewables, that will
address global warming."

The Green Party also strongly opposes the use of nuclear energy as an
alternative to fossil fuels, citing security risks, high costs, and
the difficulty of disposing huge amounts of dangerous nuclear waste.


Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193