Tag: Green Party

Big News! More Jobs in Clean Energy Than Coal & Oil for First Time!

Global-Climate-ChangeThere was some great news for those of us advocating on behalf of Planet Earth today, as the United States reported that, for the first time, employment in the solar energy industry is greater than the number of jobs in oil and natural gas extraction. That incredibly important milestone, which flies in the face of many of the Right’s economic arguments against environmentalism, took place last year, but the numbers have just been released.

Anyone with one eye and half sense already knew this would happen. As the public becomes better-educated about clean energy and its myriad benefits — benefits which transcend the critical impact on global climate change — the demand for solar, wind and other renewable resources will simply continue to grow by leaps and bounds. The fact that those industries are now less profitable than their long-established dirty energy counterparts is due only to the fact that a great deal of research and development and marketing ramp-up has to take place before the economies of scale kick in.

This news gives great additional credibility to the Presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein as they attempt to convince the American voting public of the viability of an economy based primarily on these emerging energy markets and products.

Go tell that to your cynical conservative friends.

You Go, Elizabeth! If Dems Are Looking for a Trump Attack Dog, They’ve Found Her

Elizabeth Warren: HRC's Attack Dog?

Elizabeth Warren: HRC’s Attack Dog?

Traditional political strategy suggests that each major party’s ticket must include in the number two spot a real “attack dog” capable of going after the other party’s presidential candidate. If that wisdom continues to hold, the Democrats have found their vice-presidential nominee: Elizabeth Warren.

In a series of Twitter exchanges with Republican nominee-to-be-for-sure Donald Trump over the weekend, Elizabeth decimated the dullard billionaire. You can read a particularly cogent account of the dialogue here to get some idea of why I am enthusiastic about this subject.

According to Ashley Parker’s report, at one point Trump tried to attach the label of “Goofy” to Ms. Warren. Demonstrating her understanding that the best way to go after Trump is to question his success and intelligence, Elizabeth countered with something like:

“Seriously? The man with “all the best words”? The best you can come up with is “Goofy”? Weak.”

She had me on the floor! Brilliant comeback. And exactly the formula for keeping Trump as far as possible from our nation’s corridors of power.

As you know if you follow this space, I’m a committed Green Party person. My support and my vote in 2016 go to Jill Stein. But if the Democrats were to nominate Hillary Clinton, and if she were to pick Elizabeth Warren has her VP candidate, it would be very tempting to realign with the my life-long party.

Somebody has got to keep Donald Trump out of Washington!

Please.

It’s Been a Great Run, Bernie, But It’s Time to Go Green

As regular readers of this space know, I’ve given up on the Democratic Party in recent elections. Independent Bernie Sanders, running as a Democratic “outsider”, got my attention and I’ve been a rabid supporter since he announced. I absolutely prefer him as my next President.

But from the perspective of the issues, the Democratic Party no longer closely embodies my values. Hillary Clinton is not acceptable to me. The reasons are myriad and this column isn’t about that subject. I will stay with Bernie all the way to the convention if he stays in.

But, Bernie, please do this favor: seek and accept the nomination of the Green Party while still fighting for the Democratic nomination. There is precedent for a candidate to appear on more than one party’s ballot. As an Independent, you don’t owe fealty to the Democratic Party. The Green Party platform aligns right down the line with your policy positions. Equally or more important, your backers are as disaffected by the Democrats and HRC as anyone. They don’t feel any loyalty to the Democrats either.

By adding the Green Party to your cred, you might pick up some votes. But importantly, you’d be broadening your reach and appeal and taking your message global.

Besides, you’d give me a nice out!  I could keep my promise to back you until you drop out and then switch to the Green candidate.

Go Green, Bernie!! Please?

Hillary Finally Comes Around on Keystone

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today finally announced that she is opposed to the construction of the terribly bad-for-the-climate Keystone XL Pipeline. This moves her one tiny step closer to being an acceptable candidate for President among those of us whose sole focus is on global climate change as the overriding political issue of the 2016 election.

She’s still a long way away from acceptable. For one thing, given her reputation for, shall we say politely, political expediency, there’s no guarantee she’ll retain this position for the remainder of the campaign, let alone should she succeed in becoming the next President of the United States (a distinct possibility). For another, when she was President Obama’s Secretary of State, she tacitly if not actively backed the pipeline as part of her official stance. So this new position can be seen as a bit of a flip-flop.

But more importantly, HRC has not shown any real desire to be a visible leader in the global climate change movement, as a Senator, as Secretary of State, as a chief leader of a major world charitable foundation or as a candidate for President. This is a subject about which it seems essential to develop some serious personal passion in order to be willing to have a significant impact on the future of humanity.

So for me, I’m cautiously grateful to Secretary Clinton for taking this stance, but I’m going to stay with my current political stance pending much greater movement on her part on the only existential issue of the political scene: global climate change.

Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein: Two Hopes for 2016

As an unabashed democratic socialist / dyed-in-the-wool progressive, I’m delighted to have two good choices in the field for President of the United States in 2016.

Independent/Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has my primary attention despite the fact that he seeks the nomination of a party that is captive of Corporate America. He’s just independent enough in his thinking and in his long-held policy positions that he may well be able to overcome his party’s abysmal failure to draw important distinctions between it and the Republicans. Looked at outside the constraints of party, Sanders is easily my favorite candidate in many, many years.

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has essentially all the same policy positions as Sanders but without the baggage of a lost and meandering party. That strength is also her practical weakness. Combine her inexperience in both political office and executive management with the lack of a major party backing and she looks a bit more than a little Quixotic.

I can barely make out the outlines of a scenario in which Sanders gets his party’s nomination. If Hillary Clinton’s email problems — which surfaced again in a new coat that looks a lot like pants-on-fire today — combine with a smoldering major scandal lurking in her and her husband Bill’s family foundation, I could see her candidacy spectacularly implode. If Sanders stays the course long enough and that implosion is big enough, he could step in and pick up the pieces. She is a flawed — maybe even fatally flawed — candidate. Depending on how long it takes for her demise to come to fruition, she may be forced to withdraw from the race in disgrace.

Meanwhile, Sanders is keeping the Left agenda alive, moving her farther left in the process, and although he seems genuinely intending to win the nomination, he’s a pragmatic guy. Somewhere deep down inside he has to have a Plan B for what to do if and when HRC becomes unstoppable.

Enter the Greens. It would not be unprecedented for them to name Sanders as their nominee as well. Then if and when the Democratic Party completes its abandonment of its primary purpose and constituencies under Center-Left Hillary Clinton, Sanders picks up the mantle from the truly progressive Greens. Meanwhile, he runs on both tickets; it’s not like he’s a die-hard Democrat.

Stein, on the other hand, has served the Greens well, acting as their national standard-bearer in 2012. Her messaging is clear, she’s bright, articulate and energetic. She doesn’t have a real shot at the White House because of the way politics in this nation is rigged. But with matching funds, she can run a respectable campaign, further harass HRC from the left, and keep the Progressive agenda alive in the minds of voters like me who just don’t want more of the same.

I’m going to keep backing Sanders but providing some support for Stein as well until this sorts itself out. I’m no longer a party loyalist. I’m a democratic socialist. I’ll end up backing the candidate from whichever party comes closest to my ideals, electability be damned. This is the start of a long period of change. The battles are not the decisive points; the war is what matters.

 

Of Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders

Every time Dennis Kucinich tossed his hat into the Democratic Party’s nominating ring for President, I supported him until he was forced to withdraw. I saw the action as largely Quixotic, but for me at the time, the party had clearly decided to shift strongly to the center-right of the American political spectrum, leaving Lefties like me out in the cold. I wasn’t interested in backing what I saw as an even more Quixotic third-party position, so I provided what evidence I could of my concern with this shameful party shift by backing the only real Progressive in the presidential field.

As you know if you read my blog regularly, this year I have overcome my doubts about the value of a third-party approach to the upcoming Presidential election and have become a Green. I fully intend to back whoever gets that Green Party nomination for President and fully expect it to be Jill Stein.

Now that Independent Bernie Sanders has entered the race for the Democratic nomination, I’m hitting the Pause button on the Greens for 2016, at least for a few moments.

Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, is perfectly aligned ideologically with me and with the Green Party. I’d like to see the Greens nominate him as their candidate as well, whether he receives the Democratic Party nod or not.

bernie_sanders-sketchIn many ways, Sanders is like a slightly upgraded Kucinich. He is a more savvy politician with a longer and more consistent track record than Dennis. And this year in particular, his candidacy is more than symbolic as he faces off against one of the most centrist of Corporatist Democrats, Hillary Clinton, who already has the nomination all but sewed up. (That “all but” is important.) MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, an unabashed fan of Sanders, pointed out on her show last night that the Independent who has always caucused with the Democrats without formally joining their ranks has raised $4 million in a relatively short time (full disclosure: I have contributed a small amount of that $4 million), which is more than several of the announced GOP candidates have so far.

He says he’s in it to win, not to influence Clinton or shift her or the party farther left as an acceptable outcome. I believe him.

Political satirist Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker and the Borowitz Report yesterday gave Sanders a real boost in a piece entitled “Integrity Disqualifies Sanders for White House.” Tongue-in-cheek, Borowitz, who is easily the best political satirist writing in America today, makes a valid point. By staying out of and above the partisan fray, Sanders finds himself beholden to no political interests at all. But he’s a force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill because he knows his way around the room and he has respect from the sell-outs by whom he is surrounded, people who surely have consciences (at least in some cases) and recognize integrity when they see it, even if they disrespect it and distance themselves from it.

So I’m going to keep a close eye on how Sanders is received, how clean he can keep his message, and on the new policies he develops as he goes along (including one on the right to vacation time profiled in this HuffPo piece). Assuming the Greens go with Stein again, she won’t need primary help so maybe I’ll dive into the Sanders campaign until he wins or is forced out. Then I’ll reassess.

This may turn out to be a more interesting election than I thought after all!

 

All-of-the-Above = Nothing-is-Left

climate-greenpeacePresident Barack Obama has been a mixed bag of results for people like me who are convinced that global climate change is largely caused by human behavior and is an existential crisis for humanity. He has done some good work in promoting renewable energy sources, but he has also maintained a politically safe and mostly unhelpful “all-of-the-above” energy policy. This approach allows him to continue to kowtow to Big Coal and Big Oil while making some measurable progress on climate change.

In the end — and make no mistake, there is an end to this strategy — it is far too little. Nothing short of a Green Revolution creating fundamental change and economic growth through the wholesale replacement of fossil fuels by wind and solar is going to have any chance of saving us.

Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton, for whom the Democratic Party nomination is hers to lose, is an advocate of those same not-enough policies. They have, after all, worked for Obama, so why not continue the course?

That’s why I’m voting Green in 2016. We need unequivocal anti-fossil-fuel policies and commitments. We cannot continue “all-of-the-above” until nothing is left.

 

For the First Time Ever, I’m a Single-Issue Voter. You Should Be, Too!

I’m about to cast a ballot in my 14th Presidential election. And at the ripe old age of 70, I’m breaking two long-held traditions for voting in my family and in my life. The two changes are closely related.

First, as you know if you read this blog regularly, I’m bolting the Democratic Party this year. This will mark only the second time in my life I’ve backed a candidate from a party other than the Democratic Party for President, but this time around I’m backing the Green Party candidate. I anticipate it will be Jill Stein but I am confident of one thing: whoever the Green is, he or she will be right on the only issue I care about this year.

And second, as you probably deduced, I’m a single-issue candidate. The march toward planetary collapse is the only issue worth considering or voting on in 2016. Because if a candidate who is anything less than fully committed to and engaged in reversing that march is elected and if U.S. politics continue with more of the same when it comes to minimizing the effects of and reversing where possible the disastrous consequences of, global climate change, there won’t be a planet, let alone a United States, worth fighting over in 50 years or less.

No one who has even been whispered as a possible candidate for either of the major parties — with the solitary exception of Bernie Sanders and he’s not a real Democrat and therefore has no chance of getting the party’s nomination — has a formal position or platform plank on the subject that is anything more than lip service.

Green-Party-Values-LogoThe Green Party has been front and center on this issue for years. It has a strong, massive and detailed plank in its current platform on Ecological Sustainability of which Climate Change is the primary consideration. The platform has only five major planks and this is one of them.

In its recitation of the party’s 10 key values, here’s what it has to say about “Ecological Wisdom”:

Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.  We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

It is my sincere belief that only by forcing the “two” major parties to at least have an honest debate on this central and critical issue can the 2016 Presidential election mean anything to future generations. The question we will ask as we choose our next national leader is whether we actually care how we leave the planet for our children and our grandchildren. I have both and I must say I’m ashamed to leave them the mess we’ve created. It may well lead to the extinction of the human race or, at the very least, to a paring back to a sparsely populated, technology-primitive, factionated world of 200 or 300 or more years ago, with a long path to rebuilding.

From now until the end of the 2016 election cycle, I am committed to frequent updates of this blog focused only on the issue of a sustainable environment and the politics attendant to that issue.

I invite you to join me and to get your friends and neighbors and colleagues to join you. Corporate America along with their Corporatist Republicrats and Dempublicans are arrayed against us. They have the money. But we have Wisdom, Spirit and Voice with us.

The stakes could literally not be higher.

Let’s march!

I Could Get Behind Biden

I’ve made no secret of my decision to bolt the Democratic Party in the face of its domination by Corporatists like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton along with dozens of senators and congresscritters. I’ve switched my allegiance to the Green Party in the first phase of a long-term strategy to force broader discussion and consideration of the Progressive agenda in this country.

Vice-President Joe Biden. Maybe for President 2016?

Vice-President Joe Biden. Maybe for President 2016?

But if the current rumblings about Joe Biden taking a run at the Democratic Party nomination turn out to be true, I may have to revisit my decision. Biden’s a legitimate progressive thinker with the intelligence and experience to make a fine President. At a time when our two biggest problems — economic inequality and global climate change — call for outside-the-box thinking and bold action, Biden represents a possible alternative to the Greens with a viable chance of victory in 2016.

I’d want to know a lot more about Biden’s policies. He’s spent eight years in the deep shadow of the presidency of Obama, many of whose policies have been far too centrist to say noting of ineffective for my taste. I’d want to know the extent to which Biden fought for more Progressive thinking behind the scenes even as he fell into line like a good soldier when decisions went against his preferences. But his reputation as a Senator was certainly that of someone who identified with and earnestly supported the cause of the Middle Class. The disappearance of that class is already well under way at the behest of Republicans and Corporatist Democrats. If he could convince me he’d reverse that untenable and unDemocratic course of action, I could be tempted to volunteer for him and contribute to his cause.

During a recent trip to the Bay Area where I used to live (I live on the Central Coast now, not that far away), the Veep was absolutely mum about his possible candidacy. But there is a growing movement in the party that someone needs to challenge Hillary both for her good and for the good of the party. I agree and further believe that if such a challenge could move her to the left a good bit, she might even become palatable…barely…to a diehard Leftie like me.