Save Tarrant County Drinking Water!

excerpt from my article on Tarrant County Green Party news site…

It doesn’t take long in Texas to know that the oil and gas industry rules the roost, even when drilling activity threatens the drinking water of a half million people.

A local grassroots organization, Liveable Arlington, is working to do something about it!

In January, Bluestone Natural Resources filed a permit request to build a wastewater injection well near one of the largest water resources in the Tarrant County region, Lake Arlington. The lake provides drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents, including Arlington, Fort Worth, and suburbs both north and south.

The wastewater consists of excess gas and salt water from fracking operations in the city. It is toxic, undrinkable, and unfit for agricultural or recreational activities. The City of Arlington is also concerned about the well undermining and doing permanent damage to the dam, about 9000 feet away from the proposed location. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says this is too close.

(read full article here)

Green Party is the peace party

(excerpt)

One of the 10 Key Values of our party is Non-Violence. We say:

It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in danger. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Our commitment to peace through justice, rather than through conquest, sets us apart from the two major parties. It rejects the notion that military strength makes for moral superiority. This key value is integral to all the other values we hold. We choose peace over power.

Full article at http://tarrant.txgreens.org/green_party_is_the_peace_party

Breaking through the election cycle mindset

Political engagement matters

The great thing about being engaged in politics is that we know how much it matters. We know that engaged voters have the power to influence the decision-makers. Even though corporate money carries much weight with the elected ones, theoretically at least, voters are the ones who keep them in office. This power struggle between corporate money and engaged voters plays out, ultimately, in the ballot box. So, elections determine which side has been more successful in the years leading up to election day.

When voters are not engaged, corporate money dictates what happens at election time. Then it’s goodbye democracy and hello oligarchy! This is where we are in 2017, and contrary to the views of many, we’ve been here awhile.

Creating political pressure

The critical work of politics is to create the conditions in which elected officials are beholden to the voters. For Green Party members, this requires intelligent, fact-based, engagement, virtually 24/7/365, rinse and repeat.

Reality check

Winning a presidential campaign seems a far-fetched idea for Greens in the near future. But, it doesn’t matter right now. The success of our struggle to regain our democracy is not measured in the “if and when” of winning the big chunk of cheese. Success is measured in how much influence we can bring upon not only our government, but also our culture, our society, our educational institutions, and upon the process of decision-making.

On that last point, the process of decision-making is a key value of the Green Party (see Democracy 2016 in the Green Party platform.).

The necessity of becoming a party of activists

Through political activism we remain engaged all the time. We have to be a party of activists, not just uninformed election cycle participants who show up at the polls religiously because that’s all we have to do, we’ve been told, to maintain our freedom and democracy. For us, it’s an “all-in” proposition if we really intend to turn back the entrenched corporate-funded duopoly of Republicans and Democrats.

By the time election cycles roll around, our candidates should be known for what they’ve done for the causes we fight for during the previous two to four years and even before. The candidates should naturally arise from the crowd of possible contenders because of what they’ve done for the issues, and who they are in terms that relate to our core values.

Remember this

Activists have the ability to create ripples that can turn into waves of engagement. These waves can swing elections, and they often do (example: the Tea Party, ’nuff said.).

DemExit finally

I’ve taken a lot of crap from friends who are Democrats. If you voted Green, or for anyone but Trump or Hillary, you’ve heard it, too.

The election of Trump? SAD! On this, I agree with Hillary’s supporters.

Other SAD things also come to mind:

  • The sense of entitlement that Dems have that tells them all people left of Attila the Hun are “their voters”
  • Their addiction to greed and reaping the rewards of corporate donations to their campaigns for looking after corporate interests over the people’s
  • The duplicity of saying different things to different crowds of people; call it deception, or better, LYING
  • The manner in which they condescend, throughout the mainstream Dem party and their puppy-dog propaganda press, to speak to me, to minorities, to blue collar workers, to millennials, to Republicans, to virtually everyone except those in their elite circles of money and power
  • Their inability to speak the truth plainly about their own shortcomings and deceptions of the past — their complete inability to conduct honest self-analysis and critique
  • The way they shift blame to everyone but themselves for giving up over 1000 positions in state governments during the period of Obama’s presidency
  • The way they are satisfied with mere symbolism, as in the election of a black president, and the prospect of having a woman president, rather than being authentic crusaders for social justice, peace, workers rights, and others
  • The way they so quickly embrace war, drones, and intervention as solutions to many issues that could be negotiated if they would drop their dogged allegiance to money, oil, and Israel.

SAD, REALLY SAD!

I’m done with the Democrats. I’ve given them over half my life, but I’m finally over it. I have found a good home in the Green Party as many people are doing. Our success will be found in winning the issues we fight for. We are informed, and we are active beyond words.

 

2037 – Looking back at the Earth we once knew

Try to imagine yourself twenty years from now. Don’t look at the grey hair and wrinkles, but look at the world outside, that world you once knew to be suffering from the effects of global warming, that world that believed all the scientific evidence that the Earth’s limitations were being tested, that world that postponed the most important decisions ever to be made by the human species, decisions that would have, perhaps, stopped the global nightmare that is now obviously coming true.

As you imagine the world twenty years from now, along with it, imagine the audacity of a politician in 2037 determining that global warming is a hoax, that the systems we relied upon for knowing the truth about the Earth and its people — science, geologists, oceanographic experts, economists, sociologists, and so many institutions — are but a distant nuisance, voices that represent the ultimate wackiness, the “Flat Earthers” of 2037.

The world is crashing, burning, crumbling, and dying from starvation and disease, and yet the overwhelming majority of people on the planet are powerless to change it. We have become desperate to find our own food for the day, clean water to drink, and a shelter that accommodates the dignities that living as a human require.

It makes no sense that in the year 2017, twenty years past, a leader of the greatest industrial nation on the planet, voluntarily dismantled the meager, but only, protections that kept our hopes alive that better days would be ahead if we would have simply sacrificed some principles that were killing us: the principle of economic domination, the principle of military superiority, these, the principles of empire.

“If only the people had fought harder. If they would have only taken their bodies to the streets and demanded that the course of the Earth be changed. If they would have laid aside their entertainment, that is, the partisan squabbling that the leaders used to distract them from the sadness that was coming and has now come.”

Everywhere, greed flew like swarms of flies on a carcass, as the leaders grabbed all they could, and made laws to keep the people from speaking, from marching, from demanding, from fighting.

And here, in 2037, people everywhere are writing epitaphs and trying to rid themselves of memories and regrets.

 

Time tasks in organizing

Most nights, I come home and prepare a quick supper for us, and then I get on with my reading and letter-writing about upcoming legislation, reading the local news that needs some local action, and then I try to leave time for some background reading to keep the coals burning. During baseball season, I take lots of time outs to check on my Texas Rangers.

But, some nights, like tonight, I simply have to sit down and get organized. I take time to follow through on commitments I’ve made to the local and state Green Party, and I think about “next steps” a lot. It’s just Organizing 101 to make time for tasks that seem a bit off-topic at times, but they are important.

  • They keep us on the path to a future we want
  • Our actions have a ripple effect, and will sometimes kick someone else into gear
  • It feels good to get all the thoughts down in writing (spreadsheets are my favorite)
  • We can sleep at night knowing that we’re doing all we can

It’s always important that our valuable time is spent on the “right” things, and we don’t get caught up in perfection. I admire beautifully done spreadsheets and formatting and such, but it’s also debilitating, so I try my best to avoid perfectionism.

But, it also just as important that great ideas that are ignited in our brains while we’re driving, sleeping, showering, or talking with other people, do not die out due to not getting it down on paper in some kind of planning apparatus.

Tonight, I spent a couple of hours putting together a legislative “Bill Watch” spreadsheet, organized by Green Party topics, so that other Legislative Committee members can team up, using shared Google documents, and make everyone’s load lighter. We are bound to get more done, and more bills will be influenced, if we can work together and not overlap each other’s efforts.

A Texas-size pissing match

A real Texas-size pissing match is taking place in the state capital of Austin as Governor Greg Abbott is seeking greater control over local law enforcement agencies. The issue is “sanctuary cities.”

In one corner, you have the “guvnah”, the successor to one Rick Perry, who was the successor of one George W. Bush, and on and on, with one exception, the late great Ann Richards. Some of us still remember those days fondly, but nostalgia aside, this ain’t Ann’s Texas any more.

In the other corner, you have the Travis County sheriff, Sally Hernandez. She has a distinct honor these days, the honor of being the governor’s number one nemesis, the kind that makes a mudpie with your own spit, and then rubs your face in it. Hernandez doesn’t care much for ICE detainers, those pieces of paper that tell her who she is supposed to detain for the feds. And, by some accounts, she enjoys the role of antagonist to the governor.

In all likelihood, even though the House is weakening the bill from that which was passed in the Senate committee, Abbott will win this battle. Perhaps, it’s demographics. Or, maybe it’s that Ann has been gone too long for us Texas progressives to survive this one.

Read the Texas Tribune article for more info…

 

Hedges: “Crawl toward despotism”

Readers of GreenGuyBlog will quickly note that I read Chris Hedges, and I trust his analyses and forecasts.

In today’s column on Truthdig, Hedges forecasts the “crawl toward despotism” of power in the United States. His article, “A Last Chance for Resistance”, presents a chilling call to Americans to heed the stark warnings of our impending democratic demise.

It will be increasingly difficult to carry out mass protests and civil disobedience. Repression will become steadily more overt and severe. Dissent will be equated with terrorism. We must use the space before it is shut. This is a race against time. The forces of despotism seek to keep us complacent and pacified with the false hope that mechanisms within the system will moderate Trump or remove him through impeachment, or that the looming tyranny will never be actualized. There is an emotional incapacity among any population being herded toward despotism or war to grasp what is happening. The victims cannot believe that the descent into barbarity is real, that the relative security and sanity of the past are about to be obliterated. They fail to see that once rights become privileges, once any segment of a society is excluded from the law, rights can instantly be revoked for everyone.

Read the entire article here.

A change in focus – Hello Greens!

My political journey has had some dramatic twists and turns in the last 42 years that I’ve been politically aware and somewhat conscious (most of the time). As I entered my 60’s a few years ago, I looked back and gasped at the amount of time I spent wandering, unanchored to principles that matched my passions at the time.

The lack of consistency in my political activism, I believe, is due to my dependence on a “false anchor” that I was reluctant to cut myself away from. This anchor was the Democratic Party.

I don’t care to defend that last statement — I’ve spent too much of my life trying to satisfy critics of my political leanings, of which there are many.

We have been brought to heel by “big money” politics, and the most predictable outcome was achieved, a thriving oligarchy in which the Democratic Party, under Clinton and beyond, especially, was its chief architect. In pursuing corporate money, i.e. power, the masses of people who had once depended on Democrats to do their bidding were betrayed by the Party’s pursuit of richer pastures. They sold us out for thirty pieces of silver. Many of us were reluctant to admit it; and, many still haven’t.

So, I’m going in a new direction, one in which my principles and passions match. I am now a full-fledged and soon-to-be full-throated member and activist with the Green Party. I stuck my toe in the water in 2016, voting for Green candidates in all the races where they existed in my district, but now I’m diving in. So long, Dems! Hello Greens!

(Posts previous to this date have been retained for the record, but this marks the beginning to a new title for the blog, GreenGuyBlog. The old “60 Left” entries were written during the period I supported Bernie Sanders for the Dem nomination.)

Democracy and the whimper of rebellion

(First posted in April 2016, during primary elections)

If we allow ourselves to be courted by politicians whose past performances prove they are impotent and prone to acquiesce to the status quo of the corporate state, we choose to be a victim of the flirtatious advances of narcissistic functionaries who always perform best for the highest bidders.  This is not a democracy; it is oligarchy.

The fact is that, for now, we exercise a meaningless vote every couple of years. It is a relic, an indication that in some distant past, if not a mythical rendition of it, that keeps the oligarchy on track. It assures the citizenry that the elite — the corporate boards and billionaire class  — are acting with their consent and approval. It quietens any whimper of rebellion and marginalizes the steady dissent of the few.

The path to democracy is not the way of the ballot box. It is, rather, a forceful and constant confrontation with the wealthy beneficiaries of the oligarchy.