May 3, 2010 archive
May 03 2010
May 03 2010
Dr. Jill Stein is a pioneering environmental health advocate, as well as a mother, physician, teacher, and community leader. Her record of public service and passionate advocacy for healthy communities makes her an exceptional candidate for governor.
For years, Jill Stein has been a leader in drawing the connection between clean environments and healthy communities. She is the author of two widely acclaimed reports, “In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development” and “Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging,” which promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from harmful chemical exposures. She has presented her teaching program “Health People, Healthy Planet,” to numerous government, public health and medical conferences. It links human health, climate security and green economic revitalization.
Jill Stein began advocating for the environment as a human health issue when she realized that politicians were failing to protect children from toxic threats revealed by current science. She played a key role in efforts to protect women and children from mercury contamination by helping to pass tighter regulations on the dirtiest coal plants in Massachusetts, and helping to preserve the state’s moratorium on new trash incinerators. Having seen firsthand the power of big money to prevent critical health protection, Stein advocated for the Clean Elections Law to establish publicly-funded elections. Massachusetts voters passed the Clean Elections Law by a 2-1 margin, but the state legislature later repealed it in an unrecorded voice vote.
Jill Stein’s first foray into electoral politics was in 2002, when the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party recruited her to run for governor. In a five-way debate that year, she was widely acknowledged as the winner for her clarity and knowledge of the issues. In a 2004 three-way race for state representative, she garnered more votes than the Republican candidate. She ran for statewide office again in 2006, earning over 350,000 votes for Secretary of State. In 2008, she helped formulate the “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative calling for renewable energy and green jobs, which won 81% of the vote in the districts where it appeared on the ballot. She has been elected twice as a town meeting representative in Lexington.
This year, Jill Stein is running for governor on a platform of pragmatic Green solutions to problems like unemployment, unfair taxes, faltering schools, and a broken health care system. As governor, she would seek alternatives to her predecessors’ failed attempts to attract big business by sacrificing labor and environmental standards. She would create incentives for small, locally owned businesses to thrive, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy. She would take action to fix an unfair tax system that makes lower- and middle-income people in Massachusetts pay at twice the rate of the highest income bracket.
As a teacher, Jill Stein understands the importance of quality public education. She would fight the privatization schemes and bureaucratic power grabs that threaten public education, and work to ensure that all public schools are fully funded and accountable to their communities. She would also reverse the escalation of fees and tuition at public universities, which has threatened to price higher education out of reach for young people from low-income families.
Massachusetts’ health care system is still plagued with problems, despite its vaunted 2006 reform package that foreshadowed the 2010 national health insurance reform. The state’s healthcare mandate forces people to buy expensive, stripped-down insurance plans that don’t protect health or financial security when serious health problems occur. As governor, Jill Stein would extend affordable coverage to all by moving Massachusetts to a Medicare-For-All system, which would save billions by cutting out the insurance companies’ red tape. She would also help people lead healthier lifestyles by supporting urban agriculture, farm-to-school programs, local organic farming, and other programs to reduce health threats and ensure clean air, clean water, and nutritious food for all. Her plan to encourage healthy living would not only improve quality of life, it would also save billions on health care annually.
The November, 2010 race is shaping up to make Jill the sole challenger to three candidates widely regarded as business-as-usual insiders — in an anti-incumbent year. Specifically she is likely to face Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill, and Republican Charlie Baker, three candidates who share very similar positions on most key issues. (Both the Democrat and Republican are likely to rout lesser known and relatively unfunded primary election rivals.) In a four-way race, Jill Stein could potentially be elected governor with as little as 26% of the vote, which translates to roughly 800,000 votes. This is not beyond reach considering the 18% of the vote she won in her race for Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. Stein refuses to take lobbyist money, and vows to end the “pay-to-play” politics that dominates the state legislature. Her campaign is eligible for 1-to-1 public matching funds for every dollar raised over $125,000, meaning that as soon as she raises $250,000 from supporters, she’ll be able to mount a half-million-dollar campaign. Along with her running mate, community activist and veterans advocate Rick Purcell, she plans to mobilize thousands of grassroots volunteers across the state to bring their message of a healthy green future to the people of Massachusetts.
To find out more about Jill Stein’s campaign and how you can help, check out her website at JillStein.org.
May 03 2010
While collecting some articles etc. on the Kent State University killings, 40 years ago 4 May 1970, I came across a link of live streaming broadcast of the Kent State Truth Tribunal that will be taking place today and tomorrow and decided to pass these on today rather then waiting till tomorrow. That link can be found at the bottom, it’s to Michael Moore’s site with a link to a facebook page with videos of Saturdays and Sundays tributes.
I won’t add much in commentary, the reports give all one needs, the CBS report from last night sheds light on a possible investigation opening up into the shootings, and there are many others being posted up and will be tomorrow on the Anniversary. But will say that on May 4th 1970 I was only a few weeks into my tour in country Vietnam of my last year in the U.S. Navy and having served all on shore duty.
May 03 2010
Well, it looks like the National Enquirer who brought us the live burial of John Edwards has finally got the goods on Barack Obama. It’s not enough Obama is an African Nationalist, Muslim Communist and Political Promise Breaker. Not enough he is a shiny-happy war criminal and smooth talking flim-flam man. Not enough Obama swings both ways while he lectures black daddies to take care of their birthing and babies.
President Obama is a philanderer. Our Tiger Woods President.
May 03 2010
On this day in 1919, Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, environmentalist was born in NYC.
On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.
In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.
June 19 & 20
Croton Point Park
May 03 2010
From the description of the relevant laws, it ain’t that hard to do.
Asset forfeiture is a term used to describe the confiscation of assets, by the state, which are either (a) the proceeds of crime or (b) the instrumentalities of crime, and more recently, terrorism. Instrumentalities of crime are property that was used to facilitate crime, for example cars used to transport illegal narcotics. The terminology used in different jurisdictions varies. Some jurisdictions use the term “confiscation” instead of forfeiture. In recent years there has been a growing trend for countries to introduce civil forfeiture. Such proceedings may be brought in the USA, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, various Canadian Provinces and Antigua.
There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Almost all forfeiture cases today are civil. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant. Before the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act was enacted in 2000, the government only had to establish probable cause that the property was subject to forfeiture; the owner had to prove on a “preponderance of the evidence” that it was not. The new law holds the government to the “preponderance of evidence” standard and shifts the burden of proof to the federal government instead of the property owner. The property owner still need not be found guilty of any crime. In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender. Since the government can choose the type of case, a civil case is almost always chosen. The costs of such cases is high for the owner, usually totaling around $10,000 and can take up to three years.
The justification for doing so would be easy: We have, by now, massive evidence that crimes were committed, in the case of Goldman Sachs, outright fraud, in the case of BP, negligence.
A preponderance of the evidence that crimes were committed would be all that would be required; the purpose of the civil asset forfeiture law is to make it possible to enforce laws against organized crime.
I would argue that, in the methodology Goldman Sachs and similar banks have used to shield themselves from all accountability would be to all intents and purposes similar to the actions of organized crime: no one saw nothin’, no one “remembers” anything, and all the criminal fraud, negligence and malfeasance is contained in house and shielded by a misuse of the law – binding legal confidentiality agreements and conflict of interest waivers.
The law, make no mistake, is a bad law, in my opinion. It has been used in the past to prosecute the ill conceived “war on drugs”, to take the property of perceived drug runners in violation of due process.
Why not use a bad law, though, to accomplish something to uphold the rule of law?
But this makes it even more of a good idea to use civil asset forfeiture to attack the assets of the criminal corporate enterprises. Either the suits would be successful, in which, it’s a victory for the People, or the Goldman Sachs, BP, et. al, would win, in which case, a threat to due process under the Constitution would be removed. IT WOULD STILL BE A VICTORY FOR THE PEOPLE.
It makes sense to use a wedge to both make life a living hell for the criminal enterprises operating in our country and also use any potential constitutional blowback to otherwise uphold the constitution and the rule of law.
May 03 2010
In the previous installment of this growing May ’70 retrospective (criminy, can this be installment four already?) I wrote about being at the New Haven rally for Black Panther leader Bobby Seale on May Day and the call that the assembled demonstrators issued for a national student strike in the wake of Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia.
Thus armed, the NYU Uptown contingent headed back to campus on Saturday, May 2, to start organizing the strike. Imagine our surprise–half delight and half chagrin–when we found out that the despised campus liberals (like the student government types headed for law school and a career in the Democratic Party) already had it taped!