Green Imagination

Your Blog for Sharing Green Ideas.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Have You Considered Moving North?

With leaders like Canada's Paul Martin, who is now calling for a new international organization to protect human rights abuses, the call to many of us to move north is getting stronger everyday. I would love a leader that at the least appears to be calling for international solutions to major problems such as those in the Sudan.

On the one hand, his L-20 seems like a great idea. Take the G-8 and expand it to include 12 of the most developed nations like Brasil, India, South Korea, etc.

On the other hand, while the circle of power might be widening, it is still a circle of power elites.

This leads me to question what power would look like if it were truly equally distributed. The furthest extreme I can think of is the Borg from Star Trek. That's certainly not appealing, being a mindless shell of a human being.

Not sure where the happy medium is on this, but my guess would be that people the world over would need to tune their antennas more into politics than say...American Idol or futbol.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

One more thing about the Ukraine situation

Here's the kicker: They want a capitalist in power, not a stooge to the ever-growing facism that is Russia.

Are we headed towards another cold war? I doubt it, as Bush supports Putin's undemocratic reforms.

Ukraine Citizens Put Americans to Shame

It's a sad statement about American democracy when the people in a rising democracy speak this loud against their government's obvious election fraud.

That's right, Ukrainians are making a mockery of American democracy by actually exercising their democratic rights! Something Americans hardly care to do, despite obvious fraudulent elections.

Check out this Washington Post video.

Then again...

In considering my last post, there's obviously a price that consumers pay (at least in the current model) for their public sphere. That is, aside from cable and satellite, consumers still pay for a public sphere in respect to the prices they pay for consumable goods. This has been said before, but I'll repeat it again: advertising dollars spent to support the public sphere drives up consumer prices.

The converse argument of that is that not enough people would know about products to buy them without advertising. That's probably just a crock of shit, though. The larger the ad dollars, the wider the distribution of products (which is global), the smaller and harder it is to have strong local economies. I don't care how much "jobs" Wal-mart might provide...which are generally very poorly paid jobs with little to no benefits.

The point is that in an ideal world, the public sphere would be truly public without intrusion of advertisements. So, would a truly public sphere be supported solely by tax-payer dollars?

The one "benefit" (if we can call it that) to a somewhat private system is that there's no monolithic state-funded public sphere. In other words, no state propaganda system. Of course, what we have today is essentially a state propaganda system as the large media conglomerates that transmit over both the public and private spheres have highly vested interests in the workings of government. Just look at our past two presidential elections: The media is soooo good at simply acting as the president's loudspeaker.

Too bad we don't have a system like England, where the president has to defend himself at public hearings.

Friday, November 19, 2004

If you've never tuned in...

Check out PBS' NOW with Bill Moyers. He's a classic political journalist and NOW is one of the best shows I've ever seen. I'm watching it now (jeez, I've been watching a little too much TV lately).

From the corruption of big-money politics to economic failures and other misdeeds of the Bush administration, NOW covers it all. It gives you all you need to fight the constant stream of lies. Sure, Moyers gets subjective quite frequently, but someone's got to.

Is this the End of Public Goods?

Tonight was the rare occassion that I watched Letterman and Howard Stern was the guest. I've never been a huge fan of Stern, what he does is pretty low-brow and lame. But, like all die-hard believers in democracy, I want him to be able to use the public airwaves just as anyone else.

Stern announced that he was leaving the public airwaves to go to satellite radio. His reason was that he can't do what he wants to on "terrestrial" radio (as he called it). He's got millions of dollars in fines from the FCC. So, he's moving to something more private than privatized radio aired on public airwaves. He liked satellite radio to the early days of cable TV.

What bothers me about this is that the entire concept of a public good is being eliminated by private ventures like satellite radio and cable. In other words, people are paying more to global media conglomerates for something they already have a right to.

The argument has been made, of course, that these same conglomerates monopolize the public airwaves. Either way, then, it seems like the consumer is screwed.

This is no shock, but it needs to be said again and again: Privatized media systems like this are destroying our democracy. We need to pay to get information, and if we don't we get crappy information. Of course, you could argue that we get crappy information anyway.

What's at stake is the public sphere, if one even still exists. That means that those who cannot afford satellite radio or cable, or for that matter the Internet, cannot participate in our democracy. And by and large, these same people do not participate in democracy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

MD Taxpayers Buy Governor's Campaign Commercials

Check out Michael Olesker's commentary in today's Sun. It addresses an issue I had commented on several months back.

And that issue is the Governor's misuse of taxpayer money to fund his own campaign commercials. Sure, they're not really campaign commercials, but who does he think he's kidding? Does he really think he's the reason why tourists come to MD?

Olesker rightly points out the obvious that:

He doesn't know about land deals, doesn't know about juvenile justice, can't get his prized slot machines past the legislature.

No wonder.
This guy's been too busy caulking voters' bathrooms.

Too busy raking voters' yards.

Too busy starring in TV commercials showing that no problem is too small for him to handle - while the big problems slip right past him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

NPR Misses Golden Opportunity

I sent NPR this response to a lame story they did on complaints of voter fraud & disenfranchisement:

I was disappointed and troubled to hear Pam Fessler simply repeating the apology made by Diebold for their CEO’s remarks that it is his job to “deliver the voters of Ohio to the Republican Party.” The issue is not whether or not Diebold or its executives have made contributions to political campaigns or parties, but rather the security of their voting systems. Additionally, there is still the issue that electronic voting machines can be programmed to “cheat” by not counting votes correctly.

The fact that electronic voting is not hacker-proof, nor is its source code entirely public, clearly calls into question the integrity of our democracy. NPR missed a golden opportunity to explore the problems of electronic voting and instead opted to
reinforce the status quo that is threatening our voting system.

Moreover, the entire tone of the discussion was to diminish voters’ concerns about disenfranchisement by calling these issues “conspiracy theories.” This attitude berates the serious issues we face in regards to our democracy. Voter fraud and disenfranchisement is not just whining on the part of disappointed democrats, it is a public outcry to protect democracy.

The media should head this call and do some real investigative reporting.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Greens Measure Success in More Ways than One

I can't believe I haven't posted since the election! I've been incredibly busy with all the post-election stuff, and I really haven't caught up on my sleep. Not to mention my dismay that Bush was re-elected. But who knows, maybe some voter-fraud cases will be brought to light. I doubt it, but I remain hopeful.

Maryland Greens did extraordinarily well. Our candidates received over 100,000 votes statewide, and our Baltimore City candidates did extremely well. Joan Floyd, who ran for City Council President, earned nearly 16% of the vote, which I believe is the highest percentage a Green has ever received in the state. The average percentage for this group of candidates was 12%.

On the federal level, Maria Allwine earned the expected 1%. I was hoping for more, but it's still 4 times the amount of registered Greens in the state. Theresa Dudley, in the 5th district, had a great showing at over 10,000 votes or 5%. Interestingly, Greg Hemmingway, whose district is dominated by a far-right religious zealot, received over 8,000 votes or about 3%. What's shocking about this is that Greg didn't have a strong campaign. He made a few appearances at civic groups and community forums, but aside from that he did not put out lawn signs, canvass, print up literature or do any of the other typical campaign activities.

On another note, DC Green Ken Sain has this interesting write-up on a PBS documentary that aired tonight. It was about marketing and advertising (not as much about PR as I would have liked), and included a segment on a key Republican marketer who does linguistic focus groups. This is the man responsible for implementing terms like "death tax" and "war on terror."

From a professional perspective, the work and methodology is incredibly interesting. From a political point of view, he's sold his soul.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Today is the DAY! VOTE GREEN!

All of our hard work these past few months comes down to this. I wanted to make this blog more of an archive of the steps of our many Green candidates here in MD, but other things have had to take priority. Like canvassing door to door, like passing out literature at the state fair, like writing & sending press releases, like talking to as many people as I can...

My final pitch (for this election cycle): If you believe in PEACE and not war, VOTE GREEN. If you are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils, VOTE GREEN. If you believe we are as responsible to our fellow citizens as we are to ourselves, VOTE GREEN.

If you want a world in which our children can live safely and comfortably, VOTE GREEN. If you want a government that is transparent and accountable to the PEOPLE, not coorporations, VOTE GREEN.

Get the picture? VOTE GREEN!

We'll be driving around in a big van later today, decked out with Green banners, passing out literature and yummy goodies. And tonight, we're having a big party in Baltimore to hopefully celebrate a few Green victories (Glenn Ross's campaign is looking good!). 1443 Gorsuch Ave. Baltimore 21218

Check us out!