Some Personal Ramblings

On Saturday, November 12, 2016, The Green Party of Michigan held an informal after-election debriefing meeting. In the brainstorming session that made up part of the meeting, one of the things suggested was that testimonials about “Why I joined the Green Party” would be useful for growing the party. Here’s mine.

In February of 1987, my son Tommy, just a month past his 6th birthday, was diagnosed with leukemia. I had been laid off from a very decent job around Thanksgiving of the previous year. My wife Linda was working a rewarding job that did not pay especially well. We thought my unemployment was the main problem my family had. The new reality shocked us into realizing that a period of unemployment is relatively trivial. Continue reading

Making Some Sense of the Election

By now, anyone interested in politics has read and/or heard a barrage of contradictory and mostly made-up explanations for the outcome of the 2016 election. Donald Trump will be our next president. Hillary Clinton will not.

trump-protest-detroit

(Photo from WDIV, Channel 4 in Detroit.)

Hillary won a plurality of the popular vote; not a majority, but her plurality was larger than Trump’s plurality. Loud proclamations that Hillary won the popular vote may leave the impression that a majority of Americans voted for Hillary for President, but that is not actually true. Continue reading

GPMI Election Results

5 Green Party of Michigan Candidates were elected to County and local offices in this election. 1 of these was re-elected, and the other 4 are newly elected. Jill Stein and Amaju Baraka got a little over 1% of the vote. The Green Party will be on the ballot for the general election of 2018, when we will be electing a new Governor, other state officers, and State Senators as well as State Representatives. Many county and local offices will also be on the ballot. if you are considering running for any of these, or if you want to be involved with any of the campaigns, the time to become a member and get involved with the party is now.

A one-page pdf file showing results for all 2016 candidates is available for download.

What If We Looked For Common Ground With Trump Voters?

Thought for the day: How about we find areas of agreement with Trump supporters?

DISCLAIMER: There is NO way I am suggesting that I or any other Green Party person should tolerate any kind of racism, sexism, or homophobia from the Trump camp. However, I know from experience that they are not all that way.

Please pay me the courtesy of reading this to the end, before you jump on me. Before we go any further, let me share a campaign story with you.

Midway through my campaign for the 86th District, a man and his wife came into my store. They have been customers for many years. He was excited that I was running, had read a lot of my blog posts and literature and went on for several minutes in support of my efforts. They wanted a yard sign and to take extra lit to hand out to their friends. As they were walking out the door they told me how my sign was going right next to their Trump sign.

My initial reaction was stomach turning panic. HOLY CRAP – me, next to Trump. Then my wife reminded me of several news stories we had seen when Bernie was in the race and how Trump and Sanders supporters voiced that they would support the other guy if their first choice was eliminated. It made no sense to me at the time, but I slowed my brain down and realized that there was a lot of common ground to the average person. Both were “outsiders” who did not take Corporate money (at least at first for Trump) and who were saying that the current system sucked.

I have to tell you that in my District, there were several people who voted Trump and voted for me. They do NOT fit the “stereo type” we like to assign Trump voters. I know of at least two women and the two men I know of are not trailer trash with no education. One is a retired guy who LOVES Green energy – he was bragging about his solar panels to me yesterday. The other guy is mid-30’s who works for a tech company and travels the country setting up tracking systems for medical equipment in hospitals.

I have never gotten a racist, misogynistic, or homophobic vibe from either of these guys. Nor do I think they believe we need to wall out Mexicans or ban Muslims.

Anyway, the light bulb went on for me yesterday when the older guy stopped in to congratulate me on getting 3% of the vote. He also shared how he would “sell” me to his friends by talking about Pipeline #5 because a lot of his friends own property on the Big Lake and/or are avid fisherman. Then I alerted him to the plans of Nestle to take MORE water for FREE. He was incensed and vowed to help me get the word out and offered to go with me if there was a public hearing.

What resonates with “Jim” is the fact that a SWISS Corporation with billions in assets is making multiple millions from Michigan’s best resource: Our Water.

Will I stand arm in arm with this Trump voter to stop Nestle? HELL YES!

Will I invite him to protest Pipeline 5? HELL YES!

Will I actively look for other Michigan issues that I think he and I can agree on and work together to get solved? You bet your sweet bippy I will.

nestle-collage-2

Oh – by the way, here is a link to the petition I started to STOP Nestle from taking more than double the amount of water from the two aquifers they are draining. Are YOU willing to sign the same petition that has been signed by some Trump voters? I dare you!

Click here to: Sign the STOP NESTLE PETITION.

Is Jill Responsible for Trump?

Look at the rules under which all political parties operate in Michigan (and in most other states). Whenever we nominate our candidate for President, Congress, State Legislature, County Commission, etc., it says right on the ballot: “Vote for not more than 1.”

That’s not a rule the Green Party made. It’s state election law, set by the state legislature. It could be changed by the state legislature. We would prefer it were changed – to Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), also called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). In the state of Maine, a ballot issue to institute IRV (or RCV, if you prefer) passed as a ballot issue in this last election. Continue reading

Single Payer Health Care Will Raise Taxes – I Call Bullshizzle

One of the CONSTANT droning mantras of Big Pharma, Big Medicine et al is that we cannot afford to offer health insurance to everyone in the country because it will raise taxes through the roof and we will all suffer a huge economic battering.

First, let me remind you that EVERY SINGLE DEVELOPED NATION on this planet has some form of nationalized health care for its citizens. (Please read that sentence 2 or 3 times.) Secondly, let me remind you that the United States of American is THE ONLY DEVELOPED NATION on the planet wherein its citizens face bankruptcy from medical costs. (Repeat as needed.)

 

The lobbyists make sure that there is enough “It Will Raise Taxes” white noise generated to blanket the truth of the matter. Some studies indicate that putting single payer, universal health care in place in the US would SAVE money – one I read suggested a savings of 1.1 trillion over 10 years. Critics of Bernie Sander’s plan to expand Medicare for EVERYONE hollered very, very loud about a resultant tax increase.

You know what I say to that for Julie and I – BRING IT ON! I will gladly take the projected tax increase. You know why? Because it would save us a TON of money. Raise my taxes PLEASE – especially if it means we can eliminate our insurance premiums. Julie and I would end up with a bunch more money to invest or spend on our Grandkids if only such a nefarious plan was carried out. Before I show you the numbers, look at the rising price of insurance premiums, please.

ins-premiums

One important thing to look at besides the rocketing upward spiral of the premium cost is that it bears NO relationship to inflation and ignores wages to boot.

Anyway, Julie and I pay $973 a month for health care. That totals $11,676 a year. We are both 58 years old. Our plan is not a Golden Cadillac plan – no frills, lots of out of pocket expenses and co-pays. In fact, there is a $2,800 deductible FOR EACH OF US to meet. That means that if we both got sick in one year our out of pocket expenses would be a minimum of $17,296.00. Please read that paragraph again. We pay almost $12k a year for protection that really only kicks in after ANOTHER $5,600 is spent if we both have something happen. (Hmm, maybe that is why I am still paying $43 a month with a $1827 balance for my treatment in 2013…..)

Critics of the Sanders Medicare for All plan claimed it would cost us an additional $1,100 in taxes. They also said it would cost employers $3,350 more. Julie and I are self-employed so in the interest of fair play, I am willing to assume BOTH of those numbers are true – we would pay $4,450 MORE in taxes. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this happen!

If that started in January, then next year Julie and I would have a MINIMUM of $7,226 dollars with which we could do anything we wanted. If it happened in a year when both of us got sick in some way, then we would have $12,826 MORE to spend.

I am not the best mathematician in Michigan, but 30 seconds with my calculator clearly indicates that a tax increase of $4,450 combined with a decrease in our insurance premium of at LEAST $11,676 puts us ahead of the game by $7,226.

Single Payer Health Insurance Will Raise My Taxes – WELL HURRY UP AND DO IT!!!!

 

Kermit Is Wrong – Being Green Is Easy!

I am pretty sure anybody reading this is familiar with Kermit The Frog and his theme song, “It Ain’t Easy Being Green.”

Frog has it wrong! Being a Green candidate is easy – because we answer to YOU, the voters. We are here to put the political power back in the hands of the people, where the very first words of the Michigan Constitution tells us it belongs:

“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security, and protection.” Art 1 Sec 1

Being Green is easy because we are not going to make a bunch of promises that we KNOW we cannot keep. Being Green is easy because we do not have to remember what we told which group of people or PAC when we were trying to get their money! Being Green in office will be easy, because we are not going to spend any of our time “dialing for dollars” and trying to raise PAC and Corporate money – No, you put me in Lansing and I am going to do the work you sent me there to do. Green candidates will not be wasting time, and your tax dollars, taking lobbyists phone calls or going out to dinner with some PAC representative trying to sway our votes.

Nope, you put a Green like me in office and you will get your money’s worth. Send me to Lansing and I will work hard – you will not see me spending the whole two years campaigning for the next election. I want to let my efforts do the talking for me. At the end of two years if you think I did a good job, then re-hire me. Easy-peasy!

One of my campaign goals, and I know I have this in common with all the other 32 Green Party candidates in Michigan as well as Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, is that I (we) want to be the type of representative that you are PROUD of.

Might not be easy being a Green Frog, but being a Green Party Candidate is just grrrrr-eat! (to quote another cultural icon!)

I had a little fun with this subject here: Being a Green is Easy.