Tuesday 7 April, 7 pm Central Daylight Time, live from Dallas and free of charge but registration required.
If you haven't heard David Swanson speak on the topic of outlawing war worldwide, or even if you have, treat yourself to this presentation.
This entry is adapted from a Facebook rant that I posted today (28 March). It started out as two paragraphs and just kept growing until I thought, "Y'know, I should really bring this to a conclusion."
Perhaps you've heard talk about COVID-19 laying bare the vulnerabilities & pro-corporate, anti-human biases of our political & economic systems.
Another thing that it's exposing is right here on Facebook: Too many otherwise intelligent people are now self-appointed experts on the pandemic, its causes, its transmission, how government policies have helped or hurt efforts to curb it, & the long-term socio-politico-economic fallout from it. This is not a new phenomenon, but, as with our government's incompetence, COVID-19 is shining a big ol' spotlight on it.
Science, as a global academic community, doesn't even have the complete picture yet, & it's a picture that changes practically every day. Articles we're quoting or linking here give only portions of the picture that was known the day before. Reliable, verifiable information is good in helping us know how to respond to the crisis. People who aren't health science researchers quibbling over aspects of the information, citing other articles that say something different, isn't helpful. There's good info to be found on FB, but I have to wade through a lot of dis-, mis-, & under-information to get to it.
Social science doesn't have all the answers either. People who study this stuff on individual and community levels may have different conclusions, different prognoses. My knowledge & experience lead me to some very bleak conclusions & prognoses, but I recognize that I may be wrong. I earnestly hope that I am wrong—except for the part where common people rise up & demand a government that operates in their interest, one that doesn't toss them a few croutons while billionaires & multi-national corporations make out like bandits YET AGAIN.
If there's a point to all this, it's that
In recent entries here, any mentions of COVID-19 have been in the context of its effects on political organizing and the electoral process. I have avoided writing about it in depth, mostly because so many other people are: medical experts, politicians, reporters and pundits in respected publications, your friends and relatives on Facebook posting breathlessly about coronavirus "facts" that can be debunked in ten seconds via Snopes.
What I have gathered from my readings and media diet—which, I'll freely admit, consist mainly of other Progressives' analyses—is that more people are seeing just what holds our so-called economy together. They—and I don't mean just Progressives—are also having little epiphanies about how interdependent everyone and everything is. Some are even tuning in to the Grand Epiphany that our economic systems don't reward the most essential work. In fact, in multiple ways this system systematically rips them off—food producers, food purveyors, hospital assistants, schoolteachers just to name a few—and that we need a new system.
Capitalism is canceled, henceforth and forthwith. It. Doesn't. Work. For. Us. And I'm not just saying that because Krystal Ball has said that we need to suspend it for the duration of the pandemic and Do Not Resuscitate it afterward. This has been my position for decades.
We got our Internet connection fixed this morning, after three or four days of spotty-to-nonexistent service. Sadly, it required switching from a locally-owned provider, Phonoscope, to the AT&T Death Star. (Our complex allows only those options.) So now the story of the past weekend's Green Party district conventions can be uploaded for the world to see.
Janis Richards and I did make the trip to Nokturne in Clear Lake Saturday to meet up with Hal J. Ridley, Jr., as planned. Some folks advised against it. Nokturne itself was not even open for pickup and delivery, with weekend hours shifted to 5-11 pm. We got all the necessary paperwork signed; as a bonus, Ridley and his guitar provided some music.
Despite our efforts, GPTX was able to arrange a consolidated district convention via a Zoom conference Saturday evening. We confirmed the nominations of Ridley in Congressional District 36 and two other candidates in multi-county district races. It was also revealed that three of our candidates did not win enough support to gain nomination, and two of those three actually paid their filing fees.
For the record, the food and the coffee concoctions at Nokturne absolutely rock. That's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to attending the Texas Congressional District 36 convention there tomorrow.
Another reason is that it's an opportunity to spend time with Hal J. Ridley, Jr., who is more than a little eccentric, pretty good company, and fairly handy with a guitar.
But as of now it's doubtful that the convention will be allowed to take place inside Nokturne. Restaurants and bars in Harris County have been ordered closed to sit-down service to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Nokturne's website says nothing about whether the place will be open this weekend, and my phone calls to the place are going unanswefred.
As I told Hal via text this morning, It wouldn't be the first time Greens in Harris County have had to conduct business in a parking lot.
Meanwhile the Texas Secretary of State's Office is clinging to the letter of the law regarding the scheduled meeting dates and places for conventions. It (collectively) is not allowing any postponements, and it is insisting that all conventions be in-person meetings rather than moving them onto the Internet.
First off, here we are at the greenest of days, Saint Padraig's. Like so many holidays, major and minor, aside from providing an excuse to buy a lot of single-use plastic decoration and drink to excess, this celebration of Irish and Celtic culture is historically and environmentally problematic, rooted as it is in the religious oppression of the Hibernian pagans.
In the shadow of the COVID-19 pan[dem]ic, eleven local Greens turned out for the Harris County Green Party nominating convention Saturday afternoon at Midtown Bar & Grill. It was largely, but not completely, the same bunch who turned out for last Tuesday's consolidated precinct conventions.
The convention went through the prescribed steps in order. I am happy to report that, despite the potential for confrontations and controversies, those present conducted their business without rancor. Even if we had disagreements, we all seemed to be on the same team, a most welcome development.
Highlights included confirmation of the vote counts from Tuesday night, selection of delegates to the state convention, and the passing of resolutions to be discussed at next month's state convention.
The unofficial vote tallies that I reported last week have been updated and now made official:
I may have misreported the criteria for participating in the state convention: One does not have to have been a delegate to one's county convention. In addition to the nine voting delegates at Saturday's proceedings, the convention appointed nine other area Greens to fill out (well almost) the county chapter's allotment of state delegates. This is something of a tradition among Greens in Texas: calling or texting absent Greens and asking if they would like to serve as delegates to state.
Four resolutions—presented by Alán Alán Apurim (the first two), Joel West, and Nancy Saibara-Naritomi—were passed on to state by majority vote:
GPTX has been in consultation with the Texas Secretary of State's Office to inquire whether online conventions will be allowed, given the current pandemic. As of now, SOS has granted no such authorization to any party, following the Texas Election Code statutes requiring in-person conventions. The Greens are unlikely to assemble more than 50 delegates, the maximum number considered "safe," but thousands will gather for the Democratic and Republican equivalents. I envision a last-minute change of heart, for which the big parties will have video conferencing infrastructure in place but the technologically challenged Greens likely will not.
by Hal J. Ridley, Jr. (lightly edited)
The conservative, corporatist, fundamentalist alliance has always been the blind leading the deaf and blind. Conservatism is the political philosophy of mass extinction. In three billion years of life on this planet, maybe 600 million years of complex life and five or six mass extinctions, nature has one underlying, overriding law: Life that does not evolve, adapt, and conform to an ever changing environment is doomed to eminent extinction without fail.
Humanity has somehow evolved consciousness that allows some reading of possible futures. Hopefully we are quickly evolving the wisdom to try to do something about our situation on this planet. Any solutions to our increasing wave of problems will never come from corporatists, conservatives, or fundamentalists. They give us two alternatives: over the cliff or over the falls. We have one choice to make: change or CHANGE!
by Hal J. Ridley, Jr. (lightly edited)
The Trump Republican corporate tax cut was 40%, from a 35% tax rate to 21%. Orange County, Texas has (a guess) 10 billion dollars or more in industrial property and an unknown amount of product; plastic pellets exported to China from these petrochemical plants, two paper mills, two port facilities, a power plant, etc. Orange County does not have a hospital.
With corporate tax cuts, Orange County can’t afford luxuries like hospitals. The county tried to raise new taxes on the backs of the citizens for a hospital district; that failed. China built a new hospital in a few weeks for their coronavirus patients and opened 14 or so emergency hospitals. The one hospital building in Orange County, abandoned with no plan or hope of opening, ever.
What do we do now? What else?--cut our payroll taxes. That’s tax for Social Security and Medicare. Gotta cut back on luxuries.
I'd like to think that Dario Hunter's near-unanimous approval vote at last night Harris County Green Party's Consolidated Precinct Conventions had nothing to do with his showing up at Midtown Bar & Grill. But I'm fairly sure that it helped.
Fourteen Greens showed up, eleven of whom cast votes, and all ten put an x in the box next to the lawyer/rabbi's name. The others in attendance, for a variety of reasons, did not vote. Howie Hawkins placed second, with seven approvals.
Among those present were HCGP OG's, some veteran Greenies more recently arrived, some who have joined only within the past year, and one attending her first-ever Green function.
The vote totals have no immediate meaning or impact. They become meaningful only at the Green Party of Texas State Convention 18-19 April. However, most of the eleven who voted will likely participate in the GPTX Convention, all of whose choices will help determine the delegation to the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention, set to take place in Detroit this July.
While I am earnestly and eagerly anticipating the state and national conventions, for now I'm happy to bask in a local convention well run, with only minor hiccups. Turnout may have been small, but this is a rebuilding year for the Party, and I can envision bigger and stronger attendance by 2024.
Forgive me, readers, for I have neglected this blog for far too long—almost three months. In the theology of Blogistan, that's a cardinal sin.
Fortunately, I can report, without revealing too much just yet, that my life circumstances are changing in such a way that will allow me to throw a blog (entry) on the proverbial fire more regularly.
Here in Texas, party convention season begins today for Greens and Libertarians. Here is it shapes up for Greens in 2020:
GPTX's State Executive Committee has agreed in principle and practice that candidates who have filed to run but not paid the new HB 2504 filing fees should still be on the ballots at conventions, just in case the fees are overturned via legal action (lawsuit still pending). Among those candidates is Your Humble Blogmeister, running again for US Senate, up for nomination at the State Convention. All Green candidates in Texas are unopposed in their various county, precinct, and state conventions; however, None of the Above is on all the ballots, as always.
We should be able to post some info on the results of the precinct and county conventions here in Harris County in the very near future. Both of the Harris County events will take place at Midtown Bar & Grill, 415 West Gray Avenue, 77019.
Another Ridley Run
The last entry before the long silence mentioned some names of Texas Green Party regulars who filed to run for various offices. Four of those regulars actually paid the requisite filing fees, as prescribed by last year's HB 2504.
One of the four names was Hal J. Ridley, Jr. A resident of Bridge City in Orange County TX, Ridley is in his third race for the Congressional seat in TX-36, which covers southeast Texas from Pasadena to Orange and Newton Counties on the Sabine River, skipping Jefferson County (Greater Beaumont/Port Arthur/Nederland). Although most of the district's area is in the Golden Triangle and points north, most of its people are in eastern Harris County.
Ridley will host a District 36 convention at Nokturn Coffee Shop on Saturday 21 March, 4-6 pm. Nokturn is located at 17062 Saturn Lane, Houston TX 77058, just west of Johnson Space Center. The main purpose of the convention is to confirm his nomination for the Congressional race. Residents of TX-36 who wish to participate should have their voter registration cards on hand to prove that they have not voted in any other party's primary election this year.
Unlike in 2016, the race will most likely feature a Democratic sacrificial la— er, nominee. In 2018, after the Green Party had lost ballot access in Texas, the Democrats of District 36 chose longtime Houston radio personality Dayna Steele to lose to Rep. Brian Babin.
Ridley wanted me to get the word out about his candidacy, and of course I couldn't turn him down. I am now informally a member of his media team—which, when you think of it, is pretty sad, because I don't have a list of media contacts for press releases and the like. (Note to self: Learn how to press-release.) He does not as yet have an entry in Ballotpedia yet, so I suppose we should take care of that as well.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.