Sunday, August 17, 2008

Former Congresswoman, Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney Makes Campaign Stops in TN

The Green Party of TN is honored to host Ms McKinney as she visits 4
communities across the state this week. “From community problems like
landfill issues in Dickson to community solutions like the Biofuels plant
in Memphis and community gardens in Nashville Ms McKinney will get to talk
to people who are impacted and those with community-based solutions, a
Green Party Key Value”, said Katey Culver Green Party of TN Co-chair.

Wednesday, August 20th McKinney will make 3 stops in Memphis.
That evening she will be in Jackson, Tennessee for a fundraiser hosted by
the Madison County Green Party.

Thursday, August 21st McKinney's first stop is in Dickson to meet with
representatives of the community who have been affected by the dumping of
toxic waste in their community. Then to Nashville for an 11:00 AM Press
Conference in Room 31, Legislative Plaza speaking to the press about her
campaign. This event is open to the public. Following the press
conference Ms McKinney will speak directly to the public and take
questions. This will also be in Legislative Plaza, Room 31.

That morning Greens will turn in their nominating petitions to secure her
position on the general election ballot in Tennessee. “Due to
Tennessee's oppressive election access laws Ms McKinney will be listed
on the ballot as an independent candidate which we can achieve with 275 valid
signatures. It would take over 45,000 valid signatures to get her listed
with the “Green” affiliation. The Green Party is currently a litigant
against the state seeking ballot access laws that are fair”, said John
Miglietta a delegate to the Green Party of the US and a Green Candidate
for US House District 5.

Following the Press Conference she is scheduled to visit Tennessee State
University, Fisk University and Carver Food Park where Sizwe Herring of
EarthMatters Tennessee teaches children and community members about the
value of composting and principles of ecology.

Cynthia McKinney in her Chicago acceptance speech indicated why she had
chosen to go Green, saying, "In 2008, after two stolen Presidential elections and
eight years of George W. Bush, and at least two years of Democratic Party
complicity, the racket is about war crimes, torture, crimes against the
peace; the racket is about crimes against the Constitution, crimes against
the American people, and crimes against the global community. The racket
is even about values that we thought were long settled as reasonable to
pursue, like liberty and justice, and economic opportunity, for all."

As the Green Party candidate, issues of environmental and racial justice will
highlight her Tennessee visit. “Cynthia has chosen to visit people and places
that the Democrats and Republicans would would rather forget, such as
the victims of environmental racism in Dickson, Tennessee. I think this is why
Cynthia is the best choice this election season, because it is clear that she is
the people's candidate," said Chris Lugo Green candidate for the US Senate.

Scheduled Itinerary Available Upon Request:

For More Information Contact:

Katey Culver, Green Party of TN,
Committee Co-chair, 615-416-1908

Chris Lugo, Green Candidate, US Senate,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sub-prime crisis: Property crash pushes third of US homebuyers into negative equity

Sub-prime crisis: Property crash pushes third of US homebuyers into negative equity

The US property market has collapsed with such ferocity that almost a third of homebuyers are trapped in negative equity with mortgages outstripping the value of their homes.

House prices in the US are plunging at their fastest rate for 12 years, leaving millions of people struggling to meet home loans often provided by unscrupulous lenders after making minimal checks on the suitability of borrowers.

Among Americans who bought homes since the beginning of 2003, some 29.1% are in negative equity according to research by, an online specialist in house values. For those who bought in 2006, as many as 45% have mortgages under water in comparison to the sale value of their property.

"For homeowners who need to sell, this is a gravely serious situation," Stan Humphries, Zillow's vice-president of analytics, told Bloomberg News.

"It can also be harmful to communities where the number of unsold homes adds more houses to inventory and puts downward pressure on prices."

The latest figures on house prices showed a year on year drop of 9.9%.

Worst hit are previously booming areas such as Los Angeles, where prices are down 27%, and Las Vegas, which has seen a drop of 21%.

Citigroup's housebuilding analyst, Josh Levin, yesterday predicted that property prices could continue falling through 2010 and possibly 2011.

One of America's largest mortgage finance companies recently forecast that prices would drop by between 18% and 20% from "peak to trough" in the current downturn.

Freddie Mac said the US property market was in its most dismal condition since the great depression of the 1930s.

Foreclosure fallout: Houses go for a $1

Foreclosure fallout: Houses go for a $1

Ron French / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- One dollar can get you a large soda at McDonald's, a used VHS movie at 7-Eleven or a house in Detroit.

The fact that a home on the city's east side was listed for $1 recently shows how depressed the real estate market has become in one of America's poorest big cities.

And it still took 19 days to find a buyer.

The sale price of the home may be an anomaly, but illustrates both the depths of the foreclosure crisis in Detroit and the rapid scuttling of vacant homes in some of the city's impoverished neighborhoods.

The home, at 8111 Traverse Street, a few blocks from Detroit City Airport, was the nicest house on the block when it sold for $65,000 in November 2006, said neighbor Carl Upshaw. But the home was foreclosed last summer, and it wasn't long until "the vultures closed in," Upshaw said. "The siding was the first to go. Then they took the fence. Then they broke in and took everything else."

The company hired to manage the home and sell it, the Bearing Group, boarded up the home only to find the boards stolen and used to board up another abandoned home nearby.

Scrappers tore out the copper plumbing, the furnace and the light fixtures, taking everything of value, including the kitchen sink.

"It about doesn't make sense to put the family out," Upshaw said. "Once people are gone, you're gonna lose the house in this neighborhood."

Tuesday, the home was wide open. Doors leading into the kitchen and the basement were missing, and the front windows had been smashed. Weeds grew chest-high, and charred remains marked a spot where the garage recently burned.

Put on the market in January for $1,100, the house had no lookers other than the squatters who sometimes stayed there at night. Facing $4,000 in back taxes and a large unpaid water bill, the bank that owned the property lowered the price to $1.

$1 sale to cost bank $10,000

While it's not unusual for $1 to be exchanged when property is transferred for legal reasons, listing a home in the Multiple Listing Service for $1 was surprising and unsettling to Kent Colpaert, the listing real estate agent for the property.

"I've never seen a home listed for $1," Colpaert said.

"But it's been hit hard: It's just a shell."

On Tuesday, listed one other single-family home, one duplex and one empty lot at $1 in Detroit.

Dollar property sales are the financial hangover from the foreclosure crisis, said Anthony Viola of Realty Corp. of America in Cleveland.

Lenders that made loans to unqualified buyers during the height of the subprime market now find themselves the owners of whole neighborhoods of vacant, deteriorating homes.

"No one has much sympathy for these banks that made subprime loans," Viola said. "And in some cities like Cleveland, judges aren't letting them sit on the properties -- they're ordering them to tear them down or sell them."

So desperate was the bank owner of 8111 Traverse Street to unload the property that it agreed to pay $2,500 in sales commission and another $1,000 bonus for closing the $1 sale; the bank also will pay $500 of the buyer's closing costs. Throw in back taxes and a water bill, and unloading the house will cost the bank about $10,000.

"It doesn't make sense in some neighborhoods to keep paying costs and costs," Colpaert said. "It can make more financial sense to give it away."

Buyer calls it an investment

Colpaert declined to provide the name of the prospective purchaser, because the deal had not been through closing. The agent did say that the buyer agreed to pay the full list price of $1, and planned to pay cash.

The buyer, a local woman, considers the home to be an investment property and will not live there, Colpaert said, though exactly how soon the buyer can expect to recoup her four-quarter investment is questionable. Replacing the guts of the house will costs tens of thousands of dollars, and the owner will have trouble keeping scrappers from stealing the improvements as quickly as they're installed. Home demolition costs about $5,000, Colpaert said.

Meanwhile, the new owner will owe $3,900 in property taxes in 2009 on her dollar purchase unless she challenges the tax assessment.

While selling a home for the amount of change most people could find between their couch cushions is unusual, some abandoned homes in Detroit sell for $100; vacant lots can be purchased for $300.

"My 14-year-old son could buy a block of Detroit property," said Ann Laciura, senior servicing specialist for the Bearing Group.

You can reach Ron French at (313) 222-2175 or

Monday, August 11, 2008

No More Drilling on Public Lands

President Bush and the McCain campaign are beating a dead horse these days and it is called the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They want you to believe that we must squeeze the last bits of oil out of the earth, wherever we can find it, and we need to start right here at home by destroying our last remaining wild refuge and devastating our coastal wetlands in the name of boosting corporate oil profits. The right wing echo chamber has taken up the cause celeb, and candidates across the country can be heard ringing the bells of freedom for the global oil market.

Developing our remaining public lands for oil and natural gas is a waste of time and resources. The industry already leases 44 million acres of land for oil and gas development, and to date they have not used almost 30 million acres of public land. In addition, drilling in our most fragile wild spaces is a slap in the face to the environment and future generations who will judge us on the basis of how we cared for and exercised responsible stewardship of the natural resources of the planet.

The time will come when there will be no more oil to drill and we have already reached far beyond the point where we must begin to invest in sustainable alternatives to oil, such as biofuels, solar and wind power as our primary sources of energy production. Drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge is like using a garden hose to put out the forest fire. Clearly we need to develop new strategies and begin to invest in a sustainable energy infrastructure not dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. The scientific evidence has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that global warming is real and we are the source of the problem. It is time to become part of the solution.

The oil and gas industry already has plenty of access to public lands in the United States. It is up to us to protect our coastal beaches and marshlands from environmental devastation. It is up to us to lock up ecologically sensitive regions in Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado before they are destroyed forever. There is no clear evidence that drilling on our remaining public lands will lead to a decrease in oil prices. In fact, oil prices are going to continue to rise regardless because global demand is far outstripping supply. The only real solution is to begin to invest in our alternative energy infrastructure and develop green solutions to the global energy crisis. We face a real challenge in the years ahead, but we can begin to make the right choices now by saying no to continued drilling in environmentally sensitive regions.

for more information on this issue please visit:

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Re: CINDY MADE IT! Peace Mom Puts Peace On Ballot, Officially!!!!!!

Carol Wolman wrote:
Congratulations to Cindy!  I hope she will now take the lead in publicizing the New Broom Coalition of impeachment candidates! 
Bay Area candidates and impeachers, we have a meeting of Impeach Bush-Cheney this Sunday evening, 5 pm, at 406 41st St in Oakland.  Lots of good strategizing has come out of this group over the past 3 years.  Let's roll!
Peace, Carol Wolman, MD
Green Candidate for Congress, CA District 1
Coordinator, New Broom Coalition
Chair- Impeach Bush-Cheney
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 4:59 PM
Subject: CINDY MADE IT! Peace Mom Puts Peace On Ballot, Officially!!!!!!

"When the people fear the government you have tyranny; when the government fears the people you have liberty."
Thomas Jefferson

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Cindy Sheehan for Congress <>
Sent: Friday, August 8, 2008 4:01:55 PM
Subject: Peace Mom Puts Peace On Ballot, Officially!!!!!!

August 8,2008

Dear Cynthia,

On behalf of the people of San Francisco and all whom dream of a better tomorrow, we are proud to announce that Cindy Sheehan is officially on the ballot as a candidate for California's 8th Congressional District Representative to the U.S. House.  Cindy is only the 6th Independent candidate ever to be listed on a California election ballot.  

There has been an overwhelming and unprecedented show of support among San Francisco voters for the Sheehan campaign's progressive agenda.  Over the past few months, hundreds of volunteers and supports rallied around getting their voices heard in November's election.  After collecting roughly 20,000 signatures, with at least 10,198 qualifying, the Sheehan campaign has proven its viability with flying colors.   

Cindy's access to November's ballot is evidence of growing discontent among San Francisco voters with the Democratically lead U.S. congress and its inability to end the war, hold the Bush administration accountable for unconstitutional acts, stimulate the economy, reform healthcare, reconsider trade agreements that harm American workers and the environment and cut ties to corporate lobbyists.  The Sheehan campaign is offering a new vision for San Francisco and the nation.  Cindy believes in peace, accountability, freedom, and well being for all.  She believes that war should be a last resort for defense and not the handy policy tool that it is currently being used as.  She believes that healthcare is a basic right in a democratic society and should not be based on ability to pay.  Cindy knows that it is essential to keep our representatives and leaders accountable to our Constitution and to democratic practices.  She knows that we must retool our economy to be in harmony with the environment and its sustainability.  Most importantly, Cindy understands that Americans are striving for a new type of politics that has meaning, puts people before profits and that challenges the divisive two party system.       

After overcoming its first obstacle by achieving ballot access, the Sheehan campaign is in full gear and ready to achieve victory in November.  Over the next few months, the campaign will be working hard to spread its message of peace, accountability, and hope.  Thank you to all whom have shown their support by volunteering, donating, advocating, and being the change that we wish to see.  Although Cindy is on the ballot, the most challenging part of the campaign is around the corner.  We must spread our message more widely, recruit more volunteers, raise more funds and secure more votes.  As a grassroots campaign going up against a well oiled machine, we are fighting an uphill battle.  Regardless, we have hope.  We have hope because we understand the power of people to chance society.  The civil rights movement and women's liberation movement within the United States is evidence that if we come together in union, regardless of the odds against us, we can overcome all obstacles.  The Sheehan campaign's message to you today is that, we can overcome!  We can overcome fear.  We can overcome the military industrial complex.  We can overcome corporate domination of our economy.  We can overcome environmental degradation.  Let us create a society grounded in peace, love, and humanity.  

Onwards to victory!!!!!

Let us elect Cindy Sheehan to the House of Representatives!

click here to unsubscribe

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Living in a World Without Fear

This week marks the 63rd anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 9th, 1945 at 11:01am the United States of America dropped a nuclear bomb on a pre-designated city in Japan killing 80,000 people in the second of two nuclear attacks. This attack was the only time that nuclear weapons have been used as an instrument of war, and it could be the last, if we generate the political will to dismantle our weapons of mass destruction, abide by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and create a federal level department of peace. At the time of the bombing the United States only had two nuclear weapons in its arsenal but since that time our stockpile of nuclear weapons has mushroomed to nearly six thousand weapons. Fortunately we have not used these weapons since then, but the only guarantee that they will never be used is if they do not exist. As tempting as it is to believe that we are a moral nation that would never use such terrible instruments of destruction, the fact is that we have used them and we can use them again if our military or elected leaders believe the situation justifies it. That is why it is more important than ever to dismantle weapons of mass destruction.

Nuclear weapons are dirty, dangerous, immoral weapons that continue to do damage long after the bombs have been used. In addition to the nearly 200,000 people who died as a result of the nuclear attacks, many more victims continue to suffer to this day as a result of the radiation released that day. Birth defects and mutations continue to affect the children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to this day. With literally thousands of nuclear weapons in the possession of nearly two dozen nations, the risk of one of these bombs being used in a conflict has increased exponentially since it was first used in 1945. In the past six decades the United States alone has gone to critical levels of preparedness for nuclear attack on more than thirty occasions in response to international conflicts. Having initiated a first use policy, we cannot claim to have the higher ground on the issue of nuclear proliferation and possession. By using the bomb first and then building the biggest arsenal, our national policy makers have set a precedent and sent a clear message to the world that we are not a country which is truly interested in peace and international security.

There is nothing more threatening to global peace than our own nuclear weapons stockpiles. These weapons are also a threat to the environment both short term and long term. Uranium mining involves milling, production and environmental and ecological devastation. After the uranium ore is extracted and processed no one seems to want the nuclear waste, which is left like an orphan without a home. There is no comprehensive plan for the long term storage of radioactive nuclear waste which stays radioactive for up to 250,000 years and scientists haven't figured out how to safely contain such materials. For the people of the world to even begin to have a chance at peace and a healthy environment we need to begin to dismantle our nuclear weapons stockpiles now and clean up the mess we have made. In Tennessee there is enough work for all of the hundreds of employees of the Oak Ridge nuclear complex just cleaning up the contaminated facilities and the environment to keep them employed for many years to come. The same is true of all of our nuclear weapons production and storage facilities. Additionally we need more investment in research and development to study how to more safely contain the nuclear waste that has already been produced.

It has become clear to the people of this world that the future does not include nuclear war or proliferation of nuclear weapons. After the cold war the United States and the former Soviet Union took a big step back from the precipice by dismantling some warheads. Since that time international will has resolved and grown stronger to continue the progress that was made nearly twenty years ago. Right now, while our world is at relative peace regarding global threats to security is a good time to dismantle our weapons of mass destruction. It is up to the people of the United States to develop the will and the leadership to live up to the vision of a nation which is dedicated to peace and social justice rather than violence and warfare. We can live in a world of peace, if we take concrete steps now by by dismantling our weapons of mass destruction, abide by the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and support a federal level department of peace. It is possible to resolve international conflicts without threatening to completely destroy other cultures. We have the collective intelligence to create a more meaningful future for ourselves and the generations to come.

Monday, August 04, 2008

No Permanent Military Bases in Iraq

The Iraqi Parliament wants the US out of Iraq, and they have made it clear in a recent letter which called for US troops to be removed. The United States doesn't seem quite so inclined to oblige. Recently we learned that the Bush administration was engaged in secret negotiations to establish fifty military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors for an indefinite period of time. The congress must remain engaged and not give in to pressure from the military industrial complex or current administration officials from both sides of the aisle. If we are ever to step out of this quagmire there must be broad resolve by the American people to bring the troops home and close down the military bases.

As part of long term security negotiations in Iraq, Massoud Barzani, the head of northern Iraq's regional Kurdish administration suggested that military forces be permanently redeployed to northern Iraq. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has indicated that he believes it would be appropriate to deploy troops there in the near future. Permanent military bases of any sort will act as an anchor to keep us locked into Iraq for decades to come. The United States clearly intends to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan into the indefinite future. Pentagon officials have indicated as much in their long term and short term planning for the region.

The Iraqis have a different idea about what we should do. There is consensus in the Iraqi parliament that the United States needs to leave now and take our military bases with us. As a candidate for federal office, I do not support the permanent establishment of any military bases in Iraq or Afghanistan. I believe that it is essential that the anti-war movement in this country continue to pressure elected officials and run candidates who will remove the military presence from the Middle East. It is clear that political instability in the region is being fueled by a continued US military presence in the region. This in turn is creating uncertainty on the global oil markets and pushing up prices, weakening the US dollar and contributing to a global recession.

The current thinking on the part of military strategists and international policy experts is that the situation in Iraq is analogous to Korea or Germany, and that permanent military bases are a fundamental aspect of Iraqi and Afghan reconstruction. The problem is that the Iraqi people do not agree. The people of Iraq consider us to be agents of occupation, and fundamentally anti-democratic. They do not see the invasion of Iraq as being worth the hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed or injured. They do not like the long term economic, infrastructure and environmental devastation which was been visited upon their country.

The Iraqi people have spoken and it is time to honor our agreements. In a recent statement to the press, Nouri al-Maliki said that the US was making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq. If the US remains in the region, we will eventually use our presence in Iraq as a base for further military exploits in the region, especially into Iran. That is why it is time to withdraw all of our military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, to close down our military bases and to bring our troops home now.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Art Of The Very Small...

The Art Of The Very Small...

Contraction and redaction,
Rome burning its money,
We're all dancing the fiddlers' tune,
Soft-shoe on the stained red carpet,
Roll it up into a bag.

Staycation nation,
The wheels stopped turning,
So the world doesn't - we need a better way,
It's the little things Silly,
Sunlight on hair and a cheap harmonica,
Sunshine in your own back yard.

The proud and the mighty,
Dancing a skull-bones fantasy,
Raving Revengers on the prowl,
Buried in video games and movies,
Burning and shooting and exploding.

The big tickets are over,
The dance is all that's left,
Piper plays and who can pay?

It's the art of being satisfied with the very small -
Mental survival.


By: Daniel A. Stafford
© 08/02/2008