Wednesday, January 09, 2008

exxchanges on impeachment and Green candidacy

Dear Impeachment Folks and Greens,

This email has 5 parts.
1) A brief reply to Russ Gilfix.
2) Phyllis Mason's reply to Russ Gilfix regarding impeachment.
3) Kathleen Kimmich's (Kate Tepper's) email to me opposing a Green
candidacy for Congress.
4) My response to her message and a question for her.
5) Her response to me.
6) My response to her.
The next message will be about how we consume the world's resources,
making it impossible for people in poorer countries to get what they
need to live.

1) Reply to Russ Gilfix's message on Monday the 7th:
Hi Russ,
We talked four hours last night and finished, I think, with a fair
amount of empathy for each other. Do you want me to answer your Jan 7
message as it stands, or do you want to change it, or write something
else entirely, or simply pass over it. Please tell me what you now
want me to respond to.

If there is anyone else who wants me to respond to Russ' email of the
7th, please tell me. If I have no requests to answer it, or answer
some portion of it, I'll pass over it.

2) At 2:59 Monday, Phyllis Mason sent this:

Dear Russ Gilfix:

I am sure you know much more about politics than I do, but I feel that
our country has been damaged and disgraced, not to mention the damage we
have done and are doing to the world.

I think impeachment should have taken place already, but I will go with
"Better late than never." with regard to this issue. That is why I have
spoken in favor of Richard Duffee.

Phyllis Mason

3) At 3:22 pm Monday Kate (Kathleen Tepper) sent this:
Dear Mr. Duffee:

I have the greatest respect for your dedication and knowledge
regarding impeachment of Bush and all his undemocratic and evil
administration and - were the costs of losing to Chris Shays not so
great - would be more than willing to look further into your candidacy
for Shays' Congressional seat. At the moment however, I do feel that
we have bright, dedicated and honest candidate in Jim Himes and that
he stands an excellent chance of winning another Democratic seat for
Connecticut. At this point in time perhaps it would be
counter-productive to lose this very good candidate by a small number
of votes. It is important at this time to concentrate all our efforts
on electing a candidate who not only endorses most of our progressive
values but has an excellent chance of winning. This in no way
diminishes the significance of your own efforts on the part of
progressives everywhere - you are to be much admired for your
convictions. What is important is that all progressives work together
toward a more principled, just and democratic governance, be they
Greens, Democrats, Independents or Republicans who have finally seen
the light!
Very Sincerely, Kate Tepper

4) My response:
Dear Kate Tepper,
I have two strong convictions that bear on the question of my running.

First, I believe the oath of office to defend the Constitution
requires that we impeach its domestic enemies. I cannot defer to a
candidate who declines to impeach because declining to fulfill the
oath of office should make one ineligible to run. I recognize that in
normal times Jim Himes would be a good candidate. But if we cannot
agree to impeach executives as tyrannical as Bush and Cheney, we have
relinquished republic entirely and slipped irrevocably into empire—and
empire is intrinsically vile because it is a system of slavery at a
distance. Until and unless Mr. Himes gives a concrete commitment to
specific actions that constitute the advocacy of impeachment, it would
be unethical of me to defer to him. I have been communicating with Mr.
Himes on the subject for over 3 months but he has not given me a
concrete commitment on any point. I will again spell out the requisite
actions between now and the 13th and will discuss them on the 13th.

All the legal and administrative apparatus of a complete police state
has been erected. It is ready to be put into operation at any place or
time: we live in constant danger of military law being declared, of
being put in concentration camps, of being denied access to court, of
being tortured and disappeared, of having our cars and houses robbed,
our letters opened and read, our phones tapped, our emails read. Some
of these things, like the tapping of phones and emails, the reading of
bank records and library records, are happening to huge numbers of us
daily without our awareness. But every single one of these fascist
forms of oppression has been tested on SOME people already—to see how
the press, public, courts, and legislatures will react. The vast bulk
of the Democrats have not protected us. Mr. Himes will have to show
how he is different from the others.

Second, I believe the Green Party has solid reasons for existence and
must maintain its integrity. Since 1981 the Democratic Party has
dismantled many of its historical commitments. The Democratic Party
has never been committed to the 10 Key Values of the Greens. The
Democrats have produced only a couple of adequately functioning
environmental laws—notably the Clean Water Act—and are now only
requiring auto emissions reductions by 2020 to levels that were on the
market in the 1980's. The Democrats have never dismantled nuclear
power plants though they know perfectly well that the Price Anderson
Act is a fraud and that the government's commitment to keep nuclear
waste safely is a fraud. Even Al Gore, the Democrat apparently most
friendly to the environment, is failing to draw obvious conclusions
about global warming and the need to reduce consumption drastically.
Approximately 90% of Democrats have proven by their actions that they
believe in empire, in imperial presidency, in domestic oppression, in
war, in violating international law. In sum, I do not believe the
Democrats will save progressive politics. If the Green Party does not
maintain itself, the Democrats will be even worse than they are. The
Democrats keep trying to blame the Greens for their own failures but
will not clearly distinguish themselves from Republicans. I do not
trust the Democrats to restore the Constitution when they cannot even
bring themselves to state that what Bush and Cheney have done is
wrong. Instead, I believe the Democratic front-runners want to inherit
the powers Bush and Cheney have unconstitutionally given themselves.
If the Greens just step aside, we will be colluding in all this.

Mr. Himes may be much better than most Democrats. I don't know. If he
wants us to believe the Constitution is safe in his hands, and that he
will help to dismantle our illegitimate empire, he will have to
distinguish himself from other Democrats by criticizing their actions
and explaining what he will do differently. In response to vague
platitudes and pleasantries, I cannot give up on the Green Party.

I want to know that Mr. Himes is better not just than Shays, but than
Courtney, Murphy, Lieberman, and Larson. I'm not sure about DeLauro,
but I am sure that if he is as good as Dodd or Leahy, I'll start to
think about him. If he persuades me he's as good as Kucinich, he'll
have my support. I hope the pressure will improve him.

6:40 pm, Jan 8:
Dear Richard:
Please post my reply:
You ask "what is a progressive?" My mother was progressive: I grew up
during the Second World War and everything, even water, was scarce in
London. On the odd occasion that there was a piece of fruit or a real
egg or a small bar of chocolate she would make one child cut the
"treat" in half and the other child choose. It was quite amazing how
evenly the goods of life were shared! While it is unlikely that this
even distribution would be possible in the larger sense, as a general
principle I believe that a more even and humane distribution of
economic resources is the first requirement of a progressive. Of
course, this is impossible but every ethical person I know does their
best toward this goal in their own way. Working toward universal
health care, ending wars, creating decent paying jobs, ending death
penalties and making abortion available to any woman who needs one -
the list is endless and there are thousands of people working toward
these and many other humane and sensible solutions to the many
desperate straits in which we humans find ourselves at one time or
another. So "progressive" is not definable in any one sphere or
person, but it exists in millions and millions of people of goodwill
and has done so for thousands and thousands of years. Like a cloud,
you cannot pin it down, but you do know it is there. Sincerely, Kate

12:25 am, Jan 9:
Dear Kate,
That's a beautifully written answer. From what you say, I think a lot
of what you mean by being progressive can be pinned down with a few
principles. My first choice is the Law of Diminishing Returns. For a
second I'd say that the difference between law and ethics is that
while ethics concerns what it is good to do, law
concerns what it is good to force people to do. For a third I'd say
that one should aim for as close as possible to a 1:1:1 ratio between
the number of people working, the number of people whose interests are
being served by the work, and the number of people directing the work.
I'll be expanding on these principles a lot through the campaign. I'll
start with the Law of Diminishing Returns tomorrow.

I suspect what you mean by progressive is what I mean by egalitarian.
The reason I asked the question is that I cannot find a place where
people think of egalitarianism globally; they all think locally. W E B
DuBois was right when he said in 1899 that the problem of the 20th
Century would be the color line because industrialists knew that they
could always use racial prejudice to prevent white workers from
striking on behalf of the rights and needs of darker workers around
the world, and so could divide the world market in half--a rich market
for whilte workers, a bare necessity market for workers of color.

Because you wrote I could post the reply and then had a colon, I
figure you probably don't mind if I post this exchange also.