Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Green Party leaders and candidates are calling for the demilitarization of civilian U.S. police departments, asserting that military police tactics have created an “occupation mentality” in many communities.

Greens said that abuses of police power and disregard for the lives of young black people were on display in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, threats against reporters, and a display of force that turned peaceful protest into a violent confrontation in Ferguson, Missouri. Greens expressed support for the protesters.

“The murder of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson must be investigated and prosecuted aggressively, but the crisis won’t end with the punishment of an individual police officer,” said Howie Hawkins, Green candidate for governor of New York (http://www.howiehawkins.org). “Out-of-control police who respond to minor violations with overwhelming force, toleration of racist cops, siege-like conditions in some cities and city neighborhoods, and record-high incarceration – all of these are evidence of a growing police state.” (See Mr. Hawkins’ statement: “Ferguson, Militarization, Federal Jurisdiction in Police Brutality,” August 20, http://www.howiehawkins.org/ferguson_militarization_police_brutality)

Greens said that the shooting and subsequent behavior of police in Ferguson exposed an occupation mentality in which a mostly-white police force (only three black officers out of 53) and municipal government (white mayor, white police chief, one black city council member out of six) dominate a population that’s 67 percent black.

Rosa Clemente, the Green Party’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, has published an on-the-scene report from the protests: see “Police Draw Guns on Rosa Clemente, Talib & Others in Ferguson” (August 20, http://www.gp.org/police-draw-guns-on-rosa-clemente-talib-others-in-ferguson).

See also “America: Young Black Men Have No Right to Life” by Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report, August 13, http://blackagendareport.com/content/america-young-black-men-have-no-right-life) and “Asking the Hard Questions About Ferguson” by John Halle, former Green member of the New Haven, Connecticut, Board of Alderman (CounterPunch, August 15-17, http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/15/asking-the-hard-questions-about-ferguson/).

“One sign of a police state is the use of police and prosecutors to solve everyday problems that a sane society would resolve in other ways,” said Eugene Puryear, D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate for At-Large Member of D.C. Council (http://www.EugenePuryear.com). “When jaywalking provokes a violent police response, when SWAT teams are deployed against people suspected of possessing small amounts of marijuana, then ‘law and order’ becomes a sham.”

“Democratic and Republican elected officials wanting to appear ‘tough on crime’ must be held accountable for laws and policies that have resulted in the country’s incarceration rate – per capita the highest in the world. This has been further aggravated by the Pentagon’s generous shipments of armed vehicles, military ordnance, body armor, and other wartime equipment to police departments that don’t need these things for police work,” added Mr. Puryear.

Greens listed steps that must be taken to correct police-state conditions and bring justice to the U.S. criminal justice system:

End mass incarceration and abolish the prison-industrial complex, in which private prison firms and contractors boost profits by filling up more cells, creating an economic incentive for draconian laws and criminal justice policies. (Democratic and Republican politicians accept generous contributions from the private-prison industry; Greens accept no corporate money and support an end to corporate contributions for candidates and parties.)

End racial disparities in arrests and sentencing (including the death penalty); end the school-to-prison pipeline for black, brown, and poor young people – both men and women; abolish racial profiling, “stop and frisk” policing, and harassment without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (criminalization of “Walking While Black”).

Place restraints on police and prosecutorial power by abolishing zero tolerance, interference in judicial discretion (e.g., mandatory sentencing and “three strikes”), disproportionate police responses and charges for low-level offenses, prosecution of children as adults, and impunity for police and prosecutors who abuse their power; place police abuse cases under federal jurisdiction to eliminate conflicts of interest when local district attorneys investigate such cases.

End the militarization of police, including training in military tactics and possession of military ammunition and vehicles even in small-town police departments; outlaw overwhelming force using combat equipment in response to minor offenses and nonviolent protest.

Cancel the failed and wasteful war on drugs; end policies that treat drug abuse as a criminal instead of medical or social problem; require federal agencies to respect decriminalization statutes passed in some states and cities.

End the criminalization and harassment of immigrants (documented as well as undocumented) and transformation of border areas into military zones – most recently evident in proposals that would deny asylum to young children fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America.

Restore privacy and constitutional protections from government power: end the NSA’s mass surveillance dragnet; end the criminalization of whistleblowers and investigative journalists (conducted with unprecedented intensity by the Obama Administration); outlaw harassment, infiltration, and provocation directed against organizations and individuals who express dissent.

See also:

“Is Michigan one bullet away from repeating the mistakes of Ferguson, MO?”
Paul Homeniuk, Green candidate for Governor or Michigan, August 15, 2014
http://www.paulhomeniuk.org/michigan-today/is-michigan-one-bullet-away-from-repeating-the-mistakes-of-ferguson-mo

Hart Calls for End to Militarizing Civilian Police Departments
Bob Hart, Green candidate for the U.S. House in Ohio, August 15, 2014
http://www.hartforcongress.com/hart-calls-for-end-to-militarizing-civilian-police-departments1033-program/

Iraq, Ferguson Are Two Sides of the Same Coin: Shoot First, Ask Questions Maybe
Ian Schlakman, Green candidate for the U.S House in Maryland, August 20, 2014
http://www.ian42.com/iraq_ferguson_are_two_sides_of_the_same_coin

The ACLU Released A Terrifying Report On All The Military Weapons US Cops Have
By Erin Fuchs, Business Insider, August 13, 2014
http://www.businessinsider.com/aclu-report-on-police-militarization-2014-8

The Over-Policing of America: Police Overkill Has Entered the DNA of Social Policy
By Chase Madar, Introduction by Tom Engelhardt, Moyers & Company, December 9, 2013
http://billmoyers.com/2013/12/09/the-criminalization-of-everyday-life/

Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?
By Jaeah Lee, August 15, 2014
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men

Race is still America’s struggle
By Len Levitt, AM New York, August 18, 2014
http://www.amny.com/opinion/columnists/leonard-levitt/race-is-still-america-s-struggle-len-levitt-1.9087643

Pest or Beneficial?

Sometimes the line between a pest insect and a beneficial insect is blurred.

I try to attract pollinators to our yard. We have a yard we refer to as “The Jungle”, with a lot of native plants we’ve allowed to take as much space as they like. We have a wild bee hive in an old oak tree near the back of our yard, and I often see butterflies flitting about. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of Black Swallowtail butterflies, which haven’t ever descended on our yard en masse before.

I also have a herb and strawberry garden outside my back door, and often visit it for fresh herbs. Earlier in the summer I was getting a few strawberries for breakfast every morning. I grow echinacea, lavender, parsley, oregano, basil, Thai basil, thyme, mint, chives, stevia, and aloe. I also have a small Bay tree from which I often pick leaves for sauces and soups.

I went out to visit my herb garden, which has been doing exceptionally well this year, only to see that my parsley had been completely decimated. I wondered what had happened. It looked fine yesterday despite the hot weather we’ve been having lately, but this morning it was gone. Not wilted.. gone.
Black Swallotail caterpillar, by Kelly DuncanCrouching to get a closer look, I saw several fat caterpillars munching happily on the stalks. Horrors! I rushed inside to do a quick internet search, and discovered the offending critters were none other than Black Swallowtail caterpillars.

Realising that they would be good pollinators when they reach adulthood, and that my parsley was already gone, I decided to let them stay, and went back to my computer to see what else in my herb garden would be eaten and to see if there was another spot in my yard they might like better..
Black Swallowtail caterpillar, by Kelly DuncanLong answer short: There is nothing in my garden that is as delicious to Swallowtail caterpillars as plants in the carrot family are.. a group that includes parsley – and they’ve eaten it all.
Black Swallotail caterpillar by Kelly DuncanI’m sure that when mom Black Swallowtail laid her eggs, she thought that my small patch of parsley would be perfect for her hungry babies.I’m sure she didn’t stop to consider whether there would be enough parsley to last them thought to the time when they go through their transformation. This leaves me with a dilemma: Do I go out and buy bunches of parsley to help these caterpillars make it through to the cocoon stage and into adulthood?

by Kelly Duncan

Livestream – GPUS Annual Meeting

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Thursday July 24 4:00pm CDT thru Sunday July 27

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