Excerpt from an Indian Country Today article:
Iron Shell: Wondering on Turkey Day
Posted: November 23, 2007
by: Andrew Iron Shell
The young America could have learned a lot from the
indigenous of this land had it worked past its fear
and ignorance of the unknown. It caught a glimpse of
true concepts of democracy and collective freedoms
from the Iroquois Confederacy, which was created
generations before the coming of the Mayflower. The
colonists similarly drafted a pretty good U.S.
Constitution from their interactions with the Natives.
At some point in this process, the Indians went from
friend to foe when the young America grew tired of the
glitter of their friendship. The learning curve had
almost stopped until Al Gore got a Nobel Peace Prize
for telling the world an inconvenient truth that our
Indian logic had been saying all along: Mother Earth
is alive and needs to be treated with the same respect
we give to our children’s health.
The Long Run
Nov. 29th, 2007 As of this writing I fully intend to be the Green Party nominee for president. I would like to take two months off work and run full-time. Today, I had to respond to a dust complaint from the neighbor of people whose homes burned down in an area of town adjoining my sector. Some people were using water to suppress dust, but one contractor obviously was not. I took pictures of a “bobcat” front-loading a dumpster as part of firestorm debris clean-up. Light ash-dust was flying everywhere. I didn’t issue a ticket, or even try to. The contractor stopped work, said he’d had a hard time breathing the previous evening, and tapped his chest in emphasis. I saw dust caked by the side of his nose, outside the imprint of the inadequate mask. One other contractor said he had a nosebleed the previous evening. They had used water the previous day, which explained to me why I did not see as much dust stirred up at their site. I wonder if the A.P.C.D. (Air Pollution Control District) has put out public service announcements.
The complainant’s wife was “appreciative” when I called them. They were downwind. Dust also was raised from the burned hillside by high winds, the previous day (Wed, Nov. 28, ’07). I saw a “green pool,” stagnant since the disabling fires. I know I got a County e-mail to keep an eye out for green pools, and I need to dig it up. West Nile virus has made in-roads, here. I think I once met a former Green who died from West Nile virus here in California. I’ll find the contact information and speak with someone at another agency about the green pool or just drop it into my supervisor’s lap since, after six days of non-inspection meetings (two of the Industrial Environmental Association’s “The Greening of California Businesses” and four of a Business Practices Re-engineering or “Kaizen” even) I’m pushing to get caught up on regular inspections. I didn’t even squat down to see if I could see mosquito larvae, I’ve been so busy. Normally, I would be curious.
I’m glad I got to experience being a Shelter Manager during the firestorm. At the time, I was beginning to wonder if the Office of Emergency Services would call, which they did right after I had returned home following evacuation…then I pulled an “all nighter” from before 6 p.m. to after 6 a.m. in my new duties. When I walked in for my shift I got to hear the phrase, “forget the rule-book.” I then tried to stop media from briskly entering before realizing they had authorization, as the translator was one of the first I’d met and I soon recognized a gathered contingent. A single human-interest case, with a promise of not wandering and disturbing the evacuees. Someone, in welcoming me touched my arm and said I was doing a fine job. I had rushed to stop cameras. In the middle of the early morning I wandered up all the floors at the del Mar race track in the dark just to feel what the place is like.
People were thankful for a place to stay, but the accommodations were terrible, with the main lights not dimming much (because the circuit was the same as the restrooms, and someone decided that the restroom lights should be on all night. I didn’t quite have time to see about an alternative lighting of the restrooms, but I did meet the worker who could’ve turned off the whole circuit), the ceiling packed with televisions which people probably liked until they got tired of their neighbor’s (I gradually phased the televisions off over an hour and a half) and other distractions. People with pets were on one side, people without on the other. The cockatoo doing it’s best to mimic the high-frequency rasps of the “hall of bears” of the people who were lucky enough to snore was almost surreal at 2 a.m. It took me a moment to figure out what it was “saying.” ( We had a cockatoo at the station where I grew up with birds in New Guinea. I remember seeing its yellow crest overhead. Lots of butterflies, too, during my childhood.) The shrill was like an avian raspy snore to comment on the lack of stillness in the county. My walking didn’t startle as many people as I thought it would, making the rounds as people tried to sleep.
One fellow drove in after bed-time. He was a marine who’s served four tours in Iraq (Is that possible? maybe it was “only” three; Hispanic fellow). He tried for hours to locate a woman with her baby, since he was to drive them home and had driven two hours, himself (with at least another) to pick her up. He was sure that this was the right place. I called two other centers, after finding their numbers, and we collectively could not locate the woman. We made the rounds, looking. In one room, dark and not full of snoring, we snaked around and tried to not wake anyone. I woke someone…an exhausted fire-fighter, whose head rose up from the sleeping bag. Blinking, “no babies here,” he said. No kidding. I learned from two lone medical personnel at the other end of the room (one nodding off and embarrassed when I appeared) that “this place was for the workers.” We left the short way so as to not disturb. Exiting, I realized, “fire-fighters.” It was like a great hall, packed with sleeping heroes. I thought of how gaunt the man’s face was, and wondered how he looked when he wasn’t near-beat. When I left, the mother and baby had not been found. I left a note, joining many.
I think I’ll comment, next, on campaign updates. In closing, I want to say that I value political organizing as a way to manage tasks that describe good governance. Being elected, I would help others improve their organizational methods so that we use our resources to maximize our combined survivability. At the Kennedy School of Government debate I said I would have a difficult time designing a society to be more prone to collapse than our current one. I remember Jim Bell (Mayoral candidate, San Diego) saying that our lifestyle is, in effect, like a precious-metal idol having brittle feet of clay. Our clay might be our addiction to oil…and our lack of diplomacy as a nation. The governmental problem is a lack of separation of business and state.
Personal message: I am one of seven Green Party U.S. presidential candidates who will be on the California primary ballot, February 5th, 2008. In the primary process in California one needs to be registered with the Green Party in order to vote green. At present, I may be on the ballot in Illinois as part of a contested Green Party presidential primary there for the first time (which is good as it helps greens maintain major party status in that state). In Illinois there is no partisan registration (no “Green” box to check on the registration form). I also plan to be on the ballot in other states that have a primary process for the Green Party. I have submitted paperwork to be on the ballots in Washington D.C. and in one of our newest states: Arkansas! I also plan to be “on” in Massachusetts and anywhere else we may have ballot status. In states lacking Green Party primaries the selection of the presidential nominee will be done through other methods, such as polling Green Party County Councils (Central Committees). I was recently in Wisconsin at a state Green Party meeting (November 10th and 11th), where I am receiving support. In speaking with one of the co-chairs I learned that it’s difficult to contact “Green” supporters there, since greens aren’t on the ballot and there is no partisan membership. It seems, ‘though, that over 40,000 people consistently vote for a Green governor there (if I recall correctly). As far as Green party status, nationwide, every state is somewhat forced into a different process. It would be better if all states recognized, as Florida does individually, that the Green Party is a national party deserving of ballot status in all states. If I had the time I would draft congressional legislation requiring the states to all recognize (for a period of at least eight years) ALL national parties (such as the Libertarians, too) so that we don’t have to expend so much time and effort just jumping through the hoops placed in front of us by the dominating parties that are afraid of real debates. Here’s another trick I keep hearing about: the standards for inclusion in debates often include something about how well a party or candidate “polls,” yet alternative parties are excluded from mention when polling is conducted! I actually answered one of these calls, last year. We have more than two choices, folks, get over it!
Sustainability is a security issue. Now is the time for green solutions. If you are someone who doesn’t normally register to vote, I would gladly welcome your “throw away” rubbish vote. Please register Green where you can. It is practically illegal, now, to participate in U.S.A. politics outside the two corporate-run parties. In one of her books, Arianna Huffington commented that, had the same rules been in place limiting “third” parties back in Lincoln’s time there would not be a Republican party today. The issue is not that alternative parties don’t have a chance (we do, and it’s bigger than you may think) but that the “leadership” of both main parties knows how upset people are and they want you to think that you don’t have a choice other than to keep supporting often dismal candidates (choice “a”) or not vote (choice “b”). Roughly half the people in this country who could vote don’t (and for good reason). For my part, I am going to do whatever I can to keep growing the Green Party and moving society toward sane, sustainable design. Also, while you are reading this, do you have a three-day supply of water available for drinking? We can’t wait for our government to prepare us for natural or engineered disasters.
I have been registered with the Green Party since 1995, I am an elected member of the Green Party County Council in San Diego, California and I am in my second two-year cycle serving the California Green Party as a representative (delegate) to the Green National Committee. In 2004 I was one of the lesser-known presidential candidates on the ballot and I was essentially “runner-up” to Ralph Nader at the presidential nominating convention held in Milwaukee, WI, during that year. David Cobb received the nomination.
I have participated in more presidential debates, forums and panel discussions than any other announced Green Party presidential candidate (roughly sixteen) and I am committed to seeing that “green” solutions are promoted through political organizing and through the more general “green” movement. The Green Party is the electoral arm of the green movement. In Milwaukee following the presidential debate between Lorna Salzman, myself, Peter Camejo and David Cobb (pictured above, June of 2004) I was informed by our Green media representative (Ross Mirikami) that, when asked by the media as to who won the debate my name was given. The general, unofficial “consensus” was that my positive message and approach was appreciated. So far in 2007 I participated in Green Party Presidential Forums July 10th at the National Press Club a couple blocks from the White House (five candidates; hosted by Marvin Kalb of “Meet the Press”) and at the Annual National Meeting of the Green Party in Reading, PA July 13th (ten candidates; mostly introductions). In practice, as I am approached via e-mail, I respond and participate in phone, radio and e-mail interviews and I have also submitted requested articles for publication.
We independent candidates are sometimes excluded from polls and shunned from debates (two reasons: fear on the part of mainstream party “leadership” and our own relative lack of organization). These are temporary challenges, especially during a time when green solutions are being recognized for their value economically, environmentally and for reasons of peace and security (local job growth, micro-loans, community economics, sustainability, for example). I recently met Dr. Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Green founder and was reminded how environmental issues and peace are related. From an Indigenous and spiritual perspective (I more recently met with a Kiowa Medicine Man) I know that our thoughts and our behavior are tied to the climatic instability that we experience around us. A further affirmation of the connection between environment and peace was recently given through Al Gore receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Global Climate Change is one of the defining issues of our time. I work full time as an Air Quality Inspector for the county of San Diego. I anticipate taking more time off work as funds come in to replace my otherwise lost wages (there is a new Federal Election Commission rule allowing candidates to replace their salaries with monies earned from campaigning- something new, allowing non-wealthy people a chance at office). Your support is essential as we Greens are not beholden to business interests for our funding.
I run to improve our political system, to help define, popularize and support the Green Party, to be an advocate for changes to our culture that will help us survive adversity and to improve our basic physical security, especially in terms of the basic categories of water, food and energy. I am optimistic that we can reform government and that we will begin building our communities with a sense of long-range planning as though we-the-people intend to be around for a long time to come. I value decentralization, diversity and sustainability, not as catch-phrases but as a good way of life. I believe that international commerce should be cognizant of the importance of people being able to meet their own basic needs of water and food, rather than the current method of seeking to exploit “developing” nations at their most basic level. Our party is pro-peace and we vigorously question the “need” for war, especially wars of choice that ultimately misuse and abuse our troops, damage our reputation and weaken our security by inciting enemies. The war in Iraq was a gross mistake. I support Iraq Veterans Against the War and my comments on the subject would be similar to those on their website: www.ivaw.org. We must rebuild our international reputation and rely more upon diplomacy than on force and technology.
Over-all turnout in the last General Election was poorer than ever. Ralph Nader once said, “If you don’t turn to politics, politics will turn on you.” As of this time Mr. Nader is not actively running for the nomination. You can work to help reform politics by learning about Instant Runoff Voting (I.R.V.) or preferential voting, by advocating representational government such as proportional representation rather than “winner-take-all” and by not supporting the major parties until they stop cowering by excluding our good candidates from their “debates.” One comment I recall David Cobb (Green Party Presidential Candidate, 2004) repeating, on the last campaign for the White House, is that “third” parties perform the function of introducing new ideas and applying new pressures to the powers that be so that we now have child labor laws, a 40-hour work week and some other programs that are designed to counter-balance the extreme economic power of the elite and help the common person. In a Democratic society (yes, I know we are a Republic) even non-moneyed voices deserve to be heard. We must get the money out of politics and require our elected officials to not be obligated to “earmarking” bills. Although it is an indication of support, we ought to require more from our candidates than essentially seeing who can raise the most cash. When funds are contributed it is best that they are anonymous to the recipient and are pooled. Currently, candidates have to raise their own money and I am no exception. Even small monthly contributions of $1 per person may allow me to run a visible campaign, approaching the concept of publicly funded elections wherein a candidate does not feel obligated to contributors of large amounts. Eventually, I would like a more fully honored separation of powers through a Constitutional amendment limiting the influence of business on government.
You can help this campaign by volunteering and by sending contributions to “Mesplay for President” at the address “under” the green “DONATE” button. Also, please register with the Green Party and vote for me in the first part of 2008 during the primaries and caucuses. As the Green Party nominee I will help advance the debate on Global Climate Change and I will point out that green solutions are good for our homes and our health, good for our cities and our security, good for commerce and peace-building and good for future generations. Even without oil being depleted it makes good sense on many levels to enact green solutions.
Statements that were up during the Primary when I ran for U.S. Senate in 2006 (edited slightly):
When you vote for me you will be casting a vote for a change to our political system. Here in California 46% of those who could register and vote are not registered as Democrat or Republican (see my “Volunteer” page for pie-charts). Only 23% of people who were eligible to register actually voted in the June 6th, 2006 election. Most of the growth in new registrations comes not from people rushing out to register Democrat or Republican but from outside these two parties. If you have not yet registered, there is always time to join an alternative party. I encourage people to register Green or Libertarian or Decline to State. The national organizations of the Democratic and Republican parties are not deserving of support. These parties are increasingly alike on major issues and are part of the problem, especially when it comes to freedom of speech. Elections officials can charge $20 a word from independent candidates. Campaigns have become essentially advertising campaigns, modified regularly by polling and focus groups plying their ware on the usual taxing parties. I want to live in a country where candidates are selected by the population based upon more than the person’s ability to purchase yard signs and buy television coverage. Help get me into the presidential debates by registering and voting. I don’t want to become a politician; I just want to make things better.
Only about a third of adults who could register and vote bother to do so, which means that you, as someone who normally does not vote, would fit into the two-thirds who can get an alternative party candidate elected. If you are someone who is fed up with our state of politics and you want to have some fun (I know: “politics” and “fun” in the same sentence!) please spread the word and register to vote. Bad government is elected by non-voters.
As a presidential candidate (2004, 2008) I stand for independence, decentralization, local security through sustainable planning and the usual green issues of a sane energy policy, the need to protect ecosystems and species, our dire need for an improved social safety net at the local level and a foreign policy cognizant of respect for other cultures. We are a wealthy country fully capable of designing and implementing livable communities in which citizens are supported in meeting their basic needs of food, health and dental care and protection against adversity. I understand how: affordable housing is an energy issue (shorter commutes); renewable energy is a security issue (better local control) and immigration is an historical issue (unfair trade arrangements such as NAFTA). I also am interested in having our own government live up to its promises and act in integrity by remembering and enforcing treaty obligations with Native people. I believed George Bush could be defeated for being fiscally irresponsible, for being focused on Federal power to an extent that would have made George Orwell cringe, and for being unconcerned with how unprepared we are to meet the challenges of Global Climate Change. Continually, I point out that money in politics is legalized bribery and that we really do need a separation of powers in government (including economic).
As a Green elected official I will work with elected Democrats and Republicans to ensure that our nation achieves international prominence as a provider of green goods and services, with leadership in wind turbine technology, photovoltaics, fuel cell development, diversification and flexibility of fuel for transportation and the highest building standards (such as L.E.E.D.). We hear a lot about energy supply, these days, but very little about how we can greatly reduce the demand through a systems approach cutting waste and inefficiency and combining cycles. By voting for me you will have an elected official who is schooled in science and engineering (Harvey Mudd College, Northwestern University, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering) and who has a grasp of technical matters and bioethics. I already work in government as an environmental regulator, so I understand through my field inspections how businesses are affected by abrupt changes in regulation. As a legislator whom you have elected I will write and support legislation based on sound science and policy considering long-term effects while supporting rapid improvement to our basic physical security (water, food, transportation, energy). We are not prepared. You would be lucky to have me. Spread the word and please do not give money to the Democratic or Republican parties until we have debates that are open to all ballot-qualified candidates.
I run for U.S. Senate as a Green Party candidate to help California become a national and international leader in areas critical to mitigating the effects of Global Climate Change (G.C.C.). The Green Party is the only political party offering a workable alternative to our two-party system. By registering Green and voting Green one does more than protest our current state of politics. Greens seek to share in the responsibilities of governance. This includes working to change our system to address real security issues such as G.C.C. and other forms of terror by addressing short-comings in physical preparation: energy, food production, water storage and transportation. By moving toward sustainable living we will create communities, towns and cities that are not as centrally-tied and fragile as are our current ones.
Part of the responsibility of being politically aware and active includes working within the very process that is in need of rehabilitation. Given current methods of electronic communication it is possible to move toward direct democracy (in which every citizen participates) by working first to advance representation of under-represented constituents and ideas. Our contemporary political process is in need of reformation. Supporting alternative parties by registering and voting helps us maintain ballot status and makes it more difficult for the controlling parties to exclude our candidates from their heavily scripted “debates.” Proportional representation is shunned by the two major parties, even though it would be advantageous to be rid of our “winner take all” system. For example, if the popular presidential vote in California is roughly split two ways, all the electoral college votes are given to the “winner,” with the trailing party receiving no representation from this state! The system is in need of systemic repair at the local, state and federal level.
I run to help build my party and to give registered Greens someone for whom to vote. A long-time goal of mine is to help create a structure of publicly-funded debates to which all qualified candidates are invited and supported to attend. The money currently spent on politics is mushrooming and it is used primarily to purchase media coverage. Our government should not be for sale. As a presidential candidate I used what scant media attention I was freely given to help Greens running in local races. I encouraged other candidates who did run based upon my input and I helped collect signatures in Rhode Island to get the Green Party on the ballot, there, in 2004. By effectively giving the Green Party the “Consumer Reports Stamp of Approval for a Political Party” [my expression] Ralph Nader helped the Green Party develop. I worked on the Nader campaign in 1996. Our issues affect all citizens regardless of political affiliation or level of disgust with the political process. In short, we Greens believe in the equality of all people.
State and National Energy Independence based upon Renewable Energy (wind and solar) will create jobs, help clean up the environment by reducing carbon accumulation in the atmosphere and will improve our basic physical security by promoting decentralization of power. The issue also affects Foreign Policy: when we meet our needs in a sustainable manner at home we are less likely to concern ourselves with Oil supplies elsewhere and we will exhibit less desperate behavior, refusing to drill in ecologically sensitive protected areas.
Green Party. We are here to stay. Register Green, Vote Mesplay.
4 thoughts on “Kent Mesplay for President”
Greens must dump IRV, get Range Voting
While it’s clear that our traditional “vote for one” (plurality) voting system is inexcusable, Instant Runoff Voting is not much better – and there are many better simpler solutions. There is also a great deal of public misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding IRV, largely the result of the IRV propaganda organization, FairVote.
One common myth is that IRV elects “majority winners”. But IRV can lead to the election of candidate X, even when candidate Y is preferred to X by a huge majority. Consider this hypothetical IRV election.
#voters – their vote
10 G > C > P > M
3 C > G > P > M
5 C > P > M > G
6 M > P > C > G
4 P > M > C > G
C is the clear Condorcet (condor-SAY) winner, meaning he is preferred by a landslide majority over all his individual rivals. He is preferred over G, P, and M all by an 18-10 margin.
But… M wins, even though he also has fewer first-place votes (6 voters) than C with 8.
1. P is preferred to M by 22 of the 28 voters, yet he’s the first candidate eliminated.
2. G also has more first-place votes (10) than M’s 6.
3. So M either loses pairwise to, or has fewer first-place votes than (or both) every rival, but still IRV elects M.
Notice that the first group of voters could have caused C to win if they had only “lied”, and put him first in their list. That would mean they’d get their second favorite instead of their fourth favorite. Statistical analysis reveals that this strategy is advised for all candidates who don’t appear to have at least a 20% chance of winning. That means that, contrary to FairVote propaganda, IRV does not let you “vote your hopes, not your fears”. And this means that IRV effectively degrades toward plain old plurality (vote-for-one) voting. This is explained in more detail here, by math experts:
Election integrity experts and activists, like computer science Ph.D. Rebecca Mercuri disapprove of IRV because it is conducive to the adoption of fraud-susceptible electronic voting machines. IRV is also more susceptible to fraud because it is not countable in precincts. That is, candidate A could win every individual precinct, but bizarrely lose when the ballots are all summed together – which enforces centralized tabulation, which is more susceptible to central fraud conspiracy. And IRV typically causes spoiled ballots to go up by a factor of about 7.
A much simpler and far better system is Approval Voting. It’s just like the current system, except that there is no limit on the number of candidates one may vote for. While it may seem initially less intuitive than ranking choices, deep scrutiny shows that Approval Voting produces a far more representative outcome, and is less harmed by problems like strategic voting. This is shown through an objective economic measure called Bayesian regret, which shows how well a particular voting method tends to satisfy the preferences of the voters. The improvement gotten by Approval Voting relative to IRV is especially large if the voters are strategic, as was described above (although FairVote promoters will often falsely claim that the best strategy with Approval Voting is to “bullet vote”). See:
If we don’t mind a somewhat more cluttered ballot, we can upgrade to Range Voting, which uses a ratings scale, like Olympics scoring. It is arguably more intuitive, and produces phenomenal Bayesian regret results, meaning more satisfied voters, and more competitive nominees, if used for a party’s nomination process (i.e. a big strategic advantage).
For a look at how the major parties could become dramatically more competitive by merely adopting Range Voting or Approval Voting, see:
Election reformers must be diligent and do their research. Don’t be misled by FairVote’s clever marketing. Study what political science experts such as Steve Brams, who write entire books on this stuff, say. And check out Gaming the Vote, by William Poundstone. FairVote has an agenda, and it’s definitely not in the pubic’s best interest.
San Francisco, CA
Instant runoff voting works!
Don’t know where this range voting guy is coming from, but instant runoff voting is working and winning. You can see for yourself in the links from sites like instantrunoff.com and http://www.fairvote.org/irv
Range voting sounds like the figure skating judging system where one corrupt judge can throw the whole contest. I suspect that’s not what we want for elections.
Making IRV Primary
Thank gosh for a Green who understands that running within the current system is great for pushing the issue of “spoiling,” but that that is only useful if they complete the mission by explaining the problems of plurality voting and promoting IRV! Potential “spoilers” are the best message-carriers for the cause of IRV and should always have on hand information directing people to those working for IRV. As for IRV vs. other methods like Range Voting, IRV has momentum and is passing and is an improvement. I think we should build on this momentum.
The one disappointment I have in Ralph Nader is his constant failure to promote IRV. I wrote about this recently in my post Instant Runoff Voting Excluded: An Unreasonable Omission from An Unreasonable Man. I hope people will check it out.
Re: Making IRV Primary
Sorry I messed up the link it’s at Instant Runoff Voting Excluded: An Unreasonable Omission from An Unreasonable Man