Citing Democrats' votes for war funding and retreats on health care, Greens call Dems "the new wing of the GOP"and invite Americans to "come home to the Green Party"
Green Party Annual National Meeting: Durham, North Carolina, July 23-26
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders, preparing for the party's 2009 Annual National Meeting, said that America is in desperate need of a real opposition party, as Democrats maintain Republican positions on foreign policy, health care, the environment, and other big issues.
The Green Party's national meeting will take place in Durham, North Carolina, from July 23 to July 26. Reporters are invited to cover the meeting.
"Democratic leaders made their party a wing of the Republican Party in June," said Wayne Turner, North Carolina Green Party co-chair. "Any progressive positions taken by the Obama administration are getting nullified by Blue Dog Democrats and other Republican allies. The Democratic leadership and mainstream have adopted values we associate with the GOP, while Republicans are taking ever more extreme positions and want to see President Obama fail at whatever he sets out to accomplish. That leaves two parties representing corporate lobbies and the Green Party representing the interests and ideals of most Americans. 'Across the aisle' used to mean Democrats and Republicans. Now both of them are across the aisle from the rest of America."
"With President Obama expanding the war in Afghanistan and Democrats overwhelmingly voting for war funding, the Democratic Party can no longer pretend to be the antiwar party. We invite voters who want peace to come home to the Green Party," said Mr. Turner.
Greens cited widespread popular opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for a national health care plan that covers all Americans, and resentment over the Wall Street bailout as evidence that the Green Party is closer to the political sentiments of a majority of Americans.
Green leaders pointed to several decisions and actions in June that betray the Obama promise of change:
256 Democrats in the House voted for the war funding bill, with only 30 Democratic nays. President Obama is also expanding US troops in Afghanistan, with air attacks inside Pakistani borders, and has maintained the Bush-Cheney 'preemption' doctrine in threatening Iran. (Democratic leaders endorsed both wars from the beginning and continued voting for President Bush's war funding requests after they took control of Congress in 2006.)
The Democratic leadership's health care reform plans not only reject Single-Payer, but will also omit the public health care option because it's "unfair to insurance companies" -- as if insurance industry profits were more urgent the health needs of millions of Americans.
In capitulation to industry interests, the Waxman-Markey climate bill ("American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009") would place a weak cap on greenhouse gas emissions (reductions of only 1-4% below 1990 levels by 2020), create a $2 trillion carbon-trading market with dangerously unregulated derivatives and minimal effect on emissions, give away 85% of the carbon permits to corporations over the next decade, offer a $150 billion handout to coal companies, and impose a severely inadequate 15% renewable energy standard by 2020.
President Obama approved mountaintop removal for coal, which will wreak further environmental devastation on states like West Virginia and Tennessee. The Obama Administration continues to espouse industry myths about 'clean coal.'
Despite President Obama's announcement of some limited domestic partnership benefits for gay federal employees, the Obama Justice Department has submitted a brief in support of the antigay Defense of Marriage Act, undercutting the President's claim to support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
To this list, Greens added other Democratic betrayals and retreats: the bailout for Wall Street (the largest transfer of wealth from taxpayers to corporations in history); continued warrantless surveillance of US citizens; refusal to hold Bush officials who approved torture and lied to Congress accountable for their actions (with torture continuing at some sites, according to reports); and uninterrupted military aid for Israel despite massive human rights violations against Palestinians.
"Why won't President Obama and congessional Democrats fight for a cap on credit card interest rates and restoration of Glass-Steagal regulations to prevent financial industry abuses? The election of a few Greens to Congress would change the dynamic of American politics. Democrats and Republicans would have to compete with Green candidates, who accept neither corporate campaign contributions nor the influence of corporate lobbies," said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States.