from pastor to politics

For those of you who have followed my decision to run for governor and wondered about my journey from pastor to politics, I invite you to check out this video produced by Corin Lea Pankow:

Some are concerned that a person who has held a leadership position in any religious community is somehow dangerous for politics. I appreciate the concern but I hope I can persuade said people to see that an ideology of liberation, justice & communalism is what grows out of my faith tradition. These things are key to a political revolution--and a revolution is what is needed in New Jersey and in this country.

Since I’ve started running for governor there are two frequently asked questions.

#1 “Seth, by running on the Green Party Ticket, don’t you worry that you’ll be stealing votes from Phil Murphy and the Democrats?”

Answer: Murphy’s coronation isn’t guaranteed yet…but if he does end up as the candidate, I find it a disgrace that a billionaire Wall Street mogul be considered the ‘progressive option’ for the state of New Jersey. I’m bothered that Phil Murphy might steal votes from me and from real progressives. I am the social-justice-oriented progressive in this campaign, and I’ve committed myself to work on behalf of the poor and I’ve confronted ‘the powers’ that keep the poor and middle class stagnating or falling ever further behind in a state that tilts dramatically to the whims of those who are rich and powerful. I have shown administrative skill and charisma working with people who live in the ‘real world’ of the normal economic strata. I am, hands down, more prepared to lead the state than Phil Murphy, and it bothers me that he might steal my votes.

#2 “Seth, how will you get anything done if there are no assembly members or senators to carry your agenda through the legislature.”

“I do not believe that the people who are elected by the people of New Jersey are firstly identified as Democrat or Republican—each of them is a person. Unfortunately, in this bi-partisan stalemate that is our system, we play politics as if it is a ‘winner takes all’ affair—and the other side isn’t only the loser, in the game, they are actually ‘losers’ as people. It would be refreshing for New Jersey if there was a governor who had to listen to elected human beings as elected human beings, and not firstly as Republicans and Democrats. Hopefully the Green Party (or other parties, or independents) will have success in legislative campaigns this fall, but even if the Green Party is only represented by the governor, this could be a refreshing season for the state. Imagine a season where all elected officials are considered potential partners in good legislation, and, equally, where bad decisions for the poor and middle class will be turned aside, whether they come from the Democrats or Republicans.

All of this makes me say, in 2017, the Green Party (or any other non-major party) is the 1st Party, and the Establishment Parties need to take their proper place—2nd, 3rd…or maybe even lower than that.

Peace, Seth
The Last Are First

https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/

Platinum Plus Health Care

Platinum Plus Health Care for All in New Jersey Is the Answer to
The Pension Fund Problem for Public Employees
(but Phil Murphy is not talking about it...)

I have listened closely to the debates between those who are a proponent of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and those who are proponents of the American Health Care Act (Republican plan). In the middle of that debate, there is one very misleading reality. Both plans are not primarily about care. They are primarily about insurance. Both plans make the assumption that Americans are obligated to throw money into a poorly regulated private industry that is unnecessary and that takes away freedom of mobility in career paths, stagnates business, weighs down municipal budgets and even limits where we can go to get help when we are sick.

This is just stupidity.

Neither plan says outright what is the truth. The health insurance industry is bad for the American people because it adds exorbitant costs to all of our lives while driving down access to care, or, making care contingent on people’s wealth. I understand that wealth means some are able to buy a fancy sports car and others are not, but wealth should not differentiate the care one is able to get when sick.

“Blessed are those who mourn—for they shall be comforted.” That is a basic mantra of my religious tradition and it resonates with scripture from other faiths. In America, it’s more like, “damn, if you get sick, you’ll be totally fleeced. So, spend a ton on insurance, while you are well, just to make sure if you happen to get sick you’ll be in the clear.”

Health insurance is stupid and it’s mean.

Nowhere is the cost of health care more frustrating than when I look at the way that the high costs of health care is crippling the conversation of fully funding the pension fund for public employees in New Jersey.

In its extensive report called “Supplemental Report on Health Benefits, the ” the NJ Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission make the argument that the benefit package for public employees is just destroying the state budget. The commission makes a fair point that the cost of benefit spending has to be reined in. The entire report is committed to trying to fix the pension deficit while maintaining a high—but not quite as high—quality of health care plan for public employees. The goal of the report is to keep employee ‘benefits’ (health care/pension) under 15% of the state budget.

What bothers me about the report is that the Commission lumps Pension and Health Care together as benefits, and basically says, ok, given the high cost of the health insurance industry, we need to either lower your pension or lower the quality of your health coverage. The report makes a compelling argument that lowering the health insurance coverage is the answer.

While I agree, given the state of things as they are, that the report is probably right, what is totally WRONG is the fact that the answer in the report is, “we’ve got to reduce the quality of insurance for public employees because the rest of us can’t afford excellent coverage either—so join the club.” Excellent health insurance should not be a “benefit” in the same category as “pension.” Instead, it should be a NJ human right.

The primary races are underway for both the Democrats and Republicans. I’ve heard a lot about the economy, and the need for the next governor to really transform the economy, but no Democrat and no Republican is really talking about the thing that could transform our economy. 
I believe that both Democrat and Republican voters can see the wisdom in providing CARE instead of INSURANCE. If your people aren’t thinking that way, then vote GREEN.

A Platinum-level Medicare for All People in NJ (no deductibles, no co-pays) that stops differentiating public workers, wealthy Wall Street people and the poorest of the poor, could allow us to stop calling health insurance a “benefit” and instead start calling it a New Jersey Human Right.

The cost savings from a true single-payer system for health care in New Jersey would free up billions of dollars.

The savings on health care costs would allow us to fully fund the pension system, it would allow businesses to move to $15/hr minimum wage without fear, it would allow mobility in the job market and take away a tremendous level of anxiety and increase the mental health of everyone in the state, it would lower all municipal/school budgets by at least 15%, it would allow our schools to put money into education instead of health insurance.

It’s ridiculous to live in fear of getting sick, not because you’re afraid of getting sick, but because you’re afraid of the cost of getting sick. It’s ridiculous for the state to be economically-sick because we’re throwing money away to what is an entirely unnecessary industry that hurts us rather than helps us.

I am the Green Party Candidate for Governor. It’s taken me a few months to get here, but after months of studying the New York Health Act that passed the Assembly in 2015, I believe that the key to a transformed New Jersey economy is for the state to provide Platinum-Level Medicare for All.

Let’s fix the pension problem
Let’s reduce municipal/school budgets
Let’s lower taxes
Let’s increase the minimum wage
Let’s free people up for job-mobility
Let’s actually care for people when they are sick
Let’s stop calling health insurance a ‘benefit’ and start calling health care a New Jersey human right.

Peace,
Seth
The Last Are First
https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/

CANADIAN CHURCH VOLUNTEER GROUP TURNED BACK AT THE BORDER--PREVENTED FROM JOINING OUR HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF EFFORT.

More details from today's situation at the border. I feel like I have to give more detail since so many seem to think I must be joking. I'm not.

This morning, at 9:00am, when I was first informed of border issues, and I was told to make sure we clarified what kind of work Rehoboth was doing (namely, volunteer work) I wrote the following letter to the Border Patrol.

"I understand that Rehoboth United Reformed Church members have been held at the border with a request to know the details for their coming to New Jersey. The Reformed Church of Highland Park has been hosting groups coming to voluntarily assist homeowners for years who are trying to get back in their homes after Hurricane Sandy. With the help of 3,000 volunteers from across the U.S. and Canada we have helped 200 families get back in their homes. Last week 37 volunteers came from State College, Pennsylvania. This week a small group is coming from Rehoboth Church."

I received a text from the group leader saying, "that wasn't what they want. They want a list of duties that we are doing. I would suggest avoiding the word 'construction.' Focus on team building. Us learning from you how to work with people in poverty..."

So, I wrote a second letter, playing down the Hurricane Sandy work, playing up the team building.

A few minutes later I received the text "we have been denied entry."

The group leader told me that the Border Patrol officer was kind, and that he even said his daughter recently went on a 'mission/work trip.' He said, "next time just say you are going for site-seeing and a short vacation." In other words, "lie."

President Trump you are creating a culture of lying, and hiding. That's going to do a lot to boost the security of our nation, I'm sure.

Peace, Seth

I Stand with A Day Without A Woman

Despite a busy week of campaigning for Governor of NJ, I need to take a few minutes to stand with women who are walking off the job and out of classes in A Day Without a Woman as part of today’s International Women’s Strike.

Long before the UN General Assembly declared March 8th International Women’s’ Day in 1975, women fighting for a just world have coordinated mobilizations for women’s rights. It was on February 28, 1909, when woman socialists and suffragettes came together calling for equal rights for women in a National Woman’s Day. Within a few years women seeking justice in dozens of countries joined. Today, more than 100 years later, International Women’s Day is celebrated in over 100 countries.

But so much has still not changed. The 2015 census indicated women in New Jersey earned 69.8 cents to the dollar earned by men, even less than the 72 cents to men’s dollar nationally.

In January, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced legislation (H.R. 7) seeking to strip low-income women of their right to choose by cutting taxpayer funding of abortions. His bill was passed by the Trumpian House as a slap in the faces of the millions of women and solidarity-minded men who mobilized in D.C., across the country and around the globe on January 21, 2017.

In 2017, so many Democrats are failing to stand up to stop the runaway train driven by the Republican Party and their madman in the White House. But women have continued mobilizing around the world to say enough is enough.

As I am a pastor running for Governor, you may think I oppose funding Planned Parenthood and your right to choose. You would be wrong. Part of my job as a pastor, I believe, is to open my eyes, my ears and my heart to what is right and struggle to make justice a reality here on Earth. I plan to take my commitment of struggle to the Statehouse. As Governor I will do everything in my power to see women have the right to quality healthcare and control over their own bodies, regardless of their income, documented or undocumented. I will seek ways to punish companies paying women less for the same work as a man. I am not in the pocket of Wall Street and, like you, I need to work for a living. I don’t want to get your back; I stand by your side.

While I hope you will check out my website to support my campaign, more importantly on this March 8, I want you to know I am with you in our struggle for equality and justice.

peace,

seth

The Last are First
Seth Kaper-Dale
Kaper-Dale for Governor, Green Party
www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com

Why Is New Jersey such a difficult place, economically, for most people?

Why Is New Jersey such a difficult place, economically, for most people? It’s not because we are a state without resources. New Jersey is one of states with the richest possibilities based on location, population and activity.

It’s a tough place to live because the political will hasn’t been there to build a robust economy that firstly benefits the common good. Instead, it seems to me, many ideas are stymied by the fact that the political leadership (regardless of party) receive huge levels of support from extraordinary wealthy people and special interests. It's really hard to 'think straight' when you come from a place so out of touch with the reality of most people in the state.

I am running for governor because I want to build a robust economy by starting with the people. If we look out for each other, starting with the last, there are endless possibilities for bringing out the beauty that is right here for all of us--often hidden behind the daily struggle to get by, debt and fear.

I am committed to:

-Health Care for All (which could drives down school and municipal budgets by 18-20%).

-Fully funded Public Schools (At the mandated levels of 2008).

-Acknowledging the economic and racial segregation of our schools and towns (We need to run a 'Plessy vs. Ferguson' assessment on most of our schools. Separate but equal is not acceptable, but it is a Jersey norm)

-Extending Affordable Housing vouchers for families with children in every town (so no town can act like a gated-community to the poor).

-Public Banking (to keep NJ tax payer dollars creating loans to grown the economy and the work force).

-Treating public transportation as a priority.

-Investing in renewable energy and greener infrastructure.

-Putting a moratorium on gas and oil pipelines.

-$15 minimum wage now (with support for small businesses while we transition)

-Ending Mass Incarceration and acknowledging the racism that exits in the system.

-Ending 'indentured servitude/slave wages' for those locked-up

-Having independent prosecutors in cases of police violence, and a legislative prison review board with subpoena power to protect inmates.

-Seeing in-state university education as an investment--not as a way to syphon funds off our future leaders through exorbitant loans and looming debt.

-Allowing every person to vote regardless of criminal history.

-Supporting fully the rights of LGBTQ persons.

-Fully supporting refugees.

-Acknowledging Undocumented Immigrants as Important New Jersey Residents (key to our economy, just stuck in a broken federal immigration system)

-Declaring New Jersey a Sanctuary State

-Properly increasing taxes on the ultra-wealthy

-Ending corporate welfare

-Reinstating the Estate Tax

Maybe most importantly, I am committed to working with any Democrat, Republican, Green, Socialist, Libertarian, Independent who is elected to the Assembly or Senate and who believes that this kind of an economic plan might just be best for the common good.

I can't wait to be your Governor.

Peace, Seth

As you can imagine, I'm not going to be getting many corporate donations from Wall Street, big business or those who benefit from machine politics. So, if you would, please DONATE and help me truly take on the powers. It's easy. 
Kaperdaleforgovernor.com

Kick-Off of a Wonderful Water Walk for Life

From my Remarks at Cartaret Waterfront this morning...
At the kick-off of a wonderful Water Walk for Life

...I am honored to be here. This event highlights something that is quickly becoming one of the centerpieces of my campaign—a desire to block all pipeline development in the state and a desire, as governor, to work with governors nationwide to shape a renewable energy future. It is not the time to wait for Washington to come up with a national solution... The stakes are just too high, for our own generation and for the future of the earth, to let oil and gas companies, and their investors (and their politicians), determine our future.

I want to thank the Ramapough-Lenape Nation, Food & Water Watch, CAPP (Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines) NY & NJ, 350.org-NJ, Indian Point coalitions, Green Party/Essex, Resist SPECTRA-AIM, the Grafton Peace Pagoda, and especially Reverend Jun-san Yesuda for this import walk.

A few weeks ago I visited the Split Rock-Sweetwater Prayer Camp of the Ramapough-Lenape Nation. I spent a couple of hours just trying to listen to what Chief Perry, and 3 other men there, had to say. I wanted them to give me the ins and outs of the details of Pilgrim Pipelines. I wanted them to be able to show me exactly where the pipes would run and how it would impact their land. But instead, I quickly realized, sitting with them by the fire, that what I really needed that morning was to be asking the bigger questions.

What is it that makes life beautiful?

Is there anything more precious than the environment?

I was reminded, by these men, that Water/earth/sky is our tabernacle.

Water, earth and sky is the dwelling place for humans and the staging ground for the interaction between humans and all that is holy.

Pipelines, whether we are talking about Crude Oil Pipelines, or Gas Pipelines, are an assault on water, earth and sky. We know they are. We know that to continue the web of pipelines is to build a path toward world catastrophe.

What sort of a world do we want to build? Do we want that kind of a world, where profit is GOD, and where the planet and people are nothing? No. Absolutely not.

Instead, we want to build a world that is consistent with the beauty of what has been provided for us. We want to build a world that utilizes the gifts Creation readily, and non-violently, offers up to us in ways that allow those gifts to serve us and serve our neighbors and generations yet to come. We don’t need to assault the earth in order to receive energy. The sun, the wind, the water…they all provide.

This walk, that begins today, is a walk to draw awareness to the Pilgrim Pipelines, and to Spectra-AIM and to the rest of the web of pipelines and new compressors and “compressor enhancements” that are being proposed and/or approved all around this state.

I hope that the march leads the NJ community to rise up angrily as they see the assault, the unnecessary, backward assault, being waged on the earth and its people.

But you are being guided, on this march, by Reverend Jun, a woman whose pushback against the Powers That Be is not defined by anger, but rather by grace. You are being guided by the “Walks Far Woman” (as the Lakota call her). You are being guided by a woman who chants “one earth, one sky, entirely at peace.” You are being guided by a woman who does not let hearts and minds get restricted by anger and defeat, but, instead, is, in herself, renewable energy. She, in her walking, in her praying, in her connections with people formed over miles and miles and thousands of miles, shows the resilience of beauty.

I hope that this walk is both a walk against Pilgrim Pipelines but that it is also a walk for a renewable energy future. I hope it is a walk where dreams for a day where a new energy infrastructure is imagined, and maybe even developed. May it be that one day we can replace the map that shows 1500 miles of pipeline running all over our small state, with, instead, 1500 renewable energy projects that provide for the needs of the people and that simultaneously highlight the beauty of the earth.

Thank you very much.
Peace, Seth
kaperdaleforgovernor.com

THE HATE-CRIME PRESIDENT

Last week, in an incident that hardly made national news, a lone gunman in Kansas City killed one Indian man and severely wounded another because they looked, “Middle Eastern.” Over the weekend 100 headstones were toppled at a Philadelphia Jewish Cemetery, making it just another typical (of late) anti-Semitic weekend. More locally, one of the largest mosques in Central New Jersey had to cancel an Interfaith organizing event because of frightening phone calls that suggested coming violence.

Such behavior is not normal. It is not typical in America. Sure, this country didn’t just suddenly become a racist, biased place, but it has been many decades since there was such an uptick in hate crimes--and hate crimes aimed at such a wide swath of people.

These hate-crimes are the result of the bias and ‘hate-crime behavior’ coming out of the administration in Washington. President Trump, throughout the election, mocked and derided people from minority cultures and communities. He fed the flames of bias and hate. And now, he is carrying out executive orders built on these sinful foundations.

Today, in a seeming ‘about face’ he started talking about a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. That is so like an abuser—to scare the heck out of your victim and then to turn around and act like you’ve ‘changed.’

We won’t fall for it. We won't go deeper into this abusive relationship. Anyone who says, "give him a chance" is saying "give him a chance" to a man who forces himself sexually on unsuspecting women, who derides people with disabilities, who mocks families of slain soldiers, who is scaring millions of immigrant children and families, and Muslim children and families, and refugee children and families, each and every day with his horrible policies.

President Trump, denounce the hate crimes, and apologize, sincerely, for the central part you've played in making American an unsafe country for so many. Good luck getting us to jump on board with your ideas now. We won’t fall for the tricks of an abuser.

The way you’ve led our nation so far is nothing short of an abomination.

Peace, Seth Kaper-Dale
The Last Are First (and the First Are Last)
Green Party, New Jersey

https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com
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1-866-SKD-4-GOV
https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/donate

We’ve had our work cut out for us lately, haven’t we?

We’ve had our work cut out for us lately, haven’t we? In response to Trump’s initial flurry of Executive Orders, hundreds of people from around our state joined a vigil I led at Reformed Church of Highland Park. Rabbis, imams, and community leaders reminded us of our calling to defend all people, and that right now this means defending refugees and immigrants. That vigil resulted in the creation of a rapid response team, D.I.R.E. (Deportation and Immigration Response Equipo), launched publicly last Thursday, in a packed meeting broadcast by Wall Street Journal and international press. http://tinyurl.com/h6wbpdf

In many interviews and speaking engagements this month, I urged officials to stand up to Governor Christie by declaring New Jersey a Sanctuary State. These appearances included addressing a committee of the State Assembly last Friday as a leader on this issue. I know you share my determination to take our solidarity work together to the next level, the Statehouse, and it’s within our reach.

Recently, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind Poll, showed the leading Democratic Party candidate has 17% support among Democratic Party voters, tied with 17% of his party’s voters who preferred “someone else” outside of their party’s options. (http://tinyurl.com/gwlqlnc) I am that real alternative. Together, with your support to get the word out, we can do this. Please support my gubernatorial campaign with a financial contribution. To donate, click here or copy and paste: https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/donate

Our work has never been limited to Highland Park. Many of us stood with migrants in a sanctuary city rally in New Brunswick on February 7th and the Highland Park Borough Council meeting on February 21st. Additionally, I’m working with other faith leaders in Middlesex County who are equally prepared to open their places of worship as sanctuaries to people facing deportation. To view one of numerous pieces of news coverage on this work that you and I and many partners are doing, click here or copy and paste: http://tinyurl.com/zvqg2wq

I am thankful I have worked towards creating a commonwealth of love for 15 years as pastor. As governor, I will continue firmly defending the valuable and indispensable role of immigrants in our great town, state and country. On my web site, you can learn more about my policies regarding immigrants and refugees, and all who find themselves left last by the corrupt establishment. Please also visit the “donate” page to make a donation. Visit that page at: https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/donate

I am thankful for the indispensable support you’ve been providing my campaign. The State Elections Board sets a huge fundraising goal of $430,000 by September 1st for candidates who want to be admitted into the debates leading up to the General Election. I know we can reach this goal and directly challenge my opponents.

Please share this email widely and encourage your friends to get involved and to donate. Your donation would be strengthened by getting five of your friends to do the same. We are doing great work together, so let’s keep the faith and keep fighting back.

peace and thanks,

seth

Kaper-Dale for Governor

https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com

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Pinelands Commission Approves the South Jersey Gas Pipeline project

Pinelands Commission Approves the South Jersey Gas Pipeline project, despite serious concerns from 4 former governors and the public

State Leadership Participates in Governor Christie’s Assault on the Earth,
Rather Than Protecting Us

At a time when most New Jerseyans are appalled at the direction of our federal government in terms of its devaluing of the environment, and when we hardly dare to open the paper to see what environmental protections President Trump is ruining next, we have hoped that our state elected officials, and the appointees they’ve put over the protection of our natural resources, would be particularly careful about making careless changes.

The vote of the Pinelands Commission to undo historic precedent of protection for the Forest Preservation area of the Pinelands, for the sake of blessing a new project by a natural gas company, is extremely troubling. It is simply not the time to make fast decisions to bless projects that move us backward instead of forward in terms of energy infrastructure and environmental protection.

It is not surprising that Governor Christie doesn’t care about environmental protection. We stopped counting on him to operate with concern for the environment years ago. The troubling part is that Democratic Senators, in particular, Steve Sweeney, is pushing a pro pipeline agenda. Senator Sweeney scheduled the date of a crucial vote concerning the appointment of Christie appointee Robert Barr, with very little notice, when a known “no” vote was out of town. The absent senator was replaced with Jeff Van Drew, who voted in favor of Barr, which allowed the confirmation to get out of committee and to a full vote where Barr was later confirmed. Commissioner Barr, as expected, voted in favor of the pipeline at the February 24th meeting.

In addition to the primary damage being done to the environment, the secondary damage is that Democrats who want to stay in power at all costs (and who feel they need the oil and gas industry support) are making decisions that they expect will be forgotten, or concealed, and that pave the way for maniacal decision making by Christie-appointed commissioners. These same Senators and Assembly members will then run future campaigns on a platform about how much concern they have for environmental protection. We cannot forget that their actions speak louder than words.

I encourage the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, to challenge this decision in court. Elect me in November and we’ll appoint new commissioners who care about environmental protection, and we'll work to undo the damages of Governor Christie and any elected officials, Democrat or Republican, who choose to put profit over the planet and people.

Peace,
Seth Kaper-Dale
Green Party Candidate for Governor
The Last (which, with this Administration includes the Earth) shall be First
https://www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com/donate

D.I.R.E (Detention and Immigration Response to Emergency Team)

From 9/11/01 until Valentines Day, 2013, the Reformed Church of Highland Park (RCHP) experienced first hand the broken immigration system and the brutality of Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). After 4 years of trying to help Indonesian Christian Asylum Seekers gain a safe place here, and watching them all fail their cases because of a newly established time bar for filing, we then experienced ICE’s complete and total devastation of a community.

In May of 2006 35 Indonesian men, none of whom had criminal convictions, were ripped from their homes in a pre-dawn raid. We learned later that the raid was part of President Bush’s Operation Return to Sender. That happened in Avenel, NJ. President Bush was trying to show force, while simultaneously presenting a ‘softer’ immigration proposal, and the wrath of that approach fell on “low-hanging fruit.” Low-hanging fruit are people who ICE can easily pick up because they have final deportation orders, their whereabouts are known and their place of employment clear. These 35 men all lived in the same apartment building in central New Jersey. 35 men detained, thrown in Middlesex County Jail for 1 month (despite claims by the warden that ‘we only take criminals’) and then deported. 60 U.S. children made fatherless in 1 night.

After that raid, we started to fight back. Through a series of actions that 1) drew media attention to shame the government, 2) created legislation that created the possibility of change, 3) gave accompaniment to immigrants going to ‘report’ 4) got us into detention centers to see the reality of what we do to immigrant detainees, we became resident experts on the immigration system. Eventually, unresolved issues with ICE-led us to offer SANCTUARY, for 11 months, to 9 Indonesians, all of whom were eventually given Stays of Removal and have been left alone now since Valentines Day, 2013. Our church’s actions stemmed the tide of deportation of Indonesians in our community and in some other communities around the state and country.

Brutal detention and deportation policies are not a Republican thing only. The first four years of President Obama were, frankly, worse than the Bush years, in terms of deportation of people with final orders. President Obama, too, wanted to show a strong enforcement perspective while pushing for Immigration Reform. Thankfully his second term was much more humane (not perfect, but better).

What I have described as RCHP’s experience with the brutality of ICE toward Indonesians has played out all around our state, and throughout our country, with people from many nations, under past presidents. It is about to play out that way again—but this time it’s almost guaranteed to be worse.

We are on the verge of seeing a new form of Operation Return to Sender—but this time the system is amped up on HATRED/FEAR STEROIDS. It’s amped up because of the hate-filled rhetoric of the campaign and the President's apparent commitment to following up that rhetoric with actions. Terrible things are underway in communities throughout our nation. It has nothing to do with security—in fact, this is going to create incredible insecurity.

The President has been saying publicly, in recent days, that “I’m only going after criminals” but he signed an Executive Order on January 25th, on the Security of the Interior, that says something very different. The Exec. Order calls for the deport of non-criminals with final orders, and other dubiously defined populations, as definite targets for deport.

He has announced a goal of deporting 2-3 million people, and, to be frank, unless he’s including people with final orders among his list of ‘criminals,’ then he doesn’t have enough criminals to meet his announced quota. Not even close. President Trump is going after law-abiding fathers and mothers who work and pay taxes and who have lived here for 30 years. He is going after, potentially, millions of people who would be DAPA eligible, if that program had been put in place. They are the low-hanging fruit—people he can peg as ‘fugitives.’ Why waste your time tracking down real criminals when you can meet your quota with low-hanging fruit?

We must stop this administration from ruining the families and communities that we’ve built. For that reason we have just formed D.I.R.E. An organizational meeting was held on Friday, February 3rd, to begin to give us a framework.

D.I.R.E is a rapid response team that is local to Middlesex County but part of a network of Rapid Response Teams being planned in partnership with Faith In New Jersey.

The goal of D.I.R.E is to protect families from ICE and its Enforcement & Removal Operations in our communities.

We will…

form text/app systems for communicating emergencies while they are occurring.
create an ‘army’ of concerned citizens who will rush to places of crisis to bear witness, take video and offer support to victims and families.
Inform the news media immediately if ICE is hurting members of our community.
push for towns to use their NIXEL systems to inform communities of ICE/ERO action in their neighborhoods.
encourage school boards, municipalities etc…to adopt Sanctuary City resolutions that disconnect them from the work of ICE/ERO.
create a media, social media nightmare for the President in the aftermath of any raid or detention of a resident in our community.
speak truth to power. 
 push our legislators to introduce real immigration reform based on the Senate bi-partisan plan from 2012. 
 work with attorneys to seek legal responses to the Executive Order. 
accompany immigrants to scheduled appointments with ICE. 
Anyone who says that “let’s give the President a chance, he says he’s only going after criminals” needs to know the risk you're creating for real immigrant families.

Already we are seeing 1) immigrants afraid to go to work, 2) immigrant parents afraid to take their kids to school 3) families making plans for ‘what do I do if Mom and Dad are deported by the time I get home, 4) tremendous fear that is resulting in life-changing trauma for children.

President Trump, by the Executive Order on the Security of the Interior, has already undone the Security of the Interior of our nation and undone the security of the interior of our children’s souls. As people of faith and goodwill we know this is not the kind of world brought about by our Creator. We must stand strong.

The site page is http://www.direteam.org

Please visit the website, sign up, and send it everyone you know and love.

Peace, Pastor Seth
Pastor, Reformed Church of Highland Park
D.I.R.E

A Billionaire Coup d’etat That Is Failing As We Speak

Billionaires won the election in November.  It wasn’t white workers from middle America who won. It wasn’t so-called ‘right to life’ voters.  They were just pawns.  Billionaires were the winners—as they usually are.  It’s just that this time a bunch of these billionaires understood that there was an existential threat that needed to be squashed--so they have formed a Coup to take over not just aspects of government that regulate money, but they've tried to take over the entire government itself. They did it now because they were scared.    

I do not believe that Hillary Clinton posed an existential threat to the billionaires who won the election in November.  I do not believe that President Obama posed that threat to them either.  But billionaires saw, in 2016, that a giant threat was looming—it was embodied in Bernie’s campaign. 

Bernie’s way of approaching the markets would have re-written America as we know it.  His way of moving money out of the hands of the wealthy few and into the hands of the middle and bottom would have raised us all up—except for a handful of grotesquely wealthy people who live lives that make the Carnegie and Rockefeller families in the late 19th century look like paupers.  

Bernie articulated to average Americans that there was plenty of money to fix education, housing, health care, the criminal justice system and minimum wage—that America could wage a real war on poverty—he was the first major threat to the robber barons of our day in a very long time.  

I am convinced that Trump, and other billionaires (and those just below them who make millions serving them), whose highest aspiration is to maintain and advance their own positions in life, were relieved with the way things rolled out in the Democratic primary.  If Bernie had won the people would have taken over the White House this January.  

The billionaires, at least those on the far-right, knew that it was now or never if they were to hold on to an America that played to their privilege.  They wanted to Make America Great Again, alright.  They wanted to roll things back to the days of total deregulation and monopolization.  That’s what 'Make It Great Again' meant to them.  

The only way for the Billionaires to get what they wanted was to find a portion of the population that felt undervalued and who could blame their losses on the gains of ‘the other.’  They found that group in white evangelicals.  Trump did a masterful job of winning white, blue-collar, evangelicals, playing on their fears to foment hate and to form ‘in groups’ and ‘out groups.’

In order to make sure this isn’t just a blip in American history, the Billionaire class, now that it is in power, is attempting to undo America as we know it today.  To ensure that this is more than just a passing moment they’ve taken over with viciousness, trying to send immigrants away from these shore, banning people based on religion, and creating a reign of terror that undoes liberties.  If they can make America a miserable enough place, if they can ruin enough lives, maybe they can keep total control of this massive economy.  

But I think we are seeing, in these first two weeks of the Trump presidency, that it’s too late for out-of-touch billionaires to maintain total control of America. Americans aren’t nearly as hateful and xenophobic as the billionaires were hoping.  The Coup is failing.  

President Trump, Koch brothers, DeVos family…all you bloated-bank account clowns…it’s too late for your way of Making America Great Again.  We don’t want a world ruled by Billionaires who are deregulated.  Even the demagogical hate-mongering that you’ve used as tools for your cruel Billionaire Coup are proving to be worthless.  People of all levels of wealth, in the corporate world, in the religious world, in the sports world, in the entertainment world, in the neighborhoods of most towns and cities, like a diverse America.  We know there is no going back—and we are thankful for that.  

Billionaires, both Democrats and Republicans, you are right.  There is an existential threat to your way of living in the world.  That threat was articulated best by Bernie Sanders, but he is just the beginning.  There is a generation coming that knows his way is the way forward for all of us. 

I can't wait for the day when the Evangelicals turn on you--realizing they've lined up with the 'white-washed tombs' that Jesus couldn't tolerate.  

Your billionaire coup is done.  So, so, done.  

I am running for state office, and I am committed to making sure that no vestige of any billionaire coup finds a home in this state.  

Peace to you,
Seth Kaper-Dale
Gubernatorial Candidate for Governor of NJ

No Sanctuary for Mayor Cahill (Last week you put our communities at risk)

On Thursday of last week, Mayor Jim Cahill’s office came out with a statement that New Brunswick is decidedly NOT a Sanctuary City.  His office went on to further explain that it would comply with federal agencies in their efforts to follow the President’s Executive Order on securing the interior.  At the end of the statement there were some niceties about how New Brunswick has been built by immigrants and all people are welcome to be here, but by then, the damage had been done.  Mayor Cahill, your refusal to use the word Sanctuary was deeply destructive.  

Dear President Trump After the Immigrant Ban

Dear President Trump,

You are Caesar--but without a mandate. You are Pharaoh--but without the votes to last too long. I refuse to be afraid of you.

You do not rule a country that accepts totalitarianism. I give you about 1 more week before your entire Republican Party remembers that it claims to be rooted in Judeo-Christian values--none of which you avow. Republicans, unless you get this man off the throne fast, NEVER USE THE WORDS 'RIGHT TO LIFE' WITH US AGAIN. It's felt insincere for a generation, but now, by backing Trump, you're exposing it as a complete sham.

President Trump, you, and Franklin Graham, your so-called Christian sidekick, are an absolute disgrace. To hear him say that "refugee matters are not essential gospel issues" was the last thing I ever needed to hear out of that man's mouth.

Blessed are the poor (those with the spirit beaten out of them) for theirs in the kingdom of God. That kingdom is here, by the way, not in some ephemeral place.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

What a disgraceful first week in office. You are creating hell on earth for immigrants, refugees, workers, Muslims, and for regular people trying to live life in community, for the planet itself. You talk about torture like it's a good thing, you talk about governmental agencies like they are dirt. What a mess you are.

I am running for Governor of New Jersey. This is probably not a popular way to build a bridge with a President who could cut funding to the state I soon hope to lead. I am hedging my bets that you'll be gone soon. Kissing up to Caesar just isn't in my blood.

I am confident that unlike the current Herod-like Kiss-Up-to-Trump Governor we have in this state (who helped you win the throne), total rejection of you and your policies is the only appropriate response. I am not scared of you, yet. But the longer we let this insanity go on the more you might come to believe you can get away with creating endless hell for all of us.

Go back to your Caesar's Palace Casino. You can be all the Caesar you want to be there...but stop hurting us all. You are intolerable.

Peace, Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale
Gubernatorial Candidate
Green Party

It's Time for a Heart to Heart

Dear Evangelical Christians,

It’s time for a heart to heart. Donald Trump is on the throne (and it is quickly becoming a throne) largely because of you. 4 out of 5 Christian voters who claim the sub-label 'Evangelical' decided that this man’s plan for America was in line with your values.

What Christian values, exactly, was he lined up with? I understand that Democrats have blessed Wall Street and have not taken seriously entire regions of this country. I get that financial complaint and shame on America for treating some states as "fly over states."

I understand that Roe v. Wade and Gay Marriage have felt like the slippery slope to destruction for you, but can you please see, quickly, that we’ve gone from a slippery slope to a CLIFF with the ascent of President Donald Trump.

So many of the things you stand for are being assaulted by the President, and you, located in heavily Republican districts, have to lead the resistance.

Evangelical Christians have been the backbone of refugee resettlement for decades. Yesterday the President disrupted this program, stopping it for the most vulnerable people in the world.

That goes against God as understood in scripture. We are to care for the meek.

Evangelical Christians have been key to the fight against torture. Yesterday the President reintroduced secret CIA Torture Prisons and Water Boarding.

That goes against the idea that all people are created in the image of God, worthy of dignity and respect.

Yesterday the President committed to limiting immigration from Muslim countries, really challenging religious freedom. Is that really something you want America to be known for? Haven’t you appreciated your religious freedom?

Yesterday the President committed to building a wall to keep out Mexicans. Many of your evangelical churches have been key to pushing for immigration reform. Say goodbye to that!

Two days ago the President moved forward pipeline projects without blinking an eye—blindly saying, “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Evangelicals, you have become leaders in the Creation Care movement. What’s going to happen to that?

Evangelicals, Jesus is crying. Jesus is crying right now not only because of the behavior of the President that has ascended the throne, but also because of the failure of his Christian church to live in the most basic way in conformity with the Sermon on the Mount. The word 'Evangelical' and 'Christian' are on the verge of being severed.

You, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, who claim the term Evangelical, who live in states with Senators and House members who are in the President’s own party, speak up! Express your deep concerns. Pastors, show some leadership! These are very scary times.

Peace, Reverend/Gubernatorial Candidate Seth Kaper-Dale
kaperdaleforgovernor.com

torture is always wrong
refugees and immigrants welcome

The Ramapough Prayer Camp

I spent the morning on Thursday of last week at Ramapough Prayer Camp, with members of the Ramapough-Lenape tribe. Chief Perry couldn’t have been more accommodating. I also met Two Clouds, Little Wolf and Owl, three Lenape men (a lawyer, an environmentalist and a veteran, by the way) currently sitting in prayer and tending the fire and keeping watch over this 13 acre plot—surrounded by a polo club of all things. Those 13 acres are all that remains of their tribal land. This is sacred space.

When I asked the three men why they’d recently returned to this plot, the response was, “they’d been called back.” When I asked when it would be time to stop keeping vigil Little Wolf said, “when my prayers are answered.”

I came to meet the Lenape specifically because I’m concerned about Pilgrim Pipeline, and other pipeline projects in New Jersey. I’m concerned about above ground pipelines carrying crude (Pilgrim) and I’m concerned about underground gas pipelines too, such as South Jersey Gas Cape Atlantic Reliability Project in the Pinelands.

Pilgrim Pipeline is proposed to run through lands once belonging to the Lenape, and very close to the 13 remaining acres. As a gubernatorial candidate I was looking for guidance, for direction, in policy.

But instead of specific answers about the pipeline I was given some very clear words that I hope guide my campaign, especially as it concerns the environment.

“White privilege always comes in and wants to give answers” said Little Wolf.

I decided it was time to sit down on a log and listen.

If I wanted to be legit as an equal citizen in this world I needed to enter “slow time,” I was told. I needed to listen and not to speak, not to try to rush to conclusions.

To enter “slow time” isn’t to be so slow as to miss the opportunity for impact. It is, instead, to realize that by rushing to offer knee-jerk reactions, full-speed, sometimes people in positions of power asks the wrong questions, or, they oversimplify and fight an incomplete battle.

Plans for a short visit turned into 2hrs.

“It is about water, land and air. Right now everyone wants to talk about water. But life is about water, land and air. We will not find solutions until we can think clearly about all these things.”

It’s going to be hard to stay faithful to “slow time” in the Trump era. As I write this Trump has just signed executive orders to move forward XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline. As I write this there are pipeline fights going on at town halls in South Jersey.

Let’s commit to “slow time.” Let’s make that commitment fast, right now.

Peace, Seth
The Last Are First
Kaperdaleforgovernor.com

New Jersey Public School Week

Public Education has been at risk under the 2 Wall Street Political Parties (Republican and Democrat) for some time. Here in NJ, Gov. Trump-Christie has been a leader in undermining public education. So, this week, when many are celebrating "School Choice Week" and Betsy DeVos is being considered for Education Secretary I think it is appropriate to instead declare this as a week to celebrate public schools!

LET'S DECLARE THIS WEEK AS PUBLIC SCHOOL WEEK
JANUARY 22-28, 2017

Over the past 7 years New Jersey Public Schools have suffered mightily as Governor Christie has

*disparaged teachers, 
*used threatening language in reference to teacher’s unions (“You deserve a punch in the face”)
*made new demands for teacher contribution to medical plans that are not offset by salary raises. 
*pushed for school choice and charter schools at the expense of public schools
*relaxed regulations on charter schools
*pushed for increased levels of standardized testing
*tied teacher evaluation to student performance
 *annually underfunded local school districts
*pushed forth regulations that would open the door for unqualified teachers to be in front of our children

In sum, Governor Christie has created damaging levels of stress and fear for New Jersey public school teachers, parents and students.

During this long 7-year season with a governor bent on disturbing (if not destroying) public education many Democrats have seemed confused about their own feelings toward public education. Bill Gates’ donation of hundreds of millions of dollars to states and unions that would adopt Common Core hugely influenced this generation of Democratic lawmakers in the direction of agreeing with Republicans and believing in the myth that the public education system is failing.

It is time to celebrate public schools again. It is time to celebrate local control and time for a governor to find money in the budget to insure, at a minimum, the full funding of the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.

Let’s create a climate where public schools can thrive. With this in mind I join with BATs in claiming this week as Public School Celebration Week.

WHEREAS all children in New Jersey should have access to the highest-quality education possible; and,
WHEREAS New Jersey recognizes the important role that an effective education plays in preparing all students in New Jersey to be successful adults; and,
WHEREAS quality education is critically important to the economic vitality of New Jersey; and,
WHEREAS, public education not only helps to diversify our economy, but also enhances the vibrancy of our community; and,
WHEREAS New Jersey has thousands of high-quality teaching professionals who are committed to educating our children; and,
WHEREAS, Public School are celebrated across the state by over 1.5 million students, and millions of parents, educators, schools and organizations;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Seth Kaper-Dale (Gubernatorial Candidate for the Green Party) do hereby recognize January 22-28, 2017 as New Jersey Public School Week, and I call this observance to the attention of all of our citizens.

peace, seth

kaperdaleforgovernor.com

Senators Booker and Menendez and Prescription Drugs

Senator Booker and Senator Menendez voted in a way that hurt New Jersey people who are crippled by the cost of prescription drugs. I hope Democrats in the state will call them out for it. If not, at least this Green gubernatorial candidate has something to say…

Last night in the Senate, as steps were being taken to undercut and re-write the Affordable Care Act, there was an amendment offered up that could make one aspect of health care more affordable for Americans. We are all aware of the crippling cost of prescription drugs. We are also all too familiar with the incredible disparity between the cost of prescription drugs in Canada vs. the same drugs in the USA. The Affordable Care Act did NOT allow for prescriptions to be purchased in other countries and the problem of inflated drug prices has continued throughout the Obama years. Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Amy Klobuchar proposed an amendment that would allow U.S. customers to buy prescription drugs from Canada. Some Republicans, realizing that they are undoing Obamacare without a clue for a replacement, voted in favor of the amendment. In fact, 12 did so. But alas, 13 Democrats decided to go the other way—voting against the amendment.

Why did they do that? Senator Booker and Senator Menendez could have responded with, “I have a plan for comprehensive health care reform to replace Obamacare and so I’m not voting on piecemeal legislation—even if it’s good legislation.” But, instead, when pushed today, Booker made the “safety argument” (if we buy prescription drugs elsewhere the safety standards aren’t as high).

The thing that is a real safety hazard is that desperately poor people, and middle income people, in New Jersey, have to decide between life sustaining prescription drugs and rent, food and transportation. The high cost of prescriptions, inflated for the sake of exorbitant profit for a handful of companies, is one of American's biggest sins.

In this desperate political moment this amendment was a sign of hope. Sorry to see it squashed by New Jersey's senators.

Peace, Seth

Endorsement of State Assembly Bill 1945

It’s nice to see an excellent bill moving along in Trenton! 
(nice break from Christie's book deal, the Solitary Confinement Veto and the failure of Dems to get minimum wage on the ballot for next year)

I just want to write tonight to endorse Assembly Bill 1945. It’s wonderful to see legislation that is focused, primarily, on making changes that impact people facing the difficult reality of the criminal justice system. Those who have been charged with a crime, and are then acquitted, should not just have cases dismissed while reputations remained tarnished. In society we tend to heap blame and publicly drag someone’s name through the pool of critics…but then, when an acquittal comes, there is much less interest and the damage has been done.

“Hey, weren’t you the guy who…?” “No, I was the guy accused of…..”

This bill requires the Attorney General and county prosecutor to provide notification that shows when someone has been acquitted, or charges dropped. It goes to great length to remove info from judiciary websites and to send corrective information to the public.

Is it costly? Shouldn’t be too bad. Is the practice of permanently tarnishing someone’s good name costly? Sure is.

I’m glad to see a sensible bill proposed to bring about this important change.

Peace, Seth
Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate, 2017

Why Black Lives Matter More Than My White Life

Reflections by Seth Kaper-Dale at the end of 2016

Since the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, and especially since the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014, Black Lives Matter has been arguably the most important new movement in America. Black Lives Matter has, of course, mobilized the black community, especially younger people, but it has also mobilized white young people, especially on college campuses, to look white privilege squarely in the face. Black Lives Matter was launched in response to a few specific moments of violence and brutality, but its agenda is wide—as wide as the horizon of violence against black bodies. Those killer cops, those gun-toting neighbors who killed black men, they are just the obvious abusers—representatives of a nation that has perpetuated injustice against black people since the nation’s foundation. This nation has robbed black people from the moment they were ripped, against their will, from Africa, and the nation continues to create a world where that robbery goes on, in covert ways most of the time. White people who have taken Black Lives Matter seriously have been embarrassed and ashamed by what has been exposed so plainly now.

As I run for governor in the state of New Jersey I am very aware of the ways that black lives continue to be undervalued and mistreated in our state. Whether we talk about economic development, education, public safety, social safety nets, criminal justice, education, housing, transportation, community development…blackness=disadvantage. No. Disadvantage is way too soft a word. Being black in New Jersey means that your body, your personhood, is of less value than others. No. Maybe it’s worse than that. To be black in New Jersey (and America) means that you are valued firstly in the ways that you can be a commodity to help more valuable people advance. You are worth something as a prisoner, you are worth something as an underpaid laborer, you are worth something as a criminal—paid next-to-nothing so that white owners make money off your body while your family waits for your return. There are, of course, gentle ways to talk about race-related issues in New Jersey. It's not all bad. But one thing Black Lives Matter has taught me is to stop pretending we’ve made much progress.

One of the things that I’ve heard said, frequently, by people who are made uncomfortable by the term “black lives matter” is “all lives matter.” Somehow to even say “black lives matter” is too much of an affront to the already privileged. To me, “black lives matter” doesn’t say it quite strongly enough.

I am a man born in white skin, into a white family. I cannot change the color of my skin or the privilege connected to it. But I can say, and I will say, and I will work for policies that say, “black lives matter more than my white privileged life.” Until justice and peace embrace, until there is real equality among people of all hues in America, until there is real repentance, and improved laws that tip the scales black-ward, I say, with conviction, that black lives matter more than my own.

As I begin a serious run for governor in 2017 I hope that all who believe that black-priority is at the heart and soul of repairing our state will join me. I have many policy ideas that I believe are faithfully weighted toward making New Jersey less systematically violent for black people, and more beautiful for all, but I don’t want to propose them alone.

Can it be a New Years Resolution to join me in this journey?
Please sign up to be part of my campaign at www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com.

Peace to you,

Seth Kaper-Dale
Gubernatorial Candidate for the Green Party
December 30th, 2016